Dated Definitions: Perryville Under Fire

Dated Definitions: Perryville Under Fire

Selected from History Press books, Dated Definitions are fascinating definitions of historical novelties.

“The spectacle presented by the battlefield was enough to make angels weep. It beggars all description.” -Henry Fales Perry, 38th Indiana Infantry Regiment

The Battle of Perryville laid waste to more than just soldiers and their supplies. With more than 7,500 casualties, the remaining Union soldiers were unprepared for the enormous tasks of burying the dead, caring for the wounded and rebuilding infrastructure.

Today’s Dated Definitions, taken from Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky’s Largest Civil War Battle, give a glimpse of the battle and the brave locals who rebuilt their community from the rubble left over.


Acoustic Shadow [uh-koo-stik] [shad-oh]: noun, Because of Perryville’s rolling terrain and the wind direction, a strange atmospheric phenomenon existed where the sound of the battle was literally blocked from the Union commanders west of town. Because of this “acoustic shadow,” General Buell, sitting at his headquarters some three miles from the heaviest fighting, only heard scattered shots, although nearly forty thousand troops battled for supremacy of the ridges north of town.

Southern Aid Society [suhth-ern] [eyd] [suh-sahy-i-tee]:  noun, An organization that helped Confederate wounded. It was initially organized to send funds, food and clothing to Confederates in Northern prison camps, but it changed its goals when the ill and injured arrived nearby.

Vigilantism [vij-uh-lan-tiz-uhm]:  noun, The aftermath of the Battle of Perryville was immense and lasted for an extended period. There were “undesirable characters” in Perryville that led to a breakdown in the local justice system, and caused many to take law enforcement into their own hands.

Read more here.

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