Sunday, May 24, 2015

Preserving the Battlefield

Perryville Cleanup Day

Perryville, KY

May 23, 2015

We arrived at the Perryville Battlefield early ready to work. It was their cleanup day, and we hoped we could avoid the hazards we encountered from last year.

Ten of us from the 1st Tennessee were ready to work. Chad Greene assigned us to work on a couple of out buildings and a barn at the Bottom House, all of which had been built after the Civil War.

I started work on the roof of one of the out-buildings, using a crowbar to pull up the nails and tin. I figured this was a better choice than pulling out the hundred years of garbage that had collected in the area below.

It wasn't long when all the garbage was removed and they had me come down from the roof. They had a medium-sized tractor and used it to push the structure over. It didn't have any of the supports that the barn from last year had, so the building went down quick, and we piled the rubble into piles to be taken away or burned.

I moved on to removing siding from the main barn. Fortunately, we weren't going to be involved in taking this barn down. It had as much support beams as the previous year's barn, so I was relieved from that nightmare. I worked with a crowbar for awhile, separating the tin from the wood beams they were nailed to, but I decided to follow Chad Greene's lead and use a mallet to pound the tin away.

Some of the higher pieces were tough to deal with, so several of us worked together with a long wooden post jamming away at the pieces.

With the side ripped away, Chad decided to use have the tractor begin work in pulling down part of the barn. With a chainsaw, he weakened two corner beams in the back lean-to part of the barn, and had the tractor pull with a chain.

There was enough support remaining that the roof held. He proceeded with the next inner supports, then with the other corner, continuing until all the supports were down and the roof collapsed. It was smooth and scientific.

We broke for lunch, well worn from the hard work of the morning. Hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and beans replenished our strength.

We returned for more work, but all that remained were us from the 1st Tennessee and the Perryville staff, including Micah Trent and and a few others. The rest apparently had enough and went home.

With the roof down, Rick Compton and I worked with Steve Winston and Jackson Nyman's friend Moe all worked on stripping the tin from the fallen roof. The work was hard--a scattering of roofing screws held down the tin, making it rough to pull up until Steve and Moe pulled up all the screws with power drills.

Even with the screws up the work was hard, but eventually Rick and I figured out that by using shovels and working together, the tin rolled off like and orange peel.

While we worked on the roofing, the rest of the 1st TN either worked cleaning out the barn, or pulling up fencing.

At the end of the work, J.R. took us down the path the original 1st Tennessee took in the Battle of Perryville. We wanted to get some ariel footage, so I attempted to use my drone for some overhead video-but the Chinglish manual was a bit difficult to decipher, and so the footage did not come out.

When all was said and done, we headed back to the hotel to clean up, and enjoy a meal at the Kentucky Chocolate Factory in Harrodsburg.

Friends of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site Facebook Page

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