††††††††††† On October 8, 1862, the green soldiers of the 21st Wisconsin Artillery were stationed strategically in a cornfield in Perryville, Kentucky.† None of these men had ever seen combat, but they were following orders to prevent an assault on the Union-held hill that held eight cannons.
The men waited through the heat of the day as gunfire and screams filled the air around them.† They knew the Confederate troops were advancing towards the hill, but the magnitude of the Confederate progress remained unknown.† They tried to remain calm and watched the upslope that provided access to the hill behind them.† Gradually, the men began to relax.
All of a sudden, cannon and gunfire boomed behind them.† They turned to see that the Confederate troops had taken the valued hill.† The inexperienced commander ordered an assault by his young men to retake the hill.† The men charged. They were met instantly by an unbearable avalanche of gunfire and artillery that smothered everyone in blood and carnage.† None of the Wisconsin soldiers escaped the cornfield that evening.
The cornfield remains to this day at the protected Perryville Battlefield.† Itís a normal field for all but one day of the year.† It flourishes from spring until early fall.† Every year the battlefield employees find the field to be beaten down fatally on October 9th, as if troops had marched through it during the previous night.† Wide trails lead towards the hill that the Confederates had taken.† The young Wisconsin soldiers are still trapped in the wispy, silent cornfield, trying to finish their patriotic duty.
DuPont Manual High School