— The Battle for Kentucky October 8, 1862 —
Before the Confederate infantry attacked, the Southern army tried to weaken the Federal position by bombarding the Union lines with artillery fire. At noon, Captain William Carnes' Confederate artillery battery took up position on one of the far ridges east of this location. From those distant hills in front of you, the Confederate cannon hammered these lines with fire.
With shells and cannonballs whistling through the air and exploding overhead, Cyrus Loomis' Michigan battery located here and Peter Simonson's Indiana Battery, further to your left, fired back at the Confederate battery. For more than an hour these batteries dueled, and the ground surely shook from the rumbling cannon and exploding shells.
The Union guns could shoot farther, but the Confederates had more guns in action. Black powder smoke swirled around these hills as the Union cannon fired, their shells accurately exploding among the Southern guns. For all the expenditure of ammunition, only two cannoneers were killed.
Suddenly, the duel stopped. While the Union troops mistakenly believed that the artillery fire covered a Confederate retreat, they were soon proven wrong. Within the hour the fields in front of you were covered with attacking Confederate infantry.
While the Union troops had won the artillery duel, it wasted much of their long-range ammunition that they sorely needed late in the day.
"We were ordered to open fire. We first took full time to estimate the distance and instruct the gunners about cutting the time fusses of our shell and shrapnel shot, and began firing as ordered. Why we were urged into artillery action alone, the infantry on both sides being beyond effective range, we never knew."
—Captain William C. Carnes, Carnes' Tennessee Battery CSA
"The cloud of dust grew. The enemy's artillery fire from the Perryville hills slackened. Again that muttered thunder from Loomis: ?General, that's a large body of troops, and that's yes, —Harrodsburg pike. I guess we have tread on the tail of Mr. Bragg's coat, ha ha!' Here orderly, where's my glass?' from Rousseau. ?Mine is at your service, General,' and taking it from his hand, he gazed long and carefully, never dreaming that there was a hidden enemy much nearer. Returning the glass apparently satisfied that he must move his division up from the left to meet them at the best possible vantage ground, he jocosely remarked: ?Well Loomis, you are right, you can give them a small sized hell right here.'"
—Thatcher, Marshall P., Co.B, 2nd Michigan Cavalry