Perryville, KY Battlefield Hospital Plaster Stabilization
Perryville, KY: 1995
The 1862 Battle of Perryville, one of the pivotal engagements of the Civil War that left Kentucky out of the Confederacy and thus ensured the Union forces an attack base near the Chattanooga railhead, left houses riddled with bullet holes and makeshift graves surrounding in the surrounding landscape. In the 1990s, a local man seeking to retain this heritage as part of a national history park asked me to spend a very strange and unsettling two weeks stabilizing and preserving the plaster in one of the cabins that had been alternately occupied by the Union and Confederate armies during the fighting. Living alone in this bullet-ridden house in the middle of a cornfield was eery even before the archaeologists began uncovering limb pits in the yard. It appears the irregular brown tideline on the walls and the stained doors marked the house as a makeshift field hospital. The project included stabilizing the bullet holes across their trajectory from one side of the building to the other and the soldier's graffiti on the walls.