Centre students construct online database for Battle of Perryville casualties

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Computer Science, News 14 May 2014

battleofperryville_cannonDBGroupComputer science students at Centre College have created a digital database of more than 5,800 soldiers who died, were wounded or went missing during the Battle of Perryville, the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky. The students, led by Margaret V. Haggin Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Christine Shannon, wrote programs for the data and designed a new user-friendly web page for querying the database.

The class collaborated with Kurt Holman, park manager for the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, who has spent 30 years collecting soldiers’ names and details of the casualties. He reached out to the College for help on the project, and now that the database is online he believes it will prove to be a valuable resource for many.

“We’re among a handful of Civil War battlefields with this kind of database that is now available to anyone with access to the Internet,” Holman says. “This is a great service to our guests and really helps raise the profile of this important Kentucky historical site.”

Shannon notes that this will be an ongoing project since more research is needed and the database will continually be improved.

“It is a work in progress and hopefully our contribution was to give it a good push in the right direction,” she says. “We may be able to contribute more in the future. 

“It was certainly a good experience for the students to work with a client that was not on campus,” she continues. “We were pleased to make a contribution like this to the Perryville Battlefield.”

The following students worked to create the database: Michael duPont ’14, Jeff Elam ’14, Mary Friel ’14, Brooks Johnson ’14, John Kehr ’14, Zach Trette ’14, Alex Cope ’15,  Lindsey Pack ’15, Jess Pritchett ’15, Simon Reiffen ’15, Woody Rini ’15, Cyrus Xi ’15 and Siruo Wang ’16. Technical advice was provided by Shane Wilson, senior systems and network coordinator at the College.

To see the Battle of Perryville Casualty Database, click here.

To read more about the database collaboration, click here.

by Caitlan Cole ’14