Stuart Sanders ’95 publishes book on little-known Kentucky Civil War battle
One notable connection is the 4th Kentucky Infantry, a Union regiment that was primarily recruited from Boyle County, Ky., and played an instrumental role in winning the battle. In addition, a Danville native, Centre attendee and attorney named Speed Fry was a Union officer involved in the most famous anecdote of the battle.
“The Confederate General Felix Zollicoffer was wandering through the fog in the woods and he ran into Colonel Fry,” says Sanders. “They actually had a conversation, not realizing they were enemies until a Confederate soldier rode out from behind a tree and fired on Fry.”
Zollicoffer was killed in the scuffle, and his death received widespread national newspaper coverage because he was one of the first generals to die in the war. Fry, who became a general later in the war, ultimately commanded nearby Camp Nelson.
For Sanders, bringing to light the influence of Centre and Danville in Civil War history is particularly fascinating, an interest of his that was nurtured during his time at Centre.
“The history faculty has always done a good job of fostering an interest in local history,” he says. “Centre faculty and students appreciate the college’s traditions, so an interest in local history is a logical next step.
“In addition, while studying Kentucky’s 19th-century past, Centre continually comes up in my research,” he continues. “I’ve always been interested in how Centre contributed to and influenced Kentucky history from that period.”
Currently, Sanders is involved with the planning of Preservation Kentucky’s Civil War sites preservation conference, which will be held in Danville this month.
“Because of Danville’s historic nature and its proximity to Perryville, Camp Nelson and other big state Civil War sites, Danville is the ideal location to host the conference,” says Sanders.
In the longer term, Sanders has already written another book about Perryville, due to be published in April.
“This book looks at the Battle of Perryville through the lens of a particular brigade,” he says. “It will hopefully give more of a ground-level picture of what those 2,000 soldiers went through during that battle.”
By Mariel Smith