Author Sanders to speak
on his book about Maney
The Civil War officer played
key role in Perryville battle
LA GRANGE, Ky. (August 2014) – Because of Kentucky’s border state status during the Civil War, it was the site of fierce battles that pitted brother against brother.
One such battle, the Battle of Perryville, saw 40,000 Union and Confederate soldiers meet on the battlefield on October 8, 1862.
Kentucky was officially neutral at the beginning of the war, before coming under Union control. The Bluegrass State hosted such military leaders as Ulysses S. Grant on the Union side and Nathan Bedford Forrest on the Confederate side, each fighting for what they believed was right.
Brig. Gen. George Earl Maney saw fighting that day in 1862 at Perryville as well.
“While Maney’s overall role during the Civil War has been largely forgotten, at Perryville his troops were tasked with breaking the Union left flank,” said author Stuart W. Sanders. “Their mission was a critical part of the overall Confederate strategy; although they nearly broke the Union left, a tenacious Federal defense stopped them short of this goal.”
Upcoming History Press Kentucky Author Dinner Series Programs
• Nov 20: Stephen Coombs, author of “Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt and Smoke.”
• Dec. 18: Nancy Stearns Theiss, author of “Freemason Rob Morris and the Eastern Stars: A Legacy at Three Cedars and Beyond.”
• These 6:30 p.m. events are sponsored by the Oldham County Historical Society
• Location: Rob Morris , 106 N. Second Ave., La Grange
• Tickets: $15 OCHS members; $18 non-members
• Information and to RSVP: (502) 222-0826
Sanders will take a closer look at Maney, his brigade and its role at Perryville on Thursday, Aug. 21, when he presents a program on his latest book, “Maney’s Confederate Brigade at the Battle of Perryville.” The program, part of the Oldham County Historical Society’s History Press Kentucky Author Dinner Series, will include a dinner, cash bar and Sanders’ books for sale in the Rob Morris Educational Building, 106 N. Second Ave., La Grange, at 6:30 p.m.
• For more information or to make reservations, contact the Oldham County History Center at (502) 222-0826 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stuart said he was fortunate to work for the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association for 10 years. “As I worked to help interpret the field at Perryville, I became interested in Maney’s Brigade, which endured some of the heaviest fighting at Perryville.”
Because these soldiers from Tennessee and Georgia played such a critical part in the battle, Sanders decided to write a book about their experiences. “Many of them remembered the fight at Perryville as being the most intense battle that they experienced during the entire Civil War,” he said. Many of Maney’s regiments suffered 50 percent casualties.
Sanders also wrote, “Perryville Under Fire: The Aftermath of Kentucky’s Largest Civil War Battle and The Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky.” He has contributed to several other books and publications. He is currently a public history administrator in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
More than 7,500 men were killed or wounded at the Battle of Perryville. Troops had to endure drought-stricken conditions, which produced massive amounts of dust, steep cliffs, thick underbrush, cannon blasts, muskets and rifles constantly being shot, powder smoke, and bullets whizzing through the air from every direction. As troops pressed on to the battleground, they constantly passed wounded soldiers coming off of the field.
Maney’s brigade consisted of about 1,700 troops at Perryville. His brigade was part of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Franklin Cheatham’s division. Maney and Cheatham had been friends since their pre-war days in Nashville, Tenn.
Maney was born on Aug. 24, 1826, to Judge Thomas Maney and Rebecca Southall Maney in Franklin, Tenn. Maney attended the Nashville Seminary before graduating from the University of Nashville in 1845. He fought in the Mexican-American War as a lieutenant in the 1st Tennessee Regiment and left the service in 1848.
After this, he studied law and passed his bar exam in 1850, opening a practice in Nashville. He married Elizabeth T. “Betty” Crutcher with whom he had five children.
When the Civil War began, Maney volunteered for the Confederate army. He served under Gen. Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Cheat Mountain and under Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson before commanding his own brigade.
After the Civil War ended, Maney was criticized for his leadership at Perryville, and he “even fought a duel against a Nashville doctor after the doctor criticized Maney for his performance at Perryville,” said Sanders. Many felt Maney had shirked his duty at Perryville, which dimmed his reputation somewhat after the war.
After the war, Maney returned to Tennessee and became president of the Tennessee and Pacific Railroad in 1868. He was an active Republican and elected to the state senate. During the presidential administrations of James A. Garfield, Chester Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison, Maney was appointed as ambassador to various countries in South America. He died Feb. 9, 1901, in Washington, D.C., from a cerebral hemorrhage.
“I hope the audience will learn more about Kentucky’s largest battle and will gain a greater understanding of what happened during this important action,” Sanders said. “In addition, by using Maney’s Brigade as a lens through which to view the battle, I hope that attendees will gain more insight into what soldiers experienced there on Oct. 8, 1862.”
President Abraham Lincoln recognized the importance of Kentucky in the Civil War when he declared “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.” In a September 1861 letter to Orville Browning, Lincoln wrote, “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game… We would as well consent to separation at once, including the surrender of the capital.”
Ticket prices for this History Press Kentucky Author Dinner Series program are $15 for members and $18 for non-members. Reservations are required.
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