KINGSPORT – In 1861, Abraham Lincoln said, “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game.” Confederate forces invaded Kentucky from East Tennessee late in the summer of 1862 in an effort to wrest the Bluegrass State away from the Union. Kentucky’s fate stood in the balance for over 10 weeks — until the Battle of Perryville.
That battle, the campaign, and its importance to the Civil War are the focus of this month’s Tri Cities Civil War Round Table program featuring author and historian Chris Kolakowski.
Kolakowski will present “The Battle of Perryville” at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 9, in room 219 of the Eastman Employee Center, 400 S. Wilcox Drive, in Kingsport. The TCCWRT-sponsored program is free and open to the community.
Kolakowski was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and received his bachelor’s degree in History and Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College, and his master’s degree in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany.
He has spent his career interpreting and preserving American military history with the National Park Service, New York State government, the Rensselaer County (NY) Historical Society, the Civil War Preservation Trust, Kentucky State Parks, and the U.S. Army. He has written and spoken on various aspects of military history and leadership from 1775 to the present. He has published two books with the History Press: “The Civil War at Perryville: Battling for the Bluegrass” and “The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaign: This Army Does Not Retreat.”
He is a contributor to the Emerging Civil War Blog, and his study of the 1941-42 Philippine Campaign titled “Last Stand on Bataan” was released by McFarland in late February 2016. In September 2016, the U.S. Army published his volume on the 1862 Virginia Campaigns as part of its sesquicentennial series on the Civil War. He is a reviewer and contributor to the “Air Force Journal of Indo-Pacific Studies,” and is currently working on a book about the 1944 India-Burma Campaigns.
Kolakowski currently resides in Norfolk, Virginia, where he serves as director of the MacArthur Memorial. Prior to that, he served as director of the General George Patton Museum and Center of Leadership in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The Tri Cities Civil War Round Table will have membership forms available, along with September newsletters, for anyone interested in joining the group. Members will also be accepting donations of Civil War hardback books, paperback books, magazines, CDs, VHS, and other historical books for its sale at the Nov. 11 program. Proceeds from the sale are used to help cover expenses for bringing in great speakers.
TCCWRT sponsors the monthly program highlighting various aspects of Civil War history as a gift to the community. Future programs include: “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson-Chancellorsville” by Chris Mackowski on Oct. 7; “Battle of Monocacy” by Ed Bearss on Nov. 11; and “A Long Dark Shadow: Death at Gettysburg” by Emma Murphy on Jan. 13.
For more details about the program, meeting location or organization, contact Wayne Strong at (423) 323-2306 or [email protected] Each month, members dine with the guest speaker at 5 p.m. on the day of the program at The Chop House. Contact Strong for dinner reservations.