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“The Battle of Perryville was Kentucky’s most important battle,” according to author Stuart W. Sanders, former executive director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association. But he also goes on to say that “Maney’s Brigade played the most critical part.” Stuart has spent countless hours researching Perryville and the battle that took place on Oct. 8, 1862. It was there that 40,000 Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in Kentucky’s largest Civil War battle.
While working for the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association Sanders, “became interested in Maney’s Brigade, which endured some of the heaviest fighting at Perryville. Because this brigade of soldiers, who were from Tennessee and Georgia, played such a critical part in the battle, I decided to write a book about their experiences,” Sanders said.
Brigadier General George Earl Maney was born on August 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. He studied law and passed his bar exam in 1850, then opened a practice in Nashville. He married Elizabeth T. “Betty” Crutcher and they had five children. When the Civil War broke out, Maney was ready to serve his country and volunteered for the Confederate army. He served under Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Cheat Mountain and under Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson before commanding his own brigade. He led his brigade in the battles of Perryville, Chickamauga and Murfreesboro.
When the Civil War ended, Maney returned to Tennessee and became president of the Tennessee and Pacific Railroad in 1868. He was an active Republican and was 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 in Washington, D.C. from a cerebral hemorrhage on Feb. 9, 1901.
As part of The History Press Kentucky Author Dinner Series, Stuart will present a program about his latest book, Maney’s Confederate Brigade at the Battle of Perryville, on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rob Morris Educational Building at the Oldham County History Center. A meal will accompany the program. Cost for the dinner and program is $18 for non-members and $15 for members of the Oldham County Historical Society.
Upcoming Author Dinner Series programs include:
Nov. 20, Stephen Coombs, Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt and Smoke
Dec. 18, Nancy Stearns Theiss, Freemason Rob Morris and the Eastern Stars: A Legacy at Three Cedars and Beyond.