After a series of defeats in the West had driven Southern forces into Mississippi, their new commander, Braxton Bragg, daringly moves them by rail into eastern Tennessee. From there he and Edmund Kirby-Smith strike swiftly into Kentucky and win dazzling victories at Riohmond and Munfordville. Lexington and Frankfort fall to the South, and Louisville and Cincinnati are in danger. At a hitherto unknown hamlet called Perryville, Bragg meets the Union commander, Don Carlos Buell, in a battle whose survivors will call it more intense than Shiloh. The Battle of Perryville will determine Kentucky's fate, and perhaps America's. Here, in verse as venerable as Beowulf, but as vivid as the Federals and Southrons who fought and died on parched pastures by a drought-stricken stream, is the tale of events that led to Perryville, the pathos and humor of the field of battle, and its aftermath of woe and triumph.