Kentucky’s Camp Nelson is a National Monument and was designated in 2018.
“Camp Nelson offers exceptional insight into the experiences of our nation’s African-American soldiers during the Civil War,” American Battlefield Trust President James Lighthizer said. “Its landscapes and visitor facilities make vivid the struggles of these soldiers, their wives and children toward a new and uncertain freedom amid America’s deadliest conflict. Preserving the site as part of America’s national park system honors their sacrifices, and will help communicate the camp’s dramatic military and emancipation history to new and larger audiences.”
Initially established as a Union Army supply depot and hospital, Camp Nelson became a key emancipation site and refugee camp for African American soldiers and their families during the Civil War. Located in Jessamine County, Kentucky, it was one of the largest Union Army recruitment and training centers in the nation for African American soldiers, then known as U.S. Colored Troops. Thousands of enslaved African Americans risked their lives escaping to Camp Nelson with the hope of securing their freedom and controlling their own futures during and after the war. Today, the site remains one of the best-preserved landscapes and archaeological sites associated with Civil War era U.S. Colored Troops recruitment camps and the African American refugee experience. Camp Nelson will now be the 418th site that the National Park Service oversees.
Camp Nelson, was the largest African American recruitment camp in Kentucky and the third largest in the nation. Many of the black recruits, who were emancipated upon enlistment, brought their familieswith them to Camp Nelson in the hope that they would also be freed or at least escape slavery. About 5,400 slaves enrolled at Camp Nelson. Designated a U.S. cemetery for Union dead in 1867, Camp Nelson remains a military cemetery. More than 2,200 soldiers from several Kentucky Civil War sites including Perryville, Richmond and Covington were reburied here.
Read more about Camp Nelson.
Location: 6614 Danville Pike
Hours & Admission: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Web site: http://www.campnelson.org/