It’s Spring at Perryville Battlefield!

Civil War Trust Park Day will be held this year on May 23rd. We will be working hard on land restoration projects. Please consider coming out and lending a hand. For information please contact Joni House at

Spring Walking Tour
Sponsored by the Friends of Perryville Battlefield and the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table
Guides – Chuck Lott and Darryl Smith

May 15th – Dry Canteen Trail Walk

This walk replicates the Federal First Corps approach to the battlefield. The Dry Canteen Trail is a scout trail that scouts, without water to simulate what the Union troops were going through on October 7th, could earn a badge and learn about the Battle of Perryville. The trail consists of road walking, so wear comfortable walking shoes, bring water and snacks, and wear bright colors so that passing cars may see us more easily. While the walk is mostly on back roads, there is a busier section at the beginning of the walk that we need to exercise extreme caution and walk single file.
Meet by the Confederate Cemetery at 10:00 a.m. We will then take as few vehicles as possible and drive to Mackville. Starting at the Mackville Community Center we will walk about ten miles back to the battlefield, arriving by 3:00 p.m. Car drivers will then need to be shuttled back to Mackville to pick up their vehicles. Do not let the distance deter you from joining as we will have an easy pace and smooth surface to enjoy. Post walk event will be at Bluegrass Pizza and Pub, where we can enjoy a great local restaurant and chat about Perryville.

May 16th – Walking Tour of Perryville Battlefield

Join Chuck Lott and Darryl Smith for an extended walking tour of the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. There will be a morning session from 9:00 a.m. until noon, a break for lunch, and then an afternoon session from 1:00-4:00 p.m. (covering a different part of the battle than the morning session). There will be some sort of evening session (hopefully with a renowned Perryville expert), so please plan on joining us after the walking tour for some enjoyable post tour camaraderie.

Attendees should wear comfortable clothing, sturdy walking shoes, bring water and snacks, and pack a lunch. History buffs and the general public are all welcome! Each session will involve about three miles of walking, with some elevation changes (none greater than 100 feet) along the way. Meet for the morning session at the picnic shelter in the park near the playground. When entering the park, take the first right and look for the shelter.

Morning Session – 9:00-12:00 – Meet at the Picnic Shelter near the playground.
Lunch – 12:00-1:00
Be sure to pack a lunch! Note – There is a small Amish place on the Lebanon Pike southwest of Perryville that may be open (about a ten minute drive). They make a delicious deli sandwich!

Afternoon Session – 1:00-4:00 – Meet at the Confederate Cemetery

Evening Session – Post Tour Gathering – To Be Announced

Information can be found at or call the park at 859-332-8631 for additional information!

Camp Nelson and the Congressional Emancipation Act of 1865

On Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 12 noon in the Barracks building of the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park Dr. Stephen McBride, Director of Interpretation & Archaeology at Camp Nelson, will provide a presentation on “Camp Nelson and the Congressional Emancipation Act of 1865.” The law freed the wives and children of African American soldiers and arose directly out of the U.S. Army’s expulsion of African American refugees from Camp Nelson. Some have estimated that this act freed at least 70,000 enslaved people and, along with the 1864 enlistment of African American soldiers, began the destruction of slavery in Kentucky.

Camp Nelson was a large Union quartermaster and commissary depot, recruitment and training center, and hospital facility established during the Civil War in June 1863. The Conscription Act of February 1864 authorized the creation of United States Colored Troops in Kentucky and by April 1864 freemen and enslaved men with their owner’s permission began enlisting. It was not until June 1864, following the appearance of 200 escaped slaves at Camp Nelson, without their owners’ permission, that the army opened up enlistment to all able bodied African American men. Soon after, thousands of enslaved men, women, and children escaped slavery and sought freedom at Camp Nelson. As a non-seceding state, Kentucky’s slaves were not freed through the Emancipation Proclamation.

Unfortunately for the soldiers’ wives and children, emancipation did not come immediately upon their husband or father’s enlistment. They were still legally enslaved and in November 1864 they were ejected from Camp Nelson. Due to freezing weather about 100 of the 400 refugee women and children died after this ejection and a national uproar occurred. This uproar led to a reversal in the army’s policy and the construction of the “Home for Colored Refugees” at Camp Nelson. Ultimately, it led to the March 1865 Congressional Emancipation Act freeing the wives, children, and mothers of United States Colored Troops. To many African Americans Camp Nelson was synonymous with freedom.

The presentation follows the annual meeting of the Camp Nelson Education & Preservation Foundation which starts at 10:30 AM. Both events are free and open to the public. Camp Nelson is located on US 27, five miles south of Nicholasville. Call Camp Nelson at 859-881-5716 or visit for further information.

Camp Nelson Partners With National Park Service On Commemoration







May 17, 2014 – Camp Nelson, KY – On May 24, 2014, as part of the nationwide Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration, the National Park Service is partnering with communities North and South to commemorate the 1864 Overland Campaign in Virginia when Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant embarked on a campaign to destroy General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The innovative program called, Reverberations, connects three national parks in Virginia—Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania, Richmond, and Petersburg—and eight communities around the country, including Jessamine County’s Camp Nelson, to illustrate the devastating impact of the Civil War on communities across the nation. Partner communities, both North and South, will join the National Park Service to hold special programs and simultaneous commemorative evening ceremonies to vividly illustrate how the 1864 Overland Campaign reverberated beyond the Virginia countryside into communities across the nation. The Campaign’s battles were devastating for soldiers in the field and each death or wound rippled outward, causing heartbreak in localities North and South that these soldiers called home.

Camp Nelson, one of the largest Union recruiting and training centers for African American soldiers or United States Colored Troops (USCT) as they were called, is associated with Petersburg where the attacks brought an end to the Overland Campaign and Grant laid siege to Lee’s army. The bloody conflict around Richmond and Petersburg in 1864-65, led to the end of the Civil War in April 1865 at Appomattox Court House.

From the opening action of the siege to being among the first troops to enter Richmond and Petersburg when the cities fell on April 3, 1865, Camp Nelson USCT’s contribution was critical to the Union’s success in the nearly ten-month long campaign. Reverberation activities at Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park include presentations starting at 11 AM and again at 3 PM on the 114th and 116th USCT who were recruited and trained at Camp Nelson and served at the siege; a commemorative ceremony for the USCT family members who died at Camp Nelson at 1 PM; an evening artillery salute/fire at 6:30 PM; and a commemorative ceremony at Camp Nelson National Cemetery at 8 PM recognizing the USCT from Camp Nelson and from across the country who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The event and Park tours are free and open to the public. Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park is located on US 27, six miles south of Nicholasville. The Park offers tours of the White House which served as Officers Quarters, Interpretive Center with Museum; recreated Fort; recreated Barracks with Research Library; and, more than five miles of Interpretive Trails. For more information on the event and Camp Nelson visit or call 859-881-5716. For more information on the evening program at Camp Nelson National Cemetery call 859-885-5727 or National Park Service Ranger Grant Gates at 804-732-3531 x202

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