Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Camp Nelson- Nicholasville Kentucky
The very brief story of this site- in 1863, this camp was established as a depot for the Union. It served as a recruiting spot for escaped slaves, and soldiers from Tennessee. It was named after Major Bull Nelson who had recently been murdered in Louisville (his name pops up frequently concerning the Battle of Richmond Kentucky too).
ANOTHER name that figures in to the history of Camp Nelson is John G. Fee (see also Berea College)!
The Camp lasted for only a few years. Today, the land is still preserved as the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park. It occupies over 500 acres.
We stopped by recently and spent most of the day here, which still left us with many things to do on our next visit.
We walked in to the visitor center and were welcomed by friendly staff. We were encouraged to watch the 20 minute or so film on the camp. After that, we were allowed to explore the museum.
The film was very well done and the museum was great too. They had some great dioramas set up depicting life at the camp.
There were plenty of relics on display too. More on that later.
After the film and museum, we grabbed a map and started walking through the camp. What was neat was you could walk in a general trail area and see a flag. You could check your map to see what part of the camp used to be where the flag now stood. Thorough interpretive signs told more information about each spot.
We walked for some time, and covered a lot of area, but we realized there was still a lot to see. If you take away the Civil War history from the camp, it seems a lot like exploring your grandpas farming land. This is a great area to walk for exercise and fun, even if you are not a Civil War fan.
One thing that was cool about the walk through the fields- we noticed that there were flags marking other spots on the farm next door. Though this is now private property, the property owners have allowed the flags up.
As we ended our hike and made our way back towards the visitor center, we noticed some good people digging! They were very friendly, and let us watch them and ask questions! This was VERY exciting and I hope that we did not bug them too much.
The excavators let us know that they were digging around an old campfire! They had found nails, probably from shipping boards used to send things to the camp which still had the nails in them. An excavator explained about how, since the nails were burned, the chemical process helped keep them from rusting! I HOPE I explained that right.
Before we arrived, they had found bottle pieces and a label from a wine bottle!
As we talked to the team, they found more nails AND a pants button! We thought it was so amazing that, as we stood there, these small yet informative relics were brought back from the past!
We are looking forward to seeing more of the park and the cemetery.