On 4 January, Camp Nelson, Nicholasville Kentucky, will celebrate becoming a National Historic Landmark.
Why Camp Nelson? This camp was a recruiting and training base for African-Americans who wanted to support the Union war effort. Soldiers brought their families with them and the Government set up a refugee camp to meet their needs. Over 10,000 black soldiers went through these camps and received their freedom under federal law.
Kentucky was a border state during the Civil War–
- Citizens did not vote to elect Abraham Lincoln; they voted 90% for someone else.
- Kentucky’s legislature did not vote to secede from the Union; they did not support the Union war effort either–they became “neutral.”
- Raids were made across the state by both Yankees and Confederates.
- “Bushwhackers” (armed gangs from both sides) roamed at will taking whatever was not tacked down. The “bloody ground” of Revolutionary times was bloody once more.
- Kentucky did not ratify the 13th, the 14th, or the 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution–Kentucky slaves were not freed through state law.
Click this link for a useful chart on tracing your Civil War ancestor–with links to major online resources. Recall that over 1/2 million American men (and some women) lost their lives in this terrible War. And 3.5 million Americans served on one or more sides. Irish and various European troops also served–some not returning home; they were mustered out here and later became American citizens at time of discharge.
If you have American ancestors alive during 1861-1865–you will probably have one or more ancestors who served. Your favorite Kentucky genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS I continued to be amazed at the information loaded on the internet–awaiting your discovery!