CAMP NELSON, KENTUCKY
1863 - 1866
Reprinted and posted by permission from the Camp Nelson Foundation.
This site is significant as:
- Kentucky's largest and the nation's third largest enlistment and training center for African American troops, which were known as U.S. Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.). Eight U.S.C.T. regiments were organized at Camp Nelson and three others were trained here. These regiments saw action in Southwestern Virginia, in Central and Western Kentucky, and at Petersburg, Virginia.
- Kentucky's largest African American refugee camp. Thousands of enslaved African Americans, most of whom were the wives and children of the U.S.C.T., sought refuge and freedom at Camp Nelson. A refugee camp which housed between 1200 and 3000 people was established by the army and administered with the assistance of the American Missionary Association, particularly Rev. John G. Fee, and the U.S. Sanitary Commission. This camp became the community of Hall.
- A primary quartermaster and commissary depot of the Union Army of the Ohio and the District of Kentucky. The camp covered over 4000 acres, contained over 300 buildings and ten earthen fortifications, stored millions of rations, equipment, and other supplies, provided mules and wagons to transport these goods, employed 1 to 2000 civilian employees, and garrisoned 2 to 8000 soldiers. Brig. Gen. Speed S. Fry was in overall command of the camp and Capt. Theron E. Hall was Chief Quartermaster.
- The staging ground and supply center for a number of offensive campaigns. These included Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's Knoxville -Campaign (Aug.-Nov. 1863), Maj. Gen. Stephen Burbridge's Southwestern Virginia Campaign (Oct. 1864), and Maj. Gen. George Stoneman's Southwestern Virginia Campaign (Dec. 1864).
- A major hospital facility for the Army of the Ohio. Nelson General Hospital contained ten large hospital wards, numerous support buildings, and a large convalescent camp of tents.
- A large enlistment and training center for white troops from Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Tennessee. Two regiments and one battery from Kentucky and four regiments and two batteries from Tennessee were organized at Camp Nelson in 1863 and early 1864.
- A large Civil War site with a well preserved landscape (including a number of intact fortifications and entrenchments) and with excellently preserved archaeological deposits.
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Camp Nelson, Kentucky