Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
				Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.

On the property on Hickman Creek adjoining Camp Nelson are prehistoricarchaeological finds dating from 800 B





Reprinted by permission from RALLY 'ROUND CAMP NELSON - The

Newsletter of the Camp Nelson Restoration & Preservation Foundation, Volume 6, Number 2 - Spring/Summer 2002





On the property on Hickman Creek adjoining Camp Nelson are prehistoric archaeological finds dating from 800 B.C. to 1200-1400 A.D.


On December 18, 2001, the Jessamine County Fiscal Court adopted a resolution supporting the formation at Camp Nelson of the Twelfth U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery Reactivated Regiment to conduct educational outreach programs. The regiment has already begun field artillery training on the 12  pound Napoleon canon acquired last year.



Under the direction of Wayne Hayden, Property Manager for the Kentucky River Parks which includes Camp Nelson, seven members of Leadership Jessamine County devoted one full day in March to the reconstruction of Fort Putnam. Because of their generous gift of time and energy, weeks of work were accomplished that day and the project was completed on time. Used for training purposes, Fort Putnam was the first of nine forts constructed at Camp Nelson. The reconstructed fort stands on the exact site of the original and faithfully follows the 1863 official drawings; like the original, it covers a 300 foot area which includes four gun platforms for canons and uses yellow pine. The next fort scheduled for reconstruction is Fort Taylor, which was important to the northern line of defense. [For information on the fort system at Camp Nelson,  see the Winter 2002 Newsletter.] Volunteers from the community are essential to the completion of various projects. Anyone interested in helping with reconstruction or preservation should contact the Camp Nelson Office: 881-9126.



Ten new interpretative trail signs extend the signage of the present system and include Fort Pope, Fort Taylor, Fort McKee, Fort Jones, engineers' camp, government stables, entrenchment line to Fort Jones,  mule corrals, spring, and stone breastworks near Fort Jones.



The Foundation has purchased a record of goods received at Camp Nelson from June 1863 to January 1864.



The Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA) has divided the original nine-county Cumberland Corridor into two regions. Under this new organization,



During January and February, ova 200 visitors from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Maine, as well as Kentucky toured the White House and grounds. Among the groups which met at the White House during the winter season were the Bluegrass Matching Funds Committee, Alliance Senior Group, members of the Hartland Hills Association, students from Brookside Elementary School, and a University of Kentucky landscape architecture class interested in historic preservation; in addition, several wedding receptions were held in the White House. Over 40 activities have already been scheduled for the spring and summer, including visits by groups of travel writers in June and August.



At the January Court of Honor, two Nicholasville boy scouts received Camp Nelson Eagle Badges: Ryan Copple for completing the trail and walkway to Fort Jones and J. B. Krimm for the trail to the amphitheater at Hall.



The Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA) has divided the original nine-county Cumberland Corridor into two regions. Under this new organization,  Jessamine County is part of a four-county region which includes Garrard, Lincoln, and Casey Counties. This corridor will develop tour packaging, a brochure on the history of the area, and informational kiosks at various sites. Camp Nelson has been selected to house a kiosk and has been awarded a $3,000 grant for directional signage. The new tourism corridor has not yet been named.



Cheryl Hargrove from St. Simons Island, GA conducted a research and inventory trip March 6-8. The results of her marketing analysis will provide the Foundation with directions for the construction of a visitors center which will include a museum and venue for various educational programs.




Dr. Stephen McBride will again direct the summer field school for the Department of Anthropology of the University of Kentucky at Camp Nelson. This summer the group will focus on the prison.




Two to three rows of six to 12 refugee camp cottages crossed the Overstreet house lot at 255 Church Street in Hall. When William Overstreet purchased the property in 1883, it was described as located on Row Street probably so named after the rows of cottages originally built on it.




The Civil War Preservation Trust designated April 6 as Park Day to bring attention to volunteerism at preservation sites. The theme was "Our Parks, Our Past, Our Pride." Following the annual meeting of the Camp Nelson Foundation in the morning, volunteers spent the afternoon preparing the site for the annual Living History Day which took place on April 27. The Heritage Park rewarded each worker with a t-shirt.




This fall, Perryville, KY will host the national reenactment. Over 7,000 reenactors and tens of thousands of spectators are expected to attend the event October 4-6. In support of this event Camp Nelson has agreed to sponsor a table in the Civil War Sites Tent under the aegis of the Kentucky Civil War Sites Association.




To celebrate February as Black History Month, the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church of Lexington sponsored exhibits of Camp Nelson, and James Hunn, Foundation member, presented to the Harrodsburg Historical Society a program on the role of African-Americans during the Civil War and their relationship to Camp Nelson.




Under the direction of educator Irene Earlywine, a junior chapter of the Jessamine County Historical Society has been formed with a core group of 15 middle school students. This group is interested in working on Camp Nelson projects.




The Camp Nelson Heritage Park is now listed with the Kentucky African-American Heritage Commission and has joined the Council for America's Military Past.



Plans are presently underway to develop pre-visit and post-visit materials on Camp Nelson for the public schools in an effort to introduce students to archaeology and historic preservation. Interpretive panels were prepared for the State Capitol in Frankfort for Kentucky State Day on February 21.




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