160th Camp Nelson Anniversary Commemoration

Living history interpreters in US Army uniform in line with mule-drawn wagon.
Living historians portraying the 21st Massachusetts Infantry at the 160th Anniversary of the Knoxville Campaign at Camp Nelson National Monument on August 12, 2023.


Winter Ranger Series

The US Army established Camp Nelson on April 29, 1863. Over the next three years, the site served as a fortified supply depot, hospital, recruitment and training center, and refugee camp. The National Park Service (NPS) commemorates the 160th Camp Nelson (2023-26) with a series of special events, programs, and multi-media presentations!

All programs are free and open to the public.


Camp Nelson National Monument
6614 Danville Road Loop 2
Nicholasville, KY 40356

Group of people follow two park rangers along a trail lined by small white and blue flags.
Two Park Rangers leading a group of a visitors along a trail at Camp Nelson National Monument.


3rd Annual Winter Lecture Series

Join the NPS for the 3rd Annual Winter Lecture Series at Camp Nelson National Monument! The special programs feature guest speakers who present on a variety of topic related to the Civil War Era. The presentations take place on select Saturdays at starting at 11:00 am at the park. The 1.5 hour programs are free and open to the public.

The 2024 Lineup features 2 programs per month (January, February, and March):

January 13th: Dr. Lucas Wilder, Historian and Park Ranger at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, “Our Hold Upon East Tennessee”: The Knoxville Campaign

January 27th: Dr. Chuck Welsko, Digital Documentary Editor, Kentucky Historical Society, “Rebellion, Calamity, and Woe: Governor Thomas E. Bramlette’s Unionism in War and Memory”

February 10th: Dr. Patrick Lewis, Director of Collections and Research, The Filson Historical Society, “For Slavery and Union: Benjamin Buckner and Kentucky Loyalties in the Civil War

February 24th: Ronald Wolford Blair, Historian, “Wild Wolf”: Colonel Frank Wolford: The Man, Kentucky, and the Black Enlistment Controversy

March 9th: Stuart Sanders, Director of Research and Publications, Kentucky History Society, “Anatomy of a Dual: Secession, Civil War, and the Evolution of Kentucky Violence”

March 30th: Steve T. Phan, Chief of Interpretation at Camp Nelson National Monument, “Advance on the Enemies of Your Country”: Camp Nelson’s Evolution and the US Army’s Spring Offensives in 1864

160th Anniversary Commemorations

The American Awakening Symposium
"Conflict, Courage, and Contradictions"

Date: July 12-14, 2024

Full program schedule will be released soon.

Camp Nelson National Monument
6614 Danville Road Loop 2
Nicholasville, KY 40356

107th US Colored Infantry standing in formation in Washington DC
107th US Colored Infantry, organized at Louisville, Kentucky in 1864, stand in front of a guardhouse at Fort Corcoran in Northern Virginia (Defenses of Washington).

Library of Congress

The Unchartered Road to Freedom

After the Army of the Ohio’s successful liberation of East Tennessee, the US Army nearly abandoned Camp Nelson as fortified supply depot in March 1864. However, the army’s controversial decision to organize, recruit, and train US Colored Troops [USCT] at Camp Nelson and other centers in Kentucky sparked the destruction of slavery in the Bluegrass State.

Learn more about USCT HERE and African American Refugees HERE.

Large U-shaped building with grass, paths, and fence in front during the Civil War.
US Sanitary Commission Soldiers' Home at Camp Nelson during the Civil War.

National Archives and Records Administration

Army of Liberation

Click here to learn about the formation of the Army of the Ohio and its operations in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee over the course of 1863. The new army was organized to liberate Unionists in East Tennessee from Confederate occupation and it would ultimately achieve that objective, but it would require marching far and fighting hard. The 21st Massachusetts Infantry was only one of many regiments in the Army of the Ohio, but the experiences of its members reveal both the hardships and triumphs of the 1863 campaign.

Two-story white building in green field.
Oliver Perry House (White House) at Camp Nelson National Monument.


Civil War 160th in 60

The National Park Service (NPS) commemorates the 160th Anniversary of Camp Nelson (2023-26) in a brand-new video series: Civil War 160th in 60!

The special presentations take viewers to battlefields and historic sites across the National Park Service System to highlight the stories and individuals connected to Camp Nelson during the Civil War. The short 1-2 minutes videos will premiere on the Camp Nelson National Monument Facebook page and will be featured here!

Last updated: February 7, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

6614 Old Danville Road Loop 2
Loop 2

Nicholasville, KY 40356


(859) 881-5716
The phone is usually answered 7-days per week, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Voice messages are checked regularly.

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