Tales of War

Stories are the fabric of Camp Nelson. Beneath the pastoral landscape exist the accounts of people and events that provide a glimpse into the individual and collective struggle of our nation to live up to the promise of its founding. At Camp Nelson National Monument, the stories created here between 1863-1866 are being rediscovered, amplified, and shared for all.


  • Basic wooden shelters in a field during the Civil War.
    Establishment of Camp Nelson

    Camp Nelson was first established in April 1863, but the development of the US Army base took time.

  • A covered bridge over a waterway at the time of the Civil War.
    Battle of Hickman Bridge

    The only fighting of the war that occurred in the area of Camp Nelson occurred in March 1863, one month before the base was established.

  • Document listing the names of people written in cursive on paper in a bounded collection.
    Impressment of Enslaved Laborers

    Enslaved African Americans were impressed by the US Army to perform labor at Camp Nelson during the first year of the base's existence.

  • US Army message ordering arrest of an officer for a February 1864 murder at Camp Nelson.
    Murder at Camp Nelson

    In February 1864, a US Army captain murdered a fellow officer at Camp Nelson because of a crime against his wife.

  • A U-shaped white wooden building with a lawn, foundation, and fence in front during the Civil War.
    Threats to Camp Nelson – Part One

    The prospect of an attack on Camp Nelson loomed several times during an enemy raid through Kentucky in June 1864.

  • Sketch of two armed men on horseback robbing a civilian on horseback at gunpoint.
    Threats to Camp Nelson – Part Two

    As guerrilla violence escalated in Kentucky in October 1864, Camp Nelson came under threat of being attacked.

  • A stone obelisk surrounded by luminaries on a dark field with a bright light sky in the backgrond.
    The Expulsion

    The expulsion of over four hundred African American refugees from Camp Nelson in late 1864 caused the deaths of 102 people.

  • Wooden buildings and tents on a slight hill with tress in the background during the Civil War.
    Black Refugees and Emancipation

    The Expulsion of November 1864 set in motion events that eventually provided freedom to African American refugees in Kentucky.

  • An African American soldier stands guard on a pontoon bridge that spans a Texas river in 1866.
    Letters Home

    African American soldiers serving far from their homes in Kentucky used letters to stay in contact with their families and friends.

  • Two rows of white gravestones with small American flags next to each one.
    Simpsonville Massacre

    Black cavalrymen from Camp Nelson were ambushed and murdered by Confederate guerrillas near Simpsonville, Kentucky.

  • Lieutenant Warren Goodale in US Army uniform during the Civil War.
    Through the Eyes of an Officer

    A lieutenant of the 114th US Colored Infantry provided a detailed look at the regiment's service during and after the Civil War.

  • A large state house building with a grassy field, trees, and fence in front during Civil War.
    Union Forever and Slavery

    The Kentucky General Assembly opposed all of the US government's emancipation policies during the Civil War.

  • Soldiers mounted and on foot marching through a city street while civilians watch during Civil War.
    Grand Review of the Armies

    US Army soldiers participated in the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington DC in late May 1865 to celebrate victory in the Civil War.

Last updated: July 21, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

6614 Old Danville Road 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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