Saturday, October 15, 2011

Camp Nelson near Lexington, Kentucky in the Civil War

Today I attended a session on how to prepare for the release of the 1940 Census scheduled for April 2012.  It was held at the Main Branch of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library.  While there, I scanned the shelves to see if there were any books that might provide additional insight about my Civil War ancestors.  One book immediately caught my eye because it was about Camp Nelson, Kentucky.   This camp, located near Lexington, Kentucky was an important recruiting and training camp for black soldiers who often abandoned their slave owners to sign up for service.

I was shocked to open the book to p. 105 and read this interaction between Col. John G. Eve and Lt. G.A. Hanaford:

U.S. Mil. Tel.
July 30th 1864
By Telegraph from Camp Burnside
To Lt. G.A. Hanaford

Some negroes in Govt employ here on last friday night got some arms & went out of Camp to rescue a negroe woman from her owner.  They did not find the woman or her owner & came back.  What shall I do with them.  Answer.

Camp Nelson
July 30 1864 Col. JG Eve
Camp Burnsides

If you have any balls and chains put them on the negroes and make work with them on the Severest labor you can put them at.  I do not know but it would be a good idea to (have) one of them court martialed and Shot. as an example to others.

By Order of Brig Gen SS Fry
Signed Geo A. Hanaford   Lt & A A A A G

I have nothing more to add to this post. 

Sears, Richard D.  Camp Nelson, Kentucky -- A Civil War History  Lexington, The University Press of Kentucky, 2002.


  1. Amazing post. It is direct information like this that helps us to see the times exactly as they were - whether we like it or not. Much of what is published has been made 'politically correct.'

  2. Fascinating and disturbing. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Kathy, My first wifes gr grandfather is buried at Camp Nelson next to his cousin.We found him there when I insisted we stop and check him out there because from pension records we knew he had died while at Camp Dick Robinson which was the precurser to Camp Nelson. We later found he had been buried close to Camp D.R. & then at the cematery in Boyle County where they had a big battle.The name of it escapes me at this time.


Join the conversation. Comments are appreciated and keep me motivated.