More Civil War Sites
Old Bardstown Civil War Museum of the Western Theater
and associated sites
301 E Broadway, Bardstown KY 40004
Quality artifacts and exhibits highlight this interesting museum focusing on the battles, leaders and the common soldier in the Western Theater. A couple of doors up on “museum row” is the Women of the Civil War Museum, which is less impressive but still interesting. Just down the hill from the main museum is Old Bardstown Village, a collection of local log cabins moved to the site. See CivilWarTraveler.com/events for Civil War living history programs there.
The complex is open daily March-Dec. 15 10 am–5 pm Eastern time. $6/adult (combo tickets available to other nearby museum attractions).
The Kentucky Historical Society’s Campus
The following museums and the old capitol building are located within a few blocks of each other in downtown Frankfort. All have interest to Civil War visitors. Call for hours, which change seasonally. Admission to each site is $4/adult.
- Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, 100 W Broadway – One of the main exhibit areas of the permanent exhibit “A Kentucky Journey” is devoted to “War and Aftermath (1860-1875).”
- The Kentucky Military History Museum, 128 E Main St – Housed in the 1850 State Arsenal building, the exhibits here feature Civil War material and the history of the building.
- Old State Capitol, 300 W Broadway – The state legislature voted to stay with the Union here in 1861. Confederates occupied the building briefly in September 1862 as Gen. Braxton Bragg attempted to install a pro-Confederate governor. The 1829 Greek Revival building is an architectural masterpiece inside and out.
Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill
700 Clifton Ave, Frankfort KY 40601
Two Civil War forts, Fort Boone and New Redoubt, still stand in this city park. A walking tour brochure and interpretive panels lead visitors through the Civil War area of the park, which has a panoramic view of downtown Frankfort. More information at a visitor center in an early 19th century log building in the park. Tour guides available Memorial Day-October.
Mill Springs Battlefield
Museum/visitor center located just east of Nancy and 8 miles west of Somerset
9020 Highway 80, Nancy KY 42554
A well-developed visitor experience here highlights the Jan 19, 1862, Union victory that involved nearly equal forces on both sides (about 4,000 men each). The fighting began as Gen. George Crittendon’s Confederate troops advanced on Union camps near modern-day Nancy. The Federals, under Gen. George Thomas, held their ground and gradually pushed the attackers back to the Cumberland River. The Confederates were forced to make an emergency ferry crossing that night, leaving artillery and other equipment behind. The victory here created a sensation in the victory-starved north and dealt a significant setback to Confederate hopes in Kentucky and northern Tennessee. Confederate Gen. Felix Zollicoffer was killed during the battle.
Pick up a battlefield driving tour brochure at the nice museum/visitor center adjacent to the Mill Springs National Cemetery. The nine-stop tour includes Zollicoffer Park and Confederate Cemetery, site of the general's death and a Confederate mass grave. An interpreted walking tour in the park — about a mile from the visitor center — takes visitors through the hottest part of the battlefield. The driving tour also includes the site of camps and the Cumberland River crossing. The driving tour brochure is available for download from the battlefield's website.
Museum/visitor center open 10 am–4 pm daily (May–September) and Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–4 pm, Sunday 1–4 pm (October–April). $5/adult. Zollicoffer Park is free.
Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park
6614 Old Danville Road, Nicholasville KY
US 27, 5 miles south of Nicholasville
Part of the site of a massive Union Army supply depot and training camp is preserved and interpreted here. Camp Nelson played a role in and supplied troops for the Knoxville (TN) and Saltville (VA) campaigns and was a large recruiting and training center for United States Colored Troops. More than 10,000 Union black troops passed through here. More than 5 miles of trails take visitors to the site of fortifications and other features of the camp.
Begin a visit with the interpretive center featuring exhibits and artifacts relating to Civil War camp life. The circa 1850 White House, used as the officers' quarters and the only surviving building from the camp, is open for tours. The Camp Nelson National Cemetery is located adjacent to the park. More than 2,200 Civil War soldiers are buried there.
Park open Tuesday–Saturday 9 am–5 pm (White House tours 10 am–4 pm). Free.
Tebbs Bend Battlefield
This July 4, 1863, battle was a bump in the road at the start of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s famous raid into Indiana and Ohio. Greatly outnumbered Union troops here protecting a Green River bridge repulsed several attacks and inflicted great losses in Morgan’s troopers before the Confederates withdrew. This battle forced Morgan to bypass the area and find another route north.
The 1840 Atkinson-Griffin House, which was a hospital after the battle, has been preserved and moved to the Green River Lake Visitors Center. Exhibits and details about a driving tour of the battlefield are available there. Museum open daily 8 am-4 pm EDT May–October. Closed weekends other times. Free.
Location: See www.tebbsbend.com for maps and directions.
Covington / Fort Wright
1600 Montague Road, Covington KY 41011 (in Devou Park)
Civil War exhibits are included in this multi-faceted museum located in a mid-19th century estate. The museum is the steward for Civil War sites located in Devou Park including a battery fortification with interpretive signage overlooking the Ohio River. Museum open Tuesday- Friday 10 am-5 pm, weekends 1-5 pm. $7/adult.
James A. Ramage Civil War Museum
1402 Highland Ave, Covington KY 41011
The Union defense of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati during the war, including the Confederate offensive in September 1862, is the focus of this museum.
The mission of the James A. Ramage Civil War Museum is to inform visitors about the defense of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati during the Civil War and how the community came together to defend the area during this homeland security crisis. The Museum preserves and interprets Northern Kentucky's unique role in the Civil War through archaeology, education, and research. The museum also informs visitors about the history of the City of Fort Wright.
Open Friday and Saturday 10 am–5 pm, Sunday noon–5 pm.
Hunt-Morgan House & Civil War Museum
201 N Mill St, Lexington KY 40507
This Federal-style home was built in 1814 by John Wesley Hunt, the first millionaire of the new west. This was Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s family home. The second-floor museum offers a collection of local Civil War memorabilia. Open for tours mid-April through mid-December, Wednesday–Sunday. $7/adults.
Mary Todd Lincoln House
578 W Main St, Lexington KY 40507
Mary Todd, future wife of Abraham Lincoln, lived here ages 13–21. Lincoln visited here after their marriage. The 14-room house was finished in 1806 and now features period furnishings and items from the Todd and Lincoln families.
Open March 15–Nov. 30, Monday-Saturday 10 am–4 pm. $9/adult.
Hardin County History Museum
201 W Dixie Ave, Elizabethtown KY 42701
Much of interest here for Civil War folks with exhibits on the county’s stories, including Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s Christmas Raid, several battles, forts and camps. The museum’s website contains lots of local Civil War information with a suggested driving tour of Morgan’s 1862 Raid. The “Abraham Lincoln Family and Friends” includes information on Lincoln’s birth (in the county) and early years. Phone for hours and fees.
Website links to Kentucky places: Kentucky Links