Civil War sites closer to National Monument status

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The process for two Civil War-related sites in Kentucky to receive National Monument designation has taken another step forward.


U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced Thursday that the National Park Service is now receiving public input on Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County and Mill Springs Battlefield in Pulaski County.


“Under President Trump, the local voice matters,” Zinke said. “An open and public process should be the standard for all National Monument designations, and I look forward to working with the communities in question to preserve our history. By identifying sites like Camp Nelson and Mill Springs Battlefield that help us tell a more complete American story, we can preserve the deep historical tradition of America’s best idea for generations to come.”


During the American Civil War, Camp Nelson served as an important training area for U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) — regiments in the United States Army composed primarily of African-American soldiers who joined the Union Army to fight for their freedom. The camp began as a fortified U.S. Army supply depot, hospital, and garrison in 1863. It became one of the largest recruitment and training centers for African-American soldiers and served as a refugee camp for their wives and children.


On January 19, 1862, Union and Confederate forces met in the Battle of Mill Springs in Pulaski and Wayne counties, near Nancy, Kentucky. The result was an important victory for the Union in the American Civil War. The Union held Kentucky for the remainder of the War.  Kentucky’s importance to the Union and its ensuing victories in the South is epitomized by President Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”


Earlier this year, Congressman Andy Barr, R-Lexington, and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, introduced the Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument Act, while Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Somerset and McConnell introduced the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Act. The Trump Administration has supported both pieces of legislation.


“Under President Trump, the local voice matters,” Zinke said. “An open and public process should be the standard for all National Monument designations, and I look forward to working with the communities in question to preserve our history. By identifying sites like Camp Nelson and Mill Springs Battlefield that help us tell a more complete American story, we can preserve the deep historical tradition of America’s best idea for generations to come.”


In addition to the two Kentucky sites, The National Park Service is also taking public comments on designating the Medgar Evers home in Jackson, Mississippi a National Monument.


Medgar Evers was an important national figure in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The assassination of Medgar Evers on June 12, 1963, in the carport of his home, was one of the catalysts for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both Medgar and Myrlie, his wife, were major contributors to advancing the goals of the civil rights movement on a national level. 


Written comments may be sent to the National Park Service online by clicking: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=81907.

 

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