Camp Nelson

National Monument Foundation Document Project and Open House, March 19, 2019
The National Park Service is initiating a planning process to prepare a foundation document for the recently established Camp Nelson National Monument on Tuesday, March 19, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The park welcomes all interested persons to participate in this effort. A foundation document identifies a national park unit’s core purpose and significance, it’s most important resources and values, and the interpretive themes that tell its unique and significant American story. As a new unit in the National Park System, Camp Nelson National Monument’s foundation document will provide a basis for first steps in prioritizing park planning and data needs that will guide the park in future management decisions.For more information, see the Press Release.

Author Forum to follow Annual Meeting at 1p.m.
Dr Amy Murrell Taylor will be speaking at Camp Nelson on March 9, 2019 at 1 pm on her new book, Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War's Slave Refugee Camps. Amy is associate professor of history at the University of Kentucky and author of The Divided Family in the Civil War. Presentation will follow the Camp Nelson Annual Meeting.

Camp Neslson is a National MonumentU.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke applauded President Donald J. Trump’s designation of Kentucky’s Camp Nelson as a National Monument. Initially established as a Union Army supply depot and hospital, Camp Nelson became a key emancipation site and refugee camp for African American soldiers and their families during the Civil War. Located in Jessamine County, Kentucky, it was one of the largest Union Army recruitment and training centers in the nation for African American soldiers, then known as U.S. Colored Troops. Thousands of enslaved African Americans risked their lives escaping to Camp Nelson with the hope of securing their freedom and controlling their own futures during and after the war. Today, the site remains one of the best-preserved landscapes and archaeological sites associated with Civil War era U.S. Colored Troops recruitment camps and the African American refugee experience. Camp Nelson will now be the 418th site that the National Park Service oversees.

Camp Nelson Moves Closer to National Monument Designation from the National Park Service

Representatives from the U.S. Deparment of the Interior and the National Park Service joined a special session of the Jessamine County Fiscal Court in September 2018. Read more.

Civil War Ancestor Toolbox
Explore your Civil War heritage with our
Civil War Ancestor Toolbox. TentMost of the questions that we receive at Camp Nelson are from those doing geneology projects, both for scholarly research and for personal satisfaction.


Camp Nelson's Portal To Freedom
USCTCamp Nelson provided the Union Army with
over 10,000 African-American soldiers, making it the third largest recruiting and training depot for African Americans in the nation. Many of the black soldiers brought their families with them to Camp Nelson and eventually the army established a refugee camp for these individuals. Thousands of African-Americans came to Camp Nelson and it was here that they gained their freedom. Read more.

Camp Life: Civil War Collections
View some of the unique artifacts related to Civil War Soldier Life, now on display at the Camp Nelson Heritage Park Interpretive Center. Here are some inside photos of the Interpretive Center.

Happy Trails:
Did you know that there are over five miles of trails to explore at Camp Nelson? The trails are an opportunity to view the beautiful central Kentucky landscape while learning about the significant role Camp Nelson played in the the Civil War. The trails are open nearly every day from dawn to dusk. Trail and visitor info.

Lincoln Bi
Heritage Lands Unbridled  



C-Span Video
When the C-SPAN School Bus visited Camp Nelson, they shot this excellent 9-minute video.


Civil War Days





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