Two Kentucky Civil War sites are moving closer to receiving National Monument designations from the National Park Service.
House bills awarding the designations to Camp Nelson in Jessamine County and Mill Springs Battlefield in Wayne and Pulaski counties, were advanced by the U. S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Fifth District U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, sponsored the Mill Springs bill while Sixth District U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, was primary sponsor of the Camp Nelson bill, joined by Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, who sponsored companion measures in the Senate, testified before the committee in support of the designations.
“As the Union Army’s first significant victory in the West, Mill Springs Battlefield in Wayne County holds a crucial history for our nation that must be protected and appreciated,” McConnell said. “Similarly, the Camp Nelson Civil War Park in Jessamine County also deserves preservation as it provided a path to emancipation for a number of African Americans who were stationed at the site in Kentucky.”
The Battle of Mill Springs took place on Jan. 19, 1862, at Logan’s Crossroads, now the community of Nancy, Ky., leaving 150 Confederate and 50 Union soldiers dead. The victory helped open the South to federal forces. Although it received extensive newspaper coverage in both the North and South at the time, it was quickly overshadowed by larger subsequent battles during the Civil War.
Camp Nelson served as an important training area for U.S. Colored Troops, Union regiments composed primarily of African-American soldiers who joined the U.S. 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 recruiting and training centers for African-American soldiers and served as a refugee camp for their wives and children.
After being approved by the committee, both measures will next go to the Senate floor to await further action. If they clear the Senate, the legislation would then head to President Trump for his signature.
To find out more about The Battle of Mill Springs, go to For more on Camp Nelson, visit