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Civil War days this weekend at Camp Nelson

Where I grew up, the Civil War was something we only read about in textbooks. On family outings and field trips for school, we took to the history of the California gold rush instead. From river banks to makeshift houses the settlers made, we learned all there was to know about gold mining at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma which was located not far from where I grew up in Northern California.

Moving across the country, and to a much older state than the one I grew up in, relics of the gold rush are replaced with a past I eagerly always wanted to know more about and hoped to one day be lucky enough to experience – the Civil War. The California gold rush may have been a reason why many people ran to the West Coast although I am happy to now be a part of a history and heritage much older and stronger than what went on in the Sierra Nevada’s more than 2,000 miles away from Central Kentucky.

This weekend in Jessamine County, Camp Nelson is holding its annual Civil War Days event. Located at Camp Nelson Heritage Park, 6614 Danville Road, the event serves as a way to help educate residents and travelers alike on all they may wish to know about military and civilian life during the Civil War right here in Jessamine County. Having personally visited Camp Nelson many times since I took my position here at the Jessamine Journal, I remember back to the first time I was fortunate to walk through the building as I stood in awe of how it really is possibly the best-preserved union army supply depot and recruitment site in the nation. A site I wish I could have been fortunate to see growing up but am lucky enough to experience now that I am older.

Gates for the event this weekend are scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Children will be able to learn about infantry training and have the opportunity to meet and chat with Civil War legends – General U.S. Grant, Frederick Douglass, Abe Lincoln and abolitionist John G. Fee.

Admission is $5 with children 12 and under free. The event will also feature a herbal medicine presentation, artillery demonstrations, cannon firing, live music and a period church service on Sunday morning. Tours of the antebellum white house and the fortifications will be available for those who wish to attend the event as well.

As many of us here in Jessamine County are also excited and waiting anxiously for what we hope is a national monument designation for Camp Nelson, this event will serve as a great way to visit, learn about the history and experience what is hands down a very important part of American history.

Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.