Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Russellville Campsites

The town of Russellville remained in Confederate hands under the command of General Simon Buckner until nearby Forts Henry and Donelson became threatened by Union forces under the command of Buckner's old friend, Ulysses S.Grant. The Confederates' first invasion of Kentucky thus ended in January of 1862 as the troops were consolidated to defend these two strongholds on the lower Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and the Tennessee capitol of Nashville.  Fort Henry surrendered almost without protest so Buckner's troops proceeded through Clarksville to defend Fort Donelson at Dover, TN  (about 75 miles sw).  Buckner, as the junior officer, was ordered to surrender the fort as his senior officers escaped under the cover of darkness on February 16th, 1862. The Confederate State of Kentucky became a government-in-exile and attached itself to the Army of Tennessee as the Confederate forces at Bowling Green rushed to defend Nashville.  After the subsequent fall of Nashville, the government of the Confederate State of Tennessee would suffer a similar fate, after first briefly relocating to Memphis.

Confederate camps established  along the L&N Railroad just north of the court square as well as the more accommodating one located at a Shaker colony near South Union would become the Logan County  home of Union troops throughout the remainder of the war.  The county once occupied by John Hunt Morgan  (General,CSA) came to be under the command of Sanders D. Bruce (Colonel, USA), the brother of Morgan's wife, Rebecca.  It was into this complicated but predominantly southern cultural environment that the Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry marched, that first week of November in 1862.

The Southern Bank of Kentucky (1857) located in Russellville was one of the strongest banks in the area, conducting business throughout the South. After turning down a loan request by the Confederate government, the owner removed from it's vault gold reserves of more than $2,000,000.00 and hid them to guard against less formal requests that might follow.        Photo by the author, all rights reserved.

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