Camp Nelson National Monument

  • National Park Service



Camp Nelson National Monument Information

Kentucky’s Camp Nelson National Monument tells the story of the African-American military service in the Union Army during the Civil War, as well as the difficult transition to freedom during the Reconstruction era.

The camp began as a supply depot and hospital for the Union Army. However, during the Civil War it grew to become one of the largest recruitment and training centers for African-American soldiers. Set within a slaveholding state, the enslaved African-Americans who came to the camp risked everything in the process. Camp Nelson National Monument stands as a reminder of their incredible courage and determination, and looks back at the United States’ difficulty in defining freedom during this period. 

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