Camp Nelson: Civil War Emancipation Center


Camp Nelson: Civil War Emancipation Center

Discover the history behind the soldiers of Camp Nelson and their families.

What You Will Learn

Beginning in May 1864, Camp Nelson Kentucky received a flood of escaped enslaved people looking to join the US Army and be emancipated. Through this “stampede” of people Camp Nelson became Kentucky’s largest enlistment and training center for US Colored Troops as well as a large refugee center for the wives and children of these soldiers. In this presentation, I will use archival and archaeological data and oral history to explore Camp Nelson.


Stephen McBride is a native of Virginia and received his BA in Anthropology from Beloit College and MA and PhD in Anthropology from Michigan State University. He specializes in historical archaeology, especially on military sites of the 18th and 19th centuries, and have worked for over 40 years, including over 30 in Kentucky with the University of Kentucky and Camp Nelson Civil War Park, now National Monument.

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