President Donald Trump designated his first national monument at the end of last month, selecting 373-acre Camp Nelson in Nicholasville, Kentucky, that honors African-American soldiers and refugees from the Civil War.
“Camp Nelson was one of the largest Union Army recruitment centers for African American Union soldiers, then known as United States Colored Troops,” the president said in a proclamation. “During the war, thousands of enslaved African Americans risked their lives escaping to Camp Nelson, out of a deep desire for freedom and the right of self-determination. Today, the site is one of the best-preserved landscapes and archeological sites associated with United States Colored Troops recruitment and the refugee experiences of African American slaves seeking freedom during the Civil War.”
I’m in #Kentucky today to announce that @POTUS @realDonaldTrump has declared Camp Nelson a #NationalMonument and it will be under the care of the @NatlParkService #FindYourPark pic.twitter.com/gZXItR0Jp7
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) October 27, 2018
The National Park Service notes that at Camp Nelson’s peak use in 1865, the camp was nearly 4,000 acres in size and “was organized around an 800-acre core, included more than 300 buildings and tents that housed a quartermaster commissary depot, ordnance depot, recruitment center, prison, and a hospital.”
— US Department of the Interior (@Interior) October 27, 2018