Camp Nelson National Cemetery
Author: Steven Shaw
Kentucky has a new national monument. President Trump has created the Camp Nelson National Monument, which is located in Jessamine County, Kentucky. The monument will be located about 45 minutes south of Lexington.
Camp Nelson National Monument will preserve the site of the emancipation for African American soldiers and a refugee camp for their families during the Civil War. Camp Nelson was also one of the largest Union Army recruitment centers for African American Union soldiers. Thousands of enslaved African Americans risked their lives escaping to Camp Nelson during the war.
Today, the site is one of the best-preserved landscapes and archeological sites associated with United States African American Troops recruitment and the refugee experiences of enslaved persons seeking freedom during the Civil War.
President Trump used the “Antiquities Act” to declare the monument, which will be managed by the National Park Service.
Here are the details from the White House press release.
“WHEREAS, section 320301 of title 54, United States Code (the "Antiquities Act"), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected;
WHEREAS, the Camp Nelson Historic and Archeological District was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2016 for its national significance as the site of one of the Nation's largest recruitment and training centers for African American soldiers during the Civil War, as well as a refugee camp for the families of those African American soldiers;
WHEREAS, Jessamine County, Kentucky, has donated to the American Battlefield Trust fee title to the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park, located at 6614 Danville Road, Nicholasville, Kentucky, totaling approximately 373 acres, and the nearby property containing archeological evidence of the Camp Nelson Home for Colored Refugees, totaling approximately 7 acres (collectively, the Camp Nelson site);
WHEREAS, the American Battlefield Trust has relinquished fee title to these properties to the Federal Government;
WHEREAS, the designation of a national monument to be administered by the National Park Service (NPS) would recognize the historic significance of the Camp Nelson site, particularly the events that transpired at this location during and after the Civil War, and provide a national platform for preserving this history;
WHEREAS, the NPS intends to cooperate with Jessamine County, Kentucky, in the preservation, interpretation, operation, and maintenance of, and in educating about, the Camp Nelson site;
WHEREAS, it is in the public interest to preserve and protect the Camp Nelson site, in Jessamine County, Kentucky, and the objects of historic interest therein;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 320301 of title 54, United States Code, hereby proclaim the objects identified above that are situated upon lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be the Camp Nelson National Monument (monument) and, for the purpose of protecting those objects, reserve as a part thereof all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map entitled "Camp Nelson National Monument, Nicholasville, Kentucky," which is attached to and forms a part of this proclamation. The reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass approximately 380 acres. The boundaries described on the accompanying map are confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”