Historical Marker to Honor Black Union Soldiers

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A group of black Union soldiers from the Civil War will be remembered at a ceremony in central Kentucky.

The Kentucky Historical Society will dedicate a historical marker on Monday in Danville for the first U.S. Colored Troops at Camp Nelson.

In May 1864, nearly 250 black men — most of them slaves — marched from Boyle County to Camp Nelson in Jessamine County to enlist. On the way, some Danville citizens threw stones and shot pistols at the recruits.

When they reached camp, they were initially refused acceptance because no policy allowed for the recruitment of slaves. Eventually, the recruits were accepted into the Army, causing a Union policy change that allowed able-bodied black men to enlist.

More than 5,000 black soldiers were eventually recruited at Camp Nelson.

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