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Civil War 150: “Mt. Ayr & Fort Underwood,” Wayside Exhibit

Thought: Why is this course not named “Mt. Ayer or Fort Underwood Disc Golf Course.”

By Admin, BuyLocalBG.com, BuyLocalBg@gmail.com/
Thursday, July 7th, 2011 10:00 AM CST

It’s odd to see a frisbee golf course where a historical, Civil War, landmark happens to be. It’s kind of poetic that Atop Underwood Hill to the northeast stood Mt. Ayr, the home of the Warner Lewis Underwood family. Now a home to a community park where thousands enjoy activities. I wonder if those playing Frisbee or taking a walk know the story of a family being kicked out of town and the military installation that was set upon this land? The Underwood family were supporters of the Union cause, the family was forced to evacuate their home in order to house Confederate Officers. The Underwood family was forced out of the city after they were given orders when three Confederate soldiers came bearing the letter of eviction from their own property.  One of their sons also was a Union officer so, that probably didn’t help either.

In her diary, Warner Underwood’s daughter Josie, wrote:

“Father held the paper so we could all see it and this is what it read: ‘Warner L. Underwood and all persons occupying the buildings on Underwood Hill, Commonly know as ‘Mount Air,’ are requested to vacate the premises immediately. By the orders of General commanding, etc. etc.’ It was like a low blow that stunned us. Ma sank in a chair, white and speechless….. Our time had been extended to tomorrow, when we must go. God knows where and for how long- perhaps forever.”

Officers and their wives lived in Mt. Ayer until the Confederates abandoned Bowling Green in February of 1862. Josie also wrote of the Underwood Homecoming on February 13th, 1862:

“When we reached the bounds of Mt. Ayr on what is now Cemetery Pike, all fences were gone, so we drove across the fields to the house. Just as we drove up the last wall fell with a crash. The house perished – one of the oldest and handsomest in Warren County.”

Near the home, Fort Underwood was constructed to defend the Barren River and the Glasgow Road.  Fort Underwood was described as a “lunette fort” and mounted six cannon. There are no known photos of Fort Underwood in existence.
This map, headlined “The Rebel Stronghold In Kentucky,” appeared on the front page of the ‘New York Herald’ on January 14, 1862 (a month before the Rebels lost control of Bowling Green). It was created from the recollections of two Union prisoners who escaped from the Confederates in Bowling Green. The map contains several geographical errors, unlike the official military map drawn after the union conquest of the City. The red circle, added to the original map, indicates the location of Fort Underwood.

If you want to skip ahead to get more detail or start learning more today, check out the Civil War Trail (website link for trail) via the Convention and Visitors Bureau or Kentucky Museum on WKU’s Campus.

Past Civil War 150:

Part 1: Mt. Moriah Cemetery, resting place of  “African American Union Soldiers.”

Part 2: The Confederate Graveyard and Monument of Bowling Green. Also, the Most Dangerous Confederate.

Part 3: “Defending the L&N Railroad Wayside Exhibit.”

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