“Two Presidents, Both Born in Kentucky and Two Different sides.”
By Admin, BuyLocalBG.com, BuyLocalBg@gmail.com/
Thursday, June 9th 2011 10:00 AM CST
Did you know Bowling Green was once known as “Gibraltar of the West?” One thing many natives of Bowling Green have told me is they really know a small portion of the cities history during the Civil War. Most know the basics but, what do we have around us to remind us of these times 150 years later? With the help of some WKU Professors, local Civil War enthusiasts and Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau we will once a week discover a new element of the cities history.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game.” Around 150 years ago (it was during the summer so, we may be on the anniversary today) many parts of Kentucky Confederate and Union recruitment camps began to set up. In September of 1861, General Albert Sydney Johnston commanded that the Confederate soldiers occupy the city of Bowling Green. In fact General Johnston chose Bowling Green as his headquarters. The Confederate Army had set up cannons on the many hills in the Bowling Green area.
1862 in Logan County, a pro-Confederate Convention was held to discuss their actions in Kentucky. There the Convention asked for admittance into the CSA. They also voted that our city, Bowling Green, would be the state capital of Kentucky in the CSA. That was January and much of the states battles were being won by a strong Union force. By February, the city was going to make another dramatic change when Johnston abandoned Bowling Green after the Army of Ohio bombarded the city. February 11, 1862, retreating first to Nashville, then further south to join Pierre G. T. Beauregard and Braxton Bragg at Corinth, Mississippi.
For the rest of the war, the short lived “Capital of the Confederate State of Kentucky” was occupied by Union forces. We will get into the special locations around the city a certain events that happened during the civil war in later posts. We’ve started to visit graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers as well as landmarks through Bowling Green. One thing we have found that is of great interest was in 1864 when the Union started to enlist Freed Men and Runaway Slaves in Kentucky, Bowling Green was one of the locations that were to receive and protect those recruits. As a recruitment center for White and Black soldiers Bowling Green was key also because of the L&N railroad.
I hope you will check with us weekly as we discover some of our city’s history in the Civil War or War of Northern Aggression (I know people who still refer to it as that), both Rebel and Yank. It’s amazing the history that surrounds us and we will only skim part of the History we learn due to space. 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.