Civil War 150: “Confederate Defense Line and Rifle Trench.”

This is an 1863 Corp of Engineers map showing the Trench Line. The middle of the park is the lower right part of the trench. (also notice the street name changes since then)

By Admin, BuyLocalBG.com, BuyLocalBg@gmail.com/
Thursday, July 21st, 2011 10:00 AM CST

Walking through Roland Bland Park just a stones throw from the skate park  you don’t expect to be walking in a place that was once a defense line to defend a city from invasion. About the spot where kids are playing on a playground just 149 years earlier was a spot where Confederate soldiers camped with their rifles to fight the Federal Army from invading the city of Bowling Green. They were protecting the area not covered by Fort Webb or Fort C.F. Smith.

Troops under General Buckner and General Johnston, fighting for the cause of the Confederate States of America, took up a position just outside Kentucky’s soon to be named Confederate Capital on September 18th 1861. After Fort Henry fell and Fort Donelson was threatened they evacuated their position. That was about 5 weeks after the naming of Bowling Green as the Confederate State Capital of Kentucky.

The Confederate Army left between February 11-13th and General Mitchell (a Kentucky native) entered with the Federal Army on the 14th. They immediately occupied nearby Fort Webb and manned the Defense Line. At that defense line the Union Soldiers built a trench line that goes from where the L&N Depot currently sits, across Louisville road and would end right about the middle of the park (See photo above).

Most rifle trenches were 4 feet deep and 8 feet across. It zig-zag from the L&N spot to the middle of the park. A similar style trench is the sketch below:

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.”

Part 4: “Mt. Ayr & Fort Underwood”

Part 5: “Baker Hill and Downtown Bowling Green”

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