By Admin, BuyLocalBG.com, BuyLocalBg@gmail.com/
Thursday, September 15th, 2011 9:00 AM CST
There is a marker on top of the Hill on the Campus of WKU that says the old Fort we call “Fort Lytle” was known as “Fort Albert Sydney Johnston.” This would make sense since General Albert Sydney Johnson, commander of the CSA in the west, moved the Head-Quarters of his operation to Bowling Green in October of 1861. Just one problem, there is no evidence saying it was called Fort Albert Sydney Johnston.
For a period of time the Fort that stood on what is known as Vinegar Hill was known as ‘Fort Vinegar Hill.’ Confederate Major Mott once said, “Fort Vinegar, a sour name, at least it would have proven to be so at an advancing enemy.” Finally, after Johnston abandoned Bowling Green with the Confederate Army and the Union had taken the town, Fort Vinegar was given the name Fort Lytle. Named after General William Lytle who died leading the charge at the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, in 1862.
Lytle was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the scion of a leading area family, the Lytle family. He graduated from Cincinnati College and studied law. After passing the bar exam, he established a law firm in Cincinnati, but soon enlisted in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served as a captain in the Mexican-American War. He was also part of the Ohio state legislature as a Democrat.
Much of the building materials and landscape of Fort Lytle was incorporated into the University Campus that sits there now. Such as, what was once combat trenches are now student walking paths.
As we’ve said before, the city was at one time home to former (future at that time) President Benjamin Harrison. At that time he was a Colonel and it would not be out of line to think he spent some time at Fort Lytle. It’s a great view at the former home of the Fort as well.
As we were told by those working in the Kentucky Museum, Fort Lytle was a great look out point for the area. Most of the trees you see now were not there (or any trees for that matter) in early Bowling Green, as they had been cleared and used in construction and as firewood. At the time, Fort Webb would have been in eye sight from this location.
Past Civil War 150:
*Campus Photo of Bridge is from www.Landmarkhunter.com