Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall Field Trip: Frankfort, KY

An eighteen person strong contingent of the LCWRT traveled to Frankfort on the 17th for the Annual Fall Field Trip. Our tour guide was the able and intrepid Nicky Hughes of the Capitol City Museum. We were extremely fortunate to have a perfect day - cool in the morning and balmy in the afternoon. Meeting up early in Frankfort

The morning session included a detailed tour of the Civil War Forts at Leslie Morris Park on Fort Hill. We carpooled to the Sullivan House, a c. 1810 clapboard covered log house, which serves as the visitors center and museum.

Exterior of the Sullivan House

Nicky then led us through Fort Boone, the earthworks fort built by the 103rd OH in 1863. This was the site of the June 10 - 11 1864 skirmish that successfully defended the state capitol of Ky during a raid by John Hunt Morgan’s men in June of 1864. While not important for the war as a whole, it is significant in KY history as a burned state capitol would have left state government in ruins and likely led to a movement to mode the capitol to Louisville, Lexington or other sites that had agitated for a change off and on over the years.

Fort Boone earthworks

The fort was manned by local militia, called in to action and led by Gov. Thomas Bramlette, one of, if not the only US Governor to actually man a weapon in defense of his capitol. Another well known defender was John Marshall Harlan, a future US Supreme Court justice.

View of Frankfort from Fort Hill

The views from the park are outstanding, with historic downtown Frankfort , the Old Capitol , the New 1910 Capitol and the Arsenal in view. The Fort Hill site contains well defined earthwork remains, original stone walls and at the later, 1864 New Redoubt , the original stone magazine. The earthworks here are unusual in containing a dry stone wall core under the tamped earth. An excellent lunch arranged by Nicky was followed by medical and artillery demonstrations. Some hardy souls volunteered to form the temporary LCWRT Artillery Battery, and were successful in firing a 10 lb Parrot. Well done.

LCWRT members assist our tour guides with the firing of a reproduction 10 lb Parrot

The afternoon continued with a walking tour of downtown Frankfort, where Nicky covered the 1862 occupation of Frankfort by Braxton Bragg’s forces and Bragg’s visit and sudden departure through the railroad tunnel, as well as local history , the assassination of Gov. William Goebel, and the extensive Civil War era homes in downtown. He included a visit to the Capital City Museum and we finished up at The Frankfort Cemetery, resting place of many KY Governors, Civil War veterans and of course, like good Kentuckians, we concluded at the grave of Daniel Boone.
Civil War era railrod tunnel in downtown

LCWRT members take a break during the walking tour

Links for further reading:

Capitol City Museum

Leslie Morris Park

Ky State Historical Society