Jan. 22: 149th
anniversary of the Battle of Mill Springs. Ceremony at Zollicoffer Park,
followed by reception at Mill Springs Visitor Center near Somerset.
Feb. 6: Exhibit
opening of Dreadful Calamity, Words, Images, and Music from the Civil War.
Hopewell Museum, 800 Pleasant St., Paris.
April 8-9: Civil
War seminar, Winchester.
Gravestone dedication, United States Colored Troops, Simpsonville.
Kentucky plans to recognize the 150th anniversary of the Civil War
with dozens of programs and projects across the state to help recall the bloody,
New Kentucky road maps in February will use the symbol of cannons to
designate Civil War sites in the state.
In September, Frankfort will host a Civil War music festival with
brass bands, coronets, fifes and drums, and Bowling Green will recognize its
occupation under the Confederacy.
The Filson Historical Society in Louisville, the oldest continuously
running history society in Kentucky, is planning an array of programs to
highlight the war.
"It's going to be exciting," said Stuart Sanders, community
services administrator for the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort and
administrator for the Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, which Gov.
Steve Beshear appointed in September 2009.
The chairman of the commission, state Rep. Brent Yonts,
D-Greenville, said it is important for Kentucky to remember that the war, which
raged from April 12, 1861, to June 1865, divided many families in Kentucky.
"Any history is appropriate to remember and celebrate because
looking to our past literally opens our paths to the future to make sure we
don't travel in the same wrong directions twice," Yonts said. "The Civil War was
a unique event in our country's history. We want to share the unique role
Kentucky played in the war."
Sanders noted that the late Kentucky historian Thomas Clark often
said Kentucky joined the South after the Civil War ended.
Kentucky was a border state during the war. While most of it leaned
toward the Union, it remained pro-slavery. It was the site of fierce battles,
such as at Perryville in western Boyle County, Mill Springs in Wayne and Pulaski
counties, Richmond and Munfordville.
It also was the birthplace of President Abraham Lincoln, who was
born near Hodgenville; his wife, Mary Todd, born in Lexington; and his Southern
counterpart, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, born in Fairview, which lies
on the line between Christian and Todd counties.
Statues of both men stand today in Kentucky's Capitol Rotunda.
Cast Bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln standing beside a chair located in the
center of the Rotunda. Statue is 14'-0" high. Base is of serpentine marble
from Easton, Pennsylvania. Cast by the Roman Bronze Works, New York. Gift to
Kentucky of James Breckenridge Speed, of Louisville. Cost approximately
$40,000.00. Unveiled by President Taft and accepted by Governor Wilson, the
same week as the Lincoln Memorial in Hodgenville.
Marble, full length statue of Jefferson Davis. About 15' tall.
Pedestal about 5' tall, 50" wide, and 40" deep. Statue was cut from Tennessee
marble. Erected by the State under the auspices of the Kentucky Division,
United Daughters of the Confederacy. Financed through private donations and a
$5,000 appropriation by the State in 1934. Accepted on behalf of the
Commonwealth by Governor "Happy" Chandler on the anniversary of his first year
in office. Unveiled December 10, 1936.
The 25-member commission, which Beshear said will stay in existence
until 2015, primarily is encouraging and supporting a variety of community
projects, Sanders said.
Most of the events will be tied to the anniversaries of Civil War
happenings, he said, noting that most of the Civil War battles in Kentucky
occurred in 1862.
"That's why 2012 will be a big year, but we're getting it started in
2011," he said.
Details of a kickoff for the celebration are in the works, but Yonts
and Sanders said they expect it to occur in April, the anniversary month of the
firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., which marks the first engagement in
the Civil War.
Because the Beshear commission on the sesquicentennial has no
funding, it is focusing on helping community events and local history societies.
It is pushing educational activities in schools and colleges to bring in history
and government professors to give programs on the war.
"All this worked extremely well with the Lincoln Bicentennial
Commission, so we are adopting similar strategies for the Civil War
anniversary," Sanders said, referring to efforts to recognize Lincoln's 200th
The Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort also is doing its own
sweep of programs, Sanders said.
He noted that it is working with several state agencies on a Civil
War trail across the state "to get the traveling public engaged."
Though the financial effect of the sesquicentennial on Kentucky has
not been determined, Sanders said many tourism spots in Kentucky noted a 30
percent increase in attendance during the Lincoln Bicentennial.
"We are looking at getting a lot of people from Ohio and Indiana for
the Civil War anniversary since Kentucky is the closest state to them with Civil
War battlefields," Sanders said.
With the aid of a $1 million federal grant, the state Historical
Society also plans to convert its popular history mobile with exhibits to show
Civil War events in Kentucky.
The money also will be used for two "museums to go" exhibits and more historical
highway markers, which cost about $2,000 each.
Among the events planned by the Filson are the Civil War Field
Institute, which involves trips in the spring and fall to battlefield sites in
the area. The society, founded in 1884, also has planned academic conferences
featuring scholarly papers, public conferences with historians as speakers, and
"We try to make our presentations as diverse as possible to reflect
the myriad stories of history," said Mark Wetherington, Filson director.
Yonts also said diversity will be stressed in the state's Civil War
"Unlike some other states in the South that already have received
criticism for not focusing on issues like slavery and the plight of women during
the Civil War, we want to hit a variety of issues," he said.
For more information about efforts to observe the Civil War
sesquicentennial, go to: