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bardstown, kentucky - civil war attractions
Bardstown's Civil War History

The Battle of Bardstown, fought on October 4, 1862, was a turning point for the Eighth Texas Cavalry and would be recorded as that unit's finest hour. History would soon forget this skirmish, focusing instead on the larger Battle of Perryville, fought just four days later. But in the scenic countryside of Bardstown, the forgotten history of America's Civil War lives on.

Visit the Civil War Museum at Old Bardstown Village and learn the story of the Civil War's Western Front. See the mansion where the first Kentucky Confederate flag was flown. Get a candid glimpse of the lives of women during this struggle at the Women of the Civil War Museum - the first of its kind. Close to Bardstown are many other sites of importance such as St. Rose Priory, the school of the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, and nearby Perryville, where one of the war's bloodiest Kentucky battles was fought.

Bardstown also has much to offer outside of its Civil War heritage. From My Old Kentucky Home State Park to Stephen Foster - The Musical to vintage trains and museums dedicated to the Civil War, railroads and bourbon, there is something for everyone. If you are looking for the ultimate getaway for the true historian, let us welcome you home to historic Bardstown.

Civil War MuseumCivil War Museum
at Old Bardstown Village

The museum offers a view of many rare artifacts and tells the story of the Western theater of the Civil War. Discover one of the finest and largest collections of Civil War memorabilia in the country. Unlike other Civil War museums, Bardstown's museum focuses on the "War of the Western State." This museum ranks a close fourth to the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans, and the Atlanta History Center, in terms of size and content. The complex includes Bardstown Village, with 11 log cabins dating back 150 to 200 years.

Women of the Civil War Museum
This building, administered by the Civil War Museum, houses the unique story of women's involvement in the war effort. Nursing wounded soldiers, spying on enemy troops and even masquerading as soldiers, women played a pivotal role in the war. This museum is a first of its kind, paying tribute to this contribution.
Battle of Bardstown
Fought on October 4, 1862, this battle would be a turning point for the Eighth Texas Calvary and its leader, Col. John Wharton. A decisive victory for the Eighth, this Bardstown engagement took place near the current location of Delaney's Store between Bardstown and Nazareth on Highway 31E. Of all the 292 engagements led by the Eighth, this battle would go down as their finest moment. However, it was soon overshadowed by the Perryville battle which would occur four days later.

Union Encampment
Just prior to the Perryville Battle in 1862, Union General Buell occupied Bardstown with more than 58,000 union soldiers. The main heart of the Union Camp was located just south of the Bluegrass Parkway on New Haven Road (Highway 31E South). As you drive past the Quaility Inn, you will be driving through the site.
Kentucky Railway MuseumKentucky Railway Museum
See how the rails were used during the war. This museum is a 5,000-sq. ft. recreation of the original L&N depot, and contains a large collection of train-related artifacts with model train displays. Ride the rails aboard an authentic steam locomotive through the scenic Rolling Fork River Valley.
John Hunt Morgan Trail
Nelson County has four markers on the John Hunt Morgan Trail.
Additional Area Sites

Springfield. St. Rose Priory - Established in 1806. First home of the Dominican Fathers of America. Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, attended this school.

Bardstown. Sweets-McCown House - Circa 1840. 212 East Stephen Foster Avenue. Tradition says Elizabeth Doom McCown presented Bardstown's own Confederate unit, the Nelson Greys, with a silk flag on the front steps.

Bardstown. Harrison-Smith House - Circa 1790. The building, near the center of town on court Square, was a union recruiting site during the Civil War.

Hodgenville. Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace - National Historic Site. Log cabin encased in stone monument building.

Hodgenville. Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home - "My earliest recollection is of the Knob Creek Place," Lincoln said.

Perryville. Battlefield State Historic Site - Home of one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles. See the preserved battle site and monuments.

Lebanon. General George Thomas - Visit this new monument to this famous Civil War general.


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One Court Square Bardstown, KY 40004. (800) 638.4877. Trademark owned by The Kentucky Bourbon Festival, Inc.