Along the Backroads
Interested in Civil War sites in Kentucky. There are many civil war historic sites and markers around Bullitt County. These include Civil War Action at Bardstown Junction and Morgan’s Christmas raid and more. Other historical sites of interest noted by markers are early furnaces, period homes and textile artist Alma Wallace Lesch.
Alma Lesch Historical Marker
This historical marker honors the textile artist Alma Wallace Lesch. It is located in Shepherdsville near the intersection of KY 44W and Buckman Street. A pioneer of the contemporary crafts movement, Lesch was an internationally exhibited textile teacher and artist, noted for work with fabric and found objects. Born in McCracken County, Ky., Lesch lived and died in Bullitt County, where she worked from her home studio. A founding member of the Kentucky Guild of Arts and Crafts, Lesch was one of five U.S. artists to have fiber work in the first World Crafts Exhibition in 1974.
Belmont Furnace Historical Marker
This historical marker describes the Belmont Furnace. Built in 1844, perhaps by John H. Baker, rebuilt in 1853, it burned charcoal fuel, smelted iron ore from Cane Run. The air blast machinery was powered by steam. A major producer since 1791, Kentucky ranked 3rd in the US in production in the 1830s and 11th in 1965.
Brashear’s Station Historical Marker
This historical marker describes Brashear’s Station, also known as Salt River Garrison or Froman’s Station. It is located in Shepherdsville near the Floyds Fork Bridge over KY 44E. An early station on the Wilderness Road between the Falls of the Ohio (Louisville) and Harrodsburg, Brashear’s Station was a haven for pioneer hunters and travelers. It was built at the mouth of Floyd’s Fork near the banks of the Salt River in 1779. Brashear’s Station was founded by William Brashear, a famed woodsman from Maryland, who was killed by Indians in 1781.
Bullitt’s Lick Historical Marker
This historical marker marks the location of the early saltworks at Bullitt’s Lick. Located by Captain Thomas Bullitt in 1773, it is the site of early commercial production of salt in Kentucky. This lick provided salt for Kentucky settlements and the Illinois country as early as the late-1700s.
Civil War Action at Bardstown Junction
This historical marker marks the location of Civil War action near Bardstown Junction. John Hunt Morgan’s command of some 2,500 men left Bardstown and moved west. The raid, to this point, simply had not gone as planned. Morgan had fought two pitched battles at Green River Bridge and at Lebanon and had been held up for hours by Union resistance at Bardstown. Morgan was still determined to carry out his plans of taking the war to the north. The Union command was unsure where Morgan was going. Major Israel N. Stiles of the 63rd Indiana Infantry, the commander of the stockade at Shepherdsville, received information that Morgan was on the Shepherdsville Road. The major assumed that the railroad bridge at Shepherdsville would be attacked. In preparation for a defensive stand, Stiles ordered Captain D. Morris to gather his men, from Bardstown Junction and Belmont and bring them to Shepherdsville. The advance element of Morgan’s command arrived at Bardstown Junction just as Capt. Morris was leaving for Shepherdsville. The Confederates chased the Union soldiers capturing two of them, but the rest made good their escape. The other half of Morris’ company was not so lucky. Lieut. W.F. Henderson caught the northbound train at Belmont and he and his men were headed for Shepherdsville. Meanwhile, George A. “Lighting” Ellsworth, Morgan’s telegraph operator, instructed the operator at Bardstown Junction, James Forker, to inform the superintendent in Louisville that the northbound train had passed the station. The ruse bought Morgan time. The Confederates burned the trestle over Long Lick Creek, the water tank-house and the stockade at Bardstown Junction before capturing the train, which included Lieut. Henderson and his small command. Those soldiers were paroled and robbed along with the other passengers and with the contents of the train’s safe before the train was sent back to Elizabethtown. The Confederates then pushed on to the west heading toward Brandenburg and the Ohio River.
Civil War Christmas Raid
This historical marker describes Morgan’s Christmas raid on December 29-30, 1862. The American Civil War was the first conflict to utilize railroads for the movement of troops and supplies. Consequently, protecting the railroads was an important aspect of military strategy on both sides. In Kentucky this task fell to the Union army. The L & N Railroad was the main north-south supply line for Federal soldiers in Nashville and beyond. In Kentucky the L & N crossed numerous streams bridged with wooden trestles. Confederate cavalry exploited these weak points on the line. In December 1862 Morgan’s cavalry undertook its most successful Kentucky raid. The northern advance of this raid ended near Lebanon Junction. On December 28, Morgan burned the two trestles on Muldraugh Hill. That same day he sent a detachment of men under Maj. Robert S. Bullock to burn the trestles at the Rolling Fork, Cain Run and Belmont. With his mission accomplished, Morgan had to get his command across the Rolling Fork and back to Tennessee. Less than three miles south of Lebanon Junction, Union Col. John Marshall Harlan’s infantry, with a battery of artillery, finally caught the Confederates. Here, Harlan attacked Morgan’s rear guard, wounding Col. Basil Duke. Despite Harlan’s action the Confederates managed to cross the Rolling Fork. They moved south and burned the trestle at Boston before heading on to Lebanon. In the end, Morgan’s soldiers spared Lebanon Junction the fate suffered by many of the Kentucky towns they passed through. The town was not plundered nor robbed, although it was cut off from vital rail traffic as Morgan’s soldiers had burned the trestles at Cain Run and Boston and had ripped up miles of track. It was March 1863 before service on the L & N was fully restored.
“County Named, 1796” Historical Marker
This historical marker describes the establishment of Bullitt County in 1796. It is located in Shepherdsville on the Court House lawn. Bullitt County was named for Alexander Scott Bullitt, a leader in the political formation of Kentucky.
Fort DeWolf Historical Marker
This historical marker marks the location of Fort DeWolf on the L & N railroad at Shepherdsville. The Union army begain protecting the L & N Railroad from the beginning of the war. Once Nashville was taken the railroad became a vital supply line for Federal troops in Tennessee. It was equally important for the Confederacy to disrupt that line of supply as early and often as possible. By December 1862, the Union army had constructed six stockades between Elizabethtown and Shepherdsville (Big Run trestle and Sulphur Fork trestle both on Muldraugh Hill, Lebanon Junction, Belmont, Bardstown Junction and Shepherdsville). The stockades were manned only with infantry and proved woefully inadequate against troops with artillery. In March 1863 the Union army proposed upgrading the stockade in Shepherdsville by “… erect[ing] an artillery and infantry parapet, together with a line of rifle pits connecting it with abattis or entanglements … and the establishment of artillery.” The fort was only partially finished in July 1863 when Morgan attacked and burned the stockade at Bardstown Junction. During Morgan’s July 1863 raid, Major Israel N. Stiles, commander of the Union troops in the area, ordered his men at Belmont and Bardstown Junction to Shepherdsville. He believed that his unfinished earthwork and single cannon offered more protection than the stockades. Fort DeWolf was improved and more artillery was added, as a result it was never again threatened by Confederate forces. Fort DeWolf was named for Lieut. William DeWolf, 3rd US Artillery, who was killed at Williamsburg, Virginia. The completed fort was across the Salt River south of Shepherdsville. Fort DeWolf was constructed so that the L & N literally passed through it. Between the fort and the river was a barracks and along the railroad a brick water tank. Constructed between the river and the fort was a line of inclined pallisades, a wooden wall five feet high, made of sharpened posts. The line of palisades was designed to protect the barracks and to keep an attack from flanking the fort.
L & N Bridge-Civil War Historical Marker
This historical marker marks the location of the railroad bridge over the Salt River in Shepherdsville. The bridge was repeatedly attacked during the Civil War, destroyed three times by the Confederacy, and partially razed on Sept. 7, 1862, under Col. John Hutcheson. During the occupation of Shepherdsville on Sept. 28, 1862, Braxton Bragg’s troops again destroyed it, but a new bridge was erected by Oct. 11, 1862. After the Battle of Elizabethtown on Dec. 27, 1862, John Hunt Morgan’s men moved along the tracks, destroying everything on their way to trestle works at Muldraugh Hill.
Lloyd House Museum
Located in Mount Washington on U.S. 31E. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, the late-Victorian, Italianate-style home is an 1880 restoration depicting life in Mount Washington during the late-19th and early-20th centuries.
Mystery Cemetery Historical Marker
This historical marker marks the location of the Mystery Cemetery located on KY 245 near KY 1604. Decades-old graveyard discovered near here. Graves, with unmarked headstones, believed to be those of itinerant railroad workers struck down by cholera epidemic during the construction of the Bardstown-Springfield-Louisville Railroad around 1854, or burial ground for Civil War soldiers killed during one of the many skirmishes occurring in this area.
Old Stone Bank
Built in 1830, the Old Stone Bank is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Shepherdsville.
Private Henry B. Mattingly burial site
A Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Private Henry B. Mattingly was awarded the nation’s highest military honor by President Abraham Lincoln for his service during the Civil War. The burial site is located in the Lebanon Junction Cemetery off I-65 and KY 61.
Salt River Iron Furnace
The site of a 19th century iron furnace. Located at Bardstown Junction, KY 61 and Beech Grove Road. Built in 1832, the stone stack was 33 feet high. With charcoal fueling the process, it produced 700 to 800 tons of castings annually.
Sherman Here Historical Marker
This historical marker describes when U.S. Gen. William T. Sherman made headquarters in Bullitt County during the Civil War. It is located in Lebanon Junction. Gen. William T. Sherman, with 4,000, troops made headquarters here late September 1861.
Turnpike Mile Stones, ca. 1835 Historical Marker
This historical marker marks the location of an old milestone on an early turnpike. It is located in Mount Washington on U.S. 31E near First Baptist Church of Mount Washington. Along the early turnpikes the law required mileposts. Some were cut from stone and some cast in iron. They showed the distance to each end of the turnpike. Typical of the stone markers are 14 along the east side of the present highway, at their approximate initial locations beside the old Bardstown-Louisville Turnpike. An Early Turnpike – The Bardstown-Louisville Turnpike Company, chartered by the Kentucky Legislature in 1831, was capitalized at $130,000, increased to $200,000. Shares owned half by individuals, half by state. Turnpike completed July 1, 1838, at cost of $203,598. Length of road 29 miles, width 60 feet cleared with 40 graded. Tolls collected during the year ended Oct. 1841: $9,755.
Woodsdale One-Room Schoolhouse
Built in 1808 and originally located in southeast Bullitt County, the schoolhouse represents 145 years in public education. It was restored and moved in 1985 to its present location adjacent to the Bullitt County Board of Education on KY 44E. For more information about the Woodsdale One-Room Schoolhouse or to schedule a visit, contact Bullitt County Public Schools at 502-869-8000.
For more information regarding Points of Interest, contact the Bullitt County History Museum, 300 S. Buckman St., Shepherdsville, KY 40165. 502-921-0161.