Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers and only 25 miles from Land Between The Lakes, Paducah has more historic markers than any other Kentucky city. It was founded in 1827 by William Clark who partnered with Merriwether Lewis on an earlier expedition to the northwest.
The Civil War Battle of Paducah resulted in a brief occupation of the city in 1864 by Confederate troops. Paducah Wall-to-Wall depicts the city's colorful history in spectacular murals painted on the flood wall at First and Broadway. Left: "Wall to Wall" Floodwall Mural by Robert Dafford. Historic downtown walking tour and driving tour brochures are available at the Visitor's Bureau located at 128 Broadway, M-F 9-5, 800-PADUCAH.
In response to the Confederate Occupation of Columbus of September 6, 1861, General U. S. Grant moved his army from Cairo, Illinois, and occupied Paducah. From Paducah's strategic location on the Ohio River, the Union army was eventually able to strike the Confederate forts on the inland waterways. To secure the town, Union forces constructed Fort Anderson near the river.
In March of 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's 1800 Cavalrymen, on a raid from Tennessee, attacked the fort and its 665 defenders. The confederate attack was led by a native of Paducah, Colonel A.P. Thompson, who was killed for his effort between Fifth and Sixth Streets. The smaller Federal garrison was able to successfully defend the fort against the larger rebel force, and the Confederates withdrew the next day.
Perhaps Paducah's most famous Civil War son is Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman. Commander of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River early in the war, he was killed on May 16th, 1863, at the Battle of Champion's Hill near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Pictured right is the Tilghman Home, which now houses a military museum.
Today there is a monument to Tilghman in Lang Park. His home is being renovated to house the Regional Civil War Museum. After viewing the impressive Confederate memorial at Oak Grove Cemetery, stop by to see the collection of Lincoln memorabilia at the Alben Barkley Museum. There are numerous historical markers scattered throughout town relating Paducah's significance in the war's western theater.
Civil War displays can be found at the:
Wm. Clark Market House Museum, 121 South 2nd Street, Market House Square, Paducah, KY. Noon-4pm Monday - Saturday. Closed January, February, Sundays and major holidays. $2 ages 12+, $1 ages 6-11. (270) 443-7759. Visit the Civil War room and see the furniture used by U.S. Grant, a quilt made by Mrs. Robert E. Lee and an 1858 flag once hidden in a bed to protect it from capture. Hear the stirring strains of Civil War melodies played on an antique pump organ.
CIVIL WAR HISTORICAL "MOMENTS" IN PADUCAH:
Colonel Ed Murray's Home (State Marker 1037, 6th and Ohio Sts., Paducah)
Here stood the headquarters of Col. Hicks, Commander of US troops occupying the city during the Battle of Paducah, March 25, 1864
Confederate Flag of Welcome (State Marker 1175, 310 Broadway, Paducah)
A large Confederate flag was flown at this spot to welcome the Southern army that was thought to be on its way. As General Grant and troops, backed by gunboats, moved into Paducah on September 6, it was feared the flag would be seized.
Forrest's Bivouac (State marker 1277, 6 mi. S. of Paducah, KY 310 at Jct. of Bogard Rd. McCracken Co.)
Forrest's Raid (State marker 517, Beltline near 21st & Old mayfield Rd. Paducah)
Fort Anderson (State marker 828, Park, end of 4th St., Paducah)
Site of the Union fortification built in 1861, by General Charles F. Smith. Jump-off point for Grant's Mississippi Valley Campaign.
Mural depicting Fort Anderson (Riverfront, near 1st & Broadway on the Flood Wall), "Wall to Wall" Floodwall Mural by Robert Dafford.
General Lloyd Tilghman (State Marker 866, Tilghman High School, Paducah)
General Lloyd Tilghman, rail builder, left Paducah in 1861 and formed the 3rd KY
General Lloyd Tilghman (State Marker 1043, Lang Park, Fountain Ave., Paducah)
General Ulysses S. Grant (State Marker 575, Riverfront, Broadway & KY Ave. Paducah)
Grant's Proclamation (State Marker 924, Broadway at Riverfront, Paducah)
On September 6, 1861, on this spot, General Grant read a proclamation to the citizens of Paducah announcing that the Union Army was taking possession of the town "to defend you" against a Confederate attack.
Gunsmith Fred Hummel (State Marker 1062, 4th St. near Broadway, Paducah)
Federal soldiers occupying Paducah brought their firearms to Hummel's Gun Shop
Tilghman Home (State Marker 939, 7th St. & Kentucky Ave., Paducah)
This site now houses a military museum
Grace Episcopal Church (State Marker 1090, 820 Broadway, Paducah)
The church was confiscated by the Federals during the Civil War and used as a hospital
Colonel Albert P. Thompson, Paducah's CSA Hero (State Marker 563, 514 Park Ave., Paducah)
At this site, Paducah's Col. Thompson fell during the Battle of Paducah, on March 25, 1864, a victim of a Union cannonball.