The command that would become Morgans cavalry was organized in Bowling Green. Morgan left Lexington on September 20, 1861 with two wagons full of arms he had taken from the armory at that place. Eight days later Morgan got the weapons to Bowling Green. It was here that he began his service in the Confederate army.
Morgan and the men of the "Lexington Rifles," were organized into an independent company. Morgan was elected captain and Basil Duke first lieutenant. Morgans company was ordered to Camp Burnham, one mile south of Bowling Green. It was here that two other companies were added and "Morgans Squadron" was formed. "The camp at Bowling Green was a mad drunken hole, full of wild outfits . . . impatient of drill or control."
After a skirmish with Union infantry, in which Morgans Company had been brushed aside by the better trained foot soldiers, Morgan and Duke decided that training was necessary if they were to become effective soldiers. At Camp Burnham that training began. For several weeks Morgans small command trained here before moving to a second Camp five miles south. At Camp Allen, near Woodburn, the men drilled in both cavalry and infantry tactics.
It is not known for certain if Morgans men camped here. The documents regarding Morgans time in Bowling Green are as varied as the authors who wrote them. Most of the contemporary accounts list only the names of camps and a general direction, so many miles "south of Bowling Green." Lost River Cave or Cave Mill, as it was called during the Civil War, was used by both sides. The location along the L&N Turnpike and the abundance of water made this place the prefect camping ground.
Local tradition holds that Morgans men hid in the cave following a raid on South Union. In February 1863, a small detachment of Morgans men under the command of Capt. Thomas Hinds, 9th Kentucky Cavalry, burned several freight cars and the depot at South Union. Hinds' men escaped Federal pursuers and may have hidden in the cave at that time.
3b - A Family Divided
Atwood Gaines Hobson and his wife, Julia VanMeter Hobson, began building this house in 1857. It was unfinished when the Civil War began in 1861 and the Hobson and the VanMeter families found themselves supporting opposing sides in the conflict.
The Hobson family staunchly upheld the Union cause. Atwood and his brother, Edward Henry, were officers in the Union Army, as were Atwood and Julias sons, William and Jonathan. Julia VanMeter Hobson and her family, however, were sympathetic to the Southern cause. Both of Julias brothers, William and Charles, are said to have assisted the Confederates in destroying the bridges and the L&N trestle over the Big Barren River in early February 1862. The VanMeter brothers and their families left Bowling Green with the retreat of the Confederate Army in mid-February 1862.
Riverview The Confederate army occupied Bowling Green in mid-September 1861. The commander of the Confederate forces was General Simon Bolivar Buckner who, before the war, had been a good friend of Edward Henry Hobson. Prevailing upon that friendship, Atwood Hobson asked Buckner not to disturb the construction of his home.
Buckner agreed not to destroy the unfinished house but Confederate troops did confiscate the property. The partially finished basement level of the house was covered with planks and used to store ammunition for the fortifications surrounding Bowling Green. Confederate troops also constructed an earthwork mounting four cannons on the hill near the house.
After Confederate troops abandoned Bowling Green, Union troops made use of the earthwork. The Hobson family reclaimed their property after the war and the house, named Riverview, was completed in 1872.
3c - Fort C. F. Smith
Construction of this strong defensive work began in1862 during the Confederate occupation of Bowling Green. After the Confederates abandoned the city the Union Army completed the fortification, named Fort C. F. Smith in honor of General Charles Ferguson Smith.
Of the extensive fortifications that once occupied this hilltop, only these outer earthworks remain. The long, linear wall is the breastwork, which protected infantrymen from enemy fire. The semi-circular lunette sheltered artillery pieces. Union Colonel Benjamin Harrison supervised construction of these earthworks.
Fort C. F. Smith was described as a bastion fort; forts designed to withstand attack from any direction. Owing to the time and labor required in their construction, bastion forts were usually built only at sites of great importance; sites which demanded the presence of troops. Fort C. F. Smith was heavily armed. The fort mounted four 20-pounder Parrotts; two 3.8 inch James rifles; four 4-inch rifled guns; thirteen 12-pounder light and two 6-pounder smooth bores.
3d - The Confederate Monument
This monument created due to the efforts of George B. Payne. In 1875 Payne lived in Topeka, Kansas. During the Civil War Payne was a private in the 4th Kentucky Infantry. He served as a courier for Gen. John C. Breckinridge and spent time during the war in Bowling Green.
Payne sought a fitting monument to honor those Confederate soldiers buried in Bowling Green. At his insistence the Warren County Monumental Association was formed. Thomas H. Hines, 9th Kentucky Cavalry of John Hunt Morgans command served as the president of the Association. A subscription drive was begun in 1875 and the monument was dedicated on May 3, 1876.
At the dedication ceremony over 10,000 people gathered to hear the speeches. The oration was delivered by W. C. P. Breckinridge, former colonel of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry and an important figure in Confederate veterans associations in Kentucky.
The monument cost $1,500.00. It was designed and created locally using white limestone. There are more 70 soldiers buried around the obelisk. Their bodies are buried in unique concentric circles around this impressive limestone shaft.
WMTH CORPORATION PO BOX 51153 BOWLING GREEN, KY 42102 PHONE (270) 792-5300 FAX 721-0004