From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Civil War Colored Troops, Columbus, KY

During the Civil War, Fort DeRussy in Kentucky, one of four forts in the United States named for General René Edward De Russy, was located within what is now the Columbus-Belmont State Park. The town of Columbus, KY was considered the state's most powerful Confederate stronghold in 1861; the location was crucial to the defense of the Upper Mississippi River.

In 1862, the town was taken over by the Union Army, and Columbus became a refuge for runaway slaves as well as second to Camp Nelson for recruiting and training African American soldiers.

Fort DeRussy was renamed Fort Halleck (named for General Henry Wager Halleck), and by the end of the war the majority of the Union soldiers in that part of the state were African American.

For more see B. Craig, "Monday PMs Feature; Fortress town became haven for runaway slaves," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 11/28/1999; and The Civil War Day by Day.  See the "U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865" and other military service records in Ancestry for names and additonal information.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Hickman County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Columbus, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Associated Press State & Local Wire
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Civil War Colored Troops, Columbus, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 18, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-06-18 15:19:20