Henderson County, Kentucky History


On Friday evening, August 5th, 1864, about seven o'clock, the whole town was thrown into an intense state of excitement by the arrival and disembarkation of 160 Negro soldiers, commanded by white officers. They could have been from the 118th U.S.C.T. Such a sight had never been witnessed before, and not knowing the object of their visit, or apprehending their approach, every citizen was more or less alarmed. These troops took possession of the Court House and everyone entertained apprehension of an early attack from the "rebels". On short notice the archives of both clerks' offices were removed from the building. At ten o'clock the next morning (Saturday, August 6th) all of the drays and wagons of the city were pressed into service to remove the plunder, including picks and shovels, from the Court House, to a high and isolated bluff on the river bank, at the intersection of Water and Fourth Streets. The soldiers were provided with picks and shovels and set to work throwing up earth works and fortifying the bluff against any attack from the rebels. Here they were engaged until the evening when the officer in command received orders from Louisville to evacuate and proceed to Owensboro. Henderson was spared through the influence of Governor Archibald DIXON. He was able to have the troops removed before Colonel SYPERT'S forces could make their nocturnal attack. The steamer "Echo" was made to land and take aboard this command and their picks and shovels. The officers and men of this command were more pleased with the order removing them, than were the citizens, for it was generally believed that an attack, would have, perhaps, resulted in half of the colored troops being slaughtered.

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS