Friday, September 15, 2017

Invading Kentucky: Boone, Bourbon and Brown Hotel

Bourbon Cart
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Frankfort, KY
In the Kentucky chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil (www.americainvaded.comwe noted...

Louisville, KY
"Kentucky is perhaps better known for horse racing and bourbon, but it has seen its share of invasions and fighting over the years.

The first humans in Kentucky arrived many thousands of years ago.

The Mississippian culture built mounds at numerous Kentucky locations, including Wickliffe Mounds.

Kentucky’s rugged Appalachian Mountains and the absence of a coastline made it more difficult for Europeans to reach initially.  The Shawnee and Cherokee were significant tribal units in the area, which was known to them as Kantucqui.

Robert de La Salle, the French explorer, seems to have been the  first European to visit Kentucky. His expeditions in 1669 and 1670 passed through Kentucky territory, claiming the area on behalf of Louis XIV.  The Joliet-Marquette expedition seems to have voyaged through Kentucky in 1673.
Other explorers would follow. For instance, in 1693, the governor of New York sent Arnout Viele, a Dutchman, to explore the Kentucky frontier and engage with the Indian tribes...

Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone, a founding hero of Kentucky, was born in 1734 in Pennsylvania. Boone  first explored Kentucky in 1769, and he founded Boonesborough in 1775.  The frontiersman was captured by Shawnee, but managed to escape. Boone served in the Kentucky militia during the American Revolution, leading the Patriot forces at the Siege of Boonesborough in September of 1778. Squire Boone Jr., Daniel’s brother, was wounded in the shoulder during the siege.  The British-supported Shawnees assaulted Boonesborough on September 17, but were repelled after suffering heavy losses (thirty-seven were killed during the siege). Boone would later move to Missouri, where he died in 1820.

British Captain Henry Bird led an invading force into Kentucky that was composed of about a thousand Native American warriors and around 150 English regulars and Loyalist militia, in June of 1780. Bird’s force captured around three hundred American settlers at engagements such as Ruddle’s station before withdrawing back over the Ohio River...

Even after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781, resistance to the Patriot cause continued in Kentucky. On August 19, 1782, the Shawnees managed to ambush a Patriot force at the Battle of Blue Licks. Daniel Boone had tried to sound a warning, but was disregarded. Seventy-two Kentucky militiamen were killed in one of the final British victories in the American Revolution.

Kentucky became the fifteenth state to join the Union in 1792...

Alamo Memorial
San Antonio, TX
In 1836, many sharpshooting Kentuckians would fight and die at the Alamo in the Texas Revolution. James L. Allen of Kentucky fought at the Alamo, but lived. He was the last courier to flee the Alamo on March 5, 1836—one day prior to Santa Anna’s final assault.

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky
In 1808, Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederate States, was born in Fairview, Kentucky. In 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
Bloody Monday occurred in 1855, as supporters of the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party attacked immigrant neighborhoods.

Kentucky was a border state in the US Civil War, with many sympathizers for both the North and South. Initially, Kentucky declared its neutrality in the coming war. Though it was a slave state, it did not secede from the Union. Ultimately, though, Kentuckians fought on both sides.  The First Kentucky, or Orphan, Brigade fought on the Confederate side at the Battle of Shiloh and elsewhere.  The Union’s 10th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, on the other hand, skirmished near Florence, Kentucky, and helped defend Cincinnati from rebel raiders.

Ulysses S. Grant
Confederate Major General Leonidas Polk violated Kentucky’s neutrality by ordering the occupation of Columbus in September 1861. Ulysses S. Grant responded by launching a Union invasion of Kentucky, seizing Paducah in one of his first actions of the war. In his memoirs he wrote, “I never after saw such consternation depicted on the faces of the people. Men, women and children came out of their doors looking pale and frightened at the presence of the invader.  They were expecting rebel troops that day.”

The  first major Union victory of the war was fought and won in Kentucky at the Battle of Mill Springs on January 19, 1862.

In the summer of 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg launched a full-scale invasion of Kentucky. Don Carlos Buell, a cautious Ohioan, led the Army of Ohio against Bragg’s Army of Mississippi.  They met for the decisive battle of the Kentucky campaign on October 8, 1862, at Perryville in Boyle County. Bragg inflicted more casualties (about 4,200 versus around 3,400), but he withdrew from the  eld and the state. Buell, slow to pursue, would be relieved of his command after scoring his victory.  e Union controlled Kentucky for the war’s duration, but further clashes would follow. Morgan’s thousand-mile raid passed through Kentucky on its way from Tennessee to Ohio in the summer of 1863. In September 1863, the Battle of Cumberland Gap was a bloodless victory for Union forces. And a number of other Confederate raids targeted Kentucky in 1864.

Goldfinger plots an "Invasion" of Fort Knox

Fortifications were constructed near the present site of Fort Knox beginning in 1861, during the Civil War. Fort Knox continues to be an active duty Army base and the United States Bullion Depository, storing much of America’s gold reserve. Auric Goldfinger and Pussy Galore would attempt to launch a fictional invasion of Fort Knox in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.

In 1917, Camp Taylor was opened as a training facility in Kentucky during World War I. Over 80,000 Kentuckians would serve in the military during the Great War.
US Army Jeep
Patton Museum, Fort Knox, KY
Admiral Husband Kimmel of Kentucky was commander in chief of the US Navy in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Over 300,000 Kentuckians served in the Second World War, and more than 100,000 jeeps were built at the Ford plant in Louisville.

Axis forces did not, of course, invade Kentucky during World War II, but thousands of Axis prisoners were held as POWs in the state at Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, and other locations. In February of 1945, a German paratrooper escaped from Fort Knox and made it all the way to Nashville via bus before turning himself in to authorities.

Currahee Military Museum
Tocoa, GA
Fort Campbell, built in 1941, is the home of the 101st Airborne Division, known as the Screaming Eagles."

Source: America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil, Kelly / Laycock, 2017
Hot Brown Invaded!
Travel Notes: On my recent "Invasion" of Kentucky we visited the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort ( and the Patton Museum in Fort Knox (  We had a delightful dinner at Vincenzo's in Louisville ( and stayed at the incomparable Brown Hotel where the "Hot Brown" was invented (

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