In Butler County, A New Marker Tells Story of Union Army Officer

Jun 12, 2013

A historical marker that tells about a Union Army officer who led a mass prison escape will be dedicated Saturday in Morgantown, where he was murdered in 1895.

The marker tells the story of Maj. Andrew Graff Hamilton of Pennsylvania. The Kentucky Historical Society says Hamilton joined Company A of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry in 1862 and was captured at Jonesboro, Tenn., a year later and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Va.

Hamilton and Col. Thomas Rose led the escape of 109 Union officers in 1864, but Rose and 47 others were recaptured.

Hamilton is buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery in Reedyville.

The dedication will be Saturday morning at the Butler County Courthouse.

UK Researcher in Hardin County Searching for Union Graves

A researcher from the University of Kentucky is aiming to find the graves of Civil War soldiers buried in central Kentucky without disturbing any hallowed ground.

The News-Enterprise reports UK archaeologist and anthropologist Philip Mink is moving a $40,000 radar device over the ground at Fort Duffield in Hardin County in an effort to find out exactly where dozens of Union soldiers were buried. He began the study on Monday.

"It's not very exciting to watch," he said. "It's like mowing the grass."

Records show that 61 Union soldiers died and were buried in the area. The remains of some soldiers apparently have been moved over the years, but there's no documentation on the remains of 36 soldiers.

Hardin Circuit Judge Kelly Mark Easton, a member of Friends of Fort Duffield, helped arrange the study.

"We believe that no soldier's grave should be unknown or unmarked if possible, but we do not want to disturb the resting place of any soldier," he said.

Connie Morris, secretary of the Fort Duffield Heritage Committee, said Fort Duffield volunteers have wanted to conduct such a study for years. She said knowing whether the remains are still buried at Fort Duffield would be a service to the country and allows them to learn more about the site. She says it also would help people trace their ancestry.

"People want to know where their relatives are buried and that they were laid to rest properly with a certain respect and dignity," Morris said.

Mink expected to continue running his radar machine over the ground Tuesday. He says radio waves will measure disruptions in the soil that could be human remains.

He'll use the data he gathers to determine whether it is likely that soldiers are still buried there, as well as any changes that have taken place at the site over the years.

If the site is confirmed to still have remains, Fort Duffield volunteers want to put up a marker so that the area isn't disturbed by visitors.