Green Hill Cemetery

The Green Hill Cemetery, established in 1865, provides the citizens of Frankfort with a unique link to our community's African American Civil War heritage.

Visiting the Cemetery

The cemetery is open from dawn to dusk. For more information, contact the Capital City Museum at 502-696-0607 or email the museum.

United States Colored Troops (USCT) Memorial

One of the cemetery's most prominent features is a simple but impressive ten-foot tall limestone pillar bearing the names of 142 veterans of Kentucky's USCT from Frankfort and the surrounding counties of central Kentucky.

The monument was dedicated on July 4, 1924 by the Women's Relief Corps, an affiliate of the local African American Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union Army veteran's organization.

History of the Kentucky USCT

Officially, 23,703 African Americans in Kentucky responded to the call to arms by President Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to join the ranks of the newly organized USCT.

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Units were organized with men from across the Commonwealth, mustering into the Union Army at sites from Maysville to Paducah. Camp Nelson, located in Jessamine County, was the second largest recruiting and training facility for African Americans in the country.

Assignments & Skirmishes Within the Commonwealth

Kentucky's USCT were initially assigned to guard and garrison duty around the Commonwealth at places like:

  • Camp Nelson
  • Camp Wildcat
  • Crab Orchard
  • Danville
  • Louisa
  • Louisville
  • Smithland

As Confederate guerrilla activity increased in the state, they became involved in skirmishes at:

  • Ghent
  • Haddix's Ferry
  • Harrodsburg
  • Lexington
  • Owensboro

Action Outside the Commonwealth

Not all of Kentucky's USCT units were confined to the boundaries of the Commonwealth. Units saw action at:

  • Along the Northwestern Railroad
  • Bennett's House, North Carolina
  • Bermuda, Virginia
  • Cox's Bridge, North Carolina
  • Duvall's Bluff, Arkansas
  • Federal Point, North Carolina
  • Fort Donelson, Tennessee
  • Fort Fisher, North Carolina
  • Goldsboro, North Carolina
  • Johnsonville, Tennessee
  • Kinston, North Carolina
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Saltville, Virginia
  • Sugar Loaf Hill, North Carolina
  • Union City, Tennessee

After the War

Following the war, some of Kentucky's USCT regiments did not immediately return home. Instead, they were sent to Texas as part of an American build-up intended to discourage French operations in Mexico. Several of Kentucky's USCT regiments operated along the Rio Grande River until September 1866.

With the end of the war, martial law was still in effect within the Commonwealth. USCT units saw duty across Kentucky until December 20, 1867, when the 125th United States Colored Infantry was mustered out of service, thus becoming the last United States Colored Troops regiment to be discharged.