West Point, Kentucky/ Fort Duffield Timeline, 1861-1865
Researched/ Compiled by Constance D. Morris and Bruce A. Loveall, April 2016
September 9, 1861 - Union troops arrive and build a small fortification at the mouth of Salt River in West Point. 1
October 8, 1861 - Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman supersedes Brig. Gen. Robert Anderson in command of the Department of the Cumberland. 4
Later in October 1861 - After a visit by Secretary of War Simon Cameron to Louisville, very critical press reports appeared about Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (who became increasingly pessimistic about the outlook for his command and complained frequently to Washington.) He was promptly replaced by Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell. 4
October 24, 1861 - 37th Indiana Infantry arrived in West Point and set up Camp Holman on the east side [southwest Jefferson County] of Salt River.1
October 28, 1861 - 9th Michigan Infantry Volunteers arrives in West Point and set up Camp Duffield on the east side of the Salt River [present day Kulmer Reserve in southwest Jefferson County]. It was named in honor of Col. Duffield's father, the Reverend George Duffield and later, the fort on the hill was named, Fort Duffield, in his honor. Still later, the fort was called Fort Blair in honor of the Governor of Michigan.2
November 3, 1861 - Construction began, with most of the work being done, by the Soldiers of the 9th Michigan Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Colonel William Duffield. The fort was completed by January 1, 1862.2
The fort was a 1,000-foot-long earthen wall with angles of fire for 10 guns.2
November 6, 1861 - The 37th Indiana moved across to the west side the Salt River and set up Camp Hazard in the open fields just west of West Point along the banks of the Ohio River.1
Companies' “E” and “G”, of the 9th Michigan, were ordered to occupy the hill [Pearman Hill] west of Salt River, where Capt. Nathaniel Michler had started building the earthen fortification. They were to be supplied with two six-pound cannon with 100 rounds of ammunition.1 Eight more cannon were added soon after.2
The remaining eight companies of the 9th Michigan were ordered to camp on the West Point side of Salt River close to the Bee Branch bridge, just south of West Point on the old Courthouse Road [present day Salt River Dr./ Fort Duffield Road.] 1
November 9, 1861 – Dept. of the Cumberland was reorganized and named the Dept. of the Ohio.4
The 1st and 18th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiments crossed the Salt River on a pontoon bridge and pitched their tents just upstream from Bee Branch. They named their camp Camp Armstrong.1
November 14, 1861 - 1st Wisconsin Infantry regiment was ordered to West Point from Louisville.3
They set up Camp Buell adjacent to Camp Duffield near the Bee Branch Bridge on the old Courthouse Road.1
November 15, 1861 - The 1st and 18th Ohio were in Elizabethtown.3
Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell assuming command of the Department of the Ohio.4
The 37th Indiana leaves West Point for Camp Haycraft in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
December 3, 1861 – Private Moor of the 37th Indiana drove a team back to West Point to pick up food
1st Wisconsin leaves West Point. Tragedy strikes when one of the boys slipped down and his gun went off and shot a private next to him through the head and killed him instantly."
January 4, 1862 - Six companies of the 9th Michigan (“A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “F” & “K”) were ordered to Elizabethtown.
January 17, 1862 - Companies “E” and “G”, of the 9th Michigan, left for Elizabethtown. Companies' “H” and “I” of the 9th Michigan remained at Fort Duffield under Major D. M. Fox.
February 16, 1862 - Gen. William “Bull” Nelson's Division, consisting of the 10th & 19th Brigades leaves from the mouth of Salt River, West Point, Kentucky.7
February 24, 1862 - Major D. M. Fox of the 9th Michigan, received orders to build a bridge across the Salt River. Two days later the bridge was completed, and a government wagon train passed over it.
March 5, 1862 - Battery “G,” 1st Michigan Light Artillery arrived at Fort Duffield and relieved Companies “H” and “I” of the 9th Michigan, who were ordered to Elizabethtown. Battery “F”, 1st Michigan Light Artillery arrived shortly after Battery “G”.
March 9, 1862 - Orders were read at dress parade from Brig. Gen. Buell that a 23rd Brigade had been formed consisting of the 9th Mich., 3rd Minn., and 8th and 23rd Ky. Infantry (U.S.) regiments with Col. William W. Duffield as commander.1
March. 11, 1862 - All ten companies of the 9th Michigan left Elizabethtown to return to West Point for departure with the 23rd Brigade heading for Nashville, Tennessee.1
March. 19, 1862 - The 9th Michigan boarded the Steamboat Jacob Strader. Around midnight they left with the remaining regiments of the 23rd Brigade on 6 boats in all.2
Early April 1862 - Battery “G”, 1st Michigan Light Artillery left Fort Duffield.3
Mid July 1862 - Battery “F”, 1st Michigan Light Artillery left Fort Duffield. They were relieved by Company “C”, 28th Kentucky (U.S.) Infantry Volunteers.6
September 19, 1862 - Company “H”, 16th Kentucky (U.S.) Infantry Volunteers arrived in West Point.6
September 1862 - Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee invaded Kentucky moving up the L&N Turnpike before turning northeast at Munfordville towards Bardstown. There were undoubtedly many reasons why he took the route he did, but the fact remains that Fort Duffield
played its part and did its job.
Late September 1862 – Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio passed through West Point on their way to Louisville. (Don Carlos Buell was promoted to Major-General on March 21, 1862.)
October 18, 1862 - Company “H”, 16th Kentucky (U.S.) left West Point for Munfordville, Kentucky.6
Early to mid-December 1862 - Company “C”, 28th Kentucky (U.S.) Infantry Volunteers were ordered to evacuate the fort. The guns (cannon), small arms and munitions and everything that belonged to the Government was turned over to the proper departments in Louisville, Kentucky.6
1 “Saga of Fort Duffield” book or https://www.amazon.com/saga-Fort-Duffield-Kentuckys-treasure/dp/B0006R960W
2 “Historical Sketches of the Ninth Michigan Infantry…” book
3 National Park Service Civil War Data Base, https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-database.htm
4 War of the Rebellion, A Compilation of the Official Records…, https://archive.org/details/warrebellionaco17offigoog
5 Wikipedia, https://www.wikipedia.org/
6 Compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers ... Kentucky, https://archive.org/details/compiledservicer0199unix/
7 Campaigns in Kentucky and Tennessee including the Battle of Chickamauga, 1862-1864, page 104, (Compilation of Papers of The Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, Vol. VII), http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/81483388
Fort Duffield Heritage Committee
City of West Point, Kentucky