The community of Lebanon features walking and driving tours that highlight its significant place in Civil War history. It became a hub of of activity during the war due to its central location and railroad proximity. Lebanon served as a training ground for troops throught the war.
The Lebanon National Cemetery is located about a half a mile from the junction of KY 208 and US 68. It was established in January, 1863 to bury Union soldiers that were killed in the Battle of Perryville. These soldiers were originally buried along Springfield Pike and were disinterred and reburied in Lebanon. In 1870, the dead were again disinterred so that the graves could be placed in a more orderly fashion. A Cedar of Lebanon, 75 to 80 feet tall, is believed to have been planted in 1862 and now shades visitors to the Lebanon National Cemetery.
A Union Civil War Monument, pictured above, commemorates Captain Andrew Offutt, who took part in Sherman's "March to the Sea." It is located in Ryder Cemetery, which has graves of veterans of both sides, including Dr. W. W. Cleaver, who rode with Gen. Morgan.
At the Lebanon Courthouse, an historical marker inaccurately describes the burning of the courthouse. Actually, only the offices of the Circuit Clerk and County Clerk were burned. Various explanations have been given for why the offices were burned. Two common misconceptions were that the burning was in revenge for the killing of Capt. Tom Morgan, Gen. Morgan's 19-year-old brother, or that Confederate sympathizers wanted to destroy indictments against Marion Countians who favored the Confederacy. The most likely explanation, supported by account printed in the Louisville Journal, is that Confederates locally hated the county clerk and burned the offices as a way of striking at him.
Many homes which were occupied during the war are showcased in the Lebanon walking tour. One of these is Myrtledene, which was built in 1833 and is now a bed and breakfast at 370 N. Spalding. Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan made headquarters here in July, 1862. According to oral history, Morgan spurred his horse through the front door and started up the stairs, leaving hoofprints which were visible until the stairs were sanded and carpeted in the 1950s.
Two driving tours are available in the area as follows:
Trail 1: From Bardstown, Bragg withdrew to Perryville where a battle was fought on October 8, 1862. US 150 from Bardstown to Springfield to Perryville would follow that part of the campaign. Return to Lebanon via US 68.
Trail 2: Follow KY 289 (Old 68) from Campbellsville to Lebanon, where the Battle of Lebanon was fought on July 5, 1863.
For more information on walking and driving tours, call (270) 692-9594.
CIVIL WAR HISTORICAL "MOMENTS" IN LEBANON:
Death of a Morgan (State Marker 543, US 68, Lebanon)
Courthouse Burned (State Marker 585, Courthouse lawn, US 68, Lebanon)
Battle at Lebanon (State Marker 600, at RR station, off US 68, Lebanon)
The town of New Market was twice visited by the renegade William Clarke Quantrill and his gang of guerillas. On February 8, 1863, Quantrill, who had visited New Market two weeks previously, killed four Union scouts and destroyed a wagon train. Four men were captured and taken to Bradfordsville to be killed.