Not-So-Local History

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Dr. Fred and Mrs. Kathleen Klug spent a weekend cleaning up the Civil War battleground at Columbus, Ky., sponsored by the Civil War Trust.

Each spring the Trust holds a Park Clean-Up day at all the Civil War battlefields; this year over 6,000 volunteers participated at 125 sites in 29 states. The Civil War Trust is a non-profit organization that finds and preserves as much of the battlefields that come available. Since their inception, the Trust has preserved over 42,000 acres.

Fort DeRussey was a Confederate fort at Columbus, Ky.,Commanded by General Leonidas Polk. The Confederate goal was to stop the Union from transporting men and material up and down the Mississippi River. They strung a chain across the river to stop the river traffic; each link in the chain weighed 20 pounds. The weight and current caused the trap to fail.

Across the river was Belmont, Mo., and Fort Johnson. General Ulysses S. Grant was in command for his first battle. After taking Fort Johnson, he moved his troops back up the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers to the Tennessee River where he took Forts Donelson and Henry. With that victory, the South was open to invasion, and they abandoned Fort DeRussey.

Dr. Klug has been a member of the Civil War Trust for about 15 years and has participated in Park Clean Up day nearly as long. He has helped at battlefields and Civil War sites in Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, and now Kentucky. The Trust is free to join and can be reached at CivilWarTrust.org. They have recently begun an initiative to find and preserve as much of the battlefields of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Dr. Fred Klug at the Civil War battleground at Columbus, Ky.