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Dumont Hill of Scottsville

Did you know that the area in Scottsville traditionally referred to as Dumont Hill is significant as the location of the November 1862 encampment of Union General Ebenezer Dumont’s division during the Civil War?

Read the short condensed history below written by Friends of Dumont Hill member, Marietta Napier, to learn about the historical significance of this location and about current initiatives to preserve this area in Scottsville.

What is Dumont Hill?

Condensed history taken from the Dumont Hill Interpretive Plan

By Marietta Napier

The area traditionally known as Dumont Hill, is significant as the location of the November 1862 encampment of General Ebenezer Dumont’s division. Dumont Hill is located approximately one- half mile northwest of Scottsville’s public square. Dumont Hill is named for Union General Ebenezer Dumont, commander of the 12th division of the Army of the Cumberland. Most of Dumont’s division, approximately 5,000 men, spent three weeks on the site which has since been known as Dumont Hill. Scottsville at this time only had a population of about 400 people in 1860.

            In November 1862, Scottsville was a small county seat town with a population of 403 in 1860 and might well have been smaller in November 1862, with many men gone off to war. This town saw its population swell over ten times when the Union army arrived that wet November 1862.this “invasion" must have been, literally, the biggest thing to ever come down the pike.

            The lifeline of Dumont’s division was the Bowling Green Road. To insure a steady flow of supplies 100 men were detailed to repair the road. No doubt over the next few weeks the road was heavily traveled as men, horses and material were brought from Bowling Green to Scottsville.

            It was a two-day march from Bowling Green to Scottsville. Many of the regiments that traveled on what is now County Road 3241 camped at Allen Springs. Some of the men who wrote of the march to Scottsville described the roads and the scenery. Sergeant Major Stephen F. Flaherty of the 102nd Illinois, an eloquent writer, described the route as “ an apparently unfrequented road, winding over hills and through valleys , - the hills in some places so steep that the wagon trains moved with great difficulty.” Most of the soldiers arrived in Scottsville on November 12th, 1862. The second day of the march turned rainy and the dusty dirt roads between Bowling Green and Scottsville turned to mud. The soldiers and their long wagon train trudged down the old roads and found their camping sites.

         Some of the men probably found open meadows; others cleared trees from the tops of hills to make camp. The quartermaster issued tents and the men built a tent city surrounding Scottsville. It must have been an amazing site. The soldiers slept in every type of canvas shelter known to the Union army. The soldiers at Scottsville settled into the routine of camp life. Lieutenant Thomas Smith, who had a wall tent described his arrival in Scottsville, “ Got to camp just before dark, pitched tents, got supper, built a big fire of logs just around our tent door. Spread two gum blankets on the ground ( which was rough and sloping ) and a woolen one on top with two more over us. I slept finely until half past 4 when I got too cold. So I got up and made a rousing fire which soon warmed things.

           Life in the army was one of routine and it was no different in Scottsville. A single cannon shot awakened the soldiers each morning at 5 o’clock. The men then formed lines and the roll was called. The standing orders required the men to remain in line until the sun came up. From daylight until about 7 o’clock the men ate breakfast, which they generally cooked themselves. While breakfast was being prepared an orderly took the names of men who were sick and passed them on to the doctors. Company drill began at 10 o’clock and continued until noon, when the men ate dinner. At 2 o’clock battalion drill began, followed at 5 o’clock by dress parade. Supper was eaten at 6 o’clock and roll was taken again at half past seven. The day ended at 9:30 with taps and lights out. It was a full day, but few would call it fulfilling.

           From the woods near camp the men gathered chestnuts and persimmons. “Since we came here we have been feasting on chestnuts and persimmons. I have my pockets full of chestnuts…and we had so many persimmons that we are almost stalled on them.” The people of Scottsville and the surrounding country side brought chickens, pies, apples, cornbread, cornmeal, dried apples, dried peaches and other foodstuffs to camp to sell or barter. Unfortunately for the people of Scottsville, the soldiers have not been paid in quite a while so they improvised when it came to buying food. ( Example: one farmer gave him apples, found and shelled two bushels of corn, borrowed a horse, found some mutton,)

            Lieutenant Smith wrote home describing his life in Scottsville. All in all, he said, he couldn’t complain and seemed almost embarrassed by his good fortune. He told his wife that he had fresh butter, dried peaches, which “ are royal stewed.” He had a quart of sorghum, sassafras tea, peach pies, and apples to fry, wheat bread and flour for gravy. He even had fresh pork that one of the men had given him. “ We have come nearer living like we used to at home today than ever before.”

           At Scottsville, several officers took it upon themselves to enhance the training of the enlisted men and officers in the school of the soldier. Major Henry M. Carr organized a school of instruction, taught tactics, and included a short course in the skirmish drill. The Majors soldiers claimed to be the best drilled regiment in the division. The artillery, at least the 18th Indiana Battery, got in both training and target practice. As a part of their training, they fought a mock battle with the 70th Indiana Infantry, firing 125 rounds of blank ammunition in the process.

            During the weeks in Scottsville, sickness took its toll on the soldiers. The regimental surgeon fought illness and disease. It was a fight they often lost; thousands of men died of diseases, like measles, mumps, chicken pox, and typhoid during the civil war, many more than in battle. When the regiments arrived in Scottsville many men were run down and ill. At least one soldier died in camp at Scottsville. His grave is in the old city cemetery. The time spent in Scottsville was not sufficient to allow all of the sick to heal.  Dumont’s inspector/ general was forced to impress a number of wagons to take the ill to Tennessee. Men too sick to walk rode in the wagons, which were at the end of the long blue column. The Union army pulled out of Scottsville on November 25, 1862.

          The soldiers in Scottsville mentioned religion in some of their letters. At least three chaplains were mentioned. Each regiment had a chaplain who was responsible for the spiritual welfare and moral of the regiment. Generally, each brigade or regiment held their own services outside. The first Sunday, it was raining to much to hold services.  The second Sunday, November 23, was a beautiful day and at least two services were held. The chaplain of the 102nd Illinois held services in front of Captain Eli Lilly’s tent. Two days after this divine service the Union army marched from Scottsville.

             Scottsville would never again be visited by so many troops. The remainder of the war would find only small scale action in Scottsville. In 1863, the 52nd Kentucky mounted Infantry was organized in Scottsville.

             Efforts to preserve Dumont Hill historic site began in the mid- 1990’s. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic places in 2004. In 2005, the city of Scottsville purchased almost 68 acres that included approximately 20 acres of twenty- eight and a half acres listed in the National Register of Historic places. The purchase was made possible through the Dugas family respectively, of the $200,000 purchased price.

          The friends of Dumont Hill want to move beyond preserving Dumont Hill to create an outstanding educational resource and a regional, even national, tourism destination.

             A sketch map drawn at Scottsville by Lieutenant Thomas E. Smith, Co. H 70th Ohio Infantry, shows the encampment wards brigade. The map shows the 102nd and 105th Illinois 70th Indiana, 79th Ohio and 17th Indiana Battery. This sketch shows two other encampments but the troops in those camps are not listed. However, letters, diaries and regimental histories clearly show that the 72nd and 75th Indiana were in Scottsville.


Dumont Hill Questions
Questions Anyone???
Posted 11/21/2013 at 3:03:53 PM by Ashley Spears [staff member]

Do you have questions regarding the history of Dumont Hill or about current events taking place there? Feel free to post your questions here and we’ll try to find answers for you! ~ACIC STLP

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570 Oliver Street, Scottsville, KY
Phone: (270) 618-3181
Fax: (270) 618-3185
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