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Northern Kentucky's Unique, Complicated Role In The Civil War

A mural depicting the 'Squirrel Hunters,' local militia from Ohio, marching in defense of Cincinnati.
A mural depicting the 'Squirrel Hunters,' local militia from Ohio, marching in defense of Cincinnati.

To American slaves, Cincinnati meant freedom.

Through the Civil War, Kentucky was a slave-holding state, but during the conflict, remained within the Union.

Though the state had strong sympathies toward its Southern neighbors and ultimately sent many of its native sons to fight alongside them, Kentucky - the birthplace of both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis - never fell to Confederate occupancy.

In 1862, Confederate forces marched toward Cincinnati with an eye on occupying the Union stronghold. Today, what we know as the Northern Kentucky cities of Fort Wright and Fort Mitchell were actual fortifications used to defend the Queen City, as Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport were placed under martial law and the region held off the rebel forces.

Local historians Dave Schroeder, executive director of the Kenton County Public Library, and Paul Tenkotte, professor of history at Northern Kentucky University, join Cincinnati Edition to discuss the region's role during the war, and its place in the aftermath.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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