Camp Boyle was named for Brigadier General Jeremiah T. Boyle, who, in January 1862 was commander of the 11th Brigade of the Department of the Ohio. Sometimes called Camp Jerry Boyle, the camp was located on the outskirts of Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky, across Russell Creek, the road that lead toward Campbellsville, eventually crossing the Green River at Tebb's Bend. Today, the bulk of the camp lies to the right of highway 55 North as one leaves Columbia. It is not now known just how large the camp was, nor how many acres along Russell Creek were encompassed by the ever expanding and contracting camp, but it ran well up the creek, perhaps as much as a mile.
In November 1861 the following were stationed around Columbia: 5th Kentucky Cavalry, 9th Kentucky Infantry, 19th Ohio Infantry, and 59th Ohio Infantry, as well as what was the 3rd Kentucky Infantry, whose designation had been changed in early December 1861—a decision that much incensed Col. Thomas E. Bramlette, Regimental commander.
Colonel Bramlette resided in Columbia at the time, and as such, and by right of seniority, was in command of the area. However, command was transferred to General Boyle when he set up headquarters in Adair County, thus a new official name of the camp, replacing what had been called Camp Gilbert.
The 9th Kentucky Infantry was organized in the fall of 1861, mustered into service 26 November 1861 at Camp Boyle, commanded by Col. Benjamin C. Grider. Many of the men who served in the 9th Kentucky were from Adair and surrounding counties. A short history of this regiment will follow.
The 13th Kentucky Cavalry was organized at Camp Boyle in the fall of 1863 under Colonel James. W. Weatherford, of Casey County, and mustered into service on 23 December 1863 at Columbia. Many of the men who served in the 13th Kentucky Cavalry were from Adair and surrounding counties. A short history of this regiment will follow.
One company of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry was organized at Camp Boyle on 1 January 1862, the other companies having been organized at Camp Dick Robinson under Colonel Bramlette the previous October, mustered into service 8 October 1861.
Camp Boyle was not the only encampment around Columbia. There were soldiers from several states encamped in a semi-circle around the town for much of the period from early 1862 through near the end of the conflict.
A Camp Boyle is mentioned in Cincinnati newspapers in October and November of 1861 as being near Warsaw, Kentucky, south of Cincinnati. Camp Gilbert was occasionally referred to as Camp Reid in 1862.
Adjutant General's Reports for the Civil War, State of Kentucky.
Gorin, Betty J. (2006). Morgan is Coming! Confederate Raiders in the Heartland of Kentucky. Harmony House Publishers, Prospect, KY.
Tapp, Hambleton, and James C. Klotter, eds. (1980). The Union, The Civil War and John W. Tuttle: A Kentucky Captain's Account. The Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, KY.
Watson, Michael C. (2001). An Adair County, Kentucky History, Volume 1. Watson Publications, Columbia, KY.
A Historical Marker for Camp Boyle
There is a revival movement to erect a Kentucky Historical Marker at the site of Camp Boyle, now in the limits of Columbia. Several years ago a project was announced that did not materialize, except for several monetary donations and pledges. The project is now revived and on the move; this time we intend it will be completed.
This historical marker will preserve the history of Camp Boyle, of the Civil War era in South Central Kentucky, will serve as a memorial of all those men who spent time here, and will be a tribute to those who suffered and died for a cause in which they believed.
The historical marker project is a lengthy and expensive one. The Kentucky Historical Society Marker Program requires specific paperwork—which is nearly completed, numerous letters of support—which is underway, and a sizable monetary donation for the physical marker. The original donations collected are ear-marked and banked by the Adair Heritage Association, a non-profit group based in Columbia, which works to preserve the history of the county. Additional contributions may be delivered to the AHA, mailed to AHA, P.O. Box 963, Columbia, KY 42728, or to the Adair County Public Library, 307 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY 42728. All donations are tax deductible, AHA is a 501(c)(3) group.
This project was formulated Chris Bennett and other like-minded historical preservationists, including Alan Reed and Rev. Paul Patton. Rev. Patton and Mike Watson have agreed to script the sign. At this point the Project needs donations for the actual marker, and letters of support to present with the application to Kentucky Historical Society Marker Program.
For additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org; Adair County Public Library, Lee Ann Jessee; any Adair Heritage Association officer; Camp Boyle Project facebook page.