Throwback Thursday – Bowling Green’s Civil War trench at Roland Bland Park

Throwback Thursday has told many stories of Bowling Green’s role in the American Civil War. While we’ve mentioned the city was under both Confederate and Union control over the wartime years, this week we look closer at one of the defense strategies near downtown Bowling Green.

This particular historic marker is in Roland Bland Park, just off East 4th Ave. Going back over 150 years, think of this land area. It was just outside downtown, between the newly-laid Louisville & Nashville railroad lines and the train depot. 

Confederate troops occupied the city from September 1861 to February 1862. There were six forts built throughout the city to protect from a Union attack. This specific marker is on what would have been open ground between Fort C.F. Smith and Fort Webb. 

After Union troops pushed their way into the city, they dug a rifle trench here. The trench started at the railroad lines and wove its way in a zigzag pattern to this area, designed to protect a large number of troops from oncoming advances. Dirt was thrown higher on one side to create a wall soldiers could stand behind and fire artillery at the enemy.

This marker has an enlarged map from the Union Army’s Corps of Engineers, drawn in 1863 midway through the war. The map shows a better idea of where the full trench was located. The marker was erected with the assistance of the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.

A full map of 18 Civil War-related historic spots in Bowling Green can be found on the Bowling Green Visitors Bureau website, This Civil War Discovery Trail shows forts, homes, cemeteries and groundbreaking hot spots that were vital to southern Kentucky’s role in the Civil War.