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‘Simpsonville Slaughter’ memorial ceremony set for Sunday

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Historical marker to go on site

By Scotty McDaniel

A ceremony will be held Sunday to remember the "Simpsonville Slaughter" of 1865, when a group from the Colored Calvary were brutally slain near the spot just west of Simpsonville, where the Whitney M. Young Job Corps Center now stands.

Beginning at 2 p.m., the ceremony will take place in the gymnasium at the  Young Center that will commemorate a highway historical marker that will be placed at the intersection of Webb Road and U.S. 60. Weather predictions have prevented the marker from being placed on Sunday.

This marker will memorialize the young men of the 5th United States Colored Calvary who, under command of 2nd Lieutenant Augustus Flint, were driving government cattle to slaughterhouses in Louisville when they were viciously attacked near Simpsonville by a group of Confederate guerillas on the cold and snowy morning of January 25, 1865.

It's said that half of the 80 to 85 troops, mostly former slaves, were in front of the cattle and the rest were behind the herd. The attack came on the rear guard, claiming around 22 troops at the site, with at least four dying later of their wounds later.

On Sunday, the young men who lost their lives on that day will be remembered.

"It's to memorialize the sacrifice of men whose work was forgotten for 144 years," said J.T. Miller, Volunteer Project Manager with the Shelby County Historical Society. "They fought and died for their country and were forgotten after war. They were not put in a national cemetery like most soldiers, and it's time that that wrong was righted."

Miller has lived near Simpsonville for years and has driven through the area hundreds of times, but he said he never knew the brutal story until recently and was amazed that something like this had happened and so few people knew about it.

That's why the event Sunday, open to the public, will provide a multi-faceted history lesson for those who come.

"There will be period music, people re-enacting people who served in the military during the Civil War. There is a Frederick Douglas re-enactor. There'll be very good history on the event, and some significant people speaking to really put the event into perspective," he said.

W. Stephen McBride, Director of Interpretation and Archaeology at the Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park, will be the keynote speaker.

For more information, call 502-802-3094 or 502-244-1873.