At the eastern end of Galbraith Road sits Camp Dennison. Now an unincorporated village, Camp Dennison began life as one of the most important Army camps in the Civil War. In 1861, as the war broke out, Ohio Governor William Dennison ordered George McClellan, then commander of the Department of Ohio, to locate and build a military recruitment, training, and medical facility as close to the Ohio River as possible. What made the need so urgent was Kentucky’s ambiguous status. It had not seceded the Union, but as a slave state, had a large contingent of Confederate sympathizers.
At the height of the war, the camp supported a population of 50,000 troops. Situated on the Little Miami Railroad, which terminated at Cincinnati’s Public Landing (near Great American Ball Park and US Bank Arena), the camp was far enough from the Ohio River to isolate it from potential attack, but ideally situated to defend the city by railroad on short notice.
A few buildings from the original camp still stand, along with the camp’s cannon.
The camp was not immune from combat, however. A band of raiders under the command of John Morgan crossed the Ohio River in Illinois and began wreaking havoc on southern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Morgan struck at nearby Miamiville, hoping to cripple the Little Miami Railroad. Troops traveled by rail two miles and repelled the Confederates, driving them eastward where they were eventually captured.
At the end of the war, the camp was decommissioned and the land sold off to locals. A small village arose, some of the buildings built from lumber from the dismantled camp. Unincorporated, the village remains today.
The one indication, besides the monument and the cannon, of the town’s military past is a rifle range where, if you bike along the Little Miami Trail, the former railroad, you can hear gun reports from visitors practicing.
More at the My Town Monday blog.