In 1861, General Simon Bolivar Buckner occupied Vinegar Hill, present site of WKU. On October 28, General Albert Sydney Johnston moved Confederate headquarters to Bowling Green. Johnston evacuated Bowling Green and moved to Nashville on February 14, 1862 and General Ornsby Mitchell of the Union occupied Bowling Green on February 15th.
In the fall of 1930 a bronze plaque measuring 44" x 40" was erected near the fort at the rear of Gordon Wilson Hall. The inscription was written by Dr. Arndt Stickles, head of the History Department at the request of President Henry Cherry.
Fort Albert Sidney Johnston
General Simon Bolivar Buckner occupied Bowling Green September 18, 1861.
General Albert Sidney Johnston, commander Confederate Army of the West, moved headquarters to Bowling Green October 28, 1861. He began the erection of this fort.
General Johnston evacuated Bowling Green February 14, 1862 and started for Nashville. This ended Confederate control here.
General Ormsby M. Mitchell of the Union Army occupied Bowling Green February 15, 1862.
Colonel Benjamin Harrison, later president, was one among the union officers in command here.
Union forces held the fort to the end of the war.
When plans in 1928 were underway for a new library building, which would necessitate removal of some portions of the old fortifications, Dr. Stickles was instrumental in encouraging the preservation of at least the westerly part of the old fort wall and the placing of the historical marker. According to Dr. Stickles' account, he and President Cherry named the fort for General Johnston.
The old fort area remained in an undeveloped state until 1969, when President Kelly Thompson had the area beautified in keeping with the Master Plan. Johnson, Johnson & Roy were the landscape architects involved in the beautification project, and President Thompson's instructions to the landscape architects included directives to preserve the westerly part of the old fort wall and trench and the proper mounting of the historical marker.
Stickles, Arndt. The Ruins of a Confederate Fort on the Campus of Western Kentucky State College, 1964.
Civil War, Western Kentucky University