May 23, 1864, nearly 250 black men, most of them slaves, left Boyle Co. to march to Camp Nelson in Jessamine Co. to enlist in the Union army. On the way, some Danville citizens threw stones and shot pistols at the recruits. When they reached camp, Union Col. Andrew Clark initially refused to accept them because no policy allowed for the recruitment of slaves.
Although a few local slave owners tried to reclaim some of the men, the recruits were accepted into the army, causing a Union policy change that allowed able-bodied African American men, including slaves, to enlist. Over 5,000 U.S. Colored Troops were eventually recruited at Camp Nelson, with some of the first coming From Boyle County.