On Friday, Mill Springs Battlefield was filled with a crowd who had gathered to protect the park’s historical landmarks. By Saturday, the park was a bit more calm. Around 2 p.m. historian Don Elmore sat on a bench at the park, greeting visitors as they turned up and expressing relief that everything at the park was untouched.
“I’m glad that it went peaceful yesterday,” Elmore said. “Glad our fears didn’t turn out.”
Elmore and many others – some openly armed – patrolled the Civil War-era battlefield for several hours on fears that protesters may turn out and attempt to vandalize or destroy monuments.
Rumors circulated this week that activists connected to Antifa would be targeting the battlefield, also known as Zollicoffer Park.
Elmore himself said he had spent five hours at the park Friday. He had just arrived at the park Saturday afternoon, saying that he only planned to spend a little time there, and that there were no plans to have a group gathered there any longer, just a few people driving in and out over the next week or so to keep an eye on things.
“Our fear is, after the big showing yesterday, they will come in when we’re not here with spray cans and sledgehammers,” Elmore said.
According to local law enforcement, the rumors of Antifa groups targeting Zollicoffer Park were unfounded.
Both the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and Somerset Police Department said Friday that there were no credible threats to the park, and Kentucky State Police Post 11 Commander Todd Dalton – who was on the scene Friday – said they had no credible intel that any protesters were planning to show.
On Saturday, PCSO Major Jeff Hancock said that overnight hours at Zollicoffer Park – and throughout Pulaski – were quiet, with the office only handling the normal amount of calls.
He said that the crowd the park had left early Friday night.
Dalton said KSP Troopers who worked the Juneteenth event downtown on Friday evening patrolled the Nancy area afterward.
"Things were quiet," Dalton said.
Elmore said the point of keeping an eye on the park was to preserve the history of it. He talked about how, after the war, soldiers from both Union and Confederate camps joined together to place monuments and honor those who had fought in the war.
He said he was saddened that Confederate monuments were now being seen as targets of hate.
Acknowledging the marker where soldiers who died during the Battle of Mill Springs are said to be buried, Elmore said, “These soldiers don’t deserve this controversy.”