Andrew P. Patrick
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
William A. Penn, editor of the Harrison Heritage News, has spent a good portion of his life studying the Civil War era in Harrison County, Kentucky. He traces his interest back to a 1962 term paper that he wrote for Dr. Thomas D. Clark while attending the University of Kentucky, and Kentucky Rebel Town serves as a distillation of decades of reading and research. In a highly detailed reprinted edition, Penn recounts the troop movements, material conditions, and fighting at two major clashes for Cynthiana, the second of which saw the town virtually destroyed by fire. Penn’s title notwithstanding, the text of the book treats the topic with care and nuance, tracing the complex developments in a county with divided loyalties. This local case study provides a fascinating close look at the Civil War in one corner of the conflicted commonwealth.