The Best Offense

A buried Civil War battery in a Kentucky suburb tells of valiant men standing at the ready... and waiting... and waiting....

"The enemy came, looked at [Battery Hooper and other defenses] and stole away in the night," said General Wallace. (
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Although volunteers eventually found more than 1,400 artifacts from several different eras, the most significant was probably a limestone foundation wall and an adjacent circular ring of bricks unearthed in the middle of the lawn. "We found the foundation of the powder magazine," Kreinbrink said, "and the round thing is definitely a dry well."

The well-engineered stonework distinguishes Hooper from most of the other batteries, which were made of wood and earth. "Given its robust construction and location on a prominent hilltop with a commanding view of the other positions, we now believe that Battery Hooper was a communication hub," said Kreinbrink. "And that makes this an important discovery."

To today's volunteers, the significance of this suburban hilltop lies most particularly in the fact that the defenses were built by ordinary citizens to protect their city in a crisis. "It's an example of homeland security, of defending your community against terrorism," said Fort Wright city administrator Larry Klein. "They may not have thought of it in those terms 150 years ago, but it's really the same thing."


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