This 30-foot monument was paid for by public subscription and erected by the citizens of Lewis County in 1884 and is unique as one of only a handful of Union monuments in Kentucky beyond those in cemeteries, even though Kentucky remained in the Union during the war. The tall pedestal supporting the figure is divided into eight sections with one section inscribed with part of the first stanza of Theodore O'Hara's "The Bivouac of the Dead." Lines from this famous poem are included on at least seven Civil War monuments in Kentucky.
The Union Monument located in Vanceburg, KY
Backstory and Context
This monument was erected in 1884 by the citizens of Lewis County with funds raised by public subscription. The monument stands thirty feet tall and serves as a reminder that Lewis County was a Union stronghold during the war. The ornate pedestal supporting the statue is divided into eight sections. One segment depicts friezes of cannons, swords, and tents; one being an iconic capital. Another one is a frieze of an oak tree and laurel leaves, and another is a capital with Egyptian motifs. The actual statue, only one of three actual limestone Civil War figures in the state, is a Union soldier in a winter greatcoat, cape, and kepi hat. He holds a musket with both hands, the butt of the musket resting on the ground in front of him.
The inscription on the monument includes part of the first stanza of Theodore O'Hara's "The Bivouac of the Dead." Lines from this famous poem are included in at least seven Civil War Monuments in Kentucky. The inscription reads as follows: "The war for the Union was right, everlastingly right, and the war against the union was wrong, forever wrong." The names of 107 Lewis County Union men killed during the war, plus battles in which they participated are also listed on the monument.