One of only three limestone Civil War figures in the state of Kentucky resides in downtown Vanceburg, Kentucky. This 30-foot monument was paid for by public subscription and erected by the citizens of Lewis County in 1884. It is the only Union-supporting monument south of the Mason-Dixon line that is not located in a cemetery and paid for by the public. 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.
Backstory and Context
This monument was erected in 1884 by the citizens of Lewis County with funds raised by public subscription. The monument stands 30ft. tall. Lewis County was a Union stronghold during the war located on the northern border dividing the north and south.
The monument is made up of a statue and a tall pedestal. The pedestal supporting the statue is divided into eight sections and is very ornate. 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.