One of the only three limestone Civil War figures in the state of Kentucky resides in the downtown heart of Vanceburg, Kentucky. This 30 foot monument was paid for by public subscription and erected by the citizens of Lewis County on a place other than a cemetery in 1884. The tall pedestal supporting the figure is divided into eight sections and very ornate in design with one section inscribed with part of the first stanza of Theodore O'Hara "The Bivouac of the Dead". Lines from this famous poem are included on at least seven Civil War monuments in Kentucky. What makes this monument special is the fact that it may be the only Union monument south of the Mason-Dixon line paid for and erected by the people.
Backstory and Context
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 and laurel leaves; and yet 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 great coat, 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 "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 located on the monument.