Similar to numerous monuments erected to honor the memory of Confederate soldiers and their families immediately after the war, this monument is located in a cemetery and reflects grief. The Ladies' Confederate Memorial was dedicated in1874 in Lexington Cemetery and placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 17, 1997. Latter Confederate monuments reflected defiance to the victorious North and opposition to Reconstruction and the resulting civil rights laws and Constitutional Amendments that were passed. While the monuments that place Confederate leaders in heroic poses in public spaces such as courthouses reflect a desire for vindication and support for the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, this was one of many monuments that reflected the grief of Southern mothers, wives, and families.
The Ladies Memorial and Monument Association was founded by the wife of John C. Breckinridge on May 19, 1869, after she saw the unveiling of the Confederate Monument in Cynthiana, Kentucky. After six years of funding, the memorial was dedicated on May 26, 1875.
The statue features a marble cross-shaped as if made of logs. A broken sword and broken flagstaff are among the motifs, which include lilies, with rugged rocks being the motif for the limestone pedestal. It was designed by George W. Ranck (1841–1901), a Lexington historian, and paid for by the Ladies Memorial and Monument Association of Lexington. The cross was made in Italy, with the pedestal supplied by Louisville's Muldoon Monument Company. It was called probably the most perfect thing of its kind in the South by Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.