Confederate Monument, Augusta, Kentucky
Dedicated in 1903 by United Confederate Veterans, this monument denotes the approximate final resting place of eight unknown Confederate soldiers who perished in a skirmish with Home Guards who defended Augusta from a Confederate raid. The raid occurred when Confederate raiders attempted to capture Augusta on September 27, 1862 as part of a larger campaign intended to delay a Union advance into the South by capturing or threatening cities in eastern Kentucky and southern Ohio. Upon learning that the six thousand Union soldiers that controlled this section of the Kentucky-Ohio line had left the area, 350 Confederate raiders attacked the city, burned homes, and stole property as part of an effort to force the Union to garrison the region. Much to the surprise of the larger Confederate force, the residents of the city together with about a hundred older men who composed the Home Guard turned back the 350 Confederate soldiers with heavy losses. Thirty-five Confederate soldiers perished in battle. This monument commemorates the eight unknown Confederates who died near this marker.
Backstory and Context
On the morning of September 27, 1862 Confederate Colonel Basil W. Duke along with 350 troops began a raid on Augusta, Kentucky. The raiders burned homes and destroyed property as part of an effort to force the Union to withhold troops from Southern offensives and garrison the area they previously controlled. During the raid, Colonel Duke and his troops were stymied by residents and the home guard until about a hundred troops led by Union Colonel Joshua T. Bradford drove the Confederate raiders from the city. Along with the home guards, the Union also had the support of gunboats that were located on the Ohio River. The battle continued for around twenty minutes but had a much larger effect on the war along the Kentucky-Ohio line. Because of their defeat, Duke was unable to continue his raid towards Cincinnati.
Constructed in 1903 by the John B. Camp of the United Confederate Veterans, the small granite memorial was erected at a cost of $550. Draped upon the granite monument is the Confederate Battle flag. The epitaph reads: In memory of eight unknown Confederate soldiers killed at Augusta, KY Sept. 27, 1862. In July of 1997 the Confederate Monument in Augusta, KY was placed on the National Register of Historical places as part of the Civil War Monuments of Kentucky Multiple Property Submission.
Included in the Sons of Confederate Veterans/United Confederate Veterans marker series, this monument is just one of many throughout the state of Kentucky. In the summer of 1997 a total of 61 monuments were added to the Register of Historical Places. While Kentucky remained in the Union and produced far more Union soldiers, most of the Civil War monuments in Kentucky are to honor the Confederate soldiers.
The presence of a monument honoring men who attempted to burn the city of Augusta in the city cemetery demonstrates one of the reasons for this discrepancy as pro-Confederate groups were highly active in creating monuments at the turn of the century. While some of the Confederate monuments erected at this time were placed in public spaces such as courthouses and intended to erase the history of the South's surrender and the era of Reconstruction, hundreds of monuments such as this one were placed in cemeteries and upon battlefields.
The location of the monument near the graves of unknown soldiers is typical, but the bitter fight that occurred in Augusta and the fact that the monument honors men who attacked civilians and attempted to burn property in the early years of the war when such actions were rare demonstrates the need to more fully interpret each monument in the context of local events.
Augusta Confederate Monument. hmdb.org. July 18, 2015. Accessed September 02, 2017. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=85979.