Backstory and Context
The Confederate/Union Monument is located on the front lawn of the Butler County Courthouse in Morgantown, Kentucky. The monument consists of a life-sized Union soldier made of zinc on top of a 12-foot pedestal. The inscription on the monument reads “One Country, One Flag.” It also lists the names of some of the Confederate and Union Veterans from Butler County. Granville Allen was the first county resident to die in one of the few skirmishes outside of the town in October of 1861. The monument was dedicated on May 30th, 1907, one year after the death of one of the soldier’s honored; General Joseph Wheeler. The memorial also honors, with relief images of the men on the structure, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.1
General Joseph Wheeler was born in Georgia in 1836. Not only did he serve as commander in 127 battles, but he also participated in more than 500 Civil War skirmishes; and lived! “General Wheeler became the only man in history to serve as brigadier general in both the Confederate and U.S. armies.” 1 He was known as “Fightin’ Joe”. He first became noticed during his time as a Confederate lieutenant colonel at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. “After fighting all day, he led his men, who were out of ammunition, in a bayonet attack against Union artillerymen defending Pittsburg Landing.” 2 When the army was forced to retreat the next day, Wheeler’s men were assigned as rear guard. After this, he was promoted to full colonel because his determination helped the Southern army safely escape. General Wheeler died in 1906 at 62-years-old.
“The monument reflects the sentiments of reconciliation and nationalism following the Spanish-American War in 1898, when Kentuckians came together to fight for the same cause. The dual allegiance of the monument also reflects Butler County’s divided support of Union and Confederacy during the War.” 1 On July 17, 1997, the monument was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.