Driving & Walking Tours | Monuments | John Hunt Morgan in Kentucky | Fort Heiman
Lexington, KY
56. The Ladies' Confederate Memorial
Lexington Cemetery (Fayette County)
Marble cross on limestone base, 1874
Front Inscription: 1874
Rear Inscription: Our Dead
lexington_l.JPG (15051 bytes) The unique memorial, erected by the Ladies Memorial and Monument Association of Lexington, features a cross, textured to look as if it were constructed of logs, draped with the Confederate flag. A broken flagstaff leans against the crucifix. Motifs around the pedestal and base include carved flowers, possibly some lilies, a broken sword and a scroll. The pedestal and base are carved to look like rugged rocks. The crucifix was sculpted in Italy; the Muldoon Monument Company in Louisville created the base and erected the monument.

The monument was designed by Lexington historian George W. Ranck, who may have been inspired by the poem of a Confederate chaplain, Father Abram Joseph Ryan. Lines from the poem include: Take that banner down! 'tis tattered; / Broken is its staff and shattered, / And the valiant hosts are scattered / Over whom it floated high.

Erected in 1874, the monument combines Victorian mourning motifs and Christian symbolism in ways typical to cemetery monuments of the period but rather atypical of Kentucky Confederate Civil War monuments, as it conveys feelings of grief rather than pride, defiance, or restrained respect.

The finely carved, delicate decorations contrast with the rugged overall texture of the carved tree and rough-hewn limestone elements, providing visual interest and tension, but also reinforcing the emotional ideas of the strength and sadness of the Lost Cause. A national paper, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper described the monument as "probably the most perfect thing of its kind in the South."


What do you think the broken flagstaff and the broken sword symbolize?

On a planned and guided tour of a cemetery in your county, look for monuments that you feel convey grief and sorrow. Describe the features that evoke these feelings.

57. Confederate Soldier Monument
Lexington Cemetery (Fayette County)
Marble figure on limestone foundation, 1893
Inscriptions: CSA, CVA (Confederate Veterans Association) and names of 160 Confederate soldiers buried in Lexington Cemetery.
Similar to a few other soldier monuments in the state, this one features a figure in uniform standing with a gun resting before him. These type of statues were available with many variations from several monument companies throughout the country, capitalizing on the desire of so many communities to honor their veterans. Ordering "stock" statuary from catalogues and showrooms was often the easiest and least expensive way to erect a monument. This particular figure was carved in Carrara, Italy.

This monument was funded by four prominent Lexington citizens and erected by the Muldoon Monument Company in 1893.

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Some sculptors and monument companies sold "stock" Civil War soldier statutes for many decades following the War, so similar monuments were erected across the country. What does this ready-to-order business say about the popularity and universality of Civil War monuments? Where was (is) the Muldoon Monument Company?

Provide students with some sort of "stock" design and ask each to incorporate the stock element into an overall design all their own. Compare the variety of results. How do students make the design unique and their own, while incorporating the required element?

58. John Hunt Morgan Memorial
Fayette County Courthouse east lawn, Lexington
Bronze figure on a Bedford granite pedestal, 1911
Front Inscription: General John Hunt Morgan and His Men.
Rear Inscription: Erected by Kentucky Division United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Erected on October 18, 1911 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy with financial support from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this statue honors Kentucky's most celebrated Confederate figure. The massive monument features an over-life-sized equestrian figure, one of only two figures on horseback that fall into the Kentucky Civil War category. In fact, it is the only equestrian Civil War monument in Kentucky depicting the rider as soldier. The other, of General John B. Castleman in Louisville, depicts the subject on horseback to reflect his role as founder of the American Saddlebred Association.

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John Hunt Morgan (1825-1864) was a veteran and community leader who organized two volunteer military companies in the state in the years prior to the Civil War. He joined the Confederacy when Kentucky allied with the Union, and spent the rest of his life leading troops and recruiting volunteers for the Confederacy, eventually rising to brigadier general. Morgan's Raiders were renowned for disrupting Union communications and transportation in and around Kentucky and raiding behind enemy lines. He participated in major battles but was most successful in efforts to divert federal forces away from the battle lines. John Hunt Morgan's raids boosted support for the Confederacy in the state and helped restore morale in times when the Union appeared to have gained the clear advantage.

Although his methods were often questioned by his superiors, and he was the chief adversary of Union supporters in the state, Morgan became, and remains, the epitome of the Kentucky Confederate soldier: passionate, persistent, and brave. The prominence of this monument reflects the importance of his place in our history.

Of all of the Civil War monument projects in the state, this one is perhaps the most elaborate, for it involved a design competition. Fourteen sculptors submitted designs, and Italian-born sculptor Dr. Pompeo Coppini, a naturalized U. S. citizen, was selected by the committee. The artist began work in a Lexington studio in 1908 and spent a great deal of time studying horses in preparation for his work. Decisions he made regarding the representation of the horse launched the sculptor into quite a controversy, for he chose to depict a stallion. The purists argued that Morgan's favorite horse had been a mare, Black Bess. The artist prevailed after explaining that a stallion was necessary in this case due to the size and stature of the work.

Coppini took great interest in presenting the strength and endurance of the horse and, no doubt, learned a great deal from his preparatory studies in the heart of the Bluegrass. The artist stated that this man who led the best-mounted cavalry the world has ever seen depended on the quality of his horses so much. Coppini has depicted the horse as listening and attentive. General Morgan, his hat at his side, is studying the situation at hand. Together horse and rider are contemplating their next move.

The $15,000 equestrian monument was cast in Brooklyn. It was dedicated in a major public event with General Basil Duke, Morgan's brother-in-law and second-in-command, serving as one of the masters of ceremony.


Create a timeline of John Hunt Morgan's Civil War activities in Kentucky (include his first raid in July 1862, the "Christmas Raid" of 1862, and the "Great Raid" of July 1863). Use the Century of Change Timeline in this packet as a reference, if you wish. Chart the towns Morgan's men attacked on each raid. Using a map, label each of the towns. What kind of strategies did the raiders use? When was Morgan captured? (Hint: more than once!)

59. John C. Breckinridge Memorial
Fayette County Courthouse west lawn, Lexington
Bronze figure on granite pedestal, 1887

Inscription: John Cabell Breckinridge erected by the Commonwealth of Kentucky A. D. 1887.

lexington_b.JPG (15638 bytes) This is one of two major monuments to the Confederacy erected by the state on the lawn of the Fayette County Courthouse. It was dedicated more than two decades before the statue of John Hunt Morgan, a somewhat more controversial figure in the War Between the States. The pose and formality are typical of other classically-inspired monuments of this time. He stands in contraposto, with weight shifted to one leg. His arm positions counteract his stance, as one hand rests on a draped column, while the other is outstretched, palm up.

John Cabell Breckinridge is depicted here in civilian dress and is honored for his lifetime of service to the Commonwealth. Born into a prominent political family in 1821, Breckinridge served as state legislator, U. S. representative, U. S. senator, and the youngest Vice President in U. S. history, under James Buchanan (1857-1860). The only political race he ever lost was the campaign for the presidency won by Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Elected to the Senate instead, Breckinridge tried to avoid war, but when it seemed inevitable, he lent all his support to the Confederacy.

He led forces in many important battles, including Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and New Market, rising to the rank of major general. Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him Secretary of War in February 1865. After the surrender at Appomattox, he fled the country and remained in exile until amnesty was granted in 1868. He died in Kentucky in 1875.

The statue was cast by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company of New York.


Research what happened to the leaders of the Confederacy, including President Davis, immediately following the War. How long did it take for the restored Union to pardon these men?

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