Driving & Walking Tours | Monuments | John Hunt Morgan in Kentucky | Fort Heiman
Nicholasville, KY
53. Confederate Memorial
Courthouse Lawn, Nicholasville (Jessamine County)
Bronze figure on granite pedestal, 1896
Inscriptions (reading clockwise from the front):
Our Confederate Dead Who they were few may know What they were all know 1861-1865.
Nor braver bled for brighter land nor brighter land had a cause so grand.
On fame's eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread and glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead.
The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tattoo no more on life's parade shall meet the brave and daring few.

Jefferson Oxley, a Confederate veteran, formed the Jessamine County Memorial Association in 1880 to raise funds for a monument in his town.

nicholasville1.jpg (8253 bytes) The fundraising efforts were slow, but the organizers learned of an unclaimed statue that a monument company was selling at a discount. The Union soldier on the statue had to be altered to appear as a Confederate, and the adapted monument was erected in 1896 at a cost of around $1,500.

The figure is seven-feet-tall, with left leg bent and foot planted on an angled and projecting rock. He holds his rifle with both hands placed high, near the bayonet. He is wearing a kepi hat and nap sack. The eleven-foot granite pedestal has inscriptions on all sides.

The line of verse inscribed on the rear of the monument is from the famous poem, The Bivouac of the Dead, by Kentuckian Theodore O'Hara. Lines from this popular veterans' monument poem may be found on at least six other Kentucky Civil War monuments, in Cynthiana, Frankfort, Harrodsburg, Mt. Sterling, Perryville, and Vanceburg (see the entry for the Confederate Monument at Perryville State Historic Site, #47, for more information).

More than 3,500 attended the monument's dedication ceremony on the courthouse lawn, including 160 who took a special train in from Louisville. Bennett Young, the Jessamine County native and member of John Hunt Morgan's cavalry and leader of the raid on St. Albans, Vermont in 1864, was the keynote speaker. Young was an important Kentucky Confederate who devoted much of his life to remembering the Lost Cause. Named lifelong honorary commander-and-chief of the United Confederate Veterans Association, he played major roles in many projects, including Oldham County's Kentucky Confederate Home and the Jefferson Davis Monument.
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