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Perryville, KY
46. Unknown Confederate Dead Monument
Goodknight Cemetery, Perryville (Boyle County)
Marble/granite marker, circa 1928
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Inscription: Erected by the United States to Mark the Burial Place of an Unascertained Number of Confederate Soldiers Said to Have Died While Prisoners of War at the Goodknight Farmhouse from Wounds Received at the Battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862 Whose Graves Cannot Now Be Identified and Whose Names Are Unknown.

This simple, seven-foot headstone is ornamented with the inscription and a decorative cap with a scalloped design. It was probably erected in 1928, along with the monument to the Union dead at what is now Perryville State Historic Site.


After reading the inscription, why do you think that this headstone marks unknown graves?

47. Confederate Monument
Perryville State Historic Site (Boyle County)
Limestone figure on pedestal, 1902
Front (South) Inscription: Nor braver bled for a brighter land, no brighter land had a cause so grand. Confederate Memorial
East Inscription: (Names of 23 men killed) On flames eternal camping ground, their tents are spread, and glory guards with solemn round -- the bivouac of the dead.
Rear (North) Inscription: Erected by the State of Kentucky Commissioners: R. J. Breckinridge, B. O. Rodes, S. D. Van Pelt Architects & Builders Peter-Burghard, St. Co., Louisville -- Nor shall your glory be forgot -- while fame her record keeps -- or honor points the hallowed spot – where valor proudly sleeps.
West Inscription: (Names of 14 men killed and a note that 470 unknown soldiers are also buried there) Nor wreck, nor change, or winters blight -- nor times remorseless doom shall dim one ray of holy light, that gilds your glorious tomb.
Erected in 1902 on the 40th anniversary of the bloodiest battle in Kentucky Civil War history, the battle of Perryville, this monument marks the site of a mass Confederate grave. Between 5,000 and 10,000 attended the dedication.

The lines of verse quoted on the monument are from the well-known poem by Theodore O'Hara, who was from Boyle County, Kentucky. O'Hara wrote The Bivouac of the Dead following his service in the Mexican War.

It was presented at the 1847 interment in Frankfort Cemetery of Kentucky soldiers lost at the Battle of Buena Vista. The stanza inscribed on the east side, On flames eternal camping ground / Their tents are spread / And glory guards with solemn round / The bivouac of the dead, has become a popular inscription on many soldiers' monuments over the years, and it even appears at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery. At least six other Kentucky Civil War monuments, in Cynthiana, Harrodsburg, Frankfort, Mt. Sterling, Nicholasville, and Vanceburg feature lines from this poem.

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Theodore O'Hara was born in Danville in 1820. He lived in Frankfort and Bardstown as well, and studied law with John C. Breckinridge, who became a lifelong friend. He held careers in the literary, as well as the military, fields, working for newspapers including the Louisville Daily Times. O'Hara commanded the Confederacy's Twelfth Alabama Regiment during the Civil War, then served under General Albert Sidney Johnston, catching the heroic general when he collapsed from fatal injuries on the field at Shiloh. He also served on the staff of his friend General Breckinridge. After the War, O'Hara moved to Alabama and returned to the newspaper business. He died there in 1867 but was reinterred in the Frankfort Cemetery in 1874. A marker dedicated to O'Hara may be found at the Danville Courthouse.


What is a bivouac? What does this portion of O’Hara’s poem mean?: On flames eternal camping ground / Their tents are spread / And glory guards with solemn round / The bivouac of the dead

Read O'Hara's entire poem (included in this packet) or stanzas from it. Describe the mood of the poem. Ask students to select their favorite sections or phrases in the poem. Ask students to explain their favorite passages in their own words and then illustrate these passages. Find the passages from this poem inscribed on Kentucky's other Civil War monuments. Compare the poetic form of this work with other poems.

48. Union Monument
Perryville State Historic Site (Boyle County)
Granite obelisk, 1928
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Front (South) Inscription: To the valiant soldiers of the Army of the United States, who bravely and heroically fell in the Battle of Perryville October 8, 1862. This monument in grateful memory of their loyal service and noble sacrifice, has been erected by the reunited republic they died to save. Authorized by Act of Congress approved March 3, 1928.
Rear (North) Inscription: For freedoms battle, once bequeathed by bleeding sire to son, though battled oft, is ever won.
This is one of only a small number of Kentucky monuments to the Union.

Why are there so many monuments at Perryville? Research and write a summary of the Battle of Perryville. Why was it such an important event in Kentucky's Civil War history?

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