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Kentucky Memorial -- Vicksburg NMP, Vicksburg MS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 20.227 W 090° 51.615
15S E 701388 N 3579815
Quick Description: The Kentucky Memorial was installed at Vicksburg National Military park in 2001. It is one of several state memorials here that try to finally reconcile and heal the divided loyalties of this conflict that existed in border sates like MO and KY.
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 9/19/2014 10:43:49 AM
Waymark Code: WMMGV0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 1

Long Description:
The large Kentucky memorial incorporates stone work and bronze statues into a meaningful reflection of a state whose citizens were often divided by their loyalties during the Civil War.

From the National Park Service: (visit link)

"Kentucky Memorial

The Kentucky monument is located on Kentucky Avenue, which runs between the Union and Confederate lines on the south loop of the park road just north of tour stop 15. The Kentucky memorial was dedicated on October 20, 2001 and features bronze statues of United States President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis who were both native Kentuckians. The memorial symbolized the division within Kentucky during the Civil War as well as the reunification of the state and country afterward. Bluegrass resident Sarah Bowers came to Vicksburg in 1998, and found no monument to commemorate the efforts of Kentucky's sons. Mrs. Bowers enlisted the support of state representatives and the Kentucky Heritage Council, after which the Official Kentucky Vicksburg Monument Association was formed. The Association was charged with designing and erecting a memorial to honor both Union and Confederate Kentuckians."

From the Union State Memorials at Vicksburg website: (visit link)

". . . Kentucky

The state memorials up to this point have all been easily visible from the tour road, but the next one requires a short easy walk back from the road. A little past Stop 15, Hovey’s Approach, at about mile 14.6 of the tour route there is a small sign pointing the direction to the Kentucky Memorial. A three or four minute walk brings the visitor to the Memorial.

Like the Missouri Memorial, the Kentucky Memorial honors soldiers from both sides who fought here. Full size bronze statues of President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, both of whom were born in Kentucky, highlight the memorial. The monument is one of the newest in the park, dedicated on October 20, 2001. Three infantry regiments, one company of engineers, and one cavalry regiment from Kentucky fought for the Union in the Vicksburg Campaign."

The split in Kentuckians between staunch Unionists and equally staunch Confederates ripped apart regions, towns, and families. In some ways it persists to this day, since the Sons of Confederate Veterans felt that they needed a separate memorial to honor those Kentuckians who fought for the South.

An excellent article from the Gettysburg Compilers states this struggle over history and memories in border states like Missouri and Kentucky that persists to this day - and why: (visit link)

""We see this as part of our duty to continue the work of our veterans" The Kentucky State Monument at Vicksburg

by Michele Seabrook, ’14

Further complicating an already contentious struggle over the collective national memory of the Civil War and its aftermath were the legacies of the war in border states like Missouri and Kentucky. These were especially volatile states, each experiencing fierce internal conflicts, as citizens struggled to pick a side. Kentucky experienced a great deal of inner turmoil, eventually joining the Union cause, although faced with the specter of a Confederate shadow government that quickly formed within the state and pledged loyalty to the Confederacy. Although this shadow administration had little effect on the governing of Kentucky, it did represent a great deal of people who cast their fate with the Confederate cause. The central star on the ubiquitous Confederate Battle Flag is representative of Kentucky, signifying not only the state’s tumultuous position during the war, but also the difficulties that arise in attempting to define Kentucky’s continued Civil War legacy.

This difficulty is distinctly present in the Kentucky state monument at Vicksburg National Military Park. The monument, erected in 2001, features bronze statues of Abraham Lincoln and his wartime political rival, Jefferson Davis. The National Park Service summarizes the symbolism and history of the memorial: “The memorial symbolized the division within Kentucky during the Civil War as well as the reunification of the state and country afterward” (National Park Service). Descendants of Confederate soldiers, though, did not find this monument to be a sufficient representation of their ancestors’ sacrifices. Vicksburg Park historian Terry Winschel discussed the three sites at the National Military Park that had been set aside for Kentucky monuments: “…park officials had set aside three sites, originally chosen by Kentuckians in 1903, for Kentucky—a Union monument, a Confederate monument, and a state memorial to honor both sides of the state” (National Park Service).

The new Confederate monument showed Kentuckians inability to truly reconcile themselves or their state: “The Commonwealth erected an initial state memorial in 2001, which featured the statues of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln. The new monument is constructed of light gray granite with a black marble insert inscribed with Kentucky’s role during the battle. A bronze Confederate flag drapes the top pillar of the monument with the Kentucky Confederate Seal etched in the granite underneath” (The Kentucky Civil War Bugle).

The Union memorial site remains empty, reflecting the larger postwar phenomenon of Union humility regarding their military victory. No organization counter to the Sons of Confederate Veterans exists, and descendants of Union soldiers and those living in the states that did not secede are rarely as vocal and belligerent as Confederate descendants who claim to be “unreconstructed.” The Sons of Confederate Veterans, as well as its sister organization, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, continue striving to win the struggle over Civil War memory. As author LeeAnn Whites explains it, “The fathers, despite their courage and valor, may have nearly ‘trailed’ the Confederate flag in the dust, but now their daughters would keep it aloft and even pass it on to their children. Here the United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed to do on a cultural level what their fathers had failed to do: win the war for the South” (The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture).

Although an estimated 25,000-40,000 Kentucky Confederates fought at Vicksburg, not one is buried in the Vicksburg National Cemetery. This, along with the state’s decidedly reconciliationist stance, explicitly brought to life in the Kentucky Civil War monument, is an example of the fuel for Confederate need to remember their ancestors separately from the state monument.

This exclusion is an example of the hypocritical and confusing nature of postwar relations between the Union and ex-Confederates: reunions and the Federal government’s general amnesty policy were indicative of larger issues. The barring of Confederate dead from national cemeteries was, in some ways, a preface to the later issues of establishing an appropriated Kentucky monument at Vicksburg. Kentucky, as a border state and a state that sent both Union and Confederate regiments to war, embodies the complications and inconsistencies of Civil War remembrance and legacy today.

And stated plainly here, in the Kentucky Civil War Bugle, by the organization that made the KY CSA monument happen: (visit link)

"Second Kentucky monument dedicated at Vicksburg Park

Kentucky recently dedicated its second Confederate monument at the Vicksburg (Miss.) National Military Park.

The May 8 dedication service was hosted by the National Park System and was attended by several state dignitaries and members of the Kentucky Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).

The Commonwealth erected an initial state memorial in 2001, which featured the statues of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln. The new monument is constructed of light gray granite with a black marble insert inscribed with Kentucky’s role during the battle. A bronze Confederate flag drapes the top pillar of the monument with the Kentucky Confederate Seal etched in the granite underneath.

The inscription, which involves the Confederate ironclad, Arkansas, in 1862 states…

“A detail of Kentucky volunteers from the Orphan Brigade was assigned to the Arkansas, following its battles, to help recoal and resupply it. Some men under Lt. Rubert B. Mathews from Cobb’s Kentucky Battery of the Orphan Brigade, helped serve the Arkansas’ guns during the night battle of July 15, while others of this battery manned four 24-pounders from a land emplacement.

“Breckinridge’s division received order to take Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from the Federals, and so left Vicksburg at the end of July. Following the Battle of Baton Rouge, the Kentucky brigade returned to the Army of the Mississippi. The Kentucky troops hoped to join Braxton Bragg as he advanced deep into Kentucky. Those hopes were dashed when they received orders at Maynardsville, Tennessee, when en route to Cumberland Gap literally within sight of their home state to turn around following Bragg’s retreat from Perryville, Kentucky. Though the Kentuckians had no way of knowing, this was as close as the Orphans would come to their beloved Bluegrass State for the duration of the war.

“Orders came on May 23, 1863, for the first Kentucky Brigade to return to Vicksburg as part of Breckinridge’s Division to relieve the besieged river city. By the end of the month the Orphans had reached Jackson, Mississippi, where they were to remain as the siege continued into July. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s forces moved toward Vicksburg in early July, but they were too late to engage the enemy, and they fell back to Jackson. The 3rd and 8th Kentucky Regiments, brigaded at the time under Gen. Abraham Buford, were also present at the Battle of Champion Hill and in the defense of Jackson. After capturing Vicksburg, the Federal Army approached Jackson on July 10, 1863, and commenced siege actions and sharpshooting. The only general action involving the Orphan Brigade came on July 12, when Lauman’s Division of the Federal 13th Corps attacked Breckinridge’s Division and was repulsed with heavy loss. The Confederates evacuated Jackson on the night of July 13, 1863, thus ending the Kentuckians’ role in the Vicksburg campaign.”

The monument, which is some 14 feet high and 20 feet long, cost $50,000 with funds raised by the Kentucky Division of the SCV. Kentucky dignitaries who attended the dedication included U.S. Army Colonel Ben Sewell, Maysville, who represented Gov. Steve Brashear; Dr. Thomas Y. Hiter, Kentucky SCV commander; Past Kentucky Division Commanders Sam Flora and Don Shelton; Sue Hatcher, Kentucky Order of the Confederate Rose, and Teresa Jones, Kentucky UDC president.

The initial Kentucky monument was dedicated October 2001 by the State of Kentucky and presented on behalf of Gov. Paul Patton to the Vicksburg National Park Service. The memorial was commissioned in 1998 to honor those individuals who served during the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863.

The number of Kentucky Confederate soldiers who fought at Vicksburg is estimated between 25,000-40,000."
Date Installed or Dedicated: 10/20/2001

Name of Government Entity or Private Organization that built the monument: Commonwealth of Kentucky Vicksburg Monument Association

Union, Confederate or Other Monument: Other or General Civil War

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Kentucky Memorial -- Vicksburg NMP, Vicksburg MS 9/20/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it