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.