Bloedner Monument 32nd Indiana Infantry Monument at the Frazier Museum
The nation’s oldest existing Civil War memorial arrived at the Frazier History Museum in August 2010. The 32nd Indiana Infantry Monument, also known as the “Bloedner Monument,” is of exceptional national and historical significance, especially as the country commemorates the Civil War’s 150th anniversary in 2011.
Carved in the weeks following the December 1861 Battle of Rowlett’s Station near Munfordville, Ky., the Bloedner Monument is one of a small number of military monuments or memorials erected as the war was raging. One unusual aspect of this 3,500-pound limestone memorial is its German inscription to honor 13 soldiers lost in the battle. In 1867, it was relocated to Cave Hill National Cemetery, along with the remains of 11 of the soldiers whose names were inscribed on the monument.
In December 2008, the National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees Cave Hill National Cemetery and 130 other national cemeteries, removed the monument from the cemetery. Very fragile after decades of exposure, the Bloedner Monument was transported to the University of Louisville where it was treated by Conservation Solutions, Inc. It now is on display in the Frazier History Museum’s lobby, where visitors can see it for free.
A replacement monument was placed in Cave Hill National Cemetery during a dedication ceremony on December 16, 2011. The replacement monument was produced by the Johns Stevens Shop of Rhode Island to pay homage to the original by Union Private August Bloedner. Selection of a facility to exhibit the original monument and the replacement monument design were determined by project partners in consultation with the public, veterans, and representatives from Kentucky Civil War military sites.
The museum was selected to house the monument based on its Civil War exhibition plans, controlled and secure environment, location, financial stability and annual visitation. The Frazier History Museum was one of three locations considered by NCA and its contractor, Heritage Preservation, Inc., in collaboration with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office. The Bloedner Monument is on loan to the Frazier History Museum for a minimum of 10 years.
For more information about the Bloedner Monument project, please visit the National Cemetery Administration.