32nd INDIANA MONUMENT UPDATE
by Michael Peake
Plans are formulating to preserve the deteriorating 1st German, 32nd Regiment
Indiana Volunteer Infantry Monument at Cave Hill National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. Created by Private August Bloedner of the 32nd Indiana to commemorate his comrades killed in action at Rowlett's Station, Kentucky, in December 1861, the memorial was placed atMunfordville in mid-January 1862. In compliance to directives to recover all Union dead for reburial in National Cemeteries, fourteen sets of remains along with the monument were removed to Cave Hill in June 1867, where the stone, designed to be laid flat, was mounted upright on a memorial base.
One preservation option suggests that two granite replicas be made, one to replace the existing stone at Louisville and the other to be placed at the original site of internment, Fort Willich at Munfordville, Kentucky. The Bloedner memorial would be transported to Munfordville and placed inside the new Hart County Historical Society Museum. A historic marker or interpretation panel is also proposed for the Cave Hill burial site to provide a translation of the German inscriptions.
The Hazen Brigade Monument at Stones River National Battlefield in Tennessee has popularly been accepted as the first Civil War memorial in the country, having been placed there soon after the end of that battle in January 1863. Kentucky may now claim that distinction for the 32nd Indiana Monument. Since the Indiana German memorial is no longer at its original site, Stones River Park Ranger Jim Lewis says that the National Park Service will continue to interpret the Hazen Monument as the oldest, intact monument in the country. Mr. Lewis also stated that an earlier monument was erected after the First Battle of Manassas in Virginia but, unfortunately, did not survive.
The manager of the Kentucky Military History Museum at Frankfort, Mr. John M. Trowbridge, researching at Cincinnati, Ohio learned that August Bloedner was born around 1825 in Altenburg, Saxony, Germany. It is unclear when hearrived in the United States but he settled in the Cincinnati area where he married Henrietta Behnke on March 3, 1856. Bloedner worked as a carpenter until his enlistment in the 32nd Indiana in August1861. After his return to Cincinnati, Bloedner worked as a marble/stone cutter until his death from heart disease on November 14, 1872. Mr. Trowbridge is currently trying to locate the Cincinnati area grave of Bloedner. He is also researching Bloedner's German history prior to immigrating to America and would appreciate any assistance in uncovering this information as well as the location of the grave.
Louisville author and researcher Mr. Joseph Reinhart recently discovered and translated a German newspaper article in the Taglicher Louisville Anzeiger of May 31, 1871 that describes the Cave Hill Monument, provides the known inscription on the stone and verifies that August Bloedner of Cincinnati was the sculptor. In addition, Mr. Reinhart's translation of the article revealed information on those men killed that had not been included in other translations. The names of all but one of the dead, along with their dates and places of birth have seldom been included in modern works. This is one of very few newspaper accounts that accurately list those men killed along with providing their genealogical information. Another inscription on the stone never before deciphered states that the men were removed from Fort Willich, Munfordville, Kentucky and reburied at Cave Hill on June 6, 1867.
Several individuals and organizations are focusing their attention to preserving this important symbol of American heritage. Most funds to preserve the 32nd Indiana Monument will ultimately come from the private sector and the Kentucky Civil War Sites Association will accept donations for that purpose.
Points of contact are:
Manager John M. Trowbridge
The Kentucky Military History Museum
100 West Broadway
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-1931
phone: (502) 564-3265
Donations may be sent to:
Kentucky Civil War Sites Association
P. O. Box 1042
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602-1042