Sunday, February 17, 2013

Anderson County's Mexican War Monument

On the Anderson County courthouse lawn in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, stands a monument to the Salt River Tigers and their killed and wounded in the Battle of Buena Vista on February 22-23, 1847. The original monument was erected in 1847, but apparently the engraved words weathered away and were replaced with new inscriptions in 1997 by a local Sons of Confederate Veteran group.

The Salt River Tigers were Company C of the 2nd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. Their Colonel was William Robertson McKee, who's monument in Midway, Kentucky, I highlighted a couple of weeks ago. The 2nd Kentucky's lieutenant colonel was none other than Henry Clay, Jr. The 2nd Kentucky's only major battle was at Buena Vista, but there it made a name for itself.

According to author Berry Craig, in his book Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers, the original inscription had become so weathered that it could no longer be read. The patriotic message that is engraved (shown below) was selected to replace it. However, soon after the the new phrase went up on the refurbished monument a note was found with the original inscription. It read:

They are gone -
Fathers and Mothers and Friends
may weep for them and yet be proud
that the terrors of the battlefield neither
sully their honor or patriotism

This side of the monument also lists the name of those members of the Tigers that were wounded at Buena Vista.

Those Salt River Tiger soldiers that died during the war, probably from disease are listed below.

The monument honors the Tigers's commander, Captain John H. McBrayer, and lists the names of the unit's killed at Buena Vista.

Interestingly, Hidden History of Kentucky's Soldiers also mentions that the "cannon ball" atop the monument is not actually a cannon ball at all. Author Craig explains that John Trowbridge, command historian for the Kentucky National Guard, told Craig that at some point the original cannon ball had been stolen and that the then curator of the Kentucky Military History Museum gave Trowbridge a ball that was used in coal mines to break up coal chunks (but looks like a cannon ball) as a replacement.

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