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32nd Indiana Regiment Monument

A Louisville memorial honoring the 32nd Indiana Regiment is the oldest Civil War monument in the country … and the story behind it is the subject of this Et Cetera.

The 32nd Indiana Regiment is also known as the “First German, Volunteer Infantry Regiment” because the entire company was made up of recent German immigrants.

The 32nd Indiana Monument was created in 1862 by August Bloedner, who was a member of the division.

Much of the memorial’s inscription has been worn away, and today it is covered by a shelter to protect it from the elements. Records show it once read the following: “Here rest the first heroes of the 32nd Indiana German Regiment, who laid down their lives for the preservation of the free Constitution of the republic of the United States of North America. They were killed December 17, 1861, in a fight with the rebels at Rowlett Station, Kentucky, in which one regiment of Texas rangers, two regiments of infantry, and a battery of six cannon, (over 3,000 strong) were defeated by 500 German soldiers.”

The limestone tribute is a tablet that includes a carved American Eagle and the names of the fallen.

The sacrifice of these soldiers was recognized by the state of Kentucky by purchasing the ground in which they were originally buried.

In 1867, Indiana’s governor allowed their remains and the monument to be moved to Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, in a federal tract that today is managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The pedestal upon which the 32nd Indiana Monument sits was donated by Louisville’s German citizens, after it was moved to Cave Hill.

Quick facts about sculptor August Bloedner:

  • Bloedner studied sculpture and painting at the Art and Craft School in Altenburg, Germany and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden before emigrating to America in 1849.
  • He enlisted in the Union Army on August 21, 1861.
  • Bloedner rose from the rank of private to first sergeant of Co. F. 32nd Indiana Infantry Regiment.

UPDATE: Since this segment's original airing in 2007, there have been some major changes concerning the Bloedner monument.

Due to its historical significance and rapid deterioration, the monument has undergone a much needed restoration and has been moved to the Frazier Museum until at least the year 2020. It is on display, free of charge, in the museum lobby.

Program 210
Louisville Life visits Ireland, the Americana Community Center, and Chef Peng Looi's restaurants August Moon and Asiatique. Guest is Claudia Peralta-Mudd, international program specialist with Louisville Metro Goverment and local entrepreneur.

(#210)