Today isn’t just about saving 20 percent on fine home furnishings
While in Louisville last week I spent a day crawling around the stone gardens of Cave Hill Cemetery. Dating back to the Victorian era, Cave Hill encompasses something like 296-acres and contains over 135,000 markers going back to the 1850s.
Of course the part of the reservation I was most drawn to was the National Cemetery of the same name on their grounds that started off with the interment of Union soldiers from the Louisville garrison in 1861.
The site was the location of sculptor August Bloedner’s marker to the 32nd Indiana Infantry Regiment– the oldest surviving memorial to the Civil War, carved from St. Genevieve limestone in January 1862 after the Battle of Rowlett’s Station in Munfordville, Kentucky.
Throughout CHNC are passages from Kentucky poet and Army officer Theodore O’Hara, the “Bivouac of the Dead,” written in 1847 after the war against Mexico, to remind those who tread the grounds who paid the lease.
Among the stones is one piece of earth that “is forever England” that of Pvt. James Henry Hartley, Machine Gun Corps, British Military Mission. He died at Camp Zachary Taylor* 20 April 1918 during the Great War and his distinctive monument was paid for by private donation of the Camp’s officer corps.
*Of note, one of those who passed through Camp ZT was F. Scott Fitzgerald, there in 1918 about the same time our good Tommy passed, Fitzgerald took some inspiration for The Great Gatsby from Louisville. His character Daisy is from Louisville and the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville is the site of a wedding between two of the characters.
Hidden among the grounds at Cave Hill are graves to a number of generals in wars from the 1860s through WWII.
These include Maj. Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau, who led Indiana troops at the Battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican war and carried out a reasonably well executed Union Cavalry raid in Alabama in 1864.
Pittsburgh-born Bvt Brig. Gen. James Adams Ekin, famous for being a member of the military commission trying the conspirators involved with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, rests in a less assuming grave a short walk away from Rousseau.
And speaking of less-assuming, there is Brig. Gen. Alpheus Baker.
A South Carolina native who gained command of the 54th Alabama Infantry in 1862, Baker served throughout the Civil War in scraps from New Madrid to Vicksburg and Atlanta to the final Siege of Mobile and Carolina campaigns, mustering out as a general of brigade (commanding the 37th, 40th, 42nd and 54th Alabama) just before his 37th birthday. Retiring to Kentucky and resuming the practice of law, he was buried in a common soldier’s grave at his request among the 500 dead Confederate prisoners-of-war at Cave Hill who were held in the Louisville Prison Camp.
And in the words of Theodore O’Hara:
Their shivered swords are red with rust,
Their plumed heads are bowed;
Their haughty banner trailed in dust
Is now their martial shroud,
And plenteous funeral tears have washed
The red stains from each brow,
And their proud forms in battle gashed
Are free from anguish now.