Thompson and Powell Martyrs Monument

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Thompson and Powell Martyrs Monument
Thompson and Powell Martyrs Monument.jpg
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Location St. Joseph, Kentucky
MPS Civil War Monuments of Kentucky MPS
NRHP reference # 97000707 [1]
Added to NRHPJuly 17, 1997

The Thompson and Powell Martyrs Monument is a memorial to two Confederate soldiers in St. Joseph, Kentucky. It is on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), one of only three NRHP locations in Daviess County, Kentucky that is not in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy and the South, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

Daviess County, Kentucky County in the United States

Daviess County ( "Davis"), is a county in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 96,656. Its county seat is Owensboro. The county was formed from part of Ohio County on January 14, 1815.



The memorial honors two Confederate soldiers who were killed in accordance with the standing order of the Union general in command of Kentucky, Stephen G. Burbridge, known as Order No. 59. This called for the execution of four Confederate prisoners for every unarmed Union civilian killed by the Confederates. The two men honored on the monument were Charles W. Thompson (aged 18) and Pierman Powell (aged 25), who were executed in retaliation for the fatal wounding of a prominent resident of Henderson, Kentucky, James E. Rankin. They were originally held in Daviess County, but were taken to Henderson by Federal troops to be killed. The two men were executed on July 22, 1864. [2] [3]

A general order, in military and paramilitary organizations, is a published directive, originated by a commander and binding upon all personnel under his or her command. Its purpose is to enforce a policy or procedure unique to the unit's situation that is not otherwise addressed in applicable service regulations, military law, or public law.

Union (American Civil War) United States national government during the American Civil War

During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the Union, also known as the North, referred to the United States of America and specifically to the national government of President Abraham Lincoln and the 20 free states, as well as 4 border and slave states that supported it. The Union was opposed by 11 southern slave states that formed the Confederate States of America, also known as "the Confederacy" or "the South".

Stephen G. Burbridge Union Army general

Stephen Gano Burbridge, also known as "Butcher" Burbridge or the "Butcher of Kentucky", was a controversial Union general during the American Civil War.

Attempted rescue

Confederate Colonel Lee A. Sypert of the 16th Kentucky Cavalry (unofficially called the 13th Cavalry) tried to rescue the two men on July 21, using a bluff to draw away Union forces. However, the defenders held on until Union gunboats arrived, forcing Sypert to withdraw. The two Confederate prisoners were killed by firing squad on the banks of the Ohio River in Henderson, immediately after which the Union gunboats left the city, along with all the Union soldiers in the city. [4]

Ohio River river in the midwestern United States

The Ohio River is a 981-mile (1,579 km) long river in the midwestern United States that flows southwesterly from western Pennsylvania south of Lake Erie to its mouth on the Mississippi River at the southern tip of Illinois. It is the second largest river by discharge volume in the United States and the largest tributary by volume of the north-south flowing Mississippi River that divides the eastern from western United States. The river flows through or along the border of six states, and its drainage basin includes parts of 15 states. Through its largest tributary, the Tennessee River, the basin includes several states of the southeastern U.S. It is the source of drinking water for three million people.

Fearing retaliation, many of the Union-sympathizing citizens of Henderson fled the city, even though Sypert sent a proclamation to the city, stating:

...They are gone, and their murder is another crime added to the damnable catalogue of the despotism that rules you. We are Confederate soldiers. We fight for the liberty our sires bequeathed us. We have not made, nor will we make war upon citizens and women. Let not your people be excited by any further apprehension that we will disturb the peace of your community by the arrest of Union men, or of any interference with them unless they place themselves in the attitude of combatants. Such conduct would be cowardly, and we scorn it. [3]

Like most monuments dedicated in the memory of the Confederacy, the letters CSA are at the bottom of the monument. Due to the placement of the lettering on the monument it is possible to misconstrue that Burbridge was a Confederate general, not a Union one. Burbridge spent years trying unsuccessfully to have those letters removed, as it angered him to have those letters after his name. [2]

National Register of Historic Places

On July 17, 1997, the Thompson and Powell Martyrs Monument was one of sixty-one different monuments related to the Civil War in Kentucky placed on the National Register of Historic Places, as part of the Civil War Monuments of Kentucky Multiple Property Submission. The Confederate Monument in Owensboro is the only other monument on the list in Daviess County. Other monuments to victims of Burbridge so honored are Confederate Martyrs Monument in Jeffersontown, Confederate Soldiers Martyrs Monument in Eminence, and Martyrs Monument in Midway. [5]

Confederate Monument in Owensboro

The Confederate Monument in Owensboro is a bronze sculpture based on a granite pedestal. It is located at the southwest corner of the Daviess County Courthouse lawn in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Confederate Martyrs Monument in Jeffersontown

The Confederate Martyrs Monument at the Jeffersontown City Cemetery in Jeffersontown, Kentucky marks where four Confederate soldiers were executed "without cause or trial", due to Order #59, the creation of Union General Stephen G. Burbridge, known as "Butcher Burbridge" in Kentucky, which called for the execution of four Confederate prisoners for every unarmed Union citizen killed. The total number of executions performed as a result of this order was fifty. The four soldiers commemorated on the stone were Wilson P. Lilly, Rev. Sherwood Hatley, Lindsay Duke Buckner and M. Blincoe.

Confederate Soldiers Martyrs Monument in Eminence

The Confederate Soldiers Martyrs Monument in Eminence, Kentucky, notes the burial spot of three Confederate prisoners who were shot while imprisoned. The names of the victims were William Datbor (Darbro), William Tighe, and R. W. Yates. It was done in retaliation for the deaths of two African-Americans and authorized by Union General Burbridge's Order 59, which allowed for the execution of Confederate soldiers.

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  1. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 Civil War in Kentucky
  3. 1 2
  4. Taylor, Walker. (PDF). p. 6 . Retrieved 22 February 2018.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. Joseph E. Brent (January 8, 1997). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Submission: Civil War Monuments in Kentucky, 1865–1935" (pdf). National Park Service.