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Morgan, John Hunt, Memorial
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Coordinates: 38°2′51.4″N 84°29′54.82″W / 38.047611°N 84.4985611°W / 38.047611; -84.4985611Coordinates: 38°2′51.4″N 84°29′54.82″W / 38.047611°N 84.4985611°W / 38.047611; -84.4985611
Built/Founded: 1911
Architect: Pompeo Coppini
Architectural style(s): No Style Listed
Governing body: Local
MPS: Civil War Monuments of Kentucky MPS
Added to NRHP: July 17, 1997
NRHP Reference#: 97000704 [1]
File:Morgan Lexington statue behind.jpg

Rear view of statue; note the testicles on Morgan's filly

The John Hunt Morgan Memorial in Lexington, Kentucky, is a monument created as a tribute to Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, who was from Lexington and is buried in nearby Lexington Cemetery.

With the help of the state government of Kentucky, the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected the monument on October 18, 1911 on what was then the courthouse lawn. The bronze statue was cast in Brooklyn, New York, at a cost of $15,000. The state of Kentucky contributed $7,500 of the cost because the UDC was unable to raise all of the funds promised. The ceremony included a parade of 400 veterans. The pedestal was of granite. The monument was dedicated by Morgan's brother-in-law Basil W. Duke, master of ceremonies, and keynote speaker Dr. Guy Carleton Lee, a third cousin of Robert E. Lee. Also in attendance were John Castleman, and Morgan's brothers Charlton and Dick. Of the monuments of the American Civil War in Kentucky, it is the only one with a soldier on horseback.[2][3]

Morgan's horse, Black Bess, was a mare, but sculptor Pompeo Coppini thought a stallion was more appropriate. Coppini said, "No hero should bestride a mare!". Therefore, Coppini added the necessary testicles. Undergraduates from nearby University of Kentucky have been known to paint the testicles of the horse in the school colors of blue and white. An anonymous author wrote the "Ballad of Black Bess", which ended with:

So darkness comes to Bluegrass men —
Like darkness o'er them falls —
For well we know gentlemen should show
Respect for a lady's balls.[4]

The Memorial was one of 60 different Civil War properties in Kentucky placed on the National Register of Historic Places on the same day, July 17, 1997. Three other properties listed that day are also located in Lexington: the John C. Breckinridge Memorial, which is on the other side of the same block as the Morgan Memorial, and the Confederate Soldier Monument in Lexington and the Ladies' Confederate Memorial, both in nearby Lexington Cemetery.[5]


See also[]


  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. Civil War in Kentucky
  3. Matthews, Gary. Basil Wilson Duke, CSA: The Right Man in the Right Place (University Press of Kentucky, 2005) pg.302,303
  4. Loewen, James.Lies Across America pg 164–165
  5. National Register of Historic Places Listings — July 25, 1997