Battle of Richmond Civil War Mural Commissioned by Kiwanis Club of Richmond Dedicated

Painting of the Parker House (now the pro shop of the Battlefield Golf Course) when it served as a field hospital in the aftermath of the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky

Richard Deane, the artist and a retired EKU art professor, and Brenda Blankenship of the Kiwanis Club of Richmond unveil the painting as a Civil War enactor looks at the final work.

Earl Rhodes, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Richmond, reads the plaque placed below the Deane's Battle of Richmond paining. The plaque reads:

Thomas Palmer House Mural

This depiction of Thomas Palmer's house during the Battle of Richmond shows it being used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. The two-hour artillery bombardment on the morning of August 30, 1862, severely damaging the Palmer House, totally destroying its porch. Among the wounded treated at the house was Richmond's Union general John Miller, a civilian volunteer, who died there six days later. Also using the Palmer House was the Palmer's neighbor, Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong, who, with her children and slaves, took shelter at the home when their own home became engulfed by the confict.

Artist Richard Deane
Oil on Canvas

Donated by the Kiwanis Club
Richmond, Kentucky

Richmond Kiwanians attended the unveiling of the mural sponsored by the club. Those present for the photo were (first row l. to r.) Mrs. Helen Rhodes, Brenda Blankenship, Beth Thompson and Piddle Johnson (back row l. to r.) Earl Rhodes, Coleman Turpin, Elizabeth Robinson, Wayne Short, and Glen Kleine. Kiwanians in attendance but unable to participate in the photograph were: Bob Nayle, Earl-Ray Neal, Dwight McMullin, Ben McPherson

Richard Deane describes elements of his painting to Bill Robinson, newswriter for the Richmond Register, as Mrs. Deane looks on. Following is the Richmond Register article by Robinson.

Mural Unveils Madison History
By Bill Robinson
Register News Writer

A golf course and some stately homes today cover a portion of the rolling landscape a few miles south of Richmond.

In the middle of this modern, tranquil scene sits a reminder of some turbulent times during the 19th century. When the Union and Confederate armies clashed there in late August 1862, they left a path of destruction. Dead and wounded men lay on the battlefield. Instead of a subdivision full of homes, only a few farmhouses dotted the countryside.

Some of the homes were damaged in the fighting, but even buildings that took direct hits from cannon balls were used to shelter the wounded.

At least one soldier sketched a portion of the battlefield from memory, but no known photographs were taken of the battle's aftermath.

The Thomas Palmer House, built in 1834, was damaged by cannon fire during the battle. After the battle had passed by, wounded men from both armies were carried inside. A few died there, including Gen. John Miller of Richmond.

That scene, and its many emotions, has been captured by Richmond artist Richard Deane in a 6x8-foot mural that now hangs in the Palmer House. The painting was unveiled Tuesday by officials of the Battle of Richmond Association and members of the Richmond Kiwanis Club, which commissioned the painting.

Today, the house is painted white and serves as the clubhouse for the Battlefield Golf Course.

The battlefield stretched for several miles south of Richmond into town. It was too big to be encompassed in a single mural, Deane said. While battlefield action is fleeting, its aftermath long enduring. That message comes through in Deane's painting.

A wounded soldier being carried on a stretcher towards the house represents Gen. Miller, Deane explained. Miller was a prominent descendent of Richmond's founding family. He had been a general in the Kentucky militia, but at the time of the battle he had been appointed by President Lincoln as the internal revenue commissioner for eastern Kentucky.

He volunteered to serve as a civilian aide-de-camp when the Confederates invaded Kentucky but ended up in the thick of the fight. He was wounded in action and died six days after the battle.

Barefoot Confederate soldiers depicted in the painting are realistic, Deane explained. According to the book When the Ripe Pears Fell, many Confederates wore out their shoes as they marched and dragged cannon and wagons through the mountains to reach central Kentucky.

The resolute Confederate officer directing action in front of the Palmer House is realistic, Deane said. The Confederate army had a professional officer corps. Many were trained at U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel in South Carolina.

Military uniforms portrayed in the painting are authentic, Deane said. Phillip Seyfrit of Richmond, who takes part in the annual Battle Richmond re-enactments, was the model for the officer. Deane did not copy Seyfrit's face, however, only his uniform.

A woman leading two children toward the house, even as wounded soldiers are being carried in, represents Elizabeth Armstrong, a neighbor who brought her children to the house for safety, Deane said. Two slaves accompany the Armstrongs, intimating that slavery was behind the bloody military strife.

A former Eastern Kentucky University art professor who still teaches privately, Deane completed the mural in about two months this spring, he said. Deane painted the mural in his teaching studio, and he benefited from comments and questions from his students, he said. "At least now they know I do paint," Deane joked at the unveiling.

The idea for the painting originated when Charles Hay of the Battle of Richmond Association approached the Kiwanis Club about supporting battlefield renovation, said former Kiwanis treasurer Brenda Blankenship. Blankenship and her husband, former Eastern Kentucky University assistant football coach Joe Blankenship, reside in Battlefield Estates. She also works at the clubhouse.

The Kiwanis Club donated $2,500 to commission the painting. The club also sponsored an interpretive marker that stands outside the Palmer House.


The officers uniform in the mural was based on the authentic uniform used by Phillip Seyfrit of Richmond during the Battle of Richmond reenactments. Ron Smith, reporter for WEKU-FM interviews Phillip following the dedication of the mural.

Brenda Blankenship, left photo, described how the Kiwanis Club of Richmond became involved in the project supporting the Battle of Richmond Association. Listening to her presentation were Bob Moody with the Battle of Richmond Association, and local officials such as Kent Clark, Madison County Judge Executive and Deputy Judge-Executive Linda Ginter, as well as local Kiwanians.

Beth Thompson, a long-time member of Kiwanis took this opportunity to visit with many of the Battle of Richmond Civil War Reenactors who were on hand for the dedication of the mural.


Several reporters and photographers were on hand for the mural dedication.


Mural connects the present to the Battle of Richmond
By Emily Yahr

RICHMOND - When people view his Civil War mural hanging in the Battlefield Golf Pro Shop, Richard Deane hopes they remember the Union and Confederate soldiers depicted are Americans.

"Once the battle was over and the animosity was gone, we all took care of each other," said Deane, who painted a detailed scene of wounded soldiers from the Battle of Richmond being taken to the Palmer House hospital, now the pro shop.

Funded by the Richmond Kiwanis Club, the painting is one of the many steps the Battle of Richmond Association has taken to restore the historic area and raise public awareness of Madison County's past.

The association was founded in 2001, and has since bought hundreds of acres of land to preserve the battle site and Palmer House where the wounded soldiers received care, said historian Robert Moody.

The Battle of Richmond was the second-largest Civil War battle in Kentucky and one of the Confederate's most overwhelming victories, Moody said, and informing the public about its historic significance is crucial.

Deane, a retired Eastern Kentucky University art professor, researched and worked on the mural for over two months. Deane, whose great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, said his family history and connection with the city of Richmond made the project especially valuable.

"I wanted to put the Palmer House in historical perspective as an integral part of the Civil War," Deane said. "I didn't want the building to sink into obscurity."

Historical accuracy was an important part of the painting, even though artistic license was allowed, Deane said. He included details, such as the confederate artillery damage to the Palmer House, the Palmer's neighbor taking two of her children to safety, and prominent Richmond citizen John Miller being carried on a stretcher.

Members of the association were thrilled with the results of the painting, a project that cost the Kiwanis club $2,500.

"It's one of the first things I've seen that really tells the human side of what the Civil War was about," association president Ed Ford said.



Click here to view the Interpretive Sign of the Palmer House also supported by the Kiwanis Club of Richmond


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