Statue of Colonel Richard Owen at Indiana University, Bloomington

There are two main tributes to Richard Owen on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. One of these is Owen Hall, which presently houses the office of the University Chancellor. If you stand facing away from the rear of Owen Hall, you will see, nearby, the Tower Entrance to the Indiana Memorial Union. Upon opening the door to this entrance, you will see to your right a large indoor statue in memory of Colonel Richard Owen. Two images of the top of the statue are shown on this page.

An account of Richard Owen's service during the Civil War is given in

N. H. Winchell, "A Sketch of Richard Owen," The American Geologist, 6 (1890) 134-145.

On reaching his home at New Harmony, Ind. [having been a professor of natural science at Nashville University, and having received in 1858 the M.D. degree from Nashville Medical College], he was immediately employed in the Indiana Geological Survey, and on the death of his brother, Dr. D. D. Owen in 1860, was appointed state geologist.

Winchell continues:

He was still engaged on his [report of the state geological survey for the years 1859-1860, published in 1862] when he was offered by governonr O. P. Morton the Lt. [Colonelcy] of the 15th [Indiana Volunteers] and accepted; reading the proof of his report, in camp, May, 1861. After the battle of Greenbrier, [West Virginia], Dr. Owen was promoted colonel of the 60th [Indiana Volunteers] ... and remained with his regiment until Dec. 1863, participating in the capture of Vicksburg and Jackson, [Mississippi] and in the Red River campaign.

He was with Gen. Reynolds at the battle of Rich mountain and participated in the defense of the camp at Huttonsville. In the same regiment were Dr. Owen's two sons, as subordinate officers.

The winter of 1861-62 he guarded at Indianapolis 4,000 prisoners captured at Fort Donnelson. In the spring of the following year he was ordered to Kentucky, and his regiment was taken as prisoners of war by Gen. Bragg at Mumfordsville. Three months later they were exchanged. Although the regiment was paroled, Dr. Owen was not, nor were his side arms taken. On the contrary Gen. Buckner went out into the field where the regiment was guarded and thanked Col. Owen for the kindness to the 4,000 Fort Donnelson prisoners at camp Morton.

... After the exchange he was ordered to the southwest and participated in the capture of Arkansas Post. His regiment lost quite extensively in killed and wounded in this engagement. He was with Sherman in the first attempt on Vicksburg, and afterwards at the capture of the city by Grant, July 4, 1863.

Soon after, in command of a brigade, he was with Sherman at the taking of Jackson, Miss. He participated with Banks in the Red River campaign ... [On] Jan. 1st, 1864, fresh from [the Red River campaign], Dr. Owen stood for the first time on the rostrum of the Indiana University, Bloomington ...

The statue of Richard Owen in Bloomington is a replica of the original in the Indiana State Capitol. The sculptor was Belle Kinney (1890-1959). Born the same year that Owen died, she was commissioned in 1911 by S. A. Cunningham of Nashville, Tennessee, editor of the Confederate Veteran. Dedicated in 1913 in the presence of many Civil War veterans of both sides, the sculpture was called "a bond between North and South." In

Elise L. Smith, "Belle Kinney and the Confederate Women's Monument," The Southern Quarterly 32 (1994) 2-27,

the sculptor is quoted:

It was my aim to portray such a man as he might look while pondering over the meaning of the great struggle in which he was then taking part - his sympathetic heart touched by the suffering it caused, yet realizing its necessity . . . no work I have ever done gave me as much pleasure as the Owen bust.

Richard Owen, geologist, soldier, educator
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