Indiana in the Civil War

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Indiana and the Civil War (1861-1865)
Indiana (1861-1865), part 3

In addition to performing their whole duty in the way of
furnishing men for the United States' army, the citizens of
Indiana were compelled to be constantly on the alert and in
a measure prepared to resist invasions of the state and depre-
dations by Confederate bands. And upon several occasions
the "home guards" were given a taste of warfare. The first
invasion of the state, or indeed of any of the free states, by an
armed and organized force of Confederates, occurred on July
18, 1862, at Newburg, the principal town of Warrick county,
situate on the Ohio river 15 miles above Evansville. The
movement was hardly of a sufficiently formidable character
to entitle it to the dignity of an "invasion," as the force con-
sisted of but 32 officers and men, whose object was plunder
and whose conduct was that of thieves rather than soldiers.
The leader of these marauders was one Adam R. Johnson,
a citizen of Henderson, Ky., who had previously served in
the Confederate army, and who was at this time in command
of a small force of mounted men, some of whom were deserters
from the Federal army, raiding through the southwestern
counties of Kentucky, committing outrages upon the persons
and depredations upon the property of such citizens as were
suspected of sympathy with the government of the United
States. Although Newburg was not a military post, a hospital
had been established there which contained 80 or 90 sick and
wounded Federal soldiers, with a considerable amount of com-
missary and hospital stores. The muskets, accouterments
and ammunition of the two Newburg companies of the Legion,
which had been collected in some months previously, were
also deposited in the hospital building, while in a warehouse
not far distant 75 sabres and 130 holsters and pistols were
stored in the boxes in which they had been shipped. At noon
on the date given above, when most of the citizens were at
dinner, Johnson appeared on the bank of the river opposite
Newburg, placed his men on a large ferry-boat, concealed them
as well as possible, and rowed rapidly to the Indiana shore.
As soon as the boat touched the landing a dash was made for
the hospital and the warehouse, and the supplies and arms
stored therein were at once secured. Houses were then broken
open and ransacked, horses were taken from the stables, and
coffee, sugar and other articles, that could readily be trans-
ported, were stolen in large quantities. After remaining four
or five hours, during which time the boat was kept busy in
transporting their plunder, the commander ordered his men
to embark and they were speedily transferred to the other
shore. After their departure, two men, H. H. Carney and
Elliott Mefford, who had been suspected of holding communica-
tion with the Confederates, and who, on this occasion, had
been particularly officious in pointing out property for seizure,
were attacked and killed by some of the citizens.
When Cincinnati was endangered in Sept., 1862, and Kirby
Smith was advancing toward Covington, Maj.-Gen. Wright,
commanding the department, appealed to Gov. Morton for
troops to aid in the defense of the city, which was believed
to be in imminent peril. The 85th and 86th regiments were
sent forward, 24 pieces of artillery, 3,000 stands of arms, 31,136
rounds of artillery ammunition and 3,365,000 musket cart-
ridges were forwarded from the state arsenal by special train
and were delivered at Cincinnati and Covington within fifteen
hours from the receipt of the requisition. Gov. Morton and
his military staff, with a number of officers, among whom
were Maj.-Gen. Lewis Wallace, Gens. Thomas A. Morris,.
Ebenezer Dumont and John Love, and Maj. W. W. Frybarger,
proceeded to Cincinnati to assist in organizing the troops and
in other defensive arrangements. Gen. Wallace was assigned
to the command of the defenses and the experience of the
other officers rendered their services peculiarly valuable at
so critical a period.
On June 17, 1863, a company of Kentucky cavalry, under
Capt. Thomas H. Hines, with the assistance of some wood-
boats obtained from his friends, crossed into Indiana 18 miles
above Cannelton with 62 men, the particular object being to
pick up as many fresh horses as might conveniently be found.
After making arrangements with his ferrymen to meet him
in about three days at a convenient point, he pressed into the
interior, in the direction of Paoli, Orange county, taking the
precaution to protect his flanks as completely as the limited
extent of his force would allow, by scouts judiciously thrown
out. But before they reached Paoli, preparations had been
made to receive them, learning which the}^ made a sudden
detour to the west, and passed around the place, taking horses
as they went, to a point about 7 miles northeast, where they
encountered a force of 15 armed citizens, whom they captured
and plundered. Two more citizens arriving a few moments
later, they were ordered to surrender, and upon refusing, one
was knocked off his horse and disabled, the other being shot
and mortally wounded while trying to escape. While these
events were transpiring, the men of the Legion and such of
the citizens as could immediately be armed, made rapid prep-
arations for pursuit. Sixty armed minute-men from Paoli,
joined by a number from Valeene and the neighboring settle-
ments, and a mounted battalion of the Legion from Leaven-
worth, under Majs. Horatio Woodbury and Robert E. Clenden-
in, moved promptly on the Confederate trail. They followed
it through Hardinsburg to near Fredericksburg, in the south-
western part of Washington county, where, learning that the
enemy was hastening toward the Ohio, they pressed forward
with all possible speed. In due time Hines was "cornered"
on Blue River island, about 3 miles above Leavenworth, where
the channel on the Indiana side is shallow and easily fordable
in low water, with a deep and swift current between the island
and the southern shore. While huddled together on this
island the Confederates were fired upon by the men in Maj.
Clendenin's command, and after ineffectually discharging
some shots in return, as a last resort they attempted to swim
to the Kentucky bank. Capt. Hines and two of his men were
the only ones who escaped, 3 men being killed, 3 wounded
and 2 drowned, according to one report; according to another
4 men were killed outright and 4 more wounded and drowned.
One captain, i lieutenant and 50 men surrendered as prisoners
of war and were sent to Louisville upon the order of Gen. Boyle.
Five horses were lost in the attempt to cross the river, but
the remainder were captured and those which had been taken
from citizens were returned, while the arms and other property
were duly turned over to the government authorities. Con-
siderable property was taken by the Confederates at Valeene,
Hardinsburg, King's Mills, and at farm-houses along their
The invasion of Indiana in the summer of 1863 by a division
of Confederate troops, under command of Gen. John H. Morgan,
must always be regarded as the most prominent feature of
Indiana history during the Civil war period. While the "raid"
was a failure and a mistake on the part of the daring Con-
federate leader, it occasioned the people of the state much
inconvenience and created an intense excitement. Branden-
burg is a small town situated on a high bluff on the Kentucky-
shore about 50 miles below Louisville, and it was at this point
that Morgan and his men crossed the river and first set foot
upon Indiana soil on the evening of July 8. During the night
they marched toward Corydon and reached that place the
next forenoon, some opposition being made to their progress
by the inhabitants. Great excitement prevailed in the state
and the receipt of the first official information of the invasion
was immediately made the occasion for the publication of
a general order, dated at the Executive department, July
9, announcing the presence of a considerable Confederate
force in the state and ordering that all able-bodied white male
citizens in the several counties south of the National road should
forthwith form themselves into companies of at least 60 persons,
elect officers and equip themselves with such arms as they
could procure. The companies thus formed were required
to perfect themselves in military drill as rapidly as possible
and hold themselves subject to further orders from the governor.
They were requested to be mounted, in all cases, if possible.
Citizens in other parts of the state were earnestly requested
to form military companies, and be ready for service when
called for. Prompt reports by telegraph of the formation of
companies were desired. Officers of the Indiana Legion were
charged with the execution of the order and the United States
officers were requested to render such assistance as they were able.
The response of the people was no less prompt and enthusiastic.
While the authorities were busy with preparations, men were
gathering in such numbers as never could have been antici-
pated, not only along the track of the Confederate march,
but all over the state. In less than 24 hours after the despatch
was sent out soliciting individual cooperation in bringing out
troops, the gentlemen addressed reported an aggregate of
5,000 men for service, while outside of their efforts 10,000
more had been gathered and were on the way to the capital.
Within two days 20,000 men had been actually mustered at
Indianapolis and the authorities had notice of the organization
and readiness for service of 45,000 more. "Farmers left their
grain to rot in the fields, mechanics dropped their tools, merchants
abandoned their stores, professional men their desks, clerks
forgot their ledgers, and students their text-books, and young
and old alike all swarmed in constantly thickening throngs
to the capital, or the nearest place of rendezvous, as if there
were no duty or interest of that hour but the safety of the
state." Railway trains were rushing to Indianapolis every
hour, crowded inside and outside with shouting masses, and
the country roads were cloudy with dust raised by the tread of
companies hurrying from every school district and neighbor-
And then operations against the invading enemy began.
From Corydon Gen. Morgan moved by the way of Greenville
and Palmyra to Salem, having, before starting from the former
place, defeated and captured a force of 350 home guards who
had concentrated there, but they were subsequently paroled.
At Salem, the depot of the Louisville & Chicago railroad was
burned. Orders were also issued by Gen. Morgan to burn
all the mills and factories in the town, but upon the payment
of $1,000 for each mill and factory they were spared. The
railroad track was torn up, the water tank near the town and
one passenger and three freight cars were burned. All the
stores and most of the dwellings were plundered, and in fact
such a scene of pillage was never before witnessed in the state.
Gen. Basil Duke, the historian of Morgan's cavalry, gives this
graphic description of it: "This disposition to wholesale
plunder exceeded anything that any of us had ever seen before.
The great cause for apprehension which our situation might
have inspired seemed only to make the men reckless. Calico
was the staple article of appropriation. Each man who could
get one, tied a bolt of it to his saddle, only to throw it away
and get a fresh one at the first opportunity. They did not
pillage with any sort of method or reason. It seemed to be
a mania, senseless and purposeless. One man carried a bird-
cage, with three canaries in it, two days. Another rode with
a chafing-dish, which looked like a small metallic coffin, on
the pommel of his saddle, until an officer forced him to throw
it away. Although the weather was intensely warm, another,
still, slung seven pairs of skates around his neck, and chuckled
over his acquisition! They pillaged like boys robbing an orchard.
I would not have believed that such a passion could have been
developed so ludicrously among any body of civilized men."
Three bridges between Salem and Farrabee's station were
also destroyed. Good horses were taken wherever found,
and the whole command was remounted. From Salem the
enemy moved to Canton, in Washington county, four and
a half miles distant. Here over 100 horses were taken, and,
joining his left column with the right, which entered the town
by way of Harristown, Gen. Morgan moved in the direction
of Vienna, Scott county, on the line of the Jeffersonville &
Indianapolis railroad. About 11 p. m. on Friday night the
advance reached Vienna, and at 2 o'clock the next morning
the rear-guard arrived. Here a railroad bridge, the depot
and station house were burned. Private property for the 
first time was here respected. At Vienna, the force of the
enemy was divided into two columns, one of which marched
north and the other started in the direction of Madison. The
advance of the column marching north appeared before Old
Vernon, Jennings county, at 6 p. m. on Saturday, July 11.
The place was held by a force under Gen. Love. A surrender
was demanded by Gen. Morgan and refused. A half-hour
was then given for the removal of women and children, at
the expiration of which time the Federal force moved out to
meet the enemy, but found that he had retired. Pursuit was
made and a number captured. From Vernon Morgan's men
moved southward, tore up the track of the Madison & Indian-
apolis railroad and cut the telegraph wires. They also destroyed
a portion of the Ohio & Mississippi railroad west of Vernon.
Thence they moved eastward and reached Versailles at 1 p. m.
on Sunday. A party of 63 advanced to Osgood and burned
the bridge on the Ohio & Mississippi railroad. The enemy
now moved in several parties. A large body encamped 10
miles northwest of Aurora on Sunday night, and proceeded
thence to Harrison, on the state line between Indiana and
Ohio. Another portion crossed the Indianapolis & Cincinnati
railroad between Sunman and Van Wedden's stations and
passed on to Harrison on Monday. A large force crossed the
same road at Harman's and proceeded to the Ohio state line.
At Van Wedden's the water tank and a section of the track
were destroyed. Horses were taken in all places and those
broken down left behind. As soon as Gov. Morton was informed
of the escape of Morgan into Ohio, he notified Gov. Tod of
that state of the fact, tendered him the services of 5,000 state
troops, and steps were at once taken to forward as large a
force as possible in pursuance of this proffer. On the after-
noon of July 14 Gen. Hascall ordered a brigade to Cincinnati,
but as it was not needed all returned to Indianapolis in a day
or two and were discharged. The regiments at all points
were discharged and sent home as soon as possible, and measures
were taken whereby they were paid for their services by the
state in due time at the same rates allowed the soldiers of the
United States.
Difficulties of a financial nature also presented themselves
during and following the year 1863, traceable to an incident
which occurred in the legislature of the state some days previous
to the time for the close of the session, and which suspended
entirely the proceedings of that body. It consisted in the
withdrawal of a portion of the members of the house of repre-
sentatives, by which no quorum to do business was left. The
occasion of this withdrawal of members was reported to be
an apprehension on their part that the majority of the house
who were designated as Democrats, "would pass a bill which
deprived the governor of that full control of the state militia,
which had been conferred upon him." This proposed militia
bill, it appears, conferred upon those enrolled under it the
right to elect their own company and regimental officers, and
reserved to the general assembly the right to say in what manner
brigadier and major-generals should be appointed. With
regard to the latter appointments, it was claimed by the major-
ity to be the "constitutional" right of the assembly to say
how they should be made, but by those who withdrew, it was
claimed that the power to make the appointments was con-
ferred by the constitution of the state on the governor. The
consequence was that the legislature adjourned without pass-
ing any bills appropriating money to meet expenditures, leaving
the state in a condition to which it would be difficult to find
a parallel in any country. But Gov. Morton met the crisis
with a decision and energy that showed he clearly under-
stood its necessities and was fully resolved to conquer them.
The Indiana arsenal, so important to the government, must
be carried on; the state militia, so often called into service
to defend the border from Confederate invasion and insurrec-
tion, must be paid; military expenses must necessarily be
incurred in raising troops, for steamboats sent with sanitary
supplies to relieve the sick and wounded, and to bring home
the broken down and disabled, for special surgeons despatched
to the army and hospitals, for the support of the state military
relief agencies, and other objects equally as essential. The
governor, in an address issued to the people of the state. May
lo, 1864, thus explains the course he felt compelled to pursue
and the plan resorted to to overcome the difficulties by which
he was surrounded:
"In presenting the accompanying report of my financial
secretary, it is proper that I should state, for public informa-
tion, the reasons which induced me to establish a financial
bureau and assume the heavy responsibilities which were thus
thrown upon me.

"The legislature of 1863 adjourned on the 9th day of March,
without making any appropriations for defraying the ordinary
and extraordinary expenses of the state government. The
former appropriations for the benevolent institutions, the
hospital for the insane, institute for the blind, and asylum for
the deaf and dumb, had been nearly or quite exhausted. The
Northern prison had not only exhausted the appropriations
hitherto made, but, by incurring a heavy debt in construction
of buildings, had exhausted its credit also. More than 100,000
of our citizens had been sent to the field to assist in suppress-
ing the rebellion, yet the only fund at my disposal, from which
the contingent military expenses including the care and relief
of the sick and wounded, could be paid, was a small remnant
of the appropriation made in 1861. For the civil contingent
expenses of the executive department there was no provision
whatever. The auditor and treasurer of state, upon being
consulted by me immediately after the close of the session,
decided that not a single dollar, in the absence of legislative
appropriations, should be drawn from the public funds in the
treasury for these objects.
"The alternatives thus presented to me, were, First — to
allow the benevolent institutions to be closed, and permit the
unfortunate inmates to be thrown back upon their respective
counties, or upon the charities of the world for care and support;
or, Second — to convene the legislature in extra session, in the
hope that the majority, who had full control, would pass the
appropriation bills. To have closed the asylums would have
been a shame and disgrace, as well as a crime against humanity
itself. To have called back the legislature, after the majority
for 50 days, during which time a quorum was present in each
house, out of the 59 days of the regular session, had failed and
refused to bring forward and pass the appropriation bills,
I believed would have been perilous to the public peace and
dangerous to the best interests of the state.
"In this contingency I determined to procure, if possible,
sufficient money to carry on all the institutions of the state
and keep the machinery of the government in motion. I
accordingly established a bureau of finance and appointed
Col. W. H. H. Terrell, financial secretary. My success in
procuring funds exceeded my expectations, and I am gratified
to state that provision has been made for all the means
which will likely be required to meet every proper demand
up to the next regular meeting of the legislature."
All the money required, and more, was readily obtained,
and for nearly two years the financial business of the state
was thus carried on. Over $1,000,000 was disbursed, and
a joint committee of the legislature appointed to investigate
the books and vouchers, reported that every cent had been
fully accounted for and every expenditure economically and
properly made. "It will not be easy to find anywhere an
instance of action more perfectly adapted to a great emergency
than this. It filled every necessity and filled it at once, though
there are few public men who would have dared to assume
such enormous responsibility or who could have brought it
to such a successful termination."
In the midst of the political campaign of 1864, and while a
draft was impending, discovery was made of a secret organiza-
tion, opposed to the war and enlistment of troops, and which
endeavored in devious ways to obstruct the Federal and state
authorities in their efforts to carry on the war. The governor
in his message to the legislature in 1865 had this to say con-
cerning it:
"Some misguided persons who mistook the bitterness of
party for patriotism, and ceased to feel the obligations of alle-
giance to our country and government, conspired against the
state and national governments and sought by military force
to plunge us into the horrors of revolution. A secret organ-
ization had been formed, which by its lectures and rituals,
inculcated doctrines subversive to the government, and which,
carried to their consequences, would evidently result in the
disruption and destruction of the nation. The members of
this organization were united by solemn oaths, which, if observed,
bound them to execute the orders of their grand commanders
without delay or question, however treasonable or criminal
might be their character. I am glad to believe that the great
majority of its members regarded it merely as a political machine,
and did not suspect the ulterior treasonable action contemplated
by its leaders, and upon the discovery of its true character,
hastened to abjure all connection with it. Some of the chief
conspirators have been arrested and tried by the government,
and others have fled; their schemes have been exposed and
This organization, at first generally known as the "Knights
of the Golden Circle," seems to have been merely an adaptation
to the purposes of the secession movement of an association
of the same name that had been maintained for several years
in the South, with a few branches in the Northern states,
for the promotion of filibustering schemes. In its later and
more dangerous form, it undoubtedly took its rise among the
Confederates about the time the secession movement was
inaugurated. It spread thence to the disaffected of the border
slave states, and speedily afterward to the Northwest. In
April, 1863, a month after the adjournment of the legislature,
the commission appointed to investigate a fatal riot which
had occurred in Brown county, examined several witnesses
who testified to the existence of the order, its secrecy, its posses-
sion of arms and its military drills. The confessions of various
members show that it had a double organization, one very
large, composed entirely of initiates and operating mainly as
a political club; the other small, composed only of the members
of the higher degrees and of officers, and entirely military
in its structure and purposes.
In Sept. and Oct., 1864, William A. Bowles, Lamhdin P.
Milligan, Andrew Humphreys, Stephen Horsey and Horace
Heffren, were arrested and confined in the guard-house of
the soldiers' home at Indianapolis. Their subsequent trials
before a military commission occupied several weeks and caused
much excitement in the state. The charges and specifications
upon which they were tried are thus given in an abridged form
in Wallace's United States Supreme Court Reports, page 6,
vol. IV., where the case of Milligan is fully reported: "1st.
Conspiring against the government of the United States; 2nd.
Affording aid and comfort to rebels against the authority of
the United States; 3d. Inciting insurrection; 4th. Disloyal
practices; and 5th. Violation of the laws of war. Under each
of these charges there were various specifications. The sub-
stance of them was joining and aiding, at different times between
Oct., 1863, and Aug., 1864, a secret society known as the 'Order
of American Knights,' or 'Sons of Liberty,' for the purpose
of overthrowing the government and duly constituted authorities
of the United States; holding communication with the enemy;
conspiring to seize munitions of war stored in the arsenals; to lib-
erate prisoners of war, etc.; resisting the draft, etc., * * *
at a period of war and armed rebellion against the author-
ity of the United States, at or near Indianapolis (and various
other places specified), in Indiana, a state within the military
lines of the army of the United States, and the theater of military
operations, and which had been and was constantly threatened
to be invaded by the enemy."
These charges were amplified and stated in various forms.
Horace Heffren, one of the accused, was released from arrest
and discharged, and thereupon became an important witness
for the prosecution. The court finally found Bowles, Milligan,
Horsey and Humphreys guilty, and sentenced the first three
to death. Humphreys was condemned to imprisonment for
life, but Gen. Hovey, who was in command of the military
district, remitted the sentence to confinement within a limited
space in Greene county for a year or two. The sentence of
the others was approved, the day fixed for their execution, and
preparations were already commenced, when the governor
commissioned Hon. J. W. Pettitt to visit the president and
protest, in the name of the state, against the execution of the
sentence. President Johnson then commuted their sentence
to imprisonment for life, at hard labor, in the Ohio penitentiary.
Prior to the commutation of the sentence, however, and while
preparations were being made for the execution, a writ of
habeas corpus was sued out, and, the judges of the circuit
court of Indiana being divided in opinion, the case was certified
to the supreme court of the United States in banco. There
the case was most ably and elaborately argued on both sides
and the decision as finally rendered was in favor of the accused,
the court holding in an exhaustive opinion as follows:
"Military commissions, organized during the late Civil war,
in a state not invaded and not engaged in rebellion, in which
the Federal courts were open, and in the proper and unob-
structed exercise of their judicial functions, had no jurisdiction
to try, convict, or sentence, for any criminal offence, a citizen
who was neither a resident of a rebellious state, nor a prisoner
of war, nor a person not in the military or naval service."
Following the decision of the court, an order came from the
president directing the discharge of the prisoners, and thus
ended what was perhaps the most serious incident occurring
in Indiana during the Civil war. A short time prior to the
arrest of the above-mentioned parties, Harrison H. Dodd,
said to be grand commander of the Sons of Liberty in the state,
was arrested upon similar charges, but during the progress
of his trial he escaped from the window of his room and made
his way to Canada.
The outbreak of the war found the government not only
without an army, but without the means to equip it, and out
of this double deficiency grew an army of citizens who not
only needed more care than the government could give, but
who left families dependent upon them needing help which
no government has ever given. In Indiana the most obvious
necessity was the completion of inadequate government supplies,
and the other, but little less obvious, was to supply comforts
which the government could not, or did not attempt to, supply.
The efforts to meet the first led to organizations which, dur-
ing the war, successfully met the second, and the record of
these constitute the history of the State sanitary commission. At
the commencement of the war, the women, with the instinctive
tenderness of their sex, set about supplying head-gear,
called "havelocks," for the three months' troops, and the
governor provided every available comfort of camp-life and
requirement of hospital service, to meet the deficiency of govern-
ment provision. Contributions of clothing, camp equipage,
provisions and hospital necessaries were constantly made to
the soldiers, directly, by their friends, both before they left'
the camp of rendezvous and afterward; but these were more
often mementoes of parental or friendly affection than pro-
vision for anticipated necessities. The first steps were naturally
those in aid of ordinary government supplies. On Aug. 20,
1861, Gov. Morton, then in Washington, telegraphed to the
state officers as follows:

"Urge Maj. Montgomery (then United States quartermaster,
at Indianapolis) to get overcoats of any good material, and
not wait for a public letting. Do have them made at once.
The men are suffering for them, and I am distressed for them.
Perhaps a few thousand can be forwarded at once, by Capt.
In pursuance of these orders, the state officers at once applied
to Quartermaster Montgomery for the overcoats, but he was
not able to furnish them, and an application was made to
Capt. Dickerson at Cincinnati, who promptly sent forward
4,000 in care of Gen. Rosecrans, then in command in western
Virginia. But the want of system, the enormous rush of supplies
during the first months of the war, caused delays and con-
fusions to a most embarrassing extent, and the overcoats were
not very successful in "running the gauntlet"of the overburdened
officers. On Sept. 15, hearing nothing of them, the governor
sent his private secretary to hunt them up, and as there were
a good many "knotty" places where such supplies might be
entangled, he soon after sent the state commissary general,
Asahel Stone, to assist in tracing them. Twelve hundred
were at last discovered and pushed through. Then repeated
and earnest representations of the condition of the men to
the officers concerned in the supply and transportation of the
articles, finally succeeded in rescuing or replacing the remainder
of them. The governor then went to New York and through
the purchasing agent of the state, Hon. Robert Dale Owen,
bought 29,000 overcoats. For a portion he paid the govern-
ment price of $7.75 each, but the demand for that sort of mate-
rial was so great that he could not get the remainder short of
$9.25 each. The quartermaster-general, upon presentation
of the bill, refused to pay more than the regulation price upon
the whole lot, and when notified of this decision the governor
replied: "Indiana will not allow her troops to suffer if it be
in her power to prevent it, and if the general government will
not purchase supplies at these (the current) rates, Indiana
will." And from first to last the important consideration was,
not "will the government pay?" but "what do the men need?"
and what they needed they had, if money and energy could
get it for them.
Overcoats, however, were not the only necessaries lacking.
Gen. Reynolds had reported in October that his men were
without suitable shoes, socks or caps. Blankets, hardly less
indispensable than clothes, were deficient in quantity and
quality, and many articles unknown to the regulations were
needed for both camp and hospital. On Oct. 10, 1861, the
governor issued a proclamation "To the patriotic women of
Indiana," asking them to assist in providing for the men in
the field. In the official report of the quartermaster-general
of the state, made to the governor on May 1, 1862, that officer
alludes to the effect of the proclamation, in the following para-
"This proclamation met with a most cordial response, and
donations to the value of many thousands of dollars were for-
warded. The articles consisted, for the most part, of blankets,
shirts, drawers, socks and mittens, together with sheets, pillows,
pads, bandages, lint and dressing gowns, for hospital uses.
So liberal were these contributions, that I deemed it necessary
in the latter part of the winter, to issue a circular to the effect
that the supply was sufficient, except of mittens and socks.
That deficiency, too, was so far supplied that all subsequent
applications for the articles, with the exception of only two or
three, were filled. The generosity of our citizens in this regard
has added very greatly to the comfort of our troops in the
field and camp, and very probably has saved many valuable
The distribution of the supplies contributed in response to
the governor's appeal suggested the first organized effort of
any state to complete or enlarge the government provision
for the soldiers. The state commissary-general was charged
with the duty of supervising the work, and energetic and humane
gentlemen were sent as agents to the best points to carry it
on. Their expenses and the purchase prices of such additional
supplies as were deemed necessary, were paid out of the military
contingent fund, appropriated by the legislature at the extra
session of the spring of 1861. The duty of these agents, as
set forth in a letter to the quartermaster-general of Ohio, dated
Nov. 26, 1864, was "to render all possible relief to our soldiers,
especially to those who were sick or wounded, whether in transit,
in hospitals, or on the field. Sanitary stores and hospital
supplies, purchased in some cases by the governor, but more
frequently donated by the patriotic people of the state, were
sent to these agents, and by them carefully distributed, the
rule being to first supply our own troops, and then to relieve
them from other states." In addition to this regular pro-
vision of distributing and assisting agents, special agents,
surgeons and nurses were also sent to points where additional
aid was necessary.
The outgrowth of these early efforts was the "General Military
Agency of Indiana," an organization which was "destined to
play so conspicuous a part in the history of the state's share
in the war. It was created by the appointment, by Gov.
Morton, of Dr. William Hannaman, of Indianapolis, a gentle-
man of large business experience, humanity and integrity,
as general military agent, and to him was entrusted the receipt
and distribution of all sanitary supplies, the supervision of
local agencies, and the direction of all matters relating to the
relief of soldiers. Field agents were expected not only to
look after the health and comfort of the men, but to write
letters, to take charge of commissions for them to their friends
and relatives, to see to the burial of the dead, the preservation
of relics, to keep registers of the names of all men in hospitals,
with date of entry, disease or injury, and, in case of death,
the date and cause, with any other information that might
be of interest to relatives and friends. Local agents were
required to make their offices the homes of soldiers; to assist
them in getting transportation in returning home, when they
had no money or government passes; to provide them with
clothing when, as was too often the case, they were ragged
and necessitous; to feed them; to facilitate every proper pur-
pose; to take charge of returning prisoners and provide every-
thing which their destitution demanded; and, in short, to be
careful, affectionate, watchful guardians.
Besides the supervision of subordinate agencies of what-
ever kind, the general agency was charged with the duty of
chartering steamers, when it was deemed necessary after a
battle, to carry the stores, surgeons and nurses that might
be required to the wounded, and to bring home, or to convenient
hospitals, such as might be able or allowed to come. The
first serious battle in which Indiana troops were engaged, that
of Fort Donelson, was the occasion of the commencement of
this humane labor, and it was never intermitted so long as it
was needed.
The duty of the people, through their government or outside
of it, to provide for the families of soldiers, though less onerous,
was not less than that of providing for the soldiers themselves.
Here, as in all else that affected the soldiers' welfare, the watch-
ful care of Gov. Morton saw the necessity, almost before it
had been felt by those it was approaching, and devised the
remedy. On Nov. 14, 1862, he issued an "Appeal to the People
of the State of Indiana," in which the necessities and modes
of relief were so clearly stated that little was left to the people
but to go to work. The experience of the sanitary commission
had settled all questions and the people went to work at once.
The clergy was forcibly appealed to and responded with a
promptitude that expressed how fully their Christian zeal was
prepared to second the suggestions of their patriotism. On
Dec. 1 a letter, signed by all the ministers of the Gospel in
Indianapolis, was sent "to the clergy, county commissioners,
township trustees, and all who were willing to engage in aiding
the families of soldiers," throughout the state, enforcing the
exhortations and suggestions of the governor. The feeling
diffused through the people was rapidly crystallized into action
whenever it found something to gather about, and "soldiers'
aid societies" were formed in every neighborhood, or their
duties were added to those of the auxiliary sanitary associa-
tions. Their agents received and filled applications, visited
the needy, and sought out those whose dislike to seem to be
recipients of charity impelled them either to conceal or dissimulate
their wants. County commissioners made liberal appropria-
tions, and many a project" of improvement, new court houses,
new bridges, better roads, etc., was deferred to the higher
necessity of supporting the dependents of volunteers. It is
very questionable if any nation can exhibit a more creditable
proof of the remedies as well as the power, the will as well as
the wealth of a people, to take from their government a burden
that it could not bear, but which rested, if not lightly, at least
not painfully, upon their own willing shoulders.
In every respect the part which Indiana took in the war
is one of which the citizens of the state may well feel proud.
In the number of troops furnished and in the amount of voluntary
contributions rendered, Indiana, in proportion to population
and wealth, stands equal to any of her sister states. "It is
also a subject of gratitude and thankfulness," said Gov. Morton,
in his message to the legislature, "that, while the number of
troops furnished by Indiana alone in this great contest would
have done credit to a first-class nation, measured by the standard
of previous wars, not a single battery or battalion from this
state has brought reproach upon the national flag, and no
disaster of the war can be traced to any want of fidelity, courage
or efficiency on the part of any Indiana officer. The endur-
ance, heroism, intelligence and skill of the officers and soldiers
sent forth by Indiana to do battle for the Union, have shed
a lustre on our beloved state, of which any people might justly
be proud. Without claiming superiority over our loyal sister
states, it is but justice to the brave men who have represented
us on almost every battle-field of the war, to say that their
deeds have placed Indiana in the front ranks of those heroic
states which rushed to the rescue of the imperiled government
of the nation. The total number of troops furnished by the
state for all terms of service exceeds 200,000 men, much the
greater portion of them being for three years; and in addition
thereto not less than 50,000 state militia have from time to
time been called into active service to repel rebel raids and
defend our southern border from invasion."

See also
Source: The Union Army, vol. 3


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