Indiana Civil War History

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Indiana Civil War History


Indiana became the 19th U.S. state when was admitted to the Union on December 11, 1816.

The history in Indiana, a state in the Midwestern United States, began with migratory tribes of Native Americans who inhabited Indiana as early as 8000 BC. Tribes succeeded one another in dominance for several thousand years and reached their peak of development during the period of Mississippian culture. The region entered recorded history in the 1670s when the first Europeans came to Indiana and claimed the territory for the Kingdom of France. At the conclusion of the French and Indian War and after one hundred years of French rule, the region was claimed by Britain for twenty years. After the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War, the entire trans-Allegheny region, including what is now Indiana, was ceded to the United States.

Indiana Civil War Map
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Indiana Territory (1800--1816)

The United States government divided the trans-Allegheny region into several new territories. The largest of these was the Northwest Territory, which was progressively divided into several smaller territories by the United States Congress. In 1800, the Indiana Territory was the first new territory established from a portion of the Northwest Territory. The territory grew in population and development until it was admitted to the Union in 1816 as the nineteenth state, Indiana. Following statehood, the newly established state government laid out on an ambitious plan to transform Indiana from a segment of the frontier into a developed, well-populated, and thriving state. The state's founders initiated a program that led to the construction of roads, canals, railroads, and state-funded public schools. Despite the noble aims of the project, profligate spending ruined the state's credit. By 1841 the state was near bankruptcy and forced to liquidate most of its public works. During the 1850s, the state's population grew to exceed one million. The ambitious program of its founders was realized as Indiana became the fourth-largest state in terms of population, as measured by the 1860 census.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861-1865), Indiana was run by a Democratic and Southern sympathetic majority in the state legislature. Despite significant anti-war activity in the state and southern Indiana's ancestral ties to the Southern United States, it did not secede from the Union. It was, however, by the actions of Governor Oliver Morton, who illegally borrowed millions of dollars to finance the army, that Indiana could contribute so greatly to the war effort. Morton suppressed the state legislature with the help of the Republican minority to prevent it from assembling during 1861 and 1862. This prevented any chance the Democrats might have had to interfere with the war effort or to attempt to secede from the Union.

Indiana, a free state and the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln, remained a member of the Union during the Civil War. Indiana regiments were involved in all the major engagements of the war and almost all the engagements in the western theater. Residents of Indiana, also known as Hoosiers, were present in the first and last battles of the war. During the war, Indiana provided 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery, and 13 regiments of cavalry to the cause of the Union. The state also experienced two minor raids by Confederate forces and one major raid in 1863, which caused a brief panic in southern portions of the state and in the capital city, Indianapolis.

In the initial call to arms issued in 1861, Indiana was assigned a quota of 4,683 men to join the Union Army in suppressing the Southern rebellion. In the Federal government's subsequent calls for troops during the Civil War, Indiana met each call with fervor and enthusiasm. The state met each Union quota and also raised numerous state units, including militia, guard, reserve, and independent. Before the war ended, Indiana contributed 208,367 men to fight and serve in the war. Casualties were high among these men: 24,416 lost their lives in the conflict and over 50,000 more were wounded.

The U.S. Civil War altered Indiana's society, politics, and economy, beginning a population shift northward and leading to a decline in the population of the southern part of the state. Wartime tariffs led to an increase in the population's standard of living and encouraged the growth of industry in the state.

The conflict had a major impact on the development of Indiana. Before the war, the population was generally in the south of the state where easy access to the Ohio River provided a cheap and convenient means to export products and agriculture to New Orleans to be sold. The war closed the Mississippi River to traffic for nearly four years, forcing Indiana to find other means to export its produce. This led to a population shift to the north where the state came to rely more on the Great Lakes and the railroad for exports.


Slavery in Indiana occurred between the time of French rule during late seventeenth century and 1826, with a few traces of slavery afterward. When the United States first took control of the region, slavery was accepted as a necessity to keep peace with the Indians and the French. When the Indiana Territory was established in 1800, William Henry Harrison, a former slaveholder, was appointed governor and slavery continued to be tolerated through a series of laws enacted by the appointed legislature.

Opposition against slavery began to organize in Indiana around 1805, and in 1809 abolitionists took control of the territorial legislature and overturned many of the laws permitting slave ownership. By the time Indiana was granted statehood in 1816, the abolitionists were in firm control and slavery was banned in the constitution. In 1820, an Indiana Supreme Court ruling in Polly v. Lasselle freed all the remaining slaves in the state. Expediting an end to indentured servitude was an additional Supreme Court ruling in 1821 that freed indentured servant Mary Bateman Clark.

With the end of slavery in the state, Indiana became a border state with the Southern slave states. Hoosiers like Levi Coffin played an important role in the Underground Railroad that helped many slaves escape from the South. Indiana, during the American Civil War, remained anti-slavery and loyal to the Union.

Indiana Civil War Map
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Indiana Slavery Map

Secession Crisis

Although winning only 40% of the vote nationwide in 1860, Abraham Lincoln won Indiana's 13 electoral votes with 51.09% of the vote statewide, compared to Stephen Douglas's 42.44%, John Breckenridge's 4.52%, and John Bell's 1.95%.

Due to their location across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, the Indiana cities of Jeffersonville, New Albany, and Port Fulton saw increased trade and military activity. Some of this increase was due to Kentucky's desire to stay neutral in the war. In addition, Kentucky was home to many Confederate sympathizers, and bases were needed for Union operations against Confederates in Kentucky. Militarily, it was safer to store war supplies in towns on the north side of the Ohio River. Camp Joe Holt was established between Jeffersonville and New Albany in what is the present-day visitor's center of the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana. Towards the end of the war, Port Fulton was home to the third-largest hospital in the United States, Jefferson General Hospital, which was built on land confiscated from expelled U.S. Senator and Confederate sympathizer Jesse D. Bright.

In 1861, when Kentucky governor Beriah Magoffin refused an order to allow pro-Union forces to mobilize in his state—he issued a similar order regarding Confederate forces—Indiana governor Morton issued orders allowing loyal Kentuckians to join Indiana regiments. Many Kentucky troops, especially from the city of Louisville, joined Hoosier regiments at Camp Joe Holt. Morton repeatedly came to the military rescue of Kentucky's pro-Union government during the war and became known as the "Governor of Indiana and Kentucky." Morton also was called the "Soldier’s Friend" because he organized the General Military Agency of Indiana, the Soldiers' Home, Ladies' Home, and Orphans' Home to help meet the needs of Indiana's soldiers and their families. Morton also established an arsenal in Indianapolis to supply the Indiana Militia, Home Guard, and the Federal government.

The Civil War era showed the extent of Southern influence on Indiana. Much of southern and central Indiana had strong ties to the South. Many of the region's early settlers had come from the Confederate state of Virginia and from Kentucky. Indiana and Kentucky always had a special friendship, and the Hoosiers were influenced by the actions of the Kentucky government, which attempted to stay neutral in the beginning stages of the war. Governor Morton wrote to President Abraham Lincoln that no other free state was so populated with Southerners, and they kept Morton from being as forceful against secession as he wanted to be.

Indiana Senator Jesse D. Bright had been a leader among the Indiana Democratic Party for several years prior to the outbreak of the war. In 1862, Bright was expelled from the United States Senate on allegations of disloyalty. He had written a letter to "His Excellency, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederation", in which Bright offered the services of a friend to sell the South firearms. As of 2011, he was the last senator to be expelled from the Senate. Bright was replaced with a pro-Union Democrat, former governor Joseph A. Wright.

Indiana and Secession of States Map
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Indiana Secession Map

Technically, not all of Indiana remained in the Union during the war. Boggstown and the rest of Sugar Creek Township in Shelby County, twenty miles southeast of Indianapolis, voted to secede from the Union on February 16, 1861. However, the only value the South received from this secession was a brief piece of propaganda. A movement to rescind the secession resolution arose in 1961, but the measure repealing the secession never passed.

While not particularly numerous, some Hoosiers chose to fight for the South. Most traveled to Kentucky to join Confederate regiments formed in that state. Sgt. Henry L. Stone of Greencastle rode with John Hunt Morgan when he raided Indiana. The exact number of Hoosiers to serve in Confederate armies is unknown, but there are numerous references to such men. Former U.S. Army officer Francis A. Shoup briefly led the Indianapolis Zouave militia, but left for Florida prior to the start of the war and ultimately become a Confederate brigadier general. See also Indiana in the American Civil War: A History.


On April 21, 1861, Morton called a special session of the Indiana General Assembly to allow him to raise additional regiments for service in the Union Army. Initially the legislature, which was controlled by the Democratic Party, was supportive of his measures and passed the legislation Morton requested. After the legislature adjourned in May, the Indiana Daily Sentinel newspaper and some prominent Democrats in the state changed their opinion of the war. The Sentinel ran anti-war articles, including one entitled "Let Them Go In Peace". The Democratic position was clarified at a state convention in the summer of 1862. The convention was chaired by Thomas Hendricks, and convention members stated that they supported the integrity of the Union and the war effort but opposed the abolition of slavery.

Indiana Civil War Soldiers
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20th Indiana Battery outside Chattanooga, TN, 1864

During 1862, Morton never called the Indiana General Assembly into session. Morton feared the legislature's Democratic majority would attempt to hinder the war effort and could vote to secede from the Union. He issued secret instructions to Republican legislators, asking them to stay away from the capitol to prevent the General Assembly from attaining the quorum needed for the body to meet on its own. Because Morton did not allow the General Assembly to meet, no budget or tax provisions were passed. This rapidly led to a crisis as Indiana ran out of money to conduct business, and the state was on the edge of bankruptcy. Going beyond his constitutional powers, Morton solicited millions of dollars in private loans. His move to subvert the legislature was successful, and Morton was able privately to fund the state government and the war effort in Indiana. In one notable incident, Morton had soldiers disrupt a Democratic state convention in an incident that would latter be referred to as the Battle of Pogue's Run. Morton urged pro-war Democrats to abandon their party in the name of unity for the duration of the war.

Indiana's political problems worsened after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Many of the formerly pro-war Democrats moved to openly oppose the war. The same year, Morton began a crackdown on dissidents. While most of the state was decidedly pro-Union, a group of Southern sympathizers known as the Sons of the Golden Circle had a strong presence in northern Indiana. This group proved enough of a distraction that General Lew Wallace, commander of Union forces in the region, had to spend considerable time fighting their activities. By June 1863, the group was successfully broken up by Wallace and Morton. Many Golden Circle members were arrested without formal charges, the pro-Confederate press was prevented from printing anti-war material, and the writ of habeas corpus was denied to anyone suspected of disloyalty. Confederate special agent Thomas Hines went to French Lick in June 1863, seeking support for Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's eventual raid into Indiana. Hines met with Sons of Liberty "major general" William A. Bowles, inquiring if Bowles could offer any support for Morgan's upcoming raid. Bowles told Hines he could raise a force of 10,000, but before the deal was finalized, Hines was told a Union force was approaching, causing him to flee. As a result, there would be no support for Morgan's Raid by Bowles, which caused Morgan to treat harshly anyone in Indiana who claimed to be sympathetic to the Confederacy.

In reaction to his actions cracking down on dissent, the Indiana Democratic Party called Morton a "Dictator" and an "Underhanded Mobster" while Republicans countered that the Democrats were using "treasonable and obstructionist tactics in the conduct of the war". Large-scale support for the Confederacy among Golden Circle members and Southern Hoosiers in general fell away after Morgan's Raid, when Confederate raiders ransacked many homes bearing the banners of the Golden Circle despite their proclaimed support for the Confederates. After that, said Confederate Colonel Basil W. Duke, "The Copperheads and Vallandighammers fought harder than the others" against Morgan's Raiders. When Hoosiers failed to rise in large numbers in support of Morgan's Raid, Morton slowed his crackdown on Confederate sympathizers, theorizing that because they had failed to come to Morgan's aid in large numbers, they would similarly fail to come to the aid of a larger invasion.

Smuggling into Confederate territory was common in the early days of the war, when the Union Army had not yet pushed the front lines far to the south of the Ohio River. The towns of New Albany and Jeffersonville were pressured by the Cincinnati Daily Gazette to stop trading with the South, especially with Louisville, as Kentucky’s proclaimed neutrality was perceived as Southern-leaning. A fraudulent steamboat company was set up to go between Madison and Louisville, with its boat, the Masonic Gem, making regular trips to Confederate ports for trade. Throughout the war, New Albany and Jeffersonville were the origin of many Northern goods smuggled into the Confederacy.

Civil War

According to the 1860 U.S. census, Indiana, a free state, had a population of 1,350,428.

During the Civil War, the State of Indiana ranked 5th (behind New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois) in total soldiers serving in the Union military.
Total Indiana Civil War units and regiments
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Phisterer (1883), Indiana Union military units during the Civil War

The Union Army (1908) states, "The contribution of men from the state of Indiana to the military service of the United States from the beginning of the war to Jan. 1, 1865, after which date no further calls were made, was as follows, according to the official report of the adjutant-general: Commissioned officers at original organization, 6,293; non-commissioned officers and musicians at original organization, 1,112; enlisted men, privates, at original organization, 137,401; recruits, privates, 35,836; unassigned recruits, regular army, etc., 16,007; total, 196,649; re-enlisted veterans, 11,718; grand total, 208,367. Of these, 24,418 were killed or died of disease, 10,846 deserted, and 13,779 were unaccounted for. During the war the following numbers of organizations were raised in the state and mustered into the service of the United States for various periods: Cavalry — for three years' service and over, 3 regiments; for three years' service, 10 regiments; for one year's service, 1 company; total, 13 regiments and 1 company. Heavy artillery — for three years' service and over, 1 regiment. Light artillery — for three years' service and over, 11 batteries; for three years' service, 14 batteries; for one year's service, 1 battery; total, 26 batteries. Infantry — for three years' service and over, 40 regiments; for three years' service, 42 regiments; for three years' service, 1 regiment colored troops; for one year's service, 18 regiments and 5 companies; for six months' service, 4 regiments; for one hundred days' service, 8 regiments; for three months' service, 8 regiments; for sixty days' service, 6 companies; for thirty days' service, 2 regiments and 5 companies; total, 123 regiments and 16 companies. Grand total — 137 regiments, 17 companies and 26 batteries. 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." Statistician Dyer, however, recorded the aggregate number of troops provided by Indiana at 196,363, which was also the exact total number of men furnished by the Hoosier State for the course of the Civil War, according to Phisterer. The difference between the totals may be attributed to the methodology used by The Union Army (1908), which included adding paid commutations, reenlistments (viewed as double counts), and also troops which served or enlisted in other states. See also The Union Army: Indiana in the American Civil War (1861-1865).
An accurate total count of soldiers and sailors from any state is complex, because sailors, marines, and blacks or coloreds were often not counted, and many soldiers reenlisted and were counted a second time (and sometimes third, etc.) for the state, known as a double count, thus skewing the state's numbers. An accurate total casualty count is also complicated because some states counted its contributions to the U.S. Army (aka U.S. Volunteers), state militia, national guard, independent commands, soldiers who enlisted in units from other states (who were sometimes claimed and counted by two states), reserve units, home guard, and even miscellaneous units (or units not classified). Many missing in action soldiers were indicated as killed in action, while some were located years after the Civil War tending the family farm at their new residence in another state.

Indiana Civil War infantry, artillery, and cavalry
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Phisterer, Indiana Union infantry, artillery, and cavalry

Indiana in the Civil War
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Indiana total Civil War soldiers serving in the Union Army

(Above) Acclaimed Civil War statistician Frederick Phisterer states the total number of men from Indiana that served in the Union military. The total, however, doesn't account for the Hoosiers who served in the Federal Navy and Marines. (Right) The table doesn't account for state or militia units, reserve organizations, independent commands, and misc. companies and other units. Phisterer, Frederick. Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States (1883).
Lincoln, in his initial Call For Troops, requested that Indiana provide 4,683 men for the Union Army and to assist in suppressing the rebellion in the Southern states. During the four year Civil War, Indiana contributed some 200,000 men to the United States Army, an additional 1,078 served in the Navy and Marines, and the state furnished 1,537 colored troops to the Union Army, according to Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1908). Indiana soldiers suffered the following casualties while serving in the Union Army: 26,672 total deaths, and more than 50,000 were wounded. Dyer states that the fatalities for the state were as follows: killed and mortally wounded 7,243; died of disease 16,663; died as prisoners-of-war 1,152; deaths from accidents 791; deaths from all causes except battle 853. See also Total Union and Confederate Casualties.

Most of the soldiers from Indiana were volunteers, and 11,718 men reenlisted at least once. The state only turned to conscription towards the end of the war, and a relatively small total of 3003 men were drafted. These volunteers and conscripts allowed the state to supply the Union with 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery, and 13 regiments of cavalry. There were 46 general officers in the Union army who had resided in Indiana at some point in their lives.

Some notable Hoosiers include: Union Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace. Initially, with the rank of colonel, Wallace commanded the 11th Indiana Infantry, and in July 1864, as a major general, Wallace was defeated by a much larger Confederate force at the Battle of Monocacy, but his loss had delayed the Confederates rapid advance on Washington. While engaged at Monocacy, Union reinforcements were en route to the nation's ill-defended capitol. Monocacy had therefore been deemed the Battle That Saved Washington. After the Civil War, Wallace wrote the best selling historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). Union Brig. Gen. James Henry Lane (not to be confused with Confederate general James Henry Lane). Lane was a career military officer and politician, but sadly, shortly after the war, he committed suicide. Union Brevet Maj. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to Confederate president Jefferson Davis). Although Davis initially commanded various Indiana units, he later commanded a division. Although Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside was born in Liberty, Indiana, his namesake, Burnside, is one of the most recognized names of the Civil War. Burnside had commanded the Army of the Ohio as well as the Army of the Potomac during some of the most intensive fighting of the war, including Antietam Campaign, Battle of Fredericksburg, Overland Campaign (Battle of the Wilderness, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Battle of North Anna, Battle of Cold Harbor), Siege of Petersburg, and the Union's disastrous performance at the Battle of the Crater. As a result of the Crater, Burnside was assigned blame and removed from command. The United States Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War later exonerated Burnside, and placed the blame for the Union defeat at the Crater on General Meade. First Lieutenant Ambrose Bierce served in the 9th Indiana Infantry and later wrote his nationally acclaimed memoir, "What I Saw of Shiloh". While Bierce was last seen in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico, on or about December 26, 1913, his death and whereabouts remain a mystery.

Indiana Civil War Map of Battlefields
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Indiana Civil War Battle Map

Indiana was the first state in what was then considered the American Northwest to mobilize for the Civil War. News of the attack on Fort Sumter, which began the war, reached Indiana on April 12, 1861. On the next day, two mass meetings were held in the state and the state's position was decided: Indiana would remain in the Union and would immediately contribute men to suppress the rebellion. On April 14, Governor Oliver P. Morton (1861-1867) issued a call to arms in order to raise men to meet the quota set by President Abraham Lincoln. Indiana had the fifth-largest population of any state that remained in the Union, and was important for its agricultural yield which became even more valuable to the Union after the loss of the rich farmland of the South. These factors made Indiana critical to the Union's success.

More than 60% of Indiana's regiments were mustered and trained in Indianapolis, the state capital. The state government financed a large portion of the costs involved, including barracking, feeding, and equipping the soldiers prior to their being sent as reinforcements to the standing Union armies. Indiana also maintained a state-owned arsenal in Indianapolis that served the Indiana home guard and as a reserve supply depot for the Union Army.

Abraham Lincoln established one of the United States' first national cemeteries, New Albany National Cemetery, for the war dead in New Albany, Indiana. Port Fulton, Indiana, in present-day Jeffersonville, was home to the third-largest Union military hospital, Jefferson General Hospital. Indianapolis was the site of Camp Morton, one of the Union's largest prisons for captured Confederate soldiers, with Lafayette, Richmond, and Terre Haute occasionally holding prisoners of war as well.

Many of Indiana's 137 regiments served with distinction in the war. The regiments each consisted of approximately 1,500 men when formed, but as their numbers declined due to casualties, smaller regiments were merged. The first six regiments mustered at the start of the war were enlisted for six months and were put into action in the western theater. Their short terms of service and few numbers were inadequate for the task of fighting the war, and by the end of 1861, Indiana fielded an additional sixty-five regiments whose men enlisted for terms of three years. These three-year regiments were employed in large part in the western theater. As the war progressed, another forty-eight regiments were mustered in 1862, with about half being sent to the eastern theater, and the other half remaining in the west. During 1863, eighteen regiments were raised to replace the casualties of the first two years' fighting. During Morgan's Raid of that year, ten temporary regiments were created and enlisted for terms of three months apiece, but disbanded once the threat posed by Morgan was gone. The last twenty-five regiments created in the state were mustered in 1864, and served until the end of the war. Most of Indiana's regiments were mustered out and disbanded by the end of 1864 as fighting declined, but some continued in service. The 13th Regiment Indiana Cavalry was the last regiment from the state to be mustered out of the U.S. Army, leaving service on November 10, 1865.

During the conflict, the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment served as part of the famed Iron Brigade, and made critical contributions to some of the most important engagements of the war, including the Second Battle of Bull Run, but was nearly decimated in the Battle of Gettysburg. The 19th, furthermore, was one of the few regiments in the Union Army that fought in two battles and during each engagement lost greater than 50% of its troops engaged. According to Fox's Regimental Losses, the 19th lost 259 of the 423 (61.2%) engaged at Bull Run, and later suffered 160 casualties of the 288 (55.5%) engaged in the struggle at Gettysburg. See also Ten Bloodiest, Deadliest, and Costliest Battles of the Civil War.

Fox indicated that only 45 Union infantry regiments suffered more than 200 battle deaths during the four year war. (Most soldiers died of disease and not battle.) Although the 20th Indiana Infantry was the only unit from Indiana on the list, for it suffered a total of 201 in killed and mortally wounded, it lost and additional 113 from disease, and the regiment's total casualty rate, including wounded, was 771. The total casualties for the 20th Indiana were the highest of any unit for the state, followed by the 19th Indiana, for it had suffered 199 in killed and mortally wounded, another 119 succumbed to disease, and the total casualties for the unit were 712. (Not counted in the 19th's total was an additional 126 captured and missing.)

The 14th Indiana Infantry Regiment, also called the Gallant Fourteenth, was another notable Indiana regiment. In the Battle of Gettysburg, it was the regiment that secured Cemetery Hill on the first day of the three-day fight and prevented the possible destruction of the Union Army. Another famous regiment was the 9th Indiana Infantry Regiment, which fought in many major battles and was among the first Hoosier regiments to see action in the war.

The 28th Indiana Colored Infantry Regiment was formed on March 31, 1864, at Camp Fremont in Indianapolis near what is now the Fountain Square district. It was the only black regiment formed in Indiana during the war and lost 212 men during the conflict. The regiment signed on for 36 months, but the war was effectively over in fewer than eleven months from their enlistment, cutting the regiment's length of service short.

The last casualty of the Civil War was a Hoosier of the 34th Regiment Indiana Infantry. Private John J. Williams died at the Battle of Palmito Ranch, Texas, on May 13, 1865. See also Indiana in the American Civil War: A History.

Indiana Civil War Map of Battles
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(Map) Morgan's Raid through Indiana

Map of Indiana's Civil War Battlefields
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(Map) Morgan's Raid through Indiana

(About) Although Morgan's Raid caused quite a stir throughout the North, John Hunt Morgan was killed while raiding in Tennessee on September 4, 1864.

Indiana Civil War Regiments and Units
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One of a handful of Indiana's "Fighting Regiments"

Indiana Infantry Regiment
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30th Indiana Regiment suffered the greatest number in killed and dead

(About) While there were fifteen Indiana regiments included in William F. Fox's Three Hundred Fighting Regiments of the Army, only one regiment from the state was numbered among the forty-five Union units to have suffered at least 200 in killed or mortally wounded during the Civil War. In his chapter on Fighting Regiments, Fox* strictly emphasized the combat or battle related deaths sustained by the regiments, so, for instance, when his figure shows, "Total of killed and wounded, 511," he intentionally excluded the 275 noncombat related deaths by disease, in prison, or from accidents and all other causes. The Twentieth Indiana suffered 201 killed or mortally wounded—which was the greatest number of fighting related deaths for any single unit from Indiana. Killed, as stated by Fox, herein, included only killed-in-action or died of wounds. Fox, not being remiss, does however dedicate other chapters to those who died from nonbattle related deaths. Notwithstanding, when compared to all other Indiana units serving or fighting during the conflict, these two infantry regiments, Thirtieth (412 total deaths) and Thirty-eighth (411 dead), sustained the most deaths, battle and noncombat, meaning the greatest total number in killed or mortally wounded, died of disease, accidents, while in prison, or deaths from all other causes, including suicide. The stated chapter, for noted reasons, also does not show the regiments or units which suffered the greatest number of losses in killed and wounded. But for the Hoosier State, that distinction also belongs to the Twentieth Indiana, which suffered a total of 771 in killed and wounded. The Twentieth lost 201 in killed or mortally wounded and another 113 died of disease, in prison, from accidents, etc. Its total deaths was 314 and wounded 457, making a grand total of 771 casualties. Fox, William F. Regimental Losses In The American Civil War 1861-1865. Albany: Albany Publishing Company. 1889.

Morgan's Raid

Indiana regiments were present on most battlefields of the Civil War and saw much fighting outside of the state. Only one significant conflict, which caused a brief panic in Indianapolis and southern Indiana, occurred on Indiana soil during the war.

Confederate officer Adam Johnson briefly captured Newburgh, Indiana, on July 18, 1862, during the Newburgh Raid. Johnson convinced the Union troops garrisoning the town that he had cannon on the surrounding hills, when in fact they were merely camouflaged stovepipes. The raid convinced the Federal government that it was necessary to supply Indiana with a permanent force of regular Union Army soldiers to counter future raids.

The one major incursion into Indiana by the Confederate Army was Morgan's Raid. The raid occurred in July 1863 and was a Confederate cavalry offensive by troops under the command of Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan. In preparation for Morgan's planned raid, Hines' Raid, a minor incursion, was carried out by troops under Thomas Hines in June 1863.

On July 8, 1863, Morgan crossed the Ohio River at Mauckport, Indiana, with 2,400 Confederate cavalry. His landing was initially contested by a small party of the Indiana Legion, who withdrew when Morgan began firing artillery from the southern shore of the river. The militia quickly retreated towards Corydon, where a larger body of militia was gathering to block Morgan's advance. Morgan advanced rapidly on Corydon and fought the Battle of Corydon. After a short, fierce fight, Morgan took command of high ground south of the town. Corydon promptly surrendered after Morgan's artillery fired two warning shots into the town from the high ground. The town was sacked, but little damage was done to buildings in the town. As a result of the battle, Morgan suffered 11 killed and 40 wounded, and the Federals lost 4 killed, 12 wounded, and 355 from the Indiana Legion were captured by the Confederates. Morgan continued his raid by moving northward and burning most of the town of Salem.

His movements appeared to be a charge at Indianapolis, and panic spread throughout the capital. Governor Morton had called up the state militia as soon as Morgan's intention to cross into the state was known and at least 60,000 men of all ages offered their assistance to repel Morgan's Raid. After destroying Salem, Morgan, however, swiftly continued raiding and pillaging his way toward the Indiana-Ohio border, leaving Indiana through West Harrision on July 13, thus ending Indiana's only military confrontation of the war. Morgan had considered attacking Camp Morton in Indianapolis to free more than 5,000 Confederate prisoners-of-war, but decided against it

The Hoosiers had fought in many of the major battles and campaigns of the Civil War, and the state's casualty rate indicates that the men had defended, fought, and died for the Union with the same zeal and loyalty of any other Northern state. 

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 endurance, 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."

Camp Morton Prison, ca. 1864
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Union Prisoner-of-War Camp Morton, near Indianapolis

Camp Morton

Camp Morton, also known as Camp Morton Prison, was a Union prisoner-of-war camp located in Indianapolis, Indiana, during the Civil War. It was named for Indiana governor Oliver Morton, who was the governor of Indiana during the War. It lasted from 1861-1865. Originally intended to simply be a training ground, after the Battle of Shiloh the former home of the Indiana State Fair became one of more important prisoner-of-war camps. Not a trace of the camp remains, but Confederates who died while prisoners are buried nearby in Indianapolis' Crown Hill Cemetery.

After the removal of United States forces occupying Fort Sumter, Morton volunteered to President Abraham Lincoln 10,000 Indiana troops to invade the South. Morton looked for a place to train these new recruits. He chose the ground of the then-new Indiana State Fairgrounds, naming the facility Camp Morton, after himself. It had previously been Henderson's Grove, after Samuel Henderson, the first mayor of Indianapolis. It was a 36-acre tract north of the city. Its borders were loosely the present-day roads of 19th Street, Central Avenue, 22nd Street, and Talbott Street. Alabama St. runs through the center of what was the camp.

In a span of two days, the fairgrounds were quickly converted to a military facility. The barracks were cattle and horse stalls. The hospital was originally the power hall. The guardhouses were converted offices. The first recruits arrived at the facility on April 17, 1861, four days after the surrender at Fort Sumter. Originally the facility had difficulties accommodating so many men and the necessary equipment, tents, and food to support them, but in a few weeks order was eventually established. The soldiers had to bathe in Fall Creek. Many residents of Indianapolis saw the camp as a center of attraction.

After the fall of Fort Donelson on February 15, 1862, near present-day Clarksville, Tennessee, Governor Morton informed Union general Henry W. Halleck that Camp Morton could hold 3,000 Confederate prisoners. On February 22, more than 3,700 Confederate prisoners arrived at the camp. Having arrived from battle, the Confederate soldiers lacked adequate food and clothing, and unaccustomed to Northern winters, the death rate among the unfortunate Confederate prisoners was high. March 1862 witnessed the deaths of 144 prisoners.

The period from 1863 to the parole of the last prisoner on June 12, 1865, saw an average prison population of 3,214 and 50 deaths per month, with the maximums for each figure being 4,999 and 133 respectively. During its existence, it was reported that Camp Morton detained 12,082 prisoners and 1,763, or 14.6%, died.

Indiana, Border States, and Sectionalism Map
Indiana and the US Civil War Map.jpg
Indiana and the US Civil War Map


News of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender reached Indianapolis at 11 p.m. on April 9, 1865. The Indianapolis Journal called the subsequent celebrations within the city "demented". The celebrations ceased after news of the assassination of Lincoln arrived on April 15. Lincoln's funeral train passed through the capital city on April 30, and 100,000 people attended his bier at the Indiana State House.

Before the Civil War, rural, agricultural Indiana had only a few small industries. After the war manufacturing expanded greatly, especially in the city of Indianapolis. Following the war, Indiana industry began to grow at an accelerated rate across the northern part of the state. With industrialization, workers developed labor unions and suffrage movements arose in relation to the progress of women. The Indiana Gas Boom led to rapid industrialization during the late 19th century by providing cheap fuel to the region. In the early 20th century, Indiana developed into a strong manufacturing state with ties to the new auto industry. Haynes-Apperson, the nation's first commercially successful auto company, operated in Kokomo until 1925. The construction of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the start of auto-related industries were also related to the auto industry boom.


The Civil War forever altered Indiana’s economy. Before the war, New Albany was the largest city in the state, primarily due to its commerce with the South. More than 50% of the wealthiest Hoosiers had lived in New Albany at the start of the war. Trade with the South dwindled during the war, and after the war much of Indiana saw New Albany as too friendly to the South. New Albany’s formerly robust industry building steamboats for Southern trade ended in 1870. The last steamboat built in New Albany was named the Robert E. Lee. The city never regained its pre-war stature, the population leveling at 40,000 people, and only its antebellum, early-Victorian Mansion-Row remains from its boom period.

The war caused Indiana's industry to grow exponentially. The shift in population to the central and northern portions of the state was accelerated as new industry and cities began to develop around the Great Lakes and the railroad depots created during the war. In the north, Colonel Eli Lilly, an officer from the war, founded Eli Lilly and Company which grew into the state's largest corporation. Charles Conn, another war veteran, founded C.G. Conn Ltd. in Elkhart which gave rise to a new industry there, building musical instruments. Indianapolis was also the wartime home of Doctor Richard Gatling, who invented the Gatling Gun, one of the world's first machine guns, in the city. However, it was not officially approved by the United States government until after the war, in August 1866. In contrast to the growing industrial power of central and northern Indiana, Southern Indiana remained largely agricultural for another 40 years.


When the war ended, the state's Democrats were upset over their treatment during the war. The Democratic Party in Indiana staged a quick comeback, and Indiana became the first state after the Civil War to elect a Democratic governor. Thomas Hendricks' rise to office initiated a period of Democratic control that reversed many of the political gains made by the Republican Party during the war.

Indiana's Senators were strong supporters of the radical Reconstruction plans proposed by Congress. Both Oliver Morton (who was elected to the Senate after his term as governor) and Senator Schuyler Colfax voted in favor of the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. Morton was especially disappointed in Congress' failure to remove him.

When the South returned to firm Democratic control at the end of the 1870s, Indiana, which was closely split between the parties, became a key swing state that often decided the balance of power in Congress and the Presidency. Almost every presidential election between the Civil War and World War I included one or more Hoosiers as national political parties tried to win the support of Indiana's electorate. In 1888, while at the height of the state's post-war political influence, Benjamin Harrison was elected President, the first Hoosier to assume the office.

Indiana Civil War Map of Battles and Battlefields
High Resolution Map of Indiana.jpg
High Resolution Map of Indiana


More than half the state's households contributed one or more members to fight in the war. This made the effects of the conflict widely felt throughout the state. After the war, veterans programs were initiated to help wounded soldiers with housing, food, and other basic needs. Orphanages and asylums were established to help the wives and children of the war dead. In terms of the war dead, more Hoosiers died in the Civil War than in any other conflict. Although twice as many men were mustered in World War II, more than twice as many Hoosiers died in the Civil War. The tariffs on imported goods put in place during the war increased the profits on most of Indiana's domestically produced goods. This led to a higher standard of living for many Hoosiers in rural Indiana.

The 1870s saw the beginning of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Indiana. Suffrage legislation was introduced in the Indiana General Assembly during the term of Governor Thomas Hendricks, but the bill was defeated. The decade also saw the start of the Prohibition Movement and the founding of many temperance organizations. In the immediate aftermath of the war, many localities banned the sale or production of liquors. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in downtown Indianapolis was built to honor the Indiana veterans of the Civil War. The construction began in 1888 after two decades of discussion and was finally completed in 1901.

*It is not claimed that these are the Three Hundred Fighting Regiments of the Army; but, that they are three hundred regiments which evidently did considerable fighting. There were, undoubtedly, others which did equally good or, perhaps, better fighting, and their gallant services will be fully recognized by the writers who are conversant with their history. But, for lack of other information, this chapter deals only with those which sustained the heaviest losses in battle. It includes every regiment in the Union Armies which lost over 130 in killed and died of wounds during the war, together with a few whose losses were somewhat smaller, but whose percentage of killed entitles them to a place in the list. It may be suggested that large casualty lists are not necessarily indicative of the fighting qualities of a regiment; that on many occasions regiments have rendered valuable service and achieved a brilliant success with but slight loss. Granted, as regards some particular action or instance; but, in the long run active service brings its many scars; where the musketry was the hottest, the dead lay thickest; and there is no better way to find the fighting regiments than to follow up the bloody trail which marked their brave advance. Fox, William F. Regimental Losses In The American Civil War 1861-1865. Albany: Albany Publishing Company. 1889.

See also

Sources: Library of Congress; National Archives; National Park Service; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; US Census Bureau; The Union Army (1908); Fox, William F. Regimental Losses in the American Civil War (1889); Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1908); Phisterer, Frederick. Statistical record of the armies of the United States (1883); Hardesty, Jesse. Killed and died of wounds in the Union army during the Civil War (1915) Wright-Eley Co.; Baxter, Nancy Niblack (1995). Gallant Fourteenth: The Story of an Indiana Civil War Regiment. Emmis Books. ISBN 0-9617367-8-X; Bodenhamer, David (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-31222-1; Coulter, Merton (1916). Effects of Secession Upon the Commerce of the Mississippi Valley. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review; Eicher, David (2001). The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-1846-9; English, William Hayden (1896). Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778–1783, and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark.  Indianapolis: Bowen-Merrill; Farwell, Bryon (2001). The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-century Land Warfare. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-04770-9; Findling, John (2003). A History of New Albany, Indiana. Indiana University Southeast; Foote, Shelby (1963). The Civil War: A Narrative. II. New York: Random House. p. 680. ISBN 0-394-74621-X; Foulke, William D. (1899). Life of Oliver P. Morton. Bowen-Merrill Company; Funk, Arville Lynn (1961). An Ohio farmer's account of Morgan's Raid. Rochester, Indiana: Christian Book Press; Funk, Arville L (1967). Hoosiers In The Civil War. Chicago: Adams Press. ISBN 0-9623292-5-8; Funk, Arville L (1969, revised 1983). A Sketchbook of Indiana History. Rochester, Indiana: Christian Book Press; Gray, Ralph D. (1995). Indiana History: A Book of Readings. Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32629-X; Greve, Charles. (1904). Centennial History of Cincinnati and Representative Citizens. Biographical Pub. Co.; Holliday, John. (1911). Indianapolis and the Civil War. E. J. Hecker; Horan, James D. (1954). Confederate Agent: A Discovery in History. Crown Publishers; Kramer, Carl (2007). This Place We Call Home. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34850-0; Miller, Cicil (1938). Forgotten Chapter in Lafayette's Civil War history brought to light. Federal Writers' Project; Rhodes, James Ford. (1904) History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850. MacMillan Publishing. New York; Morton, Oliver P. (1876). Oliver P. Morton, of Indiana: Sketch of His Life and Public Services. Journal Co., printers; Sarles, Jane (2002). Clarksville, Indiana. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-1918-9; Sharp, Walter (1920). Henry S. Lane and the Formation of the Republican Party in Indiana. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review; Shelby County Historical Society Staff (1992). Shelby County, Indiana. Turner Publishing Company. ISBN 1-56311-078-4; Miller, Harold (1938). Industrial Development of New Albany, Indiana. Economic Geography.


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