Indiana in the Civil War

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Indiana and the Civil War (1861-1865)
Indiana (1861-1865), part 1

The ante-war sentiment of the people of Indiana was decid-
edly peaceful. The second of the great commonwealths erected
in the Northwest Territory, in which slavery was forbidden
by the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787, the institution
which gave rise to bitter sectional feeling and threatened a
crisis in national affairs, was not permitted to exist within the
confines of the state. Upon its organization and admission
into the Union, the people of Indiana perfected a complete
establishment of the principles of human freedom and con-
sistently adhered to them throughout the turbulent decades
that followed. But the trend of events was such as to arouse
grave fears in the minds of the patriotic and observing citizens,
and notes of alarm were frequently sounded by leaders of
thought and action. An item of significance in this connection
is the following language in the message of Gov. Ray to the
legislature of 1828: "Since our last separation, while we have
witnessed with anxious solicitude the belligerent operations
of another hemisphere, the cross contending against the cres-
cent, and the prospect of a general rupture among the legiti-
mates of other quarters of the globe, our attention has been
arrested by proceedings in our own country truly dangerous
to liberty, seriously premeditated, and disgraceful to its authors
if agitated only to tamper with the American people. If
such experiments as we see attempted in certain deluded quar-
ters do not fall with a burst of thunder upon the heads of their
seditious projectors, then indeed the republic has begun to
experience the days of its degeneracy. The Union of these
states is the people's only sure chart for their liberties and
independence. Dissolve it and each state will soon be in a
condition as deplorable as Alexander's conquered countries
after they were divided amongst his victorious military captains."
But there never was any doubt that the people of the state, as a
whole, favored the preservation of the Union at whatever cost.
In pursuance of a joint resolution of the legislature of 1850, a
block of native marble was procured and forwarded to Wash-
ington, to be placed in the monument then in the course of
erection at the national capital in memory of the "Father
of his Country." In the absence of any legislative instruc-
tion concerning the inscription upon this emblem of Indiana's
loyalty, Gov. Wright ordered the following words to be inscribed
upon it: "Indiana Knows No North, No South, Nothing but
the Union." And within a dozen years thereafter this noble
state demonstrated to the world her loyalty to the Union and
the principles of freedom by the sacrifice of blood and treasure
which she made. In keeping with the sentiment expressed
in the above inscription Gov. Wright endorsed the compromise
measures of Congress on the slavery question, remarking in
his message that "Indiana takes her stand in the ranks, not
of Southern destiny, nor yet of Northern destiny: she plants
herself on the basis of the Constitution and takes her stand
in the ranks of American destiny."
Always hoping for the maintenance of the Union through
wise statesmanship and peaceful methods, the state had made
no preparation in a military sense for the crucial moment,
which was approaching with the certainty of inexorable fate.
In 1852 an act was passed for the organization of the militia
by Congressional districts, and in 1855 an act "Concerning
the organization of voluntary associations" was passed, pro-
viding for the formation of military companies by filing articles
of association in like manner as provided for organizing build-
ing, mining and manufacturing companies. But these laws
were of no practical value, merely providing in a general way
for the organization of the militia, without regulations sufficient
to secure any successful result. Many commissions were
issued, in most cases for the mere purpose of conferring honor-
ary military titles upon the recipients, but with the exception
of probably a dozen companies (most of which ha"d but a brief
existence) formed in various parts of the state in 1859-60,
aggregating about 500 men, no organizations were formed.
At the regular session of the legislature in 1861, Gov. Lane
in his inaugural message alluded to this subject in the follow-
ing language
"The importance of a well organized and thoroughly drilled
militia, in the present critical condition of our national affairs,
cannot be overestimated, and I will most heartily concur with
you in any measure which you may devise for the purpose
of giving greater efficiency to the present very defective militia
laws of our state. A possible (I hope not a probable) con-
tingency may arise during the present session of the legislature,
which will make it necessary and proper for you to appropriate
a sum sufficient to equip a portion of the Indiana militia for
the purpose of aiding in the prompt execution of the laws, and
in the maintenance of the government. If this contingency
shall occur during your session, I doubt not that you will meet
it in a spirit becoming freemen and patriots."
In compliance with the governor's suggestion, a bill for the
organization of the militia with a new and more perfect system
was introduced and passed the house of representatives, but
failing to pass the senate, it did not become a law, the latter
body apparently not realizing the perilous condition of national
affairs and the necessity for action. The legislature, how-
ever, early in the session appointed commissioners to the Peace
convention held at Washington in February, and a decided
majority was in favor of the movement.
As an illustration of the totally unprepared condition of
Indiana for war, there were perhaps less than 500 stands of
effective first-class small arms in the state, besides 8 pieces
of weather-worn and dismantled cannon and an unknown
number of old flint-lock and altered-to-percussion muskets,
the most of which were scattered throughout various counties
in the hands of private individuals and members of disbanded
companies of militia. Under an act of the legislature, passed
March 5, 1861, Gov. Morton (who had succeeded to that position
upon the election of Gov. Lane to the U. S. senate) took steps
to secure the return of all arms that could be found, and many
were thus secured to the state, but upon inspection they were
ascertained to be useless except for "guard mounting" and
drill practice about the camps. And in addition the report
of the treasurer of state for the year 1861 shows that there
was on hand, on Feb. 11 of that year, only the sum of $10,368.
58 in actual cash, made up principally of "trust funds," which
could not be touched for general or military purposes.
About the middle of March, 1861, Gov. Morton, in view of
the impending struggle, visited Washington City to procure
from the general government a supply of arms for state troops,
and after much effort he succeeded in obtaining an order for
5,000 muskets. Before these were forwarded, however, actual
hostilities were begun and Indiana was called upon to bear
her part of the burdens of war incident to the defense of the
nation and the suppression of the sectional uprising. With
no militia force or system; almost destitute of arms and munitions;
the public treasury depicted to absolute emptiness; the work
of preparation for the vigorous performance of her part in the
bloody drama was undertaken. The fall of Fort Sumter was
a signal for the uprising of the state, and Indiana was among
the first to respond to the summons of patriotism and register
itself on the national roll of honor. The news of the calamity
was flashed to Indianapolis on April 14, 1861, and early the
next morning the electric wire brought the welcome message to
Executive Department of Indiana,
Indianapolis, April 15, 1861.
To Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States: — On
behalf of the state of Indiana, I tender to you for the defense
of the nation, and to uphold the authority of the government,
10,000 men. Oliver P. Morton,
Governor of Indiana.
This may be considered the first official act of Gov. Morton,
who had so recently entered upon the duties of his exalted
position. The state was in an almost helpless condition, but
the faith of the "war governor" was prophetic, when, after
a short consultation with the members of the executive council,
he relied on the fidelity of 10,000 men and promised their serv-
ices to the protectorate at Washington. This is more apparent
when the military condition of the state, as outlined above,
is considered. The same day the president issued his proc-
lamation calling forth the militia of the several states of the
Union to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress
the uprising and cause the laws to be duly executed. The
quota of Indiana was subsequently fixed by the secretary of
war at six regiments of infantry, or riflemen, comprising 4,683
officers and men, to serve for the period of three months, unless
sooner discharged. On April 16, the governor issued a proc-
lamation briefly reciting the acts of secession which had brought
on the war, and calling upon the loyal and patriotic men of
the state to the number of six regiments, to organize themselves
into military companies and forthwith report the same to
the adjutant-general in order that they might be speedily
mustered into the service of the United States. Hon. Lewis
Wallace, of Crawfordsville, who had served in the Mexican
war, and had, as a legislator and citizen, taken a deep interest
in military affairs, was appointed adjutant-general. Col.
Thomas A. Morris of Indianapolis, a graduate of the United
States military academy and an eminent citizen, was appointed
quartermaster-general, and Isaiah Mansur of Indianapolis,
an experienced and prominent merchant, was appointed com-
missary-general. These appointments were made without
solicitation, were in every way unexceptionable, and gave
entire satisfaction to the people of the state. Indianapolis
having been designated by the war department as the place
of rendezvous for troops, the commodious fair grounds of the
Indiana state board of agriculture, adjoining the city, were
secured for that purpose and named "Camp Morton," in honor
of the governor. Instructions were issued in general orders
by the adjutant-general for the formation of companies; the
several military departments were speedily organized for busi-
ness, and all available measures taken to fill the quota with
the least possible delay.

In the meantime, every class of community manifested the
wildest enthusiasm and most intense excitement; public meet-
ings to facilitate the formation of companies and to give expres-
sion to the sentiments of the people touching their duty in
the pending crisis, were held in every city, town and neighbor-
hood, and an ardent and unquenchable military spirit was
at once aroused that bid fair to embrace in its sweep every
able-bodied man in the state. The day after the call was
made 500 men were in camp and the governor, apprehensive
(as was the whole country at the time) that an effort would
be made by the Confederates to take possession of the Federal
capital, proposed to send forward half a regiment if required,
although unable to furnish the necessary arms and equipments.
Receiving no reply from the war department to this offer,
it was renewed on the day following and the number was in-
increased to 1,000 men. By April 19 — three days after the
call — there were 2,400 men in camp and arrivals continued
by every train. So rapidly did volunteering proceed that in
less than seven days more than 12,000 men, or nearly three
times the quota required, had been tendered. Contests to
secure the acceptance of companies were earnest and frequent,
says W. H. H. Terrell in his official report, and the question
was not "Who will go?" but "Who will be allowed to go?"

Continuing, Gen. Terrell says that in many cases companies
came forward without orders, or rather in defiance of orders,
in the hope that they could be received, or that a second call
would at once be made; and frequently their enlistment rolls
contained twice, and even thrice, the number of names required.
Hundreds who were unable to get into companies at home,
came singly and in squads to the general rendezvous on their
own responsibility, and by combining with others in like con-
dition or with fragments from companies having a surplus,
formed new companies and joined in the general clamor for
acceptance. The response was as gratifying as it was universal
and left no doubt as to the entire and lasting devotion of Indiana
to the fortunes of the Union. The flag was proudly displayed
in every breeze from the highest peaks of churches, school
houses and private dwellings. The presentation of a stand
of national colors by patriotic ladies to each company was
rarely omitted, and whenever practicable, brass bands were
provided to escort them to the general camp.
"Throughout the state the people acted in the most liberal and
patriotic manner, providing the men with blankets, under-
clothing and other necessary supplies which the authorities
could not at the moment furnish. Families, suddenly deprived
of husbands, fathers and brothers, upon whom they were depend-
ent, were the recipients of all the assistance that abundant
hands and free hearts could give. Several railroad companies
operating in the state announced that they would carry all
regularly enlisted volunteers free. Donations of money in
munificent sums, were made by citizens and by the authori-
ties of cities, towns and counties, to aid the cause in various
ways, and a number of banks and many wealthy capitalists
offered to advance large sums to the state until provision should
be made by the legislature or the general government for equip-
ping and providing for the troops. The eminent house of Win-
slow, Lanier & Co., of New York, long and honorably identi-
fied with the financial history of the state, tendered a loan
of $25,000, without stipulations as to interest or the time when
it should be repaid.
"The general government being unable to furnish clothing and
equipments required by the large force so suddenly brought
into service, the state was compelled, through the quarter-
master-general, to become a purchaser of these supplies in
open market at home. The duties of the commissary-general
in subsisting the troops were equally as important and responsi-
ble. Indeed, every department connected with the service
was taxed to the utmost; the duties were novel, and the officers
assigned to discharge them inexperienced and unskilled; yet
better supplies were not furnished at any subsequent period
during the war, or at so cheap a rate."
On April 20, five days after the call, orders were issued for
the organization of the regiments. Drs. John S. Bobbs and
Alois D. Gall were appointed medical inspectors, and Maj.
Thomas J. Wood, of the regular army, afterward a major-
general, who had been specially detailed by the war depart-
ment for the purpose, proceeded to muster the troops into
the service of the United States. On the same day, the gover-
nor finding it impossible to restrain the tide of volunteers
within the narrow limits of the three months' call, and being
impressed with the necessity and importance to the general
government as well as to the state, of immediately placing
an overwhelming force in active service, tendered to the secretary
of war six additional regiments, without conditions as to the
term of service, with the assurance that if accepted, they would
be organized in six days. Communication with Washington
by telegraph being cut off, no response to this offer was received.
On the 23d, in a despatch forwarded by special messenger,
the tender was renewed, the governor at the same time express-
ing his determination to at once put the six additional regi-
ments in camp and under discipline, and hold them subject,
at least for a time, to the demand of the government. In
every quarter, and especially in the counties bordering on the
Ohio river, the most serious fears were entertained that the
state would be invaded by Confederate bands, known to be
organizing in Kentucky, the towns on the border plundered,
and the country devastated. Every movement of the enemy
indicated an early demonstration against the loyal people
north of the Potomac and the Ohio. The determination of
the governor to anticipate a second call of the president by
organizing and holding in readiness a well disciplined force,
was therefore received with much satisfaction, particularly
by the volunteers who had tendered their services, and were
impatiently awaiting at their homes orders to march. Public
confidence was further encouraged by the prompt measures
set on foot by the governor to procure through agents despatched
to the eastern cities and to Canada, a supply of first-class arms
for state use, and by the organization in many counties of
companies of home guards, who were armed for the time being
with squirrel-rifles and fowling-pieces gathered up in their
respective neighborhoods.
The three-months' regiments were fully organized by the ap-
pointment of field and staff officers on April 27, and a thorough
course of military training was immediately instituted. In
the Mexican war the state had five regiments, numbered from
the 1st to the 5th inclusive. To avoid historical confusion,
therefore, the new regiments were numbered by beginning
with the 6th, as follows: 6th regiment. Col. Thomas T. Crittenden;
7th, Col. Ebenezer Dumont; 8th, Col. William P. Benton;
9th, Col. Robert H. Milroy; 10th, Col. Joseph J. Reynolds;
nth, Col. Lewis Wallace.
These regiments constituted the 1st brigade, Indiana volun-
teers, under the following brigade officers, appointed and com-
missioned by the governor: Thomas A. Morris, brigadier-gen-
eral; John Love, major and brigade-inspector; Milo S. Hascall,
captain and aid-de-camp. Subsequently Cyrus C. Hines was
appointed captain and aid-de-camp, and John A. Stein, 1st
lieutenant 10th regiment, was detailed as acting assistant
adjutant-general and added to the brigade staff. The regi-
ments composing Gen. Morris' command, after being well
armed and thoroughly equipped by the state, were ordered to
western Virginia, and sketches of their movements and serv-
ices will be found in this work among the regimental histo-
To meet the extraordinary condition of affairs, the governor
had issued a call on April 19 to the members of the legislature,
requiring them to convene in special session on April 24. They
met in a spirit of entire harmony and proceeded to the important
duty of devising such measures as the critical state of the country
seemed to demand. In his special message, after reviewing
the history of the secession movement and the part already
performed by the state in compliance with the president's
call, the governor made the following recommendations:
"In view of all the facts, it becomes the imperative duty
of Indiana to make suitable preparations for the contest by
providing ample supplies of men and money to insure the pro-
tection of the state and general government in the prosecution
of the war to a speedy and successful termination. I there-
fore recommend that $1,000,000 be appropriated for the pur-
chase of arms and munitions of war, and for the organization
of such portion of the militia as may be deemed necessary for
the emergency; that a militia system be devised and enacted,
looking chiefly to volunteers, which shall insure the greatest
protection to the state and unity and efficiency of the force
to be employed; that a law be enacted defining and punishing
treason against the state; that a law be enacted suspend-
ing the collection of debts against those who may be actually
employed in the military service of the state, or the United
States; that suitable provision be made by the issue of bonds
of the state, or otherwise, for raising the money herein recom-
mended to be appropriated; and that all necessary and proper
legislation be had to protect the business, property and citizens
of the state, under the circumstances in which they are placed."
The legislature promptly authorized a war loan of $2,000,000,
to replenish the treasury, and made the following appropria-
tions: For general military purposes, $1,000,000; for the pur-
chase of arms, $500,000; for contingent military expenses,
$100,000; and for expenses of organizing and supporting the
militia for two years, $140,000. The following laws were
also passed: To organize the Indiana militia; to provide for
the employment of six regiments of state troops; to provide
for the appointment of a state paymaster; to authorize counties
to appropriate monies for the protection and maintenance
of the families of volunteers, for the purchase of arms and
equipments, and for raising and maintaining military com-
panies; and to provide for the punishment of persons guilty
of giving material aid and comfort to the enemies of this state,
or of the United States, in a time of war.
Upon the organization of the six regiments of three months'
men, under the first call, so anxious and enthusiastic were
the people to serve the country, there remained in excess at
the general rendezvous. Camp Morton, twenty-nine companies;
besides, sixty-eight companies had been raised in different
parts of the state and tendered to the governor for active serv-
ice; and many more companies would have been raised had
the state authorities been able to give any assurance that they
would be accepted. With a view, therefore, of meeting the
wishes of the troops already enrolled, as well as to foster and
encourage the exuberant spirit of loyalty and patriotism so
generally and suddenly manifested by the people, and being
fully satisfied that additional forces would soon be required
and called for by the general government, the governor, on
his own responsibility and under the power vested in him as
the commander-in-chief of the militia, determined to organ-
ize five regiments of twelve months volunteers for the defense
of the state, or for general use as the future might require,
the regiments to be composed of the first fifty companies already
raised and tendered. Instructions were also given to discharge
from camp immediately all volunteers enlisted under the first
call who were unwilling to enter the service of the state for
one year.
On May 6, the organization of companies sufficient for five
regiments being about completed, the legislature passed an
act authorizing and requiring the governor to call into the
service of the state six regiments of volunteer militia, to be
composed of the companies that had been previously organ-
ized and reported to the adjutant-general, and which had
not been mustered into the service of the United States, the same
to be received and mustered into the service of the state in
the order in which they were organized and tendered, provid-
ing, that if the companies so organized and tendered were
not sufficient to complete the regiments, preference in the
formation of the remaining companies should be given to countries
which were not already represented by companies in the state
or United States service. The act also contained the follow-
ing provisions: The term of service to be twelve months; the
regiments to be divided into cavalry, artillery and infantry,
as the public service might demand, with the usual officers;
the troops to be subject to the order of the governor with power
to transfer them to fill any future requisition made for forces
on the state by the president of the United States; the regi-
ments to constitute a brigade, the governor to appoint and
commission a brigadier-general for the same; the articles of
war and the rules and regulations of the United States army
to be observed, except that while in the service of the state
the commissioned officers should only receive three-fourths
the pay of officers of the same grade in the United States army;
the governor to have power, if in his judgment deemed advisable,
to temporarily retire the force, or any part thereof, on half
pay from active service, after they should have been sufficiently
drilled and disciplined, with authority at any time to recall
the regiments to active duty when required for the public
safety. The act was approved and put in force on May 7,
and orders for the organization of the regiments were immediately
issued. The regiments were designated and camps of ren-
dezvous established as follows: 12th, Camp Morton, Indian-
apolis; 13th, Camp Sullivan, Indianapolis; 14th, Camp Vigo,
Terre Haute; 15th. Camp Tippecanoe, Lafayette; 16th. Camp
Wayne, Richmond; 17th, Camp Morton, Indianapolis. Col.
Joseph J. Reynolds, of the 10th regiment, then in command
of Camp Morton, was appointed brigadier-general by the
governor and charged with the organization of the regiments.
On May 11 the adjutant-general reported five regiments as
having the full complement of men: the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th
and 16th, with a surplus of six companies in camp from which,
with new enlistments, the 17th was subsequently formed.
The president in the meantime had called for an additional
volunteer force and requisition was made on the state by the
secretary of war, under date of May 16, for four regiments
of volunteers to serve for three years or during the war. This
call afforded the governor the opportunity to relieve the state
of a portion of the burden incident to maintaining the six regi-
ments which were nearly ready for the field, and accordingly
on May 21 orders were issued transferring three of the regi-
ments formed for state service to the United States' service,
and authorizing the organization of an additional regiment
out of the companies in Camp Morton, not mustered into any
service, and from such other companies as had been tendered,
in their order, leaving two regiments in the service of the state.

See also
Source: The Union Army, vol. 3


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