Sunday, August 18, 2013

Indiana in the Civil War

Indiana in the Civil War

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.

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

The Union Army, vol. 3, 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." See also The Union Army: Indiana in the American Civil War (1861-1865).

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 Morton 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.

Lincoln initially requested that Indiana send 7500 men to join the Union Army. Five hundred men assembled the first day, and within three weeks, more than 22,000 men had volunteered—so many that thousands had to be turned away. Before the war ended, Indiana contributed a total of 208,367 men, 15% of the state's total population, to fight and serve in the Union Army, and 2,130 to serve in the Union Navy. More than 35% of the Hoosiers who entered the Union Army became casualties: 24,418 (about 6.75% of total war casualties) lost their lives in the conflict, and more than 50,000 were wounded.

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. By the end of the war, 46 general officers in the Union army had resided in Indiana at some point in their lives.
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 165 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.
The 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment served as part of the Iron Brigade. The 19th made critical contributions to some of the most important engagements of the war, including the Second Battle of Bull Run, but was almost completely destroyed in the Battle of Gettysburg.
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. Continue to Indiana Civil War History and Indiana in the American Civil War: A History.

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