Hoosiers and the Civil War

Some readers may recall that I recently discovered some ancestors in the 30th, 44th, and 100th Indiana Volunteers. In the course of my research into their service, I have uncovered some interesting facts about Hoosier State troops in the war. Some of them may be of interest to our readers.

Read on for more.

The 44th Indiana during the battle of Shiloh.

The Hoosier State in 1861. The State of Indiana was 55 years old in 1861. It boasted a population of 1,350,428, with the largest city being New Albany, and ranked 6th among all U.S. states for population, just behind Virginia and ahead of Massachusetts. Indiana’s chief executive was Governor Oliver P. Morton, who would stay in office for the Civil War’s duration. Indiana was becoming known as the “Crossroads of America.” The state’s southern part was better developed, but the impacts of the war caused great growth along the railroads in northern and central Indiana.

Indiana and Kentucky. “For two generations before the outbreak of the rebellion , the relations between Indiana and Kentucky had been peculiarly close and intimate. Probably no other two States were bound together by so many ties,” wrote the Indiana Adjutant General in his report, in a special section dealing with relations between the states. “In this crisis her loyal citizens turned to Indiana for help. Governor Morton had early warned the Federal Government of the danger to be apprehended from Kentucky rebels, and urged the importance of providing promptly and amply for the defense of the State. If Kentucky should be made the refuge of rebels, Indiana could never be safe. It was, therefore, the part of wisdom, in his judgment, to protect all the free States on the Ohio by protecting Kentucky.” Many Kentucky Unionist troops trained in New Albany and Jeffersonville, while Indiana furnished troops for Kentucky’s defense in 1862. Confederate raids also came from Kentucky into the Hoosier State.

Superlatives. Indiana was the first of the western states to mobilize for war, starting the process on April 13, 1861. Over 12,000 Hoosiers volunteered against the state’s initial quote of 4800; ultimately over 210,000 would join the United States Army and Navy, with just under 73,000 killed or wounded. Over 15% of Indianans served in the Civil War, one of the highest percentages of any state.

Indiana Unit Numbers. Indiana numbered all its regiments consecutively, as did some other states. Every unit was given a number and the title Regiment Indiana Volunteers, with cavalry units getting a second designation. The 1st Cavalry was the 28th Volunteers, 2nd Cavalry the 41st Volunteers, 3rd Cavalry the 45th Volunteers, and so on. Indiana unit designations started with the number 6 to avoid duplication with the 1st through 5th Indiana Volunteers which had served in the Mexican War – a unique arrangement.

Memorials. Hoosiers remain proud of their service in the Civil War. War memorials and museums dot the state, most prominently the state’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Today, with additions from other wars, Indianapolis hosts more war memorials than any other city in the United States, except Washington D.C.

Additional information on all of these topics can be found in many sources, including the Adjutant General’s report and its appendix known as Indiana in the War of the Rebellion. Both are available on Google Books and other related sites.

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4 Responses to Hoosiers and the Civil War

  1. Hank Gilliam says:

    Well written, concise article with interesting info. Thanks for posting.

  2. Robert L Buenger says:

    Nice! I am a Buckeye living in the Hoosier state and found this to be a very interesting read. Appreciate the post!

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