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Indiana’s Role In The Civil War was created to honor and commemorate the great National struggle of 1861-1865. By sharing with the public as many photographs, letters, diaries, manuscripts, rosters and other information about Indiana soldiers as physically possible, it is hoped that the memory of these great Hoosier sons will last forever.

Indiana was one of the earliest states in the Union to respond to Abraham Lincoln’s initial call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion. Indiana’s initial quota was for 7,500 volunteers. The quota was quickly met and many thousands of potential volunteers were turned away to return to their homes disappointed. The naïve assumption that the rebellion would be quickly ended, turned into a national nightmare of four years duration. Before the conflict ended, Indiana would be called upon to tender 208,367 men for service in the military.

Indiana regiments were engaged in every principle battle of the war. From the earliest days of the conflict, during the bombardment of Fort Sumter, where Hoosier Jefferson C. Davis served as a lieutenant, to the last engagement at Palmetto Ranch, Texas, where a soldier from the 34th Indiana became one of the last casualties of the war, Indiana men gave their blood and sweat to preserve this country and her freedoms.

The Civil War proved costly to the State of Indiana. Over 24,416 Hoosiers were killed or died during their service. More than twice that number returned to the state bearing disfiguring and debilitating wounds and scars.

Before the conclusion of the war, Indiana had assembled 126 infantry regiments, 26 batteries of artillery and 13 regiments of cavalry. Many of these regiments won national fame and honor through their heroic efforts in the titanic struggles of the war.

Indiana’s heroic role in the Civil War was made possible by the energy, dedication and loyalty of its greatest governor, Oliver Perry Morton. Confronted with a hostile, Democratic majority in the State House, Morton used every ounce of his influence, guile and stubbornness to arm, equip and feed Indiana’s soldiers. He willfully violated Indiana’s Constitution by borrowing, without authorization, the millions of dollars necessary to raise and equip an army, until Indiana’s legislature turned over to Republican control and validated Morton’s actions. Great challenges make great men and Morton was up to the challenge.

Most notable among the effects of the Civil War on Indiana was the impact which the war had on the men who would return to lead both the state and the Nation in the post-war years. Men such as Benjamin Harrison, who would rise from a Civil War colonel to the Presidency, bore the lessons learned from the conflict as they helped move America into a world role.

Copyright 1999 by Craig Dunn Enterprises, Inc.
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