The Civil War in Indiana

The Civil War in Indiana

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. A movement to rescind the secession resolution arose in 1861, but the measure repealing the secession never passed.

Some Indiana men chose to fight for the South. The exact number of nen who served in Confederate armies is unknown, but there are numerous references to such men. 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. 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.

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. 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".

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 Kentuckys 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.

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. After the war much of Indiana saw New Albany as too friendly to the South. New Albanys 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 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. The state experienced political strife when Governor Oliver P. Morton suppressed the Democratic Party-controlled General Assembly, which largely sympathized with the Confederacy, leaving the state without the authority to collect taxes. The state neared bankruptcy during 1861, but the Governor chose to use private funds rather than rely on the legislature. The state 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.

Confronted with a hostile, Democratic majority in the State House, Governor, Oliver Perry Morton used every ounce of his influence, guile and stubbornness to arm, equip and feed Indianas soldiers. He willfully violated Indianas Constitution by borrowing, without authorization, the millions of dollars necessary to raise and equip an army until Indianas legislature turned over to Republican control and validated Mortons actions. Governor Morton wrote to President 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. 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.

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 was one of the earliest states in the Union to respond to Abraham Lincolns initial call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion. Indianas 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 nave 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. Indiana troops were involved 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

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.

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.

Map of Morgans Raid 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 troopers. 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. 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 through the capital. Governor Morton had called up the state militia as soon as Morgan's intention to cross into the state was known. More than 60,000 men of all ages came out to repel Morgan's raid. Morgan considered attacking Camp Morton in Indianapolis to free more than 5,000 Confederate prisoners of war imprisoned there, but decided against it. After destroying Salem, Morgan turned abruptly eastward and began moving towards Ohio. He continued to raid and pillage his way toward the Indiana-Ohio border until he left Indiana on July 13 as several Union armies began to converge on him. By the time he left, his raid on the North was turning into a desperate attempt to escape back to the South.

When news of Lee's surrender reached Indianapolis at 11 p.m. on April 9, 1865. The Indianapolis Journal called the subsequent celebrations within the city "demented".