Edmund Randolph] 1845- [Brown.

The Twenty-seventh Indiana volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865, First division, 12th and 20th corps. A history of its recruiting, organization, camp life, marches and battles, online

. (page 1 of 55)
Online LibraryEdmund Randolph] 1845- [BrownThe Twenty-seventh Indiana volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865, First division, 12th and 20th corps. A history of its recruiting, organization, camp life, marches and battles, → online text (page 1 of 55)
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1861 TO 1865

First Division 12th and 20th Corps.



Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1899, in the office
of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C,
by E. R. Brown.

/' / . 1 ^


To tl^e Honored Menqory of tY\e Mer] of all rariKs,
living cirid dead, w>l)0 coiriposed tl^e T^erity-severitl)
Reginqent of Indiana Volunteers, in tl^e War for t]\e
Union, 1861 to 1865— \vl)ose \\'lqole-lqearted loyalty to
Country, extrerne devotion to duty, and "subliiT\e
repression of self" and self interest, during tl\e period
of tl^eir service, alone rnade tY\e record of tlqe organi-
zation conspicuous arnong otl^ers in tt\e briglqt galaxy
o.f flrqerican History, and w>l)icl^ tY\e v^riter Kno^s of
and appreciates so rnucl) better tlqan l)e ]\as been able
to set tl)ern fortlq — tlqis volunqe is rnost affectionately

dedicated by




One afternoon in September of the memorable and fate-
ful year of 1801, a line of men was formed in the State Fair
grounds at Indianapolis, then known as Camp Morton. Filing
out of the gate, witli measured steps, timed to the music of
fife and drum, the column wound its way to Pennsylvania
street, down that to Washington street, thence west until,
after various turns, it arrived at a point, then an open com-
mon, on the bank of White river, ju-t above the old Terre
Haute and Indianapolis railroad. Here a temporary camp
was established.

This was the virtual beginning of a relation between these
men that was to continue for three yeirs, in fact on through
life. There were then close to an even thousand of them, and
about one hundred others, all told, joined them at different
intervals afterwards. During the three years with which we
are particularly concerned here, a fraction over one in seven
of those men were killed or mortally wounded in battle. An
average of almost another one of the save seven died of
disease, a harder sacrifice, if possible, to make, and where any
one of the remaining five was not seriously wounded, some
other one was wounded twice or more to make up for it.

As that column of men marched that day, so did its
diminishing remnant march — on foot, in ranks, through heat,
dust and mud, each carrying his gun, equipments, ammuni-
tion, rations, blankets, extra clothing, and later on his tent
and cooking utensils, plodding along the roads and through
fields and woods, often wading creeks and rivers, journeying
from place to place, wherever their services were recjuired — a
total distance of over four thousand miles. For almost twice
that distance they rode, mostly in freight cars or open flat
cars, or between the decks of steamships. All along their
circuitous, zigzag path, from the populous borders ot New
York Bay to the lonely oak and pine covereil ridges of central
Georgia, they left behind them a picket line of new-made
graves, and of wrecks of living men, who, from that time to
the present, have not known what il is to be well.


Who were those mei-i ? What had brought them together?
IIow about tlieir services, sacrifices, tribuhitions and vicissi-
tudes? How did they deport themselves, and what kind of a
spirit was in them? Were they here of their own accord,
were their motives higli and unselfish, did thev try to accom-
plish something of good for others as well as for themselves?
Did they continue faithful to the end? Are they worthy and
shall they receive the commendation of their fellow men, of
this and succeeding generations?

To answer these questions is the purpose of this narrative.
That is its only justification for being in existence, and its only
plea for being carefully read and kindly received and remem-

The writer submits the result of his labors with many
serious misgivings. That it comes far short of doing full jus-
tice to the subject he is deeplv conscious; and that it does not
contain errors and misstatements of fact, he does not dare to
hope. At the last he has had his periods of sincere doubt
whether or not it was fit to be published. The most that he
ventures to say in Iiis own behalf, and in behalf of his work,
is that his intentions iiave been good and that he has done
what seemed to iiim his best, under the circumstances.

When the writer first accepted the position of historian
of his regiment he did so because he was then entering upon a
period of enforced leisure and recreation on account of im-
paired health. He believed that it would only relieve his mind
of other cares, and be a healthful source of enjoyment to him
to spend that period, of uncertain duration, in the study, travel
and writing necessarv to prepare the history, thus indulging
the warm impulses of his heart towards his former comrades,
and accomplishing something worthy of being done, as well.
But for various reasons, the time finallv came when he felt that
he ought to again resume the duties of his business career,
before the work of preparing the history had been more than
fairlv begun. Hence, the historv. such as it is, has been pre-
pared wholly in the scant intervals of an active and exacting
business life. A moment snatched now and then, an hour or
two in the evening or late at night, a period when others were
resting or enjoving themselves in meetings of societies or clubs,
never wholly free from other responsibilities or the liability of
interruption, never under conditions really favorable for study


or doinj^ litcniry work — these are the ways that the result,
whether good or bad, has been wrought out.

Moreover, the writer early found himself at a disadvan-
tage, not thought of before, in two additional ways : One of
these was that he lived outside of the territory where most of the
■others interested in the history lived, and the other was, that he
lived where he could not have access to books or records, other
than those lie owned. He has seldom met lliose who could tell
him what it was necessary for him to know, or who could clear up
some doubtful point. Having to write for such things and wait
for an answer, often to iind then that the question had been mis-
apprehended, has caused much delay and extra labor. The
same has been true in the matter of depending upon otl.ers to
consult books and public records. He has often had to suspend
his labors until such time as he might have an opportunitv of
doing so himself. It was furthermore his misfortune, through
a misunderstanding of dates, to miss one or more of the earlier
reunions of the regiment. At others the matter of the history
was inadvertently crowded out. Some years of time were
thus practically lost. If those directly concerned will have
these facts in mind, it will help them to understand why the
history has been so long delayed, and why it is not more per-
fect, now that it is out.

In the measure of success attained, the writer desires to
acknowledge his indebtedness to many others. At the head
of this list should probably stand the name of (^Quartermaster
Sergeant John A. Crose, deceased. No one else came forward
as promptly, no one else had as rich a store to place at the dis-
posal of an historian, and no one else could be more warmheart-
ed, indefatigable and tireless in labors to promote the history.
His numerous letters from the army published in the Indianap-
olis jfoicrna/ and Greencastle Bainicr, his extended and faith-
fully kept diary and many clippings, facts and dates, all bear-
ing upon the history and all carefully preserved by him, were
at once cordially given over. As long as he lived also, he was
ready to answer any question, furnish any data or help on the
work in any possible way. What he did was all the more
"helpful, because he did it with sucli evident freewill. Sad that
he did not live to see the history published. His kindlv eves
must have closed for the last long sleep all tiie more reluct-
ixntly on that account.

Next in order of early and also tHicient help, stands the


name of M. II. Van Buskirk, of Company F. He, too, fur-
nished a diary, covering the whole period of the service. In
supplying facts and dates omitted by Crose, and in giving dif-
ferent views of things, because recorded by one occupying a
different station, his diary was invaluable. He has also been.
like Crose, in always standing ready to help, in any and every

John Parham, of Company F, furnished a briefly-kept
diary covering a part of the time, as did also E. G. Boicourt,
of the same company. Mr. Loughery, of Edinburg, Ind. ^
son of Lieutenant Lougherv, of Company C, furnished a
similar diary, kept by his father.

Lieutenant Rundell, of Company G, gave the writer the
use of a series of letters written by himself and others to his
patriotic mother, who carefully preserved them. These letters
and others furnished in smaller numbers by many different
persons, reflected a light upon the inner, personal Iiistory of
soldier life, and upon the unstinted loyalty that this great
country receives from her young men, that is wonderful.
Lieutenant Rundell has also been one of the members of the
regiment who could be appealed to with a certainty of
response in every emergency.

Capt. J. C. Williams w'as living in Missouri during the
earlier period of the work on the history. Since his return to
Indiana he has made large contributions of materials that have-
been most helpful in clearings up uncertain points, and supply-
ing information not attainable before. He kept an extended
diary during the war, in which he recorded every day, with
great precision, the leading facts observed by him. Among
these were numerous statistics, names and d ites not known at
the time by others. Captain Williams has also furnished a
large part of the photographs from which the plates were
made to illustrate the history. This is particularly true of
the portraits of the officers of the regiment.

As to other forms of assistance, the name of John Bres-
nahan, of Company A, is easily entitled to first place. His
help has been very great. Living in Washington has enabled
him to do more than would have been possible otherwise.
Among other things, he supplied the writer with a complete
set of the "Rebellion Records," as far as they relate to this
narrative. Some of them were furnished in advance of their
issuance from the Government printing olllce. How, or by


what means he secured these valuable public documents, it
would, perhaps, not be fair to inquire.

Capt. Joseph Balsley, of Company II; Lieut. John R,
Rankin, Company A; John Deaxmin, Joseph D. and John
D. Loughlin, of Company B; Sergt. W. P. Ellis and Nelson
Purccll, Company E; Sergt. Joseph Sellers, Company I;
George Mehringer and Corp. Conrad Eckert, Company K,'
and doubtless others, should be mentioned as having rendered
valuable aid.

When the writer visited the battlefields of the regiment
m the East, John Bresnahan, at his own expense, accom-
panied him to the battlefields of Chancellorsville and Cedar
Mountain. With respect to the latter field in particular, this
service was essential to the history of that engagement. Like-
wise, when the writer visited the battlefields of the Atlanta
campaign, Captain Williams, Corp. George East and John
Ilinchee, all of Company C, accompanied him; the two for-
mer not only paying their own expenses, but also contributing
their proportion to the expenses of Hinchee, who was able to
give his time only. Both East and Hinchee had been present
with their company in all of these battles, and without them
along it would have been useless for the writer to go.

As to the form and mould in which the narrative is cast, it
was decided upon after no little reflection. To write from the
view point of one in the ranks and relate facts and events as
they appeared to him in that position, seemed unavoidable, it
the writer was to do it. That was where he was, and that
was the only view that lie had. In reference to this it may be
said, that if this way of relating the matters in hand seems a
little odd to some, because they had a slightly different under-
standing of things at the time, it will not seem odd to the
majority, because they occupied a position similar to that of
the writer.

A matter less easy to decide to the satisfaction of his own
mind, was whether or not the writer was to go forward and
tell a continuous story, as if present and witnessing what he
was relating, when, in fact, he was not always present. In the
mterest of brevity, as well as to avoid the introduction of more
than one form of narrative, it was decided to do as has been

From the very outset, the writer has I ad the ideal in
mind that this was to be the history of a regiment, of an organ


ized body of men — rather than the history of one man or any
number of individual men. The aim has steadily been, there-
fore, to show what this organization did and the kind of ma-
terial of which it was composed. If individual names have
been mentioned or individual deeds recorded, it has only been
because it seemed necessary to an understanding of what was
being related or as an example or illustration of what was true
of others. In pursuance of this ideal no biographies have
been inserted. Who this or that man was before the war,
where he has lived or what he has accomplished since the
Avar, are not sufficiently relevant to admit of their statement
in this place.

Where distances are exactly stated in the narrative it
means, in most cases, that the writer has measured theni since
the war. Material facts or figures have also been carefully
considered and will not be found far astray, however they
may appear at first thought. ^Vhere criticism has been made
or opinions expressed, the writer is alone responsible for

jSIonticello. Ixd., September 1, 1899.



The Twenty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry vva&
recruited during the hist days of July and first days of August,
18C1. It was among the earliest of those regiments which
sprang to arms in response to President Lincoln's first call for
800,000 men to serve '• three years or during the war," and
which bore so largely the brunt of that great contest.

If a radius should be drawn upon the map of Indiana,
extending from Indianapolis south, a distance of seventy-five
miles, then swung around westward until it extended from
Indianapolis due west, it would indicate, in a general way,
the section of the State in which the men of the regiment
lived previous to the war, and where a majority of the surviv-
ors still reside. The only exceptions to this of much note
would be that, when extending from Indianapolis southwest,
the radius would be slightly too short; and. when extending
west, it would be longer than necessary.

The towns and counties where the companies were nom-
inally recruited were as follows : Company A, Greencastle,
Putnam county; Company B, Raglesville, Daviess county-'
Company C, Edinburg, Johnson county; Company D, Bed-
ford, Lawrence county; Company E, Washington, Daviess
county; Company F, Bloomington, Monroe county; Com-
pany G, Morgantown, Morgan county ; Company H, Paris,
Jennings county ; Company I, Putnamville, Putnam county!
and Company K, Jasper, DuBois county.

These towns were the principal centers of recruiting
activity. Perhaps in every instance more men of the several
companies belonged in the towns named, or in their immedi-
ate vicinity, than in any other one locality. But in all the
companies other towns and localities were largely represented,
and, in some, the representation from several other places was
almost if not quite equal to the one named.

The same was even more true with respect to counties.
There were men in all the companies from other counties than


those named. In some instances the men who really lived in
the county named, in connection with a company, were in a
minority. In one or more instances, parties interested in re-
cruiting went to points at considerable distances from their
homes, and secured men who otherwise would not have been
in the regiment. A case in point was where Captain Buehler,
of Company D, went from Bedford back to Brownstown,
where he had formerly lived, and secured the enlistment of a
number of men for his company. There was also a sprinkling
of men in the Twenty-seventh who belonged in other states.
Persons engaged in business or at work, or who iiappened to
be attending school or visiting in Indiana, enlisted with us,
though their homes were not in the state. In our ranks were
also, we are proud to reflect, a few refugees from the South.
Some of those heroic men who, refusing to be led by others,
or subm.t to popular clamor, dared to remain loyal to the old
flag and, compelled on that account to flee their homes, came
North and enlisted in the L^nion army, were in the Twenty-
seventh. Through the precipitate disbanding of a partially
organized company in Camp Morton, ordered by the Gov-
ernor because the prospective captain had proved to be p-'ofli-
gate, about fifteen men from White county and one from
Pulaski county, in the northern part of the State, joined their
fortunes with the Twenty-seventh, after its companies had
been fully organized. The men from White county served in
Company F, while the sole representative from Pulaski
■chanced to be the writer. For similar reasons, probably,
scattering men from several other counties joined the diflerent
companies at Camp Morton.

The time when the Twenty-seventh was recuited being
just after the first battle of Bull Run, it goes without say-
ing that the sentiment of the people of Indiana was then very
deep and intense. They had been slow to believe in the pos-
sibility of a clash of arms. Taking counsel of their own
inclinations, they could not think that the disafi'ected ones at
the South would go to such an extreme. Fort Sumter, while
it had awakened them to a realization of facts which they had
been deaf and blind to before, still did not fully convince them
of the fierce and relentless spirit behind the uprising. It
required Bull Run to do that. Now, though none even yet
■began to divine the great severity andl ong duration of the strug-
;gle, all were fully convinced that a terrible war was at hand.



It was not alone because the Union army was assailed
and driven back at I5ull Run. It was bad enough that men
should be bred upon and killed by those who had been their
fellow citizens, who, in fact, were their kinsmen and acquaint-
ances. But that they should be subjected to gross insults and
indignities, even be assaulted and bayonetted, after being
wounded, and when they were willing to surrender, and that
the poor, mangled remains of the killed should be denied
respectable burial, or be mutilated, as if in the hands of sav-
ages, their bones being e.xposed as relics, or .sawed and carved
for ornaments, solely because they had worn the uniform and
marshalled under the flag of their country, demanding only
submission to its rightful authority and obedience to its equal
laws— these things were as a fire in the bones.

Multitudes of men went about their usual employments in
a dazed, mechanical way, with tears in their eyes and with
dire thoughts and purposes taking shape in their minds. Pro-
fessional men lost interest in their callings, merchants for-ot
to consider their profits or the wants of their customers, a"nd
mechanics found it impossible to concentrate their thoughts
upon what they were trying to do. Farmers in plowing and
reaping, some prayed and others swore, from one end of their
fields to the other. Mothers went silently about their home

Online LibraryEdmund Randolph] 1845- [BrownThe Twenty-seventh Indiana volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861 to 1865, First division, 12th and 20th corps. A history of its recruiting, organization, camp life, marches and battles, → online text (page 1 of 55)