Biographies and Obituaries
In loving memory
When the Civil War began, John McCracken and his wife Sarah Jane (Webber) McCracken were the parents of seven sons and two daughters. Four of their sons enlisted in Company "G" 42nd Indiana Regiment of Volunteer Infantry on 28 September 1861. They were: Thomas, William Nelson, John James and Henry. Thomas McCracken Was twenty-five years old at the time of his enlistment, having been born 5 October 1835 in Barr Township, Daviess County, Indiana.
Shortly after enlistment the "boys" of the 42nd Indiana were vaccinated for smallpox at their camp near Calhoun, Kentucky. This was unusual, as very little was known about what caused the disease--let alone how to prevent it. During the first winter of their service, the 42nd Regiment experienced a great deal of sickness. There was an outbreak of measles in the camp causing several deaths, and many soldiers had such severe complications that they were never fit for duty again. Thomas McCracken was one of the soldiers who was so sick that he was sent to a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee in late February 1862. After about a month, he was transferred to a hospital in Louisville, and at that time he wrote to his family telling them about his illness. His older brother Samuel Clark McCracken was sent to Louisville by their father to bring Thomas Home. He was able to obtain a furlough and went home to Barr Township for two months, hoping to regain his health. In a short time, his brother "Clark" Became ill with what was at first believed to be chickenpox. But, they soon discovered that "Clark" had smallpox and had exposed the rest of the family. It is believed that "Clark" contracted the disease while visiting the hospital at Louisville. By the time that all of the family was out of danger, Thomas was well enough to report back to the hopital at Louisville. He was sent to the front and reached the regiment at Huntsville, Alabama.
At the battle of Missionary Ridge, Tomas McCracken was wounded on the right side of the face. A musket ball entered through the cheek and lodged in the jaw damaging the jaw and the facial muscles. It was removed by a doctor at a field hospital set up in a Methodist Church at Chatanooga. he was transferred to a hospital in Nashville, and after a short convalescence returned to his regiment.
Thomas McCracken saw combat in approximately twety-four battles and skirmishes, including Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, the Battles for Chattanooga and the Battles for Atlanta before he was discharged 17 october 1864 at Villanova, Georgia. His gunshot wound healed, but he suffered from the effects of his illnesses for the rest of his life and was pensioned from the U.S.Government as a result.
In 1871 he married Amanda Jane Bastin in Monroe County, Indiana. He was 35 and she was 16. Amanda was the younger sister of Nancy (Bastin) McCracken who was married to Thomas' first cousin, Charles McCracken. Thomas died 8 April 1901 at the age of 65 and is buried at Mount Olive Baptist Church Cemetery.
Contributed by: Mrs. Jeanne Everett, McCracken Family Historian