Orange County in the Civil War
Courtesy of Linda Fullen Sawyer

A Transcription FromHistory of the War of the Rebellion as it 
Affected Orange County, and Other Facts
by O. S. Edwards

 Published in 
Progress Examiner, Thursday, May 25, 1911:

 The history of the county says that strong political sentiment prevailed in Orange county for one or two years next prior to the breaking out of the war. The citizens were aware of the differences which bitterly divided the North and the South and took sides according to their education, sympathy, location or conscientious belief. The great majority of the people of the county stoutly denounced any interference whatever on the part of the North with the institution of slavery, many Republicans being of that opinion. It was soon developed that many of the citizens believed in the right of secession. On the other hand, the great majority of all parties in the county was opposed to a dissolution of the Union. As soon as the Southern States, led by South Carolina, began to enact ordinances of secession and make preparations to set up a separate government, the question of the constitutional right of coercion became for a time the all-absorbing topic. In November, 1860, the editor of the American Eagle, a paper published in Paoli by Mr. H Comingore, said through his paper:  

 "It does appear to us that our Southern neighbors are acting rather hastily - notwithstanding they have great cause for complaint. They should wait and see what course Lincoln intends to pursue. If it is his determination to carry out his ultra-Republican doctrines against the South, it will then be time enough for them to take steps for a separation of the Union."

 This was perhaps the prevailing sentiment of the county. The majority of the citizens were of Southern origin, had relatives and pecuniary interests in the South, believed in State sovereignty, the right of secession and the right of slavery.

 On the 17th of January, 1861, a large mass meeting of the citizens was held at Paoli to consider the state of the country. Theodore Stackhouse was made president of the meeting; John H Campbell and David Hudelson, vice presidents; J. N. Riley, John Frazer and H Comingore, secretaries. Prayer was offered by Rev. J. B. Ramsdell and the following committee was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting: J. B. Buskirk, Dr. J. A. Ritter, John Frazer, Jonathan Lindley, W. Procter, Rev. Ramsdell, William Holaday, N. Willis, W. F. Mavity, John A Lane, W. W. Wells and S. Foster. The sentiments of the orators were loyalty to the government, and the fervent hope that the Union might be preserved with the rights of all factions undisturbed. The resolutions prepared by the committee were read and unanimously adopted by the representatives of all political factions of the county.

 A similar meeting was held at Livonia and was largely attended. On Feb 15, 1861, a similar meeting was held at French Lick, a large crowd assembling for many miles in all directions.

 The news of the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter created great excitement in the county and brought out expressions of all shades of opinion. Many of the citizens were unfavorable to coercion and so stated. Others were for immediate war. Many opposed any interference with slavery. A revolution of opinion was undergoing. Soon a decided stand was made in favor of the raising of volunteers for the preservation of the Union. Steps were immediately taken to raise a company of Home Guards at Paoli, and elsewhere, to insure the protection of life and property at home.

 It is said that the first troops from Orange county to get into the United States service went south about the middle of May and joined a loyal Kentucky regiment. Their names and numbers cannot be give. The first considerable number of men who left the county for the service was raised in the vicinity of Orleans, and left for Cincinnati about the 20th of June. There were 25 or 30 of them under the command of Thomas N. Davis. A number of them returned when it was found difficult to get into satisfactory regiments. Those who remained were Hugh Langford, Alfred Smith, E. H. Talbot, J. K. McPherson, John Hall, John A. Lee, John Donavan, W. H. H. Wright, C. A. Smith, G. W. Harrison, H. B. Martin, Gilbert Heart, J. H. Nitsman, Samuel R Tegarden, R. E. Marygoes, W. C. Fitts, J. M. Waldrip, Christian Clayton and J. F. Gotzell. What became of these men cannot be definitely stated.

 Soon after this H. T. Braxton is issued a call for about thirty volunteers for the company of Capt. Sheeks, then forming at Mitchell. About this time also, a rifle company was organized at Paoli and uniforms were obtained. In several places throughout the county hickory poles were erected up which were run the stars and stripes, usually amid loyal cheers. The parties were uniting to preserve the Union. Early in June a large meeting of all parties was held at Paoli, where appropriate resolutions were adopted expressing sorrow for the death of Senator Douglas. In June two companies of home guards, afterwards the Indiana Legion, were organized in Orange county, and mustered into service - one company at Orleans and the other at Orangewille. The officers of the Orangeville company were: John A. Ritter, captain; Theodore Stackhouse, first lieut.; Thomas B Ware, second lieut. The Orleans company was offered as follows: Wm. T. Spiceley, captain; Chas. Jenkins, first lieut; Arthur W Gray, second lieut. Both companies were mustered into the State service June 26.

 During the latter part of June and the early part of July, from the home guards or militia organizations, two full companies were raised in the county for the 24th Regiment, which had in Vincennes a rendezvous under Col. A. P. Hovey. One company was mainly raised in and around Orleans, the other in and around Paoli, though men were secured from all portions of the county. W. T. Spiceley led the movement at Orleans, and Solomon Dill at Paoli. War meetings were held at these two towns and at Valeene, Chambersburg, Orangeville, French Lick, and elsewhere. At these meetings orators would inflame the patriotism of young men in fiery and eloquent addresses and the ladies would pass the fatal enlistment roll around. At Orleans about fifty of the old citizens pledged themselves to care for the families of volunteers in the company of Capt. Spiceley. In the short space of a week or two both the companies were organized. The officers of the Orleans company were as above mentioned and the officers of the Paoli company were Solomon Dill, captain; John W. Tucker, first lieut; S. H. Southwick, second lieut. Captain Spicely's company became G of the 24th Regiment and Captain Dill's company B of the same regiment. Both companies were mustered into the three years' service on the 31st of July, 1861, and with their regiment started for St. Louis, Mo., on the 19th of August. The regiment joined G. Fremont's forces and moved into the interior of Missouri, where it remained until February, 1862, when it joined the troops at Fort Donelson. It reached Paducah one day after the surrender of Fort Donelson, thence moved to Fort Henry, and later moved with Gen. Grant's army to Pittsburg Landing. At the battle of Shiloh it was hotly engaged, losing many officers and men. Col Hovey, having been promoted Brigadier-General, he was succeeded by W. T. Spicely, of Orleans. This was May 14, 1862. In May and June the regiment participated in the seige of Corinth and after the evacuation moved to Memphis, and in July to Helena, Ark., where it remained during the succeeding winter, participating in sundry expeditions. In the spring of 1863 it joined Grant's army and moved with Hovey's division of the Thirteenth Corps, in the campaign against Vicksburg, engaging in all the batles and skirmished, including the battles of Port Gibson and Champion Hills. In the latter battle it distinguished itself for its daring charges on the enemy. It was actively engaged in the trenches before Vicksburg during the siege from May 19 to July 4. After this in August it moved to New Orleans by boat. In the fall of 1863 it did duty at New Iberia, La., and later at Algiers, near New Orleans, where, Jan 1, 1864, it veteranized and soon afterward was granted a furlough.

 About the latter part of August, 1861, a company was formed by H. L. Williams for the 38th Regiment. The officers were H. L. Williams, captain; T. D. Potter, first lieut.; William Leonard, second lieut. On the 31st  of August the company left the county for New Albany to join the 38th.

 The 38th, to which these men were assigned, entered the three years' service. The fall and winter were passed at Camps Nevin and Wood, on Barren and Green rivers. It saw constant service and Perrysburg fought valiantly, losing 27 killed and 123 wounded and 7 prisoners. On Nov. 2nd it was placed with the First Division of the Fourteenth Army Corps. (Lieut. Wm. Leonard was detached from the company and placed in the signal corps of the Fourteenth Army Corps, with a captain's commission. He was wounded by a sharpshooter while receiving a dispatch.)  Being in a number of engagements and participating in the galling battle of Stone River, losing 14 killed and 86 wounded. It later moved toward Chattanooga, skirmishing hotly at Hoover's Gap, losing 1 killed and 15 wounded. On the 19th and 20th of September, 1863, it was desperately engaged at bloody Chicamauga, losing 9 men killed, 59 wounded and 42 missing. The winter was passed at Rossville, Ga., where the regiment veteranized December 28th, 1863, and early in January started home on furlough, reaching Indianapolis on the 9th, with 360 men and officers. On May 7th it started on the Atlanta campaign, and participated in all the engagements on the march, losing 103 men killed, wounded and missing. It was finally mustered out in July, 1865.

 In September and October, 1861, Dr. J. A. Ritter, Wm. Charles and others raised a company for the 49th Regiment, with the following officers: John A Ritter, captain; Wm Charles, 1st lieut., Elijah T. Pinnick, 2nd lieut. Late in September, 1861, the company moved to Jeffersonville, where it became company G of the 49th Regiment. With John W. Ray as regimental colonel, it went into a camp of instruction at Bardstown. Jan 12, 1862, the regiment started for Cumberland Ford, where it suffered terribly from the ravages of disease. From this time till Sept 7th, when it was mustered out, it saw a great deal of service.

 There were many volunteers for the 50th Regiment, raised at Seymour under command of Colonel Dunham, who was aided by John Hungate in raising a full company, mostly in the western part of the county, the men coming largely from the Democratic party. The men were mustered in as Company F of the 50th Regiment, and on the 5th of November, 1861, with the following officers: John Hungate, captain; B. F. McClintock, 1st lieut.; Isaac A Craig, 2nd lieut.; moved into Kentucky.

 In January and February, 1862, another company was raised mostly in Orange county, which became Company K of the 53rd Regiment, with Wiley R. Reeves, captain; Mereda McDonald, 1st lieut.; W. T. Cloud, 2nd lieut. The men for this company came mainly from around Orleans. This regiment saw considerable service, suffering especially at Atlanta, where Col Jones was killed. It pursued Hood, and later marched to the sea. Marching northward through the Carolinas, and after Johnston's surrender, moved to Raleigh, Richmond, thence to Louisville, Ky., where it was mustered out July 21, 1865.

 During the late fall of 1861, about half a company was raised in the vicinity of Valeene for the 59th Regiment, which was in rendezvous at Gosport, Ind. During its term of service it participated in the following movements: Siege of New Madrid, Mo., the capture of 5,000 prisoners at Tiptonville, expedition to Fort Pillow, siege and skirmishes around Corinth, pursuit of Price to Hatchie, sundry expeditions - one to Yazoo river in March, 1863, the Vicksburg campaign, fighting at Forty Hills, Jackson, Big Black River, and the bloody assaults on the fortifications of Vicksburg, where it suffered severely, losing 126 men killed and wounded; in September, 1863, moved up the river, fought at Mission Ridge, veteranized at Huntsville, Ala., January 1, 1864, enjoyed the veteran furlough; took the field again in April, 1864, did guard and provost duty in Tennessee until November, 1864, and marched with Sherman to the sea; thence through the Carolinas and finally to Washington City. It was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., July 17, 1864.

 But little effort was made during the early spring and summer of 1862 to raise volunteers for the war. The call of July, 1862, for 300,000 men for nine months, and the call of August, 1864, for 300,000 men for nine months stimulated new enlistments, and war meetings were held throughout the county. A little more than two full companies were raised for the 66th Co. D, except about seven men, was wholly from Orange county, and was officered as follows: John W. Payne, captain; John Millis, 1st lieut; Jas. M. Hobson, 2nd lieut. All of Company E, except about ten men, was raised in Orange county, the officers being F. C. Bivens, captain; S. B. A. Condor, 1st lieut; Wm. Maple, 2nd lieut. There were fifteen from the county Co. B, and few in other companies. The men were all mustered in August 19, and the same evening the regiment, yet incomplete, marched south to oppose Kirby Smith, who had invaded Kentucky. It moved to Lexington and on the 23rd of August marched to Richmond, Ky., where on the 30th it participated in that disastrous engagement, losing the greater portion captured. The entire regiment was transferred to Indianapolis November 18, was duly declared exchanged, and December 10 again took the field at Corinth. After more service it went with the Second Division of the Sixteenth Army Corps, starting April 29th for Chattanooga to join Sherman at Dalton, Ga. It then participated in the Atlanta campaign, fighting at Resaka, Lay's Ferry, Rome Cross Roads, Dallas, Kenesaw, before Atlanta, July 22 and Jonesboro. Marching across Georgia to Savannah, it then moved through the Carolina's and after Johnson's surrender, reached Washington City May 24, 1865. It was mustered out June 3rd, and sent to Indianapolis, and all except the recruits were discharged.

 Early in September, 1862, about a dozen men left the county as recruits for Co. A of the 38th Regiment. In August a dozen men joined Co G of the 49th and a few Co K, of the same regiment. About fifteen joined Co. F of the 50th Regiment in September and October. The work of enlistment was well done, and at the time of the draft of October 6, 1862, only two townships, Greenfield and Jackson, were deficient, while the other townships, almost all, had a surplus, so that Orange county was in reality ahead of the quota. A few men from the county went into the cavalry and a few more entered the 81st Regiment, all prior to the draft of October.

 Almost an entire company was raised for the 92nd Regiment in the vicinity of Newton Stewart, but really became H of the 93rd, with the following officers: Wm. T. Swift, captain; John W. Parks, 1st lieut.; Wesley Shoulders, 2nd lieut. The men were mustered in at Madison August 20, 1862, and on the 9th of November moved to Cairo, Ill. After a number of moves it finally participated in the movement on Vicksburg. Its first fight was at Jackson, Miss., where it lost 3 killed and 7 wounded. It moved back toward Vicksburg and in assaults on that place lost 3 killed and 14 wounded. The regiment was in many skirmishes at various points, and after a hot fight in the Gun Town expedition, was driven back with a loss of 13 killed, 56 wounded and 184 prisoners. It participated in the battle of Nashville, joined in the pursuit, later selecting winter quarters at Eastport, Miss. It was mustered out Memphis, Tenn., August 10, 1864, which companies I and K remained with the recruits until October, 1865.

 It is impossible to give the exact number of men furnished by the county for the war, but the approximate number can be given. On the 19th of September, 1862, the county was credited with having furnished 1,023 volunteers. As she afterwards filled all her quotas, either by volunteer enlistments or by draft, the approximate number of men can be found. Her quota under the June call of 1863, was not less than 50 men, and her quota under the October call of 1863 was 186 men. All these were furnished. Her quota under the June call of 1863, was not less than 50 men, and her quota under the October call of 1863 was 186 men. All these were furnished. Her quota under the call of February, 1864, was 236; under call of March, 1864, was 94, and under the call of July 1864, was 250. Under these calls aggregating 580 men, the county actually furnished 680 men, or a surplus of 100. Her quota under the last call of the war, December 19, 1864, was 136, but this number was reduced by surpluses to 79 men, which the county furnished together with a surplus of 61. It is also certain the county furnished at least 150 men for the war who were not placed to her credit, but left and entered regiments and companies raised elsewhere. Adding the numbers 1,023, 50, 186, 680, 79, 61 and 159, the grand total of 2,229 is obtained as the approximate credits of the county.

 A fitting word may be said at this time of the famous band of the 24th Regiment, which was mustered from members of the regiment, and is said to have been one of the finest bands in the whole army. The band was organized by Jacob Brining, a thorough musician from Vincennes, and among the members were eight men from Orange county: S. B. A. Conder, Alvin Park, T. Collins, Geo. Steers, Green Kimbley, Ben Lingle, Henry Busick and W. M Johnson.