Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Today we would like to tell something about the Civil War career of Joseph B. Dodge, of Warsaw. Our county had three men who held high posts in the army during the Civil War --Reub Williams, Charles W. Chapman, and Joseph B. Dodge. All three held the position of colonel during most of the conflict; near the end of the war Williams was made a brevet brigadier general. Williams probably had the most exciting career of the trio, being captured by the enemy three times. Chapman received the most serious wounds, being so severely wounded at Chickamauga that he was honorably discharged. Although Dodge was never wounded, he was captured once.

Joseph B. Dodge was born in 1930 in Yates county, New York. At the age of 18 he came to Warsaw and found employment by clerking in stores and teaching school. The 1850 census lists him as a school teacher and indicates that he was staying at the boarding house run by a Ferdinand Felton in Warsaw at that time. It is interesting to note that another boarder at the same house was John K. Leedy, who was just starting out on a long medical career in Warsaw. In 1854 Dodge ran a general collecting agency which he ran very successfully until he was elected Kosciusko county treasurer in 1856.

When the Civil War broke out Dodge helped to recruit the first regiment to be organized here. In fact it was Dodge who went to Indianapolis to offer the services of this regiment to the Union forces. Dodge went into active service with the 30th Indiana Regiment in August of 1861 and a year later was placed in command of a brigade.

Probably the most important battle in which he fought was Chickamauga, the same battle in which his fellow Warsawan was so severely wounded. In the Chickamauga National park today a monument stands in honor of the brigade which Dodge commanded. This monument is located at the spot where the brigade did its heaviest fighting. Dodge's name appears on that monument as well as on many of the maps showing the disposition of the troops in battle.

In telling about the time that Dodge was captured his biographer says: "The colonel was never wounded, and never captured but once, and that during a battle after night, and then he captured the two guards who were placed over him, and made them conduct him into the lines of the Union army, and he turned them over to his provost marshal as prisoners of war!"

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Jan. 16, 1954