by "One Who Was There"
[Written expressly for the Northern Indianian by Reub Williams ]
Indiana has many gallant dead and living brave, lost and given during the late long and bloody struggle. When the announcement that the first gun had been fired at Sumpter of historic fame, (the prelude to a thousand sanguinary fields) was sounded throughout the length and breadth of our land, no State responded to the call of our common country with more alacrity than did Indiana. Her sons sprang as by magic, from city and country, and by hundreds and thousands, rallied to this State rendezvous, there to be armed, drilled, and finally sent to the field, that they amid the smoke and din of battle, might reach forth the strong arm in the hour of their country's need, and save the legacy of our patriot fathers from a dishonored grave.
Among the counties of our state that, both late and early, contributed much in men and money; that never hesitated as to her duty, even in the darkest hours our country ever saw; there is one-to perpetuate the memory of those fallen heroes, and chronicle some of the deeds of noble daring performed by those who still living in their country's pride - is his pleasing task, although 'tis not possible for anyone to give them the praise they so justly deserve, much less my humble self -need I say that it is for Kosciusko's heroes, I wield the pen? Like him from whom she derived her name, Kosciusko county has offered her all, a willing sacrifice upon the altar of Liberty, never regretting it, but wishing it were more.
It is proposed in the following series of sketches, (one of which will appear in each number of the Northern Indianian and during the present year) to narrate some of the deeds of daring and adventure which happen to both officers and enlisted men from this county in the Union army. The proper names of persons will not always be given, but it is proposed to deal only in actual occurrences, and give to the reader many incidents which it is hoped will prove interesting.
We all know with what promptness are county responded to call for me and to protect the "Banner of Beauty and Glory" from desecration at traitor's hands. How, ere the official summons "To Arms" had been given to the country, near two hundred of her sons had, between the rising and the setting of the sun, gathered themselves together, willing, nay! eager, to attest their devotion to their country's cause at the sacrifice of their lives. How Gov. Morton was informed of their readiness for service in the field, and when his answer was returned, accepting only a part of their organization, that strong men shed tears because they could not array themselves under the folds of the "Starry Banner," to do and dare for a cause they love so well. All who recollect the formation of that first installment of sacrifices to our common country's good, will bear it in memory as an impressive scene, especially the presentation of the first banner borne by Kosciusko's honored sons. And again, when but an hour or so remained ere the volunteers should leave home and friends for the field of strife, perchance to find their graves on foreign soil, they were assembled together to receive from the friends of the cause a lasting parting gift-the Holy Bible.
We all remember the tears that were shed at the departure of the brave boys how fathers, mothers, wives, sons and daughters prayed for the safe return of loved ones, to whom they were giving the last fond adieus. And how the boys, little used to the martial "pomp of war" endeavored to appear indifferent to their fate so that they won for themselves glory and renown did inspire hearts which even then trembled for the safety of our cause, with a new and stronger faith, acquitting themselves nobly, and becoming the patriotic people they were to represent.
But few of those who were assembled on the night of May 5th, 1861 at the R. R. Depot, to give the volunteers their last adieu, could help feeling a sadness at their departure. The hour was peculiarly propitious to sad forbodings for the future. A wild, dark, and stormy night it was, and, amid the roar of the thunder and vivid flashes of lightning, while the rain descended in floods, the train thundered into the station. A moment more, the boys were gone, accompanied by the well wishes of our people. Of all those assembled perhaps not one, even admitted the possibility of more of her sons being called upon to follow in the path of those who had gone to gather renown on distant bloody fields. That none wished for more of her sons to go is certain. Yet, but a few short weeks elapse ere comes the tidings of the bloody battle on Manasses plain, where, although our brave boys did their duty nobly, they could not avail themselves of what they struggled so hard to win-Victory. It was a bitter defeat, and the Southern traitors came near at once securing what they now have lost.
But defeat did not unnerve our people. More volunteers tendered their services. In a short time another company took its departure from our midst; soon another and still another and again until more than twenty companies of volunteers-equivalent to more than two thousand men-had gone from Kosciusko county to swell the patriot army.
For more than four long years our brave boys have nobly struggled with the foe. Nor did they cease until the victory was won, and the "broad stripes and bright stars" floated supreme from the rock-bound coast of Maine on the north, to the Rio Grande of the South. Not once did they falter or swerve from the path which leads to freedom for the oppressed. On twenty score of bloody fields our boys have sought to acquit themselves like heroes. They have done it; and on as many fields, some of our brave volunteers have found their graves. They have went down like ripened grain, amid the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry; when all things tended to make [the] day hideous. Their unlettered graves may be found scattered from the Ohio to the Gulf, from the Mississippi to the Atlantic. And though their bones repose in unknown graves, where friends and kindred may never find them to shed the tear for affections sundered, or broken hearts wail forth their anguish to the mouldering clay; yet their memories shall live to the end of time. The many deeds of chivalry performed by Kosciusko's sons shall not be consigned to early graves, but shall be perpetuated in the hearts of our people. Like the green oasis scattered at intervals throughout acres of sands, shall be the record of the brave and daring deeds of our citizen soldiery. Their laurels shall be as living verdure, preserved to incite future generations to, if necessary, imitate the gallant acts of worthy sires, and to consider, above all duties next that they owe to their God, most sacred, that of holding their country's welfare as dear to them as it was to their fathers and preserve the "Banner of the Stars" in all its glory and brightness, for generations still farther removed.
In the forthcoming numbers of the Indianian, equal and exact justice shall be meted out to all to the extent of our ability. Should any misstatements occur, it will be chargeable only to those who furnish the material for these articles. We trust that this enterprise may meet the favor of the entire people; and should we succeed in this, we shall feel amply repaid for our poor efforts in a subject worth a better pen.
Northern Indianian Thursday March 29, 1866
Back to YesterYear