Local History and Genealogy

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Civil War in Steuben County

"At the start of the Civil War Steuben County had a population of only about 10,000, not a mile of railroad within its borders, and very few newspapers were available.  Under the call for the first 75,000 men, Indiana was assigned a quota of six regiments.  Within 5 days a full company had enlisted in Steuben County and was being trained by Captain Baldwin J. Crosswait, who had seen service in the war with Mexico five years before.  This company was at once dispatched to Governor Morton, at Indianapolis, but the means of transportation between Angola and the Capital was so slow that by the time the loyal Steuben County men arrives the quota had been filled.  In just eight days after that first shot was fired at Fort Sumter, Governor Morton had twelve regiments, and in less than thirty days 40,000 men had offered him their services.  Many of the men from Steuben County, still fired with true patriotism, came back and enlisted in other places, some in Ohio, some in Michigan, and others in Illinois.  On May 24, 1861, thirty men left in one group and enlisted in Adrian, Michigan, as members of the 4th Michigan infantry Regiment, and in August, over thirty more enlisted in Chicago in the 42nd Infantry Regiment.

Below are accounts of organizations in which men from Steuben County served during the Civil War.

Scott Township Guards

On August 16, 1861, Captain J. H. Judkins enrolled the first man for what was to become Company "A" 29th Infantry Regiment at a parade of the Scott Township Guards.  The uniforms of his company was made of blue denim, with red and white stripes and stars.  Lieutenant William E Sergeant and Second Lieutenant R. W. Melendy were its officers.  On August 27, 1861, the 29th Infantry Regiment was organized and mustered into service at LaPorte,  Indiana, with Colonel John F Miller as its Commanding Officer, Baldwin J Crosswait was made a Lieutenant Colonel and General W. McConnell became the Quartermaster.  Company A, and parts of Companies I and K of this regiment were composed of men from Steuben County.   This regiment participated in many of the famous battles of the was and many men from Steuben County did not return.

44th Infantry Regiment

The companies comprising the 44th Infantry Regiment were raised in the Tenth Congressional District.  Colonel Hugh B. Reed was its Commanding Officer.  Companies A and K and parts of Companies D, F and H were from Steuben County.  This regiment was sent to Green River County, Kentucky, in December 1861, and later to Fort Henry.  It also participated in the battle of Fort Donelson where it lost heavily, and in the battle of Shiloh where 33 of its men were killed and 177 wounded.  The 44th Infantry Regiment was discharged at Indianapolis where a reception was given it its honor with Governor Morton, General Grose, and General Washburn as the speakers.

48th Infantry Regiment

The 48th Infantry Regiment was organized at Goshen on December 6, 1861, with Company H being composed of men from Steuben County.  The regiment arrived at Fort Donelson the day of the surrender of that famous fort; it was at Iuka, Corinth (Second Battle),and Champion Hills,  and marched with Grant to Vicksburg.  During its service, this regiment lost 213 men, killed and wounded.

100th Infantry Regiment
The 100th Infantry Regiment fro m the Tenth Congressional District was organized in August 1864.  Steuben County gave to this regiment all of Company B, and parts of Company D and K.  The regiment joined General Grant at Vicksburg and took part in the battles there as well as at Mission Ridge where it lost over
130 men. On its return journey home this regiment received acclaim at Washington and Indianapolis.

The 12th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry Regiment
The 12 Indiana Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was organized at Kendallville, Indiana, on March 1, 1864.  parts of troops B, C, and I were from Steuben county.  The organization fought in almost every Southern State, under General Canby.  It was mustered out on November 10, 1865.

129th Infantry Regiment
The 12oth Infantry Regiment was recruited in the winter of 1863-64, and rendezvoused at Michigan City, where it was mustered into service on March 1, 1864.  It had an eventful service but lost heavily during the war.  Only 503 men and officers remained to be mustered out in August, 1865, at Charlotte, North Carolina.

42nd Infantry Regiment
The 142nd Infantry Regiment was recruited at points within the Tenth congressional District and was  mustered in at Indianapolis on March 16, 1865.  It left Harper's Ferry, Virginia, to join the army at Shenandoah, and remained there until mustered out August 30, 1865, reaching Indianapolis with only 770 men and officers.

Steuben County raised thousands of dollars during the Civil War for bounties and support of "war widows" and their families,  "Loyalty" is stamped on every page and every resolution of the county Commissioners proceedings for the years of this war."

Steuben County History 1955 Pages 221, 222, 223 Written by Col. Gaylord S. Gilbert

Note:  The Soldier's Monument in downtown Angola was built in 1917 to honor the men from Steuben County who fought in the Civil War. The monument lists the names of the 1,278 Steuben County men.  Per capita, more men from Steuben County enlisted for the war than any other county in Indiana.