Archive for montgomery county indiana civil war

Sidney Speed, Hero at Chickamauga

Posted in Soldiers, Stories with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by 40thindiana

In the heat of battle at Chickamauga, Crawfordsville artilleryman Sidney Speed would save the lifes of several battery mates, in a heroic act that even Hollywood could not think of.

Sidney was one of six children born to Scottish parents, John and Margaret Speed. John was a stone cutter who was also known locally for his work and politics. John had been a Jackson Democrat, an intense abolitionist, a Wig and finally a Republican. John, the strong abolitionist, had traveled to North Carolina during the 1830’s and supervised the construction of the new state capital’s edifice. He also planned and patented the unusual stair for the building. After the job was completed, John would travel back to his family in Crawfordsville. The garret of the Speed home was known to have been used for harboring runaway slaves for the Underground Railroad. Sidney and the other children would help in the buying and collecting food to feed the runaway slaves. Sidney’s adult life seems to have been greatly influenced by his father.

 By the summer of 1862 Sidney had seen many Montgomery County residents come to Crawfordsville and enlist in the companies being formed there. At this time, Sidney was a student attending Wabash College, while also helping as a clerk in his fathers stonemason business. A new artillery battery was being organized by Greencastle druggist Eli Lilly. Captain Lilly started recruiting in Putnam and Montgomery counties, one of his new recruits was Sidney Speed. After a year of war Sidney thought it was his time to enlist, although there was one problem, his age. In July 1862 Sidney had just turned 16 years old, under age to enlist for military service. In order to avert the situation, Sidney had to lie about his age, as many other young men did who joined the battery. Eli Lilly’s Indiana Battery would be numbered the 18th Indiana Battery, but was usually called the former by the men. The rest of 1862 would be spent learning how to use the guns and campaiging in Kentucky.

 In early 1863 Colonel John Wilder wanted the men in his brigade fitted as mounted infantry and arm them with the Spencer Repeating Rifle. His dream became a reality and Lilly’s Battery would be attached to Wilder’s Brigade. Sidney knew many men in the 72nd Indiana, two of it’s companies, “B” and “E” had been recruited in Montgomery County. On June 24, 1863 the brigade began moving from their camps in Murfreesboro, Tn. toward the Confederate Army at Shelbyville, Tn. Lilly’s Battery was goning to taste it’s first hard combat at Hoovers Gap. Wilder and Lilly’s men would fight and hold two Confederate brigades. They were at least twice the size of Wilder’s Brigade. It was here that the brigade pushed and held the Confederates in the gap and earned the name “Wilder’s Lightning Brigade”.

 Wilder and Lilley would continue south in pursuit of the Confederate Army. They would end up on the banks of the Tennessee River, opposite Chattanooga. Here Lilly’s guns would shell the city, and confuse Confederate General Braxton Bragg of the Union Army’s intentions. The brigade would move toward Ringgold, Georgia and then into McLemore’s Cove. Along the banks of the West Branch of Chickamauga Creek the Confederates hoped to defeat an isolated portion of the Union army near Lee and Godon’s Mill. The battle of Chickamauga would be a three day event for Wilder’s and Lilly’s men. For this brigade the battle of Chickamauga started on September 18, 1863. On the morning of September 18, the brigade had been posted to hold Alexander’s Bridge and prevent the crossing of Confederate troops there. Around 10:00 a.m. a Confederate Brigade and Battery attacked Wilder’s position. Four of Lilly’s rifled guns went into battery near the Alexander cabin. Feverishly working one of these guns was Sidney Speed. The battery quickly began loading and firing long range canister and shell at the oncoming Rebels. A half mile oppoisite of Lilly’s guns, Fowler’s Alabama Battery went into action aginst the guns posted near the Alexander cabin. Lilly’s gunners could hear the first round from Fowler’s guns coming toward them. Bugler Henry Campbell of Crawfordsville wrote in his diary, ” I don’t think I will ever forget the awful, unearthly screeching that shell made as it approached us. It seemed as if it would never strike, it was so long coming.” Campbell along with four or five comrads attempted to take cover behind a small sapling near by. Campbell reported, “We all knew, from the sound of it, that it would strike some place close by.” It did strike close by, the shell bounced in front of the number two gun, then hit the corner of the Alexander cabin, where it ricocheted back toward the guns, landing near some of Lilly’s huddled gunners. Sidney could see the danger to his comrads, calmly he picked up the shell, while the fuse was still burning and “heaved it over” the Alexander cabin where the shell would explode. Captain Lilly witnessed Sidney’s heroic act that had saved the lifes of some of his artillerymen. In his after-action report, Captain Lilly would praise Sidney for this courageous act.

 Sidney would continue to serve until the war’s end, he would obtain the rank of corporal in January, 1864. He returned to Crawfordsville where he took up his father’s trade as a stone mason. More that Fifty years had passed when Lt. Joseph A. Scott, of the 18th Battery and Lilly’s grandson tried to obtain the Medal of Honor for Sidney. Speed was not very fond of the idea, stating he “didn’t give two hoots” about the medal. After it was explained to Sidney that he would be entitled to more money in his soldier’s pension, he had a chane of heart. He said he was, “willing to have the medal forced on me.” Unfortunately Sidney never recieved the medal he deserved for his unselfish action at Chickamauga.

On September 18-20, 1895, the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park was dedicated. The monument to Lillyls 18th Indiana Battery was not yet erected on the battlefield. Almost a year after the park’s dedication , a monument to honor the 18th Indiana Battery was placed in the West Viniard Field, alongside other monuments to the regiments of Wilder’s Brigade. The design contract for the gray oolitic limestone monument went to the Crawfordsville firm of Sidney Speed, hero of Chickamauga.

By Scott Busenbark

Link to book,:” Blue Lightning, Wilder’ Mounted Infantry Brigade at the Battle of Chickamauga.”

Death of Sergeant Ornbaun, 79th Ind.

Posted in Soldiers with tags , , , on January 19, 2010 by 40thindiana

“‘The Crawfordsville Journal’ Thursday,January 21,1864

Funeral of Serg’t Ornbaun

 ‘The remains of Serg’t H.N. Ornbaun,of Company K,79th Indiana Regiment, who fell mortally wounded at the battle of Missionary Ridge,on the 25th of November last,and who died on the 1st day of December,arrived at home on Saturday morning last for interment.On Tuesday of this week,under military escort,the remains were conveyed from the family residence to the Methodist E. Church;(where appropriate funeral exercises were had);and thence to the town Cemetery,where they were consigned to the tomb-the final resting place of all that is mortal of man.’

George Powell 1st Indiana Cavalry

Posted in First Hand Letters & Accounts with tags , , on January 19, 2010 by 40thindiana

Helena, Arkansas May 3, 1863 To: Thomas M. Powell From: George Powell

 Dear Brother Sunday morning has come again finding me well and in a tolerably good humor though there are (it seems to me) a great many things to annoy me. I can’t be said to be homesick, but some way or other there is a kind of longing about me to see the 15th of July which is not far distant. I have been anxiously expecting a letter from some one at home for two weeks but none have come to hand yet (so far as heard from). This is a fine morning sun shines hot – everything seems still & lonesome. The troops as I have before told you are mostly gone. Only 5 or 6000 now here. We have been sending out a scout every day for two weeks of about 200 men. And on Friday last (May 1st) a portion of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry numbering about 150 men came in contact with the Rebels about 12 miles N.W. of here and got whipped like thunder, in fact the whole union force had like to have been gobbled up, before they knew what they were about. Our Iowa boys were marching along perfectly unconcerned (as I suppose) when all of a sudden they were fired upon by the Rebs from an ambush. Our boys returned the fire, but being through the brush had but little effect on the enemy, when our men got their pieces emptied – here come the Rebel Cavalry down a lane in the rear of them as hard as they could drive. Our Iowa Friends now began to think all was up with them and broke every man for himself (as I am informed). I asked one of them afterwards if they came back in a hurry – He replied that they didn’t come slow. We had 10 or 15 killed, a proportionate number wounded and from 20 to 50 prisoners taken. The Rebs sustained but little loss. About 1 o’clock we got wind of the fracas, and all the Cavalry about Helena were ordered out on quick time. On our way out we met several Iowa boys, some had lost their hats, some their horses, and a good many were badly scratched up, and had their heads tied up with handkerchiefs. When we got there it was all over and nobody to be found, just as I expected. I doubt very much if the Rebels had over 200 m en though our men report from 500 to 800 of them. Our Genls don’t seem to know anything at all about fighting these bushwhackers. I am of opinion that 200 men to go out and fight them Indian style and stay out in the country all the time, would do more execution than 5,000 Cavalry have done since I have been here or ever will do, the way we are managed. Our Generals are looking for an attack on this place – have been for some time. Helena is being fortified, another Fort is being built – heavy guns mounted on the hills (64) pounders and rifle pits dug – breastworks made (Clarksburg Style). For my part I don’t have any fears of being attacked here at all, only by a few bushwhackers now and then who ran our Picket in to get to chuckel over it afterwards. However I would like to see General Price or Hindman make an avalanche on us some of these times. I think we could interest them a short time. Our Regiment is doing heavy duty now furnishing 60 Pickets a day 100 Troopers each alternate day, and 20 new Camp Guard daily out of a report of about 300 men for duty. I am lucky enough to be exempt from Guard and Scout duty for the time being only when I see proper to go out. I wrote to you some time ago and told you to have my part of the land set off with yours and Eliza’s if you have it divided soon. If that letter has not reached you I would say for you to have it done in that way if you can. Please let me hear from you and the folks at home soon,

Yours Truly,

G. W. P.

38th Indiana Infantry

Posted in Montgomery Regiments & Companies with tags , , , on January 19, 2010 by 40thindiana
The 38th Indiana Infantry Regiment was raised in New Albany, Indiana by Colonel Benjamin Scribner. Most of the compamies were raised from southren Indiana counties. The list of Twenty-three men below were from Montgomery County, Indiana and traveled to New Albany, IN. In Colonel Benjamin Scribner’s book, ” How Soldiers Were Made”, he mentions David Patton twice. He stated that “thirteen students from the northern part of our state came down to New Albany, and were mustered in as private soldiers.”(p. 208-209) Among them was a man that would become the last Colonel of the 38th Indiana Infantry, David H. Patton. Many of the names below, including Patton, were students at the Waveland Collegiate Institute, in Waveland, Indiana. There are twenty-two men on the 1861 Company “H” rolls that are known to be from Montgomery County.
Of the original twenty-three men, eleven would not survive the war. Several other men could not serve out their three year enlistments because of wounds or disease, a sad testament to the hard service the 38th Regiment performed. Also included are four recruits who enlisted in 1864, two of them would die of disease.
One other county resident enlisted in Company “C”, 38th Indiana Infantry. William Jones of Brown Township enlisted on September 18, 1861, and mustered out as a sergeant on July 15, 1865. He listed his residence as New Market, Indiana.
The 38th saw heavy action at Perryville, KY., Stones River, TN., Chickamauga, GA., Chattanooga, TN. and the Atlanta Campagin. It was also involved in Sherma’s “March to the Sea” and the march north through the Carolians. It has the honor of being listed as one of “Fox’s Fighting 300 Union Regiments” from the Civil War.

David H. Patton - Waveland, Indiana Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Enlisted as a Corporal, Mustered out as Colonel of the 38th IND., 1865

Joseph E. Sterrett - Waveland, Indiana Mustered Dec. 5, 1861, Enlisted as a private, Mustered out as Second Lieutenant of Company “H”

Samuel W. Sterrett - Waveland, Indiana Mustered Sept, 18, 1861, Killed at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky October 8, 1862

John C. Bush - Waveland, Indiana Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Discharged 1863, disability

Alexander Buchanan - Montgomery County Mustered Oct. 4, 1861, Died of wounds 1863, no specific date given

Robert H. Canine - Waveland, Indiana Mustered Oct. 4, 1861, Discharge 1863, disability

William G. Canine - Crawfordsville, Indiana Mustered Oct. 4, 1861, Died 1863 of disease

John Cassady - Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Wounded Sept. 1, 1864 battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, Died Sept. 2, 1864

William S. Demaree – Montgomery County Mustered Oct. 4, 1861, Discharged 1863, disability

Charles E. Fowler - Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Killed in Georgia, August 26, 1864, Buried Marietta Georgia National Cemetery

John T. Hanna – Montgomery County Mustered Oct. 4, 1861, Died in Kentucky Feb. 13, 1862, disease

Joseph L. Logan – Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Mustered out as Corporal Sept. 17, 1864

John L. Martin – Crawfordsville, Indiana Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Veteran, promoted to Captain of Company A

John W. McDaniel – Waveland, Indiana Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Killed at battle of Perryville, Kentucky October 8, 1862

John W. Milligan – Waveland, Indiana Mustered Oct. 4, 1861, Mustered out 1864

Thomas Noon – Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Died Nashville, Tennessee September 2, 1863

John W. Randolph - Montgomery County Mustered Oct. 4, 1861, Discharged, date not stated, wounds

William J. Richards – Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861; Commissioned 2nd Lt., 81st Ind. Inf. Co. “H”

William Riley – Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Killed battle of Chickamauga, Georgia Sept. 19, 1863

James M. Steele – Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861Mustered out Sept. 12, 1864

Lorenzo D. Stone – Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Mustered out Sept. 17, 1864

Columbus W. Veatch – Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Died in an explosion on the Steamer Sultana April 27, 1865

James H. Wells - Montgomery County Mustered Sept. 18, 1861, Killed, no date given

George Couchland - Waveland, Indiana Mustered Oct. 20, 1864, Mustered out July 15, 1865

Joseph A. Patton – Waveland, Indiana Mustered Jan. 14, 1864, Promoted to the U.S. Colored Troops, declined

Luther H. Patton – Waveland, Indiana Mustered Oct. 20, 1864, Died of disease at Chattanooga Tennessee Feb. 20, 1865

Chauncy Richardson - Waveland, Indiana Mustered Oct. 20, 1864, Died of disease at Beaufort, South Carolina May 5, 1865

Company C

William Jones – New Market, Indiana, Mustered September 18, 1861, Mustered out July 15, 1861 as sergeant.

From the History of the Thirty-Eighth Indiana Infantry

Colonel David H. Patton

Colonel David H. Patton was born in Flemingsburg, Ky., Nov. 26, 1837, and was mustered into the service of the United States as a Corporal of Company H, Thirty-Eighth Indiana Volunteers, September 18th, 1861.
At the battle of Perryville Ky., he was one of the famous color guard that lost nearly all its numbers, and was himself slightly wounded. He was promoted and mustered as First Lieutenant, same company, June 5th, 1864; Captain Sept. 6, 1864; Lieutenant Colonel, May 5th, 1865, and Colonel, May 26th, 1865.
Colonel Patton, at the time of his enlistment, was a student of medicine. He was of robust constitution, and was one of few who took part in every battle and skirmish in which the regiment was engaged. He was modest and unassuming, devoted to duty, and acted well his part in every position which he was called upon to fill, from Corporal to Colonel.
He was mustered out with the regiment at Indianapolis, July 15th, 1865. On the 25th of September, 1867, he was united in marriage to Miss Clara Bennett. They have three children: Miss Fannie Ramsay, Miss Alice Patton and Luther Patton.
Colonel Patton served one term as Congressman from a district in northern Indiana, and served as Receiver of United States Land Office from September, 1893, to September, 1897.
He now resides in Woodland, O.T., and is engaged in the cattle business.

Joseph E. Sterrett

Joseph E. Sterrett was born in Juniata County, Pennsylvania, November 7, 1842, and mustered into service as a private in Company H, December 5, 1861; promoted to Third Sergeant, April 1, 1865; regimental Commissary Sergeant, June 1, 1865; and commissioned Second Lieutenant same date. Comrade Sterrett was a veteran and took part in every engagement of the regiment. He was wounded at the battle of Jonesborough, Georgia.
He married Miss Amanda J. Little, May 6, 1869. Their children are Anna V., and Elsie I. Sterrett. Comrade Sterrett is a physician and resides in Logansport, Indiana.

Regimental History of the Thirty-Eighth Indiana Infantry

15th Indiana Losses at Missionary Ridge

Posted in First Hand Letters & Accounts with tags , , on January 19, 2010 by 40thindiana

The Crawfordsville Daily JournalThursday, December 10, 1863

Losses in the 15th Indiana

“In the recent battles before Chattanooga, Company E, 15th Ind., which is composed principally of men from this county substained the following loss; Killed – Sergeants Rob’t Gilbert, musket shot in heart; Fred Waltz, musket shot in breast; Solon Bower, musket shot in bowls; Private Wm. Emmerson, musket shot in head; WmR. Cank, musket shot in breast. Wounded – Lieutenants, 1st WmM. Graham, slight, in bowls; 2nd JasT. Harvey, severely, in side; Corporals, Silas Cooley, severe, in leg; WmL. Hess, slight, in arm; Privates, Henry H. Mercer, severe;WmW. Campbell, slight, in hand; Wm. Hartman, slight, in shoulder; Albert Robinson, slight, in chest; J.C.  Tyson, severe, in hand. This company went into the fight with only 28 men; rank and file; and came out with a loss of just one-half – 5 killed and 9 wounded. The wounds of a majority of the boys, we are pleased to learn, were but slight. Lieutenant Graham is now in this city, and is doing well – his wound being in the left side and not at all serious.

We also subjoin a list of the killed and wounded of Company I, same regiment. This company, though recruited in and about Liberty, in this State, have many relatives and friends in our county: Killed – W.D.  Sering, 2nd Lieut., rifle ball in head; A. Crist, Sergeant, rifle ball in head; H.H. Orman, rifle ball in breast; W.J. Stanton, rifle ball in the breast. Wounded – Sergeants, A.B. Cole, in neck, slight; Victor Miller, in the side, slight; G.B. Cliff, in head, severe; Corporals, A.H. Conover, in hand, severe; M.J. Salsan, in shoulder, slight; Henry Aldor, in foot, severe; Jas. Mullen, in thigh, severe; Privates, Isaac Allen, in thigh, severe; Moses Cory, in side, severe; John Dunton, in thigh, severe; A.J. Hiller, in nose, slight; J.B. Macy, in shoulder, severe; George Banks, in thigh, severe; S.J. Wylie, in left ankle, severe.” __________________________________________________________ “First Flag on the Summit”: History of the 15th Indiana Infantry in the Civil War


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