The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 4, Page 11.


From Earliest Days Sons of Porter County Volunteered For Service With Old Glory
Porter Was First County In Indiana To Form Company In Response To Lincoln's Call

Porter county played a never-to-be forgotten role in that fearful struggle, the war of the rebellion, 1861-65. Hundreds upon hundreds of men from Porter county became a part of that great drama and scores made the supreme sacrifice at Shiloh, Fort Donelson, Chicamauga, Stone River, and other battlefields of the war.

In 1852 the new constitution of Indiana was adopted, the system was revived by an act of the legislature, and each Congressional district was required to organized a militia. Northern Indiana was required to organize the Ninth brigade, the second regiment of which was apportioned to Porter county. Of this regiment, L. A. Cass was colonel; H. E. Woodruff, lieutenant-colonel, and a man named Freeman was major. About half the townships formed companies and for a few years meetings for drill and instruction were held regularly. Then the interest began to wane, and by 1859, the militia had sunk into a state of inactivity.

That day when news of the president's call reached Valparaiso, the publishers of the Valparaiso Republican issued an extra edition containing a call for a meeting at the court house in the evening.

Porter county's response to the call was instantaneous. The court house was packed to its utmost capacity within a few minutes after the doors were opened. Dr. E. Jones was elected to preside, and J. F. McCarthy and A. J. Berry was chosen secretaries. On motion of Dr. R. A. Cameron, a committee was appointed to draft resolutions indicative of the feeling that percaded the entire North. The committee consisted of Dr. Cameron, Jacob Brewer, S. S. and J. N. Skinner and Mark L. DeMotte.

The response was so general that within a few days a company numbering 130 men was ready for organization.

The honor of being the first county in the state to raise a company for the preservation of the Union belong to Porter county.

On Sunday, April 21, 1861, a sermon was preached to the members of the company by Rev. Aaron Gurney, and that evening they left for Indianapolis, where they arrived early the following morning. A temporary camp was formed on the state house grounds at 6 o'clock, where at 9 o'clock they were sworn in by Judge Perkins of the supreme court, Governor Morton being present.

The company was then ordered to Camp Morton, and having more men upon its muster rolls than the army regulations permitted, it was reduced to seventy-seven enlisted men. The surplus members were organizaed into a new company which took the name of the "Valparaiso Guards."

On the 23rd the original company was mustered into the United States service as Company H, Ninth Indiana Infantry, Col. Robert H. Milroy commanding, with the following officers, Robert A. Cameron, captain; Isaac C. B. Suman, first lieutenant; Gilbert A. Pierce, second lieutenant. At that time the prevalent opinion was that the war was not a serious affair and would soon be ended, hence the first troops were mustered in for a term of only three months.

After a few days spent in drilling and perfecting the regimental organization, the Ninth was ordered to western Virginia.

During the three months' service the regiment was in several minor skirmishes in western Virginia, the most important being at Laurel Hill, July 8, 1861, in which John Matthews, Company H, was wounded. Although in no heavy engagements the willingness of the men to perform a soldier's duty in any action that might be brought gave  the regiment the name of the "Bloody Ninth." At the expiration of the three months' term, the Ninth was ordered to Indianapolis, where it arrived on July 24, and was mustered out on the 29th.

On Aug. 27, 1861, it was reorganized at LaPorte for the three years' service, and was there mustered in on Sept. 9, with Colonel Milroy again in command. Company H was offered by Isaac C. B. Suman as captain; DeWitt C. Hodsden as first lieutenant; William H. Benney, second lieutenant.

Again the regiment was ordered to western Virginia, where it took part in the engagements at Green Brier and Alleghany, as well as a number of light skirmishes. In February, 1862, it was ordered to join General Buell's army at Nashville, Tennessee, where it was assigned to General Nelson's division. It participated in the second days' battle at Shiloh, the campaign against Corinth, the pursuit of Bragg's army through Kentucky, fighting at Perryville, Danville and Wild Cat mountain. It then returned to Tennessee, where it took part in the battle of Stone's river, and later was in the battle of Chickamauga and the military operations about Chattanooga.

In the spring of 1864 it joined General Sherman in the Atlanta campaign. After the fall of Atlanta it returned to Tennessee with General Thomas and was in the battle of Nashville on Dec. 15, 1864, pursuing Hood's retreating army as far as Huntsville, Ala. Its next service was in Louisiana and Texas as part of General Sheridan's command, and was finally mustered out on Sept. 28, 1865. Throughout the entire service of the Ninth, the Porter county company was on the firing line whenever the regiment was called into action.

The Valparaiso Guards -- the surplus members of the original company -- were assigned to Company C., Fifteenth Indiana Infantry, which was commanded by Col. George Wagner. This was one of six regiments of state troops which were mustered into the United State service in the summer of 1861. Company C. was commanded by Capt. John M. Combaret, of Fort Wayne, O. H. Ray and John F. McCarthy, of Porter county, were the first and second lieutenants, respectively. The first service of the Fifteenth was in western Virginia, where it was engaged at Rich Mountain and Green River, after which it joined Buell's army in Tennessee. It participated in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Perryville, Stone's river, the Tullahoma campaign, the operations around Chattanooga, and then marched to the relief of General Burnside, who was besieged at Knoxville, Tenn. The main body of the regiment was mustered out in June, 1864, the veterans and recruits continuing in the service until Aug. 8, 1865.

Company I, Twentieth Infantry, was composed almost entirely of Porter county men. The officers of the regiment were W. L. Brown, colonel; Charles D. Murray, lieutenant-colonel; Benjamin Smith, major. When the regiment was mustered in on July 22, 1861, the officers of the company were: Captain, William D. Macey; first lieutenant, Richard T. Henderson; second lieutenant, Jesse N. Potts. The regiment was mustered in at Indianapolis and left that city on Aug. 2 for Maryland.

It was then sent to Hatteras inlet and from there to Fortress Monroe, where it formed part of the land forces at the time the Merrimac made the attack on the Union fleet, March 9, 1862. It was this regiment which prevented the capture of the gunboat Congress by the enemy. On June 8, 1862, it was assigned to Jamieson's brigade, Kearney's division, Heintzelman's corps, Army of the Potomac, with which it took part in the battles of Fair Oaks, the Orchards, the Seven Days' Battles, especially at Glendale, and was then ordered back to Alexandria, Virginia.

Its next engagement was at Manassas Plaines, where Colonel Brown was killed, and it was also in the battle of Chantilly. It was with Franklin's corps at the battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862; was with General Hooker in the battle of Chancellorsville in May, 1863; participated in the pursuit of General Lee's army from Gettysburg, where Col. John Wheeler was killed and 152 men of his regiment were either killed or wounded, and soon afterward was sent to New York to assist in quelling the draft riots in that city.

It rejoined the Army of Potomac in time for the Mine Run campaign in the fall of 1863, and was with General Grant in the final campaign against Richmond, taking part in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, the siege of Petersburg, and was present at the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox, April 9, 1865. It was then ordered to Louisville, Ky., where it was mustered out on July 22, 1865, with 23 officers and 390 enlisted men.

A few Porter county men served in the Twenty-ninth Indiana infantry, which was commanded by Col. John F. Miller at the time of the muster in. J. F. Heaton was assistant surgeon of the regiment; Samuel E. Wetzel was the first lieutenant of Company F; Anson Goodwin was second lieutenant of Company I, and S. G. Gilmore was a sergeant in Company G.

In the Thirty-fourth Infantry, Stephen L. Bartholomew, a Porter county man, was quartermaster, and S. C. Logan was chaplain. Rev. James C. Brown was chaplain of the Forty-eighth infantry until his death at Paducah, Ky., in 1862, and Theophilus Matott served as second and first lieutenant of Company D until he resigned from the service on Sept. 18, 1863.

In Company B, Sixty-third Indiana infantry there were a number of Porter county men. Henry O. Skinner was mustered in as a sergeant and was promoted to the captaincy; Lawrence Tompkins, John Teeter, Thomas H. Lewis and Allen W. McConnell served as corporals, and the original muster roll bears the names of twenty-two privates who enlisted from the county. John S. Williams was colonel of the regiment at the time it was mustered into service Aug. 29, 1862.

The Seventy-third Indiana infantry was mustered in on August 16, 1862, with Gilbert Hathaway as colonel; Robert W. Graham, of Valparaiso, as lieutenant-colonel; and Hiram S. Green, of Porter county, surgeon. Company E of this regiment contained a number of Porter county men, and Company L was recruited in the county.

Of the latter company, Rollin M. Pratt was the first captain; Robert W. Graham, first lieutenant; Emanuel M. Williamson, second lieutenant. Lieutenant Graham became captain on Oct. 20, 1862, and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel on Feb. 13, 1863. Lieutenants Emanuel M. Williamson and William C. Eaton also served as captains of the company.

The regiment was raised in northern Indiana and was mustered in at South Bend. On Oct. 1 it was ordered to Kentucky, where it was attached to Harker's brigade, Wood's division, of Buell's army.

Nicholas F. Manville served for a time as chaplain of the Eighty-sixth Indiana infantry, and in the Eighty-seventh Indiana infantry John W. Elam was captain of Company D. This regiment served under General Burbridge, and later formed part of the Third brigade, Third division, Fourteenth army corps, which was with Buell at Perryville and with Sherman on the Atlanta campaign and the march to Savannah. It was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., July 21, 1865.

Porter county was well represented in the Ninety-ninth Indiana infantry, which was mustered into the United States service in October, 1862, with Alexander Fowler as colonel. About three-fourths of the men in Company C came from Porter county. Jacob Brewer was captain; Fred W. Drawans, first lieutenant; William Harmon, Charles R. Loux and Daniel R. Lucas served as second lieutenants at different times.

During the year 1863 the regiment was in a number of engagements in Tennessee and Mississippi. In the fall of that year it took part in the operations about Chattanooga, and in the spring of 1864 joined Sherman's army for the advance upon Atlanta. After the fall of that city it was with Sherman in the march to the seas and the campaign through the Carolinas. It was mustered out in June, 1865.

The next infantry regiment in which Porter county was represented was the One Hundred and Twenty-eight, which was mustered in on Jan. 12, 1864, with Richard P. DeHart as colonel. Of this regiment, William H. Calkins, of Valparaiso, was quartermaster, and Max F. A. Hoffman, surgeon. Company E was made up almost entirely of Porter county boys and was officered by Benjamin Sheffield, captain; John E. Cass, first lieutenant; John Fitzwilliam, second lieutenant. This regiment served in the Atlanta campaign and later with General Thomas in Tennessee, taking part in the engagements at Franklin and Nashville. It was mustered out on June 8, 1865.

In the spring of 1864 several regiments were raised and mustered into service for a term of 160 days. One of these was the One Hundred and Twenty-eight Indiana infantry, which was commanded by Col. James H. Shannon. Thomas G. Lytle, of Porter county, was captain of Company D; Horace A. Goodwin was first lieutenant, and there were several enlisted men in the company who came from Porter county. The regiment was employed during the entire service on guard duty. There were several Porter county men in Company K, One Hundred and Forty-second Infantry, of which John M. Comparet was colonel. In the company mentioned George H. Piercon was first sergeant; William Christie and James Johnson, corporals, and come eight or ten privates were credited to this county.

Two companies -- B and E -- of the One Hundred and Fifty-first Infantry, Col. Joshua Healey commanding, were composed largely of Porter county men. Anson H. Goodwin, who had served as second lieutenant of Company I, Twenty-ninth infantry, was commissioned captain of Company B; John E. Moon was first lieutenant, and John B. Marshall was served lieutenant. Aaron W. Lytle was captain of Company E; Charles E. Youngs was first lieutenant, and Orlando R. Beebe, second lieutenant. All were from Porter county.

Besides the companies mentioned, Porter county was represented in the cavalry and artillery of the volunteer army. In the Fifth cavalry, commanded by Col. Robert R. Stewart at the time of the muster in on Aug. 2, 1862, Arthur M. Buell was first lieutenant or Company I; James McVicker McGill was first sergeant of the company until transferred to the Sixteenth Tennessee and commissioned first lieutenant; Levi H. Mutchler was sergeant, and James Bell was a corporal. Most of the service of this regiment was in Kentucky and Tennessee. It took part in twenty-two battles and skirmishes and was mustered out on Sept. 15, 1865.

The Seventh cavalry, commanded by Col. John P. C. Shanks, was mustered in by companies from June to September, 1863. In this regiment Aaron L. Jones, of Porter county, was quartermaster. Company A was made up largely of Porter county enlistments and was officered by John Febles, captain; John R. Parmalee, first lieutenant; Henry S. Stoddard, second lieutenant.

The Seventh Indiana cavalry was one of the regiments whose members "lived in the saddle."

The Twelfth cavalry was organized in the early spring of 1864. It was under the command of Col. Edward Anderson. James H. Claypool, of Valparaiso, was chaplain, and William H. Calkins, who had served as quartermaster of the One Hundred Twenty-eighth infantry, was promoted to major while it was in service. A majority of the members of Company M came from Porter county. Of this company Lewis Stoddard was captain; William Bissell, first lieutenant, and James M. Buell, second lieutenant.

In the Fourth Indiana battery of light artillery, which was organized in the summer and early fall of 1861, Mark L. DeMotte served as first lieutenant until commissioned assistant quartermaster by President Lincoln, April 14, 1862. Augustus A. Starr, who went out second lieutenant, resigned on July 1, 1863, and Henry J. Willets then served as second lieutenant until the battery was mustered out. The battery was with Buell's army at Shiloh and Corinth; was then at Stone river and on the Tullahoma campaign; was next at Lookout mountain and in other engagements about Chattanooga. It was mustered out on Aug. 1, 1865.

Henry Rankin, for many years surveyor of Porter county, was a first lieutenant in the Fifth light battery, and in the Twentieth battery, Warren C. Gilbreath served as second lieutenant from the time the battery was mustered in on Sept. 19, 1862, until it was mustered out on June 28, 1865. The Twentieth was at first stationed in the fortifications at Nashville, Tenn. It was engaged almost daily in the Atlanta campaign, after which it returned to Tennessee with General Thomas and took part in the battle of Nashville, Dec. 15, 1864.

Just how many volunteers from Porter county served in the Union army in the Civil war will probably never be known. The official records of the adjutant-general's office -- though compiled with great care -- are imperfect, especially in not giving to Indiana credit for men who really belonged to the state, but who served in regiments in other states. The same is true of the several counties. Men frequently enlisted in a company which was being organized in another county and were credited to that county instead of their own. In addition to the organizations mentioned, it is known that there were in other regiments a number of men who should be credited to Porter county. Then there were some in the regular army and navy. Names of Porter county men were found on the rolls of twenty-nine regiments of infantry, four regiments of cavalry and three batteries of artillery which went from this state, and there were Porter county men in Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee regiments.

According to the adjutant-general's reports, the casualties suffered by Porter county troops were 110 who died of disease; 24 killed in action, 13 died of wounds; 1 drowned in the Mississippi river, and 1 accidentally shot, making a total of 149 deaths among those who enlisted.

The adjutant-general's report showed that 1,136 men were enrolled for service from Porter county. Porter county paid $55,000 for the work of sanitary and Christian commissions and support of soldiers' families, and $65,227.50 for bounties to soldiers for enlistments.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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