Small mysteries: the 81st Indiana

In first reading Peter Cozzens’ work, This Terrible Sound, I was struck by the role the 81st Indiana played on September 19th, in Viniard Field. Brigadier General William Carlin assigned Major James E. Calloway of the 21st Illinois to command the regiment, just as the brigade was about to go into action. According to Cozzens, the regiment was unsteady, bereft of senior leadership, and possibly unreliable in combat. The 81st was detached from the brigade and moved to support the 2nd Minnesota Battery at the south end of Viniard Field, and fought there the rest of the day.

I found this truncated explanation a little unsatisfying. Why was the 81st having problems?

Looking at the OR, Carlin offered little more: “The incompetency displayed by Captain Boone (actually, Captain Nevil B. Boon of company E) early in the action induced me to supersede him.” Calloway was also no help, noting only that Carlin ordered him to take command of the 81st – no reason offered why.

Corporal George Morris, in his regimental history of the 81st, gives a more detailed explanation:
“At this junction the order was given to fall back and form in the rear of the battery. Owing to some misunderstanding, only part- of the regiment fell back, and some confusion was the consequence, but a line officer of General Davis’ staff soon had them to reform in about a hundred yards. The remainder of the regiment was then removed in good order. …Captain Boon was at this time in command of the regiment, and after the regiment was reformed he asked, to be relieved, and Major Calloway, of the Twenty-first Illinois, a brave and fearless officer, was placed in command.” (George W. Morris, Eighty First Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry 1861-1865 Louisville, 1901. p. 58.)

Boon resigned his commission on October 8th, 1863.

But that isn’t really the whole story. Boon was thrust into command quite hurriedly, in July or August, by dint of seniority. The 81st, you see, had troubles at the top. The Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, the Majors, the adjutant – all gone; resigned or removed. Not, apparently, for incompetence, but for political unreliability.

In April, 1863, Brigadier General Milo Hascall was sent from the Army of the Cumberland to assume command of the District of Indiana. One of Hascall’s jobs was to quell desertion in the Army of the Cumberland, on the rise since the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. As noted in the post about General Davis, not everyone in the army thought the Proclamation was a grand idea. Few officers, however, had the influential friends that Davis did.

Colonel William W. Caldwell was in command of the Regiment until July 6th, 1863. Caldwell, according to brigade commander Carlin, was a brave and effective officer. Carlin received the 81st in a trade for the 15th Wisconsin back in April. The swap allowed Hans Heg – a rising star in the army – to assume command of a brigade. It also, apparently, removed Caldwell from being in line to command that brigade. Heg was a staunch abolitionist; Caldwell was quite the opposite.

In the 81st Indiana’s roster, published by the Adjutant General of Indiana shortly after the war, Caldwell is noted as having been removed by order of the President for “disloyalty.” Carlin explained it this way: “He was accused by some of the officers of his regiment of making some remarks that were indicative of what was then known as ‘copperheadism’ and was dismissed for it. During this time, Hascall’s orders back in Indiana were shutting down eleven Indiana newspapers who “advised resistance to conscription” or “endeavored to bring the war policy of the Government into disrepute.”

There must have been quite a bit of trouble among the officers of the 81st, though Morris takes no note of it. Between April and July, a number of officers left the command. Lieutenant Colonel Horatio Woodbury resigned on April 30th. He was offered the Colonelcy on July the 7th, the day after Caldwell’s dismissal, but declined it. Major Leonidas Stout declined a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel at the same time. Stout had resigned on April 30th to take a position as Major in the 13th Cavalry. Captain Ranna Moore of company F was also offered the Colonelcy on July the 7th, he instead followed Major Stout into the 13th. Adjutant William H. Timberlake resigned for the good of the service on April 29th, 1863.

The political bloodbath clearly left the regiment in turmoil, and Captain Boon unready for the duties thrust upon him on September 19th, 1863. Calloway proved to be just what the men needed, and he would continue to command the regiment for some weeks. The 81st eventually presented him with a sword in March, 1864, for his steady leadership in Viniard Field. Eventually competent officer s emerged within Hoosier ranks, allowing Calloway to go back to his own regiment.

I intend to find out more about the unfortunate 81st and its troubled summer of 1863; many of the details remain unclear. It’s also a tribute to the men in the ranks that they fought well, both at Chickamauga and beyond, despite uncertain leadership. They re-enlisted, fought with Sherman, and mustered out in 1865.

6 Responses to “Small mysteries: the 81st Indiana”

  1. James F. Epperson Says:

    Very interesting story.

  2. Kevin S. Coy Says:

    Great info. Thanks. My ggGrandfather, Riley S. Allen, was in D Co, 81st Ind Infantry. He was seriously wounded at Chickamauga on September 20 but did re-join the regiment. He was also wounded at Stones River.

    • Don Monroe Says:

      Your attention is invited to my 81st Web Page at the above URL, including a photo of Private Raleigh S. Allen at, incorporating “Company D Muster Rolls.” Look carefully on these pages and others on the same website and you will note a lot of info that relate directly to “Small mysteries: the 81st Indiana.” This regiment like most Civil War regiments has been documented by “experts” who have covered up the warts and highlighted their favorite points of interest. The 81st Indiana was besat by conflict among its regimental officers from muster-in to muster-out. Despite their inherent leadership problems, These men fought extremely well when competently led.

    • thenguyTom Hendricks Says:

      My G-g grandfather was a Sergant Major In the 81st Infantry. I am still gathering information. I can’t find the Don Monroe website now…

  3. Don Monroe Says:

    The following excerpts from my web page at:

    pertain directly to Dave Powell’s extremely well thought out blog:

    Small mysteries: the 81st Indiana.

    If you get into the details on my web page you will see that there was continual discord throughout the regiment that directly paralleled the general discord that affected the entire Army of the Cumberland. Many interpreted these problems as being related to a general lack of bravery or willingness to fight or even a lack of loyalty to “The Cause”—not true if you take the trouble to look into it. If there is interest, I will follow this item up with further information related to this matter.

    Captain Cornelius and his company traveled from Cannelton to New Abany aboard the Ohio River Steamer, John T. McCombs. Captain Cornelius complained in a letter to the Editors of the New Albany Ledger that the men were treated very badly by Captain Bunce of the McCombs. They were given accommodations on the deck with the deck hands and were provided inferior food and no eating utensils. They were further treated with the utmost disrespect according to Captain Cornelius. Captain Cornelius used the threat of force on several occasions in order to get decent treatment for himself and his men. Almost a year afterward the McCombs was one of the steamers commandeered by John Hunt Morgan during the Great Indiana-Ohio Raid. John Dillehay and the Sixth Ky Cavalry were part of Morgan’s force that captured the McCombs, and after Morgan’s Men crossed the Ohio River, the two captured steamers, including the McCombs, were burned. Captain Bunce in a rebuttal letter to the Ledger claimed that Cornelius’ accusations were not justified and that he and his crew were not Rebel sympathizers. It was often asked why the steamers were so easy to capture by Morgan’s Men located on the banks of the river. Perhaps his behavior toward Captain Cornelius and his men was further evidence of Bunce’s southern sympathies.

    Nov, 1862 – Jan, 1863. ORGANIZATION:
    Army of the Cumberland – Maj-Gen William S. Rosecrans, Commanding (Gen Buell had been relieved, which made Gov Morton happy);
    XIV Corps – Maj-Gen Alexander McDowell McCook (had taken the brunt of the fighting at Perryville);
    1st Division – Brig-Gen Jefferson C. Davis (killed Gen. Nelson);
    3rd Brigade – Col William E. Woodruff;
    81ST IND – LT-COL JOHN TIMBERLAKE (Col Caldwell leave of absence?).

    Dec 15, 1862. RAMBLER mentions “considerable hard feeling and bitterness” caused by the manner in which company commissioned officers are appointed. The men do not like it when a vacancy occurs within their company for which other men in the same company are qualified, and someone from another company is appointed to the position. RAMBLER also says the men are “down on” the concept of fighting the war with the intention of the abolition of slavery. The men are fighting for the Constitution-not abolition-according to RAMBLER. He complains further that the Paymaster has not made his appearance yet, and this creates extreme hardships on the men and their families at home. This was a long and very pessimistic letter that could not have made the people back home feel very good.

    COL WOODRUFF had the following comments in his report on the performance of the 81ST INDIANA at Stones River:
    I owe especial thanks ….. to the officers and men of the Eighty-first Indiana, a new regiment, the first time under fire, who, with but a few exceptions, manfully fronted the storm of battle, and gave earnest proof of what may hereafter be expected of them. …..Lieutenant-Colonel Timberlake and Major Woodbury, of the Eighty-first Indiana, displayed manly courage, and held their regiment firm and steady under heavy fire; for officers young in the service their efforts are worthy of imitation.

    Jan 14, 1863. LT-COL TIMBERLAKE RESIGNED. In his letter he stated that he was an old man, unschooled in tactics, regulations, and the rules of discipline. His resignation was accepted. Timberlake had been wounded in the left arm at Stones River. He was later appointed Provost in southern Indiana, where he opposed Morgan’s Raiders, including JOHN DILLEHAY, six months later. Timberlake was later shot and killed at church services in Mauckport, Harrison County, during a violent altercation involving his wife and other family members and several southern sympathizers. The altercation had begun between two women according to the New Albany Daily Ledger.

    Jan 25, 1863. RAMBLER, during a period of inactivity on the part of the Regiment, wrote another lengthy and rambling letter back to the New Albany Daily Ledger. He complained of the Emancipation Proclamation and of the Government turning the aims of the war into an effort to free the slaves. The men, according to RAMBLER, were fighting to preserve the Union and the Constitution-not to free the slaves. He also observed that members of the “old” Democratic Party were being looked on as traitors or “Butternuts”, and he asked the people back home not to fall into the trap of categorizing Democrats as traitors. The Ledger also published excerpts from several letters sent from family back home to men in camp telling of extreme hardships because the men were not being paid. RAMBLER seems to have indulged in that age-old activity of soldiers during periods of inactivity–complaining.

    COL CALDWELL, no reason given, but apparently several subordinate officers were attempting to get him removed from command

    Apr 25, 1863. LT-COL WOODBURY RESIGNED effective April 30, 1863. In his letter he spoke of “much ill-feeling, discord and strife which cannot be harmonized while all the present officers remain in the Regiment.” In his endorsement Col Caldwell “respectfully forwarded” and “cheerfully recommended” acceptance of Woodbury’s resignation, saying further that he could be “easily replaced.” Caldwell also spoke of an effort to “break him [Col Caldwell] down by some incompetent officers for reporting them for examination before an examining board.” Col Caldwell was in trouble with Gen Crittenden for not filing reports on time. He had drafted a letter to Crittenden offering excuses and complaining about the General’s nitpicking. Crittenden, although born in Alabama, had resided in Madison, Jefferson County in southern Indiana for some time.
    Brig-Gen Crittenden in his endorsement at brigade level called Woodbury “by far the best officer in the Regiment”, and said further that, while Caldwell commands, Woodbury “can do nothing to prevent its demoralization.” Brig-Gen Davis in his endorsement complained of officers haggling. Maj-Gen McCook, Corps Commander, stated that the demoralization in the brigade was caused by the “incompetence of the Brigade Commander.” There was obviously a high level of internal discord from the regimental officers in the 81ST INDIANA on up the chain of command.

    Apr 29 , 1863. MAJ STOUT RESIGNED, claiming disability because of chronic dysentery since the Perryville march. Regimental ADJUTANT WILLIAM H. TIMBERLAKE [a relative of the late Lt-Colonel?] RESIGNED on this date “for the good of the service.” He apparently could not get along with Col Caldwell.

    May – Oct, 1863. ORGANIZATION:
    Army of the Cumberland – Maj-Gen Rosecrans;
    XX Corps – Maj-Gen McCook;
    1st Division – Brig-Gen Davis;
    2nd Brigade – Brig-Gen William Passmore Carlin [one of the toughest and most capable commanders in the army; his brigade took heavy casualties at both Perryville and Stones River];

    Jul 30, 1863. COL CALDWELL WAS DISMISSED FROM THE SERVICE by order of the President for “uttering disloyal sentiments.” At this point none of the original field grade officers of the 81ST INDIANA remained in the service. Capt Andrew J. Howard of Company B, Acting Major, was also dismissed for the same reason. Gov Morton probably played a role in the dismissal of these officers. Southern Indiana counties, from which the men of the 81st mustered in, were largely Democratic, pro-slavery, and anti-Negro rights. Gov Morton was a Republican and considered Democrats traitors to the war effort. He would resort to any measure, legal or constitutional or otherwise, in order to combat the Democrats in his state. Democrats would say that Gov Morton’s primary interest was enhancing his personal power at the expense of the Democrats or anybody who opposed him.

    Sep 19, 1863. ORGANIZATION:
    Army of the Cumberland – Maj-Gen Rosecrans;
    XX Corps – Maj-Gen McCook;
    1st Division – Brig-Gen Davis;
    2nd Brigade – Brig-Gen Carlin;

    BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA. CAPT BOONE WAS RELIEVED EARLY IN THE ACTION BY GEN CARLIN FOR INCOMPETENCY. MAJOR JAMES E. CALLAWAY OF THE 21ST ILLINOIS WAS ORDEERED TO REPLACE HIM. This seems to have been very unusual–ordering an officer from another regiment to take command at the beginning of a major battle. Callaway was a lawyer from Tuscola, Illinois, who was 26 years old at muster. He was an experienced field grade officer serving in Grant’s “old” regiment. Carlin, a West Point graduate and career soldier and veteran of campaigns on the western frontier before the War, was noted for doing things his way and for having little patience with the incompetence of volunteer officers. He was obviously uncomfortable with the 81st Indiana having no field grade officers present at the beginning of a major battle. Capt Boone, the most senior company grade officer, was apparently not up to Gen Carlin’s expectations.

    MAJ CALLAWAY in his report filed after the battle made the following comments in regard to the performance of the 81ST INDIANA at Chickamauga:
    It is due, under the circumstances, that I should speak of the conduct of the officers and men of the Eighty-first Indiana Volunteers. With scarcely an exception they behaved in the most gallant and admirable manner, and though comparatively a young regiment, conducted themselves with the coolness, steadiness, and precision of veterans on the field of battle.

    THE 81ST DID OUTSTANDING DUTY UNDER MAJOR CALLAWAY. Several days after the battle the men of the 81st Ind marched to the camp of the 21st Ill and with great ceremony, with great pride, and with great esteem, presented Maj Callaway with a very impressive PRESENTATION SWORD. Major Callaway was later appointed Territorial Secretary for Montana by President Grant in 1871. He lived in Virginia City, Montana, died and is buried there. This was a very special man.

    Oct 12, 1863. CAPT BOONE RESIGNED. Capt Neville B. Boone, who had been relieved early in the battle at Chickamauga, submitted his resignation from camp in Chattanooga. He cited “general dissatisfaction and prejudice” against him and “lack of confidence” in his abilities in the Company and Regiment.

    Oct 26 – Jan 23, 1863. 1ST BRIGADE INCLUDING THE 81ST INDIANA AT BRIDGEPORT, ALABAMA. The 1st Brigade and Battery M, 4th U.S. Artillery were detailed to Bridgeport. Bridgeport was the last stop controlled by the Union Army on the railroad supply route from Nashville to Chattanooga via Stevenson, Ala. Supply trains followed the hazardous route through the mountains north of the Tennessee River from Bridgeport to Chattanooga until Brown’s Ferry was captured and a safe supply line was opened. Bridgeport would have been an easy target for a Rebel attacking force if Bragg had chosen to flank Chattanooga instead of laying siege. Finally Grant and Sherman arrived with their armies and the siege was lifted. This was followed by the stunning defeat of Bragg at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Grant continually tried to give Sherman the major role in the battle, but Sherman was unsuccessful in attacks on the Union left flank against Gen Pat Cleburne, one of the top Rebel commanders in the western theater. Finally the Army of the Cumberland, on its own and without orders, stormed up Missionary Ridge and routed the Army of Tennessee, seemingly redeeming its reputation after the disastrous defeat at Chickamauga. The Army of the Cumberland remained the black sheep of Sherman’s Command, however, and the 81st Indiana was the black sheep of the Army of the Cumberland because of its constant quarreling and wrangling.

    Dec 6, 1863. PROBLEMS RECRUITING. Captain Ranna S. Moore of Company F, on recruiting duty for the Regiment in Indiana along with six enlisted men, including Sgt Alexander Hough of Company D, reported difficulties in getting reports from the men. Gov Morton assigned the recruiting duties and apparently expected the men to report directly to him, and Captain Moore complained that it was impossible to ascertain success because of this. He also complained that cavalry officers were offering large bounties and making it extremely difficult to compete with them for recruits. The following July 9 Captain Moore mustered out of the Regiment to accept an appointment as Major, 13th Indiana Cavalry!

    Jun 7, 1864. LT-COL WHEELER WAS REPORTED. Lt-Col Wheeler was reported by another officer in a letter dated June 10 for taking rations from a supply train without authorization. While guarding a supply train from Kingston, Georgia to the front, he demanded rations for his regiment from James Crawford, Clerk of the Commissary Department. When refused he took them by force.

    Nov 15, 1864. GEN SHERMAN BEGAN THE “MARCH TO THE SEA” AFTER TAKING THE PICK OF THE WESTERN ARMIES TO FORM HIS FORCE. The Army of the Cumberland was gutted, and Gen George Thomas left in command at Nashville had only the XXIII Corps, part of the IV Corps, including the 81ST INDIANA, invalid troops, dismounted cavalry, and Colored Regiments. Sherman with a crack army marched through Georgia virtually unopposed, while Thomas with a widely scattered, makeshift army was left to face Gen Hood’s Army of Tennessee. Gen Grant, who never liked Thomas, put unrelenting pressure on him to attack Hood’s Army, and several times came within a hair’s breadth of relieving him of command. Thomas was a Virginian, who had been disowned by his relatives when he stayed loyal to the union, and who was never appreciated by his superiors, although he had been successful in nearly every battle or engagement that he had participated in. He had built the Army of the Cumberland into an outstanding fighting force and now saw it gutted.

    Federal Army – Maj-Gen John M. Schofield;
    IV Corps – Maj-Gen David S. Stanley;
    1st Division – Brig-Gen Nathan Kimball (one of the few Union generals to have defeated Stonewall Jackson–at Kernstown; he was also a Democrat from Fredericksburg, Washington County in southern Indiana);
    1st Brigade – Col Isaac M. Kirby;

    Nov 28 – 29, 1864. NEAR DISASTER AT SPRING HILL.

    Nov 30, 1864. BATTLE OF FRANKLIN.

    Dec 15, 1864. ORGANIZATION:
    Federal Army – Gen Thomas;
    IV Corps – Brig-Gen Thomas J. Wood [Stanley had been wounded at Franklin; Wood was the Division Commander who created the gap at Chickamauga that was a major reason for the defeat of the Federal Army];
    1st Division – Brig-Gen Nathan Kimball;
    1st Brigade – Col Isaac M. Kirby;

    Dec 15 – 16, 1864. BATTLE OF NASHVILLE.

    Dec 24, 1864. BITTER OPPOSITION TO THE MUSTER OF CAPT ANDERSON AS LT-COLONEL REPLACING WHEELER. A letter was sent to Gen Kimball opposing the muster of Capt Oliver P. Anderson of Company K as Lt-Colonel. The letter mentioned the efforts of Anderson and Wheeler to get Maj Mathey court-martialed and an earlier letter to Governor Oliver P. Morton of Indiana in Mathey’s behalf opposing the muster of Anderson. Gov Morton, who usually seemed willing to meddle in affairs involving Indiana soldiers, apparently chose not to get involved in this affair. Perhaps the fact that Morton was a Republican, and the population of the counties in the southern part of the state tended to vote for the Democrats, and Maj Mathey campaigned vigorously and openly for the Democrats, dampened the governor’s ardor. The men who signed the letter, including Capt Gordon and Surgeon Fouts, obviously believed that Mathey should have been promoted over Anderson. The early discord in the Regiment apparently continued unabated on Christmas Eve, 1864. The spirit of the season was not present among the officers of the 81st. Col Kirby in his endorsement to the letter at brigade level called the 81st Indiana “one of the most gallant regiments in the service” despite continual discord since its organization. He was obviously at his wits end as to what to do to stem the internal bickering. Brig-Gen Kimball, another Hoosier from southern Indiana and a Democrat, in his endorsement at division level said, “no regiment in the service has behaved with greater gallantry; officers and men deserving the highest praise for their conduct in battle”, but he expressed great frustration with the lack of harmony. Kimball asked for an investigation into the matter. Brig-Gen Wood, commanding IV Corps, ordered Kimball to appoint a commission to examine and report on the difficulties.

    Jan 10, 1865. LETTER SUPPORTING ANDERSON FOR LT-COLONEL. A letter signed by several officers in the Regiment supporting the muster of Anderson as Lt-Colonel was sent to Division Headquarters. This letter was endorsed at all levels without comment.

    Jan 14, 1865. COURT-MARTIAL OF MAJOR MATHEY. Maj Edward G. Mathey was court-martialed at Bridgeport, Alabama. The charges were as follows: 1. Disloyalty; 2. Contemptuous, disrespectful language against the President of the United States; 3. Stricken from the record; 4. Holding correspondence with the enemy.

    It was alleged that on several occasions during the Atlanta Campaign, which also happened to be during the presidential election campaign of 1864 between Lincoln and McClellan, Maj Mathey vehemently voiced his displeasure at fighting an “abolitionist war.” Mathey was probably a Democrat, and thus an enemy of Gov Morton and the Republicans, and he was obviously against Lincoln and for McClellan and voiced his views freely, apparently to anyone who would listen, including several Rebel officers under a flag of truce at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. He referred to President Lincoln as a “damned old fool”, he threatened to resign and “go into the French Army”, and he stated that “no one but a damned Negro could have justice done in this war.” Apparently Lt-Col Wheeler, Capt Anderson, and others in the Regiment had different views regarding the relative merits of President Lincoln and the Republicans. They also were looking for a way to ensure that Anderson would be mustered as Lt-Colonel over Mathey. It should be noted that Mathey had been promoted to Major September 12, 1864, and had led the Regiment in battle at Franklin and Nashville, demonstrating that he was an effective battle leader and not lacking in loyalty or valor. The results of the court-martial may have been a reflection of the views of the Division Commander, Brig-Gen Kimball, a fellow Hoosier from southern Indiana and a Democrat. These were that Mathey was acquitted, reprimanded by Kimball, and returned to his unit.

    Jan 18, 1865. ANDERSON MUSTER ENQUIRY RESULTS. Orders were issued from Brig-Gen Kimball that Capt Anderson be mustered Lt-Colonel and that all expressions of negative feeling toward Anderson detrimental to the good of the service must cease. Officers were reminded that it is the first duty of an officer to obey his superiors in a respectful manner. Anderson, who was junior to Mathey in rank, who had never led a regiment in battle, and who had apparently worked behind Mathey’s back to prevent his promotion, basically used his own political influence and Mathey’s indiscreet remarks to get himself promoted against the wishes of the majority of the officers in the Regiment.
    Feb 7, 1865. LT-COL ANDERSON COMPLAINED in an endorsement to a letter that 2ND LT JOHN SCHWALLIER, COMPANY I, had been passed over for promotion while detached from the Regiment. Schwallier had signed the counter-petition backing Anderson over Mathey.
    Apr 14, 1865. SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO SOUTHERN SYMPATHIZERS CAUSING TROUBLE AT HOME. In a letter from Lick Creek, East Tennessee, 1st-Lt Harvey Crabb of Company A, 81st Indiana, stated in his letter of resignation that his father was old and unable to work as a clergyman, his mother had been an invalid for several years, southern sympathizers in the neighborhood had threatened to assassinate his father and had torn down fences, carried off gates, and “persecuted him otherwise, on account of his loyalty to the government.” His aged father and mother and his wife and four small children at home needed his protection and support. Crabb was from Pekin, Washington County. There was violent disagreement in southern Indiana on the question of slavery, and many documented instances of violence between anti-slavery and pro-slavery groups, including this incident in the regimental record of the 81st.
    May 30, 1865. ONE LAST SHOT BY MAJOR MATHEY. Capt James M. Graham was detailed on the request of Maj Mathey, commanding the Regiment, to go to Orange County, Indiana to retrieve a flag belonging to the Regiment that was allegedly “secretly carried off” by William C. Wheeler, former Lt-Colonel and commander of the Regiment. Wheeler had resigned the previous November 14. Endorsements were signed without comment and Capt Graham was granted 10 days leave to accomplish his mission. An item that appeared in the New Albany Daily Ledger around this time, probably passed on by Rambler, requested that Wheeler return the flag to the Regiment. Wheeler sent a letter to the Ledger saying that he had never intended to keep the flag. Apparently Capt Graham’s mission to return the flag to the possession of the Regiment was a success, primarily due to the coercive Power of the Press. Graham had of course supported Mathey in the recent controversy. This occurred barely two weeks before the Regiment was mustered out of the service. The discord among the officers, that exhibited itself throughout the Regiment’s existence, continued unabated and was probably taken home to civilian life in southern Indiana.

  4. Jeannie Says:

    Two of my 3rd great uncles were there. Co E, Indiana 81st Infantry Regiment. Ephraim McKnight died 29 Sept 1863. His brother Richard McKnight died from injuries on 18 Jul 1864.

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