Knightstown in the Civil War


The Civil War


This year, 2011, marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The North called it “THE GREAT REBELLION”, referring to the South’s planned secession from the Union concerning the subject of slavery. The South called it “THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION”, referring to the North’s unwillingness to break the Union over this or any subject.
On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston (S.C.) harbor and the great, horrible conflict started. President Abraham Lincoln then called for 75,000 men to suppress the rebellion and a large percentage of the young men of Knightstown and vicinity volunteered to meet his call to preserve the Union. Lincoln would ask the North for more recruits several more times during the next 4 years until a total of 2,100,000 Union troops were mustered. Nearly 200,000 men from Indiana were among them and 27,000 Hoosiers gave their lives before the Union was restored.

Knightstown men served with many different military organizations in the Union Army and there may have been some who served the Confederate cause but no records of such have been found by the writer. There is a record of one lad from Knightstown serving in the Union Navy.
Knightstown citizens served with cavalry, artillery, and infantry units in all the theaters of the war from Virginia to Georgia to Oklahoma. The largest concentration of Knightstown men was in 4 units;

  • Company I of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry (45th Regiment)
  • The 19th Light Artillery Battery of Indiana
  • Company K of the 36th Indiana Infantry Regiment
  • Company F of the 84th Indiana Infantry Regiment

A large number of Knightstown men also responded to Governor Morton’s call for volunteers for temporary (3 month) service with the Indiana Legion to repel Morgan’s raiders from the state. There was, of course, quite a few Knightstown men throughout the Indiana Volunteers and also scattered in the other forces of the North, and maybe the South as well.

The 3rd Indiana Cavalry Regiment

In the Civil War a cavalry regiment consisted of twelve companies, each company consisting of one hundred and three officers and men as noted below. A regiment was divided into three battalions of four companies each and officered as follows: Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, three Majors, one for each battalion; Adjutant with the rank of Lieutenant; Quartermaster with the rank of Lieutenant: Commissary with the rank of Lieutenant; Chaplain with the rank of Captain ; Chief Surgeon with the rank of Major; Assistant Surgeon with the rank of Captain and Assistant Surgeon with the rank of Lieutenant.
The 3rd Indiana Cavalry consisted of two separate “wings” that never operated together: The East (right) Wing was assigned to the Army of the Potomac in the Eastern Theater of the war. The West (left) Wing, consisting of Companies G, H, I, K, was assigned to the Army of the Ohio and most of it’s service was in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.
Company I of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry was recruited in Knightstown and vicinity, largely by the efforts of Captain William C. Moreau, First Lieutenant Tilghman Fish, Second Lieutenant Oliver Charles, and Sergeant Thomas B. Wilkinson. It was organized at Knightstown in August, 1861, and went into camp at Indianapolis, September 5, 1861, where it was armed and equipped. When the company left Knightstown, the officers and men took with them their own horses which were afterwards purchased by the Government.


Men in the 3rd Indiana Cavalry

Some members of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry



On November 1, the company was transferred to Louisville, Kentucky, but through some misunderstanding, Captain Moreau failed to report to his superior officers there and moved on to Bardstown, Kentucky, reporting to General Alexander McDowell McCook at that place. When this became known to General Buell, the company was ordered back to Louisville, where it remained in Camps Rousseau and Jenkins until January, 1862, when it was ordered to report to General William Nelson at Camp Wickliffe, Kentucky. There, on January 25th, Captain Moreau and Lieutenants Fish and Charles resigned leaving the company without a commissioned officer.
About February 2nd, new officers were commissioned: Argus D. Vanosdal, serving with the right wing, promoted from Sergeant Major of the regiment to Captain ; Thomas B. Wilkinson, promoted from Sergeant to First Lieutenant and Charles Hedrick, promoted from First Sergeant to Second Lieutenant. From the roster of Company I, it will be seen that Captain Vanosdal resigned May 1, 1863, and William C. Moreau was again commissioned Captain of the company and so remained until January 1, 1864, when he left the service for good.
From Camp Wickliffe the company, taking boat at West Point, moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and was there placed on detached duty with orders to report to Colonel Stanley Matthews, Provost Marshal of Nashville. It acted as mounted provost guard at that place until the autumn of 1862, when the company, with General Buell’s army, moved back to the Ohio River, taking part in all the battles and skirmishes between Nashville and Louisville. Moving South again with General Buell’s army, the company took part in the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October 8, 1862, and thence marched on with the army to Nashville, where it remained until ordered to Stone’s River, Tennessee, where on December 31st, 1862, and January 1st and 2nd, 1863, it took part in that sanguinary battle.
On March 20th, 1863, it was engaged at Vaught’s Hill, near Milton, Tennessee. This was followed by the Tullahoma Campaign in which the company was especially active. After the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, in which it took part, the company marched to Marysville, in East Tennessee, where it was engaged in scouting and skirmishing until the beginning of the Atlanta Campaign.
When General Sherman began his campaign to Atlanta, the six companies belonging to the left wing of this regiment were united and assigned to the Second Brigade (Minty’s) of the Second Division (Garrard’s) of the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and took part in all the battles and skirmishes of that hard fought campaign. At Cartersville, Georgia, the men of the company, whose enlistment had expired, were mustered out October 26, 1864, and the recruits were transferred to the Eighth Cavalry with which they continued to serve until mustered out at Lexington, North Carolina, July 20, 1865.


To view a complete roster of the men of the Knightstown Company (Company I) and a more detailed history of the West Wing of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry click on this link:Roster of Company I & Detailed History


The 19th Light Artillery Battery of Indiana

In the Civil War, a battery of light artillery, when recruited to its maximum strength, was officered and divided as follows: Captain, Senior and Junior First Lieutenants, Senior and Junior Second Lieutenants, First Sergeant, Quartermaster Sergeant, six duty Sergeants, twelve Corporals, two Buglers, six Artificers, one Wagoner and one hundred and twenty seven privates, total one hundred and sixty one.
Each battery was equipped with six guns of six-pound calibre, either brass or steel, six caissons, an artificer’s wagon and one hundred and ten horses, besides six wagons for transportation of camp equipage and battery supplies, each gun and caisson being drawn by six horses.
The battery was organized at Indianapolis and mustered into the U. S. service Aug. 5, 1862. It immediately left the state for Louisville, where it was assigned to the 33d brigade, 10th division, Army of the Ohio. Its first engagement was at Perryville, where it was posted on the right on a high level ridge at the left of the main road, from which position it kept up a steady fire for nearly 4 hours, 4 of its guns being captured when the division gave way, though these guns were recovered the next morning, the enemy departing in such haste that he could not carry them off. The battery’s loss was 2 killed, 13 wounded and 13 missing. Moving to Woodsonville, via Danville, Crab Orchard and Lebanon, it remained in camp until December, when it moved to Glasgow, thence to Murfreesboro, reaching there the day after the engagement at Stone’s river, and was assigned to Reynolds’ division of the 14th corps, with which it remained in camp until June 24, 1863, when the army started on the Tullahoma campaign, Reynolds’ division having the advance. At Hoover’s gap the enemy was driven from his position, and the army proceeded to Manchester and Tullahoma, thence to University and Chattanooga, reaching Chickamauga Sept. 18. With its division the battery was in the hottest part of the battle of Chickamauga on the following two days, maintaining its position until the order was given to retreat to Chattanooga.


An Artillery Battery

A Light Artillery Battery with a full complement of men, 6 pound cannon, and horses



The 19th Indiana Light Artillery Battery received the commendations of the generals commanding the division and corps, but its losses were severe. Upon the breaking up of Reynolds’ division, the battery was assigned to the 3d division of the 14th army corps, with which it participated in the storming of Missionary ridge and engaged in the pursuit of the enemy as far as Ringgold, Ga. It took part in the expedition against Dalton in Feb., 1864, skirmished in front of Buzzard Roost and remained at Ringgold until May 7, when it joined Gen. Sherman for the Atlanta campaign. It took part in all the principal battles and skirmishes, including Rocky Face ridge, Resaca, Cassville, near Dallas, Kennesaw mountain, Peachtree creek, before Atlanta, Utoy creek and Jonesboro, going into camp at Atlanta after its evacuation. The battery joined in the pursuit of Hood as far as Gaylesville, Ala., then returned to Atlanta and moved with the army for Savannah, participating in the siege of that city and the capture of Fort McAllister. On Jan. 30, 1865, it moved with its division through the Carolinas, fought at Columbia and Bentonville, and after the surrender moved to New Berne, where it embarked for Washington and took part in the grand review, leaving soon after for Indianapolis, where it was mustered out June 10, 1865. Capt. Harris was compelled to retire in June, 1864, by reason of wounds, and Lieut. Stackhouse was commissioned captain.


To view a complete roster of the men of the 19th Light Artillery Battery and a more detailed history of the Battery click on this link:Roster of the 19th Indiana Light Artillery Battery & Detailed History


The 36th Indiana Infantry Regiment

Knightstown was represented throughout the Thirty-sixth Indiana Infantry Regiment but Company K had the highest concentration with 40 K-town men. The regiment was organized at Richmond and was mustered in Sept. 16, 1861. It left the state a few days later, went into camp until the latter part of Feb., 1862, when it marched to Nashville with the Army of the Ohio. It moved to the Tennessee river in March and was in the battle of Shiloh, losing 9 killed and 38 wounded. It remained in camp there until the movement was made against Corinth, and was in the siege of that place until the evacuation, when it moved into northern Alabama and thence to Nashville.


Dress Parade

An Infantry Regiment in Dress Parade Formation



It joined in the pursuit of Bragg through Kentucky, then returned to Nashville, and moved with Rosecrans to Murfreesboro. At Stone’s river it lost 24 killed, 90 wounded and 18 missing, and was in camp at Murfreesboro until May, when it marched with Palmer’s division for Chattanooga. It took part in the battle of Chickamauga, where it lost 14 killed, 110 wounded and 13 missing. It was then located at Chattanooga, Whiteside and Tyner’s station, until March, 1864.

Part of the regiment reenlisted and went to Indiana on furlough in February. The regiment moved with Sherman’s army in the Atlanta campaign, taking part in nearly every skirmish and engagement in that movement. The non-veterans left for home Aug. 13, to muster out, and the veterans and recruits were organized into a battalion, with Capt. John Swisher in command. This battalion moved with the 4th corps in pursuit of Hood into northern Alabama, then proceeded to Nashville, where it was engaged in the battle in December, and joined in pursuit of the enemy to Huntsville, Ala., and thence to Chattanooga.

In June, 1865, it was sent to New Orleans, and was transferred to the battalion of the 30th regiment, forming Co. H of that battalion. It was stationed in the interior of Texas until Nov. 25, 1865, when it was mustered out. Col. Grose was appointed brigadier-general in Aug., 1864, and Lieut. – Col. Carey was commissioned colonel. The original strength of the regiment was 1,023; gain by recruits, 133; reenlistments, 21; total, 1,177. Loss by death, 234; desertion, 43; unaccounted for, 12.


To view a complete roster of the men of Company K and a more detailed history of the 36th Indiana Infantry Regiment click on this link:Roster of Company K & a more detailed History


The 84th Indiana Infantry Regiment


This regiment was organized at Richmond and was mustered in Sept. 3, 1862. The ranks of Company “F” of the 84th were almost exclusively filled by men from Knightstown and the near-by vicinity. Company “G” was also a Henry County Company but made up from men from New Castle and the northern part of the County. The regiment left the state on the 8th of Sept. for Covington, Ky., where it was assigned to the defenses against the threatened invasion of Kirby Smith’s forces.

On Oct. 1 it moved by rail for Point Pleasant, W. Va., and moved from there on the 13th for Guyandotte where it remained until Nov. 14. It was then in the vicinity of Cassville and Catlettsburg, Ky., until Feb. 7, 1863, when it left Catlettsburg for Louisville, which place was reached on the 17th and the regiment was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 3d division, Army of Kentucky.

It was first ordered to Nashville, then to Franklin, where it remained until June 3, being engaged in several skirmishes. It marched for Triune and was assigned to the 1st brigade, 1st division, reserve corps, Gen. Granger commanding.

It was in the fight at Triune and pursuit of Bragg, the regiment marching to Middleton, Shelbyville and Wartrace, remaining there until Aug. 12. It moved to Estill Springs on the 20th thence to Tullahoma, Stevenson, Bridgeport and Chattanooga, arriving at the latter place Sept. 13.

It participated in the battle of Chickamauga, where its division held the extreme left, on the first day, repeatedly repulsing desperate assaults, and on the next day materially aided Gen. Thomas in saving his army from the massed assault of the enemy, losing in the two days 125 in killed, wounded and missing.

The regiment moved to Lookout Mountain, thence to Moccasin point, and on Nov. 1, to Shell Mound, where it remained until Jan. 26, 1864. It was then assigned to the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 4th army corps, and moved towards Georgia via Cleveland, being engaged at Buzzard Roost.

It returned to Cleveland and remained there until May 3, when it moved with the army for Atlanta. It was engaged at Tunnel Hill, Rocky Face Ridge, Dalton, Resaca, Kingston, Pumpkin Vine Creek, Pine Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Kolb’s farm and Peachtree Creek.


The 84th Camp at  Huntsville



It participated in the operations about Atlanta and in the battles of Jonesboro and Lovejoy’s Station, afterward being transferred to the 2nd brigade, 3rd division, and left Atlanta on Oct. 3, for Chattanooga, moving thence to Athens, Ala., and thence to Pulaski, Tenn., Columbia and Franklin, being present at the battle at the latter place on Nov. 30.

It moved to Nashville, and in the battle there participated in a charge on the enemy’s skirmish line, and later in a charge upon the main works of the enemy, carrying his position and driving him from the field. It moved in pursuit as far as Huntsville, Ala., and remained there until March 13, when it was ordered to eastern Tennessee, operating about Knoxville, Strawberry plains and Bull’s Gap, until it moved to Nashville on Apr. 18.
It was mustered out June 14, 1865, when the recruits were transferred to the 57th Ind. with which they served until its muster out in November.

The original strength of the regiment was 949; gain by recruits, 78; total, 1,027. Loss by death, 207; desertion, 53; unaccounted for, 9.


To view a complete roster of the men of Company F and a more detailed history of the 84th Indiana Infantry Regiment click on this link:
Roster of Company F & a more detailed History


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