Clay Township well represented in Civil War

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By Terri Horvath

During the Civil War, almost 100 Clay Township men signed up for military service. Most aligned with the Union, like this unidentified solider. About seven, however, chose the Confederacy. (Photo courtesy of the Carmel Clay Historical Society)

During the Civil War, almost 100 Clay Township men signed up for military service. Most aligned with the Union, like this unidentified solider. About seven, however, chose the Confederacy. (Photo courtesy of the Carmel Clay Historical Society)

Like many small towns in Indiana, Clay Township had its share of men volunteering to fight in the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

“There was scarcely a battle fought during the long and bloody struggle that Hamilton County was not represented in to a greater or less extent,” according to the 1901 “History of Hamilton County Indiana” by Augustus Finch Shirts.

An example of the county’s valor was recorded by Maj. Gen. McCook in a letter written from the field of Shiloh praising the Indiana troops fighting in this particular skirmish.

“Justice to the Sixth, Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, Thirty-second and Thirty-ninth Regiments of Indiana Volunteers requires me to speak of their conspicuous gallantry while fighting under my command at the battle of Shiloh,” McCook wrote. “The Thirty-second Regiment had already won the prestige of victory at Rowlett’s. The other regiments, actuated by a proper emulation, unflinchingly stood their first baptism under fire, and their action on the field of Shiloh will embellish one of the brightest pages in annals of our nation.”

For their service, the Board of County Commissioners allotted a total of about $245,000 to the volunteers and recruits. Another sum of $111,625.75 was paid to any serviceman’s family in need of assistance.

After the war, a monument in a Noblesville cemetery on the highest and most conspicuous spot was erected with the names of all who served. The memorial cost $15,000 to erect.

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