GALLANT 31ST INDIANA WILL PUB-
LISH THE STORY OF HER ST[R]UGGLES
Was So Determined at meeting of Commit-
tees From the Companies in This
BOOK IS ALREADY WRITTEN
BUT HAS NOT BEEN PUBLISHED – REG-
At the State Encampment at Columbus –
of the History of the
The representatives of the Thirty-first Indiana Volunteers, the
regiment which saw more battles during the civil war and smelled more powder
than any other enlisted in the state, met yesterday afternoon at the New Filbeck
hotel. Their old commander, Col. John T. Smith, of Bowling Green, presided at
the meeting. Representatives of five companies were present. They were:
Company A – Captain A. C. Ford, city; Company C – Silas Foulke, Cory; Z. K
Brenton, Cory; Israel Leak, Pimento; Samuel Willey, city; Company D – J. P.
Stratton, Sullivan; J. N. Clark, city; Geo. F. Briggs, Sullivan; William M
Mason, city; W. B. Ridgway, Shelburn; Samuel F. Mason, Sullivan; Company E –
Capt. S. C. Scott, city; Company F – Col. John T. Smith, Bowling Green; John W.
Brown, Trillia, Ill.; Munce Gosnell, city; Company I – J. B. Conley, Rockville;
E. D. Litsy, Marshall; Company K – W. A Nichols, city; Marion McQuilkin, city; G
W. Walker, Rosedale; William Kendricks, Ellsworth; Geo. W. Greer, Macksville.
Commanders of the various companies were also appointed. Each
company of the famous regiment has an organization of its own in addition to the
regimental organization. The captains appointed were , in order: W. Samuels,
Waterman; Silas Foulkes, Cory; Gilbert Liston, Coffey; J. B. Con[n]ley,
Rockville; S. F. Mason, Sullivan, and Geo. W. Greer Macksville.
S. F. Mason
was made secretary of the meeting. He read a letter from a former
commander of the regiment, Col. J. A. Hallowell, of this city, who has been in
Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the past year, in search of health. The
colonel writes that he is feeling better than for a long time, and hopes to come
back to Indiana yet a healthy man. It was determined by the assembly to
establish headquarters at Columbus during the encampment next May. To
these headquarters will be invited the survivors of the two hundred me[n] who
were drafted into the regiment in time to fight in the battles of Franklin and
Nashville. The reunion of the regiment will take place at Bowling Green on
the 14th of next September.
But the most important thing which came up, and the thing for which the meeting
was especially called, was in regard to publishing of a history of the
regiment’s war life. It was determined that this should be done. It was also
voted that all the members of the regiment have their pictures placed in the
volume, as many who wished to do so. This, it was considered, would
considerable enhance the value of the book to the comrades.
The history has already been written. Col. Smith, aided by the diaries of two
soldiers, William Stout, who was killed in action, and Gilbert Liston, of Clay
county, has prepared a careful chronicle of the war history of the band. The
colonel spent a year on the work and says he feels sure it will please “the
boys.” The volume will be of about three hundred pages, and many illustrations
of the members of the regiment, will give it a fine appearance. It will be
placed in the hands of a publishing house soon, the house and terms etc., at the
discretion of the colonel.
Col. Smith is one of the heartiest old men one could meet. In a
long day’s ride. He does not appear to be bearing the weight of 67 years on his
shoulders, but stands as erect as he was wont to sit upon his charger in the
sixties. His comfortable home at Bowling Green is always open to the “boys,”
many of whom visit him with regularity. He enlisted with the regiment as a
first lieutenant, but by successive stages, as his worth became manifest,
reached to the command of the regiment.
There were two men at the meeting yesterday who showed the marks
of conflict. To be sure all of the veterans had suffered more or less in the
defense of their flag. But these two bore the marks more plainly than the
rest. One was Wm. Nichols of this city. “Bill,” as he is called, was shot soon
after enlisting, at the battle of Fort Donelson. The bullet struck him in the
nose and came out the back of the neck. Nichols at the time was on the brow of
a hill, charging with the rest for the fortifications. He fell in the snow,
face down, and the snow froze the blood, saving his life, it chanced. Nichols
is proud of the scars, and they are to his honor. He was in the hospital for a
long time, and enlisted again as soon as he recovered. The other man is J. P.
Stratton, of Sullivan, who had a leg shot away.
The Thirty-first saw a number of the big battles of the war. It
was at Fort Donaldson, Pittsburg Landing, Atlanta, Nashville and Stone River.
Out of 1800 men enrolled altogether, 400 remain today. The regiment was sent to
Texas at the end of the struggle and was disbanded at Galveston. The movement
to that state was a ruse to frighten Maximillian out of Mexico.