A New Regiment is
Sumter has been fired upon! The Telegraph carried the news. No excitement
before or since, has ever equaled that which swept over the State of
Indiana. That Saturday night and into Sunday people crowded around the
telegraph offices to hear the dispatches concerning Fort Sumter. The sermons
on Sunday were a call to arms, some instructing their parishioners that they
had one single duty to perform which was to support the Flag. The states of
Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri were hanging in the
balance. But, that sister state to the south for which Indiana was so
closely tied concerned them the most,
the state of Kentucky.
April 12, 1861...
The "War of the
Rebellion" or Civil War was on. Excitement was high in and around the town
of Terre Haute, Indiana. The DAILY WABASH EXPRESS of Terre Haute, reported
that a citizens meeting was held the night of April 16th, 1861 at the Court
House. The crowd was large and enthusiastic and many could not get in. Upon
displaying the "Stars and Stripes" the band enthusiastically played "The
Star Spangled Banner" while the crowd saluted the flag. Speeches were given
by several of the area's prominent citizens to rally support for the Union.
Within days after the firing on Fort Sumter,
President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 troops to serve for a
term of three-months. There were to be 94 new regiments, of which
Indiana's quota was to be 6 new regiments. Indiana's newly inaugurated
governor, Oliver P. Morton, was a very strong and proactive leader. In
response to what he perceived to be a weak and unprepared central
government, he took immediate steps to prepare for war. Governor Morton
acted quickly by issuing a proclamation calling for the six regiments.
Response was very high and there were enough for several more regiments.
Never has the contributions and influences of a
state been such a factor in determining the outcome of National or for
that matter World events ever occurred. States, both northern and southern
rallied to support their cause in terms of not only men, but tremendous
financial and material means.
Below is an example
of the wording found in an advertisement that started appearing in the
DAILY WABASH EXPRESS paper of Terre Haute in July of 1861. The paper just
so happened to be owned by Charles Cruft.
DAILY WABASH EXPRESS
Terre Haute, Indiana
R E C R U I
T I N G.
Wanted FOR THE UNITED STATES
Able - bodied men, between ages of
eighteen and thirty-five years, Pay, the same as to volunteers, from
$13.00 to $23.00 per month, with rations and quarters, to commence
Two Dollars will be paid to any citizen who shall procure and
present to the Recruiting
Office an acceptable recruit.
Under present regulations, any soldier has an opportunity of
becoming a commissioned officer.
For further information, apply at
the rendezvous at Terre - Haute, on the west side of the square.
TERM OF ENLISTMENT,
T h r e e Y e a r s
Alfred L. Hough
Capt. 19th Infantry U.S.A.,
July 22, d t f
Because it became clear that the war was not going
to be over quickly, the need for 3 year enlistments became evident. In
July and August, several companies were forming in Vigo County, Indiana at
the 7th congressional district camp, known as Camp Vigo. Camp Vigo was
located in Terre Haute at the old Fairgrounds, across from the present day
Collett Park, off Maple Avenue. The first regiment to be raised at Camp
Vigo was the 14th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The new companies now
forming would become the 31st and 43rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The
31st Indiana Volunteers was organized under the leadership of Colonel
Cruft of Terre Haute.
The locations that men signed up for the 31st were varied. Some early
recruits went to Indianapolis for enlistment at Camps Sullivan and Camp
Morton. Others either signed up at the Vigo county Court House or in their
local village or town. My Great, Great Grandfather,
enlisted in the small village of New Goshen Indiana.
Andrew was enrolled
as a private. He and his fellow "Vigo Rangers" and the other 9 companys
were officially mustered in as the 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry on the
15th of September for a term of 3 years. At the time he joined the
regiment he was 26 years of age. The Military Records showed Andrew to
have Blue Eyes with Light Hair and a Sandy Complexion. Andrew's height was
5 foot, 8 inches, which was the average height of Indiana Civil War
formed they called themselves by Company Names or Guard Names and not by
letters. Only once the regiment was formed were they assigned a Company
The regions that the
companies of the 31st Indiana were formed from are shown Below.
County or Town of
Northwest Parke Co. &
adjoining Fountain Co.
"Sante Fe Guards"
Terre Haute & Eastern Vigo
Co. & adjoining Clay Co.
"Sullivan County Lyons"
Terre Haute & Vigo Co.
"Greene Co. Union Guards"
Jasonville, Coffee, Hymera
in Greene Co., Clay Co. & Sullivan Co.
Eastern Greene Co.
"Parke Invincibles" also
known as the "Jamesborough Guards"
Rockville & North of
Rockville in Parke Co.
Terre Haute & Vigo Co.
The Regiment was
officially mustered in as the 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry on September
20, 1861 by Lt. Col. Wood of the U.S. Army. All did not go smooth at Camp
Vigo. There were shortages of uniforms and arms. There was even an
attempted group desertion at the camp, which was foiled. The regiment
drilled and drilled at camp Vigo.
Evansville, then Camp Calhoun
About sundown on the 21st of
September, the 31st received its marching orders for 5 companies. They
packed up their things and headed toward the train depot in Terre Haute.
Just after 9:00 p.m. they left for Evansville and arrived there the next
morning around 7:00 a.m. There they received their arms and ammunition,
but they had no provisions of food at that time. The good citizens of
Evansville furnished the regiment a large breakfast.
The 31st had several camps in and
around this area. The short lived camp near Evansville was called Camp
Cruft. They camped in Spotsville, KY, Henderson KY and several other areas
in this vicinity. Rumors flew about the area of possible invasions and so
the 31st made several reconnaissance missions in the area.
On October 31st, 1861, Andrew
Gosnell was placed on special guard duty at Lock No. 1 on the Green River.
He remained on this special service until November 27, 1861.
Eventually the 31st Ind. along with
other regiments from Indiana and Kentucky settled into a camp near
Calhoun, KY called Camp Calhoun.
The 31st was originally under the
command of Brigadier General George H. Thomas but in November they were
under the command of Brigadier General Thomas L. Crittenden at Calhoun.
Crittenden's division was under the command of General Don Carlos Buell's
In late November there were the
following regiments at Calhoun;
31st Indiana, Volunteer
42nd Indiana, Volunteer Infantry
43rd Indiana, Volunteer Infantry
44th Indiana, Volunteer Infantry
3rd Kentucky Volunteer Calvary, previously camped at
Daviess County, Kentucky Fairgrounds, aka Camp Silas F. Miller
11th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry
17th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, previously camped
at Hartford, Kentucky
25th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry
26th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, previously camped
at Daviess County, Kentucky Fairgrounds, aka Camp Silas F. Miller
On December 28th, a few miles south of Camp
Calhoun, near Sacramento, the "Battle of Sacramento" took place.
Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry attacked a battalion
of Major Eli H. Murray's 3rd Kentucky Cavalry. The 3rd Kentucky Cavalry
was part of the force stationed at Camp Calhoun. Murray's men were on a
scouting mission to locate Confederate troop movements in the area. This
event brought the war close for the first time to the green soldiers of
The winter spent in
Camp Calhoun was not good. Poor sanitary conditions at the camp at Calhoun
led to the death of many men by disease. A large infestation of rats
contributed to the disease problems. Measles mumps, malarial fever, and
rheumatism were epidemic. Visitors to Calhoun, Kentucky complained about
the deplorable conditions as in a letter written on stationery from an
Indianapolis Hotel to Governor O. P. Morton which describes the conditions
that they found the soldiers in. A few excerpts from the letter are at
right: (spelling copied as original)
Governor Morton assigned a
Doctor to investigate the sanitary conditions of the 31st Indiana
Volunteer Infantry camp at Calhoun. A report of the conditions was made
and sent to Laz. Noble the Adjutant General of Indiana.
The 31st Indiana remained
at Calhoun until February 9, 1862, when they embarked on board the steamer
Ben J. Adams, and arrived at Paducah on the night of February 10th. The
next morning they headed towards Fort Henry, up the Tennessee River. They
then returned without disembarking, because Fort Henry had been taken the
day before. They then ascended the Cumberland River, and arrived near Fort
Donelson on the morning of February 14, 1862.
Opposite the Union Depot,
Indianapolis, Ind, ....Jan. 10.....1862
To the honorable
[Governor] i have been visiting my friends in the 31st reg, at
calhoun kentky to my sorrow they are in bad condition of
health caused by imprudence incompatincy or neglect of the officers
there health is so very bad only near half of the reg is able to turnout
many of the sick and
feeble have spent there last money and there friends money to procure
some little nourshing food ............
we have given our
neighbors our friends our sons to our Cuntrys call to put down the
rebellion but to see them sick suffer and wast away by negligence or
incompatency is more than we are willing to bare ..........
of Fort Donelson:
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At this time the 31st became part of the 1st
Brigade of the 3rd Division of the Army of the Tennessee. The 1st Brigade
was under the command of Colonel Charles Cruft and the 3rd Division was
under the command of General Lew Wallace. The 1st Brigade was composed of
the 31st Indiana, with Lieutenant Colonel Osborn temporarily commanding;
the 25th Kentucky Volunteers, under Colonel James M. Shackelford; eight
companies of the 44th Indiana Volunteers, under Colonel Hugh B. Reed and
the 17th Kentucky Volunteers, under Colonel John H. McHenry.
On February the 15th
around 8:30 a.m., General Lew Wallace's order was received to put the
brigade in motion to the extreme right of the Union line for the purpose
of reinforcing General McClernand's division. The brigade moved in column
with the 25th Kentucky in advance, followed by the 31st Indiana, the 17th
Kentucky, and the 44th Indiana. The 31st was to fall in to the left of the
25th Kentucky. Before the 31st reached it's position, it was exposed to a
"galling" fire of musketry and artillery from a hill to their left. The
regiment formed in line of battle at the foot of the hill and fired upon
the enemy position. The enemy had outflanked the troops of the other
brigade on the right and drove them back. The troops came rushing through
the 31st's ranks near the center. The line quickly reformed on the hill to
the right and rear of the previous position. During the confusion,
Lieutenant Colonel Osborn and about 20 men became detached from the
regiment and were unable to rejoin it during the day.
From the new
position a heavy fire was poured into the enemy. The line moved
farther to the right and again fired into the enemy which soon gave
way. There were reports that the Confederates were forming in a hollow
leading to the hospital in the rear. The regiment was ordered back to
protect the hospital until about 4:00 p.m. At this time the 31st
Indiana was then ordered to march into a ravine below the fort, on the
extreme right of the Union line in support of the 11th Indiana and 8th
Missouri regiments. The 31st formed to the left of the 17th Kentucky
and charged the hill. The regiment reached a ravine immediately below
the enemy's batteries and was exposed to a terrible fire of grape,
shrapnel and shells. To avoid the fire, the regiment was moved farther
up the ravine. Five companies of the 31st were ordered up the hill on
the extreme left and the rest were sent to the right with the rest of
the brigade to outflank the enemy and attack in the rear. The assault
was a complete success. The Confederates retreated to within the works
of the Fort. The regiment was ordered to fall back to where the fight
on the hill was made and there encamp for the night. From this
position they were to prepare to storm the works early in the morning.
The regiment slept on the hillside and were woke early the following
morning on the 16th. They were drawn up in column and made ready to
march to the assault until word came that the Confederates had
surrendered. This was the very first fight for the 31st Indiana, and
they performed gallantly.
STATS for Fort Donelson: 9 killed, 52 wounded, 6
of these Mortally, and 1 missing;
Battle of Shiloh:
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Andrew Gosnell and the regiment marched to the previously
captured Fort Henry. On March 9th the regiment loaded aboard the steamboat
"Fannie Bullit" and started up the Tennessee River in the company of 75
other Steam Boats and 4 Gun Boats. An enlisted man noted that the trip was
"pleasant" with "fine scenery". On March 13th the boat landed at Savannah,
later moved to Pittsburg Landing on the 16th. Here on the 18th, the 31st
set up camp about a mile from the river, near the crossroads of the
Hamburg and Savannah road and the road from Pittsburgh to Corinth. At this
time the 31st was part of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Division, of Brigadier
General Steven A. Hurlbut of the Army of the Tennessee which was under the
command of Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant.
On April 5th
the 3rd Brigade was placed under Brigadier General Jacob Lauman. The
regiments of the Brigade were the same as at Fort Donelson, the 31st
Indiana under Charles Cruft, the 44th Indiana, the 17th Kentucky and the
Early Sunday morning on April 6th the rapid
volleys of musketry from camps to the front indicated the commencement of
the battle. At 7:30 Gen. Hurlbut received an urgent message from Sherman
for help. He ordered Lauman to have the brigade form for action. In a
little over 10 minutes the brigade line was formed and moving in column
along the Hamburg Road. Prentiss' refugees were streaming back through the
division. Hurlbut realized he could advance no further. The 31st with the
brigade was formed in front of the famous sunken road and in the Hornet's
The battle was progressing actively upon the right and left of the main
line. Soon the Confederates attacked the brigade in great force and with
much desperation. This first attack was probably made by Col. Winfield
Statham's 3rd Brigade under John C. Breckenridge.
The confederate advance came to within 10 yards of
their line and was repulsed by a "cool and steady fire". Each man expended
approximately 30 rounds. Col. Cruft
wrote that "the slaughter among the enemy in its front was terrible. A
second attack was shortly made with increased fury. The line stood
unbroken, however, and after exhausting nearly the last cartridge again
repulsed the enemy. Here a slight cessation in the attack occurred, barely
long enough to procure fresh ammunition from the rear. The boxes of the
men were scarcely filled before the enemy were the third time upon us. The
line stood firm, and again succeeded against superior numbers. There was
now a short cessation of firing, during which the cartridge-boxes of the
men were again filled. A fourth assault was soon made, which was gallantly
repulsed, and the enemy withdrew, leaving my regiment, with the balance of
the brigade, in position. The enemy, retreated and moved off toward the
left of the main line."
Colonel Cruft states, "During the action my
regiment fired an average of about 100 rounds per man. The piles of the
enemy's dead which were lying along our front when he retreated attested
the accuracy and steadiness of the fire." Seeing that the Union left was about to be swept,
Gen. Hurlbut ordered the brigade to move to the left about 2 p.m. For some
minutes the brigade was halted near the Hamburg road, to protect Willard's
battery, that was then playing upon the enemy. Cruft continues, "The
various regiments were then moved farther to the left, and our regiment
ordered to the extreme left, and placed in position to await the expected
An Illinois regiment
subsequently formed to our left and rear. The action soon commenced to the
right. It was apparent, from the reports of skirmishers sent to the front
and from observations, that the enemy were preparing to flank our line to
the left in great force. This was shortly accomplished. Regiment after
regiment marched up from a large ravine to the left, moving in echelon, in
compact lines, with Confederate flags flying, in perfect order, as if on
parade, and came steadily down upon our small front.
An order was given for our left to advance. My regiment did so promptly.
It was soon evident that the advance could not be sustained, in the
absence of a reserve, against the overwhelming force of well-disciplined
troops of the enemy. After my regiment had fired some 10 rounds the
regiment to the left was forced back. An order was now given along the
entire line to fall back, and a general retreat was made about 3:30
o'clock p.m. to a ridge nearer the river, [Grants Last Line]. Here the
regiment was again formed in brigade line and marched up to the support of
a section of a battery of large siege guns, and occupied this position
during the desperate fight which closed the day. After the final repulse
of the enemy the regiment was moved forward, with the residue of the
brigade, about three-fourths of a mile, and there bivouacked for the
night, at about 7:30 o'clock."
On the next
day April 7th, the regiment was actively engaged with the balance of the
brigade on the right of Sherman's main line.
During the battle of Shiloh, Andrew Gosnell was slightly wounded in the right hand by a
musket ball. Col. Cruft was badly wounded more than once during the battle
and refused to leave the field until after the regiment had retreated to
Grant's Last Line
STATS for Shiloh: 21 killed, 114 wounded, 10 of
these Mortally, and 3 missing
On May 2nd 1862, the Thirty-first was transferred
to the Army of the Ohio, and became a part of the Twenty-second Brigade,
Fourth Division. Andrew was
listed as being absent from the regiment due to an illness part of May.
This was the only time he was listed absent due to sickness.
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The regiment now began a chase of Confederate
General Braxton Bragg. It traveled through middle Tennessee passing into
Kentucky through Bowling Green and reached Louisville, KY. Here the
regiment remained the rest of the month, and in the meantime were
introduced to the Ninetieth Ohio Regiment, which became part of the
brigade. Capt. John T. Smith writes... "A finer-looking regiment of men
never went into service. And it was as true as steel, and as brave as it
was true. The day they came into our brigade they were splendidly
equipped had everything allowed by the regulations, and more too. The
next morning they did not have near so much. The fact is, the
Thirty-first had made a draw, and it was with great difficulty that you
could get the Ninetieth to believe that the Thirty-first had not robbed
them of their household goods and kitchen furniture."
It was here in Louisville, that General William
Nelson, was killed by Union General Jeff. C. Davis. The 31st Indiana
participated in General Nelson's funeral procession.
After leaving Louisville the 31st was involved
in the skirmishing at Perryville, Kentucky, but really did not
get involved in the main battle.
Marching in late October the regiment
experienced the first snow storm of the season. They had left their
tents behind. On the 26th of October the regiment began moving at 6 am
toward Mt. Vernon, with snow six inches deep. Several of the men were
barefooted and had no blankets. They halted an hour for dinner, then
took the road to Somerset, KY, marched 5 miles and halted for the night
in a meadow. They had no tents but were able to get plenty of straw and
hay to bed down in. On the 31st, they marched 21 miles and encamped at
Columbia, KY, stayed one day and while there, drew some shoes and a few
shirts, which was much appreciated by the men.
On Nov. 1, 1862, the regiment pitched their
tents for the first time since leaving McMinnvile, Tennessee in August.
Their knapsacks had finally caught up with them and many changed their
clothes for the first time since leaving Bowling Green, Kentucky.
of Stones River:
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The regiment now marched to Nashville, Tenn. and
remained there until December 26th, 1862. On the 26th, the regiment took
up the march for Murfreesboro in Major General Roscrans' plan to move
against Bragg's Force holed up in Murfreesboro.
At the battle of Stone's River or Murfreesboro,
the 31st Indiana was in the Left Wing of the Army of the Cumberland.
They were in the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Division commanded by Brigadier
Gen. John M. Palmer. The 1st Brigade was led by Gen. Charles Cruft and
was made up of the 31st Indiana, 1st Kentucky, 2nd Kentucky and the
"green" 90th Ohio.
Both General Roscrans and General Bragg planned
similar battle plans. Both planned to hold the right and hit with their
left. Bragg beat Rosy to the punch and thus controlled the early part of
the battle. Shortly after 6A.M. on the morning of December 31st, 1862,
Hardee's men hit McCook on the Union right and began battle. The Union
right began to crumble under the sledge hammer attack of the Confederate
The 31st IN and the 2nd KY were in the front
line in front of the "Cedar Woods". Col. John Smith says in his
History.... "after the skirmishers had been sent out, it was suggested
by the Acting Major [John Smith] the building of a stone fence or wall
for breastworks. The men laid down their guns and went to work, and in a
few minutes you would have thought that every man was a natural-born
stonecutter, and that each one was a master-builder. A rail fence in our
front was thrown down, and by the time our skirmishers were driven in,
our position was next to impregnable. We were here attacked by the
brigade of the rebel General J. R. Chalmers, consisting of the Seventh,
Ninth, Tenth, and Forty-first Mississippi Regiments and Blythe's
Mississippi Regiment, together with the Ninth Mississippi Battalion of
sharpshooters. The first charge made, Chalmers was carried off the field
so severely wounded he did no further duty. The charge was repulsed with
fearful slaughter. It made a second charge, and the result was that the
brigade was so completely wiped out that the organization was destroyed.
Chalmers's brigade was supported by the brigade of General D. S.
Donelson, consisting of the Eighth, Sixteenth, Thirty-eighth,
Fifty-first, and Eighty-fourth Tennessee Regiments. After Chalmers's
total defeat--almost destruction--Donelson's Brigade came up with
deliberate, steady step" All the line in Donelson's front was carried,
except the extreme right of Palmer's Division.
In consequence of the terrible slaughter of
Chalmer's Brigade, which were all Mississippians, that part of the
battle-field is known a "Mississippi Half Acre."
Smith continues, "When we went into position
here in the morning, we connected with Negley's command on our right,
and with Hazen's Brigade on our left. We held our position here after
the repulse of Chalmers and Donelson's Brigade until Negley's right had
been so far turned that the line of battle stood at right angles with
our line. In the meantime the ammunition of the Thirty-first and Second
Kentucky having been almost exhausted, an attempt was made to relieve
them by sending in the First Kentucky to take the place of the
Thirty-first, and the Ninetieth Ohio to relieve the Second Kentucky.
When the First Kentucky had nearly reached our Position, the Colonel
gave the command to charge. The Thirty-first was ordered to lie down,
and the First Kentucky charged immediately over us,....... The First
Kentucky soon encountered such an unequal force, and being exposed to a
crossfire of both musketry and artillery, that it rapidly fell back, and
again charged over the Thirty-first, closely followed by double lines of
the enemy. As soon at the First Kentucky had all passed to the rear, the
Thirty-first gave the enemy such a deadly volley that they fell back as
rapidly as they had come."
The brigades to the left and right began
falling back and essentially the Brigade was about to be completely
surrounded with no support. Their ammunition running low, a command to
fall back was given, but several in the 31st did not hear the command
and continued to fight until overrun. Andrew Gosnell was captured at this point, along with several
of his comrades.
On Jan. 2nd 1863 the battle resumed. The 31st
took part in the attack on General John C. Breckenridge's left.
STATS for Stones River: 5 killed, 45 wounded, 6
of these Mortally, and 37 missing.
Andrew Gosnell was sent to Libby prison in Richmond, Virginia.
He arrived there on January 15, 1863. Andrew was lucky, because after being confined at the
prison for only 5 days, he was exchanged on January 20th and Paroled at
City Point, Virginia. He reported in at Camp Parole near Annapolis,
Maryland on the 21st and his long journey back home had now begun.
A few days after the battle, the Thirty-first
Regiment, together with the brigade, moved out to Cripple Creek, some
eight miles east of Murfreesboro, and went into camp, where it remained
until the 24th of June, 1863.
Col. John Smith wrote, "From May 4, 1862, the
time we left Corinth, Mississippi, to January 3, 1863, the close of the
battle of Stone River, was about eight months, or two hundred and forty
days. During all this time the regiment was considered in camp
ninety-nine days. It actually had its tents up but fifty-six days,
leaving one hundred and eighty-four days that the men were exposed to
the inclemency of the weather, just as it came, without shelter of any
kind, and the worst weather that came found us without our tents, and on
short rations. During this time the regiment was under fire, in actual
battle, twelve days, beside various skirmishes that sometimes amounted
to quite a respectable little battle."
"The most laborious marching we had to do was
what was called "flanking." The troops followed the road, and each
regiment would detail a company, one-half of which were thrown out on
each side of the road, two or three hundred yards, and march in Indian
file, keeping as near the same distance as possible from the troops in
the road. Of course fences, hills, and ravines had to be crossed,
streams had to be waded, thickets and brier patches had to be
penetrated, and, at the same time, you had to keep up with the troops in
"Another laborious duty, one that got to be
quite burdensome, was "train guarding." The trains, of course, would be
given the road, and the guards would have to march as best they could,
and, in the event a team got stuck in the mud, the guards had to lay
down their guns, and put their shoulders to the wheels. This train
guarding was almost an every-day business, and the Thirty-first
Regiment, somehow, was lucky in getting jobs of this kind to do. It was
astonishing to see how quick a wagon could be repaired. If an axle
should break, with scarcely no tools, and with no material except such
as could be picked on a farm where the rails had all disappeared, a man
or two would go to work, and the next morning the wagon would be up and
ready for use. The method of repairing a wheel was different. If a wheel
gave way, the teamster would drive to one side of the road, and wait
till night, and then look out for a teamster who was off his guard, or a
wagon that was not under the immediate eye of a sentinel, when it was
only the work of a moment to take a good wheel off and put the broken
one on. I have heard it said that sometimes a wheel would be carried
five miles before the exchange could be made. It was insisted that there
was no stealing in this, for the wagons all belonged to Uncle Sam, and
that they were working for him. Be this as it may, it had all the
symptoms of stealing."
Andrew Gosnell made it back to his regiment at
Cripple Creek, TN in early June.
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The 31st Indiana at the battle of Chickamauga
was part of the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. Roscrans, in the 21st
Corps, under Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, 2nd Division under Gen. John M.
Palmer, in the 1st Brigade commanded by Gen. Charles Cruft and the
Regiment was led by Col. John T. Smith. The 1st Brigade again consisted
of the 31st Indiana, 1st Kentucky, 2nd Kentucky and the 90th Ohio.
On the 18th of September, 1863, the regiment
with its brigade, was bivouacked up McLemore's Cove on the left of the
road leading south from Lee and Gordon's Mill. At 6:30 p.m. of that
day the brigade was formed in column Gordon's Mill. At 6:30 p.m. of that
day the brigade was formed in column along the road ready to move
northward across Chickamauga Creek. Moving northward it crossed the
Chickamauga at Lee and Gordon's Mill at about 1 a.m. of September
19th. Upon reaching this point the brigade Gordon's Mill at about 1 a.m.
of September 19th. Upon reaching this point the brigade was immediately
put in line of battle by its Division Commander, Maj.-Gen. John M.
Palmer, and in this position lay on its arms the remainder of the night.
Upon the opening of the battle on the 19th the other brigades of the
division were ordered northward to join the line of Major-General
Thomas, and at 11 a.m. The 1st Brigade under Cruft, was ordered to
follow the others. The 31st Indiana then with the brigade moved north on
the Lafayette and Chattanooga road until it reached the Brotherton
house, when it rejoined its (Palmer's) Division north of the Brotherton
and Reed's Bridge road. The general orders were to move in line of
battle eastward to join on the right of the troops then engaged, the
formation being in echelon with Cruft's Brigade in advance. The brigade
had moved from its line of formation only about 400 yards eastward, when
the skirmishers engaged those of the enemy and drove them back upon
their main lines. Cruft's Brigade then pressed forward and engaged the
enemy, the time being then about 12:30 p.m., and the position being the
west line of the Brock field, and about 150 yards west of the Brock
house, on the south side of the creek, south of the Brotherton and
Reed's Bridge road. The brigade went into the engagement with the 1st
Kentucky Infantry in support of the artillery of the division, the other
three regiments forming a single line with the 2nd Kentucky on the right
of the brigade, the 31st Indiana in the center, and the 90th Ohio on the
left. General Cruft indicated that "The fighting was severe from the
time of joining battle, and lasted until 2:20 p.m., an hour and forty
minutes, with but little intermission in the musketry on both sides."
General Cruft reports that in this engagement, "The enemy made three
very obstinate attempts to break my line by charges, and at each time
were reinforced from the woods in the rear. They were on each occasion
repulsed with apparently very heavy losses. My command behaved bravely,
and steadily held the line. Not a straggler was observed going to the
rear. The file closers did their duty, and every officer and man stood
to his work." From 2:30 p.m. until about 3:50 p.m. there was a general
cessation of firing along the front of this brigade, during which time
ammunition arrived from the rear and the men replenished their cartridge
boxes and their pockets. About 3:50 p.m. the battle again began to rage
to the right of Cruft's Brigade, and extended rapidly towards the left,
growing stronger and more severe until it reached and extended along the
front of Grose's (Third) Brigade, of Palmer's Division. The battle
became more and more critical on the right, and orders were received by
General Cruft from General Palmer to send such reinforcements to General
Grose's Brigade as he could spare. In obedience to this order the Second
Kentucky and the Thirty-first Indiana were ordered to the relief of
Colonel Grose. These two regiments reached Colonel Grose's line only to
find it overpowered and giving way, stubbornly, under a most impetuous
attack by overwhelming numbers, with its supporting lines on the right
wholly gone. The situation now became critical in the extreme. The two
regiments, the Second Kentucky and Thirty-first Indiana, moved off to
the right a short distance in order to avoid the retreating troops and
engaged the enemy hotly, thus checking him and holding its position for
a time and preventing a disastrous retreat, but was finally forced to
the rear about a hundred yards, when they were reinforced by the
Ninetieth Ohio and a regiment from Turchin's Brigade, when an impetuous
charge was made upon the advancing enemy by four regiments, including
the Thirty-first Indiana. The charge was successful, and the lines of
the enemy were broken and fled to the rear, and the Union line was
restored and the ground previously lost being regained and firmly held
until after nightfall."
The lines were formed to the front as best
could be done in the darkness, without fires and without supper, except
as could be had from the haversack, the men settled down for the night.
This proved to be the line that was to be occupied by the Thirty-first
Indiana in the battle of Sunday, September 20th, the east Kelly field
line. During the night and by daylight of the morning of the 20th, the
various regiments of the brigade constructed rough log breastworks along
The attack commenced on their front at 7:40
a.m. It was very sharp and determined, and consisted of a series of
assaults by the musketry and occasional artillery, continuing until
about 12 p.m. Musketry and artillery were required almost constantly
along the brigade line, during these four hours, to repel the enemy. The
Confederate troops engaged in the assaults on the Kelly field line, were
those of Polk's and Hill's Corps.
The punishment and loss inflicted on the
Confederates by the Union east Kelly field line seems to have been
sufficient to prevent any further serious attacks upon that portion of
Thomas' line. At about 3 p.m. the troops of General Hazen's Brigade were
withdrawn from this portion of the Union left, and again the 31st
Indiana and the 2nd Kentucky were ordered out, as in Saturday's battle,
to fill the gap and hold the line, and it was done. At about 5 p.m.
General Cruft received orders to withdraw his troops and take position
in the woods to the west of the Kelly house and the Lafayette and
Chattanooga road. At the time that this order was given there was no
indication that the movement was to be the beginning of a withdrawal
from the battlefield. It was supposed by General Cruft and the officers
and men that the brigade was being sent to the relief and support of
their lines to the right. This movement took place while General Thomas
was making the hard battle at Harker's Hill and Sondgrass Hill, and the
movement of this brigade was in that direction. On reaching the
Lafayette road the regiment was ordered to move toward Chattanooga. The
brigade moved to the rear until it reached the summit of Missionary
Ridge, were it was halted and a line of battle was formed facing to the
front. Later the brigade was ordered to Rossville.
On the morning of September 21st it was marched east again from
Rossville to the top of Missionary Ridge. Breastworks were constructed
and all preparations made to meet the advance of Bragg's Army. The
Thirty-first remained on this line during the day and when the brigade
was withdrawn, at 9 o'clock on the night of September 21st, three
companies of this regiment were ordered to remain with the pickets until
daylight of the 22d, when they fell back and rejoined their brigade at
STATS for Chickamauga: 5 killed, 61 wounded, 7
of these mortally, and 17 missing. While at Chattanooga a confederate artillery
shell came in close to Andrew Gosnell and exploded. The exploding shell knocked
Andrew to the ground. From that
time on Andrew was hard of
The 31st was ordered to Bridgeport Alabama in
November and therefore missed the battle of Missionary Ridge. While in
camp here at Bridgeport, two hundred and eighty-five men of the regiment
re-enlisted, or veteranized. Those who re-enlisted were mustered as
veterans on the 7th day of January, 1864. Andrew Gosnell did not re-enlist. I imagine that he had had
enough. The veterans left Bridgeport on January 26th, and arrived at
Indianapolis, where they were given a magnificent reception and later
returned to Terre Haute. Back home, some men recruited new recruits for
the regiment. They returned to the regiment April 1, 1864.
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The regiment was known for it's orneriness, and one example happened in
and around Kennesaw Mountain in June of 1864. General Stanley came to
the regiment, and said he was directed to take "that hill" with one
regiment, and, as it was directly in their front, and he guessed they
would have to take it. The regiment told him, if they could have their
own time and way, they would willingly make the attempt. "When is your
time?" was his inquiry, and the reply was, "Tomorrow morning, at
daylight." "All right," he said, "take it tomorrow morning."
Their plan was to quietly send Company D to the left and hide in some
old rifle pits until morning. Before daylight the next morning, the
regiment was moved out by platoons to a point as near the enemy as they
could get without attracting attention. They were to lie down until 6:00
am., at which time Company D was to open fire on the rebel picket-line,
and, while their attention was attracted by the firing from an
unexpected direction, the regiment was to charge the line. The plan went
like clockwork. They captured every man on the line. The 31st Indiana
immediately went to work, facing the rifle-pits the other way, and
strengthened the works. The rebels opened on them immediately with their
artillery. A canon ball from the rebel artillery fire cut down a dead
tree, nearly a foot in diameter. The tree fell lengthwise with the
31st's line and within a very few feet in its rear. Before the felled
tree was still, the men of the 31st Indiana took hold of it and picked
it up, and carried it into proper position for the breastworks. They
then called to the "Johnnies" to "cut down that other tree" that stood
Colonel John T. Smith, writes, "On June 28th, I being officer of the
day, I and the rebel officer of the day arranged a truce, under which it
was agreed that there should be no firing in our division front until
further notice. This arrangement was continued for about. three days,
and was hugely enjoyed, as it virtually released us from prison. The
same afternoon, the regiment had an opportunity to exchange its surplus
coffee with the rebels for tobacco. The next day there were hundreds of
the troops met the rebels in the hollow between the lines, and exchanged
papers, and traded coffee for tobacco. The arrangement would doubtless
have continued a day or two longer, but our boys got to stealing the
Johnnies. The second day of the truce, the men of the regiment brought
off fifteen rebel soldiers. Their plan of operation was, to take a suit
of our uniform --pants, blouse, and cap--in their haversack, and when
they could find a fellow who wanted to get out, a lot of them would get
around him and have him put on these clothes over his, after which he
could walk off with perfect impunity. After getting him up into our
works, they would have him divest himself of these clothes, and return
to repeat the operation. The terms of the truce at first provided that
there should be no work done, of any kind whatever, on the
fortifications on either side, but it was afterwards agreed that each
army might do anything it desired or wanted done on their works. A while
after this, the Colonel was called out by the rebel officer of the day,
and told that he must look out for artillery that the enemy was putting
in two guns in our immediate front, and that he could not control them,
and that they were liable to open on us, as soon as they got them
planted. This intelligence was immediately conveyed to General Stanley,
and in a few minutes he and his chief of artillery were at our front
line. We were ordered to get out on our front, and to pile up an immense
heap of brush to conceal our operations. It did not require fifteen or
twenty men long to pile up the brush, and then a couple of guns were
brought up, and a few men were sufficient to pull the brush-pile down
the hill, out of the way; and the guns opened. On the top of the rebel
works were some timbers, leaving a space under the timbers, through
which they could fire, while the timber protected their heads while
firing. The top of the rebel works was lined with men, more numerous
than one ever saw chickens on a fence after a shower. At the first shot
from our guns, these timbers, and the men that were on them, were
knocked several feet up into the air. After a few shots the firing
ceased, and the guns moved back. In a little while the rebel officer of
the day called again for the Colonel, and told him he need have no
further fears in regard to artillery, for their guns would hardly make
good kindling-wood. He said they intended to play a trick on us, and
they had got beat at their own game, and if we had not got so many
killed and hurt I would be glad of it. Nearly every man on those timbers
Summary of Atlanta Campaign:
(May 1-September 8, 1864)
Tunnel Hill May 6-7.
Rocky Faced Ridge and Dalton, Ga., May 8-13.
Buzzard's Roost Gap May 8-9.
Battle of Resaca May 14-15.
Advance on Dallas May 22-25.
Dallas, New Hope Church
Allatoona Hills May 25- June 5.
Kennesaw Mountain June 10-July 2.
Pine Hill June 11-14.
Lost Mountain June 15-17.
Assault on Kenesaw June 27.
Ruff's Station, Smyrna Camp Ground, July 4.
Chattahoochie River July 5-17.
Vining Station July 7.
Peach Tree Creek July 19-20.
Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25.
On the September 7th , the 31st took up the
line of march to Atlanta, arriving there on the 8th, and marched through
During the Atlanta campaign, from May 1 through
September 8th, the Thirty-first Regiment was engaged in actual battle
time approximately ten days. About twenty-two days were spent in sharp
skirmishing, and around seventeen days in building breastworks.
My Great Grandfather, Andrew Gosnell was mustered out on September 15th, 1864 at
Chattanooga, Tennessee. His Muster Out Roll says he was given
transportation and subsistence to Nashville.
STATS for Atlanta campaign: 32 Killed and
The Battle of
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On October 3rd the regiment struck it's tents
and began the pursuit of General John Bell Hood with the Fourth Army
Corps. By the 24th of November the regiment had reached Columbia,
Tennessee. Here, they were shelled by cannon on the 25th and 26th and
were involved in some heavy skirmishing. At 9 o'clock at night on the
28th, the regiment moved out toward Spring Hill. Passing through Spring
Hill early the next morning, they passed by the camp fires of Hood's Army
less than 1/3 of a mile away. The regiment had to force it's way through
a jam on the pike filled with wagons, ambulances and artillery, but
moving farther up the pike they discovered that most of the wagon
trains had been abandoned and some were on fire. Drivers were detailed
and soon the train was moving. At daylight the 31st Indiana was detailed
as a rear guard. The enemy cavalry kept up its pressure on the 31st and
at one point they let the rebels get to within 100 yards of them and
then surprised the rebs with a couple of canon shots and chased them
off. The regiment reached Franklin around 11 A.M., in an exhausted
state. Around 2 P.M. the Battle of Franklin began, and furiously raged
until night. The 31st stood off several of the enemy's charges and each time they were repulsed with terrific
slaughter. Because of the entrenchments, breastworks and some good luck,
the 31st experienced no casualties at the Battle of Franklin. This is
almost unbelievable, because the cost on both sides at Franklin was
An amusing incident at Franklin:
Col. Smith writes, "We had one drafted man who
said he intended to stay with us and faithfully do all the duties of a
soldier, except to shoot, that he would not shoot, that he never
intended to fire, a gun. He was told that he would get along all right
then, for no one would ever tell him to shoot. About the time that it
was seen that the rebels intended charging us, the Colonel went to where
this man lay behind temporary works, and found that his gun was
empty-neither loaded or, capped. He called to the Sergeant-Major to make
a detail of a Corporal and two men who would rather shoot a man than
not. The Sergeant--Major soon reported with the detail, and said, "If
such men as you want are in the regiment, I believe I have got them."
The Colonel said he believed so, too. The Colonel then directed the
Corporal to lay down there near that man, and not tell him to shoot, nor
allow any one else to tell him to; but, when the regiment fired, if his
gun did not go off, to put three bullet-holes through him. The Colonel
walked away, and the, drafted man said to a comrade at his elbow, "I
believe they will do it." "Of course, they will," was the reply. The
drafted man then got up and carefully loaded his gun, and, capping it,
again lay down, and, turning to the Corporal, said, "'Now, if this
darned thing explodes, and the gun don't go off, you must give a fellow
a little chance." But his gun went off, and it was thought that he was
the first man in the regiment to fire, and he kept it up manfully; and
after the engagement was over he seemed to be the proudest man in the
command, and apparently, seemed to think he had done it about all."
Around midnight on the 30th, the Union Army
quietly withdrew from Franklin, taking its artillery and wagon trains,
off the, battle field. The 31st reached Nashville just before noon that
The Battle of
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At Daylight on December 31st, 1864 the regiment
moved out from the left of the Hillsborough pike. The battle began on
the right and the 31st Indiana was involved in heavy skirmishing just
under the rebel Fort. In the afternoon the regiment charged up the hill
in front of the Fort, it being immediately in their front. They captured
the artillery and several prisoners. At night the 31st bivouacked on the
Granville pike. The next morning they were involved in more skirmishing
and took some more rebel works. The army made pursuit of Hood's army
after the Battle of Nashville and kept up with them until the 28th at
which time the pursuit was stopped.
This was the last battle for the 31st Indiana
STATS for Nashville: 10 killed and 33 wounded,
8 of these Mortally.
The regiment was later sent to Texas after the
War ended and eventually was mustered out of service in Texas on
December 8, 1865. The retired regiment eventually arrived home in Terre
Haute, Indiana on January 6th, 1866, after serving a little over four
years and three months.
(Killed and Mortally Wounded)
K. & M. W.
K. & M. W.
Fort Donelson, TN
Pine Mountain, GA
Kennesaw Mtn., GA
Stones River, TN
Rocky Face, GA
Atlanta Campaign, GA
Total Died of Disease:
A History of Indiana, From 1850 to the present" by
Logan Esarey, Ph.d., Assistant Professor of western history, Indiana
University, B.F. Bowen Company, Indianapolis, 1918 Company,
Wabash Express: newspaper,
"War of the
Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and
Confederate Armies". Prepared by Brevet. Lieut. Col. Robert N. Scott, Third
U. S. Artillery, 1880
"Thirty-First Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry in
the War of the Rebellion" by John Thomas Smith, The Third Colonel of
Regiment who was with the command 3 years and seven months. Published
for the Author by the Western Methodist Book Concern, Cincinnati, OH,
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Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion"
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