The Other Colonels of the 31st Indiana
page contains short biographies of the other 3 Colonels of the 31st
Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Charles Cruft
was the first Colonel. To view the tombstones of the Colonels
visit the page: Tombstones of the Colonels of
Osborn: 2nd Colonel of the Regiment
John Osborn was born in Maysville, Kentucky in the county of Mason
in September 1809. John served Indiana in the
House of Representatives from 1839 to 1840. During the
Mexican War he was mustered into the U. S. Army at New Albany,
Indiana on June 20th, 1846 by Colonel Samuel Churchill as Captain of Company "C" of the 2nd
Indiana Regiment from Clay County, Indiana. He was wounded at the Battle of Buena
Vista in the left knee. John was mustered out of the service
at New Orleans, Louisiana on June 23rd, 1847.
Later he served as the Clay county Auditor from 1850 to 1859.
On September 6th of 1861, he received a commission as Lieutenant
Colonel of the 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry. His residence at the
time of his commission was Bowling Green, Indiana. Many in the
regiment believed John Osborn should have been the Colonel of the
Regiment because he became acquainted with the men early on by being
the acting Colonel and few knew anything about Colonel Charles Cruft.
Cruft who saw the dissatisfaction of his appointment made a speech
asking that the Regiment allow him to be judged on his merits and
qualifications, and that he would lead them to "immortal fame for deeds
During the regiment's first battle at Fort Donelson, Lieutenant
Colonel John Osborn and several of the Regiment
became separated from the Brigade and were not engaged for the rest
of the day. This caused several to doubt his capabilities to lead.
On March 13th, 1862, most of the officers of the Regiment from the
Major and down to Captains who were present signed a letter requesting that
John Osborn resign. Despite this request, he stayed on and was
promoted to Colonel after Charles Cruft was promoted to Brigadier
General. John's promotion to Colonel occurred July 17th, 1862.
John resigned his Colonelcy a year later on July 14th 1863.
John Osborn was married to Emily McCorkle (b.Sept. 5, 1811, d. Oct.
10, 1884. They had at least one known child, Caroline B.
Osborn Miles (b. 1834 - d. 1909).
the war John was appointed postmaster at Greencastle, IN to supply
the vacancy occasioned by the death of Edward R. Kercheval.
John passed away June 11th, 1887 at Greencastle, Indiana and was
buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle, Putnam county,
Indiana. No known photos exist of John Osborn.
Indiana in the Mexican War, by Oran Perry, Adjutant General,
Indianapolis, 1 Aug 1908.
John Day's 1st Civil War Memoir, "Three Years in the Army", February 1865.
Evansville Journal, page 6, 14 May 1866.
Thomas Smith: 3rd Colonel of the Regiment
Col. John T. Smith was born in Johnson county, Indiana, March
18,1831. He grew up to manhood on the farm, with no other
educational advantages than those afforded by the common schools
of his county. A few months before he was of age, he met with a
serious accident while felling timber in the woods, the accident
resulting in the breaking of his right leg near the knee, his
right arm near the elbow, besides other serious injuries. This
misfortune changed the whole course of his life. After his
recovery he entered college at Franklin, Indiana attending a few
terms then moved, in 1853, with his father to Greene county and
engaged for a few years in teaching school. In the spring of 1860
he graduated from the law department of Asbury University after
which he located at Bloomfield, IN, and engaged in the practice of
law. He assisted in recruiting Company F, Thirty-first Indiana
Infantry, at the breaking out of the late rebellion and was
mustered into the service as First Lieutenant September 20, 1861.
January 4 1862 he was commissioned Captain, December 5, 1862 was
promoted Major, February 11, 1863 was made Lt. Col., July 15, 1863
he was promoted Col. of the regiment and was discharged from the
service March 12, 1865. The Colonel was present with his command
and participated in the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth,
Stone River and Chickamauga, he was on the Atlanta campaign and in
nearly all the engagements connected with the fall of Atlanta,
took part also in the battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, Pulaski,
Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, TN. He was popular with his
officers and men and successful as a commander. On his return
home, Col. Smith was elected Clerk of Greene County Circuit Court,
serving five years. He is not rated as an office seeker, yet he
has an even dozen commissions which
have been issued to him by the
different Governors of the State. The Colonel is a local preacher
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, possessing rare ability. He
moved to Bowling Green in 1879, and served acceptably the Bowling
Green Circuit one year. In 1854 he married Mary C. Armstrong. The
couple have an interesting family of two boys and five girls.
John T. Smith wrote the History of the 31st Indiana entitled
"Thirty-First Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the War of
the Rebellion". Original copies can still be found and there
are new copies of this book available at most book sellers.
John passed away February 28th, 1908 while visiting his son
Charles, at Kingman, Indiana. He is buried at the Fairview
Cemetery, Clay, County in Bowling Green, Indiana.
Photo of J. T. Smith: Author's Collection
R. Hallowell: 4th Colonel of the Regiment
James B. [R.] Hallowell was born December 27,1841, in
Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. His ancestors were Quakers, and
traceable to three brothers of the name who came to America with
William Penn. When
he was nine years old his father moved to Baltimore, and in 1896 the
family moved to Greencastle, Ind. His school advantages were
interrupted in various ways. He was mustered into company C,
Eleventh Indiana zouaves, Col. Lew. Wallace commanding, April
17,1861. He was soon engaged in very strenuous duty, and while on a
scout with a dozen or so companions had a desperate contest at close
range with a number of the enemy, when he killed a Confederate
captain named Ashby with the butt of his gun. In this twenty-seven
of the enemy were killed, and young Hallowell received the highest
commendation from his comrades and officers. His three months' term
expired August 5,1861, and he immediately began recruiting for the
Thirty-first Indiana. He was elected a second lieutenant. February
15,1862, he was severely wounded in the hip and arm, and was sent
home. While on leave of absence he advertised to make a war speech
in a schoolhouse in southern Indiana, and the anti-war men warned
him not to do it. He responded that he would be there, and would
first copperhead that interrupted. He rose to the rank of colonel,
and was mustered out after four years and nine months of dashing and
brilliant service. In 1869 he was assistant secretary of the Indiana
state senate. In May, 1869, he settled at Fort Scott, Kan., but in
December of that year removed to Cherokee county. He aided in the
organization of the town of Columbus. In 1871 he moved to Baxter
Springs. November 28,1871, he was married to Semantha H. Montgomery,
of Linden, Ind. He was elected to the lower house of the legislature
in 1875, and to the state senate in 1876. In 1879 he was appointed
United States district attorney for Kansas. In 1887 he moved to
Wichita. In 1890 he was the Republican nominee for Congress in the
seventh district, and was defeated by Jerry Simpson. He was known
throughout the West by the soubriquet "Prince Hal.," and it was from
the badinage of these competitors that the "Sockless Jerry" and the
" silk stockings " joke of the first populist campaign became
national. About 1895 Colonel Hallowell settled in Chicago. He died
at Crawfordsville, Ind., June 24,1898.
James Hallowell was commissioned into the 31st
Indiana as a 2nd Lieutenant of Company "I" on September 5th, 1861.
He received several promotions, to 1st Lieutenant and then Captain
of Co. "I", Major, Lieutenant Colonel and eventually to full Colonel
of the Regiment after John T. Smith resigned March 12, 1865.
He wrote several letters
during the war to the Parke County Republican newspaper detailing
some the 31st Indiana's camp life and battle action. He is
buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County,
Photo of J. R.
Hallowell: from the book,
"Thirty-First Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the War of
the Rebellion" by John T. Smith, 1900.
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Last Update April, 2019