The Civil War — 150th Anniversary

“GREATEST VICTORY OF THE WAR! OLD ABE RE-ELECTED!” announced the Indianapolis Journal on the morning of Wednesday, November 9. In the days prior to the election, crowds of “ladies and gentlemen, citizens and soldiers, young and old” gathered nightly at the Tabernacle on Circle Park to hear speeches and exhortations – “A Union man has no more right to absent himself from the polls on Election Day than a soldier has to absent himself from his company on the day of battle.” An immense crowd – one of the largest ever assembled in the city – met at the Tabernacle a week after the election in the “grand jubilee over the re-election of Mr. Lincoln.” The event witnessed speeches, songs, and cheers in “one grand, spontaneous outburst of enthusiasm.” The great assemblage later in the evening spilled out into the streets to see a “magnificent display of fireworks” – whole batteries of Roman candles erupting from rooftops, blazing rockets filling the air, and a great display of fiery letters – “Lincoln and Johnson” – “The Union Forever” – showering their “golden rain on all sides.”
The military commission sitting for the treason trials of William A. Bowles, Andrew Humphreys, and Lambdin P. Milligan, all district major generals of the Sons of Liberty and members of its military committee, and Stephen Horsey continued hearing testimony throughout the month. Deputy Grand Commander Horace Heffren had the charges against him dropped when he agreed to be a witness for the government.
Indianapolis is meeting the needs of its increasing population with the erection of 1,500 to 2,000 houses last year and a similar number this year. The immense quantities of grain and seed from the agricultural region around the city has warranted the building of extensive mills – flour, oil, and hominy – some drawing their power from Fall Creek. The Geisendorff woolen mills are being enlarged for additional machinery; Sinker & Co machine works is receiving orders from New York and California for its “celebrated” steam engines; and Kingan & Co has established a substantial structure “which is equal in capacity” to any similar pork and beef packing firm in the country. Great warehouses have been built for the seven railroads “diverging to every quarter” from the city enabling manufactured items and merchandise to be shipped to any part of the state within a day of being ordered; merchants from any part of the state can visit Indianapolis, “make purchases and return home the same day.” To meet increased demands for banking facilities, the Indianapolis National Bank has been recently organized with a capitalization of $1,000,000 (2013: $14,693,526.27) and is open for business in the Odd Fellow’s Hall, corner of Washington and Pennsylvania Streets. Work on the street railroad continues “gradually stretching itself along our principal highways” with the “rumbling cars and shrieking mules” making its way along Virginia Av to the southeastern city limits at Shelby Street. The eighteen member police force is “entirely inadequate to the duties required of them” and “should be at least doubled.” The Hoosier Capital “is destined to become an important city.”
The postal money order system went into operation at the beginning of the month. “Intended to promote public convenience and to insure safety in the transfer of money through the mails,” money in any amount from one dollar (2013: $14.69) to thirty dollars (2013: $440.81) may be deposited with the postmaster at any of the seven Money Order Offices established in Indiana – Indianapolis, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Madison, Vincennes, and Terre Haute.
Lists of killed and wounded Hoosier soldiers from battles in Virginia and Georgia continued to appear almost daily in the Journal. An officer in the 5th Cavalry sent a list of 149 Indiana soldiers imprisoned at Andersonville, Georgia; most dying from diarrhea. At mid-month about thirty rebel prisoners at Camp Morton rushed the guard and made their escape; a few shots were fired by the guard, but missed their mark. Captain Charles W. Brouse of the 100th Regiment arrived in Indianapolis with $50,000 (2013: $734,676.41) from his soldiers for their families.
The Indianapolis Benevolent Society “continues to advise against any aid to street beggers, but requests every applicant be directed to the nearest” district society in the city. In accordance with President Lincoln’s proclamation, Thanksgiving Day was observed in Indianapolis with “a general suspension of business, a good attendance at the various churches, and by the usual festivities.” The men in the barracks at Camp Carrington feasted on “sumptuous” dinners of turkeys, chickens, oysters, and “a profusion of the most wholesome provisions furnished by the government.”