New Year’s Day open house was held in many Indianapolis homes; the ladies “dispensing hospitality” to their friendly callers. The second term of Northwestern Christian University (Butler University) began on Monday, January 2, 1865, and Indianapolis Protestant congregations joined Protestant churches across the nation during the first week of the year in sessions of special daily prayer. The anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was celebrated January 3 by the African-American people of the city with a procession. The marchers bearing signs and flags were led by a band to the Masonic Hall where various speakers addressed the crowd.
President Lincoln suspended the pending execution of John Lennon, alias Thomas Doyle, who was sentenced by court martial to be shot. The President asked to see the man’s trial record. Andrew Humphreys, who had been sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor by the Military Commission at the Indianapolis treason trials, was ordered by Major General Alvin P. Hovey, commanding general of the Indiana Military District, to be discharged and paroled to the “limits of Wright and Stockton townships” in Greene County for the duration of the war.
About 450 “cadaverous-looking” rebel prisoners who had been captured at Vicksburg seventeen months ago were released from Camp Morton after they “had come to the conclusion to take the oath of allegiance.” The Journal published the Indiana Sanitary Commission’s list of paroled Indiana soldiers at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland, along with names of those who died in rebel prisons. The Hoosier sick and wounded from General Thomas’ army hospitalized at Jeffersonville, Indiana were also listed. The United States Sanitary Commission reported the Hoosier casualties in General Sherman’s campaign.
Indianapolis attorney C. G. Werbe was found guilty in the United States District court for receiving $100 (2013: $1,500.87) from a soldier’s widow for helping her secure a pension when the law allowed no more than $10 (2013: $150.09). The U.S. district attorney “intends to prosecute every case of that kind with vigor, that the soldiers’ rights may be protected.” The Indianapolis city council, in an attempt to break up “the enormous evils of bounty agencies and the disgraceful prevalence of bounty jumping, alias desertion,” passed an ordinance prohibiting agents from procuring substitutes or recruits to fill quotas other than those in the city and Center Township. Throughout Marion County, bounties in various amounts were offered for “good acceptable men who will volunteer” to fill the draft quota. The city offered a bounty of $400 (2013: $6,003.48); Franklin Township offered $300 (2013: $4,502.61). City wards held draft meetings and appointed committees to canvass and solicit funds. There are 6,732 men on the corrected enrollment for Center Township eligible for the draft.
“Immense audiences” were entertained nightly at the Metropolitan Theatre with the “beautiful Irish drama” Colleen Bawn, while at Masonic Hall “world-renowned comedian” George Christy headlined the Christy Minstrels. For the benefit of soldiers’ families, the Amateur’s Charitable Association held its grand opening at the Tabernacle on the Court House Square featuring Still Waters Run Deep, The Three Crows, and Il Trovatore’s Anvil Chorus, “with full costumes,” presented “exclusively by amateurs and respectable citizens of Indianapolis.”
In southern Indiana “petroleum is all the rage now.” Companies in Louisville, Cincinnati, and New Albany have been or are being formed to lease large tracts in Perry, Crawford, and Martin Counties. An agent of the Tar Spring Petroleum Co of Cincinnati was in Indianapolis offering the sale of company stock.