The week-long warrior

One week in July 1863

Lafayette S. Buckles was an unmarried 26-year-old preacher when he was mustered into service on the 10th of July 1863. And seven days later — on the 17th of July — he was mustered out.

That left reader Matt Mapes, Buckles’ distant cousin, baffled.

Matt came across a record of his cousin’s service on Ancestry.com but it just didn’t make sense to him. “I wonder why he volunteered, and then mustered right out?” Matt said. “I don’t see where he ever had a pension or there are any other records at least on Ancestry for him. I’m kind of puzzled.”

On first glance, the answer may seem obvious. The Ancestry record is an index so the second date has to be wrong, right? Or, if it’s right, then Buckles must have been unfit for service after a week, right? Easy answer…

Well, there’s an answer out there, all right. And what an answer it is!

Let’s start with the records, and there are three total on Ancestry documenting Buckles in the Civil War. The first is his draft registration, in July 1863, in Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District. It’s the one that identifies him as age 26, single, a minister, born in Ohio. But it says nothing about any actual service.1

Then there’s an index entry in the American Civil War Soldiers database. It gives his name as Lafayette Buckles and residence as Boone County, Indiana, and reports that he “Enlisted in Company F, 102nd Infantry Regiment Indiana on 10 Jul 1863. Mustered Out Company F, 102nd Infantry Regiment Indiana on 17 Jul 1863 at Indianapolis, IN.”2

Great info, but the source is identified only as source 76 from a laundry list of published reports, none of which is numbered. No help there.

The last one is from the U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles database, another index, and it says the same thing as the first index entry — but it identifies a source: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana.3

The Adjutant General’s reports were published in eight volumes between 1865 and 1866, and they’re all available online at the Internet Archive and/or Google Books. Buckles’ record can be found in volume 6. And sure enough, it has him enlisting in Company F of the 102nd Indiana Infantry — and mustering out seven days later.4

But you get a big clue about what’s going on here when you look at the pages about this regiment: everybody in every company of this regiment mustered in between the 9th and the 10th of July and everybody mustered out on or before the 17th.5

So now you want to go look at the regimental history. And a great source for Union regiments is a multi-volume set called The Union Army, published in 1908. Volume III includes Indiana, and it describes the 102nd Indiana Infantry this way:

One Hundred and Second Indiana Infantry.- Col., Benjamin M. Gregory; Lieut.-Col., Peter A. Huffman; Maj., David W. Hamilton. This regiment was organized as minute men from the Indiana Legion in Boone county, July 10, 1863, and numbered 623 men rank and file. It left Indianapolis by rail, July 11, reached North Vernon the next morning and marched to Vernon, where Co. K was mounted and sent in pursuit of the enemy. The regiment moved to Dupont, thence to Osgood, and on the 14th to Sunman’s station. It returned to Indianapolis on the 17th and was mustered out.6

Sooooo… Minute men? Pursuit of the enemy? What’s going on here?

And the answer is Morgan’s Raid.

Gen. John Morgan

In the summer of 1863, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan led thousands of Confederate troops on a 46-day, 1000-mile raid from Tennessee into Kentucky, Indiana and finally Ohio. The attack on Indiana began on July 8th:

After sending spies into Indiana in June, Morgan began the raid into the state on July 8, 1863, by seizing two boats and ferrying approximately 2,400 troops across the Ohio River into southern Indiana. Upon hearing news of the raid, Governor Oliver P. Morton called for the people and militia of Indiana to defend their state. Thousands responded. For 5 days Indiana militia and Federal troops attempted to capture the invaders. Morgan’s men raided Corydon, Salem, Dupont, Versailles, and other small towns. The raiders left behind a trail of destruction before crossing into Ohio on July 13. They were eventually captured in southern Ohio, and the raid ended on July 26, 1863. Morgan and his men were sent to Northern prisons, but he later escaped and made his way back to the Confederacy.7

There are all kinds of resources for Matt to learn about Morgan’s Raid in general, and the raid into Indiana in particular. The Indiana State Library has a bibliography of sources on the raid and its effects in Indiana online at “Morgan’s Raid Resources.” The University Library of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has the telegraph books of Governor Morton online as digital images. The Indiana Archives has records of the Indiana Legion:

The records of the Indiana Legion-the state militia or “Home Guard” during the Civil War-include muster rolls and correspondence for units in most counties. They contain many wonderful details about the effects of the war on the home front, as well as the significant role played by the Legion.8

But perhaps best of all, there’s a single volume of official reports on the Indiana Legion and Minute Men available online as well. The book, Operations of the Indiana Legion and Minute Men 1863–4, was published in 1865 and it contains the reports of the commanders who were there at the time.9

For example, Governor Morton’s message to the troops on 15 July 1863 was included, and he had told them, in part:

Having received information that a rebel force, estimated at six thousand strong, with six pieces of artillery, had crossed the Ohio river into Harrison county, I issued a call on Thursday last, to the patriotic citizens of the State to leave their various occupations and turn out for its defense, and, if possible, capture the insolent invaders. The evidence was abundant that the original purpose of the rebels was to seize, plunder and burn the capital, but as their course would be uncertain, it was necessary to make preparations to encounter them in every direction. Within forty-eight hours from the time the call was issued, not less than sixty-five thousand men had tendered their services and were on their way to places of rendezvous, while many thousands more were preparing, but were notified to remain at home. Within three days, thirty thousand men, fully armed and organized, had taken the field at various points to meet the enemy.10

John L. Mansfield, Major General of the Indiana Legion, reported to the Governor:

It is … proper … that the citizen soldier should be employed for the suppression of riots, and for the repelling of invasions. Both of these ends have been accomplished by our State Militia within the preceding two years. …

A considerable part of our Legion have undergone, within the last two years, severe hardships, and many of them have suffered in a pecuniary point of view by having been called away suddenly from their daily occupations. They obeyed the summons with alacrity and cheerfulness, and I take pleasure in assuring your Excellency that in time of need you may safely rely on the efficiency of the Indiana Legion.11

And there’s even a specific report from the commanding officer of the 102nd Indiana Infantry, Col. B. M. Gregory, written 18 July 1863, the day after his troops were mustered out of active service12 and information on the conditions under which the 102nd operated (as of 11 July 1863, the 102nd has no ammunition and no rations).13

So, Matt, your cousin was a citizen-soldier, a volunteer in the defense of his adopted state against invasion, who went off to war without food or weaponry, ready to lay down his life if need be.

Great story. And all from one huh? moment in looking at index entries.

And the moral of this story is: follow those leads.

Every last one of them has the capacity to enrich our family history beyond our wildest dreams.


 
SOURCES

  1. Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records), Eighth Congressional District, Indiana, entry for L.S. Buckles, Class I, page 30 (penned), line 11; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Jan 2013); citing Consolidated Enrollment Lists, compiled 1863 – 1865; Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War), 1861 – 1907, Record Group 110; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  2. “American Civil War Soldiers” database, entry for Lafayette S. Buckles, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Jan 2013).
  3. “U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles” database, entry for Lafayette S. Buckles, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Jan 2013).
  4. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, vol. VI (Indianapolis : Samuel M. Douglass, state printer, 1866), 584; digital images, Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org : accessed 27 Jan 2013).
  5. Ibid., 579-588.
  6. The Union Army: A History of the Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865…, Vol. III: New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan (Madison, Wisc. : Federal Publishing Co., 1908), 174; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 27 Jan 2013).
  7. “1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana,” Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (http://civilwar.connerprairie.org/ : accessed 27 Jan 2013).
  8. Civil War Records: The Indiana Legion,” Indiana Commission on Public Records (http://www.in.gov/icpr : accessed 27 Jan 2013).
  9. Operations of the Indiana Legion and Minute Men 1863–4, Documents Presented to the General Assembly, with the Governor’s Message, January 6, 1865 (Indianapolis : W.R. Holloway, state printer, 1865); digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 27 Jan 2013).
  10. Ibid., 8.
  11. Ibid., 2, 8.
  12. Ibid., 69-70.
  13. Ibid., 11.
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12 Responses to The week-long warrior

  1. Mary Ann Thurmond says:

    Interesting story—and one of the things I love about genealogy is that it’s just the same as finding all the pieces and fitting them into their proper places when putting together a big jigsaw puzzle!

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Yup! But of course — sigh – we don’t have the box top to see what the puzzle is supposed to look like — and we have to go find our own pieces!!!

  2. Bob says:

    Great story, Judy. I have a multi-great uncle who joined a battalion raised by the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio at the very beginning of the War, the unit served for several months guarding railroad tracks, bridges etc in the Cincinnati area. When the emergency subsided, it was discovered that they had never been properly mustered into service, so the whole unit was mustered in and out on the same day.

  3. Barbara Schenck says:

    Judy, How did you determine that Morgan’s Raid was the cause? Are you that knowledgeable in Indiana history or did you search by date or?????

    Thanks,
    Barbara

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I followed the clues back, Barbara. The index led to the Adjutant General’s report. That report led to the regimental history. The regimental history identified the unit as “minute men from the Indiana Legion.” That led me to find the official report on the Indiana Legion and Minute Men of 1863-64.

  4. Barbara Schenck says:

    Thanks, Judy. I imagined you were following the clues. I just didn’t know where the clues were showing up. Now you have given me all my bread crumbs! Much appreciated.

  5. George Dawson says:

    I recently picked up 2 books that no civil war buff should be without. The first one is The Civil War Research Guide by Stephen McManus, Donald Thompson,Thomas churchhill.The2nd book is Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor,by Bertram Hawthorne Groene. There is no way you can miss with these 2 books.

  6. Karla says:

    Interesting story! I’ve got a possible ancestor myself whose involvement was oddly brief, but unlike the soldier here, his story veers off track from that of his comrades.

    Gideon F. Morey enlisted 15 September 1862 at Auburn, NY, mustered in 28 Sept, was 1st Lieutenant, Company F, 160th Regiment, New York Infantry volunteers… and then resigned 26 March 1863! From what I have read, (this is from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912) “The regiment left the State December 4, 1862; it served in Sherman’s Division, Department of the Gulf, from December 25, 1862; in 2d Brigade, Augur’s Division, from January, 1863; in 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Corps, from February, 1863; in the Reserve Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Corps, from August, 1863; in the 3d Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Corps, from September, 1863.” A source more focused on his hometown (Moravia, NY) indicates that the 160th regiment was ordered to New Orleans soon after its formation. Its first engagement was in March 1863 at Bayou Teche, when the rebels destroyed their gunboat Cotton to keep it from capture.

    So, as you can see, my question is what prompted the man to resign and go home just then? More research lies ahead!

  7. Karla says:

    My guess is that the answer would be in his military documents, but there may be something in a more detailed history book or article. Another oddball piece of information is that in 1912 (after his death) his son tried to get the government to reimburse Gideon’s travel expenses home but failed because (big surprise) he had resigned and it sounded as though the government had already paid for most of the trip home anyway.

    Since it is not certain that he’s even my ancestor, I’m not quite champing at the bit to dig in those records, but my curiosity is certainly aroused. (This is the family we might be able to verify via DNA testing, should we be so lucky. Waiting for my mother’s test results to come up…)

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