the Civil War
to mark wars start
to be held at Lanier Mansion
period music are among activities
Helen E. McKinney
(April 2011) April 12, 2011, will mark the
150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. The day that Confederate
cannons fired on Fort Sumter, S.C., in 1861 will be remembered and relived
through the efforts of many Civil War history buffs in Madison, Ind.
new event is planned in April
to commemorate the 150th anniversary
of the start of the Civil War.
Disunion! The War Begins! will be presented
at the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 12.
The festivities will begin promptly with the lighting of 150 luminaries
around the grounds of the mansion. An ensuing 30-minute program will
consist of a ceremony held at the Civil War Memorial on the Visitor
Center Plaza, period music and readings from letters, diaries and the
Madison Daily Courier describing the start of the war in 1861. Confederate
re-enactors from the Nelson Artillery will provide a bagpiper, bugler
and fire a cannon to mark the assault on Fort Sumter, near Charleston.
People dont think about the Civil War much, said Gerry
Reilly, Site Manager for the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site. The
Civil War was by far the most traumatic event in American history. Losses
were huge more than all the other wars combined up to Viet
The state of Indiana played its part in the Civil War through local
businessman and former resident, J.F.D. Lanier. By the time the war
began, Lanier was living in New York City but still held strong ties
Lanier was very helpful to the war effort, said Reilly. He bought $400,000
in bonds to equip the troops with clothing, food and barracks. By the
close of the war, Lanier had made a total of unsecured loans totaling
more than $1 million.
In the middle of the Civil War, there was a political situation
in Indiana, said Reilly. Indiana Gov. Oliver P. Morton suppressed
the Democratic Party, which controlled the General Assembly and largely
sympathized with the Confederacy. In 1862, he never called the General
Assembly into session, which meant no budget or tax provisions were
When the state was left without the authority to collect taxes, Indiana
neared bankruptcy. Gov. Morton used private funds supplied by Lanier
to finance the war effort, rather than rely on the Legislature for funding.
During the Civil War, the state of Indiana did not secede from the Union.
It was the first state in what was considered the American Northwest
at the time to mobilize for the war. The day after the attack on Fort
Sumter, two mass meetings were held in the state, and the citizens of
Indiana decided to remain in the Union.
President Abraham Lincoln asked the state to send 7,500 men to join
the Union forces. Five hundred men volunteered the first day. Three
weeks later, more than 22,000 men had volunteered. Since this well exceeded
Lincolns request, many had to be turned away.
By the end of the war, the state had contributed approximately 210,000
soldiers and much in financial aid for equipment and supplies for Union
soldiers. Indiana was ranked as having the fifth-highest population
in the Union and the sixth highest of all the states, making it critical
to Northern success.
Indiana was also important for its agricultural yield. This was an invaluable
commodity to Union troops after the loss of farmland in the South.
In the course of the war, there were two minor Confederate raids and
one major raid in 1863. This latter raid caused a brief panic in the
southern parts of the state and the capital, Indianapolis. John Hunt
Morgans raid of the state in July 1863 has been significantly
marked throughout the state as a reminder of the Civil War.
The Civil War really formed the country we are now, Reilly
said. In addition to slaves being owned before the war, the states had
a lot more power than they do today; it formed our modern military structure
and the presidents power increased a lot, he said.
This was a significant time in our history, because it was the
only time America had lost a war, said Kathy Ayers, a member of
the Jefferson County Civil War Roundtable. Its the only
time war was fought on our own soil.
The Roundtable, of which Reilly is also a member, meets the second Tuesday
of every month with Aprils meeting date coinciding with the 150th
anniversary date and the events planned at the Lanier Mansion. The Roundtable
decided to hold their monthly meeting at the Lanier Mansion and include
a guest speaker who would present a program about a Civil War topic.
Author Gail Stephens will present a talk about her latest book, The
Shadow of Shiloh, Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace in the Civil War at 6:30
p.m. at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. This talk
is free and open to the public.
Wallace made a stand against an army twice his size, said
Stephens. Because of the Battle of Shiloh, hes not viewed
as a hero.
Stephens, 64, decided someone needed to examine Wallaces life
and write about it. He was a major figure in Indianas history,
she said. Wallace (1827-1905) was a lawyer, governor, Union general,
politician and author. He may best be remembered for his historical
novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
Wallace was appointed state adjutant general at the beginning of the
Civil War and became Indianas first Major General during the Civil
War. He rallied the people of Indiana to fight for the Union,
The book is really about an Indiana hero, she said. Something
we have forgotten about. Its a war that killed what would total
5 million Americans today. These soldiers went into battle, just riding
their horses or walking, fighting for the Union.
Out of a total population of 32 million people, more than 600,000 Americans
died. By the end of the war, 46 general officers in the Union army had
resided in Indiana at some point in their lives.
Anyone wishing to attend Disunion! The War Begins! is not
required to attend Stephens talk. Although this is her first book
dealing with the Civil War, Stephens has written articles and an essay
on Wallace for a collection of essays to be published in a book by the
Battlefield Preservation Association.
Stephens was born in Wyoming and grew up in the West. She currently
lives north of Annapolis, Md., and is a retired employee for the Defense
Department. She said she likes the history of the East Coast, where
much of the Civil War took place. She described Wallace as romantic,
proud, intelligent, and a really huge part of Indianas 19th
Ayers said that 150 years later, people still want to understand
the Civil War. There are so many levels to it, even though all those
who fought were Americans. But people were so passionate about what
they believed in, enough to fight against their family and neighbors.
With the exception of Aprils meeting, the Jefferson County Civil
War Roundtable meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month
during the school year at the Brown Room of the Madison Presbyterian
Church. Meetings are open to the public.
For more information on Disunion!
The War Begins! contact Gerry Reilly at (812) 273-0556. This event
is sponsored by the Morgan & Nay Funeral Centre and the Jefferson
County Civil War Roundtable.
Back to April 2011 Articles.