Randolph County and the War Between the States:
Part Two: The Iron Brigade
(19th Indiana Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st
Division, 1st Corp, Army of the Potomac)
By Ted Martin
Company E, Delaware County
19th Indiana Flag
Courtesy of Mike and Shirley Pearson
Soon after the surrender of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln
called for 75,000 volunteers from the various states. Indiana’s
quota was 4,458 men. On April 25, 1861, six regiments
containing more than five thousand men were mustered into
service, and there were additional volunteers --- enough for
three additional regiments --- who were reluctantly returned
The realities of war soon made additional calls for volunteers
necessary. The federal government issued several other calls
totaling 38,000 men for all of 1861. It was the July call that
led many young men from Randolph County, Indiana to leave family
and farm behind and volunteer for service as an Indiana
One letter, found many years after the war, reflects the common
patriotism and courage the men of this troubled time carried
with them as they left their loved ones behind to fight a war
they had no idea they were getting into.
July 15, 1861
Dear Father and Mother, Brothers and Sister:
As I am about to leave you all, to be absent for some time --- I
know not how long --- I thought I would write a few lines and
place them where you could find them, that you might know where
I am going and why I leave you.
I have enlisted, and am going to stand as one that is for his
country. I am determined to fight for my country. It seems
hard to leave you, but I am very anxious to go and feel it to be
my duty, and I say when one wants to go, let him go.
Dear parents and friends, I want you not to trouble yourselves
about me. I am well satisfied that I shall see you all again;
but I am going for the time of war, let it be for as long as it
may. I shall send you word when I arrive where I want to go,
and I hope you will not be troubled on my account.
I should have went long ago, had it not been for the wheat
harvest, and so much work. I must go now, for I feel I can wait
Who would not fight for his country? For one, I love it so much
that I am willing to fight and risk my life to preserve the
country that our forefathers bought at such great sacrifices.
And so, no more at present. I leave you all behind, but I
remain, yours till,
Young Adam Juday was just 15 years old when he left his family
behind to fight for this country he so loved. Such was the
overall feelings of most of the young men of this era.
The 19th Indiana. The 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry was officially
mustered in on July 29, 1861 at Camp Morton, Indianapolis with
companies organized in Randolph, Wayne, Owen, Elkhart, Johnson,
Marion and Delaware counties. Company C was from Randolph
County and was many times during the next four years, the Color
Company located in the center of the battle formations and
carried aloft the Flags of our Nation and the Flags of the
Regiment. This automatically made them instant targets for the
Soon the men left Camp Morton by train and made their way to
Washington D. C. where they erected tents and set about
establishing their first camp in the field. This soon turned
out to be a miserable failure. Tents were erected wherever was
convenient and not on high ground and after two solid days of
rain, the young men decided they didn’t care to sleep in mud
puddles. This was the very first valuable lesson learned.
Within a few days, they were joined together with the 2nd
Wisconsin, 6th Wisconsin, and the 7th
Wisconsin to form their first regiment. On September 11, 1861,
the 19th Indiana got their first taste of the
horrible effects of war with a small skirmish at Lewinsville,
Va. They were all still merchants and farmers just 44 days
before. Although this was just a very minor skirmish, their
eyes were opened wide to the tragedies of death. From this day,
the 19th Indiana was involved in more than 60
engagements, all the way to the end of the war. Many wouldn’t
see their homes again.
They went on to fight in major engagements such as both battles
at Manassas, against Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah
Valley, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania
Courthouse, Cold Harbor, Bethesda Church, Petersburg, and they
were present at Appomattox Court House for Lee’s surrender.
“Men of Iron”
They became known as the “Iron Brigade” at the Battle of South
Mountain in 1962. As the men of the Brigade worked their way up
the mountain along what is today U.S. Highway 40 at Turners Gap,
they were under terrific fire from above from Confederates
covered behind walls. The brigade never wavered, and as General
McClellan looked on from the distance, he asked who these
gallant men were as they drove Hill’s troops off the mountain.
When he was told who they were, he remarked that these men moved
and took fire as if they were made of iron. Thus began the Iron
Brigade. From this day onward until their demise in the later
years of the war, they were used extensively in the most
dangerous of circumstances and would go on to gain fame
throughout the world as one of the Union Army’s most elite group
When Gen. John Gibbon assumed command of the brigade, he
recognized the potential of a very elite group of men. Men who
would fight, not run. Men who would stand and fight “till hell
freezes over if necessary.” Gen. Gibbon acquired special
uniforms for the men. He got them the tall dress Hardy Hats to
wear with pride not in dress but all the time. They wore long
black ostrich plums in these hats. Their jackets were longer
frock coats and not the short shell jackets of the regular
army. And he got them white leggings to wear above their
brogans (shoes). They stood out from the other units not only
in their fighting spirit but also in their attire. They were
special indeed. When the Confederate forces would have to
confront these men, they would label them as “those damn black
hat fellas again.” Their reputation was notorious throughout
both Armies, as fierce fighters and very strong willed. Bet you
didn’t know Winchester fostered a group of men of this nature
for the Civil War did you? I personally never had any idea that
Winchester was as important to the war effort as it was.
The brigade was heavily damaged at the Battle of Antietam in
Sharpsburg, Maryland, in September, 1862. After Antietam, the
Indiana and Wisconsin boys were joined by the 24th
Michigan to bring the brigade back to full strength, and that
was the configuration of the brigade up through the Battle of
Gettysburg – their greatest moment.
Remember, these were young guys from right here in Winchester
and Randolph County, Indiana. The sad part of all this fame is
the causality rate. The 19th Indiana suffered the 10th
highest causality rate of the entire Army of the Potomac with an
enrollment of 1246 men and 199 men killed for an average of
15.9%. The 2nd Wisconsin had the highest causality
rate with an enrollment of 1203 men and 238 killed-average
19.7%. And the 7th Wisconsin was the 5th
highest with an enrollment of 1630 men and 281 killed-average
17.2%. The 6th Wisconsin and the 24th
Michigan were both just out of the top ten.
C, known as the “Winchester Greys”, had an enrollment of 137 men
with 20 killed in battle and 15 dying from other causes such as
disease for a total of 35 men dying in the war. Imagine the
impact this would have on our community today not to mention
what it had in the days of a much smaller population.
Practically every family in Randolph County was affected by the
The Battle of Gettysburg.
July 1, 1863, was the most intense day for the men of the 19th
Indiana. This was the day the Iron Brigade pitted forces
against some of the best the Confederacy could put on the field
at the small crossroads town of Gettysburg, Pa. They were
forced into action twice that day. The first engagement was
against Archer’s Tennessee and Alabama veterans on what is known
as McPherson’s Ridge. They hit Archer so fast and so hard that
he had little time to organize against them with the result of
the Iron Brigade over-running Archer and actually capturing Gen.
Archer as a prisoner of war. At the time, this was the highest
ranking Confederate Officer ever captured in the war.
At this point, the men of the 19th took cover and
waited for the next onslaught of Confederate Infantry. After an
hour and a half, they were hit again by three Confederate. The
26th North Carolina especially hit them almost full
on and hit them very hard. While the 26th hit them
in the front, the 11th North Carolina hit them from
the left flank and this was more than our boys could take. They
began a slow withdrawal back through McPherson’s Woods, turning
to fire after every 20 paces as they went. Many men went down
on both sides as the resolve was the same for each allegiance.
The 26th North Carolina was virtually decimated that
day, taking the highest casualty rate of any Confederate unit
during the entire war. But the 19th Indiana and the
24th Michigan were also badly hurt.
The Iron Brigade
fell back in order to Seminary Ridge and set-up defenses but
could not hold that position as the rest of the Army of the
Potomac was not yet up to help them. They had to fall back on
through the Town of Gettysburg and set up a defensive line on
Culp’s Hill on the south end of town for the remainder of the
three days battle. Fortunately for the 19th, they
were not needed on the battle line for the rest of the fight at
Gettysburg. They had 27 men killed, 133 wounded and 86 missing
Many were torn up so bad that three days later, with the
Confederates defeated and withdrawing, bodies recovered from the
battlefield could not be recognized as to who they were. These
men are buried as “unknown” in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Many of the fallen were Winchester and Randolph County boys who
had such great hopes of hero wishes and gallantry. Now they
would never see their loved ones again Such as it is in every
war and all who go serve their country but it seems like we too
often forget what war really is. General Lee stated all so
truly at Fredericksburg that it is “good war is so terrible as
we would surely grow too fond of it.”
Casualties were so high at Gettysburg that after the battle, the
Iron Brigade couldn’t be mustered together as an effective
force. Other units were brought into the brigade to try to
strengthen their numbers but these other units were new
recruits, not hardened to the rigors of war and not deserving
the credibility of the Iron Brigades honor. Most of the new
troops were draftees where all of the older (much older now) men
of the original regiment were volunteers. They merged with
other units and carried on to the end of the war, but they were
never again the same Iron Brigade.
After the war.
The former members of the 19th Indiana were mustered
out of service on July 12, 1865 at Louisville, Ky. From this
date on until their natural deaths, they remembered the glory
they shared with their comrades, but they also recalled the
horrors they lived. Some never regained their old stamina and
lived each day one at a time. However, most came home to
Randolph County to pick up where they left off. Many to marry
sweethearts they left behind. Most built their farms back out
of disrepair and prospered in this new Country of Liberty and
Unity. And indeed, all wore the very proud emblem of the Great
Union Army’s Iron Brigade. Some of the very best to serve the
Army of the Potomac and the United States were from right here
in Winchester and Randolph County.
The 19th Indiana gathered again in Indiana, in August
of 1913, on the anniversary of the Brawner Farm fight, to
recount that struggle one last time. The official meeting
always began with a reading of the names of all of the comrades
of the regiment who had died in the previous year. The list was
growing longer each year and it was a melancholy group of aging
veterans who listened to it read. They spent much of their time
talking about patriotism and their love of their country, and
they finished their meeting with a tearful rendition of “God Be
With You Till We Meet Again.” They had stood as brothers, now
they spent time attending each other’s funerals.
Old Lt. Will Carleton read this poem at a memorial service for
his old friend Sergeant Adam Juday. It can stand as an
appropriate epitaph for the men of the 19th,
especially those who never returned to the peaceful hills and
farms of Indiana.
them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours
Lying so silent by night, and by day,
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
they had marked for the joys of the brave,
Years they must waste in the mouldering grave,
All the bright laurels they waited to bloom,
Fell from their hopes, when they fell to the tomb.
Give them the mead they have won in the past,
Give them the honors their future forecast,
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife,
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.*
Gettysburg National Cemetery
The markers shown here are all men from
Winchester and Randolph County buried in the Gettysburg
National Cemetery. Christopher Starbuck is also
buried there under the name of UNKNOWN. Although
the men that found him on July 4, 1963 thought they knew
who he was, they could not make a positive
identification. Notice the last names of these
men. Their families are a vital part of Randolph
County still to this day.
The impact of
the Civil War was severe in communities both North and
South. It must be remembered that the population
of the United States was much smaller in comparison to
today's. In both battle casualties and sickness,
the 19th Indiana lost way too many men in the war with a
total of 35 coming from Randolph County alone.
Many families in the county lost more than one son.
One family in particular was the Frederick Miller Family who
lived out by Bear Creek just south of Ridgeville. This family
had five sons in the army; four belonged to the 19th
Indiana Regiment. Jacob was killed at Antietam; William was
killed at Gainsville; Christian was wounded at Antietam; John
was severely wounded at Gettysburg and was disabled the rest of
his life. The fifth son, Daniel, was in the 69th
Indiana and wounded in the left shoulder.
Treatment of battlefield injuries. Medical treatment of this time was
almost medieval. As the war progressed, medicine improved
dramatically, but not quickly enough to save the lives of
thousands from what that today might be considered a minor
Amputation was practiced more often than not. The main reason
for amputation was the size and the velocity of the bullet of
the day. Most were a .54 caliber cone shaped bullet that was
fired from a muzzle loaded rifle. The velocity of the bullet
was slow enough that the bullet would enter but not exit the
body. This round is approximately the diameter of a dime and as
long as a half dollar. The bullet would enter the soldier, hit
bone, splinter the bone beyond repair, and stay there. Lead
against splintered bone!
It was impossible to reset the bone because it was shattered too
badly, so the only way to help or maybe save the soldier was to
amputate if the bullet was in one of his limbs. If it was in
his trunk, most of the time he died. Even after the amputation,
many died of infection because of the primitive means of
sterilization: There wasn’t any. A bucket of water thrown on
the operation table to wash off the blood and then another
wounded soldier was lifted onto the table for whatever was to
happen to him.
Amputation of leg being performed at Letterman Field Hospital,
Actual photo, July 9th, 1863**
The Victors in Review
Company H, 19th IN INF on Parade
Remembrance Day, Nov. 19th, 2008
Roster of the Winchester Greys.
Shown below is the roster of Company C, the Winchester Greys.
This roster tells each man’s name, rank, age, occupation, and
what happened to them while they served. Many say KIA (killed
in action) or MIA (missing in action); others were wounded,
(WIA) to the extent that it caused life-long difficulties.
Still others died of disease while serving.
Click here for Civil War
Aftermath & today.
Keep in mind that my story is only talking about the 19th
Indiana. Why? Because they are my heroes. They were a special
group of young men that were as ordinary in their lives as
anyone else. They joined the Army because of their values and
beliefs in the United States. They were considered westerners
or more or less back-woodsmen because of where they were from.
And they were considered a rougher group of men than the
easterners because they had to scratch out a lifestyle on the
frontier. Indiana and Wisconsin were indeed still considered a
frontier in those days.
As I said above, this was just the men of the 19th
Indiana. There were many more units formed in this general area
that drew the enlistment of many more men from Randolph County.
Each has their own story. The 57th Indiana was
instrumental at Stones River, Tennessee. The 54th
Indiana was at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 69th
Indiana was at Point Royal, Louisiana and Texas. The 84th
Indiana was at Lookout Mtn., Georgia, Nashville, Tennessee and
Chickamauga, Tennessee. The 124th Indiana was with
Sherman when he burned Atlanta.
Many of these men are our ancestors and many of us may not know
it. I know that a man by the name of Joel Lock, who belonged to
Co. F of the 69th Indiana, is a Great - Great –
Grandfather of Rick Crist. Rick asked me to see what I could
find on him because he had heard stories about this man his
whole life. He didn’t know if he survived the war or if he was
wounded or killed somewhere. Well, sadly to say Rick, your
Great – Great – Grandfather was killed in action at Chickasaw
Bluffs, Mississippi but I still have not found out the date.
I’m still looking and I will find it for you. My respect for
all these Randolph County men is great and I believe their
stories should be told. Not just in a history book but in
actual circumstances and under real hardships and I’m sure they
would want us to remember what they sacrificed and why they
sacrificed. I’m sure they would want us to understand that
freedom isn’t really free at all and these guys paid everything
they had for what we have today.
Remembrance Day, November 19th, 2008
Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
*Some information and material used from” Iron Men, Iron Will”
by Craig L. Dunn
Special Thanks to teacher, Mrs. Kelly
Harris, and her student, Steven, for providing the following
link. It is through the caring and sharing of information,
that keeps our history alive.
"Civil War Terminology" -