The era of the Civil War has always been a topic of great interest to many Americans. Now, during the 150th anniversary of the beginning of that conflict, interest is even higher. There is so much attention given to all aspects of the war that we have decided to narrow our focus to a single group of men who fought their way through this transformational conflict. They could be called an early “Band of Brothers.”
Our focus will be on the 57th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The men of this regiment were of the most common variety. A majority were farmers from southeastern Indiana. The regiment was raised by two ministers, and many of the soldiers were men of the cloth themselves. At one time they were called the “Preacher” regiment.
The 57th Indiana had a long and storied military career lasting four years (1861 - 1865). It moved and fought in five major campaigns, including eleven of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of the war. They spent their entire time as part of the Union Army’s western theatre of operations. The regiment fought under Buell, Rosecrans, Grant, Sherman, and Thomas. It crossed the length of Kentucky three times and Tennessee six times. It saw action in eight states including six Confederate states and travelled by foot and railroad nearly six thousand miles.
Our focus will of course be the regiment’s military engagements that included Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Franklin, and Nashville. But even more telling will be reflections on the tensions, fears, and the patriotism that the men felt. There will be stories of their camp life, marches, and of loved ones at home.
Each week we will publish a new “mini” blog post in the form of an excerpt taken from the book “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” which was written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war. He was a member of the 57th himself. It was first published by the W.J. Shuey Co., in 1868 (143 years ago).
I have a strong personal connection to their story. My 2nd Great Grandfather was a soldier in this regiment. He is the man after whom I am named.