This year, 2011, marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in the United States. At 4:30 in the morning of April 12, 1861, Confederate forces started the American Civil War by firing on Fort Sumter, a Union military base located outside the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Just two days later, after suffering severe damage from four thousand shells, the federal forces surrendered. The American flag came down, and the Confederacy’s new Stars and Bars banner flew over the fort.
President Lincoln asked for a quota of 4600 men from Indiana… “Soldiers, or good men willing to be converted into soldiers for the emergency.” In reality, almost 200,000 served from Indiana. My grandfather was one of those men. During those four years, 25,025 Hoosiers died. In fact, the Battle of Antietam in 1862 was much more devastating than present day wars around the world. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties.
The Historical Society has an excellent program about William Garner, the last Civil War soldier from Starke County to die. If you would like a program about the “Billy” Garner in the Civil War for your club or organization some time during this sesquicentennial year, call me at 574-772-4311.
Also, the Starke County Historical Society has made special arrangements with the Indiana Historical Society to exhibit, Faces of the Civil War from May 3, 2011 to May 27, 2011, here in Starke County. The exhibit will be at the Henry F. Schricker Library in Knox. The exhibition brings to life the stories of many Hoosiers whose lives were touched, and in some cases taken, by the Civil War.
Non-soldier stories featured in the exhibition include the stories of women who served both on the homefront and on the battlefield. Lovina Streight followed her husband into battle and was captured more than once by the Confederate Army while tending to her husband, as well as his wounded and dying comrades.