Being excerpts from History of the 75th. Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers (1862-65), by Rev. David Bittle Floyd


During the few days of our encampment in Camp Carrington, the photographers of the city [Indianapolis] were driving a good trade by taking the pictures of the new-fledged soldiers of the Regiment dressed in their accoutrements and arms. These relics--the pictures---of a long ago period, wherever they have been preserved, are curiosities, as well as heirlooms.

While at Louisville, a little blue-eyed, brown-haired and beardless boy came to our Regiment. He was dressed in the uniform of a soldier. He gave a vivid account of two unsuccessful attempts to become a drummer boy of a Regiment. .... It was under these circumstances and at this time, that the boy applied for admission into our Regiment as a drummer. Captain Bryant's Company at that time had no musician. The Captain ordered a drum to be brought, and the boy was ordered to take it and try his skill with it. He demonstrated very satisfactorily to the Captain, that he knew how to beat a drum; and Albert B. Beneway---for that was his real name---was mustered into the service on September 1st, 1862, under the name of Albert Walton, as the musician of C Company of the Seventy-fifth Regiment. He assumed the name of "Al. Walton" to escape detection by his friends. At the time of muster his age was 15 years, 7 months and 7 days, and by actual measurement his height was four feet and seven inches. He was certainly the smallest member of the Regiment.

The youngest member was Andrew H. Burke, the drummer of D Company. He was born May 15th, 1850, and, at the time of his enrollment, was a lad of 12 years old, with wavy auburn hair and grayish-blue eyes. On account of his age, he too had difficulty in obtaining muster into the service; but through Major McCole's assistance, the mustering officer, General Carrington, admitted him into the Regiment. "Andy" was the musician, who, on an eventful Sunday morning, before daylight, at Lebanon, Kentucky, beat the long roll upon his drum, which called the Regiment into its first line of battle. He was with us, carrying his drums at the head of the Regiment, through all the marches and raids in Kentucky and Tennessee, until we reached the town of Castalian Springs. Here, in December, he was taken sick with a scrofulous affection, on account of which, on January 5th, 1863, he was discharged. The whirligig of time brings great changes. This drummer-boy in 1862, is the Governor of North Dakota in 1892.


On account of our good position, we were anxious for the Confederate Cavalry to come, that we might capture them. Some of the men, in the meantime, discovered a cellar stored with Bourbon whisky, to which they helped themselves. Then on account of our bad condition, we were afraid the Confederate Cavalry would come and capture us. A detail of men (among whom was the writer), under Lieutenant Richardson, was sent to take possession of the liquor and destroy it. We found the owner of the spirits, and interviewed him concerning it. To the Lieutenant, he replied: "I hain't got nary drap. Them Confeds dun tuck it, every darned bit." But the Lieutenant was not to be fooled. He had ocular demonstrations around him that "tangle-foot" was about. He sent his men into the cellar, and they knocked in the heads of the barrels, and the liquor ran out. This was the writer's first experience in a temperance crusade.



There was an episode during the encampment of the Division at Frankfort, the like of which perhaps, did not occur, before nor afterwards, in connection with our army. It was the incarceration of the commander of one of our Brigades in a State prison for stealing horses. The troops were "raw," and without much discipline, in an enemy's country. Many depredations were actually committed. Doubtless, some others reported exaggerations. In some instances fine horses were stolen and shipped off, and some of the superior officers of the commands were engaged in the business. As soon as it was discovered, General Dumont promptly and severely punished the parties committing the offences, irrespective of rank, as the following telegram will show:

Frankfort,Ky., October 16, 1862

Colonel Fry, Chief of Staff:
Excesses were committed upon the first arrival of the troops; they have been greatly magnified. All the troops were new and wholly undisciplined, and one of the brigade commanders I found encouraging his men to deprecate, and stealing and shipping off horses himself. Upon the discovery I put him in the penitentiary, and have him now in close confinement.
I have taken and will continue to take the most prompt means to prevent wrong. I have found a wonderful disposition on the part of some professedly Union people here to complain and magnify and to extort from the Government---to kill the goose to get the egg.

E. Dumont, Brigadier General

This message is herein given for the purpose of showing that thieving and the commitment of other depredations were not allowed in our army, even in an enemy's country.


Our first Christmas while living soldier-lives, was spent in camp at Castalian Springs. Many dinners in the tents on that day consisted of "hard tack" and "sow-belly." Some, however, fared better. From one of the diaries, consulted in the preparation of this history, the menu on Christmas day in one tent at least consisted of "beef soup, peach pies, pickled peaches, and roast beef." This was a gastronomic display worthy Delmonico's under similar circumstances.


Morgan's Confederate Cavalry being in the vicinity, Union General Reynolds was ordered to raise all the horses and saddles available, and if these could not be procured, he was to impress into service his mules without saddles.
To witness the antics of this improvised Cavalry by mounting Infantry Regiments on army mules and plug horses with and without saddles, was an amusing sight! The performance reminded the writer of the stanzas in Cowper's poem of John Gilpin:

"John Gilpin at his horse's side
Seized fast the flowing mane,
And up he got in haste to ride,
But soon came down again.

Now see him mounted once again,
Upon his nimble steed.
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones
With caution and good heed.

But finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his well-shod feet,
The snorting beast began to trot,
Which galled him in the seat."

The mules, when mounted, seemed to be in a highly exhilarating frame of mind, with heels of a vigorous and decidedly skyward tendency, which created great amusement in the camp. They seemed determined to make the groups of soldiers, who were looking on at their pranks, get out of their way, by backing up to them, with their long ears moving backwards and forwards like a windmill, and their tails as stiff as pokers, letting their hoofs fly at them. One of the men, who had been thrown off, fired with ambition to display his prowess over his mule, ran in front of the animal and took a defiant position to seize him. The mule, undaunted, came dashing on, putting one ear back and the other forward, then reversing the movement, with his tail standing straight out. The soldier's courage failed him, and he beat a sudden and inglorious retreat. As he ran, followed by the mule, the scene was ludicrous in the extreme. Hundreds of soldiers, who witnessed it, were convulsed with laughter.

Nevertheless with all these disadvantages and encumbrances, we "fought Morgan like the devil."

Speaking of mules, reminds the writer of a little incident of army life, which may not be out of place to insert here. An army Chaplain, frequently shocked by the profanity of mule drivers, resolved, if possible, to lessen it by the offer of a fine Bible to every one who would "drive a mule team four weeks without swearing." Having published the offer, and completed satisfactory arrangements with the U.S. Christian Commission for a liberal distribution of the Sacred Volume among a needy class of sinners, the Chaplain sat down in his tent to wait for applicants. The crowd of applicants, which he expected, did not arrive. Only one man applied and he was a Dutchman. When questioned on he subject, the Dutchman gave it as his opinion, that by nature no man was able to do it, but by the grace of God alone mules could be driven without oaths. Here is the Dutchman's solemn affirmation, in his own words, which is vouched for by a certificate from his Captain: "Dish ish to serdify, dat I have triven a mule deam foar veeks widout brofanity." The man received the premium, and no doubt deserved it.

Speaking of Chaplains, the writer is reminded of another army incident. With all the hardships and vicissitudes of army life, a certain Chaplain could not eradicate the oddity of his genius. He was a fine singer, and played well upon the accordian. He was the spiritual adviser of a wild Western Regiment, and his unselfish and hardy nature won their hearts by telling the boys stories and singing them funny songs. John Morgan captured him in the Cumberland Mountains. The Chaplain, in relating the circumstances afterwards, said: "It looked pretty solemn when they began to cast lots to see who should inherit my horse." But the Chaplain took his little accordian and began to sing and play for dear life. All the droll songs that were ever invented, this doomed captive sang to the bushwackers of Kentucky. "I think I ought to shoot you," said Morgan; "a fellow that keeps up men's spirits as you do is too valuable to the Yankees for me to let off." But let him off he did. Nobody could shoot such a happy combination of goodness and drollery.

Once after a battle, a church was turned into a hospital, and the wounded and dying lay all up and down on the floor. It was a blue time, when men were dying not alone of wounds, but of despair, which was like an epidemic in the atmosphere. The Chaplain, seeing how fatal this despondency was proving itself to be to the men, walking up into the pulpit, planted his little accordian on his knees and struck up "The Girl I Left Behind Me."

 The Girl I Left Behind Me

Sunlight at once came into the despondent hearts with the rich melody of the Chaplain's voice and the humor of his song. The Surgeons of the hospital took heart, and life seemed to come back to the wounded and homesick boys.

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