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Alvin P. Hovey “History can teach no lesson where the Truth is untold.” The significance of this quote will be revealed later, after introducing the subject of this discussion. Alvin P. Hovey was born in Indiana in 1821, and orphaned when he was 15 years old. Apprenticed to learn the trade of bricklayer, but more interested in Law, he studied law at night after spending all day at physically demanding employment. In 1843, the focused, determined young man was admitted to the Bar. Married the following year, Hovey became a member of the Democratic Party and benefited by his subsequent association with senior officials: appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court (for six months, to fill a vacancy); involved in construction of the State’s new Constitution; and in 1855 appointed by Democrat President Franklin Pierce as United States Attorney for Indiana. But, following the election of Democrat President James Buchanan, things took a turn for the worse for Alvin Hovey: caught up in the internal strife polarizing the party, Hovey lost his position as State’s Attorney; and because of his views on “the issue of the day,” he was expelled from the Democratic Party. After a brief period as an “Independent,” Alvin Hovey ultimately joined the Republican Party as storm clouds gathered on the National horizon. Following breakout of war, Hovey helped organize the Indiana State Militia; and was afterwards appointed Colonel of the 24th Indiana Volunteer Infantry (mustered into service 31 July 1861.) Sent to Missouri in August, the 24th Indiana took part in Fremont’s Expedition against Springfield; and then remained in defence of Missouri until February 1862, when Colonel Hovey and his regiment were ordered to join Grant’s Campaign in Tennessee (but arrived too late to take part in the Fort Donelson operation.) In meantime, the 24th Indiana became attached to the Third Division (Lew Wallace) First Brigade (Morgan Smith) and in early March accompanied the expedition up the Tennessee River (at that time commanded by BGen Charles F. Smith.) Debarking at Crump’s Landing, the 24th Indiana set up camp not far to the west along the Purdy Road, with the rest of Colonel Smith’s 1st Brigade. On Sunday 6 April, Hovey’s 24th Indiana became part of the circuitous march conducted north, and within earshot of the Shiloh Battle; but did not reach the battlefield until late that day, after combat had ceased with the onset of night. The following morning, the 24th Indiana was placed at the extreme left end of Major General Wallace’s line and took a noted part in the general advance of Day 2 (and incurred a high percentage of the casualties suffered by the Third Division); the operation to drive the Rebels from the battlefield achieved successful conclusion by late afternoon. For his role, Alvin Hovey gained mention in MGen Wallace’s battle report; and subsequent to his impressive performance at Shiloh, Hovey was promoted to Brigadier General, effective April 28th 1862. (This April promotion proved to be timely, because when MGen Lew Wallace “left” the Third Division in June 1862, it was Hovey – in the right place, at the right time – who took over acting command in Wallace’s absence.) As concerns combat performance, Alvin Hovey is most noted for his contribution to the Union victory at Champion Hill: then in command of the 12th Division of McClernand’s XIII Army Corps, both Hovey and McPherson gained recognition from Major General Grant during that action. Not long afterwards, just a few days after surrender of Vicksburg, it was Hovey who took command of Hurlbut’s old Fourth Division (after General Lauman’s debacle at Jackson Mississippi, where he led his men into an ambush.) The death of his wife in November 1863 seems to have affected General Hovey greatly. He returned home to Indiana to arrange her funeral and organize for care of his children; but he ended up away from the battle front a long time. And when he did return in mid-1864 (in time for the Atlanta Campaign) he discovered he no longer had the necessary enthusiasm for the fight, and returned to Indiana. Although remaining “on the rolls” until October 1865, brevet-Major General Hovey’s war career effectively ended in August 1864. A year after the war ended, President Andrew Johnson appointed Alvin Hovey as Minister to Peru; he remained in Lima, serving as Minister until 1870. Upon return to the United States, Hovey distanced himself from politics and resumed his Law practice. In 1886, he again felt “a calling” and won election to the U.S. House of Representatives; followed two years later by election as Governor of Indiana. It was while serving as Governor that Alvin Hovey passed away in 1891 at the age of seventy. In my estimation, Alvin Hovey performed competently during his Civil War career; and, when compared with similar “political generals,” was outperformed by only John A. Logan and perhaps a half-dozen others. Cheers Ozzy References: http://archive.org/details/hoveychaselifeof00walk Alvin Hovey and Ira Chase (1888) by C. M. Walker. Staff Ride Handbook: Vicksburg by Dr. Christopher Gabel http://books.google.com.au/books?id=LKJvCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT137&lpg=PT137&dq=assessment+of+general+alvin+p+hovey&source=bl&ots=PFwEf6SqQF&sig=ssIxhgh599ixRN_1LE2xV6cWS44&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjh_-6g-P3cAhVHQd4KHbrFCTI4ChDoATAFegQIBRAB#v=onepage&q=assessment of general alvin p hovey&f=false Stand No.18. OR 10 pages 173 - 4 (Lew Wallace Shiloh report) http://archive.org/stream/battleofshilohor00unit#page/92/mode/2up D. W. Reed's Battle of Shiloh pages 92 - 3. wikipedia
Whether by accident or design, Terre Haute Indiana not only found itself on the National Road (leading from Cumberland Maryland to St. Louis Missouri -- today's Route 40), but Terre Haute sits within a stone's throw of Illinois. That accidental location led to many Indiana citizens joining an infantry regiment associated with Crawford County, Illinois... or more particularly, a regiment associated -- by design -- with a brigade created by Illinois Congressman John McClernand, consisting of the 27th, 30th and 31st Illinois Infantry regiments. One of these "Indiana soldiers" serving Illinois was Benjamin Franklin Boring, who joined the 30th Illinois, Company D, at the age of 21 in August 1861. Rapidly advancing to Corporal, Benjamin Boring first saw action at Belmont; then was "part of the reserve" supporting the 8th Illinois (as part of Oglesby's Brigade) at Fort Donelson. The March 29th 1862 letter from Corporal Boring to his friend, Will Jones of Robinson Illinois, describes the visual scars of battle still evident in the landscape around Fort Donelson; the onset of illness (so severe that at one point only eleven men of 81 could report for duty in Company D); and following the battle, several regiments were sent to garrison Clarksville (which is where Benjamin Boring hopes his regiment will be sent, not really fond of his current location... although he indicates that he "has taught himself to play the piano tolerably well" by making use of the piano found in an abandoned house near Dover.) http://visions.indstate.edu:8888/cdm/ref/collection/vcpl/id/3337 [Letter of 29 March 1862, courtesy of Wabash Valley Visions and Voices of Indiana Libraries.] At the time of Corporal Boring's letter, Major General McClernand's original brigade had been comprehensively removed from his control: the 30th Illinois was on garrison duty at Fort Donelson; the 31st Illinois was also on garrison duty at Fort Donelson; and the 27th Illinois was taking part in the Operation against Island No.10. Following the Battle of Shiloh, the 30th Illinois and 31st Illinois reported to Pittsburg Landing and became part of McClernand's Reserve (Sergeant Benjamin Boring has a number of letters written from Jackson Tennessee: the letter dated 27 May 1862 is most revealing.) The 27th Illinois also joined the Crawl to Corinth, but remained part of Pope's Army of the Mississippi. Sergeant Boring continued to write letters (and contributed stories to Illinois and Indiana newspapers) until his muster-out at expiry of his three-years' term of service in 1864. Many of those letters are to be found at the listed online site (with some of the most interesting detailing his involvement with the Vicksburg -- Raymond -- Champion Hills campaign.) Cheers Ozzy References: http://visions.indstate.edu:8888/cdm/ref/collection/vcpl/id/3337 Letters of Benjamin F. Boring 30th Illinois Co.D http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/26334910/benjamin-f-boring Benjamin Boring at find-a-grave http://www.vigo.lib.in.us/archives/inventories/wars/civilwar/boring.php Benjamin Boring bio at Vigo County Library
Available online from the University of Iowa Library are these three diaries (for years 1861, 1862 and 1863) written by 20-year-old schoolteacher, Turner S. Bailey. Working in Epworth, Iowa (about three miles west of Dubuque) at the start of 1861, his diary for that year focuses on teaching classes, the weather, and local issues... until April 15th. "Considerable excitement about war. Fort Sumter taken by the South." Beginning with that entry, Turner indicates growing preoccupation with "war fever" until enlisting in the 3rd Iowa Co. A at Dubuque on May 22nd; travelling with the regiment to Keokuk in June; and duty in Missouri (guarding railroads) beginning in July. In March 1862, it was decided to add the 3rd Iowa to the growing Federal force on the Tennessee River; Private Bailey arrived opposite Pittsburg Landing on the 15th. On the 17th the 3rd Iowa went ashore at Pittsburg Landing and went into camp near "their friends in the 12th Iowa." Each subsequent day is faithfully recorded -- the weather, the skirmish on April 4th -- and of course, the Battle of April 6/7. On the attached link, click on the desired diary... a new page will open... click on the diary again for access to every page. [University of Iowa adds another diary, or collection of Civil War letters, about every 3-6 months, so worthwhile to check back every once in a while to see what's been made available.] http://www.iowaheritage.org/items/browse?advanced[element_id]=49&advanced[type]=is+exactly&advanced[terms]=Infantry Cheers Ozzy
Before I began in-depth research of the Battle of Shiloh, the only "Civil War Gibraltar" I was aware of was Vicksburg, Mississippi... thanks to my public school education. Then Fort Columbus, Kentucky appeared as the original bearer of that title; and I had never heard of Fort Columbus. And if I'd never heard of it, it must not have been very important... My question: Knowing what we know now, which location -- Vicksburg or Fort Columbus -- was Gibraltar of the West? (No right or wrong answer... just provide a justification for your decision ). Ozzy N.B. This topic is posted here, because the Battle of Fort Henry seems to owe its occurrence to Fort Columbus.