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George B. Marshall Reminiscence
Manuscript & Rare Books Division
Indiana State Library
Finding Aid by: Nikki Stoddard Schofield, December 2011
George was born on April 16, 1844 and died in Utica on Oct. 1, 1918. On October 1, 1868, George married Clarinda Tucker in Morgan County, Indiana. He was living in Greencastle in 1870, when he was 26, his wife Clara was 22, and their daughter Lucile was three months old. In 1880, he was in Greencastle with three children: Lucile, 10, Sallie (Sarah), 5; and William H., 6 months.
On page 69 and 70 of his Reminiscences, he gives names and locations of relatives he visited.
George served in Company B, 49th Indiana Regiment, which organized in Indianapolis and left for Kentucky in early September 1861. He was promoted to full sergeant major, and was mustered out on September 13, 1865.
In 1920, the Indianapolis federal census, lists Richard T. Buchanan, 49; Sarah K. Buchanan, 44; Richard Buchanan, 5; and Clara Marshall, 71.
George B. Marshall wrote this 77-page reminiscence in December 1912 at the request of his wife Clara. George and Clara’s daughter, Sarah “Sallie” Buchanan, donated the hand-written manuscript and a deed (missing) to the State Library in 1941. The family lived in Indianapolis at the time George wrote and when Mrs. Richard T. Buchanan donated the document.
The document is in beautiful penmanship, written in ink on sturdy paper, and is very easy to read.
George, age 17, and his friend Beverly W. Sullivan, left school in September 1861, went to Camp Joe Holt near Jeffersonville, where they gave their ages as 18, and enlisted in Company B, 49th Indiana Volunteers. George lists the officers, including “fifers and drummers.” On December 11, 1861, the Regiment marched to Bardstown, Kentucky. He learned that his brother William had joined the 51st Indiana Regiment, which came from Louisville, and went to find him. William, who was Orderly Sergeant of his Company, later was captured while serving under General Abel Streight near Rome, Georgia, and spent two years in a Confederate prison. He heard about the Battle of Mill Springs, but did not participate in it.
George tells about making “Hoboys” out of flour mixed with water and boiled. However, the kettle fell over and the dough balls fell in the sand, but the men ate them anyway. They spent the first winter in Cumberland Ford, Tennessee, where local men joined until five regiments were formed. When they came upon a Rebel camp, one of the Tennesseans shot the Confederate bugler blowing reveille. About 300 Southern soldiers surrendered. George and several others chased Rebel cavalrymen into Jacksboro, Tennessee. Upon returning to their unit, they were censured for being “so reckless and going without orders.”
In the spring of 1862, many soldiers were sick with typhoid fever. First Beverly and then George were stricken, so Beverly’s father came to get the two young men and take them home, via Richmond, Lexington, Louisville, and finally Jeffersonville, Indiana. When they tried to return to their Regiment, they were arrested in Lexington, Kentucky, which was in an excited state over John Hunt Morgan’s possible raid. Finally, he was allowed to return to Cumberland Gap, where they had the new Parrott Guns. “Sullivan and I were appointed sergeants, each had charge of a gun and caisson, twelve horses, six drivers and twelve men making eighteen men.”
In October 1862, George was under the command of General George Morgan, whom he says was “no fighter.” They “destroyed everything and throwing the large cannon down the mountain side from the forts,” they marched away.
In Memphis, Tennessee, George was in a grand review by General William T. Sherman, about whom he “always felt kindly.” While in Memphis, he attended the theater and saw several Shakespearian plays.
George went to Milliken Bend, Louisiana, then to Chickasaw Bluffs, on the extreme eastern line of the Rebel forts at Vicksburg, in December 1862. He tells about the fighting and capturing of Fort Hindman or Arkansas Post, 50 miles from the mouth of the Arkansas River. The fort was garrisoned by 6,000 troops under General Churchill. George gives a detailed description of what he saw in the aftermath of the Union victory.
General Grant conceived the idea of cutting a canal to get around Vicksburg. George helped in digging this canal, working two days in a week. March 28, 1863, they left Youngs Point and went to Millikens Bend. After May 22, 1863, the Union army settled down for a siege at Vicksburg. “The siege was kept up from the 18th of May to the 4th of July when General Pemberton surrendered his force of 31,600 men.”
On pages 49 and 50, George tells of seeing a large black man being whipped by “a mule driver with a black snake whip.” An Iowa soldier rushed through the crowd and cut the man’s bonds, saying: “cowards if you want to whip any one whip me.”
George was sick in the Marine Hospital in New Orleans for three weeks. After many adventures, he was back at Vicksburg on the one-year anniversary of its surrender, where it “seemed like a different place.”
On pages 71 and 72, George details the story of the Knights of the Golden Circle and disloyal persons who shipped rifles to Indianapolis in crates marked “Sunday School books.” The Democratic convention expected to use the guns and free Confederate prisoners in Camp Morton.
He was mustered out in September 1865. George tells of the deaths of officers up to the date of his writing in 1912.
Manuscript materials CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety. Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection or a folder within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Check with a Manuscript Librarian for other options.
December 1912 “A Reminiscences of The Civil War 1861 to 1865” by George B. Marshall
Size of Collection: 1 folder (77 pages)
Collection Dates: 1861-1865
Provenance: Mrs. Richard T. Buchanan, June 17, 1941
Access : The collection is open for research use
Reproduction Rights: Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript and Rare Books Division, Indiana State Library.
Language: Materials are entirely in English
Alternate Formats: None
Related Holdings: None