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Hoosier Voices THEN

Hoosier Voices THEN provides primary sources on the reactions of Indiana residents to major events of the Civil War.


  • Fall of Fort Sumter, 1861
  • Battle of Bull Run, 1861
  • Fort Donelson, 1862
  • Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

The Civil War Begins, Fall of Fort Sumter, April 12-14, 1861

Proclamation by Governor Oliver P. Morton
Printed in the New Albany Daily Ledger
April 16, 1861 – “By this Afternoon’s Mail”

“Whereas, An armed rebellion has been organized in certain States of this Union, having for its purpose the overthrow of the Government of the United States. . . .”

Marshall County

★ Plymouth Weekly Democrat
April 25, 1861 – “Our Position."

“. . . our voice is, and has been, for peace; and that for giving expression to peaceful sentiments, we have been charged with being a secession sympathizer, a traitor, rebel, &c. . . .
“. . . . But while [we] are for upholding the integrity of the nation, at all hazards, and placing at the disposal of the Executive all the means necessary to suppress rebellion and repel invasion, we do not intend that it shall be forgotten, that the Republicans are entirely responsible for the present state of domestic affairs. . . . it is a war of their own breeding, and . . . it is civil war . . .”

★ Marshall County Republican
April 25, 1861 – “Union Meeting at Plymouth.” – at the Court House, April 18

“. . . . Whereas, It is obvious to the minds of all reasonable men that our much loved country is in imminent danger of a total disruption through the machinations of traitors and rebels who have been planning for years suitable schemes by which they might finally accomplish their unholy purposes; and . . .

“Resolved, That political dogmas and factions affinities are as nothing compared with the duty we individually owe our government . . . we will smother all party prejudices and unite as a band of brothers in defense of our country’s flag  . . . .”

Marion County

★ Indianapolis Daily Journal (Republican)
April 13, 1861 – “WAR BEGINS!”

“. . . The forces of the seceding States have attacked Fort Sumter. . . . they have begun a conflict which may last for years.-- They have determined that no peaceful separation shall be made. . . . they have attacked our fort . . . . They have gathered nearly 10,000 men to attack 70. . . . We heard more than one or two or three men last night rejoicing in the prospect of the massacre of Major Anderson and his band.—They were already laying out a plan of submission to the seceded States, and the adoption of their government. . . . Such men are traitors, and the meanest of traitors. . . . If we must fight the seceding States let us at least have no traitors at home. . . . ”

Indiana Daily Sentinel (Democrat)

“ . . . . Civil strife has commenced. The Abolition and disunion administration have attempted the coercion of the Confederate States. . . . MR. LINCOLN will seek to evade the responsibility of inaugurating civil war . . . . If war was not intended, why was a military and naval expedition fitted out, with the men and appliances to reinforce and occupy Fort Sumter at all hazard? This was not a peaceable mission. . . . It was known that the demonstration would be regarded as an act of war and the men of the South would have been regarded as mere braggarts if they had not resisted unto death. Their honor was at stake. . . .

“What will war accomplish? . . . . And the Confederate States, not we, have the right to judge whether our Government is oppressive to them . . . . Our heart sickens at the terrible calamities which civil war will visit upon the country. . . . If we can not live in peace with the seceding States we say ‘Let them go out.’ . . . .”

Orange County

Paoli County Republican April 17, 1861 – “How Stands the Case?”

“In another part of to-day’s paper we publish the exciting intelligence, that actual war has been commenced against the Government of the United States, by the so-styled ‘Confederate States.’

“. . . the only pretext for the attack upon Fort Sumter, was, that our Government proposed sending provisions, in an unarmed boat, to our famishing soldiers, in the rightful occupation of Government property. . . .”

American Eagle (Democrat, Paoli)
April 18, 1861 – “Civil War Commenced!”

“It will be seen by the dispatches in to-day’s paper that hostilities between the North and South have actually commenced; and where and when it will end, it is hard to tell.

“. . . . Mr. Lincoln sent a messenger to Gov. Pickens, informing him that Major Anderson would be reinforced and supplied with provisions, peaceable if they could, if not, by force. At the same time this news was sent, several war vessels were near Charleston harbor, showing clearly that he had ordered an attack on them. . . .”