History of the 86th Jan 1 1896
History or the Eighty-Sixth Indiana.If every Indiana regiment which did the Union good service and won renown for the State whose name It bore had three
such men as James A. Barnes, James R. Carnahan and Thomas H. B. McCain, the record of its deeds would be preserved as the heritage of sons, grandsons, and even remoter generations. If each organization's history could be as well cared for as has that of the Eighty-sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry there could not be the present anxiety lest a larger part of the wealth of devotion and heroism which Indiana so lavishly poured out to save the Union shall he lost to the next generation. Into a volume of over six hundred pages these men have put the life and the-deeds of that regiment, as well as the accounts of several great battles and the narrative of all the campaigns in which It participated. The volume is a monument to the Industry and perseverance of these men. which only those who have simply considered the task of writing a regimental history have tamed away from so vast has the undertaking appeared.
The Eighty-sixth Indiana was one of those fine regiments which were organized under President Lincoln's call of July
1,1803 all of which saw arduous service and acquitted themselves, with honor. This regiment was collected at Lafayette
and was recruited in the counties of Tippecanoe, Carroll, Clinton, Boone, Montgomery, Fountain and Warren. The assembling of the recruits, the experiences of the yet unmade soldier, his disgust at camp regulations, the lessons he learned from the day he became a recruit until he became a veteran, so varied, so severe, and so amusing when told, are set forth vividly in this book. Probably no young men ever had the varied experiences of hardships and the combination of disagreeable happening which befell the men who made up a regiment from the day they were sworn in until they joined the army at the front. All these experiences are vividly set forth in this book, even to that most remarkable experience in the life of a raw regiment, its first tour of picket If any veteran has forgotten that portion of his greenness as a soldier, he can recall it in the narrative of the Eighty-sixth.
This regiment had all the experiences of like organizations—the political colonel who could not, to save his soul, learn
tactics, even to forming his command .from column into line. That he was brave could not cover this grave defect. The ten
captains, nearly all of whom meant well, but a part of whom were misfits, the usual number of whom, with subordinates,
resigned for the good of the service, appear in the record. By good fortune, its second colonel was a soldier and a disciplinarian. With him came that discipline which inspires confidence. Without such an officer the best material in the world would fail to make a good flighting regiment.
Early In its history the Eighty-sixth was attached to the Army of the Cumberland, first in Crittenden's, then In Wood's corps. It barely missed its first light at Perryville, and would not If McCook had not been left to fight the battle alone. For what
experience it lost at Perryville the Eighty- sixth made up at Stone River. The arduous service of that event reduced the thousand to 268 officers and men, the usual experience. In that light its killed and mortally wounded numbered forty-two. Its wounded fifty-four and Its captured one hundred and one.
It was some months until this regiment was again in a great battle, but these months were a period, which furnished
many hardships. It was one of the first regiments In the fighting at Chickamauga, and one of the last to quit that field, which was as Illustrious for the valor of the rank, and file as it was for lack of leadership. Indiana did its full share of the work on the bloody field even if General Boynton is disposed to claim most of the glory for Ohio. Its loss was large, but the authors make a strange mistake when they; assert that one-eighth of Indiana's entire loss for the war was suffered on this fields. As a matter of fact, the loss of Indiana regiments at Chickamauga in killed, wounded and missing, was one-eighth as many as the 24,000 deaths of Indiana soldiers. It may also be said In correction of the statement of this book, that the strength of the two armies in that battle was, nearly equal the Confederate preponderance being small
The next time the Eighty-sixth was conspicuous was in the charge, up Missionary Ridge with Gen. Fred Knefler's Seventy-
ninth, both of which, were under the direction of that officer. There was no more dazzlingly gallant achievement during the
war. It was done without orders' and to the amazement of General Grant and other commanders who were looking on,
After that brilliant performance the Eighty-sixth was sent to the relief of Burnside at Knoxville, suffering all the privations of a winter campaign In a rigorous climate, with scanty clothing and equally, scanty rations. Its history, during the Atlanta
campaign is the history of the Fourth corps and of Thomas's army. It did not "march to the sea," but was sent back with
Thomas to share the dangers and the glory of fr.it campaign which culminated in the destruction of Hood's army; at Nash-
ville. From first to last it was one of those reliable, duty-doing regiments which were the backbone of armies in the field.
The narrative as told in this book is very full. The description of all the great battles in which it participated covers all
the movements and the results. It contains copious extracts from orders and reports and from descriptions of campaigns
and battles by correspondents. Indeed, the reader who studies the history of the Eighty-sixth gets a large share of
the history of the Army of the Cumberland. The Indiana of the war could count itself fortunate if it had similar histories of its seventy-five regiments which saw the most service.
Those who may yet be laboring under the impression that the country newspaper establishment cannot do a creditable job
or book printing will have it reversed when upon the title page of this book, they see that this history was printed by the Journal Publishing Company, of Crawfordsville. It Is a pleasure to say what it's typographical execution suffers not an Iota In comparison with the best executed volumes of metropolitan publishing houses. The price of the work is $3.Of course, every man who was a good soldier in the Eighty-sixth will purchase a copy as a legacy to his children and the children of the members who have died will secure a copy as a proud memorial of the service which the father rendered bis country. Every public library in Indiana should have a copy, and no distinctively Indiana library will be complete without it.
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