Mr Lincoln's High-Tech War
The Civil War in Kentucky

Oldest Civil War veteran to die in Wayne County Indiana was a Confederate

Between 750,000 and 1 million men fought for the South, including the oldest Civil War veteran to die in Wayne County, Henderson H. Lilly. He, like these unnamed veterans in the picture, was one of many who survived to old age.

Between 750,000 and 1 million men fought for the South, including the oldest Civil War veteran to die in Wayne County, Henderson H. Lilly. He, like these unnamed veterans in the picture, was one of many who survived to old age. / Supplied file photo

The true accounts you are about to read are from newspapers and diaries and regimental histories, and from the "Directory & Soldier's Registry of Wayne County, Indiana," published in 1865.

Read about the oldest Civil War veteran to die in Wayne County -- a Confederate; an underage Perry Township 14-year-old who fought in the Iron Brigade without pay; a Cambridge City youth who sacrificed his life while bearing the National Colors; and President-Elect Abraham Lincoln's comments about Richmond to a handful of local musicians.

The oldest veteran to die in Wayne County was a Confederate soldier. Henderson H. Lilly was 101 when he died in East Germantown on Oct. 10, 1940. He was the oldest -- and last -- Civil War veteran to die in Wayne County.

Born in Beckley, W.Va, Lilly enlisted in the Confederate Army at 22. He spent two years fighting, and was sent to a Union prison camp in Chicago after his garrison of 12,000 men surrendered at Fort Donelson.

The loss at Fort Donelson was a great catastrophe for the South because it ensured that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opened Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. It was also here that Ulysses S. Grant received a promotion to major general for his victory and attained stature in the Western Theater, earning him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" as per his initials. He was the great general that Lincoln needed. The face of the war would soon change.

After the war, in 1866, young Henderson Lilly became the postmaster of Middletown, Ind. He later operated an implement store there and lived in the same house for 49 years.

At the age of 99 he moved in with his daughter at East Germantown, and died there Oct. 10, 1940, at 101, the oldest -- and last -- Civil War veteran to die in Wayne County. He was a Confederate who lived to use a telephone, to drive an automobile, to watch a plane fly, and to read about the World War I in newspapers.

He also witnessed the rise of Adolf Hitler and viewed moving pictures being projected on a big screen with sound.

Civil War Fact: Many Union and Confederate officers had favorite horses that were named and treated like members of a family. No record exists that any lowly mules in service were ever identified by name in military reports, yet mules were to Civil War armies what Jeeps were in 20th-century wars during mechanized warfare.

Pound for pound, mules were stronger than horses, literally pulling armies from one battlefield to another. Virtually forgotten and unsung, mules were a staple for both sides during the Civil War.

Novelist William Faulkner once wrote, "A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege to kick you once." Apparently lowly mules also will carry loads for armies, unnamed, unappreciated and without fanfare anytime.

Leroy Magee of Perry Township enlisted in the 19th Indiana Regiment (the Iron Brigade), but "was not mustered on account of his being only 14. He went on to serve without pay for five months, then went with his lieutenant, who was sick, to Washington, D.C., and nursed him until he recovered.

"He then enlisted in the 63rd Indiana Regiment (later the 18th Regulars) and was later discharged on account of physical disability, and returned home, and died of consumption a few days afterward."

Leroy Magee wasn't even the age of a ninth-grader when he fought in the in Iron Brigade. He received no pay for that early service -- and later died as a result of re-enlisting to fight over and over again, to the point of exhaustion.

William B. Maggors from Cambridge City enlisted in the 5th Ohio Regiment "for three months; discharged at expiration of term; re-enlisted in the same regiment... for three years; was killed in the first battle of Winchester, March 1862, while carrying the colors, being the sixth color-bearer killed on that eventful day."

Abraham Lincoln traveled through Wayne County by train early in his career. During the trip from Illinois to the Capitol as president-elect, he complimented how pleasant the Wayne County scenery was to local musicians.

The date was March 4, 1861, and he was in Indianapolis en route to Washington. Lincoln was much impressed by Mitchell's Coronet Band who he'd heard play, and whom he sat down to dine with. He said of their hometown, "I have passed through Richmond on the train and always thought it a pretty place."

Sadly, Lincoln's last trip through Wayne County was April 30, 1865, when his funeral train stopped at Richmond, Centerville, Cambridge City, East Germantown and Dublin, so local residents could say good-bye.

From Pal-item / Gannette

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