Archive for the Stones River Category

Cpl. Levin G. Murphy, Company B

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Stones River with tags , on August 5, 2013 by 40thindiana

Levin G. Murphy, Company B

Biography of Levin Graham Murphy, “Biographical and Genealogical History of Cass, Miami, Howard, and Tipton Counties Vol. 1 & 2” He is listed in company B’s roster as Grimes L. Murphy.

“LEVIN G. MURPHY – lumber dealer and leading citizen of Xenia, was born in Shelby County, Ohio, October 1, 1841, is the fourth child, and one of the five children of George G. and Margaret (Arbuckle) Murphy, the former a native of Delaware, born February 29, 1808, and the latter a native of Preble County, Ohio, born in November 1813. The father in early life followed the trade of a carpenter, and in 1849, removed with his family to Miami County, Indiana, locating at Peoria, where he engaged in saw-milling and where he now resides. The paternal grandfather was Reuben Murphy, a native of Delaware, and died with the cholera in Ohio in 1849. Samuel Arbuckle, the maternal grandfather, was a native of Pennsylvania, was a soldier in the war of 1812, a farmer by occupation and died in Hamilton County, Ohio. Our subject was reared by his parents, his education being acquired in the common schools. September 11, 1861, he enlisted in Company B, Fortieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and served until December 9, 1864. He took part in a number of engagements, among which were Shiloh, siege of Corinth, Stone River, in which he received a slight wound in the left shoulder and head, battle of Tullahoma, and with his brigade was the first to enter Chattanooga. His next battles were Mission Ridge, Knoxville, Buzzard Roost Gap, in the last named he was wounded in the leg, the battle of Resaca, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, in that famous charge of June 27, 1864, where he received a wound in the left eye, totally destroying the sight of that organ, and which effectually ended his military career. He never wavered in the immediate discharge of such duties as devolved upon him, and throughout his military career was a brave and efficient soldier. He returned to Miami County after the war and engaged in the lumber business, in which he has successfully continued. Mr. Murphy was united in marriage January 1, 1872, to Miss Mary C. Slocum, and one daughter has blessed their union, Ethel, born January 19 1875. Mrs. Murphy is a native of Huron County, Ohio, born February 7, 1846. Her parents are George and Eliza (Pierce) Slocum, natives of Peru, the father born July 3, 1823, and the mother March 12, 1825. They removed to Wabash County, Indiana, in the fall of 1846, where the father died January 20, 1860. The mother is still living and resides in Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy are among the best citizens of Xenia. He is a Republican and a member of the G. A. R.”


Pvt. Marcus A. Brockway

Posted in Atlanta Campaign, Soldier Profile, Stones River with tags , , on July 30, 2013 by 40thindiana

brockway 40th

Marcus A. Brockway was born in Center Twp., Boone County, Indiana on February 13, 1844. During the month of October 1861, Marcus enlisted as a private in company F, 40th Indiana Infantry. Company F was composed of men mainly from Boone County. Pvt. Brockway was present during all of the 40th Indiana’s hard fought engagements. After the battle of Stones River, he appears on the regimental list of wounded, with the notation “slightly wounded in arm.” His service record states that he was wounded a second time during a skirmish in front of Atlanta, August 3, 1864. Marcus was honorably discharged out of the regiment on December 6, 1864 and returned home to Boone County where he would record a post-war record book of the 40th’s movements, battles, and memories. (link to book Pvt. Marcus Brockway died on August 29, 1882, he was laid to rest in the Brockway Family Cemetery, Boone County, Indiana.

Pvt. Robert Aitchinson’s Letter Home

Posted in 40th Haversack, Stones River with tags , , on July 22, 2013 by 40thindiana

Pvt. Robert Aitchinson's Letter Home Image of Robert Aitchison

Robert Aitchison, a Scottish weaver, enlisted as a private in company B, 40th Indiana Infantry on Sept. 19, 1861. The 33 year old was living in the Mexico area, Miami County, Indiana. Robert was killed by an artillery shell during the fighting at Stones River, Dec. 31, 1862. Below is what may have been Robert’s last letter home to his wife Sarah.

Camp Near Nashville, Tennessee
Dec. 5,1862

Dear Wife,

As it is snowing this morning, and we can’t go out on drill; thought I would write you a few lines. The(y) had what they call grand review yesterday. General Rosecrans reviewed us himself, he seems to be a good man, at least he has the appearance While he was riding along our lines, he would stop and ask the men how they fared, if they got enough to eat, and if they had drawn overcoats yet. While he was passing me, he pointed down to a mans feet, and said that his shoe would last him about a four days, he passed some pleasant remarks all along the line. I think he will make a better General than Buell did. He is a man about 45 years old, dresses very plain, there are not near as much style about him, as there is about some of his Aide (de) Camp. It is supposed we will make a forward movement before long, if we don’t, the roads will get so bad, it will be almost impassable to get our teams and batteries along. The soil is a kind of clay substance and when it does get muddy, it is very bad.

Sarah, I asked Willard if he had got those things that Uncle Frank expressed to him, he said he did not know that there was anything expressed to him. He had not received any letters from home since the 15th of last month. I would like (if) he would get them as I am about out of socks and can’t get any here.

Sarah, how I would like to be at home now, but there is no sense of thinking about it, and the prospect of getting home, looks to me, to be as far off, as it was when I first enlisted. I will conclude this by sending my respect to all enquiring friends.

Robert, to his wife Sarah Aitchison

(P.S.) Tell Clarance that he must learn to read and write, so as he can write to Pa.

Source: Stone’s River National Battlefield Park; 40th Ind. Regimental Files – Pvt. Robert Aitchison Letter

Stones River Dispatches Recieved by “The New York Times”

Posted in Stones River, Wagners Brigade with tags , , on March 26, 2012 by 40thindiana

Published Jan. 4, 1863

THE VERY LATEST.; A Great victory Won by Gen. Rosecrans. Terrible Slaughter and Reut of the Rebels. BRAGG REPORTED KILLED.

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 3.


Telegraphic communication is restored between here and Nashville.

It is reported that Gen. BRAGG was killed to-day.

There has been fighting all day, but no particulars are given.

Our forces are advancing, and the rebels are falling back across Stone’s River.

The following officers are wounded slightly:


Col. BLACK, of the Fortieth Indiana.    Blake

Lieut.-Col. NEFF.   also of the 40th

Col. HILL.

Capt. PATE.

It has been raining heavily all day in the vicinity of the battle-field.


There was heavy cannonading to-day until noon, when the rebels attacked our left wing and were terribly repulsed.

There was very little fighting yesterday.

Our forces do not yet occupy Murfreesboro.

The rebels attacked and destroyed our hospital buildings on Thursday.

The rebels are being strongly reinforced from the rebel army at Richmond.


There was a spirited engagement at Lavergne to-day between the Mechanics and Engineers under Col. INNIS, and Gen. WHEATON’s rebel Cavalry. The latter were routed with the loss of thirty-three killed.

All “contrabands” captured by the rebels on the Federal wagon trains are immediately shot. Twenty thus killed are lying on the Murfreesboro Pike.

Maj. SLENMER and Capt. KING, who were being conveyed away wounded from the battle-field in an ambulance, were captured by the rebels, taken four miles away and then paroled and thrown out on the road.

Gen. WILLICH is not killed, but is wounded, and a prisoner.

Yesterday, Gen. ROSECRANS personally took command of the Fourth United States Cavalry, and attacked Gen. WHEELER’s rebel cavalry, who were cut to pieces and utterly routed.

Captain MACK, Chief of artillery and on Gen. THOMAS Staff is mortally wounded.

A despatch from Col. ANDERSON to Headquarters here says:

“We have whipped the rebels decidedly, and are at Christiana, nine miles South of Murfreesboro on the railroad.”


NASHVILLE, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 3.

Col. MCKEE is reported killed. Our loss of officers is heartrending.

The fighting to-day has been light. It closed last evening with terrible slaughter of the enemy.


NASHVILLE, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 3 — 5 P.M.

The first day’s fighting was all our own way, but the right wing of our army fought itself into a bad position.

The third day we repulsed the rebels with terrible slaughter, ourselves sustaining but slight loss.

Major Henry Leaming’s Stone’s River Letter to his Wife

Posted in Stones River on January 17, 2009 by 40thindiana





 “The Soldier of Indiana In The War For The Union Vol. 2”; Author Catharine Merrill; Published Merrill and Company 1889.

Pages 159 – 162

Written from the Battlefield:

“Our entire right wing gave way, a great part of it in much confusion. The stragglers came rushing back toward our position (we were just to the left of the pike) in a perfect panic. For a time all seemed lost. Our men fell back across a large open field between the pike and the woods in which they had been posted, the Rebels pursuing and yelling with all their might. After our men had got well across the field, a battery of eighteen guns, posted on the hill to the left of the pike, was turned on the Rebels as they advanced in four lines, and grape and canister were showered among them until they could stand it no longer. Our brigade had been withdrawn from the position first held, in order to support the right wing in it’s retreat, and as we were in an open field, I had a fine view of the effect of the fire of our batteries. The loss to the enemy here was awful. As sometimes from four to six guns would fire at one time, at not more than two hundred yards, full into the face of the advancing lines, whole companies were swept down as grain to a reaper. They soon broke and ran back to the shelter of the woods, whither they were followed by our merciless shells. In the meantime we had been shelled by some batteries of theirs planted in front of the position we held at first. Grape, canister and fragments of shell fell around us like hail. The regiment was getting disoriented. Blake received an order to report to General Wood as under arrest. He started off, and Neff was, of course, in command. Just at this time an order came for us to march across to relieve the Fifty-Eighth, of Hascall’s brigade. This regiment was sharply engaged with a force in front, but was manfully standing its ground. The Fortieth marched over the railroad, into an open field, and lay down on a hill-side just in rear of  the Fifty-Eighth. We were exposed to the full fire of the force engaging the Fifty-Eighth, and being above it, were in much more danger, as it is a fact beyond all doubt that perhaps nine-tenths of all the shots in battle pass to high, and that there is much more danger to men one hundred yards to the rear than to those in front. There was also a battery in full view of us taking the Fortieth as its target. But the boys lay like heroes under this most fearful trial that troops can be put to, that is, exposure to fire without a chance return it. We lay there for a half hour, when Royse came to me and told me that Neff was wounded soon after we arrived at this place, and that I was in command. The Fifty-Eighth by this time had expended its ammunition, I called the Fortieth to attention and moved forward to relieve it. As the fine fellows sprang to their feet, I saw three lying in their place, never more to respond till the last trump shall call to attention the universe. A large number of wounded had been removed. We started, as I have said, to relieve the Fifty-Eighth. When we were near enough, I called out to them that we would take their places, and in five seconds they had retired, and we were ready for the Rebels. The party that had fought the Fifty-Eighth soon retired. I ordered to cease firing, and rode out in front of the regiment to see what was coming next. I was not long in finding out. A large brigade of Breckenridge’s corps was formed about a half mile in front of us, and in a few moments came across the open field directly upon us. The order was given that no one should fire, and our boys lay flat and motionless. As their line advanced the fire from three of their batteries was directed on us; and the limbs from the trees overhead cut off by their shells, wounded and bruised quite a number of our boys. I rode over to the right of the regiment to see what support we had there. I could see nothing at all to our flank on the right, nothing to our rear. On our left was the One Hundredth Illinois behind the embankment, at nearly a right angle to our position. This was well enough, but I was uneasy about our right, especially as the weight of the advancing brigade was moving toward the right of our line. But nothing could be done just then by me to remedy the matter so, I merely sent a notice of the advance to Rosecrans, and left him to prepare as he thought best. As soon as the enemy was within one hundred and fifty yards, the One Hundredth Illinois Commenced firing. I had intended to let them come close up to us, then fire, and charge bayonets. But they halted as soon as the Illinois regiment commenced on them, and I was compelled to give the order “Commence firing.” The boys did so with a will. I stood watching them and the effect of their firing on the enemy. I cannot express to you how proud and happy I was when I saw their coolness, and the determination in every face. I encouraged them in every way I could, and as, unable to stand our fire, the Rebels began to run, I shouted to the boys to give it to them. They yelled out a shout of triumph, and it seemed to me, shot as if it were not necessary to load, and they could indeed “fire at will.” They disappeared into the woods on our right, and we had nothing but the fire of their batteries to stand. This continued for several hours, indeed till dark, but happily all the shell and shot passed to our rear, although not more than a few rods. At dark the battle was nearly over, and ceased soon after.

Just as we had driven our visitors off, I rode out to see the effect of our fire. The ground was literally covered  with their dead and wounded. A prisoner we we took said that the Louisiana regiment he had belonged to was almost exterminated; that one captain came out without a man left, and another had only ten.

Now I know you would like me to say something about myself. Well, my little lady, folks say I did my duty. Thats enough, is it not? But I cannot give too much praise to Royse. He behaved like a hero. All, officers and men, did their duty nobly, and I am glad to have so brave a set of fellows under my command. I must not forget to say that in all probability the Fortieth was the only regiment which had been engaged that rested on the night of the great battle on the same ground that it occupied the night before.”

Stones River After Action Report

Posted in Stones River with tags , on May 17, 2008 by 40thindiana

“Offical Records”

No. 110

Report of Major Henry Leaming, 40th Indiana Infantry, including skirmish at LaVergne, December 17


Near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 9, 1863

SIR: On the 26th ultimo the 40th Indiana Volunteers, commanded by Colonel John W. Blake, marched from Nashville, in the direction of Murfreesborough, and camped near the village of LaVergne, the pickets from this regiment covering the right of the brigade, and one-half of the regiment having been thrown forward for this purpose, the entire picket line of the brigade being made the charge of Lieutenant Colonel Elias Neff, of this regiment.

The night passed quietly, but early on the morning of the 27th firing commenced between our outposts and those of the enemy who occupied the village, which was kept up briskly for some time, and terminated with a few rounds of artillery firing on either side. The regiment had 1 man wounded in this skirmish.

At about midday we again took the road, and without further casualty marched to Stewart’s Creek and encamped, remaining till the morning of the 29th, when we crossed the creek and moved forward amid occasional skirmishing till arriving about 2 1/2 miles from Murfreesborough, where we halted, our right resting on the turnpike at the toll-gate, and the left resting on the railroad.

We remained at this point till the morning of the 31st without casualty, having picketed the front on the nights of the 29th and 30th.

On the 31st firing was heard off to our right from both artillery and small-arms, indicating an important movement in that direction; but the regiment made no change of position, keeping the men ready for instant action.

About 9 a.m. the troops to our right were discovered to be falling back, and we were ordered to retire and move to a position from which we could advance to their support. The enemy were soon repulsed, however, and we were then ordered to take position in rear of Cox’s battery, and on a line with that the regiment occupied in the morning, our right resting on the railroad, the left extending nearly at right angles from it. In this position we were exposed to the fire from the enemy’s guns, and lost some men, wounded.

We remained here but a short time, when we were ordered to retire the regiment slowly, which order was about being executed when General Palmer, mistaking the 40th for the 9th Indiana, ordered it to remain. Some time was comsumed in explaining the mistake, which kept the regiment to the rear of the line of the retiring brigade. The movement on the part of the 40th Indiana was being executed with much confusion and greatly to the dissatisfaction of the company officers, as well as to Lieutenant Colonel Neff and myself, the confusion arising from the intoxication of Colonel Blake, who was discovered to be utterly unfit to command. These facts were reported to Colonel Wagner, who promptly put Colonel Blake in arrest, and ordered Lieutenant Colonel Neff to assume command.

Shortly thereafter an order came from Colonel Wagner directing that the regiment advance at once and engage the enemy; but after this order was found to be impracticable, as there were at that moment two lines immediately in front of us. Lieutenant Colonel Neff, however, directed the adjutant to say to the officer commanding the front line that the 40th was ready to relieve him; but it was ascertained that the enemy’s guns engaging this line were silenced, and that our assistance was not required. In a few minutes another order came from Colonel Wagner, directing the regiment to the support of General Hascall’s brigade, which was now engaging the enemy and occupying the ground which we had been resting on in the morning.

The regiment was reported to General Hascall, and was by him ordered to take a position, with the right resting at the old house near the toll-gate, and the left extending across the railroad, which struck the line about the colors, and lie down. This ground being elevated several feet above that occupied by the front line, placed the regiment in a position much exposed to the fire of the enemy, which was at this time very heavy, both artillery and musketry. Many of our men were wounded here, 1 mortally, and 3 were killed outright.

It was while lying here that I was advised that Lieutenant Colonel Neff was severely wounded in the arm, and had quit the field in consequence thereof. After having laid about three-fourths of an hour on this spot, we were ordered to relieve the 58th Indiana, which occupied the advance line in our front. I called up the regiment and advanced at once, notifying the officer commanding the 58th of my purpose. The 58th was withdrawn and the 40th took their place.

For some minutes after getting into a position we were only annoyed by artillery fire, but soon we observed a brigade of the enemy moving toward us in order, with the evident intention of attacking us. On nearing the ruins of the burned brick building in our front, one regiment was detached from the brigade and bore down upon us. I allowed them to gain a point within easy range of musketry fire, and directed the regiment to open upon them, which they did with great briskness, and with such effect as to repulse the enemy handsomely.

When I found the enemy had been effectually driven back, I ordered  my command to cease firing, and immediately set about replenishing the cartridge-boxes with ammunition, and quietly awaited any further advance on the part of the enemy, which, however, was not made. Nightfall found the regiment occupying the same ground upon which we had bivouacked since arriving, on the 29th.

The regiment remained in position, with a picket thrown forward, till 4 a.m. of the 1st instant, when we were ordered to retire, which we did quietly, and took position a few rods to the left of the railroad, and about half a mile to the rear of one abandoned. Nothing of any moment occured to the regiment on the 1st. We kept the front well covered with skirmishers, and kept in readiness for any attack.

On the 2nd, early in the day, we were subjected to a vigorous artillery fire from the enemy, which, however, had no serious result. On the evening of the 2nd, at nearly sundown, the enemy attacked the troops on the left of our position, and the regiment threw forward an additional skirmishing company to support our line, which, being in the open field, was much exposed, and had been subjected throughout the day to a vicious fire from the outposts of the enemy, who were concealed by the timber in front, which resulted in wounding Captain DeWitt C. Wallace (Company C) and two of his men. The enemy were repulsed on the left, and the regiment was directed to move to that part of the field.

Crossing the river we moved forward to the advance line, and taking position remained till the evening of the 3rd, when we were relieved and retired to the skirt of woods on the bank of the river, where we bivouacked till 4 a.m. of the 4th, when we were withdrawn to the rear, recrossing the river and taking position on the turnpike 1 mile in advance of the general hospital. Shortly after arriving here we learned that the enemy had evacuated.

Our loss during the engagement was 4 killed and 68 wounded. Among the latter were Lieutenant Colonel Elias Neff, Captains DeWitt C. Wallace and Orpheus C. Harvey (Company B), First Lieutenant (Adjutant) Willard Griswold, and First Lieutenant William L. Coleman (Company D) and Second Lieutenant Henry A. Hazelrigg (Company K).

In conclusion, I must state that the conduct of the regiment under the most trying circumstances was worthy of all praise. The coolness and quiet determination of officers and men were admireable, and not less so the cheerfulness of sprit with which the hardships and exposure to cold and rain were borne. The regiment did it’s duty faithfuly. I know no higher praise that can be given it.


Major, Commanding Regiment

Captain H.C. TINNEY,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Twenty-first Brigade.

From the supplement to the OR:

December 31, 1862 loss-4 killed, 68 wounded

Company B-2 Killed, 14 wounded

Regiment under command of Colonel John W. Blake, then Lieutenant Colonel Elias Neff, then Major Henry Leaming

Reported casualties: 4 killed, 68 wounded, 13 missing, total 85

Tabulated Casualties: Killed 6, Died of wounds 8, Died while POW/on parole 0, Wounded 66, Missing 0, Captured 0, TOTAL 80.

Field and Staff:

Colonel John W. Blake, wounded in left arm when being taken to rear under arrest for drunkenness, captured and paroled

Lieutenant Colonel Elias Neff, severely wounded in arm

Adjutant William Griswold, severely wounded in thigh


Killed: Private John Montgomery, Private George Porter, Corporal William Shellington;slightly wounded in hip near leg, died of wounds and disease April 25, 1863, Private William Morris;severely wounded in right foot and leg, died of wounds January 18, 1863, Private Joseph Patton, severely wounded in leg and died of wounds January 27, 1863.

Wounded: First Sergeant John A. Baer; slightly wounded in shoulder, Corporal William R. Hutton; slightly wounded in side, Corporal Sylvester Leaming; severely wounded in leg, Private Samuel Cambe; severely wounded in forearm near elbow, Private Scott Elliott; slightly wounded in shoulder, Private S. Fremm; wounded in left thigh, Private Nelson K. Howard; slightly wounded in arm, Private William Huelton; wounded in right arm, Private Peter Illianfritz; slightly wounded in “belly”, Private James F. Julian; slightly wounded in side, Private William H. Manary; slightly wounded in leg, Private Walter Morris; wounded in foot, Private James Patten; wounded in right hand, Private Aaron Shaw; wounded, Private Jacob Sheets; wounded in head near ear and shoulder, Private Reuben B. Wilson; wounded in right leg.


Killed: Private Robert Aitcheson, Private Jacob Walling, Private Cassius M. Cook; slightly wounded in leg, died of wounds in 1863, Private Milton Miller; wounded in foot, foot shot off, leg amputated, died of wounds December 31, 1862, Private Sanford Staley (Statley); severely wounded in hip and died of wounds in 1863.

Wounded: Captain Orpheus C. Harvey; slightly wounded in head (or right arm)’ Sergeant Jeremiah Brower; slightly wounded in back, Sergeant Grimes L. Murphy; slightly wounded in arm, Corporal Henry S. Philabaum; slightly wounded in shoulder near left arm, Private Thomas Helvey; wounded in right arm, Private Hiram Julian; wounded, Private William McConaha; wounded in hand and breast, Private Charles E. Morrett; wounded in head and shoulder, Private David Ramsey; slightly wounded in brest, Private William Van Schoyck; slightly wounded in back.


Wounded: Captain DeWitt C. Wallace; severely wounded in right arm January 2, 1863, Corporal Josiah Davis; slightly wounded in hand, Private Peter T. Beaty; slightly wounded in thigh, Private Ambrose Bell; wounded in shoulder, Private John Groves; wounded in arm, Private John C. Monfort; slightly wounded in side, Private James E. Sinnett, slightly wounded in neck, Private Adam Whitmore; wounded in face.

Company D

Killed: Private George W. Harvey

Wounded: First Lieutenant William L. Coleman; severely wounded in head, Private George D. Davis; severely wounded in head (parietal bone), Private John L. Lewis; slightly wounded in neck; Private James Meek; slightly wounded in arm.


Killed: Private Peter Writsman; wounded in back, died of wounds January 23, 1863.

Wounded: First Sergeant Richard Kolb; severely wounded in right arm near hand, Corporal Thomas D. Henderson; severely wounded in thigh, Private P. Hartman; wounded in left foot, Private A.M. Hilt; wounded in arm, Private Silas N. Jackson; severely wounded in head, Private Andrew McNett; wounded in head and foot, Private Salathiel K. Wise; wounded in right foot.


Killed: Private Reuben M. Caldwell

Wounded: Private Marcus A. Brockway; slightly wounded in arm, Private Francis M. Dinsmore; slightly wounded in head, Private William H. Dooley; slightly wounded in left hip, Private James Moldoon; slightly wounded in thigh.


Killed: Private Elijah C. Moore; severly wounded in right forearm, died of wounds in 1863.

Wounded: Sergeant William W. Curnett; slightly wounded in arm, Private Luke Conner; slightly wounded in hip, Private Oliver James; slightly wounded in leg, Private William Lonberger; slightly wounded in left hip, Private Joseph N. Patterson; severely wounded in thigh, Private Horace C. Seely; severely wounded in right forearm, Private William Silvers; slightly wounded in hip.


Wounded: Private John Brily; wounded in foot.


Wounded: First Sergeant Eugene A. Ruth; wounded in hip, Private David Benson; wounded in right thigh, Private James A. Hicks; wounded in left knee, Private Daniel H. Richardson; wounded in hip.


Wounded: Second Lieutenant Henry L. Hazelrigg; severely wounded in right leg, Corporal Henry W. Chambers; slightly wounded in left arm near hand, Private Horatio Veatch; severely wounded in right hand.


Pvt. Henry Merdith Alward

Posted in Soldier Profile, Stones River with tags , , on March 13, 2008 by 40thindiana
Henry Merdith Alward

Grave of Henry M. Alward, Stone's River National Cemetery

Henry M. Alward was the son of Henry Arista and Eva Maria (DeCamp) Alward. Henry M. was born August 9, 1844 at Elkhart County, Indiana. The family moved to Wallace, Fountain County, Indiana during the 1850′s, Henry’s mother would die there in 1857. By 1860 Henry Sr. had sold the farm in Fountain County and remarried, the family then moved to Montgomery County, living in the town of Waveland. His father’s occupation was a plasterer and farmer, he owned a 2 acre farm in Waveland and rented farm ground. In a statement for state pension, Henry Arista stated his son Henry Merdith had helped provide income for the family by his work on the farm.

Henry was not old enough to enlist in 1861, he was just 17 years old. One of Henry’s best friends, Thomas “Poney” Moody was working as a hired hand on the Alward farm. He had just enlisted in Company C, 40th Indiana Inf. on September 13, 1862. Thomas Moody leaving to enlist, probably had a lot to do with motivating Henry to enlist. They worked together and had became close friends. Henry recieved his fathers blessing and enlisted as a private in the Company H, 40th Indiana Infantry. Captain Dewitt W. Wallace (Graduate of the Waveland Academy) of Company C was the recruiting officer. Henry signed his enlistment papers on September 17, 1862, and received a $25.00 bounty. He is described in his enlistment papers as being 5 feet 6 inches tall, Complexion; Light, Eyes; Hazel, and Hair; Brown.

On December 6, 1862, Henry M. had caught up with his regiment, then in camp around the city of Nashville.In statements after the war for Henry Arista’s pension, Thomas Moody and another local friend, Chauncy Smith (Co. H) stated that they saw Henry quite often. He had written several letters home and had sent money to his father once. Henry was among his friends.

The Army of the Cumberland would soon be on the march to Murfreesboro, Gen. Rosecrans wanted to push Gen. Bragg’s Army of Tennessee out of middle Tennessee. After being in the regiment only 25 days, Henry was engaged in the battle of Stones River on December 31st, 1862; January 1st and 2nd, 1863. Around mid afternoon on the 31st, the regiment was pounded by heavy artillery fire along the railroad as it waited for it’s place on the front line. On the evening of December 31, the 40th Indiana was placed on the front line in the vicinity of the Round Forest along the Murfreesboro Pike.The 40th was relieving the tired 58th Indiana Infantry. In a short time Confederate’s from the 4th Flordia Inf. and a portion of the 60th North Carolina Inf. began to advance on the 40th Indiana’s position. Major Henry Leaming allowed the advancing Rebels come within “easy musket range” before giving the order to fire. After several well aimed volleys from the regiment’s Enfield Rifle Muskets, the Confederates were in full retreat. Once the Rebels were out of sight, Major Leaming had the men replintish their cartridge boxes and wait for another attack that never came.

On January 2, 1863 the 40th was only lightly engaged, but most men were able to see the Confederate assault fail. Losses for the 40th Ind. in the battle of Stones River was 4 Killed, 68 Wounded and 13 Missing. Henry had stood the test of combat and survived the battle unscathed. After the Union victory at Stones River, the Army of the Cumberland settled into winter quarters around Murfreesboro. During early April of 1863, Henry suddenly became ill while in camp at Murfreesboro. Confined to the Regimental Hospital, Henry Merdith Alward died on April, 23, 1863. Army doctor’s recorded that Henry had died of Remittent Fever.

Pvt. Henry Merdith Alward is buried in the Stones River National Cemetery. History was not kind to Henry, his headstone reads “H.M. Alwood”, instead of Alward. Unfortunately, the NPS will not replace the marker of my 2nd Great Grand Uncle. Sadly he will always be seen as “H.M. Alwood” to the visitor’s that walk through the cemetery.

Written by Scott Busenbark