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The Civil War


Henry Smith Lane
Henry Smith Lane

The French and the early American settlers from the South had brought black slaves into Indiana, but the number of slaves in the state never exceeded 250. Slavery was prohibited under the terms of both the Northwest Ordinance and the first state constitution of 1816. Although most Indianans known as Hoosiers were of Southern stock in 1860, they were from the upland South, where slaves were few, and opposed the extension of slavery to the territories. Most of them were equally opposed to interference with slavery where it already existed. Fearing an influx of free blacks and the resulting economic competition, Hoosiers in 1851 put a clause in the new state constitution forbidding blacks to settle in the state. The new Republican Party, organized in 1854 to oppose the spread of slavery, won power in Indiana in 1860 with the election of Henry Smith Lane as governor and Oliver P. Morton as lieutenant governor. When Lane became a U.S. senator in 1861, Morton became governor. Morton strongly backed Republican President Abraham Lincoln.

Before the 1860 elections, the Southern state of South Carolina had threatened to secede from the union if Lincoln won. In December 1860, it did so. Other Southern states soon followed, and in February 1861 they declared themselves a confederacy, the Confederate States of America. In April 1861, Confederate forces bombarded a Union fort, beginning the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Before the 1860 elections, the Southern state of South Carolina had threatened to secede from the union if Lincoln won. In December 1860, it did so.

Other Southern states soon followed, and in February 1861 they declared themselves a confederacy, the Confederate States of America. In April 1861, Confederate forces bombarded a Union fort, beginning the American Civil War (1861-1865). After a federal law was passed in 1862 permitting the drafting of soldiers, there were frequent antidraft riots in Indiana, mainly in the southern part of the state.

In the 1862 elections to the state legislature, the Democrats gained control of both houses. During the war, the Republicans tried to label their Democratic opponents as Copperheads (northern Democrats sympathetic to the rebels), but on the whole the Democrats in Indiana supported the Union war effort. They were hostile, however, to the zealously partisan Morton. In 1863 the hostility between the governor and the legislature led to a complete cessation of constitutional government and a failure to appropriate funds to carry on state functions. Morton had to run the state and finance military operations with money obtained through his personal credit. Despite this, he was reelected in 1864, running the state as a virtual dictator until he resigned to enter the U.S. Senate in 1867. The major military action in Indiana during the war occurred in the summer of 1863 when Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan advanced north into the Ohio Valley with 2,500 men. His troops attacked the towns of Corydon, Salem, Dupont, and Versailles, looting and destroying property. The temporarily outnumbered Hoosier militia was no match for Morgan’s soldiers, who were nevertheless forced from the state and finally routed in Ohio by Union Army troops. "Indiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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