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HEADQUARTERS INDIANA LEGION,
Indianapolis, December 26, 1862.
His Excellency, O. P. Morton,
Governor of Indiana:
SIR:-On the 10th day of September, 1861, by order of your Excellency, I assumed command of the Indiana Legion, organized under the act of the Legislature, approved May 11, 1861. Your order found me in command of Camp Morton, (where I had been since the three months' Western Virginia campaign,) organizing the troops preparing by the State for the service of the General Government. On being relieved from that duty, I made a personal inspection of the condition of the Legion in that part of the State more immediately demanding organization and attention, comprising the counties of Floyd, Harrison, Crawford, Perry, Spencer, Warrick, Vanlerburg, Posey, Clark, Jefferson, and Switzerland. Important military duties called me to headquarters before visiting the comties of Obio and Dearbori. In all those counties a fair supply of arms was found to have been previously furnished by your order, but the organization was not as efficient as the times demanded.
Through public meetings, and assisted by the prominent citizens of those counties, the public attention was aroused, and a more efficient organization commenced. When I first visited the border, as before stated, the citizens had become somewhat discouraged as to the practicability of keeping up a home organization, sufficient for defense.
It is due the citizens of the border counties to say, that at the commenceinent of the war they organized with spirit in every county, but that their inilitary organizations in the Legion were repeatedly broken up by volunteering into the general service. In several counties entire companies of the Legion voluntecred for the war.
It has always been the policy of those connected with the Indiana Legion, to encourage the volunteering of all whose duties and relations were such as to enable them to enter the volunteer service. Besides the reduction of the ranks by volunteering, inconsiderate and thoughtless persons, who did not appreciate the threatened danger, in some localities, added to the embarrassment of the organization, by an invidious comparison with troops preparing for more active duties in the field.
While the law enacted by the last Legislature may have been the best that could have been made under all the circumstances, it is the experience of all connected with the Legion, that it can not be relied on for an effective militia. The law makes the organization a purely voluntary one.
No better evidence of the inefliciency of this principle alone, can be adduced, than that, with few exceptions there is not a military company in any county except those on the immediate southern border, where the troubles in our neighboring State of Kentucky made an organization necessary for the protection of person and property, and thereby brought to the aid of the law another principle--that of self-defense.
Here it may be proper to call your attention to the unequal burden that the citizens of the southern counties have been called upon to bear, in comparison with those more remote from the border.
Since the inauguration of the system of guerrilla warfare in Kentucky, the Legion and citizens of the southern counties have been almost continually under arms. While the citizens of other parts of the State have been enjoying security as to person and property, the citizens of the southern border have been guarding the State, and have been, in many counties, making as many sacrifices, and enduring almost as many hardships as our soldiers in the
field. The burden of the war should be distributed equally upon illl citizens of the State.
The Legion on the southern border has been largely drawn upon by loyal citizens of Kentucky in times of danger from guerrillas, and has been called upon by the officers of the General Governinent in command in Kentucky, all of which is set forth in the reports of the colonels of regiments.
The military delense of the State has fallen upon a few, and that without other aid from the State than the arms and equipınents furnished.
The military fund appropriated by the last Legislature has never been distributed. I would suggest that the attention of the Legislature be called to the subjet of distributing this fund, with such iddition to it as may be necessary to remunerate, in part at least, those comprwies of the Legion who have, it their own expense, borne this burden.
I would respectfully :-uggest, ils an amendment to the milit:ry law, that all citizens liable to military duty, should be enrolled and orgivized: that from this number an active force of from ren to i wenty thousand should be apportioned and organized i hroughout the coriniies of the Sinte, in proportion to their propulation, and to secuure this force, exemptions and bounties should be such as to make it desirable for all to enter the ranks wherever there may be a vacancy. Such a force wonld give to each county from one to two hundred men).
This service would thus becone honorable und effective, and would secure a reliable force around which all conld rally in time of danger.
The able report of General A. C. Downey, comnianding the Fourth Brigade, un his colonels, Williams of Ohio county, and Burkam of Dearborn, show that the Legion in the southeastern part of the State were called into active service during the threatened raid of Kirby Smith; that the Brigade under General Downey, with some companies of Colonel Spooner's regiment of United States Volunteers, succeeded in preserving good order, and doubtless by their odliviny prevented any attempt on the part of lawless ineil, emboldened by Kirby Smith's advillice, from crossing the Ohio river, The Legion in Dearborn and Ohio counties has not been called into active service is frequently as in some of the other countics bordering on the Ohio river. Still they have done much guard duty, and have always been ready for any emergency.
I would call attention to that part of General Downcy's report, touching the requirements of a good military law.
In the county of Switzerland the Legion has been as well organized, and has done as much service as any regiment in the State. The report of Lieutenant-Colonel Stepleton is inclosed, and while it gives full credit for the service performed since his connection with the regiment, (in September, 1862,) still is not as full as could be desired. Colonel Ormsby, who commanded the regiment from its organization, is absent from the county, and has made no report.
This regiment has of necessity done much guard duty, owing to the unsettled condition of the county in Kentucky immediately opposite Switzerland; has, on several occasions aided the authorities in Kentucky, on their application, in preventing acts of violence : has, on two different occasions, promptly furuished companies to guard prisoners of war at Camp Morton, in oue instance at a great pecuniary sacrifice, as the call was made while in the midst of their harvest. During the last excitement in Kentucky, growing out of the advance of Kirby Smith's forces, the companies of Captains Pavey, Lancanster, and Liepenthal are particularly inentioned by Licutenant-Colonel Stepleton as on duty for three weeks, guarding the fords of the Ohio. No compensation has been received by any of the companies of this regiment, excepting those on duty at Camp Morton, and those only while on duty there. The conpanies on duty at Camp Morton were mustered into the United States service for three months, and when troops were needed during the advance of Generals Bragg and Smith, volunteered for duty in Kentucky, and rendered valuable service.
Three companies of the Legion, of Jefferson county, reported 10 General Anderson, at Louisville, in September, 1861, during the excitement occasioned by the threatened attack of Buckner.
At the same time six companies were on eluty in the county during that excitement. In May, 1862, three companies responded to your order to guard prisoners of war at Camp) Morton, were mustered into the United States service for three months, and during this service voluntecred for duty in Kentucky. Two of these companies, under Captains Woodfill and Purcell, were in the battle of Richmond. In June following, another call was inade for duty at Camp Morton, and Captains Monroe, Richardson, and Patten, reported with their companies, and served two months. Captain Monroe's company afterward guarded the exchanged