Enos H. Kirk
Believed taken between August 1862 and November 1864
According to his military service records, Enos H. Kirk was
28 years old and a resident of Bovine, Gibson County, Indiana
when he enlisted on August 9,
1862 into what became Company E of the 80th Indiana. Enos was
mustered into the Union Army at the rank of 1st Sergt. (also called Orderly
Sergeant) for a 3 year term of
service on September 3, 1862 at Camp Gibson near the town of Princeton
in Gibson County, Indiana.
Sergt. Kirk was recorded as "Present" with the 80th from September 3, 1862 until the next spring.
On October 8, 1862 the 80th took part in the bloody fighting at Perryville in Boyle County, Kentucky. This was the first time the regiment was in combat ('saw the elephant' as they said back then) and it took place just 30 days after it had first drawn its uniforms and weapons. During 2 hours of heavy fighting the 80th lost 25 men killed, 116 wounded, and 16 captured out of the 738 men it took into the battle. This was a 27% casualty rate, and amounted to 45% of all casualties the regiment would suffer during its entire service.
On April 10, 1863 Sergt. Kirk was recorded as "absent at home on furlough." He was back by the end of that month and then recorded as present until November 6, 1863 when he returned to Indiana on "recruiting service." In his records there is a handwritten letter dated February 3, 1864 that he wrote from Princeton, Indiana requesting transportation to Indianapolis, Indiana for himself and several men he had recruited.
Sergt. Kirk returned to the 80th on May 6, 1864, along with 2nd Lieut. William M. Duncan of Co. A, 1st Lieut. Eli P. Bicknell of Co. C, 1st Lieut. John T. Melton of Co. B, and 1st Lieut. William H. Clements of Co. G. The 80th was then in northern Georgia, taking part in the opening actions of the famous 4 month campaign led by US Major General William T. Sherman to capture Atlanta Georgia. From May 6th until June 1865 Sergt. Kirk was recorded as present with the 80th.
Early in the campaign the 80th took part in the bloody fighting at Resaca, Georgia, on May 14, 1864. There it suffered 26 killed and 100 wounded out of the 270 men who were ordered to take part in a doomed charge against entrenched Confederate troops. This was a 47% casualty rate, one of the highest of any Federal unit in the battle.
That summer 2nd Lieut. Morgan resigned his commission and then 1st Lieut. Montgomery was dismissed from the Army in October. On November 20, 1864 Sergt. Kirk was commissioned by Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton as the new 1st Lieutenant of Co. E (the 2nd Lieut. position was left permanently vacant).
At that time the 80th was in Tennessee, having been detached from Sherman's forces and ordered to march to Nashville. There during a 3 day period in late November the 80th was force marched from Columbia to Spring Hill, where it narrowly escaped capture, on to Franklin, where it built breastworks and fought in a desperate 5 hour battle, and then through the night to Nashvillle. There in mid-December it took part in the 2 day battle that effectively destroyed the Confederate Army under Major General John Bell Hood.
On January 1, 1865 at Columbia, Tennessee, 1st Sergt. Kirk was finally mustered in as 1st Lieut., with "responsibility for arms and clothing since Dec. 31, 1864." At that time Co. E consisted of 1 other officer, Capt. Spain, and 34 enlisted men (down in 15 month's time from its original 3 officers and approximately 100 enlisted men). The 80th was enroute to Washington, D.C. and then down the coast by ship to North Carolina to rejoin Sherman's forces.
In Lieut. Kirk's military records there is an undated handwritten letter he wrote asking that Private Jacob McMullin of Co. E be restored to duty. Pvt. McMullin was in a legal limbo because Confederate forces had captured the official records of his Court Martial conviction for being absent without leave. Without the records he could not be sentenced, but since he had been convicted he could not be re-tried for the same offense. It is not clear from Lieut. Kirk's service records whether the request was approved or not.
The war ended in April 1865 with the surrender of most of the remaining Confederate forces. On May 1, 1865 Governor Morton promoted Capt. Spain to Major and commissioned Lieut. Kirk as the new Captain of Co. E. Capt. Kirk was not mustered in at that rank before being honorably discharged from the Army on June 22, 1865 at Salisbury, North Carolina when the regiment was disbanded.
The surviving veterans of the 80th Indiana reached Indianapolis on July 3, 1865. There on the 5th they were addressed by Governor Morton at a gala reception dinner, and on the 8th were paid off and released to their homes as civilians.
For more about Capt. Kirk's experiences during the war, click the 80th History link below to read what happened during for the months he was present with the unit. If you have additional details about him that you would be willing to share, then please contact Scott C. Meeker using the link below.
|Sources: Personal diary of 1st Lieut. Isum Gwin of Co. D, 80th Indiana (Georgia, May 6, 1864); Civil War Compiled Military Service Records by Office of Adjutant General of the United States (Washington, DC) and Regimental Descriptive Rolls, 1861-1865, Volumes III, IV, and VIII, Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana (Indianapolis, Indiana, 1866).|
This page Copyright by
Scott Cantwell Meeker of Deep Vee