Black and white photograph of Private Daniel McDonald of Company E wearing a civilian suit of clothes circa 1858 Did You Know?

80th Indiana Volunteer Infantry
An American Civil War Regiment

Private Daniel McDonald of Company E
Believed to have been taken circa 1858, some four years before he enlisted
Photo provided by and used courtesy of Daniel's Great Grandson Jack E. McDonald.
displayed above has been electronically enhanced by Deep Vee Productions
To view enlarged copies of this and the original image, click HERE.

"We don't know as much about the war here as you do at home...We here so many things that we never know when to believe anything that we hear."

--Pvt. Daniel McDonald, Co. E, 80th Ind.
Oct. 28, '62 letter to his father

Here are some facts and vignettes about the 80th Indiana, its soldiers, and their experiences from 1862-1865 in the Federal Army during the American Civil War.

  • Where From. Almost all of soldiers who served in the 80th Indiana were residents of Indiana's 1st Congressional District, which then consisted of the counties of Davies, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Pike, and Posey in the southwestern part of the state.  A few were from Sullivan County, Indiana, and Wabash County, Illinois.

  • Company Origins. The 10 companies that would form the 80th were drawn from specific geographic areas.

    Co. A was mostly from Princeton and Patoka in Gibson County.
    Co. B was almost exclusively from Loogootee in Martin County.
    Co. C was almost exclusively from Edwardsport in Knox County.
    Co. D is believed to have been drawn from Alfordsville in Daviess County.
    Co. E was from Princeton, Port Gibson, Ft. Branch, Owensville and Patoka in Gibson County.
    Co. F was from Cynthiana in Posey County and Owensville and Haubstadt in Gibson County.
    Co. G was from Vincennes and Wheatland in Knox County, with a few from Mt. Carmel, Illinois.
    Co. H was from Winslow and Petersburg in Pike County.
    Co. I was almost exclusively from Vincennes in Knox County, with a few from Mt. Carmel, Illinois.
    Co. K "the White River Rangers" was from Edwardsport in Knox County, Newberry and Linton in Greene County, and Carlisle in Sullivan County.

  • Ethnic Backgrounds.  A great many of the 80th's soldiers were of English, German, Scottish, and Irish heritage, with a few of French extraction.

  • Camp of Rendezvous. The various companies that would form the 80th first came together in August, 1862, to begin training at Camp Gibson at the Town of Princeton, in Gibson County, Indiana.  However, after only 2 weeks of training there, the 80th was ordered to Indianapolis, issued uniforms and weapons, and sent to help resist the Confederate invasion of the State of Kentucky, which was then underway.

  • Veteran Commander.  The 80th was initially commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Brooks.  He had previously served in the 14th Indiana, which had seen hard fighting in Virginia.  Brooks helped get the regiment organized and trained; his combat experience proved invaluable when the 80th first "saw the elephant" at Perryville, Kentucky.

  • Perryville/Chaplin Hills. This bloody October 8, 1862, Union victory in Kentucky was the 80th's first big battle.  It came 1 month after the 80th had first received its uniforms and weapons.  In 2 hours that afternoon the regiment suffered 45% of all the casualties it would have during its entire 3 year service.  Despite the desperate nature of the fighting and the inexperience of its' soldiers, the 80th conducted itself well and was mentioned favorably in Army reports.

  • Mr. Ambassador.  Colonel Charles Denby, who commanded the 80th from late 1862 through early 1863, was a lawyer who had been wounded twice at the Battle of Perryville while serving as Lieutenant Colonel of the 42nd Indiana.  From 1885 to 1898 he served as the US Minister to China, and in 1899 was a member of the Philippine Commission.  A brand of cigars was named in his honor, which are still manufactured today by the National Cigar Corporation

  • Youngest Soldier?  Musician Jesse Bryant of Co. H is believed to have been the youngest soldier to serve in the 80th.  It is said that Jesse, age 12, lied about his age in order to enlist.  It is known that he played a fife in the regimental band and served with the 80th for 6 months, a period of service that included the bloody battle of Perryville.  In the 80th's official roster Jesse is listed as having deserted in February, 1863.  However, what apparently happened was that his Mother went to Kentucky where the 80th was then stationed, revealed his actual age, and took him home.  In any case, Jesse received an honorable discharge after the war.

  • Chasing Morgan's Raiders.  While stationed in Kentucky the 80th was twice involved in chasing after Confederate cavalry raiders led by the famous John Hunt Morgan.  The first instance was in late December 1862 and early January 1863, while the latter was in late June and early July 1863.  Despite long forced marches in bitterly cold and swelteringly hot weather, they never got a good shot at his troops.

  • With Burnside in East Tennessee.  The 80th participated in the successful 1863 liberation of the eastern portion of Tennessee, including the city of Knoxville, that was led by US Major General Ambrose Burnside (he of the famous sideburns and the disastrous Union defeat at Fredricksburg, Virginia).  While in East Tennessee the 80th lost several men killed by Confederate guerrillas and bushwackers.

  • With Sherman in Georgia. The 80th marched and fought its way through northern Georgia as part of the successful 1864 campaign to capture the city of Atlanta that was commanded by US Major General William T. Sherman.  The fall of Atlanta helped to  assure President Lincoln's successful re-election that November, which in turn guaranteed that the war would be fought to a total Union victory the next year.

  • Battle of Resaca. The 80th suffered terrible casualties in this battle, which took place during General Sherman's successful Atlanta campaign.  The Union attack was ill-advised and poorly coordinate.  The 80th never had a chance to capture the Confederate entrenchments that it was ordered to attack.  The 80th's survivors found shelter from the tremendous musket and cannon fire under the bank of a stream, where they waited until it got dark enough for them to safely return to Union lines.  For his incompetence, US Brigadier General Judah, their division commander, was relieved of duty. 

  • Spring Hill.  In November, 1864, the 80th was very nearly captured, along with thousands of other Union troops, near the town of Spring Hill, Tennessee (where Saturn automobiles are now manufactured).  They were saved by an all-night forced march, which took them right past the camp fires of the sleeping Confederate Army led by Major General John Bell Hood.  At one point that night the escape route was closed by rebel cavalry led by the infamous General Nathan Bedford Forest.  The 80th was in the body of Federal troops that drove Forest's men away and reopened the escape route.

    • Andersonville. Twelve of the 80th's soldiers are known to have lost their lives at the infamous Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, in Macon County, Georgia.  Most died of "scorbutus" (scurvy) caused by a lack of vitamins in their diet.

      Corporal John L. Cooper, Co. E, of Fort Branch, Gibson County, Ind.
      Musician William P. Guthrey, Co. C, of Edwardsport, Knox County, Ind.
      Private John W. Hodgens, Co. G, of Vincennes, Knox County, Ind.
      Private Joseph Lawyer, Co. B, of Loogootee, Martin County, Ind.
      Private Joseph Marlett, Co. A, of Princeton, Gibson County, Ind.
      Private Joseph L. Melton, Co. C, of Edwardsport, Knox County, Ind.
      Private Edward Monk, Co. K, of Carlisle, Sullivan County, Ind.
      Private Richard Montgomery, Co. F, of Owensville, Gibson County, Ind.
      Wagoner Moses Spencer, Co. K, of Black Creek, Ind.
      Private Newton E. Redman, Co. F, of Owensville, Gibson County, Ind.
      Private Thomas Sizemore, Co. A, of Princeton, Gibson County, Ind.
      Private Issac Spillman, Co. F, of Cynthiana, Posey County, Ind.

    • Muster Out. After the war ended in April, 1865, the 80th was engaged in guard duty at Salisbury, North Carolina, until it mustered out of the Federal Army on June 22, 1865.  Those soldiers who had joined the 80th after its initial formation in August, 1862, (referred to by the Army as Recruits) were transferred to the 129th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment to serve out the remainder of their 3 years terms of service.  However, they were released from their remaining commitments on August 29, 1865, when the 129th was mustered out.

    • Miles Covered.  During its nearly 3 years' service the 80th traveled 7,245 miles, of which 1,050 miles were by water, 2,445 miles by railroad, and a stunning 3,750 miles were covered on foot.

    • Cost of Freedom. Of the 1,036 men who joined the 80th, 325 were killed and wounded in action.  Just 320 were still with it by the the time it returned to Indiana after nearly 3 years.  

    • Army Wages.   For their 3 years' service, the vast majority of the 80th's soldiers were paid $13 per month.

      For more on the 80th and its soldiers, click the Profiles and History links below.

      This page Copyright by Scott Cantwell Meeker of Deep Vee Productions.
      All Rights Reserved. Created February 11, 2000.  Last updated November 30, 2004.

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