Oliver P. Morton, Indiana’s “War Governor”

Unveiled in 1907, this statue of Morton stands in front of the Statehouse. It was sponsored by Union veterans

Vintage portrait of Morton, courtesy in.gov

Oliver P. Morton was Governor of Indiana during the Civil War. He was chief executive of the state from 1861 to 1867. He took office a mere 90 days before the war began with the Confederate attack on  Fort Sumpter. As soon as he heard of the attack, he rushed the following dispatch to President Lincoln: “On behalf of the state of Indiana, I tender you for the defense of the nation and uphold the authority of the government, 10,000 men.”

Indiana was the first of the western states to send soldiers to join the Union Army. Initially the legislature provided funds for the Indiana troops. Later on when controversy arose, Morton also helped to raise funds to insure that Indiana troops had the best and newest uniforms and weapons.  Morton was known by Indiana Civil War veterans as “the soldier’s friend”. A 12 foot statue of Morton in front of the Indiana Statehouse was placed in 1907.

8 thoughts on “Oliver P. Morton, Indiana’s “War Governor”

  1. interesting history. NM was still a territory and got split up into three parts during the Civil war. Henry Connelly was our war governor.

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      • I’m not sure how the split determined the NM AZ border. There was a failed attempt for statehood around the time of the civil war. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo marked the end of the Mexican American War in 1848. NM was still a wild territory in 1861. Bernalillo County, which is the most populous in the state at 676K people but the smallest physically at 1161 square miles, stretched from Kansas to the San Bernardino Valley under Spanish and Mexican rule. Talk about being cut down to size. I live in Sandoval County just north of Bernalillo county. Sandoval county has 140K people, 3,716 square miles, and 5.3 square miles of water. Have I ever mentioned to you that it is very dry here?

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      • Interesting for sure. I know that Tucson was pretty wild during the war years. A company of California Infantry was stationed in Fort Lowel. It tangled with a band of Texas Regulars at the Battle of Picacho Peak. Two Texans died, 3 Federals got wounded. I remembered reading accounts of the Cal. Infantry complaining that there were no white women in Tucson. (The first white women apparently did not show up until 1872.) Oh, and I do remember you mentioning that Sandoval County is pretty dry.

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