Interesting Facts about the 31st Indiana

Statues in the U.S. Capitol of Men who were Leaders of the 31st Indiana
The 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry can claim 3 Statues as part of the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol that were Leaders of the 31st Indiana.  I am not sure of how many other regiments can claim that many.  We can also claim Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant whose statues are located in the Rotunda, that would make 5.  All Union regiments can claim Abraham Lincoln and most can claim Ulysess S. Grant.  The below honored men had their statues given to the U.S. Capitol by their States.

Most of the Source Material comes directly from the National Statuary Hall website. U.S. Capitol

#1.  Oliver Perry Morton, b.1823-d.1877.  Governor of Indiana during the Civil War.  As governor, O. P. Morton was ultimately responsible for the formation of the 31st Indiana and the appointment of officers for the regiment.  He insured that the 31st Indiana received its arms and kept in communication with Colonel Charles Cruft significantly in 1861 and 1862.
Artist: Charles H. Niehaus. Medium:  Marble.  Given by Indiana in 1900.  Location: Senate wing, 1st Floor.

Biography: The full name of this colorful governor of Indiana and United States senator was Oliver Hazard Perry Throck Morton. He was born on August 4, 1823. His mother died when he was three, and he went to live with his maternal grandparents, from whom he received a strict Scotch Presbyterian upbringing. He suffered a number of financial reversals as a young man but was eventually able to complete his law studies.

Morton's entry into the political arena coincided with the inception of the Republican party. He served as governor of Indiana for six years (1861-1867) and was a loyal supporter of the Union's efforts during the Civil War. He was a United States senator from 1867 to 1877. Morton became a controversial figure with his attitude toward paper money. He was considered "soft" because he favored issuing paper money with no backing during difficult times. This view, combined with his failing health, worked against his attaining the Republican presidential nomination in 1867. He did, however, participate as a member of the Electoral Commission appointed to determine the outcome of that contested presidential election.

Oliver Morton died of a stroke on November 1, 1877, while on a trip to Oregon investigating charges of bribery made against a newly elected senator from that state. Morton was a physically commanding person, known for his devotion to party, his honesty and his rhetoric.

Oliver Perry Morton

#2.  Lewis (Lew) Wallace, b. 1827- d. 1905. Led the 31st Indiana at its first Battle at Fort Donelson.  He led the 3rd Division of the District of Cairo under U. S. Grant.  The 31st Indiana was in the 1st Brigade under Wallace's 3rd Division. He is remembered for his political accomplishments and for being one of America's most noted authors.
Artist: Andrew O'Conner.  Medium: Marble.  Given by Indiana in 1910.  Location: National Statuary Hall.

Biography: Lewis (Lew) Wallace was born in Brookville, Indiana, on April 10, 1827. An adventurous boy, he was often truant from school, but when his father was elected governor of Indiana in 1837 Wallace's interest in reading was stimulated by his new proximity to the state library. He became a reporter for the Indianapolis Daily Journal for one year, but when the Mexican War broke out he left to raise a company of soldiers. After the war Wallace served as a member of the Indiana state Senate from 1856 to 1860.

A general during the Civil War, he was distinguished as a leader and fighter, and he was credited with saving Cincinnati from the Confederate Army in September 1862. In July 1864, following his defeat at the battle of Monocacy in Maryland, he slowed the Confederate advance toward Washington, D.C., giving city time to ready its defenses; Ulysses S. Grant later praised this delaying action as ďa greater benefit to the cause than often falls to the lot of a commander . . . to render by means of a victory.Ē Wallace also served on the court-martial tribunal that tried the accomplices of John Wilkes Booth, President Lincolnís assassin. He was later governor of New Mexico Territory from 1878 to 1881 and minister to Turkey from 1881 to 1885.

His book Ben Hur made him one of the most noted authors in America. Over 300,000 copies were sold within 10 years of its publication, and it continues to be a favorite adventure story. During the last years of his life Wallace lectured extensively. He died on February 15, 1905, at Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Lew Wallace

#3. William Henry Harrison Beadle, b. 1838- d. 1915.  Entered the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant in Co. "A", 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry.  Was promoted to captain in November, 1861.  He resigned February 9, 1862 to join the 1st Michigan Volunteer Sharpshooters.  He was wounded in battle and later joined Veterans Reserve Corps (V.R.C.).  He was later brevetted Brigadier General by U. S. Grant.
Artist: H. Daniel Webster.  Medium: Bronze.  Given by South Dakota in 1938.  Location: National Statuary Hall.

Biography: William Henry Harrison Beadle, born in a log cabin in Parke County, Indiana, on January 1, 1838, grew up on the frontier. Refusing his father's offer of a farm, he accepted instead $1000 for an education. He studied civil engineering at the University of Michigan. Shortly after graduating in 1861, he enlisted in the Union Army [as a 1st Lieutenant in Co. "A" 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry, later promoted to Captain of Co. "A".] and by the end of the war had risen to the rank of brigadier general. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1867 and practiced briefly.

In 1869 President Grant appointed him surveyor-general of Dakota Territory. His journeys through the territory and his previous frontier experience convinced him that school lands were a trust for future generations and should be sold at their appraised value and never for less than $10 an acre. This effort dominated his life. He served as secretary of the 1877 commission to codify the territorial laws and as chairman of the judiciary committee in the territorial House. In 1879 he became superintendent of public instruction. Beadle drafted the school lands provision at the South Dakota constitutional convention of 1885. When Congress accepted the state constitution in 1889, it was so impressed that similar provisions were required for North Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho and Wyoming. This preserved 22 million acres for schools.

Beadle served as president of the Madison State Normal School from 1889 to 1906, and as a professor of history until his retirement in 1912. He died on November 15, 1915, in San Francisco while visiting his daughter.

William Henry Harrison Beadle


This site was written by:
Dennis Hutchinson

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Last Update January, 2016

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