Andrew Gosnell, 1835 -1896

Andrew Gosnell was my Great, Great Grandfather. He was the third child of John and Mary (Leek) Gosnell. John and Mary were the parents of 12 children. Andrew was born in Vigo County Indiana on September 15, 1835. He married Rebecca Eleanor Reese in late 1857. Together they farmed a plot of land in Sugar Creek Township in Vigo County.

Andrew, feeling the patriotic need to serve his country in the Civil War decided to join the U. S. Army. To do so he would have to leave his wife, two children and home. The oldest child, Charles Jehu, was a little over 2 years old and the youngest, Rebecca Jane, was not quite 6 months old at the time he enlisted. He signed up with Company K of the 31st Indiana Volunteers on the 5th of September 1861 in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was officially mustered in as a Private by Captain Charles M. Smith on the 20th of September for a term of 3 years. At the time he joined the regiment he was 26 years of age. The Military Records show him to have Blue Eyes with Light Hair and a Sandy Complexion. Andrew's height was 5 foot, 8 inches.

A genealogy report, indicates that Andrew's two younger brothers, James and Alfred served in the Civil War.  The report indicates they both died during the war, cause unknown.  This author has been unable to confirm this information.

The 31st Indiana Volunteers was organized in Terre Haute under the leadership of Colonel, Charles Cruft and Lieutenant Colonel, John Osborn. After the 31st was mustered in, the regiment first traveled to Evansville, IN, then traveled to Kentucky, to a camp at Calhoun.

The 31st Indiana soldiers were initiated to the horrors of war at the battle at Fort Donelson in February, 1862.

At the battle of Shiloh, Andrew was slightly wounded in the right hand. The Battle of Shiloh (Church) located at the Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River, took place on April 6th and 7th, 1862. On April 6th the 31st Indiana held off several confederate advances along the sunken road. The fighting became so heavy in the area in their front, that it became known as the "Hornet's Nest", so named by the Confederates. General Grant was known to have said that in this area one could walk across the field on the dead confederate bodies and never touch the ground. The 31st Indiana was also involved in the heavy fighting on April 7th. After that battle Andrew was reported as being ill for a time during the month of May.

On July 20, 1862, Andrew was promoted to Corporal.

During the Battle of Stones River the 31st was part of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 21st Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland. On December 31, 1862, the 31st Indiana was in the front line of battle and was engaged with the enemy. The 31st held off 2 charges and became very low on ammunition until they were shortly relieved by the 1st Kentucky. The 1st Kentucky fought and then fell back due to heavy fire. The 31st went back to the front and held back a 3rd charge. The ground in front of the 31st was so strewn with confederate bodies that it was called the "Mississippi half acre". The brigades to the left and right began falling back exposing the flanks of the 31st Indiana to enemy fire. They also received some fire from their rear. This caused the need for their line to fall back. An order was given to fall back but the troops on the right, not hearing the command, continued to fight until they were over run. Andrew was part of that group and at that point was captured. He was taken to Richmond, Virginia and confined in Libby prison for only 5 days and was soon exchanged, returning to his regiment eventually in June, 1863.

Andrew was not shown to be absent from the regiment after that, except by Military Orders when those soldiers from the 31st that did not veteranize were assigned to the 81st Indiana . He did suffer from rheumatism occasionally. Many men in the war were troubled with rheumatism from sleeping on the cold ground.  

During engagements at Chattanooga, Tennessee in the fall of 1863, an enemy artillery shell exploded nearby Andrew, knocking him to the ground. The only physical damage was a permanent hearing loss. This event was documented by two fellow members of Co. K.

Andrew completed his term of 3 years and was mustered out September 15, 1864. After returning home he again tried to make a living by farming. After the War, he and Rebecca had 5 more children, the youngest being my Great Grandmother, Bertha Ann.

Andrew joined the Fraternal organization Grand Army of the Republic, or GAR, at Jacob Hoops post #163.  The GAR was normally considered a Republican leaning Fraternity, however Andrew joined it even though he was a Democrat.  Jacob Hoops Post #163 existed from 1882 to 1925 and was located in Mackville (the now West Terre Haute) Indiana. 

Andrew's health became poor and in his later years he worked in a butcher shop in Mackville,  He applied for a pension and eventually received it. He passed away at the age of 61 on November 20, 1896.

For more information about Andrew's portrait visit "The Portraits of Andrew Gosnell".  For more information about the Uniform and Arms of the regiment visit "Uniforms of the Regiment" and "Arms of the Regiment" web pages.


Andrew & Rebecca Gosnell
photo ca. late 1800's

Resolution of Respect from the Jacob Hoops Post No. 163, Grand Army of the Republic

November 22, 1896.

This newspaper notice was found in his daughter's, Bertha Gosnell Cummins' bible, (My Great Grandmother).

Andrew Gosnell's Service Record
  • Aug. 20, 1861

Enlistment date, by C. M. Smith. in Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Sept. 5, 1861
Enrolled for duty in the 31st Ind. Vols. by Capt. Charles M. Smith at Terre Haute.
  • Sept. 20, 1861

Mustered into service by Lt. Col. Wood, U.S. Army.
  • Oct. 30, 1861

On special service at Lock No. 1 on the Green River in Kentucky. Duty most likely was guard duty.

  • Nov. 27, 1861
Relieved from duty at Lock No. 1.
  • Apr. 6, 1862
Wounded in the right hand, slight, by a musket ball at the battle of Shiloh, Tenn. (Pittsburg Landing). Attended by surgeon James B. Armstrong.
  • May ? 1862

Absent from duty, sick at Shiloh.

  • Jul. 20, 1862

Promoted from Private to Corporal.

  • Dec. 31, 1862

Captured and taken prisoner at the Battle of Stones River, Murfreesboro Tenn.

  • Jan. 15, 1863

Confined at Richmond, Virginia (Libby prison).

  • Jan. 20, 1863

Paroled at City Point, Virginia (Near Petersburg, James River).

  • Jan. 21, 1863

Reported at Camp Parole, Maryland (Annapolis).

  • Mar. 12, 1863

Sent to Camp Chase, Ohio (Columbus).

  • Mar. 13 - 23, 1863

Arrived at Camp Chase.

  • Apr. 30, 1863

Reported to Camp Carrington, Indiana (Indianapolis).

  • Jun. 6, 1863

Sent to Regiment at Cripple Creek, Tenn.

  • Jan. 12, 1864
Detached duty in Brigade Quarter Master Dept. Assigned to 81st Indiana, at Bridgeport, Alabama. (Those who Veteranized, were given leave until mid March and returned to Indiana during that time. Those in the 31st who did not verteranize, Andrew included, were all temporarily assigned to the 81st Indiana.)
  • Feb. 21, 1864

Detailed at Brigade Head Quarters by Command of Col. David. A. Enyart. (First Kentucky Volunteers) at Ooltawah, Tenn.

  • Mar. 17, 1864

Transferred from 81st Indiana back to 31st Ind. in accordance with General Order No. 47, Dept. Head Quarters. (Veterans and the rest of 31st IVI became one again.)

  • Sept. 15, 1864

Mustered out by reason of expiration of term of service at Chattanooga, Tenn. Note: Transportation and subsistence was furnished to Nashville, Tenn.

This site was written by:
Dennis Hutchinson

I am interested in anything connected with the 31st Indiana Vol. Infantry, or if you have any questions please feel free to contact me by E-Mail.

I am especially interested in photos of soldiers from the 31st Indiana in their wartime clothing.  I am also interested in any letters, diaries, or biographical information on 31st Indiana soldiers.

Contact: 31st Indiana

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Last Update August, 2019

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