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Honoring past heroes

Madison Visitors Center memorial
pays tribute to five Union Soldiers

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(September 2006) – Several local heroes of the American Civil War have been honored by a memorial recently constructed at the entrance plaza of the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center. The Jefferson County Civil War Roundtable’s memorial will be dedicated during a 1 p.m. ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 17. The Visitors Center is located at 601 W. First St. in downtown Madison, just across the street from the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site.

Civil War Roundtable

Photo by Kim Aldridge

Civil War Roundtable members Gerry Reilly
and Kathy Ayers with Bob McDowell
(far left) of McDowell’s Construction pose
at the newly competed memorial at the
Lanier-Madison Visitors Center.

This free, public event will feature a gun salute, re-enactors, prominent speakers, Civil War songs, and a performance by the local favorite, The Doctors Band. Madison Mayor Al Huntington will emcee the event.
“We would like to invite everyone to bring their lawn chairs and come out to enjoy this historical event,” said Kathy Ayers, president of the Civil War Roundtable. “It should be fun for the entire family.”
She added that any child who has participated in the Heritage Day celebration through their schools at Springdale Cemetery over the last several years may find the dedication ceremony particularly interesting. She encourages them to bring their parents and other family members.
The five Union soldiers honored are Lt. Col. Alois Bachman, Col. Philemon Baldwin, Col. John Gerber, Col. John Hendricks and Lt. Col. Jacob Glass. Following is a short description of each:
Lt. Col Alois Bachman was born in 1839 in Madison. With the advent of the Civil War, he and the “Madison City Greys,” a military company he organized, became “Company K” of the Sixth Indiana Voluntary Infantry. The company returned to Indiana after 90 days of service in West Virginia, and Bachman became a major in the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was later promoted to lieutenant colonel.
In September 1862, Bachman and his company, which had become part of the Army of the Potomac, faced Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia along the banks of Antietam Creek in Maryland. On the 17th day of that month, Bachman was struck during battle several times and mortally wounded at age 23. He was brought back to Madison and buried in Springdale Cemetery about 10 days later.
• Col Philemon Baldwin was born in 1837 in Clark County, Ind., but moved to Madison as a young man. After serving as captain of COA-Sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry for a period, he was promoted to colonel of the regiment. On April 17, 1863, he assumed command of the Third Brigade in the Second Division of the Army of the Cumberland.

Civil War Memorial

Photo by Kim Aldridge

The new Civil War memorial will be
dedicated Sept. 17 by members of the
Jefferson County Civil War Roundtable.

At the battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 19, 1863, a grave situation arose for Baldwin and his men. Baldwin, in a sheer act of bravery, grabbed the flag of the 93rd Ohio Infantry and charged into the enemy. He was struck several times in the chest and died. His body was never recovered due to the mass confusion of that day. It is assumed that he is buried in a mass grave on the Chickamauga battlefield.
• Col. John Gerber was born in 1826 in Germany but immigrated to Madison in 1837. There, he became a popular man in town and served as a town marshal for a period. At the advent of the Civil War, Gerber joined the Sixth Indiana Regiment and was appointed major. Later, he became a lieutenant colonel in the 24th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.
On April 8, 1862 Gerber, who had assumed command of that regiment, led his troops into the battle of Shiloh. He was struck in the chest with a cannon ball and killed instantly. He was brought back to Madison and buried in Springdale Cemetery.
• Col John Hendricks was born March 7, 1823, to William Hendricks, a former Indiana governor and U.S. senator, and to Ann Paul, daughter of Madison founder John Paul. Hendricks joined “Company E” of the Sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry and became a first lieutenant in the company. He later became lieutenant colonel in the 22nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry.
On March 7, 1862, his 39th birthday, he assumed command of his company at the battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas. During fierce fighting, Hendricks moved along the line, rallying his men. Unfortunately, he was struck several times. A ball penetrated his left side, through his torso and exited near his shoulder. That wound proved fatal. He was brought back to Madison and buried with a large military funeral at Fairmount Cemetery.
• Lt. Col Jacob Glass was born in 1836 in Germany but immigrated to Madison with his family in 1857. At the start of the Civil War, Glass organized a company of local German men, which later became “Company B” of the 32nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry.
During the battle of Missionary Ridge on Nov. 25, 1863, Glass, along with his regiment and many others, were ordered to charge up the steep incline. Up and up they moved and fought. When almost to the top, Glass was struck in the abdomen. Although he was brought back to the safety of the Union lines, where he lingered a while, his wound proved mortal. He was returned to Madison and buried in Springdale Cemetery.
Local historian Jim Courter, director of special projects for the Civil War Roundtable, played a key role in the organization of the memorial.
“Jim envisioned this memorial 10 years ago and put the idea into motion,” Ayers said.
Courter said, “These field officers distinguished themselves in major battles and leadership roles during heated combat and should be commemorated.”
Courter was instrumental in establishing a recent new memorial erected in July on the Jefferson County Courthouse lawn in honor of the late U.S. Army four-star Gen. Walter Kruger, a World War II era hero who grew up in Madison.
The memorial was completed in early August by local contractor Bob McDowell. It consists of five stone pillars with plaques on them to represent each of the heroic men.
“Each of these men were pillars of the community, so we thought the stone pillars reflected that idea,” Courter said.
He added that stone played a major role in many Civil War battlefields because of the stone walls surrounding some of the fields. That is why stone was chosen as the material with which to create the memorial.
Ayers called the memorial “simple, but moving.” The date of the dedication ceremony was deliberately selected because that is the date that Bachman died in battle. Courter thought it was a fitting date.
Other Civil War Roundtable members who worked on the memorial committee included Gerry Reilly, Sally Wurtz and Phyllis Stephens.

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