Featured Historical Site: Confederate Soldiers & Sailors Monument

The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument   From 1861 to 1865 the United States of America faced the first test of unity. Would she survive this war that pit brothers against brothers and father’s against sons? This monument is a memorial to 1,616 soldiers who died in Camp Morton here, in Indianapolis as detainees during the Civil War. The stories behind this monument tell of fair and just leaders, kindness and respect, and grace on the battlefield and gratitude across the Mason-Dixon Line…that continued many years after The End was called. These are true stories of: Difference-makers, willing and able men of character.

Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument: Script 13#

A story, a young nation divided at war. The year 1861, United States of America was facing the first great test of unity, would the nation survive?

Many wondered just that, as the people and the states began to polarize down the line, 1200 miles long from Virginia to Missouri, the Union to the North Confederates to the South. President Abraham Lincoln praying for wisdom with each decision called up volunteers to fill the union ranks.

It was April 12, 1861, the Confederate Army fired on the Federal Garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. They enforced the lowering of the American flag and surrender. All glory forced down at home, indeed a moment in history.

This marked the beginning of the American Civil War that would pit brothers against brothers and fathers against son, families divided.

Over the course of the Civil War in the north soldiers of the Confederacy were captured and imprisoned as Prisoners of War within various Military camps.

Here in Indiana named for then Governor Oliver Morton, Camp Morton was once the fairgrounds for the Indiana State Fair, now a part of the Herron-Morton Place Historic District, but was swiftly modified into a training facility and prison camp as the Civil War escalated and fears of possible insurrection from southern Indiana spread throughout the state.

As a state within the Union, Camp Morton took in thousands of soldiers from the Confederate Army with totals nearing 5000 within just a 4.5 acre parcel of land. The rules of war mandated that enemy combatants would be treated humanely in capture, transport and imprisonment.

However Camp Morton as with all Civil War era camps that often housed frontline non-commissioned soldiers was faced with many physical challenges. At the conclusion of the war and the closing of the Camp a mass grave for 1616 Confederate Prisoners of War whose bodies were not recovered by families was built in old Greenlawn Cemetery, here in Indianapolis.

In 1912 a monument, this monument was erected at Greenlawn Cemetery only to be moved to Garfield Park in 1928. This monument continues to stay and commemorate the loss of life. Further, it serves to educate future generations on the complexities of the American Civil War.

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This Garfield Alive Experience has been made possible through a gracious donation from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and the Friends of Garfield Park.

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