News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 4, 2013

Historical Treasure: Sherman’s March to the Sea and the 85th Regiment

Cory Burer
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The dog days of summer are upon us, and the month of July was an especially pensive time for Americans, as we celebrated the founding of this great country, and also of the decisive battles and campaigns that helped end the bloodiest conflict in American history.

No war in American history has captured our attention like the Civil War. The Vigo County Historical Museum has a wealth of artifacts relating to the Civil War, including The Daily Citizen, a southern newspaper donated by Harry L. Burnett, whose grandfather marched with Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in his famous “March to the Sea” campaign.  

The framed newspaper from J.M. Swords was printed in Vicksburg, Miss., July 2, 1863, on wallpaper. How and where it was acquired is not known to us. One of the more well-known Civil War campaigns was Sherman’s March to the Sea, in which the Union’s Sherman marched Union troops from Atlanta, Ga., to the port of Savannah, leaving a path of destruction that was unprecedented in its day. Despite its destruction, the campaign proved to be one of the decisive moments in the war’s history.

Helping take part in that march was Terre Haute’s very own 85th Regiment. The 85th Regiment was organized in Terre Haute, Sept. 2, 1862, and was commanded by Colonel John P. Baird. Joining up with Sherman’s army for his siege on the city of Atlanta, the 85th Regiment played an important role in supporting Sherman as he made his way across the Georgia landscape. Taking part in such decisive battles as the Occupation of Atlanta, the Siege of Savannah, the Battle of Bentonville, N.C., and the surrender of Johnston and his army, the 85th Regiment served as an important, battle-ready regiment for Sherman and his quest to end the war.  

For a look at “The Daily Citizen” or to see more Civil War artifacts, visit the Vigo County Historical Society at 1411 S. Sixth St., which has amassed a wonderful collection of artifacts and history, of not only the Civil War, but of all major American conflicts.

Historical Treasure

• The Vigo County Historical Society’s museum is at 1411 S. Sixth St. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through