Civil War re-enactors invite governor, lawmakers to April region exhibit

2013-03-11T19:15:00Z 2013-03-13T10:01:44Z Civil War re-enactors invite governor, lawmakers to April region exhibitBy Marc Chase, (219) 662-5330

INDIANAPOLIS | One of the last times the 20th Indiana Infantry visited Indianapolis, near-riots ensued when then-Gov. Oliver Morton failed to deliver on promises of new rifled muskets and blue Union Army uniforms.

That was 1861.

On Monday, more than 150 years later, Lake County re-enactors portraying the same volunteer regiment were in a more inviting mood than their actual Civil War predecessors.

Members of the Crown Point-based 20th Indiana Infantry re-enactment group traveled to the Statehouse to present invitations to current Gov. Mike Pence, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and various lawmakers to a special April reception and exhibit commemorating Northwest Indiana's role in the Civil War.

The actual regiment, which participated in nearly every major battle of the 1861-65 war's eastern theater, included about 300 men hailing from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. The regiment's Crown Point commander, Col. John Wheeler, was killed by Confederate gunfire at the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Photos, artifacts and narrative text pertaining to the 20th Indiana and several other region Civil War veterans will be on display April 5 through May 3 at the Region United, Nation Divided: Civil War in the South Shore exhibition at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.

The governor and various other state officials were invited to a special exhibit reception scheduled for April 11.

The exhibit is an event of the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail, an initiative aimed at preserving the last resting places of region Civil War veterans and sharing their stories in a historic tourism trail. The trail uses a website and mobile device technology to link together region cemeteries, architectural icons and local museums with Civil War ties.

The Times is a key sponsor for the exhibit.

Indiana contributed the second highest percentage of its male population to the war than any other state, with more than 200,000 Hoosiers serving in the Union Army. Hundreds of those soldiers came from the South Shores of Lake Michigan.

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