HAMMOND | Dozens of men from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties watched as more than a third of their 73rd Indiana Infantry regiment fell in one of of the bloodiest battles of America's bloodiest war.
On Saturday, more than 150 years after the Civil War Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tenn., the great-grandson of a Lowell soldier who was there is scheduled to deliver a guest lecture and sign copies of the book, "The Boys From Lake County."
Florida author James Keir Baughman published the nonfiction work in 2006, chronicling the Civil War service of the 73rd Indiana Infantry Company A, a unit that started out with 100 men largely from Lowell and Crown Point. The regiment also had companies from Porter and LaPorte counties, and its original commander, Col. Gilbert Hathaway, was from LaPorte.
Baughman is making his appearance as part of the Region United, Nation Divided: Civil War in the South Shore exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond. He began the research that led to the book more than 25 years ago while studying his family's genealogy.
Hailing from an "old Virginia family" that settled in that state in 1695, Baughman said he did not know that retracing the steps of his great-grandfather, Wilson Shannon Baughman, would lead him to writing a book on a northern Union Army regiment from Indiana.
Combing through hundreds of pages of Civil War soldier pension records for his great-grandfather at the U.S. National Archives, Baughman said he feels he came to know his ancestor, whose name he didn't know prior to launching the genealogy project.
"Through these documents, and all of their details, I got to meet him," Baughman said. "I got to see what he looked like from very vivid descriptions. I learned who he was."
Baughman's research also took him through the exploits of the 73rd Indiana Infantry, in which Wilson Shannon Baughman served as a private, side by side with dozens of other Lake County men.
Among those exploits were fighting in the Battle of Stones River — ranked among the war's top 10 bloodiest — and run-ins with infamous Confederate Cavalry Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest during the 1861-65 war.
Baughman and his lecture partner, military historian and retired Army Lt. Col. Nelson Ottenhausen, will deliver the lecture at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Welcome Center's In-Vision Theater. A book signing will follow.