Saturday, February 22, 2014

52 Ancestors: #2 Orin McClure Anderson, Capt. Co. E

Orrin McAnderson
Photo from "The History of the 85th Indiana Volunteer Infantry"
Orin McClure Anderson, my 3 times great grandfather, was born in 1829 in Clark County, Illinois.  On February 28, 1849, he was married to Mary Ann Bushnell in Vigo County, Indiana.  They settled in Prairieton, Indiana.  By 1860, the couple had three children:  Sarah, Charles, and Mary.  

On August 19, 1862, Orin enlisted in the 85th Indiana Volunteer Infantry and was later commissioned as the 1st Lieutenant of Company E.   

The chaplain of the regiment, J.E. Brant, wrote a history of the 85th Indiana.  Below are his thoughts on the formation of the regiment: 

"Those who went out in 1861 were under the impression that the war would soon end, but we who answered to the call of '62, faced an era of dread that the struggle would be long and fearful.  So the separation from loved ones in Camp was one fraught with dire forebodings."  [History of the 85th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Rev. J. E. Brant, page 8.]

The infamous Libby Prison in Richmond, April 1865.  

After receiving outdated Belgian muskets in Indianapolis, the company traveled to Cincinnati and entered Kentucky, where they camped and drilled for nearly five months.  They then traveled by steamboat from Louisville to Nashville.  Their first battle was at Thompson Station, Tennessee.  They were forced to surrender when they were flanked and surrounded by Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry division.  The entire brigade was captured.  They were put into boxcars and "shipped like so many cattle to Richmond." They arrived at Libby Prison on the snowy morning of March 16, 1863. The company was released on March 31 as part of a prisoner exchange.  They had a fortunate escape; Libby Prison is generally regarded as second in notoriety to Andersonville Prison in Georgia. 

Orin was promoted to Captain on September 1, 1864.  He is often referred to in military records and books as "Captain McAnderson," a shortened form of his middle and last names.  The 85th Indiana took part in the Battle of Resaca, the Siege of Atlanta, and Sherman's March to the Sea.  Captain Anderson was mustered out with his regiment on June 12, 1865 at Washington, DC.

After the war, Orin returned home to Indiana and resumed life with his family.  Two more children were born -- Lawrence and Jennie.  Sadly, his daughter Mary died in 1870 at the age of 12.  Orin died the following year on October 23.  The war had likely cut his life short; he was only 42.  He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Terre Haute, Indiana.  My mother and I visited his grave in July 2012.  


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