NEW ALBANY — Between 1861 and 1864, bitter battles raged across America that turned brother against brother and friend against friend. Indiana was not immune to the horrors of the Civil War.
At the end of the bloody conflict, 24,416 Hoosiers had died while serving the Union cause and more than 50,000 others had been wounded.
As the second-largest city in Indiana during this time, New Albany helped support the war effort in a variety of ways. Soldiers trained for combat on its land. Doctors and nurses treated those injured in battle at its hospitals. Local workers built gunships on its shores. And the bodies of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice were buried in its sacred ground.
Having studied this time period for more than 45 years, local Civil War historian Bob Zipp has taken his love of history to area classrooms. Wearing the uniform of a Union soldier, he gives children the ability to experience the war firsthand.
Zipp is currently performing extensive research on Southern Indiana during the Civil War that he plans to include in several books. As of present, he has found evidence of 1,500 enlisted men in the Union forces from Floyd County.
“It’s reasonable to say by the time I’m done, there’s going to probably be between 1,700 and 1,800 names of Floyd County residents that fought during the Civil War,” Zipp said.
As soon as news about the attack on Fort Sumter reached Indiana in April 1861, most Hoosiers immediately sided with the North against the Confederate states. That said, Zipp believes that given the documented anti-black sentiment in the area and financial ties to the South, some residents may have joined the Rebel troops.
“Do I have any records of New Albany or Floyd County residents going with the South? No. But I have little doubt that there was probably a few,” Zipp said.