Frontier Diary: Civil War captive ended up in Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs Historical Society
Aroused and angry
I thought to beat the alarum, and urge relentless war;
But soon my fingers fail’d me, my face droop’d, and I resign’d myself
To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch the dead.
— Drum Taps, Walt Whitman, 1865
Damp and dismal. Those words penned by an Avalanche newspaper reporter summed up the weather of early and mid-October 1890. While Glenwood Springs residents were weary of the rain and endless dark clouds, the grave diggers of Linwood Cemetery relished Mother Nature’s help. With an easier dig, the body of Anthony W. Lindsay would be laid to rest sooner.
Lindsay was born in 1847, the eldest son of Stephen Lindsay, a cooper by trade, and Hannah Stapleton Lindsay. He grew up in Gibson County, Indiana, located in the lower southwest portion of the state. The county was rural, nestled in the Ohio River Valley, and bordered to the west by the Wabash River and the state of Illinois.
When Anthony was 14 years of age, the rift between the northern states and the southern states cumulated into the Civil War. As the war progressed in 1861, Anthony was moved to action. Whether driven by patriotic passion, a boy’s desire for independence, pay for service or for some other unknown cause, on Oct. 9, 1861, young Lindsay enlisted in the Union Army. It was at Princeton, Indiana, that he crossed from the life of a teenager into the world of men.
The official enlistment age of the Union Army was 18 years. When he enlisted, Lindsay purposely failed to report his age. No one in Company A of the 58th Indiana Infantry pushed for that information. Obviously too young for battle, Lindsay became one of the regiment’s drummers.
Drummers were the center of communication within their regiment. The dozens of cadences they learned were designed to convey orders from the officers to the troops. Within the camp, the beat of their calf-skinned snare drums transmitted orders such as roll call and meals. Drummers were the first to rise to wake the regiment and the last to retire after signaling the end of the day. On the battlefield, it was the rhythms of those same snare drums that could be heard over the commotion of battle, giving orders to the troops to progress the fight or retreat from battle. Drummers were often pressed into performing other duties, such as assisting surgeons in field hospitals and removing the wounded from the battlefield.
In early April 1862, Lindsay’s first major encounter with war occurred on the Shiloh battlefield in Tennessee. It is there that the 58th Indiana Infantry took part in one of the most horrendous battles of the Civil War, which culminated in more than 23,000 men killed, wounded or missing. Lindsay’s last battle occurred over a year later. His regiment was part of the Chickamauga Campaign in Georgia, and was engaged in battle from Sept. 18-20, 1863. Of the 400 men of Company A of the 58th Indiana Infantry, 171 were missing, wounded or dead. Lindsay was one of those missing.
Lindsay was captured by Confederate troops on Sept. 20, 1863. He was imprisoned and eventually released. Perhaps weary of battle and bloodshed and unwilling to test fate, 16-year-old Lindsay did not rejoin his regiment. He went home to Indiana, mustering out of the army April 19, 1865.
In 1876, Lindsay married Rhoda Ireland. The couple produced a daughter, and by 1880 had settled in Center County, Indiana. Lindsay was a blacksmith, the rhythms of the drum traded for the rings of the hammer and anvil. But again his life changed. Possibly losing his wife, Lindsay moved westward, following the paths of so many veterans of the Civil War.
Whether for health, a new start on life or the seeking of fortune, Lindsay came to Glenwood Springs. How long he had been a resident was unknown. On Oct. 12 or 14 of 1890, with the last of autumn’s colors fading from the leaves in Linwood Cemetery and the mists from rain hugging the hills above Glenwood Springs, Lindsay passed away at the age of 43 years. Dr. George H. Moulton, the physician for the County of Garfield, tended to Lindsay in his final days. Sardius R. Davis, an Indiana neighbor, Civil War veteran and Anthony W. Lindsay’s guardian, ensured Lindsay’s military pension was conveyed to Lindsay’s daughter.
In May 1891, a bronze marker made by the Western White Bronze Co., was placed at Lindsay’s gravesite in Linwood Cemetery. This marker, purchased by Garfield County, ensured that the contributions made by this Civil War veteran were remembered and the man himself not forgotten.
Willa Kane is former archivist of and a current volunteer with the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Historical Museum. “Frontier Diary,” which appears the first Tuesday of every month, is provided to the Post Independent by the museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Fall, winter and spring hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 945-4448.
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