Shame on Thomas Fleming (“The Big Parade”) for leaving out the soldiers of Indiana as participants in the Grand Review of May 24, 1865.
My great-grandfather, Benjamin Benn Mabrey, was involved in the review. He was a twenty-five-year-old corporal in Company K, 82d Indiana Regiment Volunteer Infantry. Following is an excerpt from a letter he wrote to his wife, Louisa Mabrey (I love his spelling!). The letter is headed “Near Washington” and is dated June 1, 1865:
“Well Lou I hardly no what to rite any more as thare is no more War news. it seems strange to be in godes country after being in rebelyon so long. i cant hardly realise it but it is so. it seems like home here to me more than any other plais that i have bin in since i have bin in the service. i never felt so proud as i did the day we marched in review and past the capitol and the white house to see the thousands of people that were thare to cheer us as we pased. With loud cheers to the Western Heros and as i past under the banner and red all Hale to the Western Heros and cast my eyes to the old flag and baner of my regiment and saw the meney boolet holes that past threw the Colers. in one fight thare was over thirty boolets put threw our old flag and now thare is fiftey seven holes in our flag and the staf is shot half way of and one of the tasels shot of. to think how gud god has bin to spare so meney of us to return home to our loved ones that has bin so long praying for our success and return.”
When my great-grandfather Ben Mabrey enlisted in the Army, he was a farmer from Dupont, Indiana. So I think the Hoosiers should be included in Mr. Fleming’s list of “plowboys from Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan.”