In July 1863, just days after the victory at Gettysburg, Hoosier militia companies and civilian volunteers rallied to defend Indiana from 2,400 invading Confederate soldiers under the command of General John Hunt Morgan. After the defeat of Hoosier forces at the Battle of Corydon, an estimated 60,000 volunteers answered the call for service to block Morgan from advancing north. By felling trees across roads and armed resistance, these volunteers and Union cavalry chased the Confederates into Ohio, where Morgan and his troops were eventually defeated and captured.
Visitors to an Indiana living history museum will experience what it was like for soldiers fighting Confederate troops during the Civil War through a new exhibit opening next summer.
"Morgan's Raid" hit seven southern Indiana counties as the general and his troops looted homes and towns and burned railroad bridges. Gov. Oliver P. Morton had gold deposits in Indianapolis banks sent to Chicago for safe-keeping and ordered church bells rung in Indianapolis to gather anyone who had a gun to help defend the state capital.
The $4.3 million exhibit at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park north of Indianapolis will use video, theatrics and hands-on experiences to tell the story of the only Civil War military activity that took place in Indiana.
Conner Prairie already hosts a Civil War re-enactment during one weekend each May. This year's event drew more than 10,000 visitors.
"1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana" is scheduled to open in June and coincides with the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.
Conner Prairie officials say they have raised more than $2 million toward the cost of the exhibit. Construction began in July.
For more information and updates, visit Conner Prairie Interactive History Parks website: http://www.connerprairie.org/
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