11th Indiana Regiment Infantry Unit History
Lew Wallace and the Indiana Zouaves

The 11th Indiana Infantry Regiment was organized at Indianapolis on April 25, 1861, for a three month term of service, then reorganized and mustered-in for the three years' service on August 31, 1861, with Col. Lewis Wallace as its commander.

In the early days of the war many regiments assumed identities to distinguish them from others being organized. The 11th was recognized as a Zouave regiment similar to famous regiments of the same name that fought in the French armies. Zouaves wore distinctly colorful uniforms that clearly set them apart from their counterparts.

At the war's start, Lew Wallace was appointed by Governor Oliver P. Morton as the Adjutant General of Indiana. The son of a former Indiana governor, Wallace was a gifted Hoosier. He was a lawyer, veteran and statesman. All of this long before he would be known as the author of Ben Hur. He resigned his post to command the 11th Indiana Infantry Regiment that was one of the first six regiments raised by the state for the war.


We, the volunteers of Montgomery County, the Ladoga Blues, under the command of Captain Carr, through the kindness of the warm hearted and patriotic ladies of Clark township have been presented with a beautiful banner, therefore be it-

Resolved, that we shall ever rally around this national Ensign, guarding it from dishonor, protecting it from the foul touch of traitor's hands and the pollution of cowardly inactivity.

Resolved, as often as this beautiful banner is unfurled, we will remember not only our nation's honor, but the devotion of the "dear ones at home" to our own and our country's interests.

Resolved, that we solemnly pledge ourselves that as long as life shall last, we will stand brave and true in defense of our flag, our Union, and the Constitution.

Ladoga Blues.

Source: Indianapolis Journal, April 24, 1861.

NOTE: The Ladoga Blues were assigned to the 11th Regiment Infantry, Company K.


Source: Indianapolis Journal, May 9, 1861.

Yesterday was a grand, gala day for Indianapolis. It had been announced that at three o'clock in the afternoon, two stands of colors would be presented to Colonel Wallace's Zouave Regiment, in the State House Square, and all Indianapolis and the surrounding country turned out to witness the ceremonies. Before the hour arrived the State House halls and the yard surrounding the building were densely packed with people anxious to witness the arrival of the regiment, the pride of Indianapolis and the state. As it marched from the barracks through the streets, other crowds than those in the vicinity of the State House greeted it with cheers and followed it to the Capitol. Arriving on the ground, the regiment was drawn up in front of the State House, presenting with its forest of bristling bayonets, quite a formidable and warlike appearance.

The exercises were opened with the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner" in excellent style by Mr. Suffern's musical class, after which William E. McLean, Esq., representative from Vigo County, presented to the regiment the first stand of colors-a beautiful silk National Ensign-on the part of the ladies of Terre Haute. His remarks were loudly and frequently cheered by the regiment. The band, a new and most excellent one, recently organized in this city-then played "Hail Columbia," after which the second stand of colors was presented by Mrs. Cady. This banner is a rich blue flag, fringed with gold and bearing the National coat of arms. It was a present from the ladies of Indianapolis, as the first was from the ladies of Terre Haute. Both flags were inscribed "Indiana Zouaves-11th Regiment." Mrs. Cady, who herself fringed the flag and otherwise assisted in its manufacture, presented it with the following appropriate and well chosen words:

Indiana Zouaves of the Eleventh Regiment:

I am delegated by the ladies of Indianapolis to present to you this, your second stand of colors, emblazoned with the arms of our country-the eagle, the national emblem of pride, prowess and power, holding in its talons with a firm grasp the sharp arrows of swift destruction for all traitors and the olive branch of peace and pardon for all true and loyal people. Bearing this aloft, you go forth to sustain the only free government on the globe; you go forth, not for fame, not for conquest, but in the pursuance of a high and holy duty-the only true path to glory.

That glorious government, the refuge of the oppressed of all lands, the nursing mother of genius, virtue and religion, is assailed by traitors! Shall they be permitted to destroy it? Shall they desecrate its sacred portals? Shall they put out the fires on our altars? Never! while there is one hand left to bear aloft the proud bird that perches on your standard. Never! while there is one heart left to pour out the warm tide of its devotion to our country. While you fight, we pray for your success, and whatever living hearts may dictate for your comfort, willing hands shall accomplish.

Go forth, then, brave and loyal men! Be yours the task to lift our country from the dust, where traitorous hands have cast her; yours to place her once more high among the nations of the earth, there to rest forever, unstained by treason, untorn by faction, happy and free. So take your banner, and God speed you! God for the right!

This little speech was received with the loudest demonstrations of applause on the part of the troops, which subsided when the band struck up "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean."

When the band had ceased, Colonel Wallace took the flags and holding them up to the regiment, said that the gratitude of himself and his men to the ladies of Terre Haute and Indianapolis had an infinity that could not be expressed. He told his men to remember Buena Vista, and wipe out the disgrace that had been cast on Indiana by the alleged cowardly conduct of our volunteers in that battle. "We will adopt for our motto," he continued, "Remember Buena Vista." (Shouts from the regiment, "We'll adopt it.")

"Boys, then, will you ever desert the banners that have been presented us today?" (Loud shouts of "Never! Never!") "Then, 'Remember Buena Vista,' and swear that you will never desert the flag of your country or your regimental colors. Get down on your knees and swear!"

Here the entire regiment kneeled and with uplifted right arms swore to stand by their country and its flag, and to "Remember Buena Vista."  This was a most impressive scene and filled hundreds of manly eyes with tears (Web author note: "Remember Buena Vista" alludes to the poor treatment Indiana troops had received at the hands of Jefferson Davis during the Mexican War).

Source: Harper's Weekly, June 22, 1861, p. 388

Passing the banners to the regiment, Colonel Wallace presented Almina, the little daughter of Captain Smith, an officer of the regiment, and asked the Zouaves if they would adopt the child as the "daughter" of their regiment. A deafening "We will" arose as the sunburnt faces of the boys gazed on the pretty little child, tastefully dressed and wearing a turban representing the "red, white and blue."

But we must stop here short of what we would like to say. The regiment was followed to their barracks by hundred of people in carriages and on foot. The "Daughter" rode in a carriage in advance of the front ranks-the admiration of the crowd being divided between Almina and the gallant Zouaves.

The regiment goes this evening to Evansville with sealed orders. They will take their "Daughter" with them. What the duty of the boys may be after reaching the banks of the Ohio is not known to them. Whatever it is, they will discharge it faithfully.


Note: Five years later, Major General of the Union Army, Col. Wallace had the honor and responsibility of presenting the Civil War Battle Flags of Indiana's regiments to the State of Indiana for safekeeping. His words on that occasion to Governor Morton were: "...I have the honor to give you back their flags, with the request that measures be taken by the next General Assembly to preserve them immemorially. ...Put them away tenderly."


11th Indiana Zouaves Regimental Colors
Source: Indiana War Memorials Battle Flag Collection

Source: Indianapolis Journal, May 18, 1861.

The blue banner presented to the Zouave Regiment before leaving this city, to be used as their regimental colors, was admired by every one who saw it (See Flag Above). We stated in making a notice of its presentation, that the fringing of gold was put on the flag by Mrs. Cady, the lady who presented the banner to the regiment. The National Coat of Arms which, at the time we thought was painted on the flag, we have since learned was embroidered, and that Mrs. Cady did the work. The flag was made of doubled silk, which required a separate embroidering for each side. The work was beautifully done, and the colors so neatly and tastefully blended that it was not strange that we, with many others, supposed the skillful painter's brush had delineated the American Eagle, holding the arrows and the olive branch, on its silky folds-the emblem of liberty and the ensign of our national greatness and supremacy. That banner will be bravely sustained by the gallant regiment to which it has been entrusted, and brave hearts will remember the ladies of Indianapolis who presented it, and especially the one who did so much to give it beauty and attractiveness.

NOTE: Mrs. Caroline Hutchings Baniard, a noted singer of that time, sang the Star Spangled Banner at the conclusion of the ceremony. -Major Wm. W. Daugherty, U. S. A., retired.


Source: Indianapolis Journal, July 30,1861.

The Eleventh Indiana Regiment-the Zouaves-under command of Lieutenant Colonel McGinnis and Major Robinson- Colonel Wallace having left the regiment at Hagerstown and gone to Washington-arrived in this city yesterday (July 29) between 9 and 10 o'clock. The regiment marched from Cumberland to Hagerstown, fording the Potomac at Harper's Ferry and taking the cars at Hagerstown for Harrisburg-coming by way of Pittsburg, Columbus and Dayton. * * * On arrival here, the regiment was escorted to the West Market House, where an abundant and most luxurious breakfast (breakfast No. 2 for the boys) was spread. Boiled ham, buttered bread, cold tongue, hot coffee and a great many delicacies were provided in almost endless profusion. It was dispatched by the Zouaves with better appetites than anything they had eaten for months, for they knew it had been prepared by the "loved ones at home." They made a combined breakfast and dinner of it and after eating, proceeded to the south front of the State House, where they were welcomed home by Benjamin Harrison, Esq. * * * The welcome speech was responded to by Surgeon Fry, who said the regiment had feelings indescribable on meeting with such a reception. They had left one of their number in an honored grave, far from home. He had been murdered in cold blood, they had reason to believe, and as they marched with reversed arms to his last resting place, many were the tears dropped and sad were the feelings at the fate of poor Hollenbeck. * * * The Eleventh was the only regiment, he said, in Patterson's command that offered to stay with him for ten days, or for any length of time after the expiration of their term of service. They had made the offer without solicitation, and received the thanks of the General for their sacrificing patriotism. * * * At the conclusion of his remarks, three rousing cheers and a tiger were given for Indiana and Indianapolis, when Governor Morton mounted the stand and said the reception tendered the regiment showed how warm a place the Zouaves held in the hearts of their fellow citizens. Indiana was proud of her volunteers. They had honored their state. * * * In conclusion, the Governor gave the Zouaves a hearty welcome back to their homes. He said he would preserve their arms and equipment for them, as he would for the other regiments, and restore them in complete order on their return to service. Three hearty cheers were given the Governor, and loud calls for Dave Hays and his skirmishers. Hays had stopped in Dayton to see some friends and was not on the ground. Thomas, Parley, Baker, Murbarger, Byrket, the others present, were mounted on the stand and made to go through the ordeal of shaking hands with everybody who could get in reach of them. About 12 o'clock the assembled thousands in the State House yard dispersed.



Our correspondent "Dan's" suggestion as to a new flag for the Eleventh Indiana is being warmly seconded by our citizens. The subscription for the new "bright" colors should be made up in a day. Subscriptions will be received at the Journal Office Counting Room.

Indianapolis Journal, April 19, 1862.


The new flag for the Eleventh Indiana, which a number of citizens of this place intend shortly to present to that noble regiment, will, perhaps be as beautiful a National Flag as was ever carried into the field. The materials ordered, and which will be here today, are both elegant and durable. The mountings will consist of a metallic battle axe for the upper end of the staff, and the richest cords and tassels that could be purchased. The painting will be executed by that excellent artist, Thos. B. Glessing. The flag will be ready to be forwarded to the regiment next week.

Indianapolis Journal, April 25, 1862.


The "field" of the new banner for the Eleventh Indiana Regiment, Colonel McGinnis, can be seen at our counting room today. On Monday morning it will be removed and placed in position in the body of the flag, which will be ready to be forwarded to the regiment in a few days. The "field" is of blue silk, of very fine texture, on which is an eagle on a shield surrounded by thirty-four stars, the painting of which is done in the most elegant manner, by Mr. T. B. Glessing, the excellent artist.

Indianapolis Journal, May 3, 1862.


The beautiful flag gotten up by some of our citizens am forwarded to the Eleventh Indiana, has reached Headquarters. Col. McGinnis acknowledges its receipt as follows:

Headquarters, Eleventh Indiana,
Before Corinth, Miss., May 21st, 1862.

Messrs. A. C. Grooms and J. D. Carmichael:

Gentlemen: In behalf of the Eleventh Indiana, permit me to return to you, and through you to the patriotic citizens of Indianapolis, our sincere thanks for the magnificent banner, emblematic of our glorious Union, presented to us by them, and to assure them that whatever trials and hardships may yet be in store for us, the fact that we are kindly remembered by friends at home, will tend in a great measure to sustain and cheer us in the good work in which we are engaged. I believe that I may confidently promise that the new banner will never be dishonored by the Eleventh, but that it shall be returned to those who gave it, with as much honor as the good old flag that we have borne with us for the past year, and which will soon be returned to take its place among the many honored emblems of our country belonging to glorious old Indiana.

G. F. McGinnis,
Colonel Eleventh Indiana.

Indianapolis Journal, May 31, 1862.

NOTE: The commission that built the tomb for General Grant asked the legislature of Indiana to let them place one of Indiana's battle flags in the tomb. This the legislature refused to do, but General McGinnis forwarded a flag of the Eleventh Indiana to be placed in the tomb.
General McGinnis told me this, personally.-David I. McCormick. 1925.



A beautiful stand of regimental colors and a National flag have just been completed for the old "Eleventh" Indiana and will be taken to the regiment by Lieutenant Colonel Darnell, who leaves today.

The flag is of the finest silk, heavily fringed, six feet by six and a half, and bears the inscription, "Presented by the citizens of Indianapolis to the 11th Indiana Regiment." The lettering was done by Lieutenant Knotts, of the First Ward Guards, as also the painting of the National Coat of Arms on the regimental colors. This is a handsome gift to a gallant regiment whose flag and colors have been torn to shreds by bullets in many well fought fields.

Indianapolis Journal, August 24, 1863.




We stated a few mornings since that the new flag for the Eleventh Indiana regiment was presented by the citizens Indianapolis. This was the inscription on the flag, and all who saw it supposed that it was true. We have just learned that the flag was a present from Colonel Robinson, of this city, formerly of the Eleventh, paid for by himself without the assistance of anybody. Why the inscription was allowed to read as it did we do not know. Col. Robinson, however, is a modest man who will sacrifice his own ambition often when he need not. He will please pardon us for telling the story now correctly.

Indianapolis Journal, August 28, 1863.



Lieutenant Colonel Darnell, of the Indiana 11th, has taken an office in Temperance Hall and will be happy to see all the friends of the old Zouaves. He wants a few more recruits and is paying just as much bounty as anybody else. He wants the friends of the boys to exert themselves to send him men who are willing to serve their country. He reminds those who think of going into the service that there is no regiment with a more honorable record than the 11th. They are now away down in Louisiana, basking in the shade of the sunny South, and will give new recruits a hearty welcome.

Indianapolis Journal, January 1, 1864.



The arrival of the gallant thrice enlisted heroes of the old Eleventh yesterday morning was greeted with a demonstration on the part of the citizens, worthy of the occasion, and one that showed how well they regard these war worn veterans, and how they rejoice to welcome them home once more. The regiment arrived on the Bellefontaine train and left the cars at the crossing of Washington street, where they were met by the reception committee and hundreds of citizens. Many and joyful were the greetings between friends and the boys who have been so long absent. The cannon boomed a salute of welcome, waking the sleeping echoes and telling to the country around that Indianapolis was lifting up her voice to do honor to another regiment of returning braves. Etc., etc.

Indianapolis Journal, March 23, 1864.



Lieutenant Colonel Darnell, Captain Caven, and one hundred and eighty men of the old 11th Indiana arrived in the city yesterday afternoon from Harper's Ferry, their time having expired.

Indianapolis Journal, September 7, 1864.


Lieutenant Colonel Darnell, of the 11th Indiana Volunteers, returned a day or two ago with nearly two hundred men of the regiment whose term of service had expired. They were at once discharged, paid off, and started for their homes. The usual reception was tendered to them by the authorities, but their anxiety to see their families and friends was such that they preferred not to wait to receive it. Colonel Darnell will return soon to the regiment, near Harper's Ferry, Va.

Indianapolis Journal, September 16, 1864.



Flag for the Eleventh Indiana.-A beautiful stand of colors has been presented to this regiment. Inscribed on their battle flag is Romney, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Port Gibson, Champion Hill, Jackson, Vicksburg, Opequan, Cedar Creek and Fisher's Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Darnell left last night with a squad of recruits and the flags for the regiment. The Lieutenant Colonel will assist in selecting a number of officers to be commissioned, as the regiment is nearly full. He returns soon to fill the quota. His recruiting party have done excellent duty and been highly complimented by General Pitcher. The gallant Eleventh will be heard from soon in the front. Lieutenant Colonel Darnell is well worthy of promotion, both for military ability and energy in filling the old Eleventh.

Indianapolis Journal, March 31, 1865.


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