‘The people of Pendleton were so proud of him’


By Sue Hughes | For The Times-Post

PENDLETON — Samuel Henry is a Civil War hero from Pendleton who met an untimely death at the hands of guerilla fighters.
That was part of the story Civil War enthusiast Lance Stevens shared with a group of people who attended his talk at Pendleton Historical Museum.
Although Henry was born in Hancock County in 1838, his family moved to Pendleton when he was very young.
Born to George and Leah Henry, Samuel was one of five children.
He was the only one of his siblings to enlist in the military.
Henry was enrolled in law school in Greencastle, Indiana, in April 1861 when Fort Sumter was fired upon.
He immediately dropped out of school and by the end of April was enlisted in the Union Army.
He became a member of the 8th Infantry for three months.
At the end of the three months, he returned to Pendleton.
When the war started, everyone assumed it would last only three months, so the soldiers were only signed up for that long.
“During that time, Henry began as a bookkeeper, moved up to second lieutenant, then orderly sergeant and captain,” Stevens said.
Shortly after Henry came back to Pendleton, he organized the 84th Indiana Infantry, Company B.
“The unit was mostly composed of friends and family of Henry,” Stevens said.
The fighters knew they were walking into the face of death, he said, but they felt compelled.
“When a man was asked to fight in the war, he did not refuse,” Stevens said. “Additionally, if a soldier deserted, he dares not go home and let it be known that’s what he did.”
“Henry showed himself to (be) a brave (soldier) and was soon a major in the Union Army, “ Stevens said.
During the war, guerilla warfare gangs became numerous.
Participants in these gangs were not members of either the Union or Confederate armies.
Guerillas were not concerned with the politics of the war. They were known for surprise attacks and ambushes.
Familiar names like Jesse and Frank James and Cole Younger were in some of the gangs that made up guerilla warfare.
After Henry became a major, he was leading his troops into Missouri, when he and two other men stopped for dinner.
They asked the woman of the house where they stopped to cook them something to eat.
“She warned them not to stay around very long because there were guerillas in the area,” Stevens said.
After they finished eating, they went outside and saw three men in federal uniforms coming toward them.
The guerillas had killed federal soldiers and stolen their clothes.
Samuel Henry was shot in the forehead and died at he age of 27 on Nov. 1, 1864.
“It was cold-blooded murder — no one deserves to die like that,” Stevens said.
His body was taken to Lexington, Kentucky. Henry was interred in a copper coffin, and his family was notified.
Friends from Pendleton went down to claim his body and bring him home in a wagon.
Henry was buried in Grove Lawn Cemetery with full military honors.
“The people of Pendleton were so proud of him that when they started their G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) chapter they named it Major Samuel Henry Post No. 230,” Stevens said.
G.A.R. was the forerunner of the American Legion.
“Major Samuel Henry was a gallant man,” Stevens concluded. “He didn’t deserve to die like he did.”

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