Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Completely Under Military Rule

The Battle of Pogue’s Run, more of an uprising then a battle took place May 20th 1863 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Governor of Indiana, Oliver Morton, who was a Republican, reported hearing of a plot to overthrow the state government by the Knights of the Golden Circle.  As the Knights were a Democratic group, Morton had Union troops stationed at the Democratic State Convention.

As Thomas A Hendricks was speaking on May 20th 1863 in front of about 10,000 conventioneers, several Union soldiers advanced on the podium with bayonets fixed and rifles cocked.  This action broke up the convention, sending the crowd scattering.  A fence was pushed down on the east of the state house as the crowd fled.  Adding to the rush of bodies was a squad of Union cavalry moving down Tennessee Street.  Under threat from the Union soldiers, Hendricks closed his speech, had the resolutions read and the meeting dismissed.  Soldiers seized several individuals, marching them up a few streets to frighten them.  A number of other men were taken in custody for carrying concealed weapons and arrested.

That night many of the Democratic Conventioneers left town on trains.  There were a number of shots fired from these departing trains with the attention to create a further disturbance.  A train on the Indiana Central Railroad was stopped and boarded by a number of soldiers and police, who demanded that all weapons be surrendered.  A train going to Cincinnati was also stopped, with the men on board throwing their guns off the train and into Pogue’s Run.  Thinking that the soldiers wouldn't search women, many men gave their guns to ladies.  One single woman was found hiding seven guns on her person.  Before the round up was finished about 500 loaded guns were confiscated from those who had attended the Democratic Convention.  A local Democratic newspaper the “Indianapolis Sentinel” reported on the incident this way, "It is with feelings of sorrow, humiliation and degradation that we witnessed the scenes of yesterday. . . . Indiana is as completely under military rule as France, Austria or Russia".

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