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Once reminded, you are surely aware that it was 150 years ago today that Fort Sumter was fired upon, in effect, starting the Civil War. There were less than 20,000 residents in the city of Indianapolis at the time and already had a number of railroads running through this city.

From Hyman’s Handbook of Indianapolis: “When the news came that Major Anderson in Fort Sumter was being bombarded by the troops of South Carolina, the feeling grew in intensity. Business was abandoned, and the people gathered on the streets to wait for the bulletins and to discuss the situation. The question of the moment was what course the president would take. The people could not remain quiet, but moved around in the streets in a feverish excitement. park_theatreParty feeling was forgotten for the time. At night a meeting was held in the Metropolitan theater (later the Park Theatre, corner of Washington and Tennessee—now Capitol—Streets) and several patriotic speeches were made while waiting for the news. A little before ten o’clock the news came that Major Anderson had been compelled to submit to the inevitable and had surrendered. “War” was shouted from every lip, and the meeting broke up, the people crowding out on the streets, and all night long anxious crowds thronged around the newspaper offices to get every particle of military companies began the work of recruiting and it was kept up all day Sunday without intermission. The drum and the fife were heard everywhere, and the names of recruits were fast added to the rolls of the various companies.

On Monday came the proclamation of President Lincoln calling for 75,000 volunteers. It was accompanied by an order of the war department assigning six regiments as the quota of Indiana…The trains came into the city loaded with men anxious to serve their country…”

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According to the book, Camp Morton (Winslow & Moore, 1940), it was April 17, 1861 that the first troops arrived at Camp Morton—in today’s Herron-Morton Place, north of the Old Northside. Camp Burnside was south of Camp Morton, bordering on Tinker Street—therefore abutting the Old Northside.

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Ambrose Burnside, for whom Camp Burnside was named.

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