Camp Hughes Plaque Dedicated at Gosport Cemetery, Gosport, IN
On May 26, 2008 the Ben Harrison Camp No. 356 along with the 27th Indiana, Co D SVR, the 11th Indiana Reenactment Group, and the John Brighton Post 7850 VFW dedicated a new plaque recording the final resting place of eight 59th Indiana soldiers who died while at Camp Hughes which was located at Gosport Indiana. The ceremony of dedication was performed with approximately 75 guests in attendance. This ceremony was the culmination of over 2 years of research by the Ben Harrison Camp to mark the eight previously “unknown” graves. Camp Hughes was a Civil War training camp for the 59th Indiana and was located one-half mile southwest of Gosport on the White River and named for former Indiana Congressman James Hughes. Camp Hughes was in existence from September 1861 to February 13, 1862 when the 59th left Camp Hughes bound for New Albany, Indiana and active duty. Camp Hughes was the only known Civil War camp ever established in Owen County.
Research indicated that 12 men died while at Camp Hughes and that at least 8 men where buried in graves marked “unknown” at the Gosport Cemetery. The 59th Indiana soldiers who died while at Camp Hughes apparently contracted measles and died between late January and February 1862. It is unclear today why these men where buried in graves marked “UNKNOWN 59th IND INF” since the microfilmed 59th Indiana Correspondence File at the Indiana State Archives revealed that the regiment certainly knew who these men were as it listed 8 names that were reported to have been “buried by their regiment in the Gosport Cemetery.” The Ben Harrison Camp made arrangements for a plaque to be struck with the names of all 12 men who died while at Camp Hughes. The plaque was affixed onto a large granite marker already in place over the 8 “unknown” graves on May 10, 2008. This block of rough gray granite was placed over the graves in October 1923. According to an article in the Gosport Reporter of October 25, 1923, L. R. Gray placed the large granite stone there with the intention of having the marker either lettered or a bronze tablet attached. The granite stone was lettered with the following: IN MEMORIAM Died in Camp Hughes –1861-2. It is unclear whether they ever intended to list on this marker the individual names of the 59th soldiers who died while in camp.
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