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  • John E. Luther, Company B, 20th Indiana Infantry

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    John E. Luther, Company B, 20th Indiana Infantry - Served as Colonel John Wheeler's adjutant and is said to have removed Wheeler's body from the Gettysburg Battlefield.  At Gettysburg Wheeler was part of J. H. Hobart Ward's Brigade of David B. Birney's Division in the vicinity of Devil's Den and Rose Woods. During James Longstreet's attack, on the second day, the 20th Indiana was hit hard. While riding on horseback with his men Colonel Wheeler was hit in the temple and killed instantly. His body was later returned to Indiana and buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Crown Point.  His Crown point grave rests within feet of a mausoleum containing Lt. John E. Luther. 


    John E. Luther:

    Residence Lake County IN;

    Enlisted on 7/22/1861 as a Private.

    On 7/22/1861 he mustered into "B" Co. IN 20th Infantry

    He was Mustered Out on 10/13/1864 at Indianapolis, IN


    * 1st Lieut 6/9/1863 (1st Lieut & Adjutant)

    Intra Regimental Company Transfers:

    * 6/9/1863 from company B to Field & Staff

    Other Information:

    Born in 1840

    Died in 1925

    Buried: Maplewood Cemty, Crown Point, IN

    Twentieth Infantry INDIANA (3 years)

    Twentieth Infantry.  Cols., William L. Brown, John Van Valkenburg, John Wheeler, William C. L. Taylor, William Orr, Albert S. Andrews; Lieut.-Cols., Charles D. Murray, Benjamin H. Smith, John Van Valkenburg, John Wheeler, James H. Shannon, William C. L. Taylor, George W. Meikel, Albert S. Andrews, John W. Shafer; Majs., Benjamin H. Smith, John Van Valkenburg, John Wheeler, George F. Dick, James H. Shannon, William C. L. Taylor, George W. Meikel, Erasmus C. Galbreath, William Orr, Joseph T. Ives, John W. Shafer, John W. Williams.

    This regiment was organized at Lafayette in July 1861, and was mustered in at Indianapolis, July 22.  It left the state onAug. 2, being ordered to Cockeysville, Md. for railroad guard duty.

    It sailed for Hatteras Inlet, N. C., Sept. 24, and was sent to north end of Hatteras bank, 40 miles from the fortifications, without transportation or artillery.  It was attacked on Oct. 4, by the enemy's fleet, loaded with infantry, and was compelled to retreat.  It embarked Nov. 9, for Fortress Monroe where it remained until March, 1862.

    It was at Newport News during the engagement between the Merrimac, Cumberland and Congress, and prevented the enemy from taking possession of the Congress after she had struck her colors.  It participated in the capture of Norfolk and on June 8, was assigned to Jameson's brigade, Kearny's division Heintzelman's corps, with which it fought at Fair Oaks.

    It was in the battle of Oak Grove, where it lost 144 in killed, wounded and missing, and covered the rear of the 3rd corps in the Seven Days' battles, participating in all of them and being heavily engaged at Frazier's farm.  It then moved to Yorktown, Alexandria, and thence to Manassas, where it was engaged, Col. Brown being killed.  It was also in the battle of Chantilly, after which its division was ordered to rest, having lost heavily in its campaigns, and the 20th went into camp at Arlington Heights.

    On Oct. 11, it crossed the Potomac, hoping to intercept Stuart's cavalry and was in camp at Poolesville, Md., until Oct. 29, when it moved to Leesburg and Warrenton.  With Franklin's corps, it was engaged at Fredericksburg, and in May 1863, was in the battle of Chancellorsville, capturing the entire 23rd Georgia, which outnumbered it, and when the 11th corps broke and the enemy turned the right of the Union forces, cutting off the 3rd corps from the main army, the regiment made a bayonet charge, reestablishing communication.

    It pursued Lee through Maryland and Pennsylvania, reaching Gettysburg in time to participate in the second day's battle, where it was exposed to a sweeping fire, and lost 152 in killed and wounded, including Col. Wheeler.  It was in hot engagements on the 3rd, and in heavy skirmishing on the 4th.

    Overtaking Lee's rear-guard at Manassas Gap, it aided in an attack and defeat of the enemy, and was then sent to New York during the draft riots.  It was engaged at Locust Grove and Mine run-in November.

    A portion of the regiment reenlisted as veterans on Jan. 1, 1864, at Culpeper and received a furlough.  The 20th participated in the battles of the Wilderness, Todd's Tavern, Po river, Spottsylvania, Totopotomy and Cold Harbor. At the last point, the veterans and recruits of the 14th were consolidated with the 20th.

    It was engaged at Deep Bottom and Strawberry Plains, and was then in the trenches before Petersburg under fire daily, Lieut.-Col. Meikel being killed.  On Oct. 18, the recruits and veterans of the 7th and 19th were consolidated with the 20th.

    The regiment was engaged in the various movements about Petersburg, participating at Peebles' Farm, and Hatcher's Run.  It was in the advance division of the 2nd corps in the pursuit of Lee and participated in the various battles up to his surrender.

    It then moved to Washington thence to Louisville, and was mustered out July 12, 1865.  The original strength of the regiment was 1,051; gain by recruits, 410; reenlistments, 282; total, 1,743.  Loss by death, 228; desertion, 66; unaccounted for 176.  On reorganization, the strength was originally, 906; gain by recruits, 33; total, 939; loss by death, 44; unaccounted for, 56.

    Chancellorsville, VA after battle report:

    No. 122.

    Report of Col. John Wheeler, Twentieth Indiana Infantry.


    May 7, 1863.

    SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Twentieth Indiana Volunteers in the advance made upon the enemy on Saturday, the 2d instant:

    At noon, the regiment was ordered into line, with one company thrown forward as skirmishers, Company K, Capt. Brown, was placed in the advance, to skirmish and feel the enemy. At 12.30 o'clock the regiment moved, and at 1 o'clock we gained the crest of the hill, and halted until the supports came up. We next got orders to move by the left flank.

    We commenced the flank movement, and continued until we came up with Berdan's Sharpshooters. The skirmishers we had sent out joined with those of Berdan's, and drove the enemy some distance until they came to an old railroad cut, where they undertook to make a stand, but soon came out, and about of 200 of them surrendered and laid down their arms. We advanced about a quarter of a mile beyond, put out pickets, and prepared to stay over night. About dark all the other regiments got orders to return except ours and the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers. We remained in that position until near midnight, and then orders to fall back to our brigade.

    I am happy to report that my men and officers behaved manfully and bravely.

    All of which I respectfully submit.

    Yours, to command,

    JOHN WHEELER, Col., Cmdg. Regt.

    Lieut. J. HENRY, A. A. A. G., Third Brig., First Div., Third Army Corps.

     Report of Capt. John W. Shafer, Twentieth Indiana

    Infantry, of operations March 25.


    March 26, 1865.

    CAPT.; In compliance with circular from headquarters First Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps, just received, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken, by the Twentieth Indiana Volunteers in the engagement on the 25th instant;

    At about 9 a.m. the regiment was advanced to the picket-line of this brigade, and there formed with the Seventy-third New York Volunteers on its left flank, both regiments being under the command of Lieut.-Col. Andrews. Orders were at once given to advance and occupy the picket-line of the enemy. We met with a sharp infantry fire from the enemy's picket-line strongly posted behind earth-works but gained the position with but slight loss, capturing a number of prisoners. Finding no connection on the right, and discovering the enemy moving from their works with the probable intention of getting on the flank of the regiment, Lieut.-Col. Andrews ordered the right wing of the regiment deployed to form connection with troops of the First Division. This movement was executed under a sharp fire of infantry and artillery.  The picket-line on the left was still occupied by the enemy, but an incessant fire from this regiment and the Seventy-third New York Volunteers kept under the cover of their works until about 2 p.m., when the Third Brigade of third division captured the rebel line about 500 yards to the left, which being accomplished, this regiment, accompanied by the Seventy-third New York Volunteers, had no  difficulty in occupying their works, taking a large number of prisoner.  About 3 p.m. the Third Brigade, on our left was driven back in apparent confusion, necessitating the withdrawal of the Seventy-third New York Volunteers and a part of this regiment to the corner of the woods, a few yards to the rear. The Third Brigade rallied and recaptured the line they had lost a few moments before and this regiment at once occupied its old position, which it held until relieved after night. About 6 p.m. the right wing of the regiment was attacked with considerably impetuosity by part of the force which struck the First Division. They, being opportunely re-enforced at this time by the picket forces of this brigade, held their ground manfully, and rendered material aid in repulsing the attack of the enemy.

    The loss during the day was 4 commissioned officers wounded, 2 enlisted men killed, and 17 enlisted men wounded. The regiment captured 1 officer and 46 men during the day.

    In closing this brief report of the operations of this regiment I cannot speak too highly of the good conduct of both officers and men. When all did so well I refrain from making discriminations. Especial mention is made, however, of the conspicuous gallantry of Sergt. Maj. Hiram B. Johnston and First Sergt. William A. Chapman, Company F, both of whom lost their lives.

    I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    JOHN W. SHAFER, Capt., Twentieth Indiana Volunteers, Cmdg. Regt.

    Capt. J. M. LINNARD, Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brig., Third Div., Second Army Corps.