This Day in Dayton, 10 June

The Courier reported a death on June 10, 1861, that hit home in Dayton. On June 8, 1861, during the Civil War, the 40th Indiana, including Company A with many Dayton and Sheffield and Lauramie Township soldiers, was set to help rebuild a bridge over Bear River. James Kirkpatrick, from a farm just south of Dayton, who had been promoted to lieutenant colonel of the regiment, and two other men were in a canoe when it capsized. All swam for shore, but Kirkpatrick appeared to suffer a cramp and drowned before he could be rescued. Responding to the cries of the colonel of the regiment, other canoes tried to reach him, but failed. Men of Company A swam across the river and dove after him, but the water was too deep. His body was retrieved with a hook after about fifteen minutes, but the men were unable to resuscitate him. It was noted that news of the death would “create a profound sensation throughout the Wabash Valley.” Kirkpatrick was credited with raising Company A. “A braver man never drew a breath in defense of his Country,” the article continued. “Although a skilled disciplinarian he was the idol of the company and a general favorite with the regiment.” The body traveled by river and then by train to Stockwell. Burial was west of Culver’s Station, and Lafayette friends were advised that they could travel to and from the services by train (Courier, June 10, 11, and 20, 1861).

Susan ClawsonComment