The Indiana 27th Infantry went down in history for finding “The Missing Orders.” These special orders were known as No. 191. The Indiana 27th Infantry was resting in Frederick, Virginia, on Sept. 13, 1862, in a field, which just days before had been a camp for the Confederates. The men were together resting on the ground, when one of them spotted an envelope with three cigars wrapped around a rolled-up paper. When one of the men opened it, he found orders No. 191, dated September 9, telling where every division of the Confederates was to be. Can you believe that, no one seems to know what happened to the cigars or who smoked them? The cigars were what they noticed first, but when they read the paper, the cigars were forgotten. The papers gave tremendous advantage to the Union Army. Even though Captain Holloway belonged to this regiment, he wasn’t with the men who found the orders.
The Indiana 27th was known for their height. They were the tallest division of the Union Army. Captain William H. Holloway was in this infantry organized out of Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 12, 1861. They fought in some major battles: Gettysburg, Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, and others. They were known for being one of the bravest fighting regiments. Of the 1,100 men that composed the regiment when it was mustered into the service, barely 200 were left when the regiment was mustered out after its gallant service. The records of the war department show that the 27th lost more men than any other regiment of the other battles. Captain Holloway was regarded as brave. He was always at the head of his men on the firing line.
After they were mustered out, Captain William H. Holloway married his sweetheart, Caroline Lancet, who was waiting at home. They were married in Owen County on November 3, 1864. In his obituary in The Brazil Daily Times, Caroline says that waiting for him to come home was the longest three years that she lived through. Captain Holloway never went to any of the regiment’s reunions; he would rather spend all the rest of his days with his family.
Captain William H. Holloway was born in Redding, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Putnamville, Indiana, when he was quite young. Captain Holloway was a pioneer merchant there but moved to Brazil, Clay County, when his children were young. After fire destroyed his store with a total loss, he moved on south Meridian Street in partnership with William Rush. Later the firm was dissolved, and Mr. Holloway erected a two-story frame building, which formerly housed Bayer Drug Store. He later built and sold a brick building on East National Avenue. He remained in business until 1896. Both the Captain and his wife, Caroline, are buried in Cottage Hill Cemetery.
If you have a family member that served in the Indiana 27th Infantry, a good book to read is “Giants in the Cornfield” by Wilbur D. Jones, Jr.
Submitted by Rhonda Tincher, Clay County Genealogy Society, Center Point, Indiana.
Sources: Obituary of Captain William Holloway. Giants of the Cornfield by Wilbur D. Jones, Jr.