"A Stupendous Effort" is the story of one of the Civil War's most versatile regiments, of its significant role in the campaigns and battles in the Western Theater, and of the young men who formed its ten companies.
Through their contemporary diaries and letters, many previously unpublished, we follow the wartime experiences of these northern Indiana volunteers. Their most overpowering encounter was the ferocious battle of Chickamauga. In those woodlands, the 87th Indiana established its bravery forever by standing steadfast with its brigade on three separate occasions, each time saving a significant part of the Union army. Missionary Ridge, the running battles through Georgia to Atlanta, Sherman's legendary March to the Sea, and the avenging Union army's rampage through South Carolina, all are recounted as the men of the 87th experienced them.
This is a social as well as a military history. While we are told about the wider war as it affects the 87th, we also learn about northern Indiana society in the mid-19th century and get a feel for what it meant to go soldiering in the Civil War. There is an appreciation, too, of how these rural Hoosiers had their remaining years marked by this supreme test of their lives, when their "hearts were touched with fire."
Jack K. Overmyer is president and owner of The Rochester Sentinel and was its editor and publisher for more than 30 years. Founder and first president of the Fulton County Historical Society, for most of his life he has studiously pursued an interest in the Civil War.