Inventory

Robert B. Mewhinney Letters
Dates:  1862-1866
Accession Number:  Sm. D.C. 35
Donor: Markle Family
Description:  Two file folders in a document case

Biography

Robert B. Mewhinney was born to John Mewhinney and Clarissa Wyeth on December 7, 1844.  He mustered in as a private into Company B, 71st Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry on August 18, 1862.  Mewhinney mustered out of the regiment on June 17, 1865.  After the war, he traveled to Kansas, but apparently became ill and died January 28, 1867.  He was buried in the Mewhinney Cemetery near Riley, Indiana.


History of the 71st Regiment

The 71st Indiana Regiment was organized in Terre Haute, Indiana in late July and August 1862.  The regiment was immediately ordered to Kentucky to help repel the Confederate invasion of Kentucky by General Braxton Bragg.  Twelve days after mustering into service, on August 30, 1862, the regiment was engaged in the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky by advance forces of the Confederate Army. The 71st Regiment's lieutenant colonel was killed and the regiment was captured.  The regiment was paroled and sent home where they reorganized and waited to be exchanged. 

In late December 1862, the bulk of the regiment was ordered to Kentucky to guard a railroad tressle at Muldraugh's Hill.  The day after arriving at Muldraugh's Hill, the regiment was engaged by General John Hunt Morgan's 4000 troops.  Vastly outnumbered, the men of the 71st were again captured, paroled, and sent back to Indianapolis to reorganize.  In February 1863, the regiment was ordered to be mounted and re-designated the 6th Indiana Cavalry.  It was not until Fall 1863 that the regiment was ready to be sent back to the front. 

The regiment was active in the operations around Knoxville, Tennessee during the winter of 1863-1864, and participated in the Atlanta Campaign during the summer of 1864.  During Stoneman's Raid, one of the operations in July 1864, a sizable portion of the regiment was captured for a third time.  After Atlanta, most of the regiment's remaining duty was fulfilled around Nashville, Tennessee until they were mustered out in either June or September 1865.

Content and Scope of Collection

This collection consists of letters from Robert B. Mewhinney to several members of his family, primarily his mother, his brother, Albert C. Mewhinney, and sister, Malvina McKee during his military service.  The bulk of the letters were sent in 1863 from Indianapolis when the regiment was reorganizing and being mounted as cavalry.  Mewhinney mentions several times the orders to be mounted and discusses the imminent execution of an unnamed member (Robert Gay) of the regiment for taking the oath of allegiance and some other traitorous acts. 

Small Document Case

 

 

 

 

Folder 1

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney to Clarissa   Mewhinney: Near Lexington, Kentucky

Aug. 20, 1862

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney

Jan. 29, 1863

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney

March 7, 186[3]

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Clarissa Mewhinney and Malvina McKee

March 16, 1863

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney

March 20, 1863

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney

March 26, 1863

 

 

 

Folder 2

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney

April 23, 18[63]

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney

July 31, 1863

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney: Lexington, Kentucky

Nov. 1, 1863

 

 

 

 

Letter from Robert B. Mewhinney
  to Albert Mewhinney: Leavenworth, Kansas

March 18, 1866