Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

February 20, 2013

Historical gun on display

Morris to identify artifacts

Tess Rowing
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — A rifle which holds a special connection to Decatur County is currently available for viewing at the Decatur County Historical Museum.

Also upcoming at the Historical Society is Archaeology Day.

Ben Morris, retired archaeologist and renowned Native American artifact buff, will be at the Historical Society from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Feb. 23.

Morris will be available to look at visitor’s Native American artifacts to share information about the items. He will not be appraising the artifacts’ worth, nor making a formal presentation; rather he will be hosting a colloquium — an exchange of information.

The following information regarding the rifle was contributed by museum director, Dustin White.

“Spencer rifles have a special connection to Decatur County through Civil War Brevet Brigadier General, John T. Wilder, a one time resident of Greensburg.

General Wilder was an accomplished businessman in Greensburg, having operated a foundry and millwright business in town before serving in the Union Army.

In 1863, Wilder petitioned hard to get the men under his command armed with the technologically superior Spencer Repeating Rifles, which allowed his men to achieve a higher rate of firepower than their opponents.

These advanced armaments in the hands of Wilder’s mounted infantry earned his men the title of ‘Lightning Brigade,’ whose heroics played a key role in several major encounters, including The Battle of Hoover’s Gap and the Battle of Chickamauga.”

The rifle is on temporary loan from historian Phillip Jackson, Jr., and will be available for viewing for several months.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004