IHS to share Spencer family’s Civil War story

Friday, September 29, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS — An Owen County family’s Civil War experiences are at the heart of the latest You Are There offering from the Indiana Historical Society (IHS).

The exhibit, “You Are There 1863: Letter Home from Gettysburg,” opened Sept. 23 and runs through Jan. 19, 2019 at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

You Are There 1863: Letter Home from Gettysburg is based on the largely unknown eyewitness account of Capt. David Enoch Beem of Spencer. While serving with the 14th Indiana Infantry Regiment, Capt. Beem wrote home of his experiences during the Battle of Gettysburg, the deadliest battle of the war, which resulted in more than 50,000 casualties.

The letter written by Capt. Beem is one of 192 letters in the Beem Family Collection in IHS’s archives. The collection also includes Civil War documents relating to his service and the 14th Indiana Infantry Regiment; his essays and speeches, including those written during his schooling at Indiana University; and family letters, court records, deeds, receipts and other legal documents relating to Owen County life (1821-1912).

The Beem Family Collection is housed in the William H. Smith Memorial Library, on the second floor of the History Center.

The library is free and open to the public during the History Center’s regular operating hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

Capt. Beem’s Civil War correspondence can be viewed through IHS’s online digital collection at images.indianahistory.org.

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