Alvin Peterson Hovey

Alvin Peterson Hovey, a remote cousin of General Charles E. Hovey, was born September 26, 1821, near Mount Vernon, Indiana. Orphaned at the age of fifteen, he was in succession bricklayer, schoolteacher, lawyer, officer of volunteers in the Mexican War (although he saw no service), member of the state constitutional convention, and circuit judge. In 1854 he was appointed to the state supreme court—the youngest man ever to serve on the Indiana bench up to that time. He served as U. S. District Attorney for a time, and in 1858 was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress on the Republican ticket. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hovey was commissioned colonel of the 24th Indiana, and after some preliminary service in Missouri, took his regiment into the bloody battle of Shiloh in Morgan Smith's brigade of Lew Wallace's division. His gallantry in this battle was rewarded with a promotion to brigadier. That autumn (1862) he commanded a division in Arkansas under General Samuel R. Curtis and a division of General John McClernand's XIII Corps in the Vicksburg campaign. His division and two of McPherson's (Logan's and Crocker's) fought almost the entire battle of Champion's Hill. In December, 1863, he was sent to Indiana to organize and forward the troops being recruited there and to act as a go-between for General U. S. Grant and Governor Oliver Perry Morton. During the preliminary stages of the Atlanta campaign in May, 1864, Hovey commanded a division of the XXIII Corps, but early in June he was given a thirty-day leave and his division was broken up. From then until the end of the war, with the brevet of major general (received July 4, 1864), he commanded the District of Indiana. During this period he was charged with the recruitment of ten thousand new troops, which he accomplished by asking for the enlistment of unmarried men only—these became known as "Hovey's Babies." After serving as U. S. minister to Peru from 1865 until 1870, Hovey returned to his law practice in Mount Vernon. He refused the Republican nomination for governor in 1872, was elected to Congress in 1886, and two years later finally accepted the governorship. He died in office at Indianapolis, November 23, 1891, and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, Mount Vernon.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.