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      General Sherman ordered General Rousseau's 1,800-man brigade, labeled by secessionists as the 'Silver Creek Ragamuffins', south from Elizabethtown on October 9 to make repairs along the railroad and to extend Union control of the line in that direction. Rousseau was directed to establish a staging area for future offensive operations. He chose a site near the hamlet of Nolin, Kentucky, securing the rail bridge over the Nolin River. Camp Nevin, as the site was called, would become the eventual departure point south for thousands of Union soldiers, but at the time there was a critical need for troops on this front. [18]

      Sherman issued orders to the 32nd on October 15, 1861, directing Willich to march eight of ten companies from New Haven to the assembly area at Camp Nevin by way of Hodgensville. Departing in the rain for the 18-mile march over muddy roads, the regiment arrived at Nevin and immediately fell into the rhythm of life established at the site. Companies I and K remained behind to guard the rail line until Colonel Curran Pope's 15th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, then organizing in the area, could relieve them. Before the month could pass, Kentucky waters claimed a second member of the 32nd when Private Louis Becker of Company I drowned in the Rolling Fork River near New Haven. His body was recovered and laid to rest at the Mt. Carmel Graveyard outside town on October 29. [19] Soon after, the two companies departed New Haven to join their comrades at Nevin.

      Guarding Government interests in the area around Camp Nevin became a primary mission, in addition to training, for the forces stationed there. Deteriorating weather conditions over the preceding weeks insured certain misery on any picket post. Weather apparently played a factor in an unusual occurrence of dereliction of duty on the part of a squad of the 32nd tasked with guarding federal stores at the village of Glendale, four miles north of Camp Nevin.

      Friday, November 1 dawned gray, cold and blustery as Willich completed inspection of the regiment for brigade picket duty at several stations in the region. One squad of eight men and one officer drew Glendale as their post and marched to their duty. Just after noon torrential rain commenced and lasted until early the following day. Roads quickly transformed to knee-deep tracts of mud. At the appointed time on Saturday, a squad from the 15th Ohio, trudging through the mud, approached Glendale to relieve the men of the 32nd.

      After noticing the absence of guards around the government stores, First Lieutenant William C. Scott of H Company, 15th Ohio, ordered his men to advance cautiously. In the process of investigating, locals told Scott that, indeed, the Germans were in town the day before but once the rain started they marched out and did not return. Strong discipline was required to instill attention to duty in all men new to military life. Court-martials convened to weed out incompetent officers and to punish soldiers guilty of similar offenses.

      By November 4, 1861, the 32nd Indiana officially became one of four regiments of the Sixth Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Richard W. Johnson, a former regular army cavalry officer. The other regiments were: Colonel Thomas J. Harrison's 39th Indiana, Colonel William Dicky's 15th Ohio, and Colonel William H. Gibson's 49th Ohio. The transformation of civilian to soldier took the greatest priority at Camp Nevin. Drill, guard duty, patrolling the tracks and more drill became the routine order of business. [20]

      Reveille began the days at 5:00 A. M. with first drill commencing at 9:00. Willich directed his officers to continue the established training regime at individual, squad, company and regimental level. Instruction remained constant to occupy both mind and body. The regiment adapted remarkably well in responding to the numerous bugle calls required for the drill programs. Bayonet training, dear to the colonel's heart, developed into an awe-inspiring exhibition that established the regiment's reputation of professionalism.

      Intricate fencing maneuvers of the drill, actuated by bugle command, seemed all the more deadly by the ferocious bellowing of the men then by the highly polished saber bayonets fixed on their weapons. Willich's men performed with tremendous precision, exuberance and pride. This mixture of experience, competence and esprit de corps resulted in the Germans being viewed as the regiment to emulate, or to best. When not engaged with drill, guard duty or police duty, the colonel saw to it that all personnel acquired proper schooling in army regulations and military discipline. Twenty-four hour picket duty at isolated posts became the only relief from routine, monotonous training. Unfortunately, disease became routine as well.

      With so many thousands of men crammed into such a small area, communicable disease transformed Camp Nevin into a massive field hospital. Proper sanitation and personal hygiene skills had yet to be developed as a means of safeguarding against sickness and men who had seldom strayed far from the farm were suddenly laid low by common childhood disorders. Weeks of dismally cold, wet weather in October and November converted the bivouac into soggy marshland, contributing greatly to the general misery, especially for the afflicted.

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 [18] Merrill & Company, The Soldiers of Indiana in the War for the Union (Indianapolis, 1866), 231-232. Union troops sarcastically named the camp after the landowner, reportedly a staunch Secessionist. Col. R. M. Kelly, U. S. Volunteers, "Holding Kentucky For The Union," in: Battles and Leaders of the Civil War--The Opening Battles, Castle Books, Vol. I, 379.
 [19] Official Records (1898), Vol. IV (S/N #4), Chap. XII, 307; U. S. Quartermaster Department, Government Printing Office (1868), Roll of Honor-Names of Soldiers Who Died in Defense of the American Union, Vol. XXIV, 156. Record indicates Becker's remains moved to New Albany National Cemetery, Sec. D, #176; Conner, Vol. 5, 71.
 [20] Official Records (1898), Vol. IV (S/N #4), Chap. XII, 333.