(1816 - 1907)
Home State: Indiana
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 27th Indiana Infantry
see his Battle Report
A lawyer before the Civil War, Colgrove listed Winchester, Indiana, as his residence when he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the three-month 8th Indiana Volunteer Infantry on April 26, 1861. The 8th, under the command of Colonel William P. Benton, saw service in the (West) Virginia campaign in the battle at Rich Mountain. The remainder of their term was spent at Beverly, (West) Virginia.
Colgrove was appointed colonel of the newly formed three-year 27th Indiana Infantry in September 1861. Colgrove, a disciplinarian, was described by his men as "tyrannical," and they appealed for his resignation or removal by the Governor. In spite of their pleas, Silas Colgrove would be the only colonel of the 27th Indiana.
The 27th moved east to Washington, D.C., and then to Frederick, Maryland, where they camped during the winter of 1861-62. In the spring of 1862, Colgrove and the 27th participated in the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia) Campaign and fought in the engagements at Front Royal and Winchester. The 27th saw action at Cedar Mountain, Virginia, in August 1862.
On the Campaign
At the battle of Antietam, the colonel was in "the thickest of the fighting" and had his horse shot from under him, but he was not injured. While fighting in Daniel Miller's famous Cornfield, his Regiment sustained casualties of nearly 50%.
The rest of the War
The 27th was not actively engaged again until 1863 and the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia. Colgrove sustained minor injuries at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before serving in the Atlanta campaign. As part of General Henry Slocum's XII Corps, Colonel Colgrove and the 27th followed Robert E. Lee's Confederate army into Pennsylvania. They did not take part in the fighting at Gettysburg until the third day when Colgrove became conspicuous for his impulsive behavior. Receiving garbled orders, he understood the Confederates to be in a weakened emplacement and he ordered an attack with two Union regiments. The ill-conceived attack at Spangler Meadow resulted in the 27th Indiana losing one-third of its men and retreating into its previous position.
The XII Corps was transferred to the west in September 1863 and became part of the XX Corps under General Joseph Hooker, after wintering at Tullahoma, Tennessee. The 27th joined William T. Sherman's Atlanta campaign and lost 68 killed and wounded at the battle at Resaca, Georgia, on May 15, 1864, while inflicting a loss five times as large on the Confederates--including capture of the colors, colonel, and many men of the 38th Alabama regiment. Colonel Colgrove was seriously wounded June 22, 1864, in the battle of Peachtree Creek.
After the fall of Atlanta, a reorganization took place and the veterans of the 27th were transferred to the 70th Indiana under Benjamin Harrison.
Colonel Colgrove resigned from the service December 30, 1864, and returned to Indiana where he took part in the treason trials.
After the War
Following his service in the Civil War, Colgrove was appointed to a judgeship in Winchester and was elected president of the Cincinnati, Fort Wayne & Grand Rapids Railroad. He was elected circuit judge for Randolph and Delaware Counties in 1865 for a term of six years and was elected to an additional six-year term in 1873.
In 1888, Colgrove moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Pension Office. His health forced him to resign in 1893. Silas Colgrove died January 13, 1907, in Lake Kerr, Florida. It is believed he was cremated, and his ashes scattered over Lake Kerr.
References & notes
5/24/1816; Woodhull, NY
1/13/1907; Lake Kerr, FL