Elijah Henry Clay Cavins

Photos from the Past

Elijah Henry Clay Cavins

Elijah Henry Clay Cavins was born April 16, 1832, in Greene County, Indiana. He was the son of Col. Samuel R. Cavins, a veteran of the War of 1812, and Susan (Gainey) Cavins, and the fourth of 13 children.

He was a descendant of sturdy colonial stock, both branches of his family having fought in the Revolutionary War. His father filled the offices of county recorder, auditor, and clerk. Elijah was reared in the city of Bloomfield, where he received a common school education, after which he graduated from the Indiana University law school in 1853. Returning to Bloomfield, he entered active practice and retired in 1906 having achieved eminence at the bar. He also became a Freemason in 1854 and was also a member of the York Rite of Freemasonry. He was married September 23, 1855, to Ann M. Downing, who died in 1907.

At the first call for volunteers in April 1861, he organized a company and was elected Captain. This company became Company D of the 14th Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry and went into the service in May, 1861. Captain Cavins was promoted to Major August 11, 1862; Lt. Colonel, January 22, 1863, and was commissioned Colonel May 13, 1864. He took part in every battle in which his regiment was engaged until the Battle of the Wilderness, having been sent home prior to the battle to assist the Governor in filling up the regiment's ranks which had been greatly reduced by such battles as Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and more than 60 minor engagements.

At Antietam, Colonel Cavins had command of the 14th and was wounded in the hand. At Fredericksburg, he received another slight wound and 10 holes were shot in his clothing. At Morton's Ford, with a leave of absence in his pocket, received the day before, he commanded his regiment and the 7th West Virginia Regiment, his horse being shot from under him in this engagement. In June, 1864, he and his regiment retired from the advance line and a few weeks later, he was commissioned Adjutant General and Inspector General for the southern Division of Indiana, in which position he served until the close of the War.

Colonel Cavins became an ardent Grand Army of the Republic member of Lovell H. Rousseau Post No. 326 in Bloomfield and was an officer in that body. Colonel and Mrs. Cavins were the parents of five children, of whom two survived him when he died on September 11, 1910, and was buried beside his wife in Grand View Cemetery, Bloomfield, Indiana.

Photograph and information submitted by Colonel Cavins' great great grandson, George Marshall, Jr. , Private Richard Taylor Camp #53, SUVCW, Huntsville, Alabama.

Elijah Henry Clay Cavins