Jesse Ianthus Alexander

A black and white image of Colonel Jesse Ianthus Alexander in union officer uniform.
Colonel Jesse Ianthus Alexander

Library of Congress

Born in 1824 in Gosport, Indiana, Jesse Ianthus Alexander was a graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington, Mexican-American War veteran, a successful lawer, and a state senator for six years. By the time of the Vicksburg campaign, Alexander had commanding the 59th Indiana Infantry for over a year.

As major general Ulysses S. Grant searched for options to attack Vicksburg, a joint army-navy expedition was formed for utilizing the bayous of the Delta to transport union forces north to attack the "Hill City." As the expedition bogged down due to natural obsticles and determined Confederate resistence at Fort Pemberton, union reinforcements including Alexander's 59th Indiana arrived to help. The land was ill suited for an infantry assault and the union forces returned to the Mississippi River. Alexander had taken over command of the First Brigade, Seventh Division, Seventeenth Army Corps upon their return from the Yazoo Pass expedition until May 2, 1863, before reverting back to command of his regiment.

Alexander's regiment next crossed the Mississippi River and marched with Grant's army toward Jackson, Mississippi, placing their regimental flag in the cupola of the capital dome. Next, the Hoosiers headed west for Vicksburg. Alexander had taken over command of the First Brigade, Seventh Division, Seventeenth Army Corps from April till May 1863, before reverting back to command of his regiment. The 59th Indiana suffered heavily assaulting the Confederate works on May 22, 1863, with 11 killed, 89 wounded and 1 missing. Alexander and his regiment were sent on an expedition to the Yazoo River, occupying Snyder's Bluff, then returning to their former works on the siege lines. They would be moved further north on the line and occupy that position until the surrender of Vicksburg, on July 4th.

Jesse Ianthus Alexander would continue commanding the 59th Indiana Infantry through the campaigns of 1863-64 until his resignation in August 1864. He returned to Gosport, Indiana, picked up his law practice, moved to Terre Haute, where he died from apoplexy in 1871.
 
A bronze relief portrait of Jesse Ianthus Alexander
Relief portrait of Colonel Jesse Ianthus Alexander, 59th Indiana Infantry.

NPS Image

Colonel, 59th Indiana Infantry.

Commanding the First Brigade, Seventh Division,
Seventeenth Army Corps, April 16 - May 2, 1863.

Cost: $183 for bronze by Federal Government.

Sculptor: T.A.R. Kitson

Erected: June 11, 1918

Location: Union Avenue,
50 yards south of Minnesota State Memorial.

Last updated: December 11, 2018

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