Aug. 18 program will focus on Civil War brigadier general from LaPorte who suffered from PTSD

General Newell Gleason

The La Porte County Historical Society will present a program Saturday, Aug. 18, starting at 1 p.m. at the museum, 2405 Indiana Ave., LaPorte. The program, entitled “A Wounded Mind: Newell Gleason’s Civil War, 1862-1886,” will be presented by Dr. David L. Hay.

Dr. Hay’s program will explore the life of Newell Gleason, a civil engineer who lived in LaPorte who volunteered in 1862 to fight for the Union, leading a regiment and later a brigade. After commanding the 87th Indiana Volunteer Regiment at the battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, Gleason displayed increasingly erratic behavior, exhibiting many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), what was called a “mind wound” in that era. Named a brigadier general in 1865, he endured his condition with mixed success until taking his own life in 1886. For nearly 25 years, Gleason fought a psychological civil war, a war that he lost.

Hay’s talk will be accompanied by a slide presentation of images of Gleason’s life and times, including the battles of Chickamauga and of Missionary Ridge fought by the 87th Indiana.        

David Hay is a lifelong resident of LaPorte County. His ancestors first settled here in 1855. He earned a Ph.D. in U.S. History and an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame, as well as an M.B.A. in accounting from Northwestern University. David is retired from the faculty of Purdue Northwest and enjoys playing music, reading, researching local history, and spending time with his four children and two grandchildren. He is active in the Presbyterian Church of LaPorte and is a trustee of the Susan Hay Hemminger Scholarship Foundation, which helps finance college for county residents.

David’s interest in the Civil War was nurtured by battlefield trips while he was growing up, and this topic was sparked by the Civil War service of his ancestor Nelson Titus, a private in the 87th Indiana Volunteers.

The La Porte County Historical Society Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is accessible to those with disabilities. For more information, please call 219-324-6767.

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