(June 17, 1828-May 27, 1892). Born in New York, Abel Streight began his career as a building contractor, branching into the lumber business and later into publishing. He soon became active in Republican politics. In 1859, he moved to Indianapolis.

Streight published a pamphlet in early 1861 advocating preservation of the Union, by force if necessary. Governor Oliver P. Morton sent him to Springfield, Illinois, as his personal emissary to Abraham Lincoln and later authorized Streight to organize the 51st Indiana Regiment. He became its colonel in September 1861 and served with his regiment in the Army of the Cumberland.

Streight is best known for his 1863 raid across northern Alabama to break a railroad. The entire force was captured by Confederates under Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Streight was sent to Libby Prison.

A map showing Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The route of Streight's raid is plotted out.
Route of Streight’s Raid Credit: Brian0918 via Wikimedia Commons View Source

In February 1864, he escaped. He returned to his regiment, by then exchanged, served as a brigade commander, and was breveted brigadier general by President Andrew Johnson and the U.S. Senate. He left military service on March 13, 1865.

Streight returned to publishing and the lumber business. He began manufacturing chairs and resumed participation in Republican politics. He won election as a state senator in 1876, but failed to obtain the Republican nomination for governor in 1880. 

Upon his death, Streight was buried at his residence and in 1902 was reinterred at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Revised March 2021

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