From the moment it ended it was labeled as the grandest Independence Day celebration Anderson had ever seen. Estimates placed the number of visitors in the city on July 4, 1895, between 15,000 and 25,000. Added to that number were an unknown number of city residents, which in 1895, numbered 20,000.
The three railroads that serviced the city in 1895 reported their incoming passenger totals for the day. The Big Four brought 800 in from the west, 1,200 from the north and 1,100 from the east. The Pan Handle brought in 1,500 from the north and 500 from the south. The Midland brought in 800. In addition, thousands more arrived on horseback, by foot and in buggies and carriages.
The celebration was the idea of Anderson resident Maj. Charles T. Doxey, a veteran of the Civil War. Through his influence with Indiana Gov. Claude Matthews and the Adjutant-general of Indiana, the State Militia, including artillery and infantry, was allowed to participate in a sham Civil War battle to be held on the grounds of the North Anderson Driving Park. As part of Maj. Doxey's staff, Civil War Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace had been invited to attend and command one wing of the Union army.
For two days and nights the militia troops were encamped among the stately trees on the grounds of the driving park. During their stay, a photograph was taken and among the many dignitaries shown are Gen. Wallace and Gov. Matthews.
The day began with great anticipation as the city began filling up before 8 a.m. and by 10 a.m. the streets around the public square were jammed with people.
The festivities commenced at 10 a.m. with a parade headed by the entire Anderson police force and members of the militia. Next in line on horseback were Doxey and his staff including Gen. Wallace, a scene also captured and preserved by a photographer. They were followed by numerous military units from cities and towns throughout central Indiana.