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Flags Benton County, Iowa in Civil War Flags

Company G, of the Thirteenth Iowa Infantry, was raised entirely in Benton county, the regiment being commanded from March, 1863, to November, 1864, by Colonel John Shane of Vinton. Early in September, 1861, Mr. Shane organized a cavalry company of which he was elected captain, with James. H. Shutts, first lieutenant, and William A. Walker, second lieutenant. The company was organized as the Benton Guards; in October left Vinton in command of Captain Shane for Camp McClellan at Davenport; and there was incorporated into the service as Company G, Thirteenth Iowa Infantry. The regiment was formally mustered into the service November 2, 1861. Captain Chambers, the mustering officer, rejected a few men, but the regiment reached Davenport with a strength of eight hundred and ninety-nine men, and this number was soon afterward increased, by enlistments, to nine hundred and eighty-nine. The regiment went into the field with Marcellus M. Crocker, formerly of the Second regiment as colonel; Milton M. Price, lieutenant colonel, and John Shane, major. When the men had been supplied with clothing and otherwise fully equipped, the regiment was ordered to Benton Barracks, Missouri where it remained until December 11th, when it was ordered to Jefferson city, where it performed garrison duty during the winter. During this time Colonel Crocker and his officers put the privates through a thorough course of instructions and drill, several hours being devoted to these matters each day. The result was that in March, when the regiment received orders to report to General Grant at Pittsburg Landing, the Thirteenth Infantry was well fitted for the practical duties of warfare. It arrived at Pittsburg Landing on the 23d of that month, and, with the Eleventh Iowa, and the Eighth and Eighteenth Illinois regiments, was constituted the First Brigade under Colonel Richard Oglesby, afterward Governor of Illinois. On the first day of the battle of Shiloh, the regiment was under fire for ten hours, both Lieutenant Colonel Price and Major Shane being wounded, and the regiment suffered a total loss of twenty-four killed, one hundred and thirty-nine wounded and nine missing. A few days after this terrible engagement the army was re-organized, and the Thirteenth was attached to the Third brigade, composed of the Eleventh, Thirteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth Iowa regiments. This was commanded by Colonel M. M. Crocker and was known as the Iowa brigade. About this time Lieutenant Colonel Price resigned and Major Shane was promoted to be lieutenant colonel, his commission dating from April 17, 1862. The command participated in the siege of Corinth, until the early part of November, when it joined the campaign under General Grant against Vicksburg. Upon the promoticn of Colonel Crocker to be brigadier general, Lieutenant Colonel Shane was commissioned colonel of the Thirteenth, his service as head of the regiment commencing March 13, 1863, and continuing until the expiration of his term of enlistment, November 9, 1864. During most of the campaign around Vicksburg, the Iowa brigade became famous for its remarkable staying qualities, as well as for its celerity of movement, and acquired the name of "Crocker's Grayhounds." It was part of Sherman's army of observation, and July 4, 1863, when Vicksburg was surrendered to Grant, the Thirteenth was skirmishing with Johnston's Confederate army at Big Black river. In August it co-operated with a portion of the Union navy in wrecking and dismantling gunboats which had been sunk by rebel torpedoes in Yazoo river. In September it went into quarters at Vicksburg and from February to March, 1864, was a portion of General Sherman's forces in his famous raid on Meridian. On its return from this campaign most of the men reenlisted as veterans, were given a thirty days' furlough, and on the 7th of March started for their Iowa homes.

Company G sent a representation of forty-seven menbers, who reached Vinton on the 18th. The same evening a meeting of citizens was held at the court house for the purpose of arranging a fitting welcome to the boys who had so valiantly conducted themselves and who had had the further courage to reenlist for whatever might happen, until the conclusion of the war. Ten committees, composed of men and women, were selected to make arrangements for both the reception at the court house and the banquet at Tremont House. As already stated, the surviving members of Company D, Eighth Infantry, also arrived on veteran furlough on the 25th, so that both companies were honored by this enthusiastic outpouring of the men, women and children of Vinton.

On the 16th of April, the Thirteenth Infantry was reunited, and on the 8th of June joined Sherman's army at Ackworth, Georgia. It took part in the engagement at Kenesaw Mountain, and was almost continuously under fire until July 20th, when it was assigned to a position about three miles from Atlanta. On the 21st, in a splendid assault on one of the rebel forces, the Iowa brigade, under Colonel Shane, lost two hundred and twenty-six men in twenty-seven minutes; again suffering severely on the 22d, and on the 28th distinguishing itself in the successful repulse of a fierce assault of the enemy against a vital portion of the Union lines. It participated in Sherman's march to the sea, and a portion of the regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy, entered Columbia and hoisted the stars and stripes on the South Carolina capitol. As a regiment it was finally mustered out with all the usual honors of war accorded to brave men, on July 28 and 29, 1865.

Major William A. Walker, of Vinton, was one of the brave soldiers from Benton county, who lost his life near Atlanta, his death in battle occurring July 22, 1864. He had been commissioned second lieutenant of Company G, October 28, 1861; was promoted captain three days later, and became major of his regiment March 13. 1863. The other general officers, who went from the county, were as follows: Newell C. Keyes, who became corporal of Company G, September 27, 1861, was wounded at Shiloh and commissioned quartermaster November 11, 1864; and William H. Buchan, who enlisted January 2, 1864, was promoted corporal and wounded near Atlanta.

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Transcribed by John Shuck from
The 1910 History of Benton County, Iowa

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