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Flags Benton County, Iowa in Civil War Flags

While the men from Benton county were valiantly contending on the field of battle, they had the comforting assurance that their families, as well as the supporters of households, were being provided for by patriotic citizens whose circumstances made it impossible for them to participate in military operations. . This remark is true as a whole, but that there were exceptions is evident from the following indignant editorial published in the Vinton Eagle of October. 3, 1861:

"But of all the accursed meanness extant, that of advising the poor, sickly wife of one of the volunteers to take in washing for the support of herself and children, while her husband, her only support in this life, is off like a true man, exposing his life for the general cause, caps the climax. The next meanest act is that of doling out a few pounds of flour to a half- starved woman with a large family, and at the same time, warning her to be as saving of it as possible. Bah! it makes us fairly sick to have to write about such littleness of soul. Of what avail is it to observe a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, to the end that the Almighty will shower down plentiful blessings upon us as a community, unless a stop is put to the daily fasting that is going on in our midst? It will not require a great deal of searching to find volunteersí families who are destitute of almost everything but flour, and who have but precious little of that. We do not purpose to specify families. It is for such as we have last designated to look them up and relieve their wants."

In October, 1861, the Ladies Aid Society was organized in Vinton, and throughout the entire period of the Civil war the wives, mothers, sisters and sweethearts labored night and day for the relief of their absent ones. The county board of supervisors was also energetic and thoughtful in providing all possible encouragement to would-be volunteers and extending aid to those union families which had been bereaved of their support and were in need of assistance. In August, 1862, at a special meeting of that body, a bounty of fifteen dollars was voted to be paid to each private and non-commissioned officer of two volunteer companies, and in January, 1863, the board also voted to extend aid to the families, especially to wives and mothers who were solely dependent on soldiers for their support Other bounties were favored by the supervisors before the conclusion of the war, one of the last being one hundred dollars voted to each volunteer or draftsman who should agree to serve until the cessation of hostilities.

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

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