"Echoes of War Times in Waterloo"

Waterloo Evening Courier
Waterloo, Iowa
28 May 1910
Page 10
Full page article

First Waterloo Soldier Slain In War of Rebellion

Lorraine T. Washburn.

     Private Co. I, Third Iowa infantry; enlisted at Waterloo May 20, 1861; wounded in action at Blue Mills Landing, Mo., Sept 17, 1861, and died the following day.  Private Washburn was a son of Levi Washburn, who came to Waterloo with his family in 1856 or '57.  The original family residence from which young Washburn went forth on that June morning of '61, never to return is now known as No. 173 Third street west.


In Desperate Battle.

     Lorraine T. Washburn left Waterloo with the first enlistment of men who were members of Co. I.  The incidents surrounding their departure are described in another article in this issue.  It was with high hopes that this young man, a mere boy, said good by to loved ones, little dreaming that his life would be the first among the Waterloo volunteers to be shed that his country might live.  He received his mortal wounds in the battle of Blue Mills, Mo., on Sept 17, 1861, a little more than four months after he left his home.  This was a bloody engagement, the official records showing that out of Co. I, Third regiment, Iowa infantry volunteers, three men were killed and twenty-five were wounded.  The killed and wounded in Co. I constituted one-fourth of the loss of the entire regiment in this battle.  The company was commanded by the gallant Capt. M. M. Trumbull, who afterwards became lieutenant colonel of the regiment, then colonel of theNinth Iowa cavalry, and subsequently rose to the rank of brevet brigadier general of volunteers.
     From the "Roster of Iowa Soldiers" the following facts concerning the battle of Blue Mills are gleaned:

     On June 8 to 10, 1861, the ten companies composing the Third Iowa Infantry volunteers were mustered in the United States service for three years at Keokuk.  On June 27 they embarked on steamboats down the Mississippi river for Hannibal, Mo., and thence transported by rail to Utica, Mo.  During the summer they took part in the operations against the rebel generals, Thomas Harris and Martin Green, and encamped near the towns of Paris and Kirksville, Mo.  They sustained slight losses in contact with the enemy at Hager's Woods, Monroe, Shelbina and Florida, Mo.  About the middle of September 500 troops of the Third including Co. I, in command of Col. John Scott, proceeded west of Cameron, Mo., which led to the battle of Blue Mills Landing on Sept. 17.  The Third suffered severely in this engagement, and of less than 600 men engaged 96 were killed or wounded.  The enemy fought on the defensive and had the advantage of position.  The following day the dead were buried with military honors, the wounded, who were able to bear the journey, were taken to Cameron, while the most severely wounded, including Lorraine Washburn, were left at Liberty.
     The total enrollment of the Third infantry was 1,109 men, of whom, during the war, 76 were killed and 370 wounded, of whom 30 later died of their wounds and 109 died of disease.


List of Co. I's Casualties.

     From Col. G. W. Crosley of the adjutant general's office, Des Moines, the following lists of killed and wounded in the battle of Blue Mills have been procured:


Hiram G. W. Bedel, Marble Rock.
Benjamin F. Darland, Marble Rock.
Thomas M. Mix, Clarksville.


Charles E. Balcom, Waterloo.
James Buel, Clarksville.
William Burdick, Clarksville.
Leroy A. Carter, Osage.
Richard C. Dolph, Vinton.
Peter S. Dorlan, Waterloo.
Daniel W. Foote, Waterloo.
David Forney, Mitchell.
Woolsey Hawks, Marble Rock.
Isaac M. Henderson, Shell Rock.
Lieut. Jno. P. Knight, Mitchell.
Willis H. Merifield, Clarksville.
William L. Peppers, La Porte.
Lewis D. Powers, St. Charles.
Albert S. Russell, Mitchell.
Ferdinand Seick, Vinton.
George H. Smalley, Mitchell.
George W. Stocks, Syracuse.
Samuel Trowbridge, Clarksville.
Joseph Vyborney, Mitchell.
Thomas B. Walley, Vinton.
Asa H. Warner, Clarksville.
Lorraine T. Washburn, Waterloo, (Died of wounds Sept. 18, 1861).
James E. White, Vinton.
Alfred M. Wilcox, Shell Rock.

     Col. Crosley was first lieutenant of Co. E, 3rd Iowa Inf., at the time of the battle of Blue Mills and, with his company, participated in the battle.  He was subsequently promoted to major, and was later made brevet lieutenant colonel and colonel of the regiment.


Private Washburn's Injury.

     Private Lorraine T. Washburn was wounded in the leg on Sept. 17, the day of the bloody battle, and died the next day as a result of his injuries.  He was but 20 years old, and a fine appearing boy.  His father, Levi Washburn, was a school teacher and lies buried in the old Waterloo cemetery, south of town.  Lorraine's stepmother, Mrs. Catherine Washburn, lives at 1951 Mulberry street.  A nephew, Harry Washburn, and niece, Mrs. J. F. Barron, reside at 1621 Jefferson street.  Lorraine was a native of Vermont.


Peter S. Dorlan. -- First Wounded Soldier Brought Home.

      In the list of wounded in the battle of Blue Mills was P. S. Dorlan, now deceased, and for many years a well known and highly honored citizen of Waterloo.  He was the first soldier brought back from the front, wounded.  His arrival on a cot, emaciated and pale, created a great stir in the town.  Loyalty for the union received a new baptism, and while sympathy for the wounded and suffering were in every heart, there was a renewed purpose to prosecute the war to a successful finish.  Mr. Dorlan's coming was the signal for a general holiday, and the streets were thronged with all classes.  A meeting was held and speeches and music enlivened the occasion.  Those who were in Waterloo at the time will never forget the public ado made over this suffering soldier.


Official Report of the Battle of Blue Mills Landing.

     Lieut. Col. John Scott, commanding the Third Iowa infantry, reported the battle of Blue Mills Landing as follows:

Hdqrs. Third Regiment Iowa Volunteers, Liberty, Mo., September 18, 1861.

     Sir:  In relation to an affair of yesterday, which occurred near Blue Mills Landing, about five miles from this place, I have the honor to report.
     Agreeably to your orders I left Cameron at 3 p.m. of the 15th inst., and through a heavy and bad road made but seven miles during that afternoon.  By a very active march on the 16th I reached Centreville, 10 miles north of Liberty, by sunset, where the firing of cannon was distinctly heard in the direction of Platte City, which was surmised to be from Colonel Smith's Sixteenth Illinois command.  Had sent a messenger to Colonel Smith from Hainesville, and sent another from Centreville, apprising him of my movements, but got no response. 
     On the 17th, at 2 a.m., started from Centreville to Liberty, and at daylight the advanced guards fell in with the enemy's pickets, which they drove in and closely followed.  At 7 a.m. my command arrived at Liberty, and bivouacked on the hill north of and overlooking the town.  I dispatched several scouts to examine the position of the enemy, but could gain no definite information.  They had passed throughLiberty during the afternoon of the 16th to the number of about 4,000, and taken the road to Blue Mills Landing, and were reported as having four pieces of artillery.  At 11 o'clock a.m. heard firing in the direction of the landing, which was reported as a conflict between the rebels and forces disputing their passage over the river.  At 12 p.m. moved the command, consisting of 500 of the Third Iowa, a squad of German artillerists, and about 70 home guards, in the direction of Blue Mills Landing.  On the route learned that a body of our scouts had fallen in with the enemy's pickets, and lost four killed and one wounded.  Before starting dispatched courier to Col. Smith to hasten his command.  About two miles from Liberty the advance guard drove in the enemy's pickets.  Skirmishers closely examined the dense growth through which our route lay, and at 2 p.m. discovered the enemy in force concealed on both sides of the road and occupying the dry bed of a slough, hisleft resting on the river and the right extending beyond our observation.  He opened a heavy fire, which drove back our skirmishers, and made simultaneous attacks upon our front and right.  They were well sustained, and he retired with loss to his position.  In the attack on our front the artillery suffered so severely that the only piece, a brass six-pounder, was left without sufficient force to man it, and was only able to have it discharged twice during the action.  Some of the gunners abandoned the piece, carrying off the matches and primer, and could not be rallied.
     The enemy kept up a heavy fire from his position.  Our artillery useless, and many of the officers and men already disabled, it was deemed advisable to fall back, which was done slowly, returning the enemy's fire, and completely checking pursuit.  The six-pounder was brought off by hand through the gallantry of Captain Trumbull, Lieutenants Crosley and Knight and various officers and men of the Third Iowa after it had been entirely abandoned by the artillerists.  The ammunition wagon, becoming fastened between a tree and log at the roadside in such a manner that it could not be released without serious loss, was abandoned.
     The engagement lasted one hour and was sustained by my command with an intrepidity that merits my warmest appreciation.
     I have to regret the loss of a number of brave officers and men, who fell gallantly fighting at their posts.  I refer to the enclosed list of killed and wounded as a part of this report.  The heaviest fire was sustained by Company I, Third Iowa Volunteers, which lost four killed and twenty wounded, being one-fourth of our total loss.
     Major Stone, Captains Willett and O'Neill were severely wounded, and also Lieutenants Hobbs, Anderson, Tullis and Knight.  The latter refused to retire from the field, being three times wounded, and remained with his men until the close of the engagement.
     Among the great number who deserve my thanks for their gallantry I might mention Sergt. James F. Lakin of Company F, Third Iowa, who bore the colors, and carried them into the thickest of the fight with the coolness of a veteran.
     The loss of the enemy cannot be certain, but from accounts deemed to be reliable is not less than 160, many of whom were killed.  His total force was about 4,400.  Your obedient servant.
John Scott.

Lieutenant Colonel Third Iowa Volunteers.
S. D. Stargis, Brigadier General, U. S. Army.


Thrilling War Days Of 1861

Many Old Residents Remember Strenuous Times.

Mrs. H. D. Williams Tells of Drills and Army Maneuvers.

     On every recurrent Memorial Day, persons still living who experienced the thrill of ante and post bellum days, recollect the trying the strenuous times of 1861-1865 that called for the best men in the nation, either on one side or the other.  With the approach of Memorial Day, several of the older residents of the city recall some of the incidents of the early war time.
     In 1861 Waterloo was but a village.  The neighboring city of Cedar Falls was much larger than this city.  When the first rounds of ammunition had been fired at old Fort Sumpter, the reverberations were caught up in every part of the nation.  Enthusiasm, augmented by realization of duty, was fired and men in every walk of life shouldering the rifle or musket marched away to do battle for their country.


Several Waterlooans Enlist.

     Although there was no recruiting station in Waterloo, yet many made application for enlistment in the army.  G. A. Eberhart, later Col. Eberhart, took the leadership in arousing the citizens to their duty and was largely instrumental in organizing the Third regiment with Col. Trumbull of Shell Rock as head.  For weeks during the summer of 1861 many citizens of Waterloo and surrounding country were interested in enlisting and going to the front.
     Mrs. H. D. Williams, 316 Jefferson street, very distinctly remembers the enthusiasm and stirring addresses delivered by patriotic persons and watching many leave for the south.  Not being able to be mustered into service here they went south, probably to St. Louis, where they entered the Benton Barracks, and were later dispatched to the various departments.


Street Corner Speeches.

     Many an address was delivered on the street corners from dry goods boxes.  Latent oratory was fired and burning enthusiasm was heated to the point of irresistence.  The old court house that stood on the east bank of the river was a favorite meeting place, also, for speechmaking.
     Then squads of would-be soldiers marched into the city and they drilled on what was known for many years as the old "mill square," now known as the Nauman property, northwest of Bridge street.  All the army tactics known to the leaders were gone through with.


Many Touching Scenes.

     Mrs. Williams related some of the incidents of the army boys leaving on what proved to be the last journey to some.  There was only one railroad through this part of the country then, the Dubuque & Sioux City, and only one train a day each way.  The depot was located on what is now Fourth street east, near where the shop now stands and the railroad tracks are located.
     Many touching scenes transpired.  Sweethearts were torn from their prospective brides and husbands.  Mothers watched their sons climb aboard the train that was to carry them toward the land of slaughter.  Wives and little children clung eagerly to husbands and fathers, from whose hardened countenances dropped an occasional tear, but with a sigh and shrug of those manly shoulders, they took their departure.  Many of these never returned, while others came back home to die or eke out a maimed and miserable existence.
     Henry Crittenden, a brother of Mrs. Williams, enlisted, participated in a great many of the serious encounters of the war, having received only one slight wound, a scratch across the back of one hand.  He resided here many years, and later removed to Detroit where he died a few years ago.


Returned Home to Die.

     Frederick S. Washburn was a member of the Ninth Iowa.  He left during June of 1861 and two years later returned home, badly injured in the battle of Vicksburg, and died the second day after returning home.  There were two Parker brothers also from this section, who were shot down in battle.


Story of How the First Soldiers Went to War

     The Waterloo Courier of May 29, 1861, contains the following bugle call:


     "Next Tuesday is the day decided upon for 'our boys' to leave their homes in Waterloo, and march to the field of battle.  Captain M. M. Trumbull's company, from Butler county, has been accepted by the governor of this state, and his company, not being large enough, and as there was not enough men to form a full company in Waterloo who could leave their homes, and as there were about twenty-five or thirty in this place to 'show fight' at all hazards, they thought it policy to join Captain Trumbull's company.  The Butler county guards will arrive about 3 o'clock on Monday next, and remain in this place until the day following and, of course, our boys will go with them."
     Under the date of June 5, 1861, the Courier gave the following particulars of the departure of the first soldiers form this section of the state.  William H. Hartman, father of the present editor, who was one of the editors of the Courier at that time, accompanied the boys as far as Dubuque and his impressions of the journey were given under the following head lines:


"Departure of the Volunteers -- Their Reception at Dubuque."

     "Tuesday, June 4, was quite an eventful day in the annals of our place.  The volunteers started for their rendezvous at Keokuk on the morning train, together with the Pioneer Greys of Cedar Falls.
     "Capt. Trumbull arrived Monday evening from Clarksville with that portion of his company raised in Benton and Butler counties, accompanied by a large delegation of citizens and friends of the volunteers.  Before entering town Capt. Trumbull formed his company into marching order and, preceded by the Waterloo band, marched down Commercial street to the Sherman House (now Carpenter's hotel) where they were received, and the hospitalities of our place tendered them by Elder Eberhart in a brief, but touching speech.  Capt. Trumbull returned the thanks of the company to the citizens of Waterloo for their kind reception, and after music by the band and cheers for the Union, the company broke ranks to mingle with the soldiers here and rest after their long day's march -- the cannon in the meantime being fired at regular intervals.  Monday evening a union meeting was held at the court house.  The gathering was large and enthusiastic.  Elder Eberhart, W. M. Newton and Capt. Trumbull were the speakers.  Their efforts were timely and appropriate and breathed the spirit of patriotism and loyalty to the union which does honor to themselves and justice to that government which has held its protecting arm over them while they have grown and prospered.
     "Tuesday morning the troops were mustered at the court house and sworn in by W. M. Newton, numbering in all 108 men.  Thirty of the company were from this place.  They were then escorted to the cars by the cavalry company, numbering about fifty horses.  At the depot a large crowd was assembled -- we should say nearly 4,000 people, showing how widespread is the sympathy of our citizens for the good cause and the interest they take in those who have volunteered to save their country in this, her hour of trial.  At the depot, while waiting for the cars, appropriate farewell speeches were made by Messrs. Curtiss and Newton.  As the time approached for the arrival of the train, the volunteers were around bidding adieu to their friends and relations; many faces became serious and not a few of the ladies were in tears.
     "The train arrived at 10:30 a.m., and the troops were soon seated in the cars.  The Pioneer Greys and Cedar Falls band were aboard.  After music by the band, and cheering for the companies, the train backed up the track a short distance and came by the depot under headway, the crowd cheering, cannon firing, waving of handkerchiefs and hurried 'good byes.'  And thus Waterloo has laid her first votive offering upon the shrine of our common country.  Her numbers are not many, but true and brave, and generous are they to leave a home of comfort and plenty to undergo the fatigues and dangers of the soldier's life.  They go bearing with them the admiration and best wishes for their welfare and safety of our community.  May they prove true to the cause in which they have enlisted, and return to us again with the laurels of the conqueror encircling their brows.  The prayers of many will go up to the Great Giver of life for them morning and evening, and the eyes of many anxious watchers will be upon all their movements.  We can only add our voice to many, when we wish them success, full and perfect, over the traitors against whom they are going, with a Godspeed the right.
     "We, in common with some others of this town, concluded to jump on board the train, and accompany them to Dubuque, and are free to confess that we never enjoyed a 'ride on a rail' in a more pleasant manner than on this occasion.  At every station large crowds of people were assembled, waiting anxiously to obtain a glimpse of the soldiers, and upon leaving the station, the Cedar Falls brass band would 'strike up' one of its best national airs.  Arriving at Dubuque about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, our attention was attracted to the Washington Guards who were stationed at the depot to give the two companies a friendly military reception, after which they were escorted (headed by the Germania band) to the public square for a brief but patriotic speech delivered by Judge Pollock.  At the conclusion of his remarks, the band played a soul-stirring piece; then parading by the military was 'all the go' for at least an hour.  In glancing at the three companies, we observed that there were men from every walk in life -- merchants, farmers, clerks, printers, lawyers, doctors, etc. -- the high, the low, the rich and the poor.  We venture that there is not a man in either company but who is willing to leave friends, home, and the comforts of home, and to welcome all the privations and discomforts of camp life; if needs be, hunger and thirst, cold and wet, or to take the last look at this beautiful earth, and to look to heaven for his justification, for a death bed of glory upon a battlefield."

The First to Enlist.

     The recruits gained in Waterloo, as referred to in the foregoing, were a part of the Co. I, Third infantry.  Their names shine with lustre on the pages of their country's history.  The honor roll is as follows:
     Lieut. G. A. Eberhart, Lieut. D. W. Foote, Sergeant R. Miller, Sergeant Henry Crittenden, Corporal Matthew Toole, Musician Charles E. Balcomb, and Privates Howard Bullock, A. E. Brott, George W. Collins, C. C. Collins, Peter S. Dorlan, Wheaton Dutcher, George W. DeWolf, J. B. P. Dodd, George E. Eberhart, George F. Garrett, S. B. Gates, Peter Livingston, Wm. L. Peppers, J. C. Stokan, H. B. Shaw, S. L. Short, S. B. Thorn, L. T. Washburn, J. B. White and Nelson White.


Do We Forget?

     That Black Hawk county sent approximately 1,000 soldiers to the front in 1861-'5?
     Do we forget the labor of love, encouragement and substantial aid lavished on those soldiers and their families by those at home?
     Do we forget the wealth of warm greetings showered on us at the home coming in 1865?
     Not unless the record is a fraud; but the public zeal to give praise to the soldier and statesman for having done their duty in making the Declaration of Independence more than a pretense has usually tended to minimize a factor that made success possible.
     Few old soldiers failed to appreciate the value of services rendered by the loyal union ladies, whose quiet work was felt in field and hospital, and the Ladies' Aid society of that period formed a basis on which to build the present organization of the Woman's Relief corps, which for years has been the saving grace that has kept very many of the weaker posts alive.
     Of the 300 names enrolled in companies B, C and D, 31st infantry, from this county the writer is unable to find another than himself now living in Waterloo, and out of a group of 16 enlisting in Co. D, east of the river at La Porte, but one is now living.
     The pension roll is long, the dead roll is much longer.
     The simple statement of facts as to Black Hawk county's love and care for the old soldier is a historic monument that does her honor, and as their thinning ranks once again are seen on a memorial occasion would it not be well to give kindly thought to their one last wish, a memorial hall, in which may be deposited souvenirs of that titanic struggle of which the old boys possess many?
     We have asked this of the county, assured of Waterloo, Cedar Falls and La Porte doing a loyal part, and the county will not do less.
     In December, '62, while camped at Helena, Ar., we were notified to expect by express from home a big Christmas spread, but the drums beat, fall in, and the Vicksburg campaign was on, in which we soon got provokingly near the town, when the rebs cut off our supplies except salt pork, coffee and hard tack, which soon produced sickness that dotted the levee for miles with our dead, and as the water rose high in the rivers we quit loosening the earth in the levee for graves lest it break and flood our camp.
     We simply dug a shallow grave for the daily increasing dead, wrapped them in their blankets, laid them in the water that rose nearly to the earth's surface, covered them with earth and dug another grave.
     Vegatables or fresh meats were not to be obtained at any price, the hospitals overflowed, and among the newer troops few companies could muster more than 15 men for duty, and when the remnants of that Christmas feast arrived at Vicksburg in late February it was a tantalizing task to sort out the little that reached us in fair order for use.
     Our friends had done their part and the rebs theirs.
     We then took a hand in putting the other side on short rations in which Waterloo, Cedar Falls and La Porte occupied front seats.  One of the droll incidents in that disastrous charge on the 22nd of May, in which the gallant Captain Washburn of Waterloo was fatally wounded, had for its center of interest our own Mickey O'Reardon, who, when Comrade Amburn fell, exclaiming "I am wounded," cried out, "And I'm kilt too, but be jabers I'm goin' on till I gets orders to stop." Mickey recently died after passing the century mark.
     We had one other member over 60 years old, who wore a wig and was almost toothless, one Duncan.  He and a son of 30 were buried at Vicksburg.

--A. Southerland.