Cass County was at its comparative infancy in 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War. But its citizenship was intensely loyal to the Union and the call for troops received a hearty response.
Compared with the upward of a thousand men who entered the world war from this county the record it made in the civil war was one in which it may well feel proud. Cass County's population in the period from '61 to '65 was only a fraction of what it is at present. The voting strength of the county was about 350. Today it has about 4400. Yet Cass County sent to the Union army approximately 160 men. Of that number twenty-two gave their lives, five falling on the field of battle. These five were Captain J.C. Brown, George Rose, Patrick Archer, M.L. Littlefield and William R. Terry.
Practically all of Cass County's soldiers in the civil war served in the Fourth and Twenty-third Regiments of Iowa infantry. Company I of the Twenty-third Iowa Infantry was composed entirely of Cass County men.
Just as the One Hundred and Sixty-eighth of the Rainbow Division in the world war has brought undying glory to Iowa, so did the Fourth and Twenty-third Regiments bring fame to the commonwealth in the sixties.
The Fourth Regiment was mustered in at Council Bluffs in August, 1861, under the command of Grenville M. Dodge. It became attached to the Army of the Southwest and took part in some of the most bloody and momentous battles of the Civil War. It was at Pea Ridge, Chickasaw Bayou, Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain and Atlanta. The part played by the Fourth at all these points brought added luster to their banner. No wonder the people of the state were delirious with joy when the regiment came home in February, 1864, for a short rest. But it was a shattered remnant of the regiment that reached Des Moines in that month. The ravage of battle had thinned its ranks. Many of the men, including some from Cass County, were in their graves in the Southland. When the regiment reached Des Moines the Legislature held a reception for the fighters and from all parts of the state relatives and friends flocked to Des IMoines to welcome the conqueriug heroes. In April the regiment rejoined the Union forces in the South and became a part of Sherman's army, taking part in the famous "march to the sea". In May, 1865, the regiment participated in the grand review at Washington and was mustered out at Davenport a few days later. It had marched 5000 miles and participated in thirty-six engagements.
Adding to the glory of Cass County was the work of the Twenty-third Regiment. Company I of this regiment was made up exclusively of Cass County men. The company left the county in charge of Capt. James R. Coe. He later resigned because of ill health and was succeeded by Second Lieutenant J.C. Brown. The latter was killed in the fighting at Milliken's Bend on June 7, 1863. He was in turn succeeded by John J. Van Houten who had entered the company as first sergeant. The Twenty-third was at Anderson's Hill, Black River Ridge and all the prominent engagements which preceded the fall of Vicksburg. After the capitulation of Vicksburg the regiment participated in the engagements at Jackson, Ft. Esperenza and Spanish Fort. It was mustered out of the service at Harrisburg, Texas, July 26, 1865.
Cass County's honor roll in the civil war contained the following names: Fred W. Humerick, David Watson, William R. Collette, Japheth Ball, Capt. J.C. Brown, Lieut. G.B. Kilpatrick, Jasper Berry, George Rose, David Wilson, Patrick Archer, Ebenezer Cummings, David Duckett, George W. Hardy, Lyman J. Jardine, Joshua M. Kear, M.L. Littlefield, John A. Mahew, Daniel W. Porter, Hudson Reynolds, William R, Terry, Samuel Wilson. Isah Duckett.
Transcribed by Constance Diamond, April, 2018.