Iowa in the Civil War

Articles from the Davenport Times
1900 G.A.R. Encampment

Transcribed by Elaine Rathmann

Red, White, and Blue

Saturday Morning
June 9, 1900
(Part 1)

Where Adjt. Gen. Baker Drilled Camp McClellan.
Its Story is Tersely Told.

The G.A.R. Will Read With Pleasure the Records of Iowa’s Forty-eighth Infantry, Her Ninth Cavalry and Fourth Artillery Regiments.

By F.J. B. Huot.

            When Abraham Lincoln called for troops Iowa responded with 57,000 men all told. These were divided into 48 infantry, 9 cavalry, 4 artillery and 1 colored regiment. In all the important events which transpired from 1861 to 1865 by which the southern confederacy was routed the Iowa troops took part. Their drum beat was heard everywhere from the Potomac and the river which flashes down the Shenandoah valley, as Phil Sheridan did on his 23 mules neck-or-nothing ride to Wichester, to the Rio Grande, or the Brazos, and everywhere they rendered the same faithful and devoted service. There were two Iowa regiments actively engaged in policing the state against Indian out-breaks during the time of the prosecution of the war. These regiments, too, are deserving of the highest praise.

Davenport Did Proudly.

            Davenport did her share. She gave her offerings in the heart’s blood of Lieutenant Colonel August Wentz who fell at Belmont, Mo., on Nov. 7, 1861, during the first year of the war and also Captain Jonathan Slaymaker, who perished at Fort Donelson, Feb. 16, 1862. Together with Scott county she helped to recruit in all about 22 companies, and has in sacred memory enshrined the names of 277 heroes who died to save the Union.

Davenport Furnished Four Camps.

            When the shot fired upon Major Anderson at Fort Sumter was hear in Davenport on Dec. 26, 1860, Davenport anxiously awaited the call for volunteers. She threw open to the United States her fair grounds which were then located north of Thirteenth street and extending to Locust street, and lying between Perry street and Farnam street to be used as drill grounds for the raw recruits, or “rookies.” This first camp was christened “Camp Lincoln” in honor of the great war president and emancipator and later re-christened Camp “Joe Holt.” So it was popularly known. This tract was made use of for drill purposes, being an entirely level piece of grounds and capable of easily mobilizing a regiment. At Camp Joe Holt the cavalry were drilled.

            The second camp furnished was called “Kinsman’s Camp,” or “Camp Kinsman,” and was located northeast of the city where the Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home now is.

            It was at “Camp McClellan,” however, that the chief army rendezvous in Scott county was situated.

Camp Hendershot.

            Another camp of some importance was that of Camp Hendershot, located adjacent to the present Orphans’ Home. Camp Roberts, a fourth camp was located upon the present site of the pumping plant of the Davenport Water company west of Harrison street and north of Thirteenth street. This camp was named after a general.

            At Camp Joe Holt (Camp Lincoln) the cavalry uniformly drilled, although the rendezvous properly was at Camp McClellan.

Camp McClellan Tract.

            The tract of level and rolling land situated east of East Davenport and at that time east of the present Mound street, was an ideal place for a place of encampment. On the high ground was excellent drilling grounds and furthermore the site was directly across from the Rock Island arsenal and commanded a view of the wide sweep of the rapids.

            The tract was owned by a certain Thomas Russel Allen, who was a resident of St. Louis, where the Jefferson Barracks were situated. It consisted of over 300 acres, and permission was readily obtained to convert it into a place of encampment of the recruits awaiting orders to go to the front. Accordingly the site was taken into temporary possession during the summer of 1861 by the United States government and retained until the last mustering out ceremony had been accomplished five years later. Adjutant General Baker of the regular army was commissioned to take charge of the camp, which was named Camp McClellan in honor of “Little Mac,” General George B. McClellan, who then was one of the foremost militarists in the federal ranks.

The Barracks are Built.

            The first thing to be done was to construct the barracks Contractors T. W. McClelland and Hornby, the latter long since dead, was given the contract. They erected a dozen frame and battended (sic) structures with suitable bunks, together with a mess room, a commissary building, a canteen and officers quarters. Traces of these old barracks still remain and less than a dozen years ago there were two of these still cumbering the tract at the Davenport and LeClaire road, otherwise called the Lost Grove Road.

            As many as a thousand recruits have been at Camp McClellan at one time, and when in drill the sight was interesting. The merchants did a thriving business during those days, and the folks who resided in the LeClaire commons—then called the “Patch,” situated where the Un. N. Roberts warehouse now is—had ready sales for the bread, pies, cakes and chickens which they baked and reared. A Mrs. Miley, who came to the “Patch” to live with only the mite spoken of in scripture, reaped a modest fortune from the sale of pies to the soldier boys. Of course, there were foraging parties at times, abut such depredations, when discovered, were promptly punished.

The Camp As It Is Today.

            At the present day the veterans who will visit Davenport upon the occasion of the G.A.R. functions of next week will find the camp greatly changed. The western portion of it is occupied by a lumber yard and kindling wood racks, while a modern trolley car runs alongside almost the site of the company’s streets. The hill, however is yet topographically intact, although towards the north of the old drilling grounds are several farm houses with well tilled acres adjoining all achieved in the space of 35 years. Quarries have been opened upon the southeastern portion of the tract and the Lindsay & Phelps saw mill has gnawed its way through millions and millions of feet of logs since last the picket and the sentry halted the wayfarer where now the hum of the saws are heard. Modern brick paving has also encroached upon the southern or river side of the tract.

            The “camp” has not changed ownership. A life estate was left by the owner in 1861-1865 to his widow Ann R. Allen, who died several years age and bequeathed the remaining 214 acres to her heirs, who are scattered from St. Louis to Philadelphia and Paris. The tract even now is in litigation for alleged paving indebtedness to the city of Davenport.

Red, White, and Blue

Saturday Morning
June 9, 1900
(Part 2)

A Word to the Veterans.

            Next week the G.A.R. will celebrated in this city. Its record in Iowa is a proud one, and many of its regiments in the Hawkeye state were drilled, and mustered in, and mustered out upon this self-same Camp McClellan tract. The record at this particular time is a proud one to rehearse, and the writer begs the indulgence to submit the following which is a glorious roster, indeed.

A Glorious Roster.

            First Iowa Infantry-959 officers and men. Killed 43. Died from wounds, etc., 13. Fought at Wilson’s Creek. Served three months. Captain August Wentz fought at Wilson’s Creek with the command. Later he joined the Seventh Infantry.

            Second Iowa Infantry—1,247 officers and men. Killed 64. Died from wounds, etc. 134. Fought at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Atlanta and 15 other battles. Marched with Sherman to sea. The first three-years’ regiment. Chief of Police Frank Kessler served in the regiment.

            Third Iowa Infantry—1,074 officers and men. Killed 57. Died from wounds, etc., 133. Fought at blue Mills, Mo., Shiloh, Hatchie River, Vicksburg, Atlanta, and in Sherman’s march to the sea.

            Fourth Iowa Infantry—1,184 officers and men. Killed 61. Died of wounds, etc. 205. Fought at Pea Ridge, Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Vicksburg, Jackson, Lookout Mountain, Mississippi Ridge, etc. Three years regiment.

            Fifth Iowa Infantry—1,037 officers and men. Killed 65. Died of wounds, etc. 126. Fought at Corinth, Iuka, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, etc. Three years’ regiment.

            Sixth Iowa Infantry—1,013 officers and men. Killed 109. Died of wounds, etc. 157. Fought at Shiloh, Missionary Ridge, Dallas, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain, etc., and was with Sherman in his march to the sea.

The Gallant Seventh.

            The Seventh Iowa Infantry was mustered into service at Burlington, Ia., July 24, 1861, before Camp McClellan had been organized. The officers of the regiment were:

J. G. Lauman of Burlington, colonel.
August Wentz of Davenport, lieutenant colonel.
E. M. Rice, of Oskaloosa, major.

            The regiment consisted of 1, 138 officers and men. There were 98 killed and 178 died from wounds, etc. the regiment fought at Belmont, Mo., where Lieutenant colonel August Wentz, after whom the local G.A.R. post is named, was killed in action on Nov. 7, 1861. His funeral occurred with civic and military honors in Davenport, and he was buried with great demonstration at Oakdale cemetery several days later. Other battles participated in by the gallant Seventh are Fort Henry, siege of Corinth, Corinth, Shiloh, Rome Cross roads, Dallas, New Hope Church, Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain, Nickajack Creek, siege of Atlanta, July 22 in front of Atlanta, with Sherman on his march to the sea, thence through the Carolinas to Louisville, Ky, where it was mustered out after four years of active service. The Seventh was one of the proudest regiments in the history of the civil war.

Was Mustered at Camp McClellan

            The Eight Iowa Infantry was the first regiment to be mustered into service of the United States at Camp McClellan. Frederick Steele of the United States regulars organized the regiment which took the oath of allegiance on Sept. 12, 1861. It remained in service until 1866. Officers and men, 1,027. Killed in battle 53. Died of wounds, etc. 187. The regiment fought at Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, Jackson and Spanish Forth. This regiment first tasted of the horrors of the prison pens of the south.

            The Ninth Iowa—1,090 officers and men. Eighty-four killed and 275 wounded and dying later. Fought at Pea Ridge, Vicksburg, Chickasaw Bayou, Ring-gold, Dallas, and Lookout Mountain. It marched over 4,000 miles and brought home confederate flags one of which is still in possession of the State Historical society. Mustered at Dubuque.

            The Tenth Iowa—Fought at siege of Corinth, Iuka, Corinth, Port Gibson, Champion Hills and Missionary Ridge. At Vicksburg also. Officers and men, 1027. Killed in action, 93. Died form wounds 170. Mustered at Iowa City.

            The Eleventh Iowa Infantry was mustered into service at Camp McClellan by General Baker of the regular army in two sections in September and October, 1861. No regiment did better service during the war and none met with a heartier welcome upon its return home. It participated in action at Shiloh, siege of  Corinth, Vicksburg, in the Atlanta campaign and at Atlanta. Officer and men 1022, Killed in battle 58. Died from wounds 178.

            The Twelfth Iowa—Officers and men 981. Killed in action 33. Died from wounds, etc., 285. participated in action at Shiloh Fort, Donelson, siege of Vicksburg, Tupelo, White river, Mississippi and Spanish Fort. Regiment was recruited after the federal defeat at Bull Run, upon Lincoln’s second call for volunteers.

Red, White, and Blue

Saturday Morning
June 9, 1900
(Part 3)

Crocker’s Persistent Drills

            Colonel M. M. Crocker the organizer of the justly celebrated “Iowa Brigade” or “Crocker’s Brigade,” commanded the Thirteenth Iowa, which was mustered into service Nov. 1, 1861. M. M. Price of Davenport was lieutenant colonel of the regiment. Company F of the regiment was recruited from Scott and Linn counties and drilled insistently, and incessantly at Camp McClellan at Camp McClellan in this city, then in the beginning of its prestige. The regiment was at once ordered to the front. During its honorable career it participated in the battle of Shiloh, siege of Corinth, Kenesaw Mountain, siege of Vicksburg, campaign against Atlanta, with Sherman on his famous march to the sea and through the Carolinas to Louisville, Ky., where it was mustered out. Officers and men 988 killed, in battle 68. Died from wounds etc., 224.

            The Thirteenth had the honor to be the first to enter Columbus, S. C., where the secession movement first began. The regiment was fortunate in having Colonel Crocker as a commander. At first the men objected to drilling for five or six hours a day, but at the battle of Shiloh the tedious discipline served them in excellent stead.

            At Shiloh colonel Crocker’s command was under fire of the enemy for 10 hours, and suffered a loss in the regiment of 23 killed and 130 wounded. It was the worst engagement of all in which five regiments participated, but thanks to excellent drilling there was no great confusion.

The Fourteenth Mustered Here.

            The Fourteenth Iowa was mustered at Camp McClellan, drilled at Camp Lincoln, and sent to Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Ft. de Russey, Tupelo, Pilot Knob, Town Creek, Old Town, Tallahatchie (Tallahassie) and several other places. The regiment was organized and mustered under the call of Oct. 3 in the fall of 1861, and was mustered out of service at Davenport, Nov. 16, 1864. Nearly the entire regiment was captured at Shiloh, but after a few months was exchanged and reorganized. It is credited with some of the hardest fighting of the war. Officers and men 840. Killed in action 31. Died from wounds 148. Company G of the regiment was recruited form Scott and Tama counties. Hugo Hoffbauer of Buffalo and W. T. Dittoe of this city were lieutenants in Co. A. which was entirely recruited from Scott county. Joseph H. Clark and William Davenport were also privates in Co. A.

             A residuary battalion of the Fourteenth Iowa was later reorganized with two companies which was mustered into and on May 13, 1865, mustered out of the army of the United States. This battalion was formed of veterans and recruits.

            The Fifteenth Iowa served in the heart of the rebellion. Officers and men 1,196. Killed in action 58. Died of wounds etc., 277. Fought at Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, Atlanta and was with Sherman on his march to the sea.

The Record of the Sixteenth

            The Sixteenth Iowa was organized under the first call of the president for troops, and it was thought to be the last which the state of Iowa would furnish. Add. H. Sanders of Davenport was its lieutenant colonel. The regiment was mustered into service at Camp McClellan, Dec. 10, 1861, with 919 officers and men. The companies composing it were as follows.

Company A, from Clinton county.             
Company B, from Scott county.
Company C and E, from Muscatine county.
Company D, from Boone county.
Company F, from Muscatine, Clinton and Scott counties.
Company H, from Clayton and Dubuque counties.
Company I, from Blackhawk county.
Company K, from Lee and Muscatine counties.

            The Sixteenth participated in the battles of Shiloh, siege of Corinth, Iuka, Corinth, Kenesaw Mountain, Kickajack Creek and the battles around Atlanta as also in Sherman’s campaign. Killed in battle 62. Died of wounds, etc., 255.

            It might be noticed here that after the battle of Shiloh the Iowa Brigade was organized by Colonel Crocker, and in this brigade the 16th Iowa always afterwards formed a part.

            The greater part of the 16th regiment was captured in the battle before Atlanta and remained in prison pens for two months before there was any exchange or liberation.

Red, White, and Blue

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