5th Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry
in the War of the Rebellion
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The ten companies assigned to this regiment were ordered into quarters by Governor Kirkwood on dates ranging from June 24 to July 3, 1861. The designated rendezvous was Burlington, Iowa. There, the companies were Mustered into the service of the United States on July 15, 16 and 17, 1861, by Lieut. Alexander Chambers, United States Army.

The names of its first Field and Staff Officers, together with their personal record of service, will be found at the head of the subjoined roster, which Includes all the names and records of those who at any time belonged to the regiment. This roster is arranged in alphabetical form by companies, as shown in the index. It is made up from the records of the Adjutant General's office of the State of Iowa, and of the War Department in Washington, D. C. Whatever errors or omissions may be discovered are chargeable to the failure of officers to make required reports and returns, and possibly, in some instances, to carelessness on the part of those who made the original entries. It is not claimed for those who have had charge of making up this revised roster that they were infallible and made no mistakes, but the compiler of this sketch believes that great care has been exercised in transcribing the records, and that mistakes and errors which may exist have been reduced to the minimum.

The regiment was ordered into active service very soon after it was mustered. Colonel Worthington states, in his first official report, that he had received orders from General Pope to proceed to Keokuk and be in readiness to repel a threatened invasion of Iowa by a force of rebels then approaching the State line. The order was received at Burlington August 2d, and the Fifth and Sixth Regiments at once proceeded to Keokuk, where they received arms and ammunition, and marched into the State of Missouri to meet the enemy. Upon the approach of the Union troops, the rebel force promptly retreated, and being mounted, the Iowa troops did not succeed in overtaking them. The regiment was ordered to return to Keokuk, and on August 11, 1861, it embarked and was conveyed to St. Louis by steamboat.

For a short time it was in quarters at Jefferson Barracks, and from that place proceeded to Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri, where it was stationed from August 18 to September 1, 1861. From that date, during the remainder of the year 1861, and until April 28, 1862, the operations of the regiment covered a wide extent of territory in the states of Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee, but its principal service was in Missouri, in which State it marched and counter-marched for long distances, and performed most important and arduous service, as shown by the official reports of its commanding officers. While no considerable bodies of the enemy were encountered, the difficult and annoying character of this service can best be understood when the deplorable conditions then existing in the State of Missouri, are described. The citizens were divided in sentiment and action, as to upholding the cause of the Union, or its enemies. Bands of rebels were constantly forming, and had to be dispersed or driven out of the State. It was the paramount duty of the officers in command of the Union forces to protect the Union citizens against the depredations of their rebel neighbors. The functions of the civil authorities were almost entirely suspended, and the administration of martial law devolved upon the officers in command of the Union soldiers. This very important duty was performed so faithfully that the sentiment of loyalty to the Union in Missouri instantly grew stronger, and prevented the rebel element from gaining the ascendancy. To this result the Fifth Iowa Infantry contributed its full share. Its surviving members will bear testimony to the fact, that while its subsequent service involved great hardship, heavy loss in battle, and the exercise of all the fortitude and bravery of which they were capable, yet they preferred that kind of service to that of keeping down rebellion in the State of Missouri. From the 28th of April to the 30th of May, 1862, the regiment was on the march, and in camp at different points between Hamburg Landing, Tenn. and Corinth, Miss.

On the 22d of May, while the regiment was encamped at Farmington, Colonel Worthington was killed by a picket of the Union Army. The Colonel was acting as Division Officer of the Day, and in making inspection of the lines, during the night, he was mistaken for an enemy, which resulted in his death, which was officially announced as follows:

NEAR FARMINGTON, May 22, 1862.


The General commanding announces with deep regret the death of Colonel W. H. Worthington, Fifth Iowa Infantry Volunteers. He was killed by an unfortunate accident at three o'clock this morning, while in the discharge of his duty as General Officer of the Day. In the death of Colonel Worthington, this army has sustained a serious loss, and his place in the regiment will be difficult to fill. Prompt, gallant, and patriotic, a brilliant career in the military profession was before him. The hand of God has stricken him down in the midst of his usefulness, and while discharging his duty as a soldier in the face of the enemy. Sad as is his fate, he has lived long enough to be mourned by his country and to have his memory cherished by the army with which he served. The officers of his division will wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days.

By order of Major General Pope.
                                                                SPEED BUTLER, A. A. G.

On May 30, 1862, General Beauregard evacuated Corinth and the Fifth Iowa participated in the pursuit of the rebel army until the pursuit was abandoned. The regiment then went into camp about two miles from Booneville, Miss., where it remained from the 4th to the 11th of June, when it returned toward Corinth and went into camp near that place, and remained there until June 27th, when it was ordered to Holly Springs, Miss., but after proceeding to a point near Ripley was ordered to Rienzi, Miss., where it remained in camp until July 10th, on which date it returned to its old camp near Corinth. There it remained until August 5th and on that date changed its camp to Jacinto where it remained until September 18th, when it broke camp and marched to Iuka, where, on the 19th of September, 1862, it participated in a hard fought battle. Its loss in killed and wounded was nearly fifty per cent of its number engaged, and the record of its conduct there will compare favorably with that of any regiment upon any battlefield of the war. The compiler of this sketch feels that it is due to the regiment to quote the entire official report of its commander in this first battle in which it was engaged:

CAMP ON IUKA ROAD, Sept. 21, 1862.

Lieut. Martin, A. A. A. G., First Brigade, Third Division, Army of the Mississippi.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken in the engagement near Iuka, by the Fifth Iowa Infantry, on the 19th inst.

We left camp six miles from Jacinto, early on the morning of the 19th inst., leading the column of the Third Division, and soon came on to the enemy's pickets, posted on the road. Three companies of my regiment were ordered forward as skirmishers, and then succeeded in driving the enemy from their position, and continued to drive them from one point to another, which they contested for more than six miles, killing three and wounding a number, when these companies were relieved by the Twenty-sixth Missouri Infantry. Our loss was one Sergeant severely wounded. The skirmishers soon came on to the main force of the enemy, in a strong position, and received a volley from one or more regiments. My regiment was ordered into line on the right of the Eleventh Ohio Battery. I was soon informed that a large force was moving on my right, which compelled me to change front, and I had just got into position on the crest of a hill, when the enemy in strong force (two brigades, I learn, under Generals Green and Martin) made their appearance in front, and poured a terrific musketry fire on my line, which was promptly returned. The firing continued for about half an hour, when I found the enemy was pressing my left, near the battery, it having been silenced, and I ordered a charge, which was executed in the most gallant manner, every officer and man moving forward, cheering, in almost perfect line. The enemy gave way before us, and we poured a most deadly fire into them causing them to retreat over the hill. But they soon returned with renewed vigor, on my front and left, shouting, and were received with a steady fire from the gallant boys of my regiment, holding their position under the most terrific fire possible. I again gave the command forward, and the enemy were again driven over the hill, but not until they had come so near as to boldly reach out for the colors of my regiment, they showing the stars and stripes, and saying "Don't fire at us, we are your friends."

At this juncture, the left wing was suffering terribly from a cross fire, coming from the left of the battery, nearly every officer being killed or wounded, and four companies of the Twenty-sixth Missouri came up to its support, and nobly assisted in holding the ground, until I found the ammunition was exhausted, when I ordered my regiment to retire by the right flank to a field about one hundred yards distant, which was done in good order, where it was reformed in line of battle under a galling fire, at which time the Eleventh Missouri Infantry advanced in line of battle, and my regiment retired by the right of companies to the rear, passing the Tenth Missouri Infantry, which was advancing. I then took a position near the road, under the direction of an Aid-de-Camp, where I distributed ammunition to my men, and remained until morning, the firing having ceased for the night. The casualties in my regiment were seven commissioned officers killed, and eight wounded and thirty-four enlisted men killed, and one hundred and sixty-eight wounded, out of four hundred and eighty-two who went into battle. In commanding my regiment before the enemy, I was nobly assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Sampson, on the right, Adjutant Patterson, acting Major, on the left, and Lieutenant W. S. Marshall, acting Adjutant, all of whom behaved most gallantly, repeating my commands and steadying and cheering on my brave boys through the engagement. The long list of killed and wounded of both officers and men, is ample proof how nobly and well they stood at their posts. High praise is due to all. A grateful country will reward them for their deeds and daring.*

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel Commanding Fifth Iowa Infantry.

*See Adjutant General's report, Volume 2, 1863, page 807.

That the battle of Iuka was one of the most fiercely contested of the entire war is conceded. When it is considered that this regiment had never before met the enemy in strong force, that its officers and men found themselves confronted with a greatly superior force of the enemy, led by brave and skillful officers, that the fighting was at close range, and that all the conditions were such as to put to the severest test the bravery, skill and fortitude of veterans, who had been engaged in many previous battles, the fact was at once established, that here was an Iowa regiment that could be depended upon to do its whole duty in battle. Its subsequent history was a complete verification of this statement. It not only never suffered defeat itself, but, to quote from a truthful statement of one of its officers, "It had the good fortune never to be in a campaign, or battle, in which the Union Army was defeated. In every department in which it served, success crowned the Union arms. First it was with Fremont, when he drove Price out of Missouri; with Pope when he opened the Mississippi to Fort Pillow, with Halleck when he captured Corinth, with Grant when he captured Vicksburg, and afterwards when he defeated Bragg at Mission Ridge, and with Sherman when he drove the rebels from Chattanooga to Atlanta."

After the battle of Iuka, the regiment returned to its old camp near Jacinto and remained there until October 1st, when it marched to Corinth, Miss.

In the battle of Corinth, October 3d and 4th, the regiment was constantly on duty, and ready for action, but the following extracts from Colonel Matthies' report will show that while every order was promptly obeyed, and the regiment performed its full duty, the different positions to which it was assigned were fortunately such as did not subject it to loss. Colonel Matthies says:

In obedience to orders, we left camp about 3 o'clock the morning of the 3d with three days' rations in haversacks, and marched with the brigade to a point about half a mile north of Corinth, and were immediately ordered into line of battle. I had just placed my regiment in position, when, by order of General Hamilton, we moved to the Pittsburg road and took a position within the intrenchments, to prevent a surprise in that direction. Two companies were detached to support a section of a Missouri battery on the Farmington road, and two companies to support a section of the same battery east of the Pittsburg road. After strengthening our position with abatis, we remained until 2 o'clock on the morning of the 4th, when, by order of General Buford, I moved my regiment toward town to rejoin the brigade, and took a position in line of battle, fronting north on the left of the Eleventh Ohio Battery. Here we remained until about 10 o'clock, when the brigade was ordered forward, to prevent a flank movement which was being attempted by the enemy.

My regiment advanced by the right of the Eleventh Ohio Battery and then advanced in line of battle, opening fire upon the enemy who at once retreated. Subsequently we took two other positions, when, by order of General Hamilton, we returned to our former position in line of battle north of town. Here we remained until the following morning, when, by order of General Hamilton, we moved with the brigade in pursuit of the retreating enemy on the Chewalla road, and encamped that night about eight miles from Corinth.

It will thus be seen that, by the fortune of war, this gallant regiment, having passed through one hard fought battle in which nearly one half of its officers and men were killed or wounded, and where it acquitted itself with the greatest honor, was a few days later held in readiness to participate in another great battle, where other regiments suffered frightful losses, while it held important positions but did not become actively engaged. On both occasions it conducted itself with equal honor. The veteran soldier who has passed through many battles will recall, as among his most trying experiences, those in which the command to which he belonged was held in reserve, while other commands were engaged in the thickest of the conflict. To stand calmly waiting for the order to go into action is just as severe a test of courage as to obey the order when it comes. It was therefore no reflection upon the bravery of the gallant Colonel Matthies, or his regiment, when he said at the close of his official report, "It gives me pleasure to report that not a casualty occurred in my regiment during the battle of Corinth, nor during the pursuit of the enemy."

The following congratulatory letter from the grand old War Governor Kirkwood was read on parade, the day it was received, and the ringing cheers which followed showed how deeply it was appreciated:


COLONEL: Convey to your gallant regiment the thanks of this department, and of the whole State, for their heroic courage and intrepid bravery at luka on the 19th of September last, and at Corinth. Such signal valor and determined resistance to the foe, merits, as it has received, the praise of the whole State, and attests the loyalty and devotion to the Union of the citizens of Iowa. Accept for yourself personally my best wishes for your prosperity.

Your obedient servant,
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD, Governor of Iowa.

Col. C. L. Matthies, Fifth Iowa Infantry, Corinth, Miss.

The following letter from the division commander was also read to the regiment, the officers and men again giving emphatic expression to their appreciation:

New YORK, Oct. 27, 1862.

Col. C. L. Matthies, Fifth Iowa Infantry.

MY DEAR COLONEL: In sending to me the report of the brilliant conduct of the Fifth Iowa at luka, September 19, 1862, you have given me a very great pleasure. When I read the newspaper accounts of the battles in the vicinity of Corinth, though still sick, my heart thrilled with pride and satisfaction at the splendid conduct of the regiments composing my old division, especially that of the Fifth Iowa and Twenty-sixth Missouri. To show you how the Fifth Iowa has become a household word with us: My youngest boy, a prattler of four years of age, when asked to what company and regiment he belongs, says, "Company 'A', Fifth Iowa, Papa's pet regiment."

I am under orders from Washington, and though I may not again have the honor to have your regiment among those under my command, I shall always point to its conduct as an evidence of the character of the troops from Iowa, and how kindly they have responded to, and conferred honor upon, those who have diligently endeavored to look after their welfare, discipline and instruction which I think I may claim a share in having done. Feeling that their honor is my honor, I shall watch their future career with the same interest as when they were a part of my command. With my compliments and kind remembrances to all, believe me, very truly your friend,

Major General Volunteers, U. S. A.

Failing to overtake the retreating rebel army, the regiment returned to Corinth on the 10th of October, and remained there until the 2d of November. Under the limitations prescribed in the act providing for brief historical sketches of the Iowa regiments, the compiler of this sketch regrets that he can not devote the space necessary to show in detail the service performed by the Fifth Iowa Infantry, during the remainder of its term. From the date of the departure of the regiment from Corinth, November 2, 1862, to the 18th day of September, 1864, when the remnant of the enlisted men and six of its officers were transferred to the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, with which regiment they served to the close of the war, a condensed history is here given, as shown by the report of Col. J. Banbury, made in response to the request of Gen. N. B. Baker, Adjutant General of Iowa.*

*Adjutant General's Report, Vol. 2, 1865; pages 1046-8.

From Corinth, the regiment marched to Grand Junction, Tenn., where it joined General Grant's central Mississippi expedition, during which it stopped at the following named Places: Davis Mills, Tenn., from the 7th to 17th of November; Moscow, Tenn., from the 18th to 28th of November; Lumpkin's Mills, Miss., November 29th to December 2d; Oxford, Miss., December 4th to 12th; on Yocona Creek, December 12th to 21st. From the Yocona returned to Lumpkin's Mills, arriving on the 24th and remaining until the 26th of December, when it was ordered to Memphis, Tenn., where it arrived on the 29th, and remained until the 31st of December. From January 2 to 31, 1863, it was stationed at Germantown, Tenn. From Germantown it returned to Memphis, and was in camp near that city from the 1st of February to the 2d of March. Leaving Memphis it proceeded down the Mississippi river, to a point near Grand Lake, Ark., where it remained from the 4th to the 7th of March. From there it returned up the river to a point opposite to the mouth of the Yazoo Pass, and was there stationed from the 8th to the 22d of March. From there it accompanied the Yazoo Pass expedition, through the Pass, down the Cold Water and Tallahatchie rivers, to near the latter's confluence with the Sun Flower river, where it remained from the 2d to the 5th of April, when it was ordered to return up the river, and on the 8th of April arrived at its old camp, opposite the mouth of the Pass, remaining until the 13th. It then proceeded down the Mississippi river, and on the 15th arrived at Milliken's Bend, where it was stationed until the 25th. On the 25th of April it started on General Grant's campaign around Vicksburg, during which it was at the following named places: Perkin's Landing, La., April 29th; Hard Times, April 30th; crossed the Mississippi river to Bruinsburg, Miss., May 1st; at Port Gibson, Miss., on the 2d at Raymond on the 12th, Clinton on the 13th, Jackson on the 14th, Champion Hill on the 16th, and Big Black river on the 18th; in the rear of Vicksburg from May 19th to June 22d, at Messinger's Ford from the 23d day of June to the 6th of July, at the railroad bridge across the Big Black river from July 6th to 13th; at Champion Hill, July 17th to 22d, and again at Black river bridge July 22d to July 24th, and returned to Vicksburg on the 24th, where it remained until September 12th. Left Vicksburg September 12th, moving up the river arrived at Helena, Ark., on the 15th, and remained in camp near that place until the 29th, when it again proceeded up the river, and on the 30th landed at Memphis, where it remained in camp until October 3d. From Memphis it was transported by railroad to Glendale, Miss., where it was stationed from the 5th to the 9th of October. From the 9th to the 19th, it was stationed at different points on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, between Burnsville and Iuka, Miss.; from the 19th to the 21st at Iuka, from the 23rd to 29th at Dixon's Station, Ala., fifteen miles from Iuka. Leaving the latter place on October 29th, it marched from thence to Chattanooga, Tenn., arriving at a point on the opposite side of the river from that place, on November 20th. It remained near the same place until the 24th, when it crossed the Tennessee river, participated in the battle of Mission Ridge on the 24th and 25th, pursued the enemy on the 26th and 27th, and returned to its old camp on the west bank of the Tennessee river on the 28th, where it remained until December 3d, 1863, when it was ordered to Bridgeport, Tenn. It was stationed at Bridgeport from the 5th to the 22d of December, when it was ordered to Larkinsville, Ala., where it was stationed from the 26th of December to the 7th of January, 1864. Leaving Larkinsville, January 7th, it was next stationed at Huntsville, Ala., from January 9 to April 1, 1864, at which time it started for Iowa on veteran furlough. It arrived at Davenport, Iowa, on the 7th and was furloughed on the 8th day of April. Rendezvoused at the same place on the 7th day of May, and started for the front on the 9th. It arrived at Decatur, Ala., on the 14th and remained there until the 17th. From the 18th to the 31st, it was stationed at different points on the railroad between Decatur and Huntsville, Ala. On the 1st of June it returned to Decatur and remained until the 15th, when it was ordered to Huntsville, where it was stationed from the 16th to the 22d of June. On the 23d, it left Huntsville for Kingston, Ga., arriving at the latter place on the 28th of June. It remained in and near that place until September 18th, when the remaining enlisted men of the regiment, having been transferred, by order of the War Department, to the Fifth Cavalry, left to join that regiment stationed at Long Pond, Ga.

The non-veteran portion of the regiment - those who did not re-enlist at the expiration of their original term of three years—had been mustered out of the service on the 30th day of July, 1864, at Kingston, Ga. Those who re-enlisted as veterans were transferred as companies G and I to the Fifth Iowa Cavalry regiment, with which they served to the close of the war, and were mustered out of the service at Nashville, Tenn., on the 11th day of August 1865, and disbanded at Clinton, Iowa. From the time the regiment took the field, in the summer of 1861, to the close of its three years' term of service and with its re-enlisted veterans to the close of the war, it was at the front in all the great campaigns in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. It participated in the battles of Iuka, Corinth, Jackson, Champion Hill, Port Gibson, Raymond, Black River Bridge, Missionary Ridge and in the sieges of New Madrid, Corinth and Vicksburg and in the Yazoo Pass, and many other expeditions. In addition to the above splendid record of service, there were numerous minor affairs in which the regiment—or detachments from it—was engaged, and from which it suffered loss in killed and wounded. The subjoined summary of casualties shows a greater percentage of mortality from killed in battle than the average from same cause among the Iowa regiments during the War of the Rebellion, while the percentage of mortality from disease is less than the average, and the number discharged for disability resulting from both wounds and disease is about the general average from such causes.

Upon the whole its record stands in the very front rank of Iowa's splendid regiments. The survivors of the regiment and their posterity may peruse with just pride the history of its service. Every patriotic son and daughter of the State will cherish the memory of the men who fought and died in its ranks, and do honor to those who fought with them, and still live to enjoy the glorious results achieved. When the last survivor of this gallant regiment shall have passed from earth, may the record here set down be an inspiration to the young men of Iowa, should they ever be called upon to emulate the brave deeds of the Volunteer soldiers of this Commonwealth in the great War of the Rebellion, from 1861 to 1865.


Total Enrollment 1067
Killed 65
Wounded 299
Died of disease 91
Died of wounds 29
Discharged for wounds, disease and other causes 243
Buried in National Cemeteries 83
Captured 103
Transferred 50

Transcribed by Linda Suarez
from the Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers, Vol. I

©2001 by Linda Suarez solely for the use and benefit of
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