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7th Iowa Infantry History

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Submitted by Tom Cadell of Petaluma, CA whose great uncle, Patrick Cadle served with the 7th Iowa and was killed in battle at Corinth, Miss. in Oct, 1862.


Head-quarters Seventh Iowa Vet. Vols.,)

Savannah, Ga., Dec. 31, 1864.)

The Seventh Iowa Infantry Volunteers was organized at Burlington, Iowa, in 1861. The first companies were mustered into the United States service on the 24th July, and the last company, I, was mustered in on the 2d day of August. Col. J. G. Lauman was in command of the regiment. On the 6th day of August we broke camp, marched to Burlington under a burning hot sun, and embarked on the steamer Jennie Whipple for St. Louis. Arrived at St. Louis on the morning of the 8th, and were marched to the arsenal, where we bivouacked for several days. Moved from thence to Jefferson Barracks, where we remained for several days; were then ordered to St. Louis, where the regiment was armed, the flank companies with Springfield rifles, and the other eight companies with the improved Springfield muskets. Same night took cars, and went to Pilot Knob, arriving there about 8 o'clock a.m. next day. Remained at Pilot Knob till 2 p.m. then marched to Ironton, where we commenced our first drills in the "manual of arms," and made considerable improvement.

Remained in camp about two weeks, and were then ordered through south-east Missouri to Cape Girardeau. This commenced the first campaign of the regiment. The division consisted of six regiments, and was commanded by Brig.-Gen. B. M. Prentiss. Arriving at Jackson, Mo., during the last days of August, the command remained one week, then moved to the Cape, where we took transports, and went to Cairo. The day after our arrival, were sent to what was afterwards called Fort Holt, Ky. The ground was covered with a dense forest and undergrowth, but in a short time the camp was cleared up and policed, and all hands were comfortable. The regiment remained at Fort Holt about two weeks, when it was moved down to Mayfield creek, and established a camp known as Camp Crittenden, distant from the Mississippi river about three miles, and from Columbus, the rebel stronghold, about eight miles. Here Lt.-Col. Wentz reported to the regiment for duty. We remained but a few days at Camp Crittenden, and were then moved back to Fort Jefferson, on the Mississippi, nearly opposite Norfolk, Mo.

During our stay at Fort Jefferson, kept up a strong picket-guard at Camp Crittenden, at which place the regiment had its first skirmish, in which one man was slightly wounded. From Fort Jefferson, the regiment was moved to Norfolk, Mo., where we remained one night, and were then ordered to Bird's Point, where we remained a few days; then were ordered to Norfolk, where we remained a week or two. At this point, Major Rice reported for duty, and the Quartermaster for the first time obtained clothing for the men, of which they stood much in need, being as ragged as birds. Moved from Norfolk back to Bird's Point, and commenced strict drill, at the same time doing picket and guard duty.

On the 6th of Nov., 1861, received orders to embark on transports, and about eight steamed down the Mississippi a few miles, rounded to, and lay all night at Lucas Bend. Early on the morning of the 7th, got under way, and landed on the Missouri shore about three miles above Belmont; disembarked the troops, formed line of battle, and proceeded to the attack of Belmont. The 7th Iowa and 22n Illinois were brigaded together. The brigade was commanded by Col. Dougherty, of the 22d Illinois. The battle of Belmont was a bloody day for the Seventh. The regiment went into the fight with eight companies, number 410 men, Two companies-K and G-being detached as a fleet guard, were not in the fight. The regiment lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, 237 men. It was on this field that the gallant and lamented Wentz fell, with many other brave officers, viz: G. W. S. Dodge, 2d Lieut. Co. B; Benjamin Ream, 2d Lieut. Co. C; Charles Gardner, 2d Lieut. Co. I. Col. Lauman and Major Rice were both severely wounded, as were also Capt. Gardner, Co. B; Capt. Harper, Co. D; Capt. Parrott, Co. E; and Capt. Kitteridge, Co. F.

It was in this fight that Iowa officers and soldiers proved to the world that they were made of the right kind of material, and added to the luster of our young and gallant State.

On the evening of the 7th of Nov., 1861, the shattered remnant of the Seventh Iowa arrived at Bird's Point, remained a few days, and were then ordered to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., to rest and recruit. This terminated the first battle of the Seventh Iowa.

On the 13th of January, 1862, the Seventh was ordered to embark on a transport for the south. It was marched to St. Louis, and embarked on the noble steamer "Continental." The weather was intensely cold, which detained the boat till about 9 o'clock at night, when she got under way, the river being full of floating ice, and proceeded down the river about twenty miles, where she was frozen up in the middle of the stream. We remained on board two days, when the ice became solid, and the regiment with its baggage was removed to the shore, took railroad, and returned to St. Louis. The weather still continued very cold, but the good citizens of St. Louis tendered to Col. Lauman the use of the Chamber of Commerce to shelter his men from the blighting cold, and the gallant boys found comfort in the hot coffee, warm room, &c., so generously provided by the friends of the soldiers. Next morning the regiment was ordered to cross the Mississippi river, and take the cars for Cairo. The river was frozen solid in the centre with channels open on either side. The crossing commenced about noon. We took a steam ferry-boat at St. Louis, ran to the solid ice, disembarked, packed the baggage across the ice to the channel on the Illinois shore, embarked again on another ferry-boat, and in that way made the crossing, and got ready to start about midnight. Next night arrived at Cairo. Next day moved over to Fort Holt, remained there three or four days; then took transports, and went to Smithland, Ky., where we remained a few days, and were then ordered up the Tennessee river to attack Fort Henry.

Landed on the morning of the 6th February, and took up a line of march over miserable roads to invest the fort, but Commodore Foote with his fleet captured the fort about 11 o'clock Sunday. On the next morning the regiment entered Fort Henry.

Remained at Fort Henry about one week, and on the 12th February, 1862, took up line of march for Fort Donelson. Arrived in the vicinity of the fort same day. About 5 p.m., the 7th Iowa was ordered to the front to support Battery H, 1st Missouri Light Artillery; spent the night without shelter or blankets. On the morning of the 13th, deployed Co. C, Capt. McMullin, as skirmishers, and shortly afterwards received orders from Gen. Smith to join the brigade as it was going into action. Put the regiment into line, and double-quicked until it reached the brigade, which had taken position in front of the rebel works. Remained all day in line of battle, not daring to rise from the abatis, and so remained till darkness gave an opportunity to withdraw. The weather became very boisterous. A heavy shower of rain fell about midnight, when it changed to snow, and by morning the face of the earth was covered with snow and ice, and the temperature was very cold, the men without shelter, and many without blankets. On the 14th, deployed several companies as skirmishers. The night was quite inclement, several inches of snow having fallen. On the 15th, in the morning, deployed skirmishers, and at about 2 o'clock, p.m., were ordered to charge the rebel works. The 2d Iowa, never having been in a fight, and having joined the brigade on Friday, February 14th, was given the post of honor in leading the charge, supported by the balance of the brigade. The 7th Iowa moved up to the works in fine style, entered the sally-port, and gained, with the 2d Iowa, a position inside the rebel works. We were then ordered by the brave, gallant, and lamented Gen. Smith to fall back, and take shelter on the outside of the rebel works, where we bivouacked for the night. The weather being still very cold, and no fires were allowed, the regiment suffered considerably.

On the holy Sabbath morning, Feb. 16th, as the day dawned, in the dim distance could be seen the white flag, which in plain language told us all, that the strife for the mastery of Fort Donelson had ended, and in a short time the whole column of our wing was marching into the fort, amid loud huzzas, the beating of drums, and the shrill music of fifes, and with that time-honored old flag known as the stars and stripes, waving over us. So fell Fort Donelson, and the 7th Iowa claims her meed of praise.

The regiment remained at Donelson some three weeks, enjoying a comfortable repose and rest, being quartered in rude cabins erected by the rebels. After the three weeks' repose the regiment was ordered to march to Metal Landing on the Tennessee river, where it lay about one week waiting for transportation, at the end of which time the good steamer White Cloud was assigned to the 7th Iowa and all hands boarded her, and steamed up the Tennessee river for Pittsburg Landing. Remained on the steamer about one week, not being able to land sooner. The regiment camped contiguous to the river, weather cold and stormy. Changed camp in about one week, and remained quiet until the memorable 6th of April, 1862, then Beauregard with his host of rebels attacked our whole line.

The 7th Iowa was on parade for inspection when the battle commenced. In a few moments the regiment moved to the front, where it was engaged the balance of the day. About 4 o'clock p.m. the whole brigade was ordered to fall back, in which retrograde movement the lamented Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, commanding our division, fell, and the Seventh lost one officer, color-sergeant, and seven men killed, and a number wounded. Rallied in the edge of timber, and stopped the advance of the rebels, and a short time afterwards fell back to the main road, where we bivouacked for the night. The night was inclement, and rain falling in torrents.

On the morning of the 7th April, made an advance on the rebels, and before noon they were in full rout. At night the regiment returned to the old camp and got a warm supper, the first they had had for two days, but were compelled to lie without shelter, the tents of the regiment being occupied by the wounded of both armies.

On the 8th, again advanced to the front several miles, but found no enemy. Returned to camp at 8 o'clock p.m., the Federal army having driven the rebels from the bloody field of Shiloh.

Remained quiet in camp until the 27th of April, when the whole army moved on to the memorable siege of Corinth. On this march we all used the shovel for the first time in throwing up works and rifle-pits, and about the 1st of June, when contiguous to Corinth, it was ascertained that the enemy had evacuated, and the Seventh, with the division, was ordered to the pursuit of the enemy. The pursuit terminated at Booneville, Miss., where we went into camp for a few days; then retraced our steps, and our brigade formed what was known as Camp Montgomery, about two miles south-east of Corinth, where we remained in perfect quiet for the balance of the summer, doing picket and guard duty and drilling.

On the 15th of September, we were ordered to Iuka; arrived there on the 17th, and from Gen. Grant's Order No. 1, our division deserves as much credit and praise as the troops who were actually engaged. Left Iuka on the afternoon of the 17th; marched to Burnsville same day; next day reached Camp Montgomery. Remained in camp quietly until the 3d of October, 1862, when we were ordered to the front to meet the forces of Van Dorn and Price. The 7th Iowa, as usual, was on hand, and a more gallant fight the men never made. On the 3d of October, in the afternoon, Gen. Dains, who commanded the division when our weak line was driven back to Fort Robinette, placed the 7th Iowa in a position of honor in support of a battery, which was then stationed at Fort Robinette. The strife of the 3d of October ended. During the night of the 3d, the regiment was moved several times, and on the morning of the 4th, about 3 o'clock, took position on a ridge to the left of Battery Richardson. At 8 a.m., same day, were thrown out to support skirmishers, the enemy being in strong force in our front.

The skirmish line fell back, and upon the fact being reported to Gen. Dains, he ordered the 7th Iowa to take position on their old ground, and but a few minutes after, the enemy appeared in our front in vast numbers; but, thanks to the nerve of Iowa's sons, the 2d and 7th Iowa held the ridge, when there was no support from the balance of our division. Gen. Sweeny, who was in command of our brigade, gave the order for us to retire a short distance, and in his official report, made special mention of the 2d and 7th Iowa, in the following language: "I could not bear to see brave men slaughtered, and ordered the 2d and 7th Iowa to retire, there being no other troops to their support." The 7th Iowa retired about fifty yards, when they were rallied and made a charge on the enemy, which put him to flight, and the victory was won.

On the morning of the 5th we were ordered in pursuit of the flying enemy; but at 5 p.m., the same day, were ordered back to Corinth. Bivouacked near the Seminary, and remained till the afternoon of the 6th. Were then ordered to Camp Montgomery, and on the morning of the 7th were ordered to Rienzi, where we arrived same day. Remained at Rienzi a few days, and were then ordered to Kossuth, at which place we policed and established camp, but next day were ordered to a place called Boneyard, where the regiment camped and remained one month; from thence returned to Corinth, went into tents, and passed the winter. In March, 1863, were ordered to Bethel, Tenn., where the regiment remained till about 1st June. Returned to Corinth, and built nice and comfortable quarters, but before getting any comfort from them, were ordered to Moscow, Tenn., where we remained a month and were then ordered to La Grange, Tenn. After being there a few days, made a campaign down in Mississippi, via Holly Springs, being absent about two weeks. Returned to La Grange, and commenced making preparations for winter quarters, but were doomed to disappointment, for about 31st October we were ordered on a campaign and took the cars for Iuka. At this time the nights were cold and frosty, and the men suffered considerably, having to ride on the top of box cars!

Arrived at Iuka, and went into camp; remained a few days; took up line of march, crossed the Tennessee river at Eastport, and on the 11th November, 1863, arrived at the wealthy and pleasant little city of Pulaski, Tennessee, and went into camp. Not having any tents, owing to our limited transportation, the men busied themselves erecting rude huts, or in army parlance, "chebangs," in which all were comparatively comfortable. The railroad being destroyed by the rebels, our nearest depot of supplies was at Smith's station, six miles above Columbia and distant from our camp about thirty-six miles. From this station we had to wagon our supplies, and the 7th Iowa in December was escort for one hundred and fifty wagons to Smith's station. The weather was very inclement, and on the trip, the men suffered considerably.

About the 20th December, 1863, orders were received allowing men who had been in the service two years to veteranize, and in a few days three-fourths of the men present for duty re-enlisted. The regiment started to Iowa on the 7th January, 1864, and were furloughed for thirty days from the 20th January. On the 20th February commenced to rendezvous at Keokuk, and about the 25th had about two hundred recruits mustered into the regiment. Left Keokuk by steamboat on the 27th February; arrived at Cairo March 1st; took transports for Nashville, and arrived there in three squads from the 4th to the 7th of March. Took railroad for Pulaski, and proceeded from thence to Prospect, Tenn., on Elk river, and garrisoned that post until the 27th April, when we started on the ever-memorable Atlanta campaign.

This march was one of continual skirmishing and fighting. The Seventh upon crossing the Oostanaula river at Lay's ferry, May 15th, was thrown to the front to feel the enemy, who were in strong force, and but a few minutes sufficed to bring on the deadly conflict, which lasted but a few moments, and terminated in the complete rout of the rebels, consisting of an entire division commanded by General Walker. The Seventh Iowa did not number four hundred muskets, and inside of ten minutes lost sixty-one men in killed or wounded. No regiment in the United States service ever behaved with more gallantry, and it was with difficulty that the men could be drawn off from a force five times their number. This was about the first severe fighting of the campaign, but it continued from that time till the 1st of September, including Rome Cross Roads, Dallas, New Hope Church, Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain, Nick-a-jack Creek, and in close proximity to Atlanta, in all of which the seventh Iowa bore an honorable part. On the 22d July, when the lamented McPherson fell, the gallant old Seventh was an active participant in the bloody fray, and added new laurels to her former bright record.

The regiment moved from the front of Atlanta, and struck the West Point railroad near Palmetto, and from thence to Jonesboro, supported Kilpatrick's cavalry in driving the enemy, and was with the command under Gen. Sherman, which compelled Hood to evacuate Atlanta. The regiment went from East Point by rail to Rome, Ga., where it arrived about the 20th of September. The regiment was ordered to Allatoona on the 4th of October, but from accident to the cars did not arrive in time to take part in the bloody fray of the 5th, but arrived there just after the repulse of the enemy. Returned to Rome on the 7th of October, where we remained till November 11th, then took up the march through the heart of Georgia, and entered the city of Savannah, Dec. 21st. For particulars of march, &c., I refer you to my report accompanying this paper, which brings the regiment to the close of the Georgia campaign.

In conclusion, I will state that my regiment now contains five hundred and forty-nine men, aggregate. It received no men from the late draft, and has received no recruits for about two years, except those obtained while in the State last winter on veteran furlough.


Lieut.-Colonel commanding regiment.

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