HISTORY OF THE
IOWA VOLUNTEER REGIMENT
The Fifteenth was mustered in at Keokuk from Nov. 1, 1961, to Feb. 22, 1962. During its stay in
camp, without muskets or equipment the regiment drilled as best it could, and studied military
Hugh Thompson Reid, educated at Miami University and Indiana College, was its first colonel. In
April, 1863, Reid was promoted to brigadier general, and William Worth Belknap, son of a regular
army general, succeeded him. Belknap rose rapidly. For his efforts in recruiting the regiment he was
named major. When Lt. Col. Dewey was made colonel of the Twenty Third Iowa, Belknap succeeded him.
His outstanding achievements were in the battle of Corinth and at Atlanta under Sherman, for which
he was made brigadier general commanding the Iowa Brigade.
When Grant, with whom Belknap had developed a close friendship was elected president, he
appointed Belknap first Revenue Collector for Iowa, then Secretary of War.
John Morrow Hedrick, whose education was limited to the common schools and his own fireside,
followed Belknap as colonel. His rise was also rapid; from first lieutenant to brigadier general.
The regiment left Keokuk on The Gate City, March 19, 1862, and arrived at Pittsburgh Landing
April 6. The great battle was in progress and additional troops were desperately needed. The men
hurriedly disembarked, ammunition was distributed, and for the first time these raw recruits loaded
their guns. Fortunately it was a day when every boy knew how to handle a gun! Side by side with the
Sixteenth, these Iowa boys with no battle or skirmish experience, marched forward into the roar of
guns and the frenzied tumult of battle, breasting a flood of weary, wounded, panic stricken men,
fleeing to the rear. Their colors riddled with bullets, without the support of a brigade, the
Fifteenth led by Col. Reid moved into battle like veterans. Its loss was almost one-fourth of the
Shortly after Shiloh the regiment was assigned to the Iowa Brigade under Col. Crocker. (See p.
30). Corinth was the brigade's first major battle, and Col. Crocker particularly recognizes Col.
Reid of the Fifteenth in his report. Reid because of illness was unable to command on his first day.
On the second day he left his bed. Too ill to sit in a saddle, he rode with his men in an ambulance
following the retreating rebels until pursuit was abandoned. In Shiloh and Corinth the Fifteenth
lost 334 men, killed, wounded and missing.
With the Iowa brigade, the Fifteenth moved in a fleet of fifteen steamers down the great river
disembarking above the Yazoo River. Under Col. Belknap the Fifteenth was mounted and sent on
reconnoitering expeditions. In February, 1863, the men labored on the canal connecting Lake
Providence with the Mississippi. Again and again in the Iowa Brigade's campaign, special
commendation was given the Fifteenth for the courage and endurance of its leaders and men.
In three days of fighting before Atlanta, the regiment lost 45% of its officers and men. From
June until September, the regiment was under fire for 81 days, and in actual battle 16 days.
In October, 1864, the regiment, reorganized as veterans, marched with Sherman to the sea, and on
through the Carolinas to Richmond and Washington fighting an enemy which knew itself defeated but
refused to surrender. In Sherman's army, the regiment marched in the grand review before President
Lincoln and General Grant, led by the Iowa Brigade's first commander, General Crocker, even then ill
with the disease which would soon take his life.
The regiment was mustered out July 24, 1865, at Louisville, Ky.
Hugh T. Reid, Keokuk, Colonel 11/l/627 wounded Shiloh, Brigadier General 3/13/63
William Dewey, Sidney, Lt. Colonel 11/1/62
William W. Belknap, Keokuk, Major 11/7/61, wounded Shiloh, Lt. Colonel 8/1/62, Colonel 4/22/63,
Brigadier General 8/17/64, Brevet Major General
3/13/65 George Pomutz, New Buda, Major 4/22/63
William T. Cunningham, Knoxville, Major 10/24/64
Total 1926, killed 65, wounded 416, died of wounds 80, died of disease 198, captured 83.