A History Of The 36TH Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment

In The Civil War


By Jon B. Hittle








  1. Early Days Of The Regiment 3
  2. St. Louis, Memphis and Helena 3
  3. The Yazoo Pass Expedition and First Action at Shell Mound, Mississippi 4
  4. The Battle of Helena 5
  5. DuVall’s Bluff, Pine Bluff and Capture of Little Rock 5
  6. The Camden Expedition of the Red River Campaign 6
  7. Massacre at Poison Springs 7
  8. Disaster at Mark’s Mills 8
  9. The Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry 12
10. Prisoners of War at Camp Ford 12
11. Post-Script 13
12. Appendix I 14
13. Appendix II 15
14. Appendix III 18
15. Bibliography 20
16. Author Note 21



The 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment, US Volunteers, was one of several Midwestern volunteer regiments raised in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin in the late winter, spring and summer of 1862 by Illinois Congressman (Lincoln friend and later General) John McLernand. Companies A and K consisted of men from Monroe County, while Companies B, C, D, E, F G, H and I were made up of men from Appanoose and Wapella Counties.  The first recruits were mustered into state service in February 1862. The ranks were filled out with additional recruits by early September, and the regiment was officially designated the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment.  Colonel Charles W. Kittredge of Ottumwa Iowa was placed in command. Colonel Kittredge had previously served as a Captain with the 7th Iowa Infantry Regiment in Missouri during the first year of the war and was an experienced combat veteran.


All companies rendezvoused at Camp Lincoln, Keokuk Iowa where, on 4 October 1862, they were sworn into United States service for a term of three years. The men were first issued old Austrian and Belgian smoothbore muskets with "sword" bayonets, but these antiques were eventually replaced with more effective Enfield rifled muskets. Following four weeks of basic training at Camp Lincoln, the regiment departed Keokuk on 1 November 1862 aboard two steamboats for St. Louis to await corps and division assignment and to continue training.



At St. Louis, the regiment went into garrison at Benton Barracks. The 36th was attached to the 13th Corps, Army of Tennessee, and commenced drill by brigade and division. On 20 December 1862 they embarked by steamer for the federal garrison at Helena, Arkansas. The vessel halted at Memphis when the local citizens hailed it from shore with an alarming report that Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his cavalry were in the neighborhood and were preparing an attack on the city. That night the men of the 36th slept with their arms stacked nearby in Jackson Square. The regiment eventually moved to some old vacated mule-sheds and remained in Memphis performing guard duty at Fort Pickering until 1 January 1863, when it resumed its movement to Helena.


At Helena, the regiment became part of the 1st Brigade, 13th Division, 13th Corps under General Benjamin Prentiss. The regiment was initially quartered in tents but later moved into winter quarters at Fort Curtis in semi-permanent “half-cabins” consisting of log walls with canvas ceilings and dirt floors.  These billets had formerly been occupied by the 47th Indiana Infantry.  According to Captain Seth Swiggett of Company B, the ex-Postmaster at Blakesburg, Iowa, the Iowans devised an efficient central heating system in these cabins by burying a length of stovepipe beneath the dirt floor and running it the length of the cabin from a small tin stove on one end to an exhaust pipe on the opposite end.  With 5 to 8 men occupying each cabin, the regiment passed the month of January 1863 in as comfortable a manner as could be expected under the circumstances.




In February 1863, the 36th Iowa, 600 strong, embarked with other elements of the 13th Corps for Mississippi to take part in the Yazoo Pass, or Fort Pemberton Expedition. This operation was conceived by General Grant and entailed blowing an opening through the east bank of the Mississippi River near Moon Lake below Helena to open a channel connecting with an inland water route that would enable Grant to encircle the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg from the north. Sergeant Michael Hittle of Company A, a 21-year-old farm boy from Lovilia, Monroe County, recalled years later that during this expedition the regiment had to wade in ice-cold water waste-deep. The regiment saw its first action at Shell Mound, Mississippi where, after witnessing a fierce artillery dual between federal and rebel batteries, Captain Swiggett noted that the 36th Iowa had a "sharp exchange" with the rebels.


The regiment was engaged on this march for 40 days.  They found no unguarded route to Vicksburg and the expedition was abandoned.  The men suffered greatly because of almost continuous exposure to the elements on this campaign, including freezing rain and high winds that blew their tents down.  The constant cold and dampness thus took a heavy toll with dozens of soldiers brought down by cold, flu and fever.




Returning to Helena, the 36th commenced a physically demanding daily regimen of drill and building fortifications in anticipation of a Confederate attack expected with the arrival of spring weather. The 36th Regiment was assigned to build breast works and trenches in support of Battery A at Fort Curtis, on the northern most end of the Union defenses.  The federal line ran in a semi-circle around the town with the Mississippi River being their east flank.


On July 4, 1863, a Confederate force under General Holmes estimated at between 8,000 and 10,000 attacked Helena. With devastating artillery fire and additional fire support from the U.S. Navy gunboat Tyler anchored in the river offshore, the Union positions repulsed the assault in a savage, bloody all-day slugfest under a burning hot sun.  The Confederates nearly captured some of the federal redoubts where the fighting devolved into gory hand-to-hand combat.  Confederate losses were estimated at 2,000-3,000. The next day the 36th Iowa and its sister units celebrated Independence Day a day late by collecting and burying rebel corpses.


Vicksburg also surrendered to Grant on 4 July. These two victories ended further serious Confederate threats to federal operations along the Mississippi River and essentially cut off regular lines of communication and supply between rebel forces on opposite sides of the Mississippi for the remainder of the war.  With New Orleans, Vicksburg, Helena, Memphis and St. Louis all in federal hands, the Mississippi became the unfettered transportation and supply nexus of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.  Meanwhile, the Army of the Potomac under General George Meade celebrated a grand if bloody victory at Gettysburg Pennsylvania on the Fourth of July-- a battle that marked the high tide of the Confederacy in the eastern theater.




Following the battle at Helena, the 36th became part of the 7th Corps under command of Major General Frederick Steele and was sent into garrison duty at the federal supply base at DuVall's Bluff, Arkansas, on the White River.  In July and August, the regiment was sent on a guard assignment to Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  In early September 1863, Steele's corps, including the 36th, launched its attack up the Arkansas River, converging on Little Rock and, after a running battle with Confederate troops, captured that city on 10 September 1863. The 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment went into bivouac on the grounds of the Arkansas state capital and endured a bitterly cold winter there. Meanwhile the Arkansas state officials had moved their capital to the county courthouse at Washington, Arkansas nearer to the Texas-Louisiana border.




In March 1864, General Steele received orders to move his 7th Corps through southern Arkansas and proceed to attack Shreveport, Louisiana to link up with Union forces under command of General Nathaniel Banks. Banks had already commenced a campaign up the Red River of Louisiana aimed at capturing Alexandria, converging upon Shreveport and, after linking up with Steele, the combined Union force would push into Texas. It was hoped that Steele's southward thrust from Little Rock would catch Confederate Commander E. Kirby Smith in a pincer movement, force Smith to fight a two-front action and thus divert precious Confederate resources from the main line of battle on the Red River.


Departing Little Rock on 23 March, Steele's Corps of about 20,000 troops, including the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment, immediately encountered rebel resistance in the form of skirmishers along the line of March.  The first major engagement took place as Steele’s column was crossing the Little Missouri River.  The Confederates had burned the only bridge across the swollen river, so federal scouts had located the only passable crossing in the vicinity at Elkin’s Ford.  The rebels lay in ambush at the ford and viciously attacked as the federals made their crossing.  A sharp infantry and artillery exchange ensued in which the 36th played a key role. After an all-day fight, the rebels abandoned their effort and withdrew. The federal column continued to be harassed as it proceeded slowly to the southwest.  The Confederates again attacked in force as the federals emerged into open country on the Prairie D'Ane near present-day Prescott, Arkansas.  As before, the Confederates harassed and then retreated into the forests and rugged Ouchita Mountains.


These attacks slowed Steele's progress and the Corps managed to move only 82 miles in 10 days. Facing the unexpected resistance, and growing dangerously short on supplies, Steele placed all troops on half-rations and decided to divert his force to Camden, with the hope of resupplying his Corps from local granaries and mills.




Steele moved into Camden on 15 April with almost no resistance and, discovering that the rebels had destroyed all the steam gristmills near Camden except Britton's Mill a few miles south of town, Steele ordered the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment to seize the mill.  The men of the 36th spent the next several days engaged in a critical task of protecting the mill and grinding corn meal for the army.


Steele meanwhile had sent scouts foraging for other sources of grain and food, and word soon reached his headquarters that a large cache of corn had been discovered northwest of Camden on the upper Washington Road near Poison Springs. On 17 April, Steele ordered the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment, elements of three Kansas cavalry regiments, a section of light artillery and 198 wagons there to collect the grain. The next day as the loaded federal wagons were getting underway for the return to Camden, the escort was ambushed, encircled, cut-off and virtually wiped out.  The federals suffered more than 300 casualties, including 204 wounded. True to the threats of Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Government, Negro troops received no quarter in this battle. Most of the enlisted men of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry were shot down after they had already surrendered. General E. Kirby Smith, who had arrived in Arkansas on 19 April witnessed the collection of prisoners and later admitted in his after-action report that, "not more than 2 were Negroes." Such was the savagery found in the western theater of operations during the Civil War.


Steele meanwhile received news that Banks' force was now in full retreat along the Red River in Louisiana. The implication was obvious: with Banks withdrawing rapidly, Kirby Smith could turn the full force of his Confederate Army northward to attack Steele's smaller 7th Corps as it lay-- completely cut off from supplies and reinforcements-- miles inside the snake-infested swamps and pine forests of southern Arkansas. Steele knew that his position at Camden was tenuous at best.  He would certainly receive no reinforcement from Banks, who was in full retreat in Louisiana, and he would have to fight his way out of Camden to re-occupy Little Rock or face starvation and annihilation by the Confederates.  Steele decided to save his army.


The odds were completely against him. While Steele's Corps consisted of 20,000 battle-hardened veterans, they were now down to just half-rations of hard tack, quarter-rations of salt-pork and coffee. Furthermore, the disaster at Poison Springs had resulted in the loss of nearly 200 supply wagons and the mules to pull them, exacerbating further resupply and foraging efforts. To make matters worse, after dispatching Banks on the Red River, Kirby Smith had transferred his command rapidly into Arkansas, bringing additional infantry regiments with him from Louisiana and raising some newly recruited units along the way. Smith also had some of the Confederacy's most creative general officers in the Arkansas Theater, including the talented Sterling Price, John Marmaduke, Samuel Maxey, cavalry commander James Fagan and his bold and aggressive division commanders-- Joe Shelby and William Cabell.



A 200-wagon supply train arrived at Camden from the federal base at Pine Bluff on 20 April, but it only carried half-rations for ten days. With supplies short, Steele ordered Lt. Colonel Francis Drake, Commanding Officer of the 36th Iowa, to take temporary command of the 2nd brigade to escort these wagons back to Pine Bluff. At Pine Bluff, Drake was to refill the wagons and escort the train back to Camden.


The train would be heavily escorted by the 36th Iowa, Major A.H. Hamilton in temporary command, the 1st Indiana Cavalry and elements of the 5th Missouri Cavalry, the 43rd Indiana and 77th Ohio Infantry Regiments and a four-gun light battery from Captain Peetz's 2nd Missouri Light Artillery. The 1st Iowa Cavalry Regiment, which had served its 3 years and was on its way home on furlough and for re-enlistment, was scheduled to follow and catch up with Drake's train. The brigade also included a section of 75 civilian Negro pioneer laborers whose job it was to move ahead of the train, felling trees and laying them down to build corduroy roads over the muddy, difficult route. The train with escort left Camden on Friday, 22 April and Drake soon found that an additional entourage of some 50-75 civilian wagons carrying teamsters, sutlers, cotton speculators, about 300 Negro refugees and other assorted camp followers had joined the expedition. Due to very muddy road conditions, progress was slow and according to Company B's Captain Seth Swiggett, the column was harassed by rebel skirmishers and snipers throughout Saturday and Sunday. By mid-afternoon Sunday, Drake's column had reached the western approach to the Moro River —essentially a large creek that habitually went out of its banks in a wide swath during spring rains. Swiggett recounted in his memoirs that, while no surface water could be discerned in the Moro Bottom, the ground was so saturated by the recent rains that anyone or anything attempting to cross it would become hopelessly buried deep in mud and muck.

Steele had ordered Drake not to attempt to cross the Moro Bottom after dark, and additionally, the civilian teamsters were starting to get out of hand, complaining to Drake about the rigors of the pace, according to Swiggett. Rather than proceed, therefore, Drake halted the column on the west bank of the Moro Bottom. In his official after-action report, Drake stated that he stopped the column that Sunday “evening.”  The timing is very much in dispute, for Captain Swiggett later noted in his memoirs that the column halted long before nightfall and in fact had gone into camp on the west bank at 2 pm Sunday.  Captain Swiggett opined that, had Drake exhibited more backbone by insisting on moving across Moro Bottom Sunday afternoon, the entire train could have crossed safely before nightfall, would have been well on its way to Pine Bluff, and would have avoided the tragedy to come. Although Drake could perhaps claim later that he was technically following Steele's orders by going into bivouac when he did, Swiggett noted that there was a strong sense of gloom and foreboding in the federal camp as they lay there immobile on Sunday afternoon. As it was, Drake posted cavalry squads of 25 troopers each 2 miles to his front and 5 miles to his rear on Sunday, with orders for them to scout all roads for 5 miles in all directions at daybreak on Monday.


Sunday night passed without incident and, having received no reports of the enemy from his scouts on Monday morning, Drake ordered the march resumed. The 43rd Indiana Infantry Regiment was deployed to lead the way, while the 36th Iowa marched on the flank of the wagons. Drake ordered the 77th Ohio to form the rear-guard and that regiment lagged almost 3 miles to the rear. As the column crossed the Moro Bottom with difficulty and headed to higher ground, federal scouts informed Colonel Norris in command of the 43rd Indiana that they had discovered signs of large, hastily abandoned cavalry encampments to their immediate front. Norris sent that report back to Drake, who dismissed it rather curtly and sent forward orders for the 43rd to pick up the pace.  A short distance further, in a clearing at a fork in the road occupied by a few log cabins, the 43rd Indiana was fired on by dismounted rebel cavalry from General Fagan's command. Fagan had evaded Union scouts the previous night by crossing the Ouchita River below Camden and making a forced march of 52 miles to get into position ahead of Drake’s train between the Moro and Pine Bluff.  That morning they were lying in ambush near the crossroad clearing, known locally as Mark's Mills, just east of present-day Fordyce in Cleveland County.


Forming line of battle, the 43rd's Norris ordered his command to charge Fagan's dismounted cavalry. As the charge commenced, Confederate General William Cabell's mounted cavalry revealed itself from concealed positions in the trees on the south, or right flank. What began as a skirmish at around 8:30 am quickly developed into a very hot firefight with the federals firing in two directions to beat off the assault. The well-aimed fire from the veteran federal infantry was devastatingly effective and temporarily slowed Fagan’s advance. Drake ordered the train to pull off the road into an empty field and then ordered Major Hamilton to deploy the first battalion of the 36th Iowa Infantry up and onto the firing line on the 43rd Indiana’s left flank.  Just as Companies A, B and C came on line, the Confederates charged the center and took another devastating musket volley from the federals. Drake then ordered up Peetz's 2nd Missouri Battery at the double-quick. As Peetz’s gun crews swung their cannon into position, the federal infantry was ordered to move to both flanks to open a hole in the center.  This was done with alacrity and Peetz's gun crews opened fire on the rebels with grapeshot at less than 200 yards. This stunned the Confederates, resulting in a momentary lull in the battle, but musket fire quickly resumed. As the Iowa and Indiana infantrymen were concentrating on the rebels to their front and right flank. General Joe Shelby's cavalry brigade swooped down on them from the left flank.  Three companies of the 36th Iowa, the entire 43rd Indiana and Peetz’s battery were now pressed on three sides and were in danger of being encircled. Drake ordered the remainder of the 36th Iowa Infantry, still positioned near the wagons, to charge into Cabell's troopers on the right to push them back, prevent encirclement and attempt a link-up with the 77th Ohio, which was now moving forward to join the battle. Before this charge could be accomplished however, the rebels closed the trap. As the federal troops were surrounded, it quickly became a confused entanglement of small units fighting small units and then it became, according to Captain Seth Swiggett, "Every man for himself."


The federals fought bravely but were now surrounded and receiving fire from all sides. The fight was hotly contested and veterans reported that it lasted fully 5 hours.


Some men of the 36th Iowa’s first battalion took cover in the log cabins and kept up a withering and deadly fire, holding out from those protected positions until long after the others had surrendered, and until they exhausted their ammunition. When the insurgents threatened to burn the cabins down, the Iowans surrendered. In his after-action report, Cabell stated that 17 prisoners were taken from the larger of the two cabins. According to Captain Swiggett, when capture became certain, most of the Iowa men smashed their rifles against trees rather than hand them over to their captors.


As the men of the 36th and 43rd Indiana were being rounded up and dis-armed, a last ditch effort to break into the Confederate ring by some brave federal cavalrymen created enough confusion and a diversion for some of the Iowa soldiers to bolt.  Several disappeared into the nearby woods and a few headed to the rear to warn the 77th Ohio of the overwhelming size of the enemy force to the front. Reaching the 77th a mile to the rear, the 36th Iowa men were accused of being deserters and their report was not believed.  The Commanding Officer of the 77th ordered his regiment forward at the double quick into the melee and soon that regiment was also overwhelmed by the three rebel cavalry divisions and surrendered.


The men who escaped, including Third Sergeant Michael Hittle of Company A, evaded re-capture by moving across country, carefully avoiding rebel patrols. Half starved, exhausted and unarmed, some reached the safety of Union lines at Pine Bluff, while others managed to reach Little Rock.  There they reported the news of what had befallen their comrades at Mark's Mills. Colonel Powell Clayton, the federal commander at Pine Bluff, reported to General Sherman a few days after the battle that 186 Union cavalry and about 90 federal infantrymen had managed to escape and report in at Pine Bluff and at Little Rock.  The 36th Iowa Infantry had ceased to exist by 3 pm on April 25, 1864.




Learning of the disaster at Mark's Mills, Steele immediately put the 7th Corps in motion from Camden on the morning of the 26 April with the object of crossing the Saline River at Jenkins’ Ferry and retiring to Little Rock. The corps made a forced march northeastward to the Saline, where high water necessitated the installation of a rubber pontoon bridge. Steele then moved his army across the swollen river, one wagon at a time, one gun limber at a time, and had three quarters of his trains and artillery on the opposite bank when his rear-guard regiments were strongly attacked by the pursuing Confederates. In a savage battle that ranged through plowed fields on the south bank of the Saline, Steele's troops poured volley after volley into the pursuing insurgents, first stalling their attack, and then turning it and buying time for the lead elements of the column to cross the pontoon bridge. Union infantry then made their crossing and took up guard from the opposite bank. Steele ordered the pontoon bridge to remain in place two more hours to enable wounded men and stragglers to be rescued.  Then the bridge was destroyed in place, and allowed to sink into the river.  While Steele's Corps got bogged down on muddy roads north of the Saline, it managed to make a safe withdrawal to Little Rock.


While the majority of 36th Iowa Infantry troops were captured at the Battle of Mark's Mills, some men of the 2nd Brigade-- including 36th Iowa men who had been left behind sick in quarters at Camden-- were not present with the regiment at Mark's Mills. When Steele abandoned Camden therefore, these 36th Iowa remnants were assigned to a Casual Detachment under the command of Captain Marmaduke Darnall of the 43rd Indiana, and these men fought bravely with the Casual Detachment in the Battle of Jenkins' Ferry.




Fully three fourths of the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment was captured or killed at the Battle of Mark's Mills. The survivors were robbed of every valuable item they possessed, including, in some cases, the clothes on their backs and the shoes on their feet.  Overall, they were very roughly handled by their captors, according to Captain Swiggett. They were force-marched to the rebel prison at Camp Ford in Tyler Texas where dozens of them perished from disease and malnutrition over the next 12 months. A number of the 36th Iowa's officers escaped. Captain Swiggett twice escaped but was re-captured on both occasions and was rewarded for his bad behavior by being one of the last prisoners exchanged.


Those who survived the horrors of Camp Ford were repatriated in April 1865 and these survivors returned to DuVall's Bluff.  There, along with the handful of men who had escaped capture the year before, the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment was re-constituted. The regiment saw no further combat action and completed its service guarding the depot at DuVall’s Bluff.


The regiment was mustered out of federal service at DuVall's Bluff 24 August 1865. The veterans returned north to Davenport, Iowa where they received their final Army pay before dispersing to their respective home counties.



The Union Army never controlled the territory of Southern Arkansas, but it occupied the capital and effectively took the state out of the war for all practical purposes and contained the threat to Missouri from Shelby and other Confederate raiders in the final two years of the war.


Lieutenant Colonel Francis Drake, whose bad judgment and weakness in command led to the disaster at Mark's Mills, was wounded by a musket ball to the hip and captured there. As senior Union officer in command, the rebels exchanged Drake a few weeks after his capture. He returned to Iowa to a hero's welcome and he subsequently used that as political capital to win election as Governor of Iowa. Contemporaries from his service days, including officers and men alike from the regiment and from other regiments engaged at Mark's Mills were far less complimentary toward their former acting brigade commander.  Men of the 43rd Indiana Infantry Regiment, in particular, held Francis Drake in contempt for his actions at Mark's Mills, accusing him of leading them straight into ambush by his dithering indecisiveness in failing to cross the Moro Bottom on the afternoon of 24 April.


The official 7th Army Corps report for the battle of Mark's Mills listed the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment's casualties as 18 men killed or wounded and 371 captured. According to Company K’s Sergeant Josiah Young's history of the regiment, however, 49 men were either killed outright or subsequently died of wounds suffered at Mark's Mills.

Confederate General William Cabell perhaps spoke the greatest compliment to the men of the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment when he noted in his official after-action report that, ''The killed and wounded of Cabell's Brigade show how stubborn the enemy was and how reluctantly they gave up the train. [My] men never fought better. They whipped the best infantry regiments that the enemy had...old Veterans as they were called."


The regimental colors of the 36th Iowa Infantry are on display in the rotunda of the Iowa State Capital in Des Moines.





























Sergeant Michael Hittle was born April 4, 1841 in rural Rush County, Indiana, the first-born of Jacob and Huldah Jane (Ambers) Hittle.  Between the age of five and seven years Michael relocated with his parents to the new community of Bremen (later changed to Lovilia), in Kishkekosh (later Monroe) County, Iowa.  Mr. Hittle’s grandfather, also named Michael, had purchased government-owned homestead parcels in Monroe and other eastern Iowa counties since 1845, and the extended Hittle family including Mr. Hittle’s grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles were among the first settlers to arrive in Monroe County from Indiana and Illinois between 1846-1848. 


Michael Hittle received only about 3 months’ of schooling in one-room schools houses on the Indiana and Iowa prairie. On December 29, 1860, he married Miss Deborah Barnard, a native of Putnam County, Indiana at Lovilia. 


On September 7, 1862, Mr. Hittle was mustered in as 4th Corporal of Company A of the 36th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Albia Iowa, alongside his father, Jacob, also a volunteer.

Sergeant Hittle rose through the non-commissioned officer ranks and was discharged as 3rd Sergeant of Company A on August 24 1865 at DuVall’s Bluff, Arkansas.   He was engaged in all of the marches, expeditions and combat actions of the regiment, with the exception of Jenkins’ Ferry.  This was due to the fact that he had been taken prisoner five days earlier at the battle of Mark’s Mills but was one of the fortunate 90 infantrymen who escaped and made their way to Union lines which, in Sergeant Hittle’s case, was Little Rock.  Thus he was not present with the remnants of the 36th Iowa who were part of Captain Darnall’s Casual Detachment that fought at Jenkins’ Ferry on April 30 1864.  


Following his discharge from the Army, Sergeant Hittle returned to Monroe County and resumed his occupation of farming, working leased ground in and around the community of Lovilia for the next 14 years.  In 1879, he made a three-month trip through Western Iowa, Kansas and Colorado to examine homestead land, eventually deciding to settle in Monona County, Iowa.  In 1880, he purchased 240 acres northwest of Castana, in Kennebec Township.  He eventually increased his holdings to 306 acres on which he was actively engaged in stock raising.  He was a member of the Christian Church and belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veterans’ posts at Lovilia and Castana.  He and his spouse had eight children of whom four grew to maturity—Thomas Jefferson Hittle, Andrew Michael Hittle, Newton Albert Hittle and Clara Ann Hittle (McGee).  In 1885, his mother and father came to live with him in Monona County. 


On March 21 1900, Mr. Hittle collapsed unexpectedly, the victim of an apparent heart attack.  He was 58 years of age.  He is buried in Lot 1, Block 3 of Grant Cemetery, Grant Township, Monona County, Iowa.


Sergeant Michael Hittle










Corporal Jacob Hittle was born in Greene County, Ohio on June 6, 1820, the seventh child of Michael Hittle and Lydia (Yeapel) Hittle who originally hailed from Columbia County, Pennsylvania.  Jacob Hittle was the grandson of Michael Hittel Senior of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, and he was a great grandson of Jurg Michael Hittel, a native of the German Rhineland who immigrated to Northampton County Pennsylvania in 1738.  Jacob’s great grandfather, Michael Hittel Senior, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, having served on campaigns in Captain John Santee’s 8th Company, Fifth Battalion, Northampton County Pennsylvania Militia in 1778 and 1780.  Mr. Hittle’s uncle, George Hittle, was the first White pioneer to settle on Sugar Creek in Tazewell County Illinois, founding the community of Hittle’s Grove and Hittle Township, in 1826.


At two years of age, Jacob Hittle relocated with his parents from Ohio to rural Rush County, Indiana, where he grew to manhood. On June 1, 1840, Mr. Hittle married Miss Huldah Jane Ambers, daughter of Kentucky natives William and Sara Groves Ambers, at Rush County.   Between 1846 and 1848 Mr. Hittle and his wife relocated to Iowa to join his father, mother and brothers and their families and were among the earliest settlers in the town of Bremen (later renamed Lovilia), Kishkekosh (later Monroe) County, Iowa.  Mr. Hittle was a carpenter by occupation, a Mason, and a member of the Christian Church.  He is believed to have been involved in constructing many of the buildings of the new community at Bremen-Lovilia. 


On September 7, 1862, Mr. Hittle was mustered in as 6th Corporal of Company A, 36th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, along with his son Michael Hittle. Corporal Hittle rose steadily in the non-commissioned officer ranks, being promoted 5th Corporal on September 1, 1863, to 3rd Corporal on August 11, 1864, to 2nd Corporal on November 16, 1864 and to 1st Corporal on June 10, 1865.  He was discharged from the regiment along with his son on August 24, 1865.  Corporal Hittle was engaged in all of the marches, expeditions and combat actions of the 36th Iowa Infantry Regiment with the exception of the Yazoo Pass expedition, when he remained in quarters at Helena due to illness, and the action at Mark’s Mills, when again he had been left sick in quarters in Camden. 


Having thus avoided the disaster that had befallen the 36th Iowa at Mark’s Mills, however, Corporal Hittle did take part in the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry on April 30th 1864 as a member of Captain Darnall’s provisional Casual Detachment, which played a prominent role in that engagement.


Corporal Hittle returned to Lovilia after the war.  He and his spouse had nine children of whom six were raised to maturity: Michael Hittle, from whom the author is descended, Sarah Ann Hittle (Ross), George Levago Hittle, Philip Hartzel Hittle, Mary Survilla Hittle (Egbert), and Silas M. Hittle.


In 1885, Mr. Hittle and his wife moved to their son Michael’s holding near Castana, Monona County, Iowa, where Jacob died in 1905.  He had been a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veteran’s posts in Lovilia and Castana, Iowa.  He is buried next to his son, Sergeant Michael Hittle in Lot 1, Block 3, Grant Cemetery, Grant Township, Monona County, Iowa.


Corporal Jacob Hittle

1820 - 1905




1. Bearss, Edward., Steele’s Retreat from Camden and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. (Little Rock: Pioneer Press, 1961).
2. Christ, Mark, ed., Rugged and Sublime, The Civil War In Arkansas. (Fayettville: The University of Arkansas Press, 1994).
3. Swiggett, Seth. The Bright Side of Prison Life. (Baltimore: Fleet, McGinley & Co., 1897).
4. US Government Printing Office. The Official Record of the War of the Rebellion (OR), Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Part 1, Official Reports, pp. 665 - 713.
5. “Biographical Sketch of Michael Hittle,” in A History of Monona County, Iowa.  (Chicago: National Publishing Company, 1890).
6. Army Pension Record of Jacob Hittle.  File Number: SC 634.135, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
7. Army Pension Record of Michael Hittle.  File Number: WC 533.587, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
8. Young, Josiah T., Sergeant, “History of the Thirty-sixth Iowa Infantry,” in An Illustrated History Of Monroe County, Iowa. (Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1896).




Jon B. Hittle is originally from Woodbury County Iowa.  He received a B.A. in History from Briar Cliff College in 1973 and an M.A. in Modern European History from Louisiana State University in 1976.  He has a dozen direct-line ancestors who served in Iowa and Illinois regiments during the Civil War and he has been conducting research on those regiments for the past 25 years.  He was a Military Intelligence Officer working out of Washington, D.C. for 30 years before retiring in May 2009.   His military service consists of 6 years of active and reserve duty in the US Coast Guard