Clarke County and the Civil War

39th Iowa Company K

Thanks to Jeannie Winter and John Ross for furnishing this information.


Enlisted Aug 22, 1862 Discharged June 5, 1865

I, JACOB ROSS,enlisted in the thirty-ninth Iowa Company 'K' Infantry at Iowa, Iowa. I went from there to Davenport; got off at Columbus. Kentucky and took the boat there to Crossroads at Corenth, Tennessee. I went by way of the Tennessee River. I had been enlisted only three days, when about nine miles out of Corenth, Tennessee, I was in my first battle. I was one of the Color Guards. My duty was to help keep the flag floating; if it was knocked down we were to put it up again. There were three other Color Guards, besides myself.

Once when we were doing our duty, a cannon bursted right by us. Two of the Color Guards were killed and I was knocked down. Of course, the army went on with out me,for they didn't know but what I was killed too. I was just regaining consciousness when men hunting and picking up the wonded off the field then as I was all right by that time. In a short time I got with my regement again. One day as my army was marching along on the way, a horse came running through the army. We were all ordered to put dowm our bayonet, and the man by my side did not get his down. His bayonet,struck the horse in the breast and the horse fell on me and broke my collar-bone.

Another time, I was to guard prisoners, who were riding on top of a train. I guarded for seventy miles. facing a snow storm all the way. By the time we got to the end of our journey I could not talk above a whisper. A General took me into a store near-by and ordered a ginger tea for me. He then took me to the hospital, where they put a plaster on my lungs. Next morning I had a blister raised on my chest that was so big, that when it bursted it felt like a lot of cold water had been poured on my chest. They, then put on a ointment that realy ate through to my lungs, or at least it felt that way. I did not want the regment I was in to go on with out me, so I got out of the hospital in four days and went along, even though I shoulnd't, when I was in such a condition.

The regement went from there on to Chatanoga, Tennessee, and then we left Chatanoga, the ninth of April 1864, to capture Johnson and his army. We then marched across Nothern Tennessee, across north and south Carolina and Georgia. The whole march for the year was twenty-seven hundred miles. All that time we were trying to capture Johnson and his army. At last, just one year from the time we left Chatanoga, Tennessee, we captured Johnson's army, April the ninth, 1865.

After that, we fought two battles before we heard of General Lee's Army surrendering three days before. The railroads and telegraph wires were torned down, so the only way we could get word was by the Confederates sending messages by the way of the Northern states or by water. Our Army marched on foot to the sea. WE were seven months on the march there and only seven 0f our regment were alive when we got there.

The battle of Altanta was the close of the war. In that battle we fought fifty-seven battles in 113 days. we were all in nineteen battles at least; you see every third day only part of the army was engeged.

The battle of Altanta was the close of the war. In that battle we fought fifty-seven battles in 113 days. we were all in nineteen battles at least; you see every third day only part of the army was engeged.

I was in the Army of Tennessee. When in the army I helped build a fort at Linville, Tennessee, and it was there I got my foot hurt, which in later years I had to have removed.

I have seen the time when men would strike at the bullets with their hands and turn the flying bullets in another direction.

The Army of Tennessee, which I said before, I had fought in, marched from Mississippi to Washington D.C. where it took two days to inspect the army.

The year is 1915 and the army is reinspected by the President Woodrow Wilson and the Cabinet in one and one half hours. The Army of 1865 and the reminder of what was left of that Army in 1915, both times marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Capital in Washington D.C.

When I was discharded I made my way back to Leon, Iowa, which was my home town. I went on foot to Decatur City where I spent the night with my two Aunts, Margaret and Emile. The next morning I started home.

When I got to the river, my father, Francis Ross was waiting with a horse to help other soldiers across. as there were no bridge and the water was fairly deep to wade. He was very much surprised to see that I was among the soldiers that he was helping across, as he wasn't expecing me to get home as soon as I did.

Jacob was six years of age when his parents removed with thier family to Iowa,when they located in Henry County,near Salem. Three years ater they removed to Oskaloosa,Mahaska,County,where they lived about five years,when they made their home in Decatur County.

Jacob grew to manhood on a farm, where he was reared to agricultural pursits,and in his youth he attended the log school-houses of his neighborhood,where he received a limited education.

During the war of the Rebellion he enlisted in defense of the union August 22 1862, in Company K,Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry. He took an active part in the battle of Cross-Roads,and in the battle of Vicksburg,and in the engagements against Generals Johnston and Forrest.

While assisting in bulding a stockade at Lineville, Tennessee Jacob was severely wounded in the foot which disabled him for active service,

Then he was assigned to the forage department on General Sherman's grand march.He was in General Logan's command some time and was in the Fifteenth Army Corps, commanded by General McPherson

He was at the Grand review at Washinhton on May 5,1865,he received an honorable discharge, when he returned home to Decatur Co Iowa

Jacob moved to the farm in the fall of 1882 which was then entirely unimproved. The land is now well improved and his residence and farm buildings are comfortable and convenient. He has 100 acres under cultivation, and devoting all his time to general farming and stock-raising


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Last Revised August 29, 2010