There are three published rosters for the 21st Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry. They're significantly different and all three contain numerous errors, in large part since they were relying on handwritten records, handwriting was often difficult to decipher, some men could not read or write, and others sometimes did not know how to spell their own names or altered the spelling from time to time.
a. Nathaniel B. Baker, Report of the Adjutant General, Volume I (Iowa State Printer 1863). Baker's roster was prepared while the war was still in progress, many had not yet enlisted, and there were errors for those who did enlist.
b. George Crooke, The Twenty-First Regiment of lowa Volunteer Infantry (King, Fowle & Company, 1891). Crooke's roster has limited information and was prepared at a time when record keeping wasn't the best. While he was a member of the regiment, he was absent for almost ten months and probably for that reason some of his narrative is also wrong.
c. Roster and Record of lowa Soldiers, Volume 3; by Guy Logan (Iowa State Printer 1910). The most recent of the three rosters, part of a massive state effort to accurately reflect those who served and, I thought, the most likely to be accurate.
I have researched the regiment for more than thirty years and visited most sites that were visited by the regiment. Each of these biographies is based on that research, the soldiers records and records of his comrades that are on file with the National Archives & Records Administration, records and diaries on file with the State Historical Society of Iowa, original letters by members of the regiment, county histories, other original source documents and relevant online information.
Baade, Johann 'John' George
John Baade was born in the Mecklenburg area of northern Germany on January 3, 1842 but, by 185 7, was working as a young farm hand in Garnavillo.
On August 5, 1862 he enlisted at National as a Private in what would be Company B of the 21st Regiment of the Iowa Volunteer Infantry, a unit then being raised in Iowa's northeastern counties, its 3rd Congressional District. John was described as being 5' 8" tall with blue eyes, flaxen hair and a light complexion. The Company was mustered in on August 18th and the regiment on September 9th, both in Dubuque where training, minimal at best, was received at Camp Franklin (formerly known as Camp Union), On September 16, 1862, they left for war.
Except for a few brief bouts of illness, John maintained his health better than most who served in the western theater. After initial service in Missouri (Rolla, Salem, Houston, Hartville, West Plains, Ironton, Iron Mountain, Ste. Genevieve), the regiment was transported down the Mississippi to Milliken's Bend where General Grant was organizing a massive army to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. Assigned to a corps led by General McClernand, the regiment moved south through bayous and swamps west of the river. When a planned crossing at Grand Gulf proved unfeasible, the army continued south and, on April 30, 1863 crossed to the Bruinsburg landing on the east bank.
The first regiment to cross was assigned to high ground above the landing so it could sound the alarm if the enemy approached. The second regiment, the 21st Iowa, was ordered to move inland and to continue moving until fired upon. The orders were ominous, but they did as instructed and, about midnight, drew first fire near the residence of Abram Shaifer. The two sides exchanged gunfire only a short time before resting for the night.
The next day, May 1, 1863, John Baade was with the regiment as it fought the day-long Battle of Port Gibson. On May 16th they were present, but held in reserve, during the Battle of Champion's Hill. Rotated to the front on the 17th, they were in a four-regiment brigade that met entrenched Confederates at the Big Black River. An assault was ordered and, in three minutes, the Confederates were routed, but the regiment had suffered heavy casualties. While other reports differ, an analysis of National Archive documents show that the correct number was seven killed, eighteen fatally wounded, and thirty-eight non-fatally wounded. By May 22, 1863, they had reached the Union line at the rear of Vicksburg where they participated in that day's assault on the city. Casualties in the regiment were twenty-three killed, twelve fatally wounded, and forty-eight non-fatally wounded. Again, John Baade was uninjured and he remained with the regiment throughout the ensuing siege and during an expedition to, and siege of, Jackson, Mississippi.
On September 1, 1863 they were camped at Carrollton, Louisiana, when John received a thirty-day furlough to go north on a surgeon's certificate of disability. Like most others, he was late returning but eventually reached the regiment at Matagorda Island, Texas, on March 30, 1864, just in time for a prayer meeting held that night in the surgeon's tent. John was returned to duty without punishment and served with the regiment for the balance of its service in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and in Alabama during the campaign to capture the city of Mobile. On July 15, 1865 they were mustered out at Baton Rouge and, on July 24th, were discharged from the military at Clinton, Iowa.
On March 10, 1870, twenty-eight year old John Baade married Doris Krambeer (also known as Anna Maria Dorothea Krambeer and Dorista Krambier). John said they had four children - Johann Friedrich Heinrich born May 26, 1871, Gustave Johann Carl born July 20, 1972, Ida Bertha Elizabeth born August 7, 1875, and Johann Fredrich Heinrich born March 14, 1876.
Doris died in 1876 and, on December 30th of that year, John married Maria Hoth in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the mostly-German community of Clayton Centre. They would have eleven children Mathilde "Tillie" Caroline Marie born November 3, 1877, Heinrich "Henry" Joachim Johan born March 8, 1879, Louisa Wilhelmina Elizabeth born on October 8, 1880, Arthur August Friedrich born January 28, 1883 (or 1884), Theodore Johann Wilhelm born October 10, 1885, William "Willie" Heinrich Carl born March 4 (or March 5), 1888, Atha "Etta" Doris Friedricke born October 20, 1890, George John born September 3, 1892 (or 1891), Jenne "Jennie" August Friedericke born March 16, 1893(or1894), Laura born July 25 (or July 20), 1895, and Leona Wilhelmine born August 31, 1897.
All of the above names and dates, must be regarded as somewhat approximate since, even though reported by John, they sometimes varied from one document to another.
Many soldiers were suffering from wounds or illnesses when they returned to their families, but John Baade did better than most as he and Maria worked a farm about one mile southeast of Froelich. It was not until July 22, 1890 that John asked the Department of the Interior's Pension Office for an invalid pension. By then he was forty-eight years old and said he was partially unable to earn a living by manual labor due to asthma, chronic diarrhoea (an illness that had killed at least sixty-five men while still on the regiment's muster rolls) and general debility. His claim was supported by two ofhis neighbors, Conrad Butts and C. E. Nichols, who said John was "a man ofgood character and steady habits" and appeared to be suffering as he claimed. He was examined by a board of pension surgeons in McGregor and, on July 29, 1891, one year after the application was filed, he was approved for a monthly pension of $8.00.
John continued to work, one by one his children were married, and before long John was a grandfather. His pension, now age-based, was gradually increased to $12.00, then $24.00 and eventually to $72.00 monthly, an amount he was still receiving when he died on November 2, 1929 at eighty-six years of age. He was buried in Monona Cemetery.
Later that month, Maria applied for payment of John's pension that had accrued but not yet been paid when he died and for her own widow's pension. With affidavits from friends and neighbors who knew them, Maria was able to prove she had married John, they had not divorced, and she had not remarried after his death. On April 12, 1930 a $69.60 check was mailed to cover John's accrued pension and on April 14, 1930 a check was mailed to Maria for $132.00 as her own widow's pension. Maria died on March 23, 1943 (elsewhere 1944) and was buried with her husband in Monona Cemetery.
Barber, William Clayton
The son of Josiah W. and Marjane E. Barber, William Clayton Barber was born on August 31, 1843, in Clayton County. The 1882 county history says he was born in Farmersburg Township but William, in a sworn affidavit and elsewhere, said he was born in Garnavillo. A brother, Quincy, was born in 1847 and another brother, Henry, in 1848.
During the Civil War, on August 20, 1862, at Millville, he was enrolled by McGregor postmaster Willard Benton as a private in the military. They were mustered in as Company G on August 22nd at Dubuque and, with nine other companies, were mustered in on September 9th as the 21st regiment of Iowas volunteer infantry. William was described as being 5' 9¼ tall with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. Like most others in the regiment, he had been working as a farmer prior to enlistment.
The regiment, crowded on board the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, left for war on September 16th and saw early service in Missouri. After one night in St. Louis, they traveled by rail to Rolla and then walked to Salem, Houston and Hartville but, when a wagon train carrying supplies was attacked on November 24, 1862, they returned to the safer confines of Houston. They were still there when word was received that a Confederate force was advancing on Springfield. A relief force was quickly assembled but, on the way to Springfield, it met the enemy in a one-day battle on January 11, 1863, at Hartville. After returning to Houston, they moved south to West Plains and then northeast to Thomasville, Ironton and Iron Mountain. On March 11, 1863, they walked sixteen miles and camped on a ridge north of Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River. Except for a short case of the measles when they were in Rolla, William maintained his health well and continued with the regiment when they went downstream to Millikens Bend where General Grant, intent on capturing the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg, was organizing a large three-corps army.
Serving under General McClernand, they walked and waded along roads, through swamps and across bayous west of the river until, on April 30, 1863, they crossed to Bruinsburg, Mississippi. That night, they were the point regiment as the army started inland and, about midnight, they drew first fire near the Shaifer residence. After a brief exchange of gunfire in total darkness, men on both sides rested for several hours and tried to sleep. The next day, May 1st, they participated in the one-day battle of Port Gibson in which three of Williams comrades suffered fatal wounds.
Grant moved farther inland after the battle, drove the enemy to and through Jackson and then, having protected the rear of his army, changed direction and headed for Vicksburg. On May 16th, most of his army was engaged in battle at Champions Hill. Both sides suffered heavily, but the 21st Iowa, restrained by General McClernand, was held out of the battle. Late in the day, Companies A and B were permitted to do some skirmishing, protect prisoners and help gather arms, but many felt humiliated that they had been ordered to stand idle while others died.
The next day they were rotated to the front and, with the 23rd Iowa, led an assault on a Confederate line at the Big Black River. The successful assault lasted only three minutes, but the regiment had seven killed in action, eighteen more with fatal wounds, and at least forty with non-fatal wounds. While other regiments moved to Vicksburg and began to encircle the rear of the city, the 21st and 23rd Iowa were allowed to rest and care for their casualties.
A May 19th assault at Vicksburg was unsuccessful and General Grant ordered another for the 22nd. By then the regiment was present. An initial artillery barrage was followed by an assault along a three and one-half mile front. Men in Company B were held back as sharpshooters, but all other companies participated in an attack on the railroad redoubt in front of them. This, like the assault three days earlier, was unsuccessful and regimental casualties were worse than those incurred at the Big Black: twenty-three killed, twelve fatally wounded and at least forty-eight with non-fatal wounds. At the end of the day, many were left on the field - some dead, some dying, some with serious wounds - and there they remained until the 25th when Confederate General Pemberton proposed to Grant "in the name of humanity ... a cessation of hostilities for two hours and a half, that you may be enabled to remove your dead and dying men."
Among the living, carried from the field by four members of the company after more than two days without food or water, was William Barber. Nelson Reynolds, his Millville neighbor, accompanied William as he was taken to the field hospital and watched as William was laid on a table and Dr. Orr administered chloroform while a second doctor worked on the wound. Medicine was injected "that caused a large quantity of maggots to come from the wound," but the surgeon was unable to locate the musket ball and it would have to stay where it was, somewhere in William's hip. On June 4th, Jim Bethard, a friend from Grand Meadow Township, wrote to his wife, Caroline Bethard: "Wm Barber was severely wounded and has gone up the river to what point I do not know."
William had been taken to the Gayoso U. S. Army General Hospital in Memphis and there he would remain for many months. On February 12, 1864, he was returned to duty but, by then, his regiment was in Texas and it was March 16th before he reached his comrades. On the 24th, Jim Bethard wrote: "Wm Barber is quite sick at present with a fever caused by the inflamation of his old wound received at vicksburg last spring the ball is working out toward the surface and the doctor thinks he can cut out after a while."
Unfortunately, the embedded musket ball continued to cause problems, an abscess developed over the hip joint, and the surgeon had to lance it along the lower edge. On May 1st, Jim Bethard wrote again: "Wm Barber has had quite a serious time with his old wound but was getting better yesterday I have not seen him this morning the wound inflamed and swelled up causing a fever and he has been quite sick for about a week the doctor probed his thigh on the back part and it has discharged a great deal of matter and he is getting along finely now but it is my opinion that he will never be of any account in the army. On May 8th he wrote: "Wm Barber has had quite a serious time with his old wound but he is getting along verry well now he has got so that he walks around without any cain.
Despite Jims comments, Dr. Orr finally decided that William was incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of lameness. William was discharged at Algiers, Louisiana, and, on July 24th, Jim wrote: "Wm Barber has got his discharge and started home last friday he was in good health when he started As it is I am glad to see him out of the service but if he was all right I should like to have him with us Bill is a good boy and I think I may safely say he has not an enemy in the 21st Iowa he intended to stop in Illinois and take his Grandmother home with him I hope he will get through all right."
That fall, gravity caused the ball to slowly work its way closer to the surface. On October 15, 1864, it was removed by a doctor and William was presented with a souvenir, flattened considerably by reason of the same striking the hip bone."
On April 4, 1867, he married Izora Hutchins, still a month short of her seventeenth birthday, at her fathers home in Monona Township. A daughter, Nellie, was born April 12, 1868, in the community then known as Gem in Marion Township. Nellie was followed by Dow DeLoss Barber on December 25, 1869, Peter Thaddeus Barber on June 23, 1872, and William Ray Willie Barber on April 11, 1882.
Meanwhile, on November 26, 1870, William gave his Post Office address as Gem when he applied for an invalid pension. With former comrades Maple Moody and Tim Hopkins as witnesses and Willard Benton signing a supportive affidavit, William said he had tried to resume farming, but was disabled by the old gunshot wound. Surprisingly, an examining surgeon said the disability was originally a simple flesh gun shot wound and Williams leg was perfect. A pension was denied, but William persisted. Another surgeon felt William was three-fourths disabled from earning a living by manual labor, but the Adjutant Generals office said returns do not show him wounded as alleged. Finally, in 1875, he was awarded a $3.00 monthly pension. Subsequent applications gave his address as Luana, Iowa, in 1876, 1880 and 1883. In 1884 he joined McGregors Hervey Dix Post of the GAR, but in 1886 said he was living in Gem. In 1887 he moved to Nebraska where he lived initially in Dawes County and then for many years in Sheridan County.
From there, William and Izora moved to the far west and in 1913 were living in Pasadena, California. William was receiving a $21.50 monthly pension and living at 531 Olive Avenue, Long Beach, when he died on December 9, 1916. William was buried in the nearby Sunnyside Cemetery, 1905 East Willow Street, Long Beach.
Two weeks later, still living in Long Beach, Izora applied for a widows pension with her son, Dow D. Barber as a witness. To prove that she had been married to William, she secured an affidavit from his brother, Quincy Barber and Quincys wife, Luretta, both of whom had attended the marriage more than fifty years earlier. A pension was granted, but Izora eventually moved back to Nebraska and lived with her son, Peter Barber, who was a dentist in Omaha. Izora died on August 8, 1835. Peter arranged for her burial in Long Beach and paid the $25.38 charge for her interment in Sunnyside Cemetery. Dow D. Barber died in Alliance, Nebraska, in 1955 and Peter died in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1960. Nellie died young but her burial and that of Willie have not been located.
Benton, Willard A.
Willard A. Benton was born in Afton, New York, on December 3, 1829, learned the tanner and currier's trade, worked in California gold fields, traveled in Australia and Ecuador, was shipwrecked off the California coast on October 1, 1854, spent a year in San Francisco, returned to New York, moved to Iowa in 1856, and returned again to New York where, on August 26, 1857, he was married to Anna Marian (aka Maria) Buck.
Moving to McGregor, he ran a market garden for two years before being appointed Postmaster in 1860. The federal census of that year included William, his wife, and their two-year old daughter, Nellie, who would die at age three. On April 12, 1861, Confederate artillery fired on Fort Sumter and, less than two months later, on June 2d, a son, Elmer, was born to Willard and his wife.
On August 11, 1862 thirty-two year old Willard Benton was appointed as a Captain and charged with raising a Company in the northeastern counties. Physically, he was described as being 5' 9½' tall with grey eyes, black hair and a dark complexion, and he worked quickly to secure enlistments. He enrolled thirteen men on the 12th and three on the 13th, but time was short if the draft were to be avoided.
On Thursday and Friday, August 14th and 15th, McGregor was abuzz with excitement as enlistments soared. Joining on the 14th were farmers John Ano, William Wallace Farrand, John Kain (aka Kane), Christopher Kellogg, Andrew "Judge" Lawrence, Henry Lewis, Edward Murray, Edward Patterson, Robert Pettis, Nelson Reynolds, Oliver Shull (who also worked as a painter), James Withrow, and Sam Withrow. With them were Dan Donahue who had been working as a steward and porter, laborer Tyler Featherly, and musician Tim Hopkins. On the 15th, the ranks were further increased when farmers John Birch, Pat Burns (who also worked as a shoemaker), John Carpenter, Smith Chernois, John Conant, Thomas Daniels, William Dunn. Orlen Gates, William Johns, Peter Mcintyre, Linus Line McKinnie, Maple Moody, George Moore, Knute Nelson, George Penhollow and Charles Wilson enlisted. Joining them were John Conant, a sailor and musician, and barber William Reed.
On August 22, 1862, at Dubuque, they were mustered in as Company G and, on September 9th, the regiment was mustered into service. They started south on September 16, 1862 going first to St. Louis by steamer and from there to Rolla by rail. At Salem on October 20th, Willard received his commission and took the oath of office, swearing to ''faithfully discharge the duties of Captain."
On January 11, 1863 he participated in a daylong battle at Hartville, Missouri, and he was with the regiment as it moved through the Ozarks of Missouri and worked its way to the Mississippi River at Ste. Genevieve.
On April 7, 1863, when the regiment was on its way from from Memphis to Millikens Bend, a correspondent of the North Iowa Times wrote that he had visited with officers of the regiment and met a worthy citizen of McGregor, Capt. Benton, who quietly pursues the even tenor of his way, and will doubtless make his mark if a secesh should cross his path.
From there they moved south on the west side of the river as part of General Grant's massive army intent on capturing the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg. They crossed to the east bank on April 30th and, on May 1st, Willard led his company during the Battle of Port Gibson. That night he "went into camp late without blankets or blouse (his blankets having been taken to be used in the hospital at Magnolia Church & blouse lost during the battle)." By morning he had "a severe cold and it settled on his bowels." As his condition worsened, the Surgeon certified that Willard was "suffering from nervous derangement attended with general debility which unfits him for active service."
Willard tendered his resignation ''for the good of the service as well as my own life and health" and, on May 26th, it was accepted by Colonel Merrill who was, himself incapacitated by a severe wound received nine days earlier while leading the regiment in an assault at the Big Black River.
Returning to McGregor, Willard took a contract furnishing ties for the narrow gauge railroad. On November 4, 1863, the North Iowa Times reported that Willard has committed a raid on the orchards of Michigan and in company with Met Lampson he has captured 1200 Barrels of Applies of the choicest fruit.- Most of them are now in Lampsons cellar. We are told the Captain will be authorized to receive volunteers under the new call. With President Lincoln calling for more volunteers, the North Iowa Times reported on November 18, 1863, that Wisconsin was drafting soldiers with great activity and it might be necessary in Iowa unless the people rouse to the necessities of the occasion and bend every nerve to the work of filling our quota. Capt. Willard A. Benton is now ready to enrol volunteers and subsist them. In 1873, Willard was elected County Sheriff, a position he held for "six years, and never failed to take his man; never let one get away."
On June 17, 1886, suffering from service-related chronic diarrhea and other ailments he applied for an invalid pension. Five months later he signed an affidavit supporting the pension application of Sam Withrow who was, at the time, represented by Lime Springs pension attorney George Van Leuven, Jr. Van Leuven had an excellent reputation. He had references from a U.S. Senator, members of Congress, attorney Thomas Updegraff of McGregor, and many others. He was generally credited with being "the most successful pension agent in the state." Several years later, with his own application languishing, Willard Benton hired Van Leuven who soon learned that Willard's application was based merely on an affidavit from Colonel Merrill and another from McGregor resident Lucius Edgerton. Merrill, however, had relied on hearsay when he approved Willard's discharge and Edgerton had not worked with Willard until several years after the war. What was needed, said the Commissioner, was evidence from a surgeon or comrade who served with Willard and had contemporaneous personal knowledge of the origin and extent of his suffering.
That was no problem for Mr. Van Leuven. Two weeks after learning what was needed, he had a sworn affidavit from one of Willard's comrades who was then living in Colorado. On July 6, 1892 the affidavit was filed with the Pension Office, on March 3, 1892 Grover Cleveland started his second term as President, on April 13, 1893 William Lochren became the new Pension Commissioner, and on May 22, 1893 Van Leuven was arrested. His extraordinary success had not gone unnoticed to the President or Commissioner. Van Leuven was indicted and charged with pension fraud - securing perjured affidavits from comrades of applicants and bribing or attempting to bribe surgeons responsible for examining pension applicants. Claims of his clients were immediately suspect. Special examinations were ordered of witnesses. New medical examinations were required and Willard's Colorado comrade was contacted.
With Willard and his attorney both in Iowa, how had Van Leuven so quickly located a comrade almost 900 miles away with the requisite knowledge of Willard's wartime condition? The special examiner thought the affidavit was "written in the usual Van Leuven form, and appears to have been prepared in the office of Geo. M Van Leuven and copied by someone." When asked for the source of his knowledge, Willard's comrade said merely that "he believes he is aiding a deserving soldier to obtain pension."
On March 26, 1894, Willard's wife died. She was buried in McGregor's Pleasant Grove Cemetery while the investigation of Willard's claim continued. From January through October, witnesses were examined, medical exams were conducted, and new affidavits were secured. During a deposition in October, Willard testified that he "never knew until this week that his Colorado comrade had signed an affidavit more than two years earlier. It was the creation of the now-disgraced George van Leuven who, somehow, had known of Willard's comrade without ever talking to Willard. Nevertheless, Willard's claim was legitimate, it was approved, and, on November 22nd, a Certificate was issued entitling him to an invalid pension of $5.00 per month. On December 15th, Van Leuven was convicted, fined, and sentenced.
Willard continued living in McGregor, engaged in farming, dealt in wood, became a Mason, and joined the Ancient Order of United Workman. His pension was increased to $10.00 in 1898 and $12.00 in 1904.
On September 10, 1905 Willard Benton, "whose life was one of great adventure," died in a Prairie du Chien sanitarium at seventy-five years of age. He was buried with Anna Maria in Pleasant Grove Cemetery where an engraved stone reads:
Capt. W. A. Benton
Dec. 3, 1829 - Sep. 9, 1905
June 11, 1834 - Mar. 26, 1894
Nearby is a small stone for "Elmer," their son.
Dover Township is on the eastern boundary of Union County, Ohio. Land is generally flat with dark, productive soil good for farming, but many of its early residents were attracted to less expensive land in the west. At the request of his church, Fortner Mather moved from Union County to Clayton County in 1853 to serve as pastor of the Clayton County Episcopal Church. His brothers -Darius, Squire, Sterling and John - would soon join him. Their Ohio neighbors, Joel and Sarah Rice, also moved to Clayton County. With them were their six children -George, James, Caroline, Robert, Marshall and Tero. Following the Rice family, or at least Caroline Rice, was another Ohio neighbor, Jim Bethard.
Jim was born on October 11, 1837; Caroline on June 9, 1841. On January 27, 1859, Jim and Caroline (he called her "Cal") were married. They made their home along Roberts Creek in Grand Meadow Township not far from Cal's five brothers and her cousins, the Mather brothers.
Jim and Cal lost their first child when their daughter, May Belle, died as an infant, but, on June 9, 1862, another daughter, Nellie Charity "Ella" Bethard, was born. By then the Civil War had been underway for more than year. Major battles had been fought and many men had died. On July 9, 1862 President Lincoln issued a call for another 300,000.
Answering the call on August 11th, Jim Bethard, Jim Rice and John Mather enlisted. Three of their friends joined them -Robert Pool on the 11th, David Shuck on the 12th, and Frank Farrand on the 13th. On August 16th they were ordered into quarters at Dubuques Camp Franklin and, on August 18th, these six men, the self-styled "Roberts Creek Crowd," were mustered into Company B of a regiment still being recruited.
On September 9, 1862, with all ten companies of acceptable strength, they were mustered in as the 21st Regiment of Iowas Volunteer Infantry. Knowing they would soon be leaving for war and unable to get a furlough, Jim Bethard and Jim Rice wrote a joint letter to Cal indicating they "would be verry pleased to have you come and see us before we leave." On the 12th, Cal and baby Ella (Jims little jade) boarded a steamer in McGregor and went downstream. Cal no doubt had an enjoyable, but somewhat apprehensive, visit with her husband, brother, cousin and many friends, but before long it was time to leave. Cal took an evening steamer back to McGregor and, on the 16th, loaded down with Enfield muskets, knapsacks, haversacks, and other accessories, they crowded onto the steamer Henry Clay and two barges lashed to its side and left for war.
They went first to Missouri - St. Louis, Rolla, Salem, Houston, Hartville and back to Houston. Thats where they were on January 3, 1863 when Jim wrote to Cal, I dreamed last night that I was at home and saw you leading our Ella around the house by the hand. A few days later word was received that Confederate infantry was heading for Springfield. A relief force was quickly assembled. Included were twenty-five volunteers from each of the regiment's ten companies, ten company officers, and their Lieutenant Colonel. They were accompanied by a similar number from an Illinois regiment. The entire force was led by Colonel Merrill of the 21st Infantry. They spent the night of January 10, 1863 camped west of Hartville, met the Confederates early the next morning, and fought a one-day battle in the town of Hartville. They arrived back in Houston, by way of Lebanon, on the 15th and, the next day, Jim wrote to Cal. "You will no doubt hear of the battle of Hartsville before this letter and will of course be uneasy." He was, he said, "the only one of the Roberts Creek crowd that was in the scrape and I came out unscathed although the bullets whistled and the cannon balls howeled rather uncomfortably close to my head I felt almost used up yesterday evening from the effects of marching but am all right today."
After recuperating in Houston, they marched to West Plains, Thomasville, Eminence, Ironton, Iron Mountain, and St. Genevieve. From there they took transports down the Mississippi River to Milliken's Bend where General Grant was assembling a massive army to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. Grant's army moved south through swamps and bayous west of the river, but, by the time they reached Judge Perkins' Somerset plantation, Jim was unable to continue. He had been sick for weeks, too sick to write to Cal, and was left behind with many others while their regiment moved on.
The Federals crossed the river on April 30, 1863 with the 21st Iowa taking the lead as they moved inland. On May 1, 1863 they participated in a battle at Port Gibson, Mississippi, on May 17th they and the 23rd Iowa led an assault at the Big Black River, they participated in a May 22d assault at Vicksburg, and they took their position on the siege line around the rear of the city.
Meanwhile, Jim, other convalescents and about 350 men from Colonel Owen's 60th Indiana were preparing to cross the river and rejoin their regiments, but they were unaware that a Confederate force was only a few miles away and moving in their direction. When alerted by their scouts, and knowing they had neither cavalry nor artillery and only a limited number of infantry, the Federals moved closer to the levee, strengthened defenses and kept watch. On the morning of May 31, 1863, fire was exchanged with the Federals receiving support from a gunboat. Artillery gave cover as Jim and the others rushed on board a transport and made their escape.
On June 3, 1863, Jim reached his regiment, received five letters from Cal and, the next day, wrote to assure her he was safe. Enclosed with one of Cals letters was a photograph of Ella. On the 7th, Jim told Cal he liked it verry well but it is rather a nubby looking picture it has three hands and is spekled all over as though it had been dotted over with a pen and ink I suppose the mischief was in her so big that she would not sit still. Jim remained with the regiment during the balance of the siege, during a subsequent expedition to and siege of Jackson, Mississippi, and during its service in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama during the Mobile Campaign, and Arkansas.
Three of Cal's brothers (Jim, John and Robert) served in the war and all survived. Four of her cousins, the Mather brothers, served, but only Sterling survived. John and Darius died from disease at Vicksburg, while Squire died at home while on a sick furlough. On June 26, 1865, her husband wrote the long awaited letter: "Cheer up we are coming home." Jim was mustered out with his regiment at Baton Rouge on July 15th. They boarded the Lady Gay on the 16th, reached Cairo on the 20th, boarded cars of the Illinois Central Railroad, and arrived in Clinton on the 21st. On July 24th they were formally discharged.
While Jim was gone, Cal had accompanied her parents when they moved to Sigourney and, still in uniform and carrying his Springfield musket (that had replaced the Enfield originally issued), Jim left Clinton to find them. Ella knew her father was coming and family lore says she sat for days on a fence in front of their house waiting to see him. It had been a long three years.
Jim and Cal had three more children, all girls: Sarah Gertrude in 1871, Bessie Belle in 1878, and Edith Maud in 1879. On September 9, 1889, at forty-eight years of age, Cal died. She was buried in Sigourney's Pleasant Grove Cemetery.
Jim moved to Delta and, on June 14, 1894, married Elizabeth Kile. A son, James Dale Bethard, was born October 5, 1895. By then the war had been over for thirty years and men, both North and South, had resumed their lives the best they could. Abel Hankins had fought for the South. From a "truly Confederate family" in Tazewell County, Virginia, he joined the cavalry, survived the war, and returned to Virginia. From there he moved west and settled in Delta, Iowa. When Jim applied for a pension in 1889, he signed an affidavit that was notarized by Abel Hankins, now an Iowa Justice of the Peace.
Jim had resumed farming, first in Sigourney and then in Delta, but war-related health problems forced him to quit in 1873. He then went to work with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, but his health "compeled him to call for his time in a few weeks." Eventually, he moved into town, served as one of Delta's councilmen, and went to work in Abel Hankins' harness shop.
On July 13, 1912, he wrote to his thirteen year old grandson Roy Blakely, son of Sarah Gertrude. Jim was glad that young Roy had enjoyed the recent 4th of July celebrations and hoped he understood why we celebrate "the day on which was signed the greatest document in this world the document that made the united states of America a free and independent nation It was then our flag was born," he said, "and has since been sealed with the blood of hundreds of thousands of as good men as the world ever produced." Less than four weeks later, on August 8, 1912, Jim died. A few days after his burial in Delta's Garrett Cemetery an obituary reported his death:
"A few years ago A. Hankins, who was a confederate soldier, asked James Bethard if he would see that a flag was placed over his grave when he died. Mr. Bethard said he would provided Mr. Hankins would perform a like service for him should he survive him, and so the pact was formed. After Mr. Bethard's death last week, Mr. Hankins accompanied by C. F. Kendall, went to the grave yard where the wearer of the grey placed the flag on the northern soldier's grave."
Bettys, Mason D.
21st Regiment, Iowa Vol. Infantry
and his brother ....
8th Regiment, Illinois Vol. Infantry
Benjamin and Mary C. Bettys had at least three children, all born in Wisconsin: Phillip about 1840, Susan about 1842, and Mason about 1844.
The family moved to Grand Meadow Township in Clayton County in 1854 and, on September 28th of that year, Benjamin purchased twenty acres of farmland. Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860 and the following spring, on April 12th, Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. By that fall the country was at war, a civil war, and more enlistments were needed.
On September 2, 1861, Phillip Bettys enlisted in Company L of Illinois' 8th Cavalry. Phillip was with his regiment the next month when it moved east to the city of Washington and during its subsequent service in Virginia.
On August 11, 1862, his brother, Mason D. Bettys, enlisted in Company B of what would be Iowa's 21st infantry regiment. Only eighteen years old, Mason was described as being 5 feet, 8¼ inches tall with brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. He received the standard $25 .00 advance on the $100.00 enlistment bounty and a $2.00 premium. His company was mustered into service at Dubuque on August 18th with ninety-nine men.
On September 9th, with all ten companies at sufficient strength, the regiment was mustered in with a total complement of 985 men, commissioned and enlisted. On September 16, 1862, they boarded the Henry Clay, a four-year old 181-foot long side-wheel steamer, and two open barges lashed to its side and started down the Mississippi River.
They went first to St. Louis where they spent one night at Benton Barracks and then traveled by rail to Rolla where they arrived on September 22d. They found good spring water and enjoyed their stay, but many were sick and several died. On October 18th they left Rolla and on the 19th arrived in Salem. There they camped until November 2nd when they were again on the move, this time for Houston where they arrived two days later.
Meanwhile, Mason's brother continued his service in the east (Poolsville, Monocacy Church, Barnesville, South Mountain, Boonesboro and Antietam). Then it was Martinsburg with the Army of the Potomac, Barbee's Crossroads, Falmouth, Fredericksburg, and up the Rappahannock.
In Missouri, Mason's 21st Infantry camped in Houston and Hartville and, on November 24, 1862, had a wagon train attacked at Beaver Creek. They were back in Houston when word was received that a Confederate force was moving into southwestern Missouri. Rushing in that direction, a 262-man contingent from the 21st Iowa engaged in battle at Hartville on January 11, 1863. From there it was back to Houston, then West Plains, Thomasville, Ironton and Iron Mountain. Walking slowly, mile after mile, often in mud several inches deep, drinking water from nearby streams, living on a limited diet, and enduring the bitter cold of winter in the Ozarks caused most to suffer and some to die.
Among the sick was Mason Bettys. On March 19, 1863, suffering from chronic diarrhoea, he died in Ste. Genevieve, an old French town on the Mississippi River. Jim Bethard lived near Mason in Grand Meadow Township and was serving with him in Company B. On March 21st, Jim wrote to wife, Caroline (Rice) Bethard, that: "there has been two deaths in our company this week you will probably see Mr Lyons our orderly sergeant who went home with the dead body of Mason Bettice before this letter reaches you."
Mason Bettys was buried in Grand Meadow Cemetery, along U.S. Highway 52 west of Luana and not far from his parents' farm.
Masons brother, Phillip, continued on duty with the 8th Cavalry, "Farnsworth 's Abolitionist Regiment',' according to President Lincoln. On June 9, 1863 it fought near Brandy Station in the largest mainly-cavalry battle of the war and the following month it saw action at Gettysburg. That fall, in a corps led by Major General Alfred Pleasonton, they were back in Virginia and planning an attack at Culpeper Court House, the headquarters for Confederate J.E. B. Stuart. On September 13th they met the enemy. Fighting was heavy and the Federals were victorious, but Phillip Bettys was killed. He is buried in Culpeper National Cemetery in Virginia, although there may also be a marker with his name in Grand Meadow Cemetery.
With their two sons having died in the war, Benjamin and Mary continued to work their farm. An 1866 township map shows three parcels in the Bettys' name but, in about 1876, they moved across the county line to Postville (where Joel Post had erected a log house more than thirty years earlier). There, on January 14, 1878, at sixty-seven years of age, Benjamin died. He was buried in Grand Meadow Cemetery.
Mary then lived many years with a niece in Chicago, but usually visited Postville every summer. In August 1894, a party was given to celebrate her ninetieth birthday. She had, said the Postville Review, "withstood the storms of time" and survived a broken limb and ill health, but seemed to be in very good health. Mary died on February 1, 1902. She is buried with Benjamin and two of their children (Mason and Susan) in Grand Meadow Cemetery.
John Birch was born in New York and married Eleanor in June 1841. Their children included David Birch who was born on November 8, 1852. David had one older brother and several younger siblings. The family was living in Iowa and John was working as a farmer when he enlisted as a Private at McGregor on August 15, 1862, for a three year term in what would be Company G of the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
He was described as being thirty-eight years old, 5' 8¼' tall, with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. He was present and mustered in with the Company on August 22d and was present when the Regiment was mustered into service of the United States on September 9, 1862 by Captain Pierce of the 19th U.S. Infantry. Like other volunteers, he was paid $25.00 of the $100.00 bounty plus a $2.00 premium.
John was marked present on the bimonthly Company Muster Rolls, with only minor illness, through the end ofAugust 1863 but, on the next roll, was reported as being absent and sick in a convalescent camp in Carrollton, Louisiana. On November 7, 1863 he died in the post hospital, New Orleans, of chronic diarrhoea, a common ailment in all regiments.
Men tried to clean cooking utensils and wash away dirt, but water was rarely hot. Drinking water was often contaminated. Food fried in heavy grease caused one surgeon to complain of death from the frying pan. Intestinal infections were rampant. Also known as camp diarrhea, "the bloody flux," "the summer complaint, "the screamers," "the Virginia quickstep," "the Tennessee trots" and other colorful names, diarrhea and dysentery became chronic, led to malnutrition, anemia and increased susceptibility to other disease resulting in extreme dehydration, up to fifty percent weight loss, and an estimated 50,000 deaths in the Union army, at least sixty-five in the 21st Iowa.
John Craig, a Millville resident who had been promoted to Captain a few months earlier, signed a Final Statement certifying that John Birch had served "honestly andfaithfully with his Company in the Field to the present date, and is now entitled to a discharge by reason of Death. He died at Post Hospital, New Orleans, La. of chronic diarrhea on the 7th Nov. 1863." John had been paid by Paymaster Major Rodgers through June 30, 1863, and was entitled to pay accrued subsequent to that time. He had received $44.93 dollars advanced by the U.S. on account of clothing and had clothing due to him from the date of his enlistment. John's personal effects were inventoried and sold. The proceeds were forwarded to his wife in McGregor.
Eleanor Birch applied for a widow's pension. On February 16, 1864, the Adjutant General's Office in the War Department reviewed records confirming John had died on November 7, 1863 in New Orleans but, before she could finalize her claim, Eleanor and two of her children died in McGregor on April 4, 1864 of small pox. John V. D. Benton was appointed guardian of twelve-year old David. John was a McGregor resident and secretary of a local board of trade. As his fathers dependent and still under sixteen years of age, David was awarded an $8.00 monthly pension effective April 7, 1864. On September 1, 1865, David Birch, wrote that:
"he was taken and removed by an uncle to the State of Illinois where he has since resided and the most of the time in said Stark County; that his uncle and other friends while he was in his minority used every endeavor, and at considerable expense, to obtain his pension money from his said guardian but without success and that since he has attained his majority the state of his health has been such that he has been unable to attend to it himself; that he is without means of support and unable to labor and now in the County Poor House of said County of Stark; That he is informed his guardian, the said John V. D. Benton, drew his pension from the 7th day of April 1864 to the 4th day of Sept 1864 at the Des Moines Agency, Iowa; and from that date to the 4th day of March 1866 at the Dubuque Agency, Iowa; that he then removed into or near the city of New York; that he has been unable to procure a return of his pension certificates or any of his money from him."
On November 15, 1875, William H. Whitten and William Budine, residents of Bradford, Illinois, appeared before a Justice of the Peace in Stark County and signed an affidavit saying they had known the Birch family for more than 20 years and:
"are acquainted with all the facts of the widow & part of the children dying in the spring of 1864 leaving but one child, David Birch, under the age of 16 years and who is now an inmate of the County Poor House of said Stark County, Illinois; That he was brought to this County in the year 1864 soon after one J. V. D. Benton of McGregor, Iowa, was appointed his guardian; That said Benton drew a portion of this boys pension money and an effort was made to obtain the money and get a settlement with him but it was never accomplished; That said Benton moved to New York City or thereabouts sometime in 1866 and has the pension Certificate as they are informed; That the reason why this thing was not looked after before was that while the boy was in his minority it was thought to be in the hands of & under the control of Benton and since his majority he has been sick the most of the time & unable to attend to it."
A pension certificate dated December 16, 1875 indicated that David was awarded $8.00 retroactive to March 4, 1866, to November 7, 1868 (the day before David's 16th birthday) and an additional $2.00 to be paid from July 25, 1866, to November 7, 1868, but former payments were to be deducted.
Elisha Boardmans grandfather, also named Elisha Boardman, was born in Connecticut in 1781. After his wife died at fifty years of age, he never remarried but moved west and in 1836 settled in what became Clayton County, Iowa, where he was credited with being the founder of the city of Elkader. Remaining in the east was his daughter, Amy Boardman, who married Henry Boardman. Amy and Henry settled in Vermont where Henry died in 1837 and Amy in 1843. Theyre buried in the town of West Milton.
Their son, Elisha Boardman, was born on January 27, 1827, in South Hero, Vermont, a town on the banks of Lake Champlain. On May 1, 1848, in Milton, he married Julia Grannis. A son, Roland Boardman, was born on June 10, 1849. A year or two later Elisha moved to Iowa to help his grandfather, but soon thereafter brought Julia and Roland to the county where three more sons were born: Henry (or Harry) Clinton Boardman on October 24, 1851, William on November 4, 1857 and Homer (or Harry) on September 12, 1860. While Roland and Clinton grew to adulthood, the younger boys died as infants.
Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and war followed. Elisha did not enlist immediately, possibly because he and his grandfather were having money problems. Three judgments were entered, two against both of them and one only against Elishas grandfather. When the judgments werent satisfied, the District Court issued writs of execution on July 5, 1862, and two days later a Notice of Sheriffs Sale was issued. By then the war was well into its second year and President Lincoln called for another 300,000 volunteers. Iowas quota was five infantry regiments. If not raised by August 15th, a draft was likely.
On August 8, 1862, Elisha was appointed Captain of Company D, a company then being organized for the states 21st infantry regiment. An active recruiter in the county, he attended a large war meeting in Volga City on August 12th and enrolled sixteen volunteers for his company. On the 14th, while he was recruiting in Elkader and Highland, the Clayton County Journal published the Notice of Sheriffs Sale. The sale was on the 15th while Elisha was in Elkader and McGregor enrolling more men. On the 20th another sale was scheduled, this one to satisfy a debt Elisha and Julia owed to Obadiah Brown. Two days later Company D was mustered into service with a total of ninety-seven men.
When all ten companies were of sufficient strength, they were mustered in at Dubuques Camp Franklin with a total of 985 men, officers and enlisted. After brief training, they boarded the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges lashed alongside and started downstream. On October 21, 1863, Elisha signed his oath of office while they were camped five miles southwest of Rolla, Missouri. From there they walked to Salem, Houston and then Hartville where Elisha was among many in the company who were sick, an average of 20 men per day said Gilbert Cooley. On January 11, 1863, Elisha and twenty-five volunteers from Company D were among 262 from the regiment who participated in the Battle of Hartville. Bimonthly company muster rolls indicated Elisha was present on February 28th at Iron Mountain (although he was sick in quarters) and April 30th when the regiment crossed the Mississippi from Disharoons Plantation to Bruinsburg, Mississippi. On May 1, 1863, he participated in the Battle of Port Gibson. In his report of the battle, Colonel Merrill recognized Elisha as a cool and brave officer. On May 17th Elisha participated in an assault at the Big Black River after which Lieutenant Colonel Van Anda said Elisha and several other captains behaved with great coolness. On May 22, 1863, the regiment participated in an unsuccessful assault at Vicksburg. Most made it back to their lines, but many dead and wounded remained on the field. Colonel Merrill later reported:
Capt. Boardman of Company D won imperishable fame by a single act before the rebel works at Vicksburg. During the hot action attending our assault and repulse before the strong works of the enemy, the Twenty-first Iowa Regiment suffered severely. The color bearer who was a member of Capt. Boardmans company, fell, wounded, right before the rebel works, and with all the killed and wounded was left behind when our forces fell back. Notwithstanding, heretofore, the enemys sharpshooters had unerringly picked off those who returned after the wounded, Capt. Boardman said he would take off his men himself, or fall beside them in the effort. Divesting himself of his coat, sword and belt, he went boldly upon the field and finding the color-bearer lifted him up and bore him from the field. Whether impressed by his audacity or not, the rebels reserved their fire, and others, inspired by the captains glorious example, went forward, and the wounded were taken off and cared for.
The siege of Vicksburg followed, but Elisha was taken to the division hospital violently ill caused by the severity of his duties. Suffering from acute diarrhoea attended with great prostration, Elisha was granted leave for thirty days and started for Iowa June 10th. On August 15th, Dr. J. W. Stout, an Elkader physician, said Elisha needed more time, nothing short of six weeks.
General Order #100 issued by the War Department a year earlier said officers absent more than sixty days on account of wounds or disease contracted in the line of their duty, will be reported to the Adjutant-General of the army for discharge. Elisha, Colonel Merrill, Captain Harrison and Captain Greaves had been gone for more than sixty days when Lieutenant Colonel Van Anda, then in field command, notified the War Department of their absence and they were discharged. All four wanted to return to their commands. Many at home and in the regiment thought the discharges were hasty and Colonel Merrill said Van Anda needed a few lessons in military ettiquett for not having verified their current health and whether they intended to return. Elisha had actually started south weeks earlier. He reached the regiment on September 29th, learned of his discharge and returned to Iowa.
Although aware that Elisha was able for duty, Van Anda sent a copy of the dismissal order to Governor Kirkwood on October 13th and asked that William Grannis be appointed Captain in accordance with the wishes of the Company expressly to me. On the same day, however, all twenty-seven members of the company then present, including William Grannis, wrote to the Governor asking that Elisha be recommissioned so he could return to his Company. William wrote separately to the Governor and said, It is the wish of all of the members of his Co that he should be returned if possible He has been a faithful and good officer and I do not wish to stand in the way. Colonel Merrill also wrote a supportive letter saying Elisha was the coolest & bravest man in my regiment. On December 22, 1863, Special Orders #566 provided that Elisha:
is hereby restored to his command, with pay from the date he rejoins his regiment for duty, provided the vacancy has not been filled, evidence of which must be obtained from the Governor.
Ultimately all four were returned to duty and, on January 30, 1864, Linus McKinney wrote to the North Iowa Times that, it was read to us on dress parade that Col Merrill and Capt. Boardman had been reinstated, and would report at once to their command. This was good news to us all. Their return will be hailed with joy. Twelve days later, Elisha reached the regiment then stationed at Indianola, Texas. On bimonthly company rolls he continued present during subsequent service in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas. After the resignation of William Crooke on January 23, 1865, Elisha served as Acting Major but was never commissioned. According to one of Julias nephews, through a personal difficulty with Gov. Stone the necessary papers were not offered him until on his return home. Through pride he refused to accept them.
Elisha continued to serve as Acting Major during the successful campaign to capture the city of Mobile and, in June, 1865, was appointed to oversee paroles for 6,000 to 7,000 Confederate soldiers. He was mustered out with the regiment at Baton Rouge on July 15th, discharged at Clinton on July 24th, returned to Elkader, was elected sheriff and on December 16, 1866, died from pulmonary consumption. Elisha is buried in Elkader Cemetery.
Julia applied for a widows pension that was granted at $20.00 monthly retroactive to the day after Elishas death. In 1872 Elishas grandfather was appointed to a committee planning an Old Settlers Reunion, a reunion held on June 11th when twenty coons, an ox and deer were roasted for the occasion. In 1873 Julia attended a Company B reunion in Volga City. With her she carried the company flag embossed with the names of the companys battles. Her son, Roland, died on February 27th of that year and Elishas grandfather, the pioneer settler of Clayton County, died on July 5, 1876. Both men are buried in Elkader Cemetery.
On October 26, 1879, Julia married A. J. Pease and, as a result, her widows pension was terminated. In 1883 the marriage was annulled when Julia said her husband was of unsound mind and insane and could not at the time of marriage contract. Her pension was then reinstated. It was also in 1883 that the Elisha Boardman Post, Post #184 of the G.A.R., was chartered in Elkader with nineteen charter members.
Clinton Boardman, died of yellow jaundice in Tampico, Mexico, on July 31, 1893. Julia died on July 9, 1903, and was buried in Pickwick Cemetery, Winona, Minnesota.
After the annulment of his marriage to Julia, Mr. Pease married Addie Gardner. He died in 1910 and was buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery. An obituary said he was well and favorably known.
The Elisha Boardman Post of the G.A.R. was disbanded in 1916.
Boynton, William C.
William C. ("Will") Boynton was born in Rodman, Jefferson County, New York, on August 28, 1843. His mother died eight days later and his father in 1850. Orphaned at a young age, William was cared for by his uncle, Charles S. Boynton. In 1857 they moved to Strawberry Point. William was an eighteen year old farmer when, on August 7, 1862 he was enrolled by Charles Heath in Company B of the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry, a regiment being organized in the northeastern counties, then the state's 3rd Congressional District. He was described as being 5' 6½" tall with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion.
The company was mustered in on August 18th and the regiment on September 9th, both at Camp Franklin in Dubuque. A week later they marched from their camp and through town to the levee at the foot of Jones Street. There they boarded the Henry Clay, a four-year old 181-foot long, side-wheel steamer, and two barges lashed to its side, and left for the South.
After one night at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, they boarded cars of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad and traveled through the night to Rolla where they camped and waited for further orders. On October 17th, General Fitz Henry Warren arrived, took command, and ordered the regiment to Houston, fifty miles to the south. William was ill and received medical treatment for a week, but recovered and was present with the regiment during its subsequent service in Houston, Hartville, West Plains, Ironton, Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve.
On April 10, 1863 he was with his regiment at Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, where General Grant was amassing a large army to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. They were assigned to a brigade led by Charles Harris of the 11th Wisconsin that included his own regiment together with the 21st, 22d and 23d Iowa. Designated the 2d Brigade of Eugene Carr's 14th Division of John McClernand' s 13th Corps, they moved slowly south through swamps and bayous on the west side of the Mississippi River, crossed to the east side on April 30, 1863, and, on May 1, 1863, fought the one-day Battle of Port Gibson.
William participated in the battle and was present on May 16, 1863 during the Battle of Champion's Hill His regiment was held in reserve during the battle, but Companies A and B did some light skirmishing after the battle. He continued present during the subsequent siege of Vicksburg, but again became ill and was treated for chronic diarrhoea, a problem that plagued western regiments and led to many deaths. Initial treatment was in a field hospital, but he was later transported upstream and admitted to the hospital at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. His Uncle Charles went to the barracks where the Surgeon in Charge certified that William "had done no duty since May last and is not a fit subject for the Invalid Detachment." On July 30, 1863, by order of Major General John Schofield, William was discharged. His uncle took William home and helped him recover his health.
By the end of January, 1865, regimental muster rolls carried the names of 657 men, but many were too ill for active duty. On February 1st, William Boynton, Albert Knight (brother of Company B's Myron Knight) and several other recruits signed one-year enlistments and, before long, were on their way south. Albert became ill and was detained briefly in New Orleans, but William and the other recruits reached the regiment on March 8th while it was camped on Dauphin Island at the entrance to Mobile Bay.
On the 17th they crossed to the east side of the bay and started a march north towards Confederates manning Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely guarding the approach to the city of Mobile. Along the way, William was again ill, but he was well enough on April 11th to join Jim Bethard, Myron Knight and Albert Knight on a visit to Fort Blakely that had fallen to Federal troops two days earlier. With the enemy also withdrawing from Mobile, the Federals occupied the city and the regiment was assigned to a site at Spring Hill where they would camp for the next month and a half.
Eventually, they returned to New Orleans and saw service in Arkansas before being ordered to Baton Rouge. While there, William was hospitalized and treated for a fever. On July 12, 1865 he and the other recruits were transferred as unassigned recruits to the 34th Infantry to complete their one-year enlistments while the balance of the regiment was mustered out on July 15th. William and others in the 34th Infantry were sent to Texas, but mustered out a month later.
On October 23, 1867, William and Katharine "Kate" Knight, a younger sister of Myron and Albert, were married in Delhi by Judge J.B. Boggs. That was the same year the Illinois Central Railroad extended its service into Iowa. During the 1880s and 1890s, its reach gradually expanded from Dubuque to Peosta, Epworth, Farley, Dyersville, Earlville, Manchester, Winthrop, and towns farther west. This may have been a factor that caused Will and Kate to move to Manchester in 1883 and Winthrop in 1886 where Will opened a furniture and undertaking business. A religious man, he became active in the Methodist Episcopal Church, led a Sunday morning class, and became a member of the Buchanan County Holiness Association.
In 1892, bothered by war-related health problems, he requested a pension based on a law effective in 1890. The pension was granted in 1893 but, later that year, the Bureau of Pensions issued orders necessitating a review of all pensions that had been based on the 1890 law. William's pension was suspended and he was dropped from the rolls. Basically, he was too healthy and not incapacitated enough to have "ratable" disabilities. In 1897 he reapplied, but it was not until 1905 that he was readmitted to the rolls. He was granted $6.00 per month. This was later raised to $12.00, an amount he received until his death on January 5, 1908.
Out-of-town relatives who attended his funeral included Kate's brother, Myron Knight, with whom William had served more than forty years earlier. Also attending was William's uncle, Charles Boynton, who had cared for William after William's parents died, who had gone to Benton Barracks to help William return home, and who helped nurse him back to health. Many friends gathered at the Winthrop depot to pay their respects as William's body was carried on board one of the cars of the Illinois Central Railroad for transport to Strawberry Point.
Kate applied for and was granted a widow's pension of $12.00 per month. She returned to Strawberry Point and was living in the family's "old home" when she died on August 27, 1920. She is buried with William in Strawberry Point Cemetery.
Braman, Elnathan Warren
aka E. Warren Braman
Elnathan Warren Braman was born in Erie County, New York. Caroline Cobb was born in New York on December 25, 1829. On October 25, 1850, according to a post-war marriage certificate, they were married in DuPage County, Illinois.
They were residents of Clayton County, Iowa, when, on August 13, 1862, Warren was enrolled by Charles P. Heath in an infantry company then being raised in the states northeastern counties. As Caroline said, he seldom used the name Elnathan, usually signing his name E. Warren Braman, and thats how he was reflected in military records. He enlisted at Strawberry Point and was described as being a thirty-three year old farmer, 5' 9½ tall with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. They were mustered in as Company B on August 18, 1862, at Camp Franklin in Dubuque.
Infantry regiments had ten companies of approximately 100 men each. When all ten companies in Warrens regiment were of sufficient strength, they were mustered in on September 9, 1862, with a complement of 985 men, officers and enlisted. Another 145 men would enlist as new recruits before its service came to an end.
After brief training at Camp Franklin, the regiment left Dubuque on September 16, 1862, crowded on board the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside. Due to low water, they transferred to the Hawkeye State below Montrose and traveled to St. Louis where they spent one night at Benton Barracks. Warren continued with the regiment as they then traveled by rail to Rolla and, from there, marched to Salem, Houston, Hartville and, after a wagon train was attacked in November, back to Houston.
Thats where they were stationed when volunteers were requested to go to the relief of a Union garrison in Springfield that was under threat from a Confederate force under John Marmaduke heading north from Arkansas. Warren was one of twenty-five from Company B who volunteered, but they never made it as far as Springfield. Instead, they met the enemy in a one-day battle at Hartville, Missouri. Carl Possehl, Charles Carlton and Harrison Hefner were killed while William Jones was wounded and died the next day. Another thirteen men had wounds that were not life-threatening.
Later that month they moved south to West Plains, but Warren Braman was one of many who were sick and left behind in Houston. He regained his health sufficiently to rejoin the regiment but, on April 13th, was granted a thirty-day furlough. When he didnt return, he was reported as a deserter. He was arrested in Athens, Illinois, on August 13th, taken to Camp Douglas in Chicago, and then sent back to the South.
Also from Clayton County and serving in Company B were Jim Bethard and his brother-in-law Jim Rice, brother of Caroline (Rice) Bethard. Jim Rice had received a furlough in July and, on September 13, 1863, Jim Bethard wrote to Caroline: "If Jim is there yet tell him they have got Warren Braman at New Orleans he got a furlough last spring and forgot to come back again. I understood that he was caught in Illinois"
A week later, Jim wrote directly to Jim Rice: "Old Bramen is in jail in New Orleans he was caught in Illinois near Chicago"
Warren was still under arrest when he was returned to the regiment on September 25, 1863, at Brashear City, Louisiana, and, on the 27th, Jim Bethard wrote: "Warren Bramen is also here he came to us night before last I dont know whether they are going to do anything with him or not"
Charges were preferred, a court martial hearing was convened, and Warren was honorably acquitted. While military records dont reflect the reason, its likely that Warren, like so many others, had over-stayed his furlough due to continuing health problems and had failed to request extensions.
The rest of his service was relatively uneventful and he was marked present on all bimonthly muster rolls as the regiment performed service in southwestern Louisiana, the Gulf Coast of Texas, and along the White River in Arkansas. Its final campaign was during the spring of 1865 when it moved up the east side of Mobile Bay, occupied the city of Mobile, and camped at Spring Hill before returning to Louisiana. On July 15, 1865, they were mustered out at Baton Rouge and, on July 24th, received their discharge at Clinton.
Warren and Caroline moved to Chicago after the war, but little is known of his post-war life. On November 26, 1885, he was admitted to the Cook County Hospital and he was still there on December 22nd when he died from heart disease and asthma.
In 1890, Caroline retained Ada C. Sweet, a well-known humanitarian, reformer and very experienced pension agent to pursue a claim for a widows pension. At the age of sixteen, Ada had become an assistant to her father who was the United States Pension Agent for paying pensions in Chicago. He became First Deputy Commissioner of Internal Revenue in Washington and, after his death in 1874, President Grant appointed Ada as the United States Pension Agent in Chicago. Her office employed a large clerical force and disbursed millions of dollars annually.
On October 14, 1890, with Ada Sweet as her attorney, Caroline signed an application seeking a widows pension under the general law of 1890. The Pension Office verified Warrens service but, for reasons not indicated, no pension was granted. Caroline then retained Milo B. Stevens as her attorney.
On November 2, 1905, saying a prior application for pension has been filed, she believes, about 1890, through Ada C. Sweet, Caroline reapplied for a pension under the general law and a new law enacted in 1900. This time she signed with an X and, in a subsequent affidavit, explained I am unable, and have been for the past seven years, to write my name, my hands being drawn out of shape and stiff from rheumatism.
Her application was approved and she was granted a $12.00 monthly pension payable quarterly through the Chicago agency. She was living at 1824 West Adams Street, Chicago, when she died on December 27, 1910, two days after her eighty-first birthday. Caroline was buried nine miles to the west in the citys Forest Home Cemetery.
A daughter, Mary (Braman) Pratt applied for reimbursement of her mothers final expenses. Census records indicate that Warren and Caroline may also have had two sons, Eugene and Willis.
Brown, William Slocomb
The son of George and Lucy (Tracy) Brown, William Slocomb Brown was born in Dudley, Massachusetts, on November 13, 1821. Sarah Ann McCracken was born farther north, in Northampton, in 1823. On November 9, 1848, they were married in Webster, Massachusetts.
Sarah had a younger sister, Mary Ellen McCracken, who was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on August 28, 1831. On Christmas Eve, 1851, she married Joseph Marsh, in Dudley. Three years later they moved to Volga City. A year after that Joseph built a small house on land he bought from the government. At an Old Settlers Reunion many years later, he described how happy they were in Iowa. Their first winter was delightful, game was plentiful and Joseph enjoyed tramping over Volgas hills. Their experience may have been what induced Sarah and William to also move to Iowa where they lived with Joseph and Mary Ellen.
Initially, life was good, but the Spirit Lake Massacre of March 1857, caused William to reconsider his move and decide to return to Massachusetts. To pay a debt that Joseph owed to him, they traveled together to Dubuque where Joseph hoped to raise money by selling two oxen. Unfortunately, the financial downturn suffered by Iowa and much of the rest of the country in 1857 was well underway. A sale could not be arranged and the men returned home where William bought the oxen and rented a farm near Strawberry Point.
Crop failures and the financial panic were endured and life gradually improved, but that too came to an end with the advent of the Civil War. William was forty years old and working as a shoemaker when he enlisted at Volga City on August 12, 1862, in what would be Company D of the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was described as being 5' 6½ tall with blue eyes, a light complexion and brown hair.
Those able to travel left their Dubuque training camp on September 16th, crowded on board the side-wheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, reached St. Louis on the 20th and left for Rolla by rail the next day. The regiments early service continued in Missouri and William was marked present on all bimonthly company muster rolls as they walked from Rolla to Salem, Houston, Hartville, back to Houston, south to West Plains, and then northeast to Thomasville, Ironton, Iron Mountain and, finally, into Ste. Genevieve where they arrived on March 11, 1863.
On April 10th, they reached Millikens Bend where General Grant was organizing a large, three-corps army. Assigned to a corps led by General John McClernand, they started south - walking, wading and slowly making their way along roads and through bayous west of the Mississippi. From Disharoons Plantation on April 30th, they crossed to the Bruinsburg landing on the east bank and, with the 21st Iowa as the point regiment, started a march inland. They encountered enemy pickets about midnight and shots were exchanged, but all soon rested in anticipation of a more significant encounter the next day.
On May 1, 1863, William participated in the daylong Battle of Port Gibson, on May 17th he participated in an assault on entrenched Confederates at the Big Black River in which the 21st and 23rd Iowa routed the enemy, and on May 22nd he participated with the regiment and the rest of the army in an assault on Confederate defenses at Vicksburg. In those three engagements, the regiment suffered 31 killed in action, 34 who incurred fatal wounds and at least 102 with less serious wounds, although many of the wounds were severe enough that the men, some after suffering amputations, were discharged.
Convinced that the city could not be taken by assault, Grant settled on a siege, the Union lines were strengthened and defenders in the city did their best to survive on increasingly limited food and other supplies. On July 1st, a Union outpost at Hankinson's Ferry was attacked by an enemy force estimated at 2,000 with artillery support. This was a brief engagement but, coupled with an earlier report of Confederates on their way to Rocky Springs, was enough for Grant to order a brigade to rush to the ferry. Michael Lawlers brigade, a brigade including the 21st Iowa, was selected. They were roused about midnight and left before daybreak on the 2d. Not having marched for almost two months, men suffered intensely from heat, thirst and fatigue. Many fainted by the roadside with blistered feet, parched throats, swollen veins and blood-shot eyes. By the time they reached the ferry that afternoon, the regiment could muster fewer than one hundred men. A relief detail searched for those who had fallen, but it was past midnight before all were accounted for, the rebels were never found, and the brigade camped for the night near Red Bone Chapel.
William Brown was one of many who suffered. As 2d Lieutenant Gilbert Cooley would later explain, William became disabled from duty by sun stroke or excessive heat and fatigue. He had been promoted from Private to 8th, 6th and finally 4th Corporal but, on August 9th, was sent up the river sick. Sarah said he came home on sick furlough and she thought his head was affected as he continually complained of a buzzing sensation in the head & manifested symptoms of insanity that he attributed to sunstroke. He eventually rejoined the regiment and received a promotion to 3rd Corporal but, in Texas on December 25, 1863, he was reduced to the ranks at his own request.
At the end of May they returned to Louisiana and, on June 16th, William and several others were admitted to New Orleans Charity Hospital where the order for their admission stated that they were insane and to be sent by first conveyance to the Insane Asylum at Washington City. On June 21st, they left New Orleans on board the steamer Cahawba and on June 30, 1865, William was admitted to the Government Hospital for the Insane. Opened ten years earlier, its mission, said its founder Dorothea Dix, was to provide the most humane care and enlightened curative treatment for the insane of the Army, Navy, and District of Columbia. William remained a patient until September 4, 1864, when, according to hospital records, he died of softening of the brain. He is buried in the cemetery of the hospital which, in 1916, changed its name to Saint Elizabeths.
With three children under sixteen, Sarah secured affidavits from her sister and others who testified to her marriage to William and who assisted with births of their children or otherwise knew of their legitimacy and ages - Mary Lucy thirteen, Frances J. eight and Emma E. six. Finally, on January 19, 1867, Alvah C. Rogers, a Clayton County Judge, signed letters of guardianship giving Sarah full power and authority to demand, sue for and take possession of all money and estate belonging to her said wards.
She then filed an application with the Department of the Interiors pension office seeking pensions for the children and secured affidavits to prove William had died while in the service, he was the father of her children, she was their mother, and they were entitled to pensions provided for minors. Her attorney, Herman Hemenway, contacted Hiram Hunt who had been a surgeon in the regiment, but Hirams chest containing his official records was broken open and the papers stolen while going up-river after the war and he could no longer recall Williams case. Fortunately, others did and the pensions were granted.
Another veteran of the war, John P. Nichols, had served with the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery. During a hard march from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Washington, D.C., one of the veins of his right leg became ruptured. Having enlisted in 1861, he was discharged in 1864 and spent the next year visiting friends and relatives in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. During the winter of 65-66 came to Volga City, he said, and on December 6, 1865, he and Sarah Brown were married.
On April 13, 1880, John signed an affidavit for an invalid pension. Varicose veins in his leg had worsened and, as a result, he said he was now partly disabled. Former comrades, one a sergeant and one a musician, recalled the difficult march in Maryland and said John had been treated by the regimental surgeon. The surgeon was Samuel Skinner, but he couldnt remember the circumstances of Johns injury. By then John and Sarah had moved to Sioux City where a doctor said Johns varicose veins extended from the knee half way to the ankle. While he felt the disability was slight, another doctor thought John was seriously disabled. Joseph Marsh, Sarahs brother-in-law, recalled that John had worked as a farm hand and in a brick yard in Volga City, but was now unable to perform manual labor so as to support himself & family. John said he had tried Gardening. Teaming. Farming. Blacksmithing, but as soon as he exerted himself his old complaint would prevent him from continuing. Sarah said John had very coase veins in His leg that Cripled Him. It took a long time but finally, on January 30, 1888, a pension was approved.
Sarah and John moved to Akron in Plymouth County where, on November 16, 1894, John died. He was buried in the towns Riverside Cemetery. A week later, Sarah applied for a widows pension and once again secured supportive affidavits. Her sister-in-law Eliza (Nichols) Fenner, her sisters husband Joseph Marsh, her son-in-law Conrad Reuschling, Dr. R. D. Clark, Dr. Herbert Cilley, Rev. J. W. Neyman and several others signed affidavits. On December 21, 1897, a certificate was issued that would entitle Sarah to $8.00 per month, payable quarterly through the local pension agent. On October 28, 1899, Sarah died. She is buried in Floyd Cemetery, Sioux City.
Sarah had no children with John Nichols, but she and William Brown reportedly had seven children, four of whom died young. The three for whom she had secured minors pensions lived to adulthood. Emma Edna (Brown) Judd died on February 23, 1917. Mary Lucy (Brown) Reuschling died on August 28, 1919. Frances J. (Brown) Tuck died on February 3, 1930. Emma, like her mother, is buried in Floyd Cemetery, Sioux City. Mary and Frances are buried in Graceland Park Cemetery also in Sioux City.
Burns, Patrick H. 'Pat'
National Archive records indicate that Patrick H. Burns was born in New York, but a death certificate says Ireland. The Civil War had been ongoing for more than a year when Patrick was enrolled in the Union army by McGregor postmaster Willard Benton on August 15, 1862 in what would be Company G of the 21st Iowa Infantry. Physically, he was described as being 5' 3½" tall with brown eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. Only nineteen years old, he was unmarried. The Muster-in Roll said Patrick had been working as a farmer, but his Descriptive Book gave his occupation as shoemaker.
The Company was mustered into service on August 22, 1862, and the regiment on September 9, 1862, both in Dubuque where brief training of questionable value was received at Camp Franklin (formerly known as Camp Union). The regiment traveled from Dubuque to St. Louis by river steamers, to Rolla by rail, and then by foot to Houston and Hartville, Missouri. While there they were dependent on supplies brought by wagon train from the railhead in Rolla. On November 24, 1862 one such train, with teamsters and guards from the 21st Iowa and other regiments, was nearing Hartville when it camped for the night in Hogs Hollow along Beaver Creek. That evening, as some were finishing dinner, others were tending to the horses and some were walking in the nearby woods, they were attacked by a heavily armed band of the enemy. George Chapman was killed immediately when "three balls pierced his breast" and two others, Philip Wood and Cyrus Henderson, were fatally wounded.
Some managed to escape, make their way to Hartville and sound the alarm. "The 21st fell in on the double quick. The noble boys plunged through the swift mountain streams waist deep, without a murmur," said Quartermaster Charles Morris, while others on horseback raced ahead. On arrival they found "our boys huddled around the burning remains of our wagons." The survivors, including Pat Burns, had been captured, stripped of their clothing and other possessions, and paroled on the spot before their attackers fled with what they could carry.
The Beaver Creek rescue party arrived back in Hartville about 6:00am the next morning. They had made a round-trip mid-winter night march of thirty miles through icy streams, not stopping to eat or rest, rushing their return for fear the attackers might circle around to attack their camp. For this General Fitz Henry Warren called them his ''foot cavalry," but men had suffered and many would never recover.
Pat remained on duty and, during the Vicksburg Campaign, was present for the Battle of Port Gibson on May 1, 1863, an assault at the Big Black River on the 17th, and an assault on May 22d at Vicksburg, but never fully recovered his health. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4th, Pat was furloughed on August 5th, and he returned to the regiment at Berwick Bay, Louisiana, on September 27th. He then served with it during its subsequent service in Louisiana and Texas.
On November 28, 1864 they arrived in Memphis and, on December 17th, Pat was admitted to the Overton U.S. Army Hospital. He rejoined the regiment at Spring Hill, Alabama on May 10, 1865, and was present when they were mustered out at Baton Rouge on July 15, 1865.
On October 25, 1868, he married Ellen Brophy in a Jesuit Church in Chicago. On October 8, 1871 a great fire, erroneously attributed to Mrs. O'Leary's cow, started in Chicago and, the next day, Patrick and Ellen saw their marriage certificate consumed in the flames. Their four children were Mamie (born August 24, 1869), John (born April 19, 1871), and twins Thomas and Elizabeth (born July 27, 1876).
Patrick continued his work as a shoemaker, but life was difficult and his health was worse. On August 24, 1883 at only forty-one years of age, he applied for an invalid pension attributing his poor health to "exposure while in the service" when he "caught a severe cold in wading through streams of water" in the middle of winter twenty-one years earlier. Suffering from severe rheumatism, he said he was "entirely disabled." An invalid pension was awarded and gradually increased to $30.00 monthly, payable quarterly.
On Christmas Day, December 25, 1899, while living at 678 West Erie Street in Chicago, Patrick became ill. Suffering from chronic heart and kidney problems, he died at home a week later, New Year's Day, January 1, 1900. He was buried in the old Catholic Calvary Cemetery consecrated in 1859 in Evanston.
Five days after her husband's death, Ellen applied for Patrick's accrued but unpaid pension and for her own widow's pension. Her applications were granted and she continued to live in their Erie Street residence where Mamie and Elizabeth helped care for her. Ellen was receiving $12.00 monthly when she died on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1916. She is buried next to Patrick in Calvary Cemetery.
~researched and compiled by Carl Ingwalson for Clayton co. IAGenWeb ©Carl Ingwalson & Clayton co. IAGenWeb.
Carl has offered to do look-ups in his extensive records of the 21st Iowa. His email address is on the Look-up Volunteers page.
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