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Fayette County Civil War Soldiers
of the
Twenty-first Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry
by Carl Ingwalson
Historical information, notes & comments, in some cases correcting the record. Soldier biographies written by Carl Ingwalson.  Carl will do look-ups in his extensive records of the 21st Iowa and he is always willing to share what he has.
Bradford Newcomb Talcott, the fourth of thirteen children of Asa and Caroline (Newcomb) Talcott, was born in Lake County, Ohio, on November 14, 1827. A few miles to the south, on May 20, 1832, Mary Angeline Nye was born in Geagua County. They married on February 22, 1850, and a few years later moved to Iowa.

Southern guns fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. The following year, on July 9th, Iowa Governor Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five regiments as part of President Lincoln's call for 300,000 three-year men. Governor Kirkwood assured the President the troops would be raised - "our harvest is just upon us, and we have now scarcely men enough to save our crops, but if need be our women can help." On August 11, 1862, thirty-four year old Brad Talcott and his twenty-seven-year-old brother, Horace, were in Strawberry Point where they were enrolled by a local dentist, Charles Heath, in what would be Company B ofthe 21st Iowa Infantry, Brad as a 6th Corporal and Horace as a Private. Two of their brothers also served in the war - Fitz Henry Talcot.t with the 75th Illinois Infantry and Edward Talcott who served as a wagoner with the 1st Battalion of Nebraska Cavalry. A third brother, Walter Talcott, went west with the 7th Cavalry and was killed by Indians in the Battle of Julesburg when he got off his horse to help a fallen comrade. One of their uncles, Vivaldo Talcott, served with the 75th Illinois Infantry. A nephew, Algernon Davis, died of disease while serving with the. 46th Iowa Infantry and Henry Hollister, a brother-in-law, served with the 177th Ohio Infantry.

After brief training at Camp Franklin in Dubuque during which many became ill, the able-bodied crowded on board the side-wheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and headed downstream on September 16th. They reached St. Louis on the 20th, spent one night at Benton Barracks and then traveled by train to Rolla. On October 18th the regiment started the first of many long marches when it left for Salem followed by Houston. On November 24th, they were stationed in Hartville and Brad was on duty as a camp guard when he heard shooting near pickets stationed on the Lebanon Road. Ebenezer Still was wounded and Brad would later recall hearing someone say he had given "one of the Dam Yanks Hell or words to that affect."

From Hartville they moved back to Houston and, in January, went south to West Plains. Most thought they'd continue into Arkansas but, instead, they walked to the northeast and passed through Thomasville, Ironton and Iron Mountain before arriving in St. Genevieve on March 11th and camping on a ridge north of town. They were then transported downstream to Milliken's Bend where they became part of a 30,000 man army being organized by General Grant to capture Vicksburg. On April 30th they crossed the Mississippi to Bruinsburg and, as the point regiment for the entire Union army, started slowly inland. By then, from an original 985, the regiment had only 844 men still on the muster rolls and many of them, some with the regiment and some who had been left behind, were unable for duty. On May 1st the regiment participated in the Battle of Port Gibson and on the 16th they were present but held in reserve during the Battle of Champion's Hill. On May 17th, with the 23rd Iowa, they led an assault on entrenched Confederates at the Big Black River during which seven members of the regiment were killed in action, eighteen sustained fatal wounds and at least forty were wounded less severely. Among the most seriously wounded was their Colonel, Sam Merrill. Five days later, May 22nd, they participated in an assault at Vicksburg and saw  another twenty-three killed in action, twelve mortally wounded and at least forty-eight who sustained other wounds, some serious enough to cause their discharge from the military.

A soldier's Descriptive Book usually, but not always, reflected his participation in engagements such as these. Military records do indicate that Brad participated, but they do confirm that he was present when the bimonthly rolls were taken from the inception of his service through June 30, 1863. In July, after the surrender of Vicksburg, Brad was granted a thirty-day furlough on a Surgeon's Certificate and returned home to recuperate from illness but, like many others, he
had not regained his health by the time his furlough expired. On October 2nd, Jim Bethard, a comrade from Grand Meadow Township, wrote to his wife that David Drummond had received a letter from Brad and, said Jim, Brad "has had a hard spell of sickness but was getting better when he wrote." In December, Brad reported to headquarters in Dubuque for transportation and "was taken in charge by orders of the P.M. Genl. as straggler. He is deserving of and should receive the greatest leniency." Brad and several others "were received at Camp McClellan Davenport, Iowa, Dec. 10, 1863," but it was February 14th before he reached the regiment then stationed at Indianola, Texas. He was restored to duty without a loss of pay or allowances, although there was a $10.62 stoppage on his pay for transportation. Brad remained with the regiment during the balance of its service in Texas and during subsequent service in Louisiana and along the White River in Arkansas. On January 28th he was granted a sixty-day furlough on a Surgeon's Certificate and again went north. With him, he carried $60.00 that Myron Knight was sending home. On March 24th Brad started his return trip and a requisition was issued in Dubuque for travel to Davenport. On the 27th he reported to a Davenport hospital, on April 25th he reported at Camp McClellan seeking transportation south, and on May 12th he reached the regiment at
Spring Hill, Alabama, where it was camped after a successful campaign to occupy the city of Mobile. By then he had received several promotions and, at Saluria Springs, Arkansas, on June 5, 1865, he was promoted again, this time to 1st Sergeant, the highest of the non-commissioned ranks. He was mustered out with the regiment on July 15th at Baton Rouge and discharged from the military on July 24th at Clinton. Then, he said, "I went on to my farm in Putnam Township Fayette Co and I was six miles from any town or drug store."

Brad's mother died on Christmas day, 1868, and his father on November 13, 1870. Both are buried in Fairview Memorial Park, Madison, Ohio. On August 24, 1871, Brad and Mary lost their only daughter when Ellen, then a teenager, died. She is buried in Illyria Cemetery, Wadena. They also had a son named Asa who was born in 1860.

By 1878 Brad was working as a Fayette County carpenter, owned forty acres and had a half interest in another sixty acres. He had served as a Justice of the Peace, a town Trustee, a school Director and as
Township Clerk. He was also credited as having been one of the organizers of Wadena, a town
established in 1857.

Despite his wartime health problems, Brad did not apply for an invalid pension until 1880 when he
indicated he was still troubled by chronic diarrhea contracted at Vicksburg seventeen years earlier. War
Department records confirmed that illness and also the subsequent illness for which he had been granted
furloughs, but Brad had difficulty convincing the Pension Office he was still affected by the illness.
It wasn't until 1877 that J. A. Lang established the first drug store in Wadena and, prior to that, Brad had purchased medicines wherever he could find them. Several witnesses confirmed he had been healthy before the war, but subsequently complained of frequent indigestion and chronic diarrhea and was often unable to do a full day's work. In 1887, Brad and Horace traveled to Manchester to attend the regiment's 1887 reunion, its third since the end of the war.

Brad was eventually awarded a pension and it was still being received when he died on August 15, 1896.  He is buried
in Wadena Cemetery where a G.A.R. insignia stands next to his stone. With the help of West Union attorney J. J. Berkey, Mary applied for and received a widow's pension. She was receiving $8.00 a month, payable quarterly, when she died in February, 1907. Her burial has not been found.

~ Compiled & Contributor: Carl Ingwalson
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