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Linn County in War
Chapter XLIV

Source: History of Linn County Iowa: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. By: Luther A. Brewer and Barthinius L. Wick. Pub. 1911, The Pioneer Publishing Company, Chicago. Pages 470-478. Transcribed Feb, 2004 by Terry Carlson for the IaGenweb Project.

 Please keep in mind that as with all transcribed data errors are possible.
 Information is provided here for personal research only.

Iowa units represented on this page:

Iowa units represented on the next page:
  • Thirteenth Infantry
  • Fourteenth Infantry
  • Fifteenth Infantry, Company A
  • Sixteenth Infantry
  • Eighteenth Infantry, Company A
  • Twentieth Infantry, Co.'s A, B, F, H, I
  • Twenty-fourth Infantry, Co.'s F, G, H
  • Thirty-first Infantry, Company A
  • Thirty-seventh Infantry, Co.'s A, D, G, H, I
  • 100-Day & Cavalry Regiments
  • Company C, (1883)

Spanish-American War (1898)

  • Forty-ninth Iowa U.S. Volunteers
  • Fifth Iowa Battery
The men and women of Linn county have always been patriotic. They have responded promptly and cheerfully to every call to arms. One of the earliest settlers in the county had served in the Revolutionary war. Nathan Brown, who came here in 1839 and for whom Brown township was named, at the early age of sixteen years joined the American forces.

T. J. McKean, George A. Gray, A. R. Sausman, William Hampton, S. D. Thompson, "Democ" Woodbridge, and a Mr. Courtney served in the war with Mexico. These men all enlisted from this county, entering the service in June, 1847. J. J. Snouffer, who came to the county in the early days and who long was an important figure in the business and political life of Cedar Rapids, was a veteran of this same war.

It is not out of place here to say a word regarding T. J. McKean, the only man from the county who received the commission of brigadier-general in the Civil war. General McKean was born in Pennsylvania in 1810 and entered West Point in 1827, graduating with honors in 1831. He immediately entered the service with the rank of lieutenant, and was stationed in Louisiana. Resigning his commission, for a time he followed the profession of civil engineer. He came to Marion in 1840, and when war with Mexico was declared he raised a squad of six men as above and joined Company K, 15th Regulars, the only company sent out from Iowa. He served in the Mexican war for a year and a half and then returned to Marion. At the breaking out of the Civil war he was holding the office of sheriff of the county. He was not able to resist the call to arms and surrendered his office to accept a post as paymaster in the Union army. He entered upon his duties early in 1861. In the fall of that year Governor Kirkwood proposed his name for a brigadier-general. lie received that commission and served his country with ability.    (return to top)

On April 12, 1861, Sumter was fired upon. On the 15th, President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 ninety-day men. It was erroneously believed that our internal difficulties could be adjusted in that period. Within thirty days after the president's call had reached Iowa this state had a regiment in the field. In that regiment, the First Iowa, Linn county had a full company under the command of Capt. T. Z. Cook.

Before giving a detailed account of the various companies that served in the Civil war from Linn county, it may be well to treat briefly of some of the stirring events that were witnessed in the county in the early days of the war.

The board of supervisors early held a special session to provide means for the relief of the families of such men as were willing to volunteer for field service. At the September, 1861, session of that body the following resolution was adopted: "That the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors issue an order or orders for the benefit and relief of any of our volunteers now in the United States service, upon the certificate and approval of the resident Supervisor of the township in which the family or applicant resides."

The press and pulpit of the county strongly advocated the cause of the Union. No conservative position on the burning question was taken by either. Many are the emphatic appeals to the loyal spirit of the county. In its issue of April 18, 1861, the Cedar Valley Times has this to say:    (return to top)
"More than ever, it is now the duty of every true man to respond to the call of his country. Party ties are broken, party divisions forgotten, in the common necessity which summons every true American to the standard of his country - to the defense of our Union, Our Constitution, our liberty and our rights. Every man to his post, that post the support of the Administration."

In the same issue there was a call for a meeting on that evening to obtain an expression of the feelings of the people. This meeting was held in Carpenter 's Hall, Cedar Rapids, and was characterized by great enthusiasm. Dr. J. H. Camburn presided and Isaac Van Meter acted as secretary. These gentlemen, together with Porter W. Earle, William Greene, H. G. Angle, Dr. Taylor, E. N. Bates, W. H. Merritt, and others gave stirring talks. At this meeting a dispatch was read from Gov. Samuel J. Kirkwood, as follows:

"If Linn county shall tender me a full company of seventy-eight good men, properly officered, by Thursday of next week, I will offer the company as one of the regiments required of this state by the President of the United States."    (return to top)

A committee was appointed to push the matter of raising a company. On this committee were E. N. Bates, T. Z. Cook, W. H. Merritt, J. U. Stibbs and W. R. Sweitzer. Twenty-five names were signed that night to a muster roll.

Other towns of the county were not behind Cedar Rapids in enthusiasm. On the evening of April 19th a mass meeting was held at Kingston, with J. H. Elder in the chair. He at once offered his purse to its limit for the cause. Here Rev. A. G. Eberhart, and Messrs. Churchill, Stewart and Detwiler were the speakers. Eight men added their names to the roll of Cedar Rapids volunteers. In Marion a meeting of equal enthusiasm was held and a full company volunteered. By noon of the 19th thirty-five men had signed a muster roll in Mt. Vernon. A great crowd gathered in the chapel of Western college on the evening of the 19th. Young men, students and others, were urged to enroll for the honor of Linn county and the cause of the union. Nine were added to the list. The meeting also contributed five dollars to aid in purchasing bibles for the company - the boys from Western going with those from this city. On Monday. the 22d, this contingent came to the city, and on the same day twenty-seven of the Mt. Vernon volunteers were accepted for the first company from Linn county. Captaincy of the Company K, First Infantry, fell upon T. Z. Cook   (return to top)

In Buffalo township there were but twelve voters, and just half of these volunteered for army service. At Palo a spirited union meeting was held, and at once thirty-five men pledged their lives to the cause.

The boys at once began drilling under J. J. Snouffer, a veteran of the Mexican war. Dr. S. D. Carpenter was made quartermaster of the regiment. On Saturday, May 4, a flag was presented to the company. On May 6 Company K left for Clinton. Following is roster of the company, at the time it left Cedar Rapids: Captain, T. Z. Cook; first lieutenant, J. C. Marvin; second lieutenant, Robert Stinson; orderly, J. H. Stibbs; second sergeant, J. Van Meter; third sergeant, E. Coulter; first corporal, R. L. Wilson; second corporal, J. H. Hammond; third corporal, E. L. Carpenter; fourth corporal, Jos. McClelland. Privates - Geo. H. Angell, Geo. W. Aylesworth, John Agler, Geo. C. Burkmeister, Benj. E. Butler, A. C. Blood, H. H. Boyes, H. C. Bates, John M. Chase, Henry P. Covertson, W. J. Conley, Paul Carpenter, B. Franklin Cook, A. D. Collier, Wilson Certain, A. J. Churchill, J. M. Clark, Edward Calder, Joseph B. Daniels, John E. Daniels, Samuel Daniels, Addison Davis, Robert P. Dewey, John J. Derry, Chas. W. Esgate, B. E. Eberhart, Win. J. Eekles, Stuart Erwin, E. P. Fellows, John Fitzgerald, J. B. Fisher, J. D. Ferguson, Andrew Geddes, Geo. Granger, Andrew Harmon, Hiel Hale, F. W. Hollingrane, J. J. Hollan, Perry Hoyt, W. P. Hubbard, Peter Hanger, Charles A. Harper. R. W. Hayzlett, J. C. Hayes, Nathaniel Johnson, Geo. A. John, W. B. Jacobs, Frank Klump, J. H. Little, G. C. Miller, Philip Murdock, J. C. Morehead, H. J. McManus, John McGowen, E. R. McKee, Michael Mentz, D. W. Prescott, N. Russell, G. Rifenstahl, H. W. Ross, J. W. Robinson, R. M. Rogers, A. T. Rigby, W. D. Robins, E. W. Stewart, R. B. Stewart, James 0. Stewart, Henry Shaffer, John S. Starkweather, L. E. Stevins, J. W. Smith, C. C. Smith, E. B. Soper, J. M. Secrist, Geo. F. Schoonover, J. B. Stine, F. J. Shuey, M. Taylor, E. Thompson. G. F. Vandever, J. N. Van Arsdel, L. P. Winterstein, C. Wynn, William Walt, D. H. Wilson, Geo. H. Yager, L. J. C. Ziengenfus   (return to top)

The regimental officers were J. F. Bates, Dubuque, colonel; W. H. Merritt, Cedar Rapids, lieutenant-colonel; A. B. Porter, Mt. Pleasant, major.

The company before the close of its services endured many hardships. It took part in the skirmish at Forsythe on July 20. On the evening of the 9th of August the First Iowa, under command of Lieut.-Col. Merritt joined the other forces at Springfield, under Gen. Lyon. Marching to within three miles of the enemy's camp at Wilson's Creek, the attack was begun at 3 o'clock on the morning of the 10th. It was a severely contested engagement. At this battle Gen. Lyon was killed, while personally leading the First Iowa. Victory was with the Union army and pursuit of the enemy was continued until nightfall. Following is the report made by Captain T. Z. Cook of casualties sustained by his company:

"Killed - Private Perry Hoyt. Seriously wounded - B. Coulter, leg; Henry Shaffer, leg and arm; John Stine. leg and breast; B. R. McKee, arm; W. D. Robins, leg; Samuel Daniels, leg. Slightly wounded - J. 0. Stewart, leg; John Fitzgerald, face; Joseph Hollan, foot; J. M. Chase, back; George F. Schoonover, arm badly bruised by grape shot. Sergeant Coulter and Privates Shaffer and Stine were left at Springfield. Isaac Van Meter, second sergeant, and John H. Stibbs, sergeant, particularly distinguished themselves for coolness and bravery. T. Z. Cook, captain."    (return to top)

This battle really ended the service of Company K. The regiment was mustered out at St. Louis August 25 and started at once for home. On the evening of August 26 the volunteers returned to Cedar Rapids. The Kingston Guards, of eighty men, with a local company of about the same number, furnished an escort and headed by the mayor and council met the train at the depot. Five thousand people were estimated in the gathering. The dwellings and stores were illuminated in honor of the return. A procession was formed and marched to the same place where a few months before the flag had been presented. On behalf of the city Mayor Bishop voiced its welcome to the volunteers. Judge Isaac Cook supplied a little more speech-making and a supper followed of duality to make these soldiers forget all hardships of camp and march.

In other portions of the county the enthusiasm was as great as it was in Cedar Rapids. The Linn County Register of April 20, 1861, in announcing the commencement of hostilities stated that "already, some seventy-five persons, in the vicinity of Marion alone, have signified their intention to volunteer under the call of President Lincoln." In its issue a week later the same paper said that "on every corner the people are assembled, in squads of a dozen or more, discussing the chances of the conflict. Men in the country leave their plows, and rush into town, to inquire about the news."

In time Sixth Infantry, which was mustered in July 6, 1861, Company A was entirely from this county. It was organized at Marion. The regiment was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, July 21, 1865. It saw some hard battles, several of its officers being killed in action, and eighteen wounded. Of the enlisted men 274 were killed or died in the service, and 331 were wounded in action. It is said that this regiment suffered more casualties than any other regiment from Iowa. The regiment suffered severely at Shiloh, Mission Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, and Jackson, Miss.    (return to top)

Its first captain was Hosea W. Gray, who was succeeded by Tarlton Caldwell, Willard H. Harland, and Rodney B. Barker, who served as captains at different periods. A. L. Ingram, who entered the company as a private, was first lieutenant at the time of mustering out. Other well known names among the officers of this company are those of George A. Gray, W. M. Harbeson, A. P. Alexander, Samuel D. Springer, C. A. Huston, Chas. L. Byam. Among the members of the company are found the names of T. H. Alexander, Daniel R. Kinley, Chas. Robins, S. A. Stearns, D. F. Stinson.

George H. Holmes, of this county, entered as sergeant of this regiment, and was promoted from time to time until he became captain of Company K on July 30, 1863, resigning October 17, 1864.

In the Eighth Infantry Joseph C. Stoddard, yet a resident of Cedar Rapids, was commissioned adjutant November 15, 1865, having been promoted from sergeant-major. Among those from this county in this regiment may be noted Jno. M. Dawley, J. H. Gardner, Hiram Inks, Win. H. Ostrander, David G. Usher, Homer H. Phillips, D. W. Yount.

The county was also represented in the Ninth Infantry, being especially strong in Company K, in which Abraham Bowman was commissioned second lieutenant and promoted to the captaincy on January 9, 1864. Its first captain was David Carskaddon, afterwards colonel of the regiment. Among the familiar names in this company we find those of David Bowman, Jas. C. Morehead, Oliver B. Cone, John Cone, John S. McKee, J. M. Burkhart, W. S. Dingman, John W. Gray, I. N. Lutz, A. R. Whiteneck. The company was organized in Marion and mustered into the service July 23, 1861.    (return to top)

In the Eleventh Infantry these names are noted: Robt. L. Wilson, Samuel H. Harrison, Chas. W. Mason, Wm. H. McRoberts, Wm. Burge, Henry M. Cook, Jno. Coburn, John Elder, E. P. Listabarger, Wm. Mitchell, Jas. D. McRoberts, And. W. Sailey, Thos. Strang, John B. Stine, Geo. W. Sparks, Samuel Shafer, Win. A. Thompson. Company K of this regiment was organized in Cedar Rapids, John C. Marvin, captain. It was mustered in July 23, 1861.

Company D, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, was captained by John H. Stibbs. The regiment was organized at Dubuque and mustered into the service November 25, 1861, with Joseph P Woods, a West Pointer, as colonel; John P. Coulter of Cedar Rapids, lieutenant-colonel, and S. D. Brodtbeck, major. The Twelfth was then ordered to St. Louis. The Linn county company was organized in Cedar Rapids, and mustered in October 26, 1861.

First of the year 1862 found seventeen members of the company in hospitals. A malignant outbreak of measles at that time caused many deaths in the Twelfth and other regiments.

During the week ending January 15, 1862, Capt. Stibbs, in a letter to his brother in Cedar Rapids, reported that six of his men had died in hospital. These were William H. Webster, William L. Dailey, John L. Jaques, John S. Lee, Jasper Cyner and Henry Haradon. Seventeen others were in various hospitals at St. Louis. On Saturday, January 11, the regiment was ordered to be ready to start for Kentucky on the 15th, but because of ice in the river, these orders were countermanded. On the 27th it was ordered to report to Gen. Grant at Cairo. From thence the regiment was sent to the mouth of the Cumberland river, and established its camp in the field. On February 5 it joined the expedition against Fort Henry.    (return to top)

The company was at Ft. Donelson when it capitulated. The regiment remained at Fort Donelson until March 12, when it was moved to Pittsburg Landing. On the evening of the 9th of April news was received of a great battle at Pittsburg Landing, in which the Twelfth Iowa had share. It was only known that slaughter had been immense, and until full details were received the anxiety in Cedar Rapids can be imagined. Yet how slow this news was in coming may be judged from an editorial note in the Cedar Valley Times for April 17: "Three of our Iowa regiments - the Eighth, Twelfth and Fourteenth - were cut off and taken prisoners while bravely defending their flag and the glory of their country.

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