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29th IOWA INFANTRY

REGIMENTAL HISTORY

The part of Iowa which is commonly called "the Missouri Slope," furnished the fighting materiel of the Twenty-ninth Infantry. It was organized in the latter part of 1862, under the auspices of Thomas H. BENTON, Jr., who was appointed colonel August 10th. Long known throughout the State as a politician, more especially as an efficient friend of popular education, he had non of those dashing, flashing qualities which were so universally regarded during the earlier period of the war as the essentials of a successful soldier. He had no difficulty; however, in speedily raising a full regiment of ten companies, which were all mustered into the service by the 1st of December. Of the companies composing this regiment A was raised in Pottawattamie County, B in Mills County, C in Harrison County, D in Adams and Adair Counties, E in Fremont County, F in Taylor County, G in Ringgold County, H in Union County, I in Guthrie County, K was made up of men from all of these counties.

It had been intended that this regiment should form a part of the command under General W. T. SHERMAN, which made the fruitless assault upon Vicksburg. Before the regiment had formally entered the service of the United States, navigation of the Missouri River was closed, and this design had to be abandoned. Proceeding by detachments between the 5th and 9th of December, the command marched to St. Joseph, Missouri, and reported to Major-General Samuel R. CURTIS, then commanding the department. From here it went by rail to St. Louis, and entered Benton Barracks on the 20th, with over nine hundred men, every one in good health and spirits. The next morning it marched to Schofield Barracks in the city and was assigned the duty of guarding certain prisons. It had hardly entered upon the performance of this service; however, when it was ordered to move to Helena, Arkansas. Accordingly, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel PATTERSON, the Colonel remaining at St. Louis on regimental business, it embarked for the South on Christmas day. Like all other regiments about that time passing down the river, it paid the tribute of a halt to Columbus, Kentucky, then daily frightened by imaginary butternut forces. It was assigned to the right wing, under command of Brigadier- General J. M. TUTTLE, where it remained in camp till the 8th of January, 1863. On that day it embarked, under orders to proceed to Helena, with the brigade of General FISK.

The brigade did not halt at Helena, but at once joined an expedition which had been organized by General GORMAN, and which was now ready to proceed up White River. This expedition was entirely fruitless, and more than entirely comfortless. It went up the river a distance of one hundred and eighty miles to Duvall's Bluff, and then returned without disembarking the troops. No resistance from the enemy was met, but the sufferings of the men was intense. During the voyage the men never left their transports, but measles attacked the Twenty-ninth. When it reached Helena on the 26th, there were more than four hundred men on the sick list, and the command lost by the exposure of this voyage no less than three hundred, but after recovery from this shock, the health of the regiment was almost uniformly good.

SOURCE:
BELLES, Dwight D. Kansas: Fighting Haweyes in the Civil War

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2009


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