Silas Poling Reminisces - 1917
Posted By: JCGS Volunteer
Date: 2/12/2019 at 14:14:28
When Silas Poling met with hundreds of our people at the interurban depot recently to see the Colfax boys depart for Fort Logan, Fort Bliss and other destinations, it brought back to his mind the day when he with thirty young men from Poweshiek township marched away from Greencastle to form in the ranks of the Union army in the ‘60s.
It was on October 16, 1861 and they were off to join Co. D of the 13th Iowa Inft. For three long years young Poling stood by the colors, then was honorably discharged on account of injuries received in the Vicksburg campaign and from which he has been a sufferer ever since, recently having undergone a very serious operation on same account. A feeling of sadness stole in upon him when he saw our boys march away for he well knows what it all means.
Silas Poling was at Fort Henry, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Corinth and other hot places. He hopes to go this fall to Vicksburg to attend the reunion of the survivors of the Vicksburg campaign. Among those who will be there will be the gallant Colonel David J. Palmer who has been National Commander, G.A.R. and Poling says “Dave” was known as “the boy colonel” but was surely the finest looking young man he ever saw.
Mr. Poling was born in 1840 and came to Van Buren county two years later, which was two years before the Indians left S.E. Iowa and before Iowa was a state. He afterwards knew intimately General Tuttle of the Third Brigade, Sixth Division, 17th Army corps, of which Crocker’s brigade was a part and to which the 13th Iowa belonged, and who lived in Keosauqua.
The Crocker Brigade reunion will occur at Mt. Vernon in September at the home town of their beloved General Rude who died suddenly on his return home from the Brigade reunion two years ago.
Mr. Poling bought to The Clipper office a choice relic in the way of a pocket bible that was given him, as were all the Greencastle boys of ’61 by the good women of Poweshiek township. The interesting and important part played by this precious book was two-fold, a spiritual guide and a shield from death, for at Shiloh, a ball struck Poling from the gun of a Texas ranger and plowed through the bible and then through a pocket notebook and buried itself under the hide just deep enough that he could pick it out. He keeps the ball and the bible together and they make an interesting pair that should someday go to the Iowa Historical Society where Curator Harlan wants all such incidents and historic relics. Had it not been for these books Poling would be a subject for flowers on Decoration Day, rather than a live veteran in the ranks.
Source: The Colfax (IA) Clipper; May 24, 1917
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