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~ Military Biography ~

Dubuque county Civil War Soldiers
 of the
Twenty-first Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry

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.



One of five children born to Anton (Anthony) Baule, a veteran of the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, and his wife, Fanziska Westze (Francis Weitz), Joseph was born on May 25, 1838, in Wältingerode, Germany. On June 24th of that year he was baptized as Johann Heinrich Joseph Baule. In 1846 the family immigrated to America. Leaving from Bremen on April 1st, they arrived in New Orleans on May 31st and soon thereafter left for Iowa.

Joseph’s parents died from cholera after their arrival in Dubuque and he and his siblings were split up and lived with other families in the area. An 1850 census indicates Joseph (age 12) was then living with Elizabeth (29), Mina (17), Catherine (14) and Johanna (8) Bentzen. Next door was the family of Elizabeth’s brother, John Thedinga, who had a store in Dubuque.

Samuel Kirkwood became governor on January11, 1860, and recognized the “anger and jealousy” that threatened to divide the nation but was convinced that “those who love our Constitution and our Union, have not very great cause for alarm.” During that fall’s election campaign some said “the Union will be divided if Lincoln is elected President” but Clayton County’s Journal thought this was “Ridiculous! Is there a sensible, an unprejudiced man, in the State of Iowa who believes this?” Abraham Lincoln was elected, Southern states seceded, Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, war followed and tens of thousands of men died.

On July 9, 1862, Governor Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five regiments in addition to those already in the field. Joseph answered the call and, on August 22nd at Center Grove, enlisted as a Private in what would be Company C of the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry. The company was mustered in at Camp Franklin in Dubuque on August 20th with 101 men and the regiment on September 9th with a total of 985 men. Many became sick due to crowded conditions and an outbreak of measles but, on a rainy 16th of September, the able-bodied boarded the four-year-old sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started downstream. They spent their first night on Rock Island before continuing the next day, being forced to debark at Montrose due to low water levels, traveling by train to Keokuk where they boarded the Hawkeye State, reaching St. Louis on the 20th and “marching” in sweltering heat and humidity to Camp Benton. After a morning inspection on the 21st, they walked to the St. Louis depot, boarded rail cars of the kind used for freight, and traveled through the night before arriving in Rolla the next morning.

After a month in Rolla practicing needed drill and being organized in a brigade, they moved to Salem, Houston, Hartville and, after a wagon train was attacked, back to Houston. They were still there on January 8, 1863, when word was received that a Confederate column was advancing on Springfield. A hastily organized relief force, with Joseph one of the volunteers from Company C, headed in that direction and on the night of the 10th camped along Wood’s Fork of the Gasconade River unaware the Confederates were camped along the same stream. The next morning bugles blew, the two sides became aware of each other and, after brief firing by pickets, they moved into Hartville where a daylong battle was fought. After returning to Houston, Joseph continued to be marked “present” on bimonthly rolls as they moved to West Plains and then northeast through Eminence, Ironton and Iron Mountain to St. Genevieve where they arrived on March 11th and made camp on a ridge overlooking the Mississippi River.

Joseph continued with the regiment when they were transported south to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant assembled a three-corps army to capture the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg. In a corps led by General McClernand, they moved south along dirt roads and through swamps and bayous until crossing from Disharoon’s Plantation to Bruinsburg, Mississippi, on April 30th. As the point regiment for the entire army, they moved slowly inland until, about midnight, they were fired on by Confederate pickets. Both sides rested for several hours and on May 1st Joseph participated in the Battle of Port Gibson. He was present on May 16th when the regiment was held out of action during the Battle of Champion Hill but participated in a successful May 17th assault at the Big Black River before moving to the rear of Vicksburg where he participated in an assault on May 22nd and in the ensuing siege. The city surrendered on July 4th and the next day Joseph was one of the men still able for duty when they were led by General Sherman in a pursuit of Confederate General Joe Johnston to Jackson.

After returning to Vicksburg, they saw service in Louisiana, along the gulf coast of Texas and in Arkansas and Tennessee. In the spring of 1865 they participated in their final campaign of the war, a campaign to capture the city of Mobile, Alabama. The campaign was successful and they were mustered out of service on July 15th at Baton Rouge and discharged from the military on July 24th at Clinton, Iowa. Like many others, Joseph paid $6.00 so he could keep his musket and other equipment.

On July 1, 1867, in Dubuque, he married Maria “Mary” Michels, a native of Luxembourg. Their children included Anna (1868), Henry (1869), Florence (1871), Frank (1873), Andy (1876), Edward (1878), Herman (1882) and Joseph Jr. (1884).

As a “dealer in groceries and provisions, 822 Main Street,” Joseph through his own efforts “built up a good trade.” They were living at 874 White Street when, one evening in November 1878, Mary saw three Franciscan sisters carrying suitcases as they walked up the street. They “had come to Dubuque to supervise the remodeling of the abandoned old Holy Trinity Church” and, at Mary’s invitation, stayed most of the time in the Baule home until the remodeling was complete.

Like most veterans who returned home with illnesses or injuries that affected their ability to do manual labor, Joseph applied for an invalid pension. His March 12, 1883, application indicated that, while on Matagorda Island, Texas, “he was ruptured in the right side of groin while assisting in unloading a vessel, and in handling barrels of meat over-strained himself” and, as a result, had been “assigned to light duty.” His application was still pending in June when he joined the Hyde Clark Post No. 78 of the G.A.R. in Dubuque on the 19th and when he was examined by a panel of pension surgeons on the 27th. “We know him well and fully credit his statements,” they said in recommending a pension be granted.

Four years earlier he had supported a pension application by Company C comrade William McCarty and now two of Joseph’s former comrades supported his application. John Kuntz and James Brunskill said Joseph was injured “in unloading a vessel and while handling heavy barrells.” Joseph had been “down below in the hole of the ship,” said John, when “some of the barrels and boxes fell on him and injured him between his legs.” The injury was so bad that it was only “by the assistance of others that he was taken ashore.” James, who was Joseph’s tent mate at the time, said that after the accident Joseph “was not fit for dutey” when others built breastworks. Despite their testimony, the process dragged on due in part to regimental records having no reference to such an injury. Joseph explained that, instead of asking the doctor for a truss, he had “tried a leather Belt with a wooden pad attached and found that after I had that arranged it answered for the purpose.” It was only after he returned home that he had purchased a truss from Junkerman & Haas City Druggists. William Orr, the regimental surgeon, didn’t remember the injury and the family doctor, Henry Minges, was now deceased. His son, George Minges, did recall Joseph worked as a “hostler at the New Harmony Hall, across from my father’s office.” On July 9, 1885, more than two years after the application was filed, a certificate was issued entitling Joseph to $4.00 monthly.

In 1887 he was one of fourteen veterans of Company C who attended a regimental reunion in Manchester where attendees devoted one afternoon “to social intercourse and renewing the memories of ‘the time that tried men’s souls.’” This, said the Manchester Press, was the best part of the reunion for men, most “with gray locks and furrowed cheeks,” who “had stood shoulder to shoulder fighting the country’s enemies, who had together withstood the shock of battle; had endured the privations and hardships of the field and the march; and who had grown in those long hours of toil and weariness of suffering and danger, nearer and dearer to one another than brothers.”

Joseph’s pension had been raised to $12.00 by the time a new act providing for age-based pensions was adopted on May 11, 1912. Joseph applied and said he was now seventy years old. Unfortunately, that didn’t correspond with the age shown on his muster-in roll or on his prior applications. It was only after he mailed his original birth certificate and baptism record to the pension office that they recognized the birth date he was now claiming. The application was approved but not before Joseph’s death on September 6, 1912. He was buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Dubuque.

The following month Mary requested a widow’s pension in an application witnessed by her daughter, Florence. Mary was awarded the accrued amount due to Joseph at the time of his death and her own widow’s pension of $12.00 monthly. On her death, an obituary in The Witness newspaper on Thursday, March 29, 1923, said Mary, “an old resident of Dubuque, died Friday at the family residence, 874 White street. The funeral was held Monday to St. Mary’s church, father Smith officiating.” She, like Joseph, is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery.


~ Compiled & submitted by Carl Ingwalson <cingwalson@cfilaw.com>

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