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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.


George Carroll, Sr., and Roseann Brady were married in Brooklyn, New York, on May 24, 1836. Their first child, Charles, was born on March 24, 1837, at 4:00 a.m. and died two hours later. George Jr., born April 16, 1838, in Canada was the next to be born. Roseann was pregnant with their third child when her husband died on November 6, 1840. Four and one-half months later, on March 25, 1841, Roseann gave birth to a daughter, Mary A. Carroll.

By the middle of 1862 Civil War casualties had mounted significantly and, on July 9, 1862, Iowa Governor Sam Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five regiments as part of the President’s call for 300,000 three-year men. If the state’s quota wasn’t met by August 15th, it "would be made up by draft," but enlistments started slowly as "farmers were busy with the harvest, the war was much more serious than had been anticipated, and the first ebullition of military enthusiasm had subsided. Furthermore, disloyal sentiment was rampant in some parts of the State." All men between eighteen and forty-five were listed in preparation for a draft, a draft that wasn’t needed.

On August 2, 1862, George Carroll was enrolled by Dubuque’s Leonard Horr in Company F of the 21st Iowa Infantry. While with his regiment at Camp Franklin in Dubuque, George signed an affidavit indicating he was unmarried and “have a mother dependent upon me for support.” When trying to care for dependents, some soldiers mailed money to them directly, some mailed money to local firms that then dispersed it, others sometimes sent it with a friend who was going home on a furlough, and others arranged for an allotment to be deducted from their monthly pay. While the allotment system seemed safe, there were complaints that banks received federal “greenbacks” but then made payments in discounted state currencies. As a private, George would be entitled to $13.00 monthly. He made arrangements for R. E. Graves, Cashier of the City of Dubuque Branch of the State Bank of Iowa, to receive an allotment of $10.00 for his mother while George would receive the $3.00 balance. Like other Iowa volunteers, George also received a $2.00 premium and a $25.00 advance on a $100.00 bounty with the balance to be paid on receipt of an honorable discharge. The regiment was mustered in at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin on September 9, 1862, and on the 16th, at the foot of Jones Street, boarded the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, and started south. After spending one night on Rock Island, they resumed their trip, encountered low water at Montrose, debarked, traveled by train to Keokuk, boarded the Hawkeye State and arrived in St. Louis on the 20th. The next night, they boarded railroad cars usually used for freight and livestock and started west. Arriving in Rolla on the 22nd, they camped near the railhead, but soon moved to a better site about five miles southwest of town along the Lebanon road.

On bimonthly company muster rolls and still in Missouri, George was marked present on October 31st at Salem and December 31st Houston. They left Houston on January 27th, walked south to West Plains and then moved to the northeast passing through Thomasville, Ironton, Iron Mountain, Pilot Knob and Farmington before reaching the old French town of Ste. Genevieve on March 11th. From there they were transported downstream to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a large army with three corps led by Generals James McPherson, John McClernand and William Sherman. Intent on capturing Vicksburg, Grant ordered McClernand to open a road south to New Carthage. Sherman felt the plan was "desperate and hazardous" and preferred to drive south from Memphis. McPherson agreed with Sherman, McClernand agreed with Grant, Grant called for reinforcements, and the campaign began.

Assigned to McClernand’s corps, the 21st Iowa was in a four-regiment brigade when they started south and moved slowly along dirt roads, across bayous and through swamps. Many became sick along the way and were left behind, but the others moved on. On April 30, 1863, they crossed the river to Bruinsburg on the east bank and, with the 21st Iowa as the point regiment for the entire army, started a slow movement inland. About midnight they briefly exchanged fire with Confederate pickets near the Abram Shaifer house before trying to sleep. On May 1st, George participated with his regiment in the Battle of Port Gibson. On the 16th, he was present during the Battle of Champion’s Hill when the entire brigade was held “in reserve” with the only casualty being Joseph Carter who accidentally shot off two of his own fingers.

Having not been involved on May 16th (except for guarding prisoners after the battle), the brigade was rotated to the front and on the 17th two Iowa regiments, the 21st and 23d infantries, led an assault on Confederates entrenched at the Big Black River and hoping to keep a large railroad bridge open so all their forces could cross. The assault was successful, but regimental casualties were seven killed, another eighteen whose wounds would soon prove fatal and at least forty whose wounds were non-fatal. Among the most seriously wounded during the assault was the regiment’s colonel, Sam Merrill, who returned to McGregor to recuperate. From the Big Black they moved to the rear of Vicksburg and took a position opposite the railroad redoubt. On the 22nd, there was an unsuccessful assault along the entire Union line and again regimental casualties were heavy with twenty-three killed, another twelve with fatal wounds and at least forty-eight with non-fatal wounds but some serious enough to require amputations. George Carroll had participated on the 17th and 22nd, but was unscathed and was with the regiment as General Grant settled on a siege.
Union soldiers kept their heads down, dug ditches zig-zagging their way toward the Confederate lines and engaged in sharpshooting. On June 5th or 6th (records differ) George Carroll was in the rifle pits when he was shot and instantly killed. The “poor boy he never knew what hurt him. A true & brave soldier he died in defense of his Country,” said Flavius Patterson. Like others who died during the siege, George was probably buried behind the Union lines and later reinterred in the Vicksburg National Cemetery. (One of his comrades who died two weeks later was buried in an apple orchard and later moved to the National Cemetery.)

On June 24, 1863, Roseann Carroll applied for a pension as a dependent mother. With R. E. Bishop as her attorney and Mary as one of the witnesses, Roseann said she was sixty years old, had not remarried after her husband’s death and had been wholly or partially dependent on George for her support. George Childs, Captain of Company F, said, “I am acquainted with the mother of deceased and know of my own knowledge that almost his entire wages was given to the said mother for her support.” The bank cashier said he had been handling the allotments being paid to Roseann and two others testified to her need for support. The Adjutant General’s Office in Washington confirmed George’s service and death and said he had been paid only through February 28th.

Roseann’s attorney applied for and received the $75.00 balance of George’s enlistment bounty and $41.00 accrued pay (three months at $13.00 and $2.00 for June). A pension certificate providing for $8.00 monthly payable quarterly through the Des Moines Agency was also sent to Mr. Bishop.

Nothing more was reported until the pension agent in Des Moines wrote to the Commissioner on November 17, 1886, saying Roseann, “who was last paid at $8, to March 4th,1883, has been dropped because of being unclaimed for three years.” By then Roseann would have been about eighty-three years old.





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