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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.



Horace Poole’s ancestors moved to America and settled in Massachusetts in 1632 and that’s where his parents, Fitch and Mary Poole, were born, both in the town of Danvers, Fitch in 1803 and Mary in 1806. Horace was born on December 18, 1836, in what he said was South Danvers (now Peabody) where he graduated from high school. He then attended the historical Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, New Hampshire. After completing his studies and anxious to learn about navigation, Horace traveled to China, returned in 1857, and moved to Iowa in 1858 with Aaron Bayless who founded Dubuque’s Bayless Commercial College that same year. The two men worked together until 1860 when Horace accepted a job as bookkeeper in the commission house of Smith & Cannon. He joined the Governor’s Grays, a local militia unit, and, on May 6, 1861, enlisted in the ninety-day 1st Iowa Infantry. The regiment performed service in Missouri, where, on August 10th, it participated in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Horace was mustered out at St. Louis on August 20, 1861.

As the war escalated into a second year, President Lincoln called for 300,000 more volunteers with Iowa to furnish and equip five regiments. As one of few men in northeastern Iowa with military experience, Horace was given the rank of 1st Lieutenant and appointed Adjutant in the 21st Iowa Infantry on September 2, 1862. On the 9th, the regiment was mustered into service at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin with McGregor banker Sam Merrill as Colonel, Mitchell’s Cornelius Dunlap as Lieutenant Colonel, and Manchester attorney Salue Van Anda as Major. William Hyde was appointed Surgeon, but his was an unpopular appointment.

While the regiment was still in training, “many ladies” wrote to Governor Kirkwood and said Hyde was a Southern sympathizer and they objected to “our husbands and brothers being placed in his care.” On September 11th, Horace was one of many officers who signed a similar letter denouncing the appointment. Hyde, they said, was “personally objectionable and unpopular with the entire Regiment.” When Dr. Hyde resigned and was discharged so he could accept an appointment with the 32nd Missouri Infantry, there was disagreement as to his replacement with some favoring Lucius Benham and others, including Horace Poole, preferring Asa Horr, but a diplomatic governor went outside the regiment and appointed William Orr.

There was an outbreak of measles while the regiment was at Camp Franklin, but those able for duty marched through town to the foot of Jones Street, boarded the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, and left for war on September 16th. From St. Louis they traveled by rail to Rolla where a battalion was formed in the early hours of October 18th. Five days later, from Salem, Horace wrote to the Dubuque Times and described their march: “The morning was cool and all stepped off briskly to the tune of ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me,’ but certainly not in Missouri. At daylight we halted for rest, and to wait for our train, some two miles southeast of Rolla, having marched eight miles. In half an hour the white covers of our heavy laden wagons were visible, and we again started, the boys in high spirits, at the idea of having beaten the 33d Missouri two hours.”

Horace continued his service as Adjutant to Colonel Merrill while the regiment served many months in Missouri before being transported from Ste. Genevieve to Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, in April 1863. They then participated in a successful campaign to capture the Mississippi River town of Vicksburg. That August, Jim Bethard, a private from Clayton County, told his wife that “Adjutant Pool is here putting on regular Houston style.” The regiment next saw service in southwestern Louisiana before being ordered to the Gulf Coast of Texas in November.

They were still there on February 29, 1864, when Horace Poole was promoted to Assistant Adjutant General (elsewhere Aide de Camp) with the rank of Captain. Four days later he was discharged from the 21st Infantry so he could accept his new commission, something that apparently came as a surprise to Colonel Merrill. On April 12, 1864, Merrill wrote to Governor Kirkwood indicating that Horace “my old Adjutant is promoted tho I have no official information of it.” He asked that George Crooke (the regiment’s postwar biographer) be commissioned since Poole “has not been with us not over two months since the formation of the regiment & our records are in a bad condition.”

On September 27, 1864, Horace was in Dubuque where he married Frances Langworthy, daughter of Solon and Julia Langworthy, but he was still in the military. By the time his career ended, he had served on the staffs of Generals Fitz Henry Warren, Nathaniel Banks and George Thomas. Horace was discharged on June 27, 1865.

Returning to Dubuque, he resumed work with Smith & Cannon but, in 1870, organized Poole, Gilliam Co., a company he would head for the next twenty years. Dealing in teas, syrups, groceries, canned goods, fruits, corn starch, cigars and tobacco, the firm was located at 272 Main Street in Dubuque and later enlarged.

The regiment’s first postwar reunion was held in Dubuque for two days starting on September 16, 1872 (ten years after they had left for war), and Horace was one of seventy-four who attended. The regiment’s fifteenth reunion was in 1911 in Central City where Horace was elected Vice President of the regimental association. The next two-day reunion started at the Julien House in Dubuque on September 9, 1912, fifty years to the day from when they were mustered in as a regiment and again Horace attended. At the foot of Jones Street, they boarded a steamer and enjoyed a two-hour ride on the Mississippi. The next day they had an automobile tour of the city and a trip to the site of Camp Franklin where they had received military training so many years earlier. Horace was also active in the Hyde Clark Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and also served as a vestryman at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

After finishing his career at Poole, Gilliam Co, Horace became the Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Iowa in 1898.

The Bureau of Pensions within the Department of the Interior handled claims by Union soldiers for pensions. Laws changed many times to increase the financial benefits, liberalize grounds for pensions, and expand benefits to widows, children under sixteen, and dependent parents. Many returned from the war with severe medical problems and applied almost immediately, but it was April 23, 1904, before Horace requested a pension under the general law of June 27, 1890, and the act of May 9, 1900. At sixty-seven years of age, he said he was totally disabled from performing manual labor “by reason of Rupture and stomach trouble; also by reason of his having passed the age of sixty-five.” On June 4, 1904, a certificate was issued entitling him to an age-based pension of $8.00 monthly payable quarterly through the local Pension Agency. He subsequently applied for and received periodic age-based increases.

Horace was receiving a monthly pension of $30.00 when he died on Wednesday, February 16, 1916. An obituary indicated the funeral “was held Saturday morning at 11 o’clock from the family residence, 1554 Locust street, to St. John’s Episcopal church” with Rev. John Dysart officiating. Horace is buried in Linwood Cemetery as is Frances who died on October 10, 1916.

Horace and Frances had two sons. Clark Langworthy Poole was born July 12, 1866, and Horace Stephens Poole, was born on February 3, 1979. Clark died on April 20, 1950, and, like his parents, is buried in Linwood Cemetery. Horace died on April 24, 1957, but the place of his burial has not been located.


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