Jackson County IAGenWeb

Jackson County's Participation

in the Civil War



Companies F, I and K of this regiment were from Jackson County. The regiment was mustered into the service by Capt. Hendershott, at Davenport, October 13, 1862.

To sketch the movements of this regiment would be simply to duplicate the sketch of the Twenty-sixth Infantry, given above. The command was engaged at Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Deer Creek raid, Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Ringgold, with Sherman on his "march to the sea," north through the Carolinas, and mustered out at Louisville June 27, 1865.

The loss in killed of this regiment was small, being only 25, including both officers and men. Disease was more cruel, claiming as his portion 271 by death and 163 discharged for disability. Some of the latter were discharged on account of wounds.

This was the only regiment of the early Iowa cavalry which maintained its individuality throughout the war, and was, upon the whole, the largest cavalry regiment in the West, usually numbering not less than 800 men. Other cavalry regiments were divided up for orderly service, but the officers of the Second, opposed any separation of their men, thus securing for the command a most enviable record and a nation's praise.

Of the officers of the regiment, the following were promoted to the ranks named : First Colonel, Washington L. Elliott, to Brigadier General ; Second Colonel, Edward Hatch, to Major General, now Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General ; Third Colonel, Datus E. Coon, to Brigadier General. Of the regiment, Companies L and M were from Jackson County. The
command was mustered into service at Davenport September 1, 1861. which place they left in December, remaining at Benton Barracks until February, 1862, when the regiment was ordered to Bird's Point, Mo., and followed Jeff Thompson about one thousand miles through that State. The command was present at the taking of New Madrid, in March, and Companies K and L were the first troops to occupy Island No. 10, taking 195 prisoners and immense stores. April 12, the regiment was ordered to Hamburg Landing, Tenn., and
was there engaged in skirmishing, with small loss, until April 28, when a charge was made on Monterey, Tenn. The regiment was in Gen. Pope's Division of the investing army of Corinth, and was engaged in almost daily skirmishes.

On May 9. the regiment performed the most brilliant exploit of its whole career, when, at Farmington. it charged into the face of Bragg's entire army, covering Gen. Payne's retreat, and saving him from what otherwise would have been fell disaster. Four hundred and twelve men were here engaged with a loss of fifty men and one hundred horses in a few minutes. May 28, 1862, the regiment started on a march to the rear of Corinth, riding almost incessantly for three days and nights. At Booneville, Miss., with a loss of about twenty men, the regiment burned two trains of cars, ten thousand stand of arms, about one million rounds of ammunition, besides great quantities of other stores, and this with the enemy in sight in large force.

August 26, 1862, they were engaged with Gen. Faulkner, at Rienzi. September 20, actively at Iuka, and in the battle of Corinth; not only took part, but also engaged in the pursuit as far as Ripley.

In the later fall of this year, the regiment occupied the advance position in Grant's Central Mississippi army, being the first to occupy Lamar, Holly Springs, Lumpkin's Mills, Wyatt, Oxford, Water Valley and Coffeeville. Sharp engagements took place at all these points, the one at Coffeeville on December 5, being quite disastrous. The regiment took part in the pursuit of Van Dorn after his raid on Holly Springs, following him to New Albany, Miss., and returning to Grand Junction, Tenn., for winter quarters. The spring and summer of 1868 were spent in constant reconnaisance. The regiment started on Grierson's raid, but was ordered back, and, in April, was sharply engaged at Birmingham and Elliston. At Jackson, Tenn., July 13, the Second Iowa experienced some severe service. At Grenada, August 13, the regiment, in company with the Third Iowa Cavalry, burned sixty locomotives and about five hundred cars, being the accumulated rolling-stock of
several railroads.

The command was in brisk encounters at Salem, Miss., October 8 ; at Wyatt's October 13; at Moscow, November 4; at La Fayette, Tenn., December 25; and at Collierville, December 27-8, 1863. Smith's raid from Tennessee into Mississippi was shared by the regiment in February, 1864, after which a large part of the volunteers re-enlisted as veterans and were allowed to return to Iowa on veteran furlough in April, 1864.

Returning to Memphis in June, the Second Cavalry joined Sherman's army,
but was left with Thomas when "Old Tecumseh " cut loose at Atlanta. It continued under Thomas' command, taking part in various skirmishes in Tennessee
and Alabama.

At the battle of Nashville, December 15, 1864, the regiment made a brilliant charge, and was the first to place their colors upon the enemy's works in
storming the second fort.

This was the last severe fighting. During the entire service, from the time they entered Tennessee, the regiment could scarcely have been said to have a permanent camp a day's march from the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Along this line, most of its skirmishes took place. The command was in most constant and fatiguing service during 1862-63, and, on an average, used up a supply of horses every six months. The regiment mustered out at Selma, Ala., September 19, 1865. The casualties were not heavy when compared with the time of service and the number of engagements. There were: killed, 66; died of disease, 172; discharged for disability, 167; total, 405.




For the facts given in this sketch we are largely indebted to Capt. W. S. Belden, Company L.
soldiers' festival.

When the Jackson County soldiers had returned at the close of the war they were deservedly commended for their valor in the field and the faithful discharge of every duty, however irksome. The close of the conflict was here, as elsewhere, the cause of general rejoicing, a rejoicing, however, that was not unmixed in many homes with sad
memories and bitter recollections, of those left on Southern battle-fields or hospital cemeteries.

In August, 1865, a grand festival was given to the returned heroes of Jackson County. Of this re-union, we quote as follows, from the report of a newspaper correspondent: "The festival was held in a grove. About six thousand people were present. At 11 o'clock the President called the vast multitude to order, and prayer was offered to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, invoking blessings on our country and its brave defenders. Then followed a short, affecting address to the soldiers, welcoming their return home, delivered by Rev. E. K. Young, Pastor of the M. E. Church at this place, followed by a patriotic reply on behalf of the soldiers by Col. J. this place, followed by a patriotic reply on behalf of the soldiers by Col. J. J. Woods.

"The occasion was taken by Company G, of the Eighth Iowa Cavalry, to present to their Lieutenant, W. F. McCarron, a beautiful sword, on which was inscribed the names of thirty-one battles in which they had been engaged, and also to give to his keeping the remnant of the battle-flag of their regiment. It was a mere handful of rags. The company, like the flag, was also a remnant, and I thought I could see their manly breasts heave with emotion, and their eyes moisten as they looked upon their tattered flag, under which they had fought and bled and seen their comrades fall. And yet they were proud of their record. A dignified presentation speech, couched in generous language, was made by Judge Palmer, to which Lieut, McCarron replied, thanking his company for their confidence and good will.

"When Company I, of the Twenty-fourth, was organized, the ladies of Maquoketa presented it with a. flag, bearing the following inscription: 'Company I, Twenty-fourth Iowa Infantry.' To-day the company returned it to the ladies, but to the inscription they added, 'Port Gibson, Champion Hill, Vicksburg. Jackson, Red River Campaign, Opequan, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek.'

" Of Iowa regiments. Jackson County raised, of infantry. Company i, of the Fifth; Company A, of the Ninth; Company I, of the Twelfth; Companies A and I, of the Twenty-fourth: Company B, of the Twenty-sixth, and Companies F, I and K, of the Thirty-first ; and of cavalry, Companies L and M, of the Second ; Company G, of the Eighth, and one company of the Fifth.

The people feel proud at the mention of any of these, and well they may, as the records of the war, especially of Donelson, Shiloh, Pea Ridge, Farmington and of Vicksburg, will testify.

" The Twelfth was one of the four regiments who had each a flag presented to it by the State of Iowa, for their valor at Donelson ; and at Shiloh, the heroic Twelfth, unwilling to yield the entire field to the strengthened foe, was captured, yet not until they had insured to the indomitable Grant the safety of his command until re-enforcements arrived.

" At Pea Ridge, the gallant Ninth made its mark, and so meritorious were the services that the ladies of Massachusetts presented it with a flag. So proud were they to show it to the rebels, that with Grant, in his attack on Vicksburg, it became pierced and torn in shreds, and they returned it to the givers, who immediately gave them another. At the Sanitary Fair at Dubuque, a banner was voted to an Iowa regiment. The gallant Ninth was the favored one.

"Mr. Andrew W. Drips edited a paper at this place ; at the call " To arms! " he laid down the pen and grasped the sword. He raised a company and became its Captain, which was named Company A, Ninth Iowa. The citizens of thisvicinity gave to Capt. Drips a sword, and their blessing to his company, and sent them to battle. The strife at Pea Ridge demanded the life of the noble Captain. Lieut. Kelsey became Captain. The citizens who mourned the fate of Capt. Drips, were not slow to appreciate services, and they cheered the company by presented a sword to Capt. Kelsey. The devoted captain followed the
example of his noble predecessor, by giving his life to the cause at Vicksburg.

" While the exercises of the day were in progress, 500 feet length of table were spread; farmers' wagons were relieved of their burdens of boxes and baskets, and the city housewives brought forth of their plenty, and the ladies vied with each other in tastefully arranging and decorating the table. A glance at the table and you saw a variety of substantial food, besides innumerable pies and cakes. Some of the cakes were decorated with mottoes, from which we select the following: 'Honor the Fallen Brave,' 'Protection to Soldiers' Families,' ' Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet Forever,' ' Welcome Brave Boys,' ' Welcome Home.'

" The soldiers, with their ladies, now marched to the table and partook of its substance in the same spirit in which it was prepared—a hearty good will. Hot coffee in abundance was served to them. So many were the soldiers that the tables were respread and filled by them, after which the citizens were supplied. Now came a military drill, of both cavalry and infantry, in which they showed us their evolutions in skirmishing and battle.

" The scene closed ; and the farmers—the back-bone of Iowa—wended their way toward their homes. Nothing occurred to mar the festivities, and the day will long be remembered as a happy one."

The reader will find an account of further " Soldiers' Re-unions " under the history of Sabula. Having thus hurriedly sketched the history of Jackson County in the late war, there yet remains another duty for our pen. This is to collect, as far as possible, the names of those brave men who left their homes at their country's call, and to place on imperishable record the enlistments, promotions and casualties of the humblest knight in Jackson County chivalry. This is a duty we gladly perform, not alone for those yet living, but in honor to the memory of heroes whose blood was poured out to fatten Southern battle-fields: whose loss a multitude of widows and orphans have mourned with a bitterness which no pension can ever sweeten or crown of glory drive away. When another generation has passed, we trust an occasional gray-haired veteran, bowed with
the infirmity of years, will point to these pages with the same commendable pride felt by a volunteer of 1812, in this day, while the orphans of the slain and their children will look upon this brief memorial of their fathers as an undying witness that the blood of their loyal ancestry not only pulsated with a patriot's devotion, but poured from its living fountain that the nation might have life.

"All hail to our gallant defenders, all hail!
Our noblest, our bravest, our best;
Proud peers of the world s worshiped heroes ye stand.
By freedoms dear attributes blest.
Ah J the voice of the past to your heart and ours,
It brings on its eloquent breath
The wild tones of victory, softened and blent,
With the low, mystic cadence of death.
But the angel of faith with her magical wand.
Lifts the veil from our grief, and behold !
The invisible arm of a pitying God
Hath gathered them into the fold."

~source:  The History of Jackson County, Iowa, containing A History of the County, its Cities, Towns, &t. Publisher: Western Historical Company, Chicago. 1879