Jefferson County Online
The Soldiers

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa - A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement", Volume 1, Pages 327-337, published by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company of Chicago in 1912 (in 1914 according to some citations).




On April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter was fired on. It was a definitive act of secession and broke the illusive spell of compromise. The awakening was instantaneous.

On April 14th, President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for "the militia of the several states of the Union to the aggregate number of 75,000" to execute the laws. On April 16th, a direct call was made on the State of Iowa "for one regiment of militia for immediate service."

On April 17th, Governor Kirkwood by proclamation called "upon the militia of this state immediately to form in different counties volunteer companies with a view of entering the active military service of the United States," for the purpose of aiding the Federal Government "in enforcing its laws and suppressing rebellion." The regiment required was to "consist of ten companies of at least seventy-eight men each, including one captain and two lieutenants to be elected by each company." At the same time he wrote the several counties, "I am anxious that the response of Iowa shall be prompt and emphatic."

The loyal people of Jefferson County were watchful and alert. Moved by the President's demand for troops, on the evening of April 17th, to the stirring notes of martial music, they assembled at the courthouse and organized a meeting with D. P. Stubbs as president, Dr. S. W. Taylor and Ward Lamson as vice presidents, and W. W. Junkin as secretary. Patriotic speeches by C. W. Slagle, J. G. Kirkpatrick, Robert C. Brown and George Strong intensified their ardor.

The enrollment of those willing to serve as soldiers was begun. The roll was placed in charge of George Strong, C. W. Slagle and R. F. Ratcliff. It stated: "We, the undersigned, able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five hereby tender our services to Governor Kirkwood, and obligate ourselves to be in readiness to march in defense of our country as occasion may require, subject only to such regulation as may hereafter be enacted by the Government for the regulation of volunteers." The first to put his name to it was George Strong. That night, or within the next few days, it was also signed in order by Moses A. McCoid, David B. Wilson, Henry A. Millen, Robert Lock, George Balding, W. T. Killough, J. G. Kirkpatrick, Bill Hampson, George H. Case, William Scott, Daniel W. Brown, G. H. Myers, A. K. Updegraph, C. A. Miller, W. F. Smith, J. M. Hughes, R. M. Rhamey, Daniel Smith, David P. Long, George W. Hill, John Swanson, Isaac Olds, George W. Fetter, John T. McCullough, D. B. Johnson, John Locke, Manford Hall, Thomas Hoffman, John R. McEdlery, Charles J. Reed, N. Howard Ward, David Jones, William H. Cusick, Jacob Fox, J. A. Whitley, W. C. Henderson, Owen Bromley, Samuel B. Woods, William Hill, Brainerd Kerr, James F. Crawford, John J. Payton, R. P. Moore, Jacob Young, Harry Patrick, W. S. Moore, William Leith, H. G. Ross, Matt Hilbert, W. T. Hendricks, McDonald Parshall, Sol. D. B. Welch, William H. Baker, J. W. Workman (Drum), James Ross, David Pierson, Samuel Turner, George Heaton, William W. Maxwell, John T. Russell, A. R. Wilson James M. Dudley, Reuben Coop, John J. McKee, Wesley Summers, Silas Pearson, Samuel H. Simms, J. W. Robinson, Elijah Newby, Benjamin Mikesell, Ostin Sebrin, D. W. Garber, Lester Daley, R. G. Forgrave, Wiley S. Simms, John C. Duncan, Daniel Moore, Stephen D. Gorsuch, Jackson Hefner, Henry T. Harris, William Pattison, U. M. Davis, J. W. Messick, W. Bauder, Frederick F. Metzler, J. L. Thompson, M. Page, A. P. Heaton, William F. Lowery, Mark F. Carter, Timothy W. Austin, Robert Stam, G. W. Hammond, J. S. Longary, L. D. Boone, W. H. Pierson, Marion York, J. H. Forgrave, James Young, R. B. Partridge and La Torry Webster. These were the forerunners of hundreds to follow.

The duty of patriotism was expressed simply. There was no recognition of indifference, no recognition of a halfway point on which any one could find footing. Devotion to country and institutions faced only in one direction. "Resolved, That all true men will stand by the Government in its hour of need, and every man who will not is unworthy of its protection."

A private's pay was $11 per month. Its meagerness was fully realized. With thoughtful concern, Robert C. Brown, Dr. S. W. Taylor, D. Young, R. Gaines and J. H. Allinder were appointed to procure the signatures of persons willing to assist the families of those who should enter the military service of the United States.

The meeting ended with "three rousing cheers for 'the Union, the Constitution and the enforcement of the laws.'"

On April 22d, these volunteers elected Frederick F. Metzler captain, George Strong first lieutenant and Stephen D. Gorsuch second lieutenant. They failed quick as their action was, to secure acceptance as part of the First Iowa Infantry. They were included, however, among the companies that Governor Kirkwood ordered into quarters in the respective counties where raised to be disciplined, drilled and ready to form a second regiment, should there be another requisition.

On May 6th, they enlisted and began training in earnest for the serious work before them. This schooling lasted little more than two weeks. On May 23d they were marshalled in the park and after listening to an address by Rev. Andrew Axline, who was subsequently appointed the first chaplain of this regiment, were all given Testaments, which were distributed by R. S. Hughes and W. H. Jordan for the Jefferson County Bible Society. In each man's copy was inscribed his name. The next morning, in the park, with the Fairfield Guards and the Home Guards also in line, they were presented with a silk flag, a gift from the women of Fairfield. Miss Helen E. Pelletreau spoke briefly for the donors.

"Citizen soldiers, you have enlisted at the call of your country to defend our rights. We honor you for so doing, and rejoice in being able to manifest our approval of your hearty response to that call by presenting you this flag. These are the same stars and strips under which our fathers fought and bled--'The Star Spangled Banner'--which has been to all nations an emblem of our devotion to liberty and freedom. Take the gift, guard it well. Bear it to the very front of battle, and fight valiantly under its folds until victory is yours. Then, and not till then, we charge you to return it to us unstained by dishonor, and you shall be welcomed home with hearts full of gratitude.

"This is a proud day for us and for you. For us, that we can freely give up our husbands, brothers and sons for the sake of our country; for you, that you can sever the ties that bind you to home and friends and go forth 'armed with the panoply of war' to fight for our liberties.

"May the same spirit which actuated our forefathers inspire you with zeal and undaunted courage in the great and glorious cause which you have espoused. Be assured our prayers will follow you through all the privations, toils and dangers you may encounter, and we believe that God who protected and sustained Washington in the hour of his greatest need, will be with you and nerve your arms to strike a death blow to the foes of the 'Flag of our Union.'"

The address was received without applause. The feeling of the moment filled many eyes with tears, but was too solemn for demonstrative expression. The colors were accepted for the company by Lieutenant Strong. Then followed short talks by W. H. H. Hampson, Henry A. Millen, Owen Bromley and Captain Metzler. At the conclusion of these exercises, ranks were broken to permit of personal leavetakings.

After a little while they marched to the depot and amid cheers took their departure. They went by train to Ottumwa and thence to Keokuk, where they arrived that evening. Four days later, May 28th, they were mustered in as Company E of the Second Iowa Infantry.

To provide them with uniforms, the state furnished the materials; James Edmiston, tailor, took their measures and cut the cloth; and their loyal womankind did the sewing. For lack of stripes and buttons, some of the suits could not be finished at once. It was July 4th when those so delayed were delivered at Camp Lyon, near St. Joseph, Missouri, and displaced the motley garb worn from home. Unfortunately, these clothes made by loving hands were "cadet gray" and not long after had to be discarded for others of "regulation blue" supplied by the Government.

The Second Regiment was the first to take the field. On June 13th, obedient to an order from Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, it was embarked at Keokuk on the steamer Jeanie Deans and carried to Hannibal, Missouri, to aid in taking possession of the Hannibal and St. Joseph and North Missouri railroads. Thus it entered upon its years of arduous and hazardous service.

It was yet to be learned that war is ravenous.

On July 11th and 19th, a considerable number of men from the vicinities of Germanville, Pleasant Plain and Abingdon, enlisted at Richland, Keokuk County. On the 24th, at Burlington, they were mustered in as part of Company K of the Seventh Iowa Infantry. On August 6th, this regiment was ordered to St. Louis, where it at once proceeded and received its arms.

At Burlington, on August 17th, Lester Daily, William Hall, William A. McCune, William Pattison, Charles F. Roscoe, Alonzo R. Wilson and Alexander Wykoff, and on September 1st, John Bartholomew and Commodore P. Spicer, joined and were msutered in as members of the First Battery Iowa Light Artillery. The company remained at Burlington until December, when it was transferred to Benton Barracks, near St. Louis, and equipped with six guns and caissons and accessories.

It was probably as early as June that there was raised at Fairfield a troop of mounted men, who hoped to secure admission into the First Iowa Cavalry. In this effort they met with disappointment. That they were not included in the Second Iowa Cavalry may have been due to their location. On August 26th their tender having been accepted, they were ordered into quarters by Governor Kirkwood. Their readiness to make response is shown in the fact that they were hauled in wagons to Keokuk, taking two days for the journey, and were mustered in on the 30th as Company F of the Third Iowa Cavalry. Their officers were Andrew M. Robinson, captain; Benjamin F. Crail, first lieutenant, and Cravin L. Hartman, second lieutenant.

A number of men were attracted to a troop formed at Birmingham, Van Buren County. This was mustered in on September 10th at Keokuk as Company H of the Third Iowa Cavalry.

The regiment was removed on November 6th to Benton Barracks, where for arms it received sabers and revolvers only.

At a public meeting held in Fairfield on September 17th, George Acheson, Fred S. Whiting, James Strong, A. R. Pierce and C. W. Slagle were instructed to prepare a muster roll and superintend the organization of a new company of infantry. The roll was kept at the office of Slagle and Acheson. This purpose appears to have been abandoned in October in order to hasten the enrollment of a company for a cavalry regiment which Col. Asbury B. Porter of Mount Pleasant was raising. This body was quickly made up. On November 2d, its members met at the courthouse and elected Abial R. Pierce, captain; Fred S. Whiting, first lieutenant, and Aaron J. Newby, second lieutenant. The rendezvous was Camp Harlan, Mount Pleasant. There, on the 25th, they were mustered in as Company M of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry.

The regiment passed the winter at Camp Harlan. Toward the close of February, 1862, it was ordered to St. Louis, from which point it proceeded in a few days to Rolla, Missouri.

Through the cold months there was a lull in enlistments. Toward the last of January, 1862, recruits were sought for the Fifteenth and Sixteenth regiments, but there were few responses to the appeals. In February, there was a change form (sic - from) apathy to activity, the result of the victory at Donelson and the glorious part of the Second Iowa Infantry. In March, twenty-one men from about Germanville, Pleasant Plain and Abingdon enlisted, and on the 26th were mustered in at Keokuk as part of Company D of the Seventeenth Iowa Infantry. About this time H. N. Moore enrolled a company at Fairfield, which, with himself as captain, was mustered in at Keokuk on April 11th as Company I of the Seventeenth Iowa Infantry.

Shortly after this the regiment was conveyed to St. Louis. For some unknown cause the adjutant-general of the United States advised its disbandment, an action which was prevented by the energetic zeal of Governor Kirkwood and Adjutant-General Baker. It was then given its arms and equipage and hurried to the front.

There was a growing realization of the magnitude of the struggle. On July 9th five additional regiments were required of Iowa. Governor Kirkwood assigned the raising of these to the several congressional districts. A few sentences in his proclamation present a vivid picture of those trying days: "The preservation of the Union, the perpetuity of our Government, the honor of our state, demand that this requisition should be promptly met. Our harvest is upon us and we have feared a lack of force to secure it. But we must imitate our brave Iowa boys in the field, meet new emergencies with new exertions. Our old men and our boys, unfit for war, if need be, our women, must help to gather harvests while those able to bear arms go forth to aid their brave brethren in the field. The necessity is urgent. Our national existence is at stake."

Patriotic fever rose high. Some who could not give direct bodily service rendered aid to those who did. T. L. Pollard offered of his scanty store "$25 for the first twenty-five soldiers enlisted in July," payable when mustered in. Two other citizens authorized Slagle and Acheson to draw on them at sight for $40 each to encourage recruiting. One of them wrote, "I am not able-bodied, nor am I wealthy, but I wish to sustain the flag which protects us." These instances typify the general anxiety and desire.

Richard Gaines, John M. Woods, Harry Jordan, Joshua Wright, P. N. Woods, M. M. Bleakmore and George W. Phelps were commissioned recruiting officers.

On August 9th, a great mass meeting was held at Fairfield to encourage volunteering. There were speeches by James F. Wilson, Lieut. Jesse F. Warner of the Seventh Iowa Infantry, George Acheson, Rev. James H. Rhea, C. W. Slagle, Rev. S. C. McCune and Rev. John B. Drayer. Determination and enthusiasm were dominant.

This public counsel was immediately effective. In the evening a company was organized at the courthouse. Harry Jordan was elected captain, John M. Woods first lieutenant, and Arthur S. Jordan second lieutenant. At the same time another company was organized at Abingdon with Joshua Wright as captain, Harrison Smith as first lieutenant and William S. Brooks as second lieutenant. The former, with the Godspeeds of hundred gathered to see it off, left on the 14th for Camp Lincoln, Keokuk, going by train to Burlington, thence down the Mississippi by boat. It was mustered in on the 18th as Company B of the Nineteenth Iowa Infantry. The latter was mustered in on the 20th as Company D of the same regiment.

This regiment was fully equipped before leaving the state. It was moved in September to St. Louis, thence to Rolla, and then marched to Springfield, Missouri, from which point it soon engaged in an active campaign.

Under the stimuli of the times, two other companies were formed. One, enrolled at Glasgow on the 13th, chose Robert D. Creamer captain, Edward B. Heaton first lieutenant, and Simpson J. Chester second lieutenant. One, enrolled at Fairfield, though largely recruited in the neighborhoods of Brookville, Batavia and Libertyville, on the 16th, chose John B.Drayer captain, Matthew Clark first lieutenant, and Jacob C. Fry second lieutenant. The first, on the 19th, after a public dinner in a grove near Glasgow, went into quarters at Fairfield, where on the 27th it was joined by the second. On September 1st, they went by way of Burlington to Keokuk, where on the 23d they were mustered in, the former as Company G, the latter as Company H, of the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry.

A number of men from near Pleasant Plain and Germanville enlisted at Brighton under Capt. W. T. Burgess. They also were mustered in on the 23d at Keokuk as part of Company E of the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry.

In anticipation of the draft an examination beginning on September 1st was made of the militia. D. P. Stubbs was commissioner, Dr. P. N. Woods the examining surgeon. It was found there were 2,858 men listed, of whom 534 were in Fairfield, 233 in Des Moines, 285 in Penn, 210 in Polk, 150 in Cedar, 132 in Blackhawk, 227 in Locust Grove, 221 in Buchanan, 196 in Liberty, 218 in Walnut, 177 in Round Prairie and 275 in Lockridge. Out of 1,100 who appeared, 480 showed cause for exemption. There were already 976 volunteers, of whom 217 were from Fairfield Township, 72 from Des Moines, 72 from Penn, 86 from Polk, 43 from Cedar, 36 from Blackhawk, 79 from Locust Grove, 75 from Buchanan, 83 from Liberty, 73 from Walnut, 61 from Round Prairie and 79 from Lockridge. Of the volunteers thirty-six being less than eighteen years of age or more than forty-five years of age were not included in the enrollment. After striking from the rolls both those in the service and those entitled to exemption, there remained 1,478 men subject to military duty, of whom 265 were in Fairfield Township, 106 in Des Moines, 161 in Penn, 101 in Polk, 78 in Cedar, 66 in Blackhawk, 117 in Locust Grove, 124 in Buchanan, 87 in Liberty, 119 in Walnut, 76 in Round Prairie and 138 in Lockridge. Liberty township stood first in honor, lacking but two of having contributed one-half of its able-bodied men to the Union army.

Early in September, William Shadford and John V. Myers sought recruits for "the Governor's Gray Beards," as the Thirty-seventh Iowa Infantry was popularly called. The name was bestowed because the plan was to make up the regiment of men whose years otherwise would prevent their enlistment. They themselves enlisted, as did William Breardy, Charles W. Coleman, Jacob A. Creek, Christian Curfman, Edward Dougherty, Adam Goode, John Jones, Daniel Price and Spencer Totten. Edward Dougherty was sixty-four years old. Five of the others exceeded fifty years of age. John V. Myers was made second lieutenant of Company H. The regiment was assembled at "Camp Strong," Muscatine, where on December 15th it was mustered in. The last of the month it was ordered to St. Louis. On January 5, 1863, it was quartered in Schofield Barracks and assigned to provost duty and to guarding the military prisons.

Late in September, M. M. Bleakmore was authorized to recruit a company for the Forty-third Iowa Infantry. The rendezvous of the regiment was "Camp Curtis," Ottumwa. As there had now developed a radical change of policy and volunteers were encouraged to enter the depleted ranks of troops already in active service, he secured few enlistments. This was a general condition. Before the close of the year, the filling of the regiment was in doubt. The funal result was the abandonment of the organization. Its recruits were then transferred and on various dates between April 27 and July 13, 1863, were mustered in at Davenport as members of the Seventh Iowa Cavalry. This regiment was soon marched to Omaha and distributed among the frontier posts in the Territory of Nebraska.

The capture of Vicksburg and the defeat and retreat of Lee from Gettysburg on July 4, 1863, were strong incentives to volunteer. A company at Eddyville, Wapello County, and a company in Van Buren County included a considerable number of men from Jefferson County. Rezin S. Hilton was elected first lieutenant of the former and James W. Moore first lieutenant of the latter. It was the good fortune of these organizations to be selected for the Eighth Iowa Cavalry. They were ordered in August to "Camp Roberts," Davenport, where on September 30th, they were mustered in respectively as Companies B and C. In October the regiment was taken to Louisville, Kentucky, thence marching to Nashville, Tennessee, where it completed its equipment.

On September 24th, Joseph Ennis advertised "a first rate chance" to avoid a prospective draft by entering the Ninth Iowa Cavalry. Soldiers of nine months previous service were offered a bounty and premiums amounting to $402; new recruits were offered a bounty of $100. Twenty-six men enlisted. James Kerr was made second lieutenant of Company I. The regiment was mustered in at Davenport on September 30th, and a few days after was moved to St. Louis.

In the spring of 1864, it was felt that the end of the war was in sight and that a vigorous campaign would bring it to a speedy and positive termination. On April 21st the governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin held a conference at Washington and proposed to President Lincoln to furnish within twenty days 85,000 volunteers for 100 days' service. The proposal was accepted. These troops were to serve in fortifications and elsewhere to release disciplined and seasoned soldiers for active employment in the field.

Under this agreement, Gov. William M. Stone on April 25th issued a call for ten regiments. On May 9th, a company was organized at Fairfield with William K. Alexander as captain, David R. McCracken as first lieutenant and Lemon J. Allen as second lieutenant. There was some time lost in its completion because many who enrolled were under age and could not be sworn in until the consent of their parents was obtained. On May 17th, it left for Keokuk, where on the 25th it was mustered in as Company I of the Forty-fifth Iowa Infantry. The regiment was conveyed with little delay to Memphis, Tennessee, where it aided in guarding the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

In the four years of need there were others who volunteered where there were special personal inducements to be taken advantage of or where chance provided the opportunity. Conspicuous among these for distinguished services were Dr. Richard Mohr, surgeon of the Tenth Iowa Infantry, and Dr. P. N. Wood, surgeon of the Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry.

In all, out of a population of a little over fifteen thousand in 1860, more than sixteen hundred men of Jefferson County offered themselves as a willing sacrifice for their country. They were above one-tenth of all its people. To appreciate the force of this simple statement, count in any neighborhood, old and young, men, women and children, and for every ten persons take out a strong and vigorous man, neither under eighteen nor over forty-five. Those so taken and those so left will serve for standards to measure the patriotic devotion, not alone of those who took up arms, but of those also who sent them forth. Note the loss to the community and to its families, and there will grow a deeper realization of their heroism and self-denial.

The story of their military life, their campaigns and battles, belongs to the larger story of the war. It must be briefly epitomized.

The Second Iowa Infantry on February 15, 1862, proved its mettle in the attack on Fort Donelson, and for its bravery was placed at the head of the column which took possession of the Confederate works after the surrender. On April 6 and 7, 1862, it fought on the bloody field of Shiloh. On October 3 and 4, 1862, at Corinth, it added new glory to its laurels. In the official report of James B. Weaver, major commanding, Capt. John T. McCullough and Lieuts, D. B. Wilson and M. A. McCord (sic - McCoid) were specifically named and commended. During 1863 it remained in Tennessee, and in December was mustered in at Pulaski at the Second Iowa Veteran Infantry. In May, 1864, Company E elected new officers, namely, George Heaton, captain; Cyrus Bartow, first lieutenant, and George F. Balding, second lieutenant. Atlanta was now the objective point of Sherman's army. As part of his forces, this regiment actively participated in the movement and in the march through Georgia to the sea. Its last engagement occurred on February 26, 1865, at Lynches Creek, South Carolina. On May 24th, it arrived at Washington, where it took part in the Grand Review. On July 12th it was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, and on the 20th was disbanded at Davenport.

The Seventh Iowa Infantry began its list of battles on November 7, 1861, at Belmont, Missouri, and for its conduct there received the commendation of General Grant. In 1862 it fought at Donelson, Shiloh and Corinth. In 1863, in comparative activity, it helped to watch over and hold the Union lines in Tennessee. In 1864 it served under Sherman and engaged in many actions, the culmination of which was the fall of Atlanta. It also marched with him to the sea, and on December 21st entered Savannah. Leaving that city on January 28, 1865, on March 24th, having covered a distance of 480 miles in the frequent and chill rains of winter, through dismal swamps often waist deep in water, building by measurement thirty-nine miles of corduroy road, it arrived at Goldsboro, North Carolina. It was a memorable achievement. After taking part in the Grand Review at Washington, it was mustered out on July 12th at Louisville. It was disbanded at Davenport.

The First Battery Iowa Light Artillery on March 7 and 8, 1862, won enviable praise at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, which was its first engagement. William Hall was killed in this action. After the battle of Arkansas Post, in January, 1863, Major-General McClernand, to show his appreciation of its service, presented the battery with two fine Parrott guns taken from the enemy. Moved next to Sherman's Landing, opposite Vicksburg, it suffered there from a severe outbreak of smallpox. Beginning on May 18th, it fired more than thirteen hundred rounds from each of its guns in the siege of Vicksburg. It fought on November 25th on Lookout Mountain in the immediate presence of General Hooker, and on the 26th at Missionary Ridge. While at Chattanooga it was newly equipped with ten-pounder Parrott guns. It was active in 1864 in the operations against Atlanta. Its last fight took place in December of that year at Nashville, Tennessee, where it remained to perform garrison duty. It was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Davenport.

The Third Cavalry was divided for nearly two years. The Second Battalion, in which were companies F and H, during that period operated as a separate unit. Its first actual fighting occurred in May, 1862, in Monroe County, Missouri. At Kirksville on August 6th it sustained one-third of the total Union loss. In the subsequent months it scouted and skirmished with guerrillas. In the summer of 1863, it aided in the capture of Little Rock, Arkansas. In October, the regiment was reunited at Benton. In the fall of 1864, it was employed in Missouri in the campaign against General Price. Its last expedition was made as part of the forces under Gen. James H. Wilson. On March 21, 1865, it left Chickasaw Landing on the Tennessee River, scouting, foraging, fighting and destroying in its rapid course for 600 miles factories, mills, arsenals, armories, arms, munitions, supplies, railroads and bridges and ending on April 20th at Macon, Georgia. It was then moved to Atlanta, where on August 9th it was mustered out. It was disbanded at Davenport.

The Fourth Iowa Cavalry was stationed for some months in 1862 near Helena, Arkansas. During the investment of Vicksburg, through May and June, 1863, it was in constant movement between the besieging forces and the enemy in their rear. Out of fifty-six days, its effective men were in the saddle fifty-two. In February, 1864, it took part in Sherman's Meridian expedition. In June it was in the disastrous defeat of General Sturgis. It was part of the rear guard and rode for fifty-four consecutive hours without food for man or beast. It was prominent in the repulse and rout of General Price. At Mine Creek, on Otcober (sic) 25th, the prompt decision of Maj. A. R. Pierce on his own responsibility to order a charge brought a decisive victory. By a general order it was authorized to place upon its colors "Big Blue" and "Osage." In three months it traveled a little less than two thousand miles. It returned then to St. Louis. It was next moved to Memphis and to Louisville, from which point it accompanied Gen. James H. Wilson on his famous raid to Macon, Georgia. On August 10th, it was mustered out at Atlanta, and on the 24th disbanded at Davenport.

The Seventeenth Iowa Infantry on September 19, 1862, was placed in an unfortunate position at Iuka, retreated in confusion and was reprimanded somewhat unjustly by General Rosecrans. At Corinth it redeemed its good name, captured the flag of the Fortieth Mississippi Infantry and was commended by the same officer. On May 14, 1863, it helped to capture Jackson and on the 16th at Champion's Hill it received the personal praise of General Grant. At Vicksburg, when Fort Hill was mined and blown up, for three hours it held the breach with muskets alone. Again on November 24th, it displayed its valor on Missionary Ridge. For some time it guarded supply trains and later was stationed at Tilton, Georgia, to watch over the railroad between Dalton and Resaca. Here, in October, 1863, it was surrounded and except for a small detachment was captured and confined in Southern prisons. On July 25, 1865, it was mustered out at Louisville and disbanded at Davenport.

The Nineteenth Iowa Infantry with scarcely any preliminary training, on December 7, 1862, went into action on the bloody field of Prairie Grove. Its colors were saved only by the cool and determined bravery of Lieut. W. S. Brooks. On June 10, 1863, it joined the forces investing Vicksburg. It assisted next in July in the taking of Yazoo City. It was stationed for a time at Port Hudson, Louisiana, where it suffered severely from sickness. This proved to be something of a blessing. On September 29th, when those fit were performing heavy picket duty with the Twenty-sixth Indiana Infantry and two pieces of artillery at Sterling Farm some seven miles from Morganza, Louisiana, they were compelled to surrender. A few succeeded in escaping from their captors. The captured were taken to Tyler, Texas, where they were placed in a stockade without shelter. Among these were Lieut. John M. Woods, Lieut. Thomas A. Robb, Serg. J. E. Roth, Serg. Thomas A. Stolabarger, Serg. James Barnes, C. B. Cambell, J. N. Slimmer and Joseph Hudgell. The greater part of the regiment being on the sick list was not present. This remainder in October was conveyed by sea to the Island of Brazos Santiago, then marched to Brownsville, Texas. It was kept at this point till (sic) the last of July, 1864, when it was returned to New Orleans. Here on August 5th it was rejoined by 180 of its men, lost as prisoners and recovered by exchange, clothed in rags and nearly starved. It was moved in succession to Pensacola, Florado (sic), to Fort Gaines, Alabama, and to East Pascagoula, Mississippi. It was in the operations against Mobile. Its last engagement took place on April 8, 1865, in the capture of Spanish Fort. It was mustered out on July 10th at Mobile and disbanded on August 1st at Davenport.

The Thirtieth Iowa Infantry served in December, 1862, with Sherman in his abortive attempt to take Vicksburg. It then participated in the capture of Arkansas Post. The rest of the winter was passed in digging on the canal by which it was sought to change the course of the Mississippi River. On May 22, 1863, it was in the column which made the vain assault on the impregnable positions of Vicksburg. In a few minutes it lost sixty-four men, killed and wounded. Lieut. S. J. Chester was among the severely wounded. It was with Sherman in the movements which brought about the defeat of General Johnston's army. At Cherokee Station, on October 21st, Capt. Matthew Clark was fatally wounded. On November 24th, it fought above the clouds on Lookout Mountain; on the 25th, it fought at Missionary Ridge; on the 26th, it fought at Ringgold. It was stationed for some months at Woodville, Alabama. In May, 1864, it took part in the engagements about Resaca, and in June in those around Kenesaw Mountain. It continued with Sherman to Atlanta and from Atlanta to the sea. Its last encouter with the enemy was on March 19, 1865, at Bentonville, North Carolina. On May 24th it marched in the Grand Review. It was mustered out on June 5th at Washington. On the way home, a railroad wreck at Sumner Hill, Pennsylvania, killed Serg. Charles C. Bradshaw and severely injured Capt. S. H. Watkins. It was disbanded at Davenport.

The Thirty-seventh Iowa Infantry, after the repulse of Price and Van Dorn, performed guard duty in 1863, from May 1st to July 29th along the line of the Pacific Railroad west of St. Louis. It then took charge of the military prison at Alton, Illinois, until January 17, 1864, when it was transferred to Rock Island to guard the military prison there, the largest in the West. On June 5th, it was ordered to Memphis, where it was employed in guarding the provision train to La Grange, Tennessee, and to Holly Springs, Mississippi. In this service it came in conflict with the enemy and lost several men, killed and wounded. The last of August it was removed to Indianapolis. Five companies were then sent to guard the military prison at Cincinnati. Five companies were retained at "Camp Morton" where there were 9,000 prisoners. Two of these companies were later sent to Gallipolis, Ohio, to guard prisoners there, and three to Columbus, Ohio, to aid in guarding 16,000 prisoners at "Camp Chase." In May, the regiment was reunited at Cincinnati. On the 20th, it left that city for Davenport, where on the 24th it was mustered out and disbanded.

The Seventh Iowa Cavalry, in detachments, operated in the territories of Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, and covered a vast extent of country. It garrisoned detached posts, guarded lines of travel, escorted trains of emigrants, and watched and often fought the Indians. These were trying and dangerous, as well as arduous tasks. On November 23, 1864, the members of Company I whose terms of enlistment had expired were mustered out and the others transferred to Company L. Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H were mustered out on May 17, 1866, at Leavenworth, Kansas, Companies K, L and M were mustered out on June 22d, of the same year, at Sioux City.

The Ninth Iowa Cavalry had no opportunity to take part in any big battles. It scouted over Missouri and Arkansas, chased Quantrell, Rayburn and other guerrillas, guarded railroads and transports, and enforced law and order. Duvall's Bluff, Arkansas, during the greater part of its service, was the center from which it acted. Owing to the presence of many outlaws and desperadoes, and to the disturbed condition of the country in which it was located, it was kept busy for a long time after the close of the war. The several companies were mustered out in 1866, E, F, G, H, K, L, and M on February 3d, A, C and D on February 28th, I on March 15th and B on March 26th, all at Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Forty-fifth Iowa Infantry performed faithfully and well the part for which it was organized. Its employment released as many experienced soldiers and permitted their use to make more effective the blow Sherman was to strike at the crumbling Southern Confederacy. Near the termination of the original period of enlistment, this regiment, when waiting homeward bound on the levee at Memphis for a boat, upon request nobly reenlisted for twenty days and returned to garrison service. It was mustered out on September 16, 1864, at Keokuk.

Not all who enlisted were privileged to return home. Many sleep in unknown graves. Very many lie in National cemeteries, their resting places identified only by numbers. Let it be remembered that they died and their comrades suffered that the Nation might live.

This page was created on 31 December 2015 and is copyrighted. This page may be copied and used for personal purposes but can not be republished nor used for commercial purposes without the author's written permission.

I am the County Coordinator and the Webmaster, the one who is responsible for the IAGenWeb project for Jefferson County, Iowa. Please contact me if you would like to contribute to this database or if you note any problems with these pages.

Return to the 1912 History of Jefferson County Contents Page

Return to the Jefferson County Main Page