Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Capture of Iowa Regiments

The battle at Pittsburg Landing shows conclusively that Beauregard unexpectedly attacked the command of Gen. Prentiss early Sunday morning. The rebel General, through the criminal negligence of Federal officers, caught us napping; and the record of the first day’s fight, relieved as it is by the gallantry of our troops, is not gratifying to read.

Through a palpable want of vigilance in General Grant or in General Prentiss, our forces were surprised at Pittsburg Landing by overwhelming numbers of the enemy, and slaughter and repulse were the consequence. In this surprise, the 8th, 12th and 14th Iowa Regiments were surrounded, and, resistance being hopeless, they were captured almost in a body.

The 8th Regiment was officered by Col. FREDERICK STEELE, Lieut. Col. JAMES L. GEDDES, and Major J. C. FERGUSON. The companies composing this Regiment were from Clinton, Scott, Washington, Benton, Marion, Keokuk, Mahaska, Monroe and Louisa counties.

The 12th Regiment was commanded by Col. JACKSON J. WOOD, Lieutenant Colonel, JOHN P. COULTER, and Major SAMUEL D. BRODTBECK. The companies were respectively from Hardin, Alamakee, Fayette, Linn, Blackhawk, Delaware, Winneshiek, Dubuque and Jackson. Delaware county had two companies in the Regiment.

The 14th Regiment was commanded by Col. W. T. SHAW, Lieut. Col. EDWARD W. LUCAS, and Major L. C. NOBLE. The companies were from Johnson, Jones, Des Moines, Cerro Gordo, Henry, Jasper and Tama. – Three companies of this Regiment were not in the fight. The 12th and 14th were both at the taking of Fort Donelson.

The loss bodily of these three Regiments is a sad blow on our State. We have no idea that they surrendered until they were swept under by an inundation of rebel hordes! If there is any ignominy attached to their capture, let those commanding officers who slept while the enemy in overpowering force was marching on their encampment, bear the full responsibility of the surrender. Those Regiments were there to do their duty; and had the vigilance and sagacity of the Generals had been equal to the courage of the soldiers, there would have been no repulse and no surrender!

– Published in the Daily State Register, Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, April 17, 1862

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