Monday, December 14, 2009

The reunion of the Third Iowa Cavalry . . .

. . . held Wednesday and Thursday of last week at Centerville, was a success in every way. The attendance was 131 and the old soldiers enjoyed the event very greatly. This was the 22nd annual reunion of the Third Iowa Cavalry. The 27th was the 50th anniversary of the day on which the regiment was mustered into service at Camp Rankin, on the Bluffs at Keokuk. Since that day 50 years ago the regiment has passed through experiences that can never be duplicated even in their minor portions by any other generation of men. They fought against men of the same country from the south and won; they endured untold hardships, suffered loss of large numbers of comrades, laid down their arms to return to vocations of peace and industry, and today many of their number have their names known from one end of the land to the other as men prominent in the professions, politics and business. And now after 50 years they were able to assemble 131 sturdy, courageous, spirited men, many of whom would even today offer themselves in their country's service if need be.

General John W. Noble, of St. Louis, was present at the reunion. He is over eighty years old but stands erect, is clear of eye and still takes an active interest and part in the affairs of life. Captain Thos. H. Brown, of Chicago, formerly of this county was also in attendance. Those attending from Decatur County were: Captain John D. Brown, J. W. Honnold, E. J. Sankey, Abe Blakesley, of Leon; F. M. Hamilton, of Davis City; J. M. Thompson, of Van Wert.

The colonels of the regiment were Cyrus Bussey, afterward major general; Henry C. Caldwell, later judge of the United States circuit court, and John W. Noble, of St. Louis.

John W. Noble was born at Lancaster, Ohio, October 26, 1831, the birth place of General Sherman. General Sherman's and General Noble's fathers were fast friends and the two sons were like brothers. General Sherman always calling General Noble by his first name.

During the war, General Sherman wished to make General Noble one of his staff of aids but the latter replied that he had been entrusted with the sons of parents who were in the Third Iowa, and there he would remain to care for them.

The things that the Third did in the four years of service cannot be told in one issue of a newspaper, or even in a book.

In 1861 the regiment was mustered into service and re-enlisted again in 1863 and 1864. The Third Iowa regiment lost more men, killed and wounded in battle than any other cavalry in the state of Iowa and any but five or six infantries. Eight hundred men were lost through disability from the ranks. But in 1864 re-enlistment was so strong that when the last battle was fought
on the 16th day of April, 1865, that nearly 1,000 men were mustered out of service at the close of the war.

At Pea Ridge the Third fought the Indians and confederates, at Little Rock and Vicksburg they fought. The regiment was divided during this time but in Mississippi was re-united where some raiding took place. In all there were nearly 3,000 men in the regiment from the commencement to the close of the war including those killed and wounded. At Columbus in '65, the last battle General Noble's army took the battery and entire line.

– Published in the Decatur County Journal, Leon, Iowa, October 5, 1911 and transcribed by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert

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