Sunday, January 31, 2010

Second Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry

Following closely upon the first call of President Lincoln, in which the State of Iowa was required to furnish one regiment of Infantry, came the second call requiring the State to furnish two more regiments of Infantry. More than a sufficient number of companies to fill these two regiments were already organized, having enlisted under the first call of the President, and were waiting to be ordered into quarters by the Governor. These companies had all been eager to be assigned to the First Infantry, but only ten companies could be accepted for that regiment, and a laudable strife for admission into the Second and Third at once began among these sons of Iowa for the privilege of entering the service of their country, for which they had so anxiously waited. Under date of May 21, 1861, Governor Kirkwood sent the following reply to the Secretary of War:

Your telegraphic dispatch informing me that two more regiments of volunteers were required of this State, reached me on the 17th inst. I immediately ordered the ten companies selected as the Second Regiment to rendezvous at Keokuk by the 25th inst., there to be mustered into the service of the United States. I have also selected the companies to form the Third Regiment, and I have sent orders to them to rendezvous at the same place by the 3d of June proximo at furthest.

I hope both regiments will be promptly at Keokuk by the time named. The want of telegraphs and railroads in the interior of our State causes delay in the transmission of orders and the movement of troops, or these regiments would be at the place of rendezvous much sooner.

Notwithstanding the difficulties of transportation, the companies selected to compose the Second Regiment had all reached Keokuk before the date indicated in the Governor's order. There they were mustered into the service on the 27th and 28th days of May, 1861. The regiment was fortunate in the selection of its first field officers, who soon justified the good judgment shown by Governor Kirkwood in appointing them, by the skill and ability displayed in preparing the regiment for active service in the short time which elapsed before they were ordered to take the field against the enemy. Col. Samuel R. Curtis, a member of Congress from the First district of Iowa, resigned that office to accept a commission as Colonel of the Second Iowa Infantry. He was a graduate from the Military Academy at West Point, but had many years before resigned from the army to engage in civil engineering. Upon taking command of his regiment, he at once proceeded to instruct the officers and men in the details of their duty as soldiers. So promptly and well was this instruction given, and received, that the Second Regiment was the first to take the field, the First following but one day later, and the Third but a few days thereafter. On the 13th day of June, 1861, Colonel Curtis received a telegram from General Nathaniel Lyon ordering him to at once move the troops under his command into the State of Missouri, with specific instructions to take military control of the lines of the Hannibal and St. Joseph and North Missouri Railroads.

Colonel Curtis states — in his official report to General Lyon — that he received the order at one o'clock a. m. and that at five o'clock a. m. the Second Iowa was embarked on board the steamer Jennie Deans. Landing at Hannibal, Mo., the same day, Colonel Curtis at once proceeded to take military possession of the railroads indicated, using for that purpose the Second Iowa Infantry, the First Iowa Infantry, (which had followed from Keokuk and reached Hannibal on June 14th,) a detachment of the Sixteenth Illinois Infantry numbering 450, and 250 Home Guards which he found stationed at Hannibal upon his arrival there, making in all a force of about 2,700 under his command with which to execute the order of General Lyon, a seemingly impossible task, considering the length of the lines along which this small army was to be distributed; but without hesitation the order was obeyed. As he advanced, small forces of the enemy were encountered and quickly overcome; flags, munitions of war, prisoners and supplies were captured, and loyal and peaceable citizens assured protection. Leaving detachments to guard the bridges, buildings and other railroad property from destruction, he pressed forward, and at the conclusion of his report said, "I arrived at St. Joseph June 15, 1861, and encamped a short distance below the city on the bank of the Missouri River. I had thus in fifty-six hours from the time your dispatch reached me at Keokuk taken military possession of the entire road and established a sufficient guard along the line to protect it, and at the same time scattered and disorganized the rebel forces that were mustering through this portion of Missouri." Colonel Curtis then gives in detail the disposition of his troops at the various points along the line of the railroad. Upon his arrival at St. Joseph, he found a force of 650 Union troops which had been sent there by General Lyon. When the expedition started from Hannibal, Colonel Curtis was not aware of the presence of these troops at the other end of the line. While they did not directly co-operate in his expedition, the fact that they were already in possession of the city when he arrived there was an important factor in the success of this most remarkable military achievement. The promptness with which the order was obeyed alone saved this important line of railroad for the transportation of Union troops and supplies, and prevented a more prolonged resistance by the rebel forces in that portion of the State of Missouri. Colonel Curtis was promptly promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and later was given the rank of Major General. The Second Iowa Infantry thus began its military career under an able leader whose influence and example was an inspiration to the splendid officers who subsequently became its commanders, succeeding each other in vacancies caused by promotion, by death on the battlefield, and by disabling wounds. The regiment rendered important service during the campaign in the summer of 1861 and most of the winter of 1862. The principal points from which it operated were as follows: St. Joseph, Mo.; United States Arsenal, St. Louis, Mo.; Bird's Point, Mo.; Ironton, Mo.; Pilot Knob, Mo.; Jackson, Mo.; Fort Jefferson, Ky.; Benton Barracks, St. Louis; Military Prison, McDowell's College, St. Louis. Leaving the last named station on the 10th day of February, 1862, the regiment was transferred by boat to Fort Donelson, Tenn., where it participated in the siege and capture of that stronghold and opened the way for the passage of the Union troops up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. The regiment was at that time under the command of Col. J. M. Tuttle from whose official report to Col. J. G. Lauman, commanding the Brigade to which the Second was attached, the following extracts are taken:

When we arrived at the top of the hill nearly opposite the right of the enemy's works, in pursuance of an order from you, I deployed companies A and B as skirmishers. They immediately crossed a ravine in front of our line, and skirmished until night, when they were called in. In the meantime the regiment was assigned position on the extreme left of our forces, where we spent a cold and disagreeable night, without tents or blankets. We remained in this position until 2 o'clock P. M. of the next day, when we were ordered to storm the fortifications of the enemy in front by advancing the left wing of the regiment supported a short distance in the rear by the right wing. I took command of the left wing in person and proceeded in line of battle steadily up the hill until we reached the fortifications without firing a gun. On reaching the works, we found the enemy flying before us, except a few who were promptly put to the bayonet. I then gave the order to fire which was responded to with fatal precision until the right wing with Lieutenant Colonel Baker arrived, headed by General Smith, when we formed in line of battle again, under a galling fire, and charged on the encampment across the ravine in front, the enemy still retreating before us. After we had reached the summit of the hill beyond the ravine, we made a stand and occupied it for over an hour. * * * * * * * * *

Soon afterwards I retired from the field owing to an injury received as reported among the casualties of the engagement, leaving Lieutenant Colonel Baker in command until the following morning, when the enemy gave signal for a parley, which was succeeded by the enjoyable intelligence that they had surrendered the fort. We were then ordered by General Smith to take the post of honor, in marching to the fort, where we placed our colors upon the battlements beside the white flag of the enemy, for which generous consideration the General has our hearty thanks.

The compiler of this history has before him the original telegram from Major General H. W. Halleck, addressed to Adjutant General N. B. Baker of Iowa, dated at Department Headquarters, St. Louis, February 19, 1862, which reads as follows:

The Second Iowa Infantry proved themselves the bravest of the brave. They had the honor of leading the column which entered Fort Donelson.

Colonel Tuttle then goes on to mention by name those who especially distinguished themselves by coolness and bravery in the assault upon the fort. Of those in the most responsible positions, he mentions Lieutenant Colonel Baker, Major Chipman and Adjutant Tuttle, and says of them:

They were gallant to perfection. Lieutenant Colonel Baker had a ball pass through his cap and come out near his temple, Major Chipman was among the first to fall severely wounded, while cheering on the men of the left wing, and refused to be carried from the field, but waved his sword and exhorted the men to press forward. Captains Slaymaker and Cloutman fell dead at the head of their companies before they reached the entrenchments. Near them fell Lieutenant Harper. His death was that of a true and brave soldier. Captains Cox, Mills, Moore and Wilkins were at the head of their companies, marked examples of gallantry and efficiency. Lieutenants Scofield, Ensign, Davis, Holmes, Huntington, Weaver, Mastic, Snowden and Godfrey — in fact nearly all of my officers, commissioned and non-commissioned — deported themselves nobly throughout the engagement. Sergeant Major Brawner deserves very honorable mention for his gallant conduct. Surgeons Marsh and Nassau also deserve the highest praise for their skill and untiring devotion to the welfare of the wounded. Dr. Nassau was particularly noticed for his bravery on the field, taking off the wounded during a heavy fire from the enemy. I cannot omit in this report an account of the Color Guard. Color Sergeant Doolittle fell early in the engagement, pierced by four balls, and dangerously wounded. The colors were then taken by Corporal Page of Company B who soon fell, dead. They were again raised by Corporal Churcher of Company I who had his arm broken just as he entered the entrenchments, when they were taken by Corporal Twombly of Company F, who was almost instantly knocked down by a spent ball, but he immediately rose and bore them gallantly to the end of the fight. Not a single man of the Color Guard, but himself, was on his feet at the close of the engagement.

Thus, in its first great battle, so important in its results, the Second Iowa Infantry bore such a conspicuous part as to be accorded the post of honor by being placed in the vanguard of the troops who took possession of the stronghold they had fought so bravely to subdue. The news of the splendid manner in which they had sustained the flag of their country was heard with glad acclaim, mingled with mourning for the gallant dead, throughout the State of Iowa, and served as an inspiration to those who were rallying to the defense of their country, and eagerly waiting for the opportunity to take the places of their fallen comrades.

On the 19th day of March, 1862, the Second Iowa Infantry disembarked at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., and went into camp. On the 6th and 7th days of April, 1862, the regiment participated in the great battle of Shiloh under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Baker, Colonel Tuttlle [sic], having won the rank of Brigadier General at Donelson, being placed in command of a brigade composed of the Second, Seventh, Twelfth and Fourteenth Iowa Infantry. In his official report Tuttle says, "Lieutenant Colonel Baker distinguished himself for bravery and ability on the field." He further states that, "The officers deserving special mention in this report are so numerous that I will confine myself to the field officers alone."

Diligent search of the files in the office of the Adjutant General of Iowa, of the copies of reports published by Adjutant General Baker, and of the War of the Rebellion records published by the War Department, fails to reveal the report of Lieutenant Colonel Baker of the part taken by his regiment at Shiloh. Surviving officers of the regiment state that such report was made, and that it contained special mention of the meritorious conduct of many of the officers and enlisted men, but it seems to have been unaccountably lost. Recourse is therefore again had to the Brigade Commander's report to show how well and bravely the regiment fought at Shiloh:

On the morning of the 6th, my brigade, under the direction of Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, commanding Second Division, formed line on the left of his division. We had been in line but a few moments when the enemy made their appearance and attacked my left wing (Twelfth and Fourteenth Iowa) who gallantly stood their ground, and compelled their assailants to retire in confusion. They again formed under cover of a battery, and renewed the attack upon my whole line, but were repulsed as before. A third and fourth time they dashed upon us, but were each time baffled and completely routed. We held our position about six hours, when it became evident that our forces on each side of us had given way so as to give the enemy an opportunity to turn both flanks. At this critical juncture, General Wallace gave orders for my whole brigade to fall back, which was done in good order. The Second and Seventh retired through a severe fire from both flanks, and reformed, while the Twelfth and Fourteenth, who were delayed by their endeavors to save a battery which had been placed in their rear, were completely surrounded and compelled to surrender.

The two regiments of Tuttle's command — the Second and Seventh Iowa — which had escaped capture, reinforced by fragments of other regiments, constituted an important part of the line of last resistance at Shiloh on the 6th of April, and again the regiment occupied a post of honor. On Monday, the 7th, the Second Iowa was placed under the orders of General Nelson and made a bayonet charge in a most gallant manner, the enemy giving way before them. It will thus be seen that the regiment well sustained at Shiloh the record it had made at Donelson.

After the battle of Shiloh, the regiment took part in all the operations leading up to the investment and siege of Corinth, and in the siege of that place, which was finally evacuated by the enemy on the 30th of May, 1862. The regiment was stationed at Camp Montgomery, near Corinth, Miss., during the remainder of the summer of 1862 — co-operating with the operations of the First Brigade Second Division of the army of the Mississippi — until the 3d day of October, 1862, when it became engaged in that fierce and bloody contest which lasted for two days, and in which its percentage of loss — in proportion to the number engaged — was greater than at Donelson or Shiloh. The compiler of this history considers that the publication of the official report of the part taken by the regiment in the battle of Corinth is requisite, in order that its heroic record may not be abridged, and the report is herewith given:

Headquarters Second Iowa Infantry,
Rienzi, Miss., Oct. 5, 1862.

Col. T. W. Sweeney, Commanding First Brigade, Second Division, Army of the Mississippi.

SIR: In compliance with your order, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Second Iowa Infantry regiment in the engagement which took place at Corinth, Miss., on the 3d and 4th instant:

The regiment went into battle on the morning of the 3d commanded by Col. James Baker, with three field, two staff, and twenty-one line officers, and three hundred and twenty men, making an aggregate of three hundred and forty-six. In the first day's battle near White House, which was most stubbornly contested, the loss of the regiment was very heavy, particularly in officers. In this action three Lieutenants were killed — First Lieutenant John G. Huntington of Company B, First Lieutenant Thomas Snowden of Company I, First Lieutenant Alfred Bing of Company C. Enlisted men — Corporal Wesley H. Henderson. Privates—John W. Dunn, Marion French and James G. Mansell, making a total of seven killed. Wounded — Colonel James Baker (mortally); Second Lieutenant V. P. Twombly, severely. Enlisted me — thirty-one; missing, two; making an aggregate of forty-two killed, wounded and missing in the first day's engagement. In the engagement of the 4th, Second Lieutenant George W. Neal of Company H, Corporals Henry A. Sieberlich, A. Stevenson and Jacob A. Moles; Privates — John M. Renz, John Clough, W. W. K. Harper, W. M. Summers, Charles E. Walker, John W. Downes and Franklin Prouty, were killed. Wounded — Lieutenant Colonel Mills (mortally); Captain N. B. Howard of Company I (slightly); First Lieutenant C. C. Parker of Company F (severely); Second Lieutenant George W. Blake of Company K (dangerously); Second Lieutenant Frank M. Suiter of Company B (severely). Enlisted men — Forty-four; missing, one; captured, one; total killed, wounded and missing in both days' engagement, 108.

In this protracted and desperate engagement, in many respects the most desperate of the war, the officers and men displayed the most laudable gallantry and heroism. Colonel Baker fell mortally wounded on the first day, at the very time his regiment was charging on the retreating enemy with the greatest enthusiasm and fury. He remarked as he was being borne from the field, "Thank God when I fell my regiment was victoriously charging." Lieutenant Colonel Mills was wounded in the second day's engagement, while fighting with the most conspicuous courage and coolness. He was loth to leave the field. Better or truer officers never fought. Exposed to every danger, they were ever conspicuous for their cool, daring courage, and the patriotic ardor of their souls, which inspired every officer and soldier under their command. Colonel Baker expired on the morning of the 7th at 11 o'clock and Lieutenant Colonel Mills on the 12th at 7 o'clock. May their memory ever be cherished by their countrymen. Lieutenants Huntington, Snowden, Bing and Neal fell at their posts fighting like heroes. They died as becomes patriots; fully as much can be said of the enlisted men who fell. All honor to their memory.

Among those who distinguished themselves was Adjutant Geo. L. Godfrey, who was always to be seen and heard charging- along the line upon his horse shouting to the men to be cool and steady. He is one of the most valuable young officers with whom I have ever met. Captains Cowles, McCullough, Mastic, Howard, Ensign and Davis were marked instances of bravery and efficiency upon the field and reflected great credit upon themselves and their commands. Captain Holmes, on account of a wound received in battle of Fort Donelson, was unable to take command of his company during the engagement. Conspicuous for bravery were Lieutenants Parker, Duffield, Marsh, Wilson, Tisdale, Suiter, Hamill, Hall, Blake, Duckworth, Ballinger, Twombly and McCoid. After Lieutenants Parker and Twombly of Company F were wounded, Sergeant James Ferry took charge of the company and rendered most satisfactory service.

Too much credit cannot be bestowed upon our excellent First Assistant Surgeon Elliott Pyle — then in charge of the medical department of the regiment — who was most indefatigable in his attentions to the wounded, nor upon our Quartermaster Sergeant John Lynde, who was ever present upon the field to supply the wants of the men. Sergeant Major Campbell distinguished himself throughout the battle for coolness and bravery.

Color Sergeant Harry Doolittle, while supporting the colors, was again wounded, and Color Corporals Henry A. Seiberlich, G. C. Phillips, G. B. Norris, J. C. Urie and John H. Stewart were all wounded while supporting the old flag.

I join with you, and my countrymen, in the deepest regret for the gallant slain. Their sacrifices make our Constitution still more valuable to the civilized world. While we mourn their loss we can rejoice that they died like true heroes for their beloved country. How precious their memory. How sacred their dust. They died for the cause of Christianity and constitutional liberty. After the fall of Lieutenant Colonel Mills, which took place about 9 o'clock on Saturday, the command devolved upon myself. There were thirty-one prisoners and one stand of colors captured by the regiment.

I have the honor to be, Colonel, your most obedient servant,

Major Commanding.

After the battle of Corinth, the regiment, now decimated in number by its heavy losses in battle, continued in active service in the states of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, during the fall, winter, spring and early summer of 1862 and 1863, and contributed its full share to the success of the operations against the enemy, up to, and culminating in, the fall of Atlanta and the march to the sea, and on to Washington. During this period of its service, it participated in the following engagements:

Little Bear Creek, Alabama, November 28, 1862. Town Creek, Ala., April, 1863. Resaca, Ga., May 14 and 15, 1864. Rome Cross Roads, May 16, 1864. Dallas, Ga., May 27, 28 and 29, 1864. Kenesaw Mountain, Ga., June 10 to 30, 1864 (Siege). Nickajack Creek, Ga., July 4, 1864. In front of Atlanta, July 22, 1864, and siege of Atlanta to August 27, 1864. Advance on Jonesboro, Ga., August 30, 1864. Jonesboro, Ga., August 31, 1864. Eden Station, Ga., December 7, 1864. Little Ogechie, Ga., December 10 to 20, 1864. Savannah, Ga., December 21, 1864. Columbia, S. C, February 15 and 16, 1865. Lynches Creek, S. C, February 26, 1865, and Bentonsville, N. C, March 18 and 21, 1865. This ended the fighting record of this veteran organization. On the 24th day of May, 1865, the regiment reached Washington, D. C, thus completing a triumphant march, which will be forever memorable in the military annals of the world. The regiment participated in that great military pageant — the grand review in Washington — and remained in camp near that city until early in June, 1865. It then proceeded to Louisville, Ky., where it was mustered out of the service July 12, 1865, having served the United States Government well and faithfully for over four years. It then proceeded to Davenport, Iowa, where it disbanded July 20, 1865, and the survivors returned to their homes. The subjoined roster, with the record of service paragraphed opposite each name, together with a summary of casualties, list of those confined in Confederate prisons, and buried in National Cemeteries, makes up a record of bravery, of suffering and fortitude, that will compare favorably with that of any regiment, from any State, in that Grand Army of the Republic, the survivors of which are now venerable with age, and whose numbers are rapidly diminishing with the passing years.

At the date of the completion of this historical sketch — August 20, 1907 — relatively few of the nearly two thousand men who, first and last, marched and fought with this splendid regiment, remain upon earth. When this history and revised roster shall have been published and ready for distribution, a still smaller number of survivors will remain to peruse it, but a great and grateful commonwealth will have discharged its duty in preserving for all time this record of faithful and patriotic service of the men whose brave deeds are herein recorded, to be read and cherished by their children, and children's children, and by all the patriotic sons and daughters of Iowa, to their latest posterity.

Samuel R. Curtis was born in Ohio, February 3, 1807. In 1827, he was appointed to a cadetship at West Point. After graduating, he served as Second Lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry for a year, and then resigned to engage in civil engineering in Ohio. He was Colonel of the Third regiment of Ohio Infantry Volunteers in the Mexican war. At the beginning of the War of the Rebellion, he was living in Keokuk, and was the representative in Congress of the First of the then two Congressional Districts of Iowa.

Upon the organization of the Second Iowa Infantry, he was unanimously elected Colonel of the regiment. He rose to the rank of Major General, and rendered distinguished service as the commander of the Army of the Southwest. He won a decisive victory over the rebel army at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and was afterwards in command of the Departments of Missouri and Arkansas'. He never lost a battle.


Total Enrollment 1433
Killed 75
Wounded 312
Died of wounds 24
Died of disease 121
Discharged for wounds, disease and other causes 361
Captured 15
Buried in National Cemeteries 69
Transferred 19

SOURCE: Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers During the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 1, p. 91-7

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Railroad Accident


The Central Ohio Express train bound west from Bellair this morning, rand off the track near Spencer’s station, instantly killing 8. Corbin, Conductor, and severely injuring several others.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

From Port Royal

NEW YORK, April 22.

Advices per the Marion from Port Royal on the 19th, states that a surveying expedition of 200 of the 8th Michigan landing at Wilmington, were surprised by about 800 rebels who pressed on them with an effective fire, killing and wounding several. – The federals returned fire, and went gallantly into the fight. The rebels after a short stand, retreated in order.

An Adjutant of the 8th Maine was killed with 12 or 13 others, and 25 or 30 wounded. The rebel loss is unknown.

Fort Pulaski is so much impaired as to be wholly unfit for a work of defence.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

First Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry

In the great drama of the War of the Rebellion, Iowa soldiers played a conspicuous part. The first hostile shot was fired in Charleston Harbor on the morning of April 12, 1861. A few days later President Lincoln issued his proclamation calling for 75,000 men for the suppression of the armed rebellion against the government of the United States. In response to this call, the First Regiment of Iowa Volunteers went forth as the vanguard of the mighty host that followed from the State under the subsequent calls of the President.

In this first chapter of the history of the different military organizations which Iowa sent into the field during the progress of that great war, it is deemed proper to copy here that first proclamation of the President, the brief telegrams from the Secretary of War having reference thereto, and the patriotic response of the Governor of Iowa which so promptly followed.

APRIL 15, 1861.

Whereas, The laws of the United States have been, and now are, opposed in several States by combinations too powerful to be suppressed in an ordinary way, I therefore call for the Militia of the several States of the Union to the aggregate number of 75,000, to suppress said combination, and execute the laws. I appeal to all loyal citizens for State aid in this effort to maintain the laws, integrity, national union, perpetuity of popular government, and redress wrongs long enough endured. The first service assigned forces will probably be to re-possess forts, places and property which have been seized from the Union. The utmost care should be taken, consistent with our object, to avoid devastation, destruction and interference with the property of peaceful citizens in any part of the country, and I hereby command persons composing the aforesaid combinations, to disperse within twenty days from date.

I hereby convene both Houses of Congress, for the 4th day of July next, to determine upon measures for the public safety, as its interests may demand.

President of the United States.

By W. H. Seward,
Secretary of State.


Washington, April 16, 1861.

To His Excellency Samuel J. Kirk Wood,
Governor of Iowa:

Calls made on you by tonight's mail for one regiment of militia for immediate service.

Secretary of War.

Washington, April 16, 1861.

To Samuel J. Kirkwood :

It will suffice if your quota of volunteers be at its rendezvous by the twentieth (20th) of May.

Secretary of War.


Whereas, The President of the United States has made a requisition upon the Executive of the State of Iowa for one regiment of Militia, to aid the Federal Government in enforcing its laws and suppressing rebellion;

Now, therefore, I, Samuel J. Kirkwood, Governor of the State of Iowa, do issue this Proclamation, and hereby call upon the Militia of this State immediately to form in the different counties, Volunteer companies with a view of entering the active Military service of the United States, for the purpose aforesaid. The regiment at present required will consist of ten companies of at least 78 men, each including one Captain and two Lieutenants to be elected by each company. Under the present requisition only one regiment can be accepted, and the companies accepted must hold themselves in readiness for duty by the 20th of May next at farthest. If a sufficient number of companies are tendered, their services may be required. If more companies are formed and reported, than can be received under the present call, their services will be required in the event of another requisition upon the State. The Nation is in peril. A fearful attempt is being made to overthrow the Constitution and dissever the Union. The aid of every loyal citizen is invoked to sustain the General Government. For the honor of our State, let the requirement of the President be cheerfully and promptly met.

Iowa City, April 17, 1861.

Long before the issuance of these proclamations of President Lincoln and Governor Kirkwood, the organized militia companies of Iowa had tendered their services to the Governor in anticipation of the impending war, the official correspondence showing that the first of these companies offered its services early in the month of January, 1861, the others following rapidly during that month. It will thus be seen that all was in readiness for the prompt response which was made to the Governor's proclamation.

The ten companies, which were to become the first regiment from Iowa, were ordered into quarters by the Governor, April 24, 1861, and reached the designated rendezvous at Keokuk on different dates from May 1 to May 8, 1861. Here they were mustered into the service of the United States, May 14, 1861.

The facts thus shown — from the official records — prove that the regiment was in rendezvous twelve days before the date indicated in the second telegram from the Secretary of War, and that it was mustered into the service six days prior to that date. The State of Iowa is thus entitled to the credit of having filled its quota in advance of the date stipulated in the proclamation of the President under date of April 15, 1861. May 23d, the regiment received arms and accouterments, and on May 28th — the tents and camp equipage having arrived — went into its first camp. Previous to that date, it had been quartered in buildings.

The short time that intervened before the regiment was engaged in active service was utilized to the utmost. The Field, Staff and Line officers — with a few notable exceptions — were taking their first lessons in the art of war, and in the study of the rules and regulations for the government of the United States Army, of which the regiment was now a part, and found little time for rest or recreation. Company and battalion drills were in progress many hours each day, and far into the night the officers were engaged in the study of the movements, the manual of arms, and the rules of discipline, so necessary to be learned and taught to the men under their command. How well these lessons were learned in so short a time was demonstrated in the brief but severe campaign in which the regiment was soon called to participate under the leadership of that thoroughly trained and gallant officer, Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, of the regular army.

The regiment left Keokuk on the 13th day of June, 1861, and was transported by boat down the Mississippi to Hannibal, Mo., thence by rail to Macon City and Renic, and thence marched across country to Boonville, a distance of fifty-eight miles, in less than two and one-half days, an extraordinary march for these men fresh from their Iowa homes, and not inured to the hardships of a "soldier's life. The regiment joined General Lyon's little army at Boonville, Mo., on the 21st day of June. Here it remained until July 13th and on that day took up the line of march with the other troops composing General Lyon's command. From this date to the close of its term of service, the history of the regiment is identified with that of the little army commanded by General Lyon, on the march, the skirmish line, in camp and bivouac, and in battle.

The day the gallant Lyon gave up his life on the battlefield of Springfield, August 10, 1861, practically ended the active military history of the First Iowa Infantry. A few days later the regiment proceeded to St. Louis where it was mustered out of the service on the 21st day of August, 1861. The subjoined summary of casualties shows a loss of over 17 per cent of its total number at muster in, and is convincing evidence of its arduous service in the field, which lasted less than two months. The loss of the regiment at Wilson's Creek was 13 killed, 141 wounded and 4 missing, and constituted by far the greatest part of its total loss during the campaign.

In order that a correct understanding of the discrepancy between the loss at Wilson's Creek and the subjoined summary of casualties during the campaign may be had, it should be here stated, that, while this regiment was on the skirmish line on the right of General Lyon's command at Dug Spring, August 2, 1861, and again at McCulloch's store, August 3, 1861, and rendered important service on both occasions, its position was such that before it could be brought into action the enemy was in full retreat, and in those affairs no casualties are reported. During the campaign, therefore — according to the official records — the regiment lost twelve men in addition to the loss at Wilson's Creek, making a total, as shown in the summary, of 170.

It can be justly claimed for this regiment that — considering the short length of its service — its record compares most favorably with that of the other regiments which were subsequently organized in Iowa, and mustered into the service for three years, or during the war. The history of the service of each soldier of this regiment — as shown in the paragraph opposite his name in the subjoined roster — reveals the fact that a very large number of the officers and enlisted men of the regiment, who were mustered out of the service, August 21, 1861, re-enlisted as fast as opportunity offered in the Iowa regiments which were subsequently organized, and that many of them received commissions. Some of these officers attained high rank before the close of the war, and all reflected honor upon their State by their heroism in the numerous battles in which they were engaged.

This brief history of the regiment has been compiled in accordance with the provisions of chapter 223, laws of the Thirty-second General Assembly of Iowa, and under that portion of section 2 of the act which makes provision for "brief historical sketches of the organization, service and engagements of all Iowa regiments."

Within the limitation thus imposed, the compiler of this historical sketch considers that the publication of the official report of the commanding officer of the regiment in the battle of Wilson's Creek, and the official orders of the Department Commander, and of the Congress and the President of the United States, commendatory of the conduct of the officers and soldiers engaged in the battle of Springfield, constitute a fitting and appropriate closing of this sketch. These reports and orders are copied from Series 1, Volume 3 of the official records of the War of the Rebellion, published under the direction of the Hon. Elihu Root, Secretary of War.


Sir: I have the honor to submit the following- report of the part taken by the Iowa troops in the late hotly contested battle of Wilson's Creek :

At 6 o'clock P. M., of the 9th inst., the First Regiment of Iowa Volunteers, under command of Lieut. Col. William H. Merritt, Col. J. F. Bates being sick, united with the forces at Springfield under command of General Lyon, and commenced the march to Wilson's Creek, twelve miles distant. Arriving within three miles of the enemy's camp, and in close proximity of their pickets, the order was given to halt.

The troops lay on their arms until 3 o'clock A. M. of the 10th inst., when they advanced upon the enemy's lines. About 5 o'clock A. M. our advanced skirmishers engaged the enemy's pickets and drove them in. The First Missouri and First Kansas Volunteers and a battalion of regular infantry, under command of Captain Plummer, with Totten's Battery, very soon engaged a considerable number of the rebel forces.

Du Bois' Battery took position a short distance east of where the enemy were being engaged, and the Iowa troops were drawn up in line of battle on its left. A brisk fire was commenced and kept up for thirty minutes. The enemy responded promptly with a battery in the ravine, but their shots passed over our heads. Detailed Company D, First Lieutenant Keller commanding, and Company E, First Lieutenant Abercrombie commanding, to act as skirmishers in advance of my line. Ordered to advance over the hill, engage the enemy, and relieve the First Regiment Kansas Volunteers. In advancing to engage the enemy, met the First Kansas retreating in confusion. They broke through our line on the right, separating companies A and F from the balance of the command. While in this confused state received a murderous fire from the enemy's infantry. Gave the command to fall back and reform the line. The din of firearms and the loud talking of the retreating troops drowned my voice, so the command could not be heard on the left. Led the two companies, A and F, over the hill, halted them, and ordered to about face and fire on a squadron of the enemy's cavalry advancing to charge on a section of Totten's Battery. The fire was executed with promptness and effect, and after receiving the discharge from the battery, the enemy retired in double-quick time, leaving a number of dead and wounded on the field.

Ordered companies A and F to hold their position until further orders, and then returned to companies I, H, K, G and B who had been left facing the enemy's line. Found our troops advancing under a galling fire from the enemy's infantry. After repulsing the enemy, they fell back in good order. Ordered Major A. B. Porter to proceed to the rear and take command of the four companies, A, F, D and E, of the Iowa troops there stationed. Held our position in front for five hours, alternately advancing and retiring, as the approach and repulse of the enemy made it necessary to do so. In every charge the enemy made, we repulsed them and drove them into the ravine below.

About 12 o'clock M. the order was given to retire from the field, which was done in good order. As we retired over the hill, we passed a section of Totten's Battery, occupying a commanding point to the right, supported on the right by companies A, F, D and E of the Iowa troops under command of Major Porter, and on the left by one company of regular infantry, under command of Captain Lothrop.

This command sustained our retreat with great coolness and determination under a most terrific discharge from the enemy's infantry. After the wounded were gathered up our column formed in order of march, and the enemy repulsed, the battery and infantry retired in good order.

Thus closed one of the most hotly contested engagements known to the country, commencing at 5 :20 o'clock A. M. and concluding 12 :20 o'clock P. M., in which the enemy brought to the field 14,000 well armed and well disciplined troops and 10,000 irregular troops, and our own force amounted to about 5,000 troops in the early part of the engagement, and considerably less than 4,000 troops for the concluding four hours of it.

It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge valuable aid and assistance from Major A. B. Porter, Adjutant George W. Waldron — who was wounded in the leg — and Sergeant Major Charles Compton, and to express my unbounded admiration of the heroic conduct displayed by both officers and men. No troops, regular or volunteer, ever sustained their country's flag with more determined valor and fortitude. They have crowned themselves with imperishable honor, and must occupy a conspicuous place in the history of their country. A list of the killed, wounded, and missing, will be found attached to this report, together with such notices of individual prowess as were observed on the field.

Before concluding this report, I must bear testimony to the gallant and meritorious conduct of Captain A. L. Mason of Company C, who fell in a charge at the head of his company.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant Colonel Commanding.

Major J. M. Schofield,
Acting Adjutant General.
Loss: Killed, 12; wounded, 138; missing, 4; total, 154.

Major S. D. Sturgis, who, after General Lyon was killed, was the senior officers in command of the Union Army, makes special mention in his report of the zeal and courage displayed by certain officers, including the names of Lieutenant Colonel Merritt, Major Porter and Captain Herron of the First Iowa.


Headquarters, Western Department,
Saint Louis, Mo., Aug. 25, 1861.

General Orders, Number 4.

I. The official reports of the commanding officers of the forces engaged in the battle near Springfield, Mo., having been received, the Major General commanding announces to the troops embraced in his command, with pride and the highest commendation, the extraordinary services to their country and flag rendered by the division of the brave and lamented General Lyon.

For thus nobly battling for the honor of their flag, he now publicly desires to express to the officers and soldiers his cordial thanks, and commends their conduct as an example to their comrades wherever engaged against the enemies of the Union.

Opposed by overwhelming masses of the enemy, in a numerical superiority of 20,000 against 4,300, or nearly five to one, the successes of our troops were nevertheless sufficiently marked to give to their exploits the moral effect of a victory.

II. The general commanding laments, in sympathy with the country, the loss of the indomitable General Nathaniel Lyon. His fame cannot be better eulogized than in these words from the official report of his gal'ant successor, Major Sturgis, United States Cavalry:

"Thus gallantly fell as true a soldier as ever drew a sword; a man whose honesty of purpose was proverbial; a noble patriot, and one who held his life as nothing where his country demanded it of him."

Let all emulate his prowess and undying devotion to his duty.

III. The regiments and corps engaged in this battle will be permitted to have "Springfield" emblazoned on their colors, as a distinguishing memorial of their services to the Nation.

IV. The names of the officers and soldiers mentioned in the official reports as most distinguished for important services and marked gallantry will be communicated to the War Department for the consideration of the Government.

V. This order will be read at the head of every company in this department.
By order of Major General Fremont.

Assistant Adjutant General.


Headquarters Of The Army,
Adjutant General's Office.

Washington, D. C, December 30, 1861.

General, Orders, No. 111.

The following acts of Congress are published for the information of the Army:

Joint resolution expressive of the recognition by Congress of the gallant and patriotic services of the late Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, and the officers and soldiers under his command, at the battle of Springfield, Mo.

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

I. That Congress deems it just and proper to enter upon its records a recognition of the eminent and patriotic services of the late Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon. The country to whose service he devoted his life will guard and preserve his fame as a part of its own glory.

II. That the thanks of Congress are hereby given to the brave officers and soldiers who, under the command of the late General Lyon, sustained the honor of the flag, and achieved victory against overwhelming numbers at the battle of Springfield, in Missouri; and that, in order to commemorate an event so honorable to the country and to themselves, it is ordered that each regiment engaged shall be authorized to bear upon its colors the word "Springfield," embroidered in letters of gold. And the President of the United States is hereby requested to cause these resolutions to be read at the head of every regiment in the Army of the United States.

Approved December 24, 1861.

III. The President of the United States directs that the foregoing joint resolution be read at the head of every regiment in the Army of the United States.

By command of Major General McClellan.

Adjutant General.

Shelby Norman, a fair-haired boy of seventeen, was one of the first to enlist in Iowa. He was a private in Company A in the First Iowa Infantry. As the regiment approached the battlefield of Wilson's Creek, young Norman fell, pierced through the brain. Those near him heard the dull quick thud, a sure sign that the bullet had reached its victim. "The whistling bullet never heard by the one it hit, and which never hit the one who heard it."

Recognizing the historic fact that young Norman was the first Iowa soldier, in the First Iowa Regiment, to give his life for his country, it was determined by the commission having in charge the erection of the Iowa Soldiers' Monument at the State Capital, to place a bronze statue of this heroic soldier on the monument to represent the Infantry arm of the service.

There stands the form and features of this typical young soldier of Iowa, and there it will stand for ages to come, an inspiration to the patriotism of the young men of our State.

To the dead and the living of this splendid regiment — Iowa's first contribution to the Grand Army of the Republic — the compiler of this sketch makes a soldier's salute, before proceeding with his work of recording the history of the long line of Iowa regiments which followed it, and in nearly every one of which one or more representatives of the First Iowa Infantry found opportunity to lengthen the record of his patriotic service to his country.


Total Enrollment 959
Killed 13
Wounded 141
Died of disease 7
Died of wounds 5
Missing in action 4

SOURCE: Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers During the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 1, p. 3-9

From Fort Monroe

FORT MONROE, April 21.

A flag of truce was received to-day.

A Petersburg paper of to-day says that the rebel Senate has refused to concur in the House resolution for adjournment. The same paper also contains a report of a repulse of a Federal force, under Gen. Burnside, at Elizabeth City. It is stated that the Federal Troops, 5,000 strong, attempted to land there, and were repulsed with a loss of 500 killed by a confederate force of 1,000 including a Georgia regiment. The rebel loss in killed is stated at 15, including Captain McComin and Lieut. Wilson, both of a Georgia regiment. A report of the same fight to the same effect was current at Norfolk last night.

There is nothing new from Yorktown except that matters are progressing satisfactorily.

The weather is still bad.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Riot in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, April 21.

A riot occurred at East St. Louis Saturday night, in which three men were injured. In consequence of the high water in the river, the inhabitants stopped up the culvert on the Ohio & M. RR., to prevent the town being submerged. The road master, learning the track would be washed away, proceeded with track hands to remove the obstructions. They were met by a crowd who ordered them off. The matter was referred to the Provost Marshal, who sent over a guard of sixty men to quell the disturbance, and protect the railroad men. They found 75 or 100 men assembled to prevent the removal of the obstructions. The crowd was ordered to go away, but refused. The guards advanced, when several shot[s] were fired at them, but no one was injured. The guard then charged bayonets into the crowd, and three men were injured, one seriously.

Yesterday, Col. Parsons and Mr. Bacon, President of the road, went over to examine into the matter. They decided to allow the obstructions to remain, as their removal involved the destruction of a vast amount of property.

It is doubtful whether the road embankments will prevent the town from being submerged, as the road is nearly overflowed in several places.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 2

Friday, January 29, 2010

From Memphis

ST. LOUIS, April 22.

From a gentleman who left Memphis a few days after the battle of Pittsburg, we learn that the rebels, putting both days of the battle together, still claim a victory. Their claim rests on the supposition that more were killed, wounded and taken prisoners on the Federal side than on their own. Our informant says that Prentiss made a speech to his troops in Memphis, in which he endeavored to modify their complaints in relations to their treatment, food, &c. He told them that they would be soon exchanged, and rallied them generally to keep up good spirits. Prentiss was in excellent temper. He owned up to a defeat on Sunday, but said that the rebels were badly whipped on Monday. The prisoners were being sent to Richmond. Our informant was in Huntsville when Mitchell reached there with his division. The seizure of that place was a complete surprise, and the occupation of the railroad between Decatur and Stevenson, was regarded as the hardest blow the rebels had yet received. The rebels were preparing to make a desperate stand at Corinth, and fresh troops were constantly arriving at Memphis when he left. Business at Memphis was almost entirely stagnated, and the people generally seem to believe that they are on the eve of events which will speedily decide the war.

Rev. D. R. McAnally, editor of the Christian Advocate, has been arrested and placed in military prison and his paper suppressed, for publishing treasonable matter. This arrest causes no surprise, as the course of McAnally’s paper for some time past, has been very obnoxious to the officers of the Government.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 2



SENATE. – The debate on the resolution relative to Brig. Gen. Stone continued at great length, when Mr. McDougal accepted Mr. Wilson’s resolution in place of his own, calling on the President if not incompatible with the public interest, for all the information relative to the arrest and imprisonment of Brig. Gen. Stone, which then passed.

The confiscation bill was then taken up. Executive session adjourned.

HOUSE. – Mr. Diren’s resolution requiring the Attorney General to bring suit against Gen. Fremont, was tabled.

Mr. McPherson presented a resolution in Favor of the establishment of a professorship of German in the West Point Military Academy, on the ground of the value of the study of its practical utility in view of the number of Germans in the army, and in the richness of German literature in military science.

The resolution of Mr. Aldriep, instructing the judiciary committee to report back the bill for the trial and punishment of military officers charged with swindling was passed. Adjourned.


SENATE. – Several petitions from emancipation and a bankrupt law were presented.

Mr. Clark, from the select committee on the case of Stark, of Oregon, made a report, weather adverse or not was not stated.

Mr. Anthony presented a resolution calling on the President for copies of all orders of the commanding Generals, instructions, etc., given to Gen. Sherman, lately commanding the South Carolina department. – Mr. Anthony believed that the credit of taking Ft. Pulaski belonged to Gen. Sherman. The correspondence would show that he had discharged all the duties required of him. If Savannah had not been taken, it was not because he had not acted in accordance with orders.

The bill for the establishment of a department of agriculture was taken up, and the substitute of Mr. Wright for the bill was rejected.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Iowa Colonels and Regiments: Appendix

SAMUEL M. POLLOCK, second colonel, 6th Cavalry, is a native of Ohio: age, thirty-five.

HERMAN H. HEATH, second colonel, 7th Cavalry, is a native of New York: age, forty-two.

HUGH J. CAMPBELL, second colonel, 18th Infantry, is a native of Pennsylvania: age, thirty-three.

JOHN Q. WILDS, second colonel, 24th Infantry, (mortally wounded at Cedar Creek, Virginia) is a native of Pennsylvania: age, forty.

GUSTAVUS A. EBERHART, second colonel, 32d Infantry, is a native of Pennsylvania: age twenty-nine.


STEPHEN H. HENDERSON, 44th Iowa Infantry, is a native of Tennessee: age, thirty-six.

ALVAH H. BEREMAN, 45th Iowa Infantry, is a native of Kentucky: age, thirty-six.

DAVID B. HENDERSON, 46th Iowa Infantry, Is a native of Scotland: age, twenty-six.

JAMES P. SANFORD, 47th Iowa Infantry, is a native of New York: age, thirty-two.

SOURCE: Addison A. Stuart, Iowa Colonels and Regiments, p. 652



The Senate to-day confirmed the nominations of Samuel Vinton & D. R. Goodloe as commissioners to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. Also, F. Pinds, of Mo., 2nd lieut. In the 1st Infantry, for gallantry at Springfield and faithful service to Gen. Lyon; Wm. A. Warren, of Iowa, assist. Quartermaster; P. Allen of Ill., commissary of subsistence; B. F. Smith, of Ill., and Sheridan Wall, Asst. Adj. Gens.; Alfred Russell, U. S. Attorney for Michigan.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Southern News


Private letters, dated April 17th, say the enemy attacked Fort Macon last Saturday, and had been fighting two days. Col. White sent out part of his men on the beach and found 300 Yankees. They killed 15 of our men, and we then retreated to the Fort. Col. White fired canister at the enemy, killing great numbers.

The enemy have built a battery two miles from the Fort and planted mortars and large siege guns. Eleven large ships are outside. The enemy have sent to Newbern for gunboats to operate in the Sound. The enemy are committing every imaginable outrage in Catawexon and Slow counties. Fort Macon has not been taken.

AUGUSTA, April 18.

The Savannah Morning News, says that a skirmish took place at Whitmarsh Island, on Wednesday, between some companies of the 15th Georgia and a Michigan regiment in which the latter were repulsed.

An accident occurred on the Atlantic and West Point RR, at Greene, Tenn., by which about 200 confederate soldiers were killed and six slightly wounded.

The Richmond Enquirer, of Friday, says the rebel court of inquiry, which has been deliberating for some time past upon the advisability of releasing John M. Botts from imprisonment, adjourned Thursday. The result of their labors has not yet transpired.

A refugee from Richmond says there are batteries in four places on James river. None of which could withstand a heavy fire from [illegible] gunboats.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

PITTSBURG, April 22 [1862]

The river is 23 feet by the pier marks and rising, and raining all day.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Thursday, January 28, 2010

From Washington


The recent order of the Treasure Department, forbidding the shipment of coal to foreign and home ports south of the Delaware, has been so far modified as to confine it north of Cape Strome, South America, and west of that longitude.

A message reached the Senate from the President to-day, touching the arrest of ex-Secretary Cameron and the instance of Pierce Butler. The President avows Butler’s arrest to be his act, done under his authority, and avows that it was justified by State necessity.

The Nomination of Col. Tuttle, of the 2d Iowa, as a Brigadier General has been determined upon.

Gen. Rosecrans is in command of a corps. He will soon be heard from.

The following telegraph gives the rebel account of a skirmish in North Carolina, of which we have no news:

GOLDSBORO, April 15.

On Monday last, below Pollockville near Kinston, a skirmish took place between a detachment of the 2d North Carolina cavalry regiment and the enemy’s pickets, Lieut. Col. Robinson who commanded is probably a prisoner. Capt. Turner was hurt by a fall from his horse. Five privates are seriously injured, and five wounded with gun shots.

Special to the World.

Information has been received that Gen. Joe Johnston has about 3,000 rebel troops and Gordonsville, and ready to fall back on North Anna river preparatory to a general retreat to Richmond.

Herald’s Dispatch.

We learn from the Petersburg (Va.) Express that a requisition has been made upon the lave owners of Prince George and Surry counties for one-half the negroes between the ages of 16 and 50 years to repair to Williamsburg, where the rebel General Magruder’s reserves are posted to work on the fortifications, which are designated to protect Yorktown in the rear.

Special to Tribune.

Probably no definite decision has yet been arrived at by the government in the case of the Tangier prisoners now at Boston.

Special to Post.

The House committee on Foreign affairs has agreed to report a bill for the appointment of a commission on national defences to consist of two officers of the army, two of the navy and two civilians of scientific attainments.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Colonel Matthew M. Trumbull


Matthew M. Trumbull is an Englishman, and about thirty-eight years of age. Of the date of his immigration to the United States, as, indeed, of all his early history, I am ignorant.

Colonel Trumbull entered the service in the spring of 1861, as captain of Company I, 3d Iowa Infantry, and served with that regiment with distinction till November, 1862, having in the meantime been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The history of his military services while connected with the above named regiment will be found in the sketch of Colonel Wilson G. Williams.

After resigning his commission in the 3d Iowa, the colonel returned to his home in Clarksville, Iowa, and soon after received an appointment in the adjutant-general's office. He was commissioned colonel of the 9th Iowa Cavalry in the fall of 1863, and in the following Winter accompanied it to the field.

There is little of general interest connected with the history of the 9th Iowa Cavalry. Its field of service has been confined to Arkansas, the head-quarters of the regiment having been maintained a chief portion of the time at Brownsville, midway between Duvall's Bluff and Little Rock. Its most active and laborious service was performed while General Steele was in a state of siege at Little Rock. During this time, it engaged the enemy in frequent skirmishes, but none of them were of much importance.

SOURCE: Addison A. Stuart, Iowa Colonels and Regiments, p. 651

Important from Beauregard

NEW YORK, April 21.

The Herald has the following letter:

“The latest information from the South is of the utmost importance. Beauregard’s army has been terribly demoralized, and according to his own information he has now only 35,000 men. The following telegram has been intercepted by Gen. Mitchell, and is a full confession of the hopelessness of the rebel cause in the West:

“CORINTH, April 9.

“To Gen. SAMUEL COOPER, Richmond:

“All present probabilities are that whenever the enemy moves on this position, he will do so by an overwhelming force of not less than 85,000 men. We can now muster only about 35,000 effectives. Van Dorn may possibly join us in a few days with about 35,000 more. Can we be reinforced from Pemberton’s army? If defeated here we lose the Mississippi Valley, and probably our cause. Whereas, we could even afford to lose, for a while, Charleston and Savannah, for the purpose of defeating Buell’s army, which would not only leave us the valley of the Mississippi, but our independence.”

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

By Telegraph

(Reported expressly for the Gazette.)


Beauregard’s Forces Demoralized.

He admits to the Hopelessness of the Rebel Cause in the West.

The President avows Pierce Butler’s Arrest.

Col. Tuttle to be appointed Brigadier General.


– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

For Pittsburg Landing

Mr. O. S. McNeil will leave for Pittsburg Landing tomorrow morning, and will take any letters that may be entrusted to his care

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Local Matters

NEW cassimeres and vestings just received at Erskine’s. Go and See them.

IF YOU want good ready made clothing call at Erskine’s.

ALL those wishing to get their money’s worth of good and choice goods, go to Whistlers.

THE WEATHER. – The beautiful weather of yesterday was about the first good day for farmers’ work the present season, and we have do doubt they took the biggest advantage of it, to make up for lost time.

JUST RECEIVED – Fort Doneslon, Monitor and Burns, de stiff brims. Soft hats and caps in great variety. Call on Farrand, corner of 2d and Main streets, and examine the assortment.

LITTLE CHILDREN. – Dow & Co. have the prettiest assortment of children’s shoes in Davenport. Mothers of taste should not fail to see them, if they do not purchase. No trouble to show goods.

THE MARKET CASE. – The long-standing contest, in which the city is defendant, relative to the market houses, was yesterday decided by the Supreme Court favorably to the City.

THE New building for Mr. D. Moore’s bakery, on Front street near Perry, is getting along finely. The side walls are to be of stone, the end of brick, and they are about ready to receive the joists for the second floor. The building will be three stories high, and one of the finest on that street.

STATE HAHNEMANN ASSOCIATION. – Notices have been issued in Dubuque, calling a convention to be held in Davenport on the 21st proximo, to for and Iowa Hahnemann Association. The Times says that the call is quite numerously signed and from the enthusiasm manifested and the character of those whose names are appended to it, no doubt a large meeting will obtain. The inaugural address will be delivered by Dr. E. A. Guilbert of Dubuque.

IF Davenport and Rock Island will put their shoulders to the wheel, and help to extend the Peoria railroad to some point on the Burlington and Chicago road, it will be of more essential service to both cites than anything they have done for the past five years. It can be done easily and cheaply, if the business men will work together and make the effort. Then Davenport and Rock Island could get freights either way at low figures. What do you say, Mr. GAZETTE? – R. I. Argus.

We are in favor of anything and everything that is right and proper which has a tendency to advance the interests of our citizens. Another outlet to Chicago would certainly be very desirable, and competition would no doubt reduce the price of freights, which would be to the direct advantage of our citizens. By all means put through the other route, neighbor, and if we can be of any assistance we will render it with pleasure.

DIAPHANOTYPES. – This is the name applied to the splendid colored photographs now being taken in this city at Morse’s Gallery by Mr. W. A. Watt. We examined some specimens yesterday and pronounce them altogether superior to anything of the kind we ever have seen. For beauty and correctness they cannot be excelled, while in the rich gilt, oval frames in which he places them they make a splendid parlor ornament. Mr. Watt will remain with us no longer than this week, unless he finds it impossible to finish the orders he has had.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Relief Commission

Instructions have been sent to the surgical committee at Savannah in answer to a dispatch from them, to remain at that point in case there is a probability of a forward movement of our troops and a consequent further need of their services. Dr. Maxwell telegraphs that there are one hundred Iowa wounded at Savannah, all doing well.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Colonel Joseph B. Dorr


The late Colonel Joseph B. Dorr was a native of Erie county, New York, where he was born the 6th day of August, 1825. He was educated at the common schools of Erie county, where he continued to reside till the year 1847. In the fall of that year he came West, and settled in Jackson county, Iowa, and, in the year following, became the editor and proprietor of the "Jackson County Democrat." That paper he continued to edit and publish till the year 1849, when he established the "Western Democrat and Common School Journal," the first educational journal published in the State of Iowa.

After a residence of nearly five years in Jackson county, Mr. Dorr removed to the city of Dubuque, where he soon after became an associate editor of the "Dubuque Herald." In 1855, he became sole proprietor of the "Herald," which he continued to publish till May, 1861. In justice to the colonel I should state that, his editorial connection with that paper ceased at the close of the Presidential Campaign of 1860. Though always a member of the Democratic party, he was never of the peace persuasion. From the beginning of our present troubles, he was an earnest war man.

In the summer of 1861, Colonel Dorr assisted in raising the 12th Iowa Infantry, and on its organization, was made quartermaster of that regiment. To an honest man, the position of regimental quarter-master is the least desirable of all. Its duties are difficult and arduous, and such as to render the officer extremely unpopular. With the common soldiers, to be a quarter-master is almost synonymous with being a rascal. I believe that Quarter-Master Dorr discharged the duties of his office honestly and faithfully. He was certainly popular with his regiment. At Shiloh he distinguished himself. Voluntarily waiving all claims to personal security, which are usually considered as attaching to the office of quarter-master, he acted as aide to Colonel Woods on the field, and was with his regiment taken prisoner. His services were appreciated by Colonel Woods, for in his official report he says:

"Quarter-Master Dorr, though his position did not require him to go into action, volunteered to do so, and, throughout the day, behaved in a brave and gallant manner, daringly if not recklessly exposing his person to the enemy. He made himself very useful in carrying messages, and in spying out the positions and movements of the enemy, and firing on them as occasion offered."

Colonel Dorr was commissioned colonel of the 8th Iowa Cavalry the 14th of April, 1863; but was not mustered to that rank till the 30th of the following September. He served in the field with his regiment, being a considerable portion of the time in command of a brigade, till the spring of 1865. He died of disease at Macon, Georgia, on the 8th of May, 1865. He was a most excellent citizen, and a splendid soldier.

The 8th Iowa Cavalry was rendezvoused and organized at Camp Hendershott, Davenport, Iowa; was mustered into the United States service on the 30th of September, 1863; and a few days later was ordered to report to General Rosecrans, at Chattanooga. The regiment left Iowa on the 17th of October for Louisville, where it arrived on the 21st instant.

On the 17th of November it had reached Nashville; but Thomas had in the meantime succeeded Rosecrans, and the regiment was ordered to report to General A. C. Gillem, who stationed it as follows: — The 1st Battalion and regimental head-quarters were at Waverly; the 3d Battalion forty-nine miles west of Nashville, and the 2d Battalion some thirty miles west of Nashville. The different battalions served at these stations until the spring of 1864, doing patrol- and guard-duty. During this time, no opportunity for distinction offered; but, to show that the duties of the regiment were arduous, it need only be stated that the portion of Tennessee, where it served was intensely disloyal, and infested with guerrillas.

"One expedition was made during December, 1863, which deserves notice as an opening incident in the history of a new regiment. On the 20th, Lieutenant Wilbur F. McCanon, Company G, with forty men, crossed Duck River during a violent storm of wind and rain, and under most disadvantageous circumstances, the stream being swollen out of its banks and running at a furious rate. The crossing was not effected till after dark; but, without halting, he pushed out over the low lands, already running with torrents from the overflowing river, and, traversing a thickly-wooded country a distance of fourteen miles, reached the rendezvous of a portion of Hawkins' men, and captured Captain Nance, one lieutenant, and twelve men with their horses and arms. I had expected that Colonel Hawkins and his staff with twenty-five or thirty of his best men would be found there, but he had been too careful of his life and liberty to trust himself within twenty miles of the post for quarters. The party returned across the river by day-light the next morning. Lieutenant McCanon is entitled to much credit for his perseverance under difficulties."

In February, 1864, the rebel Roddy made his appearance in Southern Tennessee, with a force estimated at four thousand men, with two full batteries. He came as far north as Pulaski and attacked that place, but was repulsed. Word was sent by General Rosseau, commanding at Nashville, to Colonel Dorr at Waverly, of the fact, with instructions to scout the country south, and develop the intentions of the enemy. Captain Burns with his company was, accordingly, dispatched to Centreville, nearly forty miles distant; but on arriving there the captain learned that Roddy had retired across the Tennessee. His expedition however was not fruitless; for on the return ho got word of a rebel recruiting party on its way to Western Kentucky, and made pursuit. The chief of the party, which was overtaken and captured, proved to be Lieutenant-Colonel Brewer, of Forest's command. The colonel made a show of fight, and would not surrender till quite severely wounded. With him, were captured important dispatches.

Captains Evans, Root, Cummings, and Shurtz, of the 8th Iowa Cavalry, are especially mentioned for their success in hunting down scouting parties of the enemy while stationed in the vicinity of the Nashville and North Western Railroad. The following is a summary of the labors of the regiment, before leaving for Chattanooga to join in the Atlanta Campaign.

"The whole number of prisoners taken by the regiment, up to the 12th of March, 1864, was between four and five hundred. Over one thousand deserters from the rebel service came in and took the oath of allegiance at the different posts of the regiment, and more than seven thousand dollars in bonds were taken from disloyal persons, to give no aid nor comfort to the rebellion, and to assist in putting it down."

After refitting at Nashville, the 8th Iowa Cavalry proceeded to Chattanooga, where it arrived on the 10th of April. It was ordered to report immediately at Cleveland, where it was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, commanded by General E. M. McCook. With this command, it led the advance on Atlanta, and made its brilliant record. Colonel Dorr commanded the brigade, and Lieutenant-Colonel Earner, for a time, commanded the regiment. The brigade was composed of the 1st Tennessee, 2d Michigan, and 8th Iowa Cavalry regiments. To give a full account of the operations of the 8th Iowa, from the 3d day of May, 1864, the time when, with its division, it first moved against the enemy near Dalton, till the march on Jonesboro late in the following August, which necessitated the evacuation of Atlanta, is impossible. I will quote briefly from the history of the regiment relating to the early part of the campaign, to show the nature of its services.

"On the 3d of May, the regiment moved with the division on Red Clay, by the Dalton road. On the 4th, the 8th was posted so as to cover the road to the east, supported by and supporting the 2d Michigan, on the Dalton road. On the 5th, sent out a reconnoitering party from the 8th, under command of Major Price, and found the enemy about four miles off on the Dalton road. On the 6th, sent detachments from the 8th and other regiments to scour the roads to our left. On the 7th, the brigade, the 8th Iowa Cavalry in advance, moved down the Dalton road, and, turning to the right, drove the enemy out of Varnel's Station, which we occupied. Skirmishing continued all day with a considerable force, which made its appearance on the high land to the left of the railroad. About four P. M., received orders to move so as to cover cross-roads, two miles west of the station, and had just commenced the movement, when the enemy opened upon us with shell, wounding a few men, and killing a few horses. On the 9th of May, moved to a point on the railroad three miles south of Varnel's Station, the 2d Brigade being upon our left. The 8th took post across the railroad, the left of the regiment resting on the ridge east of the railroad, one battalion being held in reserve. The 2d Michigan was on the left of the 8th, and the 1st Tennessee on the right. In this manner, about ten A. M., the brigade advanced on the enemy posted on the ridges, and drove him back some three miles. The 8th having the advance on the railroad encountered more opposition, but gallantly pushed the enemy before them at all points, including his temporary works on the ridge east of the railroad, which were captured by Company E. Corporals Pease and Sharp particularly distinguished themselves, and received promotion for it."

An instance occurred at Varnel's Station, which illustrates the courage and gallantry of Colonel Dorr. The enemy were posted in the edge of timber, and along a ridge which could only be reached by passing up through a steep, open field, covered by the musketry and artillery of the enemy. The strength of the enemy was unknown, as was also the fact that they had artillery. Colonel Dorr, who was in command of his brigade, and who wished to develope the strength of the enemy, selected a company from his regiment (I think company E) and, placing himself at its head, charged up the ascent nearly to the enemy's works. He was of course met by a withering fire and compelled to retire precipitately. He gained his former position, with the loss of only one man wounded; but, had not the fire of the enemy been as high as it was, hardly a man of the party could have escaped.

On the 13th of May, the 8th Iowa Cavalry, with its division, marched against the enemy at Ray's Gap, six miles west of Tunnel Hill; but before the command came up the enemy fled, abandoning their strong works. The 8th arrived on the rocky hights only in time to see Johnson [sic] fleeing from Dalton, and Sherman sweeping through the place in pursuit.

The 8th Iowa led the advance over the Conasauga River, near Resaca, and also over the Coosawattie, where Colonel Crittenden feared to venture with a whole cavalry brigade. On the 19th instant, near Cassville, the regiment, with its division, run [sic] on the flank of the whole rebel army. General Stoneman coming up with his cavalry command soon after, an attack was planned and made, which resulted in forcing the enemy back near the town. Majors Price and Root, Captain Hoxie and Lieutenant McCanon are specially mentioned for gallantry in this affair. On the 24th instant, McCook came on Jackson's division of rebel cavalry at Burnt Hickory, and, during that afternoon, Captain Walden of the 8th distinguished himself by charging and routing a portion of the enemy from a strong position. At Burnt Church, Lieutenant Anderson of the 8th distinguished himself.

On the 5th of July, General McCook shifted his division from the right to the left of Sherman's Army, and, pushing on to the Chattahoochie, continued to hold different fords till the 17th instant. The next day a portion of the 8th Iowa crossed the river: it was the first cavalry on the Atlanta side of the Chattahoochie. But, where the 8th Iowa Cavalry most distinguished itself during the Atlanta Campaign, was on the disastrous raid to cut the Atlanta and Macon Railroad near Lovejoy's Station, Georgia. The object of the raid was successfully accomplished, but at a great sacrifice.

General McCook left his camp below Vinings' Station on the Chattahoochie, about noon of the 26th of July, for the rear of Atlanta. Moving down the west side of the river all that afternoon and the following night, he crossed to the east side by the Riverton Ferry, and marched south-east for Lovejoy's Station. On the route, he passed through Palmetto, on the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, and Fayetteville, and struck the Atlanta and Macon Railroad, about noon of the 29th instant. He had met opposition at only one place on the march. At Palmetto, six hundred of the enemy confronted him; but they were instantly driven off, and the depot buildings burned. Near Fayetteville, a large rebel train was captured, with several prisoners. Instantly after reaching the Macon road, the work of destruction begun. In two hour's time, nearly two miles of the road were torn up and burned; the telegraph wire was cut down; the water-tank and woodshed were burned, and also a number of platform and box cars, standing on the track. General McCook started on the return, about two o'clock in the afternoon; but the history of this portion of the expedition I shall give in the language of Colonel Dorr.

"The 1st Brigade was in the rear, in the retrograde movement. About one mile west of Lovejoy's Station, Jackson's Division of rebel cavalry were found on our road, and between us and the 2d Brigade. Almost at the same moment, I received orders from Colonel Croxton, commanding the brigade, to move forward and attack the enemy. The regiment moved up at a trot, and soon came up with the brigade commander, who ordered me to charge the enemy. I advanced at a fast trot until within striking distance, when I ordered the charge, and the regiment, right in front in column, dashed forward gallantly on the enemy. The rebels were in column in the road, and in line on the right and left of the road. Their front line gave back rapidly under this headlong charge; but those in the rear and on the left of the road poured in a most deadly fire, before which the head of the column went down like grass before the scythe. That portion of the enemy's force on the left of the road had been mostly concealed from me by the nature of the ground. I saw, just as the head of the column struck the enemy, that this portion of their force must be routed, or the column in the road would be exposed to a flank as well as a front fire. Instantly, I ordered the companies in rear of the 1st Battalion into the field on the left of the road, for the purpose of charging that portion of the enemy's line; but at this critical moment I discovered that they had not come up, having been ordered by Colonel Croxton, as they were following the 1st Battalion, to turn off the road and form in a field to the left. I had but two hundred and ninety-two men with me on the raid, and, by this order, I was, without notice, left with only about one hundred men to charge an entire brigade, and that the best brigade in the rebel service, being composed of the 3d, 6th, and 9th Texas. Indeed, it has never been certainly ascertained that Jackson's whole division was not in the field: a battle-flag, believed to be his, was seen on the left of the road, and nearly reached by my men. *"

In the fighting at this point, during which Colonel Dorr was compelled to withdraw, the 8th lost, among the killed, Lieutenant James Horton, acting adjutant, and Lieutenant J. H. Cabb. "Both were as gallant young officers as ever drew a sabre." The regiment then withdrew in the direction of Newnan.

"During the night following, we continued the march through swamps and over most difficult roads, portions of the regiment, under command of Major Isett and Root, operating on the flanks and rear. About noon of the 30th, the head of the column entered Newnan, when it unexpectedly came upon Roddy's dismounted cavalry On their way to Atlanta. This force, in addition to Wheeler's which came up soon after, gave the enemy fully eight thousand men, and enabled them to force back the Federal column, and occupy the road in front. The 2d Brigade was in the front, followed by the 1st, Colonel Harrison's Brigade being in the rear. Both the 2d Brigade and Harrison's were slightly engaged. The 8th was ordered to dismount in the road, where the command was halted, and ordered to throw up barricades, which was done. We remained in this position for sometime without hearing any thing of the enemy. While absent a few hundred yards from the regiment on account of a wound received at Lovejoy's Station on the 29th, I received orders to move forward, and requested Captain Sutherland, adjutant-general, who brought me the order, to give to Major Root, who was with the regiment. In a few moments I came up and found the regiment had made a charge, one portion under Major Root, and the other under Major Isett. The enemy gave way in confusion, and Major Isett captured a large number of horses of Ross' Brigade. General Hume, commanding a brigade, was captured by Lieutenant George M. Detwiler, but was re-captured by the enemy, together with the gallant officer by whom he had been taken.

"The 8th had cleared the way. Captain Walden reported this to me just as I came up, and it was also reported to the brigade commander; and had the whole division then moved forward, we should have been able to hold the road. But the enemy so largely outnumbered that portion of the expeditionary forces engaged that they soon rallied and again occupied the road. * * * * * It was five o'clock when General McCook determined to abandon his artillery, ambulances and wounded. The artillery-carriages were cut down, and the pieces spiked and heavily loaded with percussion or shell.

"About this time, Colonel Croxton, commanding the brigade, was reported missing, when I received orders to take command of the brigade. Major Root having been missing since the first charge, I directed Major Isett to take command of the regiment. But now I soon learned from Captain Sutherland that the other regiments of the brigade could not be found. Of the 8th Iowa, there was not far from one hundred men, which was, indeed, all that was left of the 1st Brigade; and of these several were wounded, and many of them without arms, having lost them in the fight. After abandoning the artillery, the column moved to the left and crossed some fields, intending to take a by-path through the woods, which entered the La Grange road some little distance from the battle-field. Just as the head of the column was entering the forest, General McCook rode back to me and asked if I could form the 8th on the brow of the hill that we had just passed and check the enemy. I replied, 'I can.' He then ordered me to do so, saying: 'This retreat must be protected.' I at once directed Major Isett to form the regiment on the ground indicated, which was in plain sight of the enemy, who were then seen advancing. In this position we were obliged to remain, seeing the enemy move toward our flank, until the fragments of regiments, the stragglers and skulkers, who filled the road over which the column had moved, got out of the way. Every minute's delay I knew lessened our chances of escape; but there was no help for it, and the regiment, with a few exceptions, did their duty gallantly, and calmly awaited orders. General McCook with the main column was heard sharply engaged, as he successfully cut his way out."

The rest is soon told. Seeing that the enemy did not intend to attack him in the position he then held, but that their object was to cut him off and capture him, Colonel Dorr mounted his command and continued the retreat. He first endeavored to escape through timber to the left, but, finding that impracticable, turned and hurried on after the retreating column. The road led through heavy timber, and he had scarcely entered it when he met the 4th Tennessee, returning at full run, with the alarming story that they were cut off. It was impossible to pass these frightened men in the narrow road, and the colonel turned back to let them through, after which, he dashed down the road, determined to cut his way out; but in the meantime a whole rebel brigade had gained his immediate front, making escape impossible. Some few of the regiment, striking out by themselves, finally reached the Federal lines. All others were made prisoners.

In speaking of the conduct of his regiment, Colonel Dorr said: "In the engagement, which was of the severest character, the men and officers of the 8th behaved with a gallantry and steadiness, which drew from General McCook a public compliment on the battlefield. As on the day before, there were but few exceptions to this, .while there were many instances of great gallantry displayed." And then follow the names of Major Isett, Captain Morhiser, Captain, now Major Shurtz, Captains Moore and Doane, Lieutenants Moreland, McCanon, Loomis, Belfield, Bennett, Pritchard, Anderson, Morrow, Ogle, Detwiler, and Haight. He also adds a long list of non-commissioned officers and privates. Lieutenant John B. Loomis and Sergeant William Mitchell were among the killed; and Captain, now Major Shurtz, Lieutenant J. T. Haight and Sergeants William Pulliam, (who afterward died) and T. M. Thomas were among the wounded.

Colonel Dorr was retained a prisoner of war till the following Fall, and was then exchanged. He re-joined his regiment the 7th of November, 1864, while it was stationed at Florence, Alabama, and a few days before General Hood crossed the Tennessee, and marched on Nashville. He commanded his regiment in the engagements round Nashville, and in the pursuit of the flying enemy; and, finally joined General Wilson in his brilliant raid through Alabama and Georgia. That was his last march; for, as already stated, he died while in camp with his regiment, near Macon.

The only time I ever saw Colonel Dorr was in the summer of 1863, when he was traveling through the State on business relative to his regiment, then being recruited. He was, at the time, in company with an old Democratic friend, who, like himself, was an earnest war man. In the course of conversation his friend suggested— " Why don't you go and talk with Mr ?" (also a former party friend, but then, antibelligerent.) "I'll tell you," he replied, " there is no use in talking to him, till you whip out his friends."

Colonel Dorr was a man of about five feet eleven inches in hight, and had, when I saw him, a stocky and vigorous frame. The expression of his face, which was deeply bronzed by exposure, was frank and manly. I judged him to be a man of great energy, and of much practical ability. As a citizen, he was held in the highest esteem; and his death was deeply mourned in Dubuque. His "kindness of heart," says the "Times" " hardly knew bounds; and appeals from needy ones were never disregarded by him. Those who were most intimate with him, and understood his motives, loved and admired him most. The feeling among the -Union men in this city over the news of his death is that of sincere grief. He leaves a wife and several children, for whom there is felt a deep sympathy."

I have already said he was an excellent soldier. He was brave to rashness, and his love for his men was unbounded. The following is from a communication, sent by him to the Adjutant-General of Iowa:

"I take the greater pleasure in incorporating their names in this report, because the enlisted soldier, whose gallantry wins promotion for his commanding officer, rarely reaps any other reward than the consciousness of having done his duty. He bleeds and dies for his country; he wins her battles, and crowns her standard with glory. At last, he occupies six feet by two of his native soil, or that of a foreign land, and leaves no void behind, except in the hearts of those who called him father, son or brother."

SOURCE: Addison A. Stuart, Iowa Colonels and Regiments, p.639-50

The 15th Regiment.

While the Keokuk Gate City and its correspondents are pitching into the St. Louis secession sheet, published under the misnomer of Republican, for stigmatizing the 15th Iowa regiment as cowards, are they aware that the Fort Madison Plaindealer, published in their own county, is republishing as fact the same batch of lies? Our contemporary had better look nearer home, and crush the treason which crops out of his own county.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Prisoners of War Going North

The steamer Evansville, from Cairo, arrived at Rock Island Yesterday afternoon, having on board 360 prisoners of war captured at Island No. 10, and a guard of twenty men, under Capt. O. C. Jenson. Of this number, 225 were sick and under the care of Dr. A. G. Quinlin, Surgeon of La Motte hospital, Cairo, assisted by a Confederate Surgeon, Dr. W. A. Martin, of Randolph, Tenn. The boat being too small for such a number of men, is of course uncomfortably crowded. The sick fill the state-rooms and are crowded along the cabin floor on each side as closely as their beds can be laid down. The are also stowed away on the deck, and even in the hold a number of the sufferers are packed together. Of course, such huddling together, with the attendant evils common to all hospitals, make the condition of the men truly heart-sickening to behold. Of the sick, ten have died since leaving Cairo, and one, a young man named Carpenter, was buried in Rock Island yesterday afternoon. He was from Nashville, and his father is said to be a very wealthy resident of that city. One of the prisoners is represented as the owner of 350 slaves. – He attempted to escape at Burlington, but was recaptured and brought back. The prisoners generally are pretty well satisfied with their experience of the war, and most of them seem to be decidedly averse to its further continuance. One man was telling a number of persons that he had been very well treated while in the Confederate army, and had received his pay regularly every two months, in Confederate money, because they preferred that; another who was standing by, an intelligent young man from North Alabama, said he had been in the Southern army eight months, and hadn’t seen any pay yet. This last person was particularly well satisfied with his position, and seemed to have no especial desire for an exchange before the war is over.

A large number of persons visited the boat, who distributed money and fruit among the sick. A number of Davenporters tried to induce those in charge of the boat to bring her over here, so that if they did our citizens would furnish the sick with delicacies and articles calculated to relieve their sufferings; but for some reason or other the officers of the boat did not see fit to do so.

The prisoners were nearly all taken from the hospitals near Island No. 10, and hence had no part in the contest at that point. They were on their way to Madison, Wis., via Prairie du Chien. Dr. Quinlin and his assistant appear to be well fitted for the delicate positions in which they are placed; and the former seems to be the impersonation of humanity and good nature. When the boat left the landing, the people on the shore bombarded the boat with apples, of which they kept up a much more pleasant cannonading to the recipients than that of the mortars at Island No. 10.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Wednesday Morning, April 23, 1862, p. 1

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Colonel Samuel W. Summers


Samuel W. Summers is a Virginian, and the only native of that State who has held a colonel's commission from Iowa. He was born in the year 1820. In about the year 1842, he came West and settled in Van Buren county, Iowa, where he began the practice of law. A few years later, he removed to Ottumwa, Wapello county, where he continued his law practice, and where he still resides.

In Colonel Summers' experiences may be seen the difficulties and discouragements under which a young attorney labored, In the early history of Southern Iowa. Fees were small, and credit was small. Law cases were scarce, and money still more so. Indeed, at that day things were done on a small scale in this Western Country. If I allude to a few items of a personal character, the colonel will excuse me; for they will certainly do him no discredit. For three or four years after coming to Ottumwa, he looked poor, lived poor, and was poor. A five-dollar fee in those days was enormous, and to get it all at once, and in cash was extraordinary good fortune. He had little business and little money. I have been told by old resident-merchants that it was no uncommon thing for him to ask credit for the cheapest articles of merchandize. He was never refused; for the first fee he received was sure to find its way into the pockets of his creditors. They say it was fully four years before he could keep his head above water long enough to take a long breath. But his perseverance and economy at last conquered, and, in 1858, he had acquired a respectable property.

Colonel Summers never held a public office. I think he never sought one. There was no money in it. He was always to be found in his office, and attending to his business. In 1860 he accepted the nomination for district judge of his district on the Republican ticket; but a few weeks later he withdrew his name from the canvass. He never commanded any thing but the business of his office, and the pockets of his clients, till he commanded his regiment. He was commissioned colonel of the 7th Iowa Cavalry the 8th of January, 1863, and on the 25th of July following, was mustered into the United States service. Like Colonels Wilson and Pollock of the 6th Iowa Cavalry, Colonel Summers was stationed during his whole term on the Western Frontier. It might have been an arduous, but was not a very dangerous service; for his antagonists were "the red men of the forest" to fight and chase whom, some have regarded as amusement. There is, of course, nothing brilliant about his military record. He was in the service about two years, and the principal portion of that time had his headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska Territory, where he slept on a downy bed, and ate at a bountiful board. He was mustered a citizen in the spring of 1865, in consequence, I am told, of his regiment being reduced below the minimum of a regimental organization.

The 7th Iowa Cavalry, from the day it went on duty in Nebraska, till the time Colonel Summers left it, was broken up into detachments, and stationed at different points in the vast stretch of country lying between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. But to give a detailed account of the movements made by the different detachments of the regiment, is impossible in the limited space to which I am confined. I can only allude to some of the most important ones.

In February, 1864, the regiment was stationed as follows: Company A, Captain E. B. Murphy; Company D, Captain W. D. Fouts, and Company H, Captain D. S. Malven, were stationed at Fort Kearney, under Major John S. Wood. Company G, Captain E. Hammer; Company F, Captain J. S. Brewer, were stationed at Cottonwood Springs. Company E, Captain J. B. David, at the Pawnee Indian Agency. Company B, Captain John Wilcox, at Dacotah City, and Company C, Captain J. C. Mitchell, at Nebraska City. Companies I, K, L and M, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Pattee, were stationed at Forts Randall and Sully, and at Sioux City. These last named companies were those which accompanied General Sully on his Indian expeditions up the Missouri River in the summer and fall of 1864. The heroes of Plum Creek and Julesburg belonged to the 1st and 2d Battalions of the regiment; but in neither of these affairs was there more than two hundred and fifty men engaged.

Plum Creek is on the road from Fort Kearney to Denver, and some thirty miles west of the former place. It consisted of only some half-a-dozen dwellings or ranches at the time of which we speak. When the place was attacked in the fall of 1864, Colonel Summers, with a small detachment of his regiment, was stationed at Fort Kearney, having a few weeks before relieved Major Wood of his regiment. Word was sent to the colonel of the approach of the Indians, accompanied with a request that he hurry to the relief of the place. He at once began making preparations to march; but one thing after another delayed, till nearly two hours had elapsed before his regiment was in the saddle. The weather was dry and excessively hot, and, to spare his horses, he moved with much leisure. Indeed, it is said ten hours were consumed in traveling the thirty miles. In the meantime the Indians had completed their work and fled. Some of his officers, who had no care for government property, were clamorous to hasten the march, fearing that the Indians would be off before their arrival; but the colonel was resolute, preferring to forego the prospect of glory, rather than run down and ruin his horses. One of his officers in particular, Captain Edward B. Murphy of Company A, was so restive that the colonel had to threaten to put him under arrest before he could be restrained; but this same captain, Colonel Summers has since said, was one of the best officers of his regiment.

The colonel was more fortunate at Julesburg; for there the Indians came within striking distance, and lost by their rashness one of their boasted chiefs. Julesburg is situated in the extreme north-east corner of Colorado Territory. It is four hundred miles west from Omaha, and two hundred east from Denver, and is on the main thoroughfare from the Missouri River to California.

At the time the attack was made on Julesburg, Colonel Summers, with Major O'Brien and Captain Murphy of his regiment, chanced to be at Fort Rankin, near that place. On the evening before the attack, a stage-driver, or teamster, came in and reported that the Indians were in the neighborhood, and had fired on a train, then approaching from the west; but the man was known to be unworthy of belief, and little attention was paid to his story. The next morning, however, the Indians made their appearance on the prairie, and Colonel Summers collected and mounted his men to give them battle. Including the commands of Major O'Brien and Captain Murphy, he did not have more than one hundred men; and the Indians did not number less than five hundred; but they were concealed behind some of the small hills that abound in that region, and he could not learn their strength. He accordingly rode boldly out to fight them, and moved in three detachments: Major O'Brien was on the right, Captain Murphy in the centre, while he held the left.

Immediately on coming among the hills of which I have spoken, he found himself confronted by a superior force; but he opened the fight with great vigor. It had not progressed long, however, before, looking to the right, he saw that Major O'Brien was nearly surrounded, and the major, instead of falling back was endeavoring to fight the Indians off. The colonel at once sent word to him and to Captain Murphy to fall back to the fort. But in the meantime, the Indians had moved so far round to his own right and rear that, should he attempt to reach the fort, he would probably be captured; and he therefore, with a few of his men, made his escape to a ranch only a few miles away. The Indians pursued Major O'Brien and Captain Murphy to the fort, and a severe fight ensued for its possession; but they were finally beaten off. It was through the courage of these officers only that the place was saved from capture. Julesburg was then sacked, after which, the Indians left. The next day, Colonel Summers went upon the field, and, finding the dead body of an Indian chief, who had fallen by his own hands, stripped him of his toggeries. I understand that he brought them to his home as trophies, but have never had the pleasure of seeing them.

The loss of the 7th Iowa Cavalry at Julesburg was about fifteen; and all who were wounded and left upon the field were murdered, and their bodies most shockingly mutilated. Sergeant Alanson Hanchet, a brave and powerful man, after killing seven Indians, was shot from his horse and left upon the field. When the fight was over, the inhuman wretches beat a hole in his head, and, filling it with powder, blew It to atoms: they afterwards chopped his body into inches. Nearly all the wounded had their legs and arms severed.

Soon after this affair, Colonel Summers started for .Omaha; but before leaving, the citizens of Julesburg assembled and passed resolutions, thanking him for his defense of the place. They were grateful testimonials, and have been published in several of the papers of Southern Iowa.

I have been told that many of the officers of the 7th Cavalry have made frequent complaint because they were kept on duty in the Indian country. Had this regiment served at the front, there is no doubt it would have made a record, equal to that of any other Iowa Cavalry regiment.

Colonel Summers is a slender, spare man, of great activity, and weighing about one hundred and forty pounds. He does not have the appearance of vigorous health; and yet, he is one Of the hardiest men of my acquaintance. I have never known him to be sick. He has a small, restless, black eye, sunk well in his head, and wearing, at will, a most unfriendly leer. You would know, to look at him, that he was a sharp, shrewd man. He is sociable and agreeable, and would be generous and liberal, if he loved money less. "Keep what you get," is his motto. He will do any thing to accommodate a friend, except to disembowel his wallet, or put his property in peril, by attaching his name to a note or recognizance.

The colonel is very common in his manners and dress, and temperate and economical in his habits.

SOURCE: Addison A. Stuart, Iowa Colonels and Regiments, p. 633-8