Saturday, January 9, 2010

Colonel D. Henry Hughes


The late D. Henry Hughes was born in Jefferson county, New York, on the 11th of September, 1830. He was the son of a farmer. At sixteen, he entered the New York State Normal School, where he passed a year and a half, and then returned home and labored with his father on the farm till he attained his majority. In 1852, he came West and settled temporarily in Chicago, where he obtained employment as book-keeper in the Agricultural Warehouse of Emery & Co. During his two years' stay with this enterprising house, he was a frequent contributor to the "Prairie Farmer," a valuable agricultural paper, published by his employers. In 1855, he left Illinois for Iowa, and settled in Decorah, which was his family's place of residence at the time of his death.

Colonel Hughes was held in high esteem in Winnesheik county. He learned the law with one Mr. Webber of Decorah, and, in the spring of 1862, became a partner of the Hon. M. V. Burdick, now State Senator from Winnesheik county. Indeed, in 1861, he was Mr. Burdick's opponent for the State Senate, being the nominee of the Democratic Party of Winnesheik county.

In October, 1862, Mr. Hughes was made lieutenant-colonel of the 38th Iowa Infantry, and late in the same month was promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment. He served with his regiment till its arrival at Port Hudson, Lousiana, when he was prostrated by the sickness incident to that climate. He died on board the steamer Lebanon, on the 7th of August, 1863.

The history of the 38th Iowa has less of general interest in it than that of any other Iowa regiment. Up to the 27th of November, 1864, it had lost in battle only one man killed, and two wounded, one of the latter mortally. The following are the points at which the regiment served prior to the above named date: Columbus and Union City, Kentucky; New Madrid, Missouri; Vicksburg; Port Hudson and Carrollton, Louisiana; on the Texan coast and at Brownsville; Mobile Point, and at Donaldsonville, Louisiana. The regiment was consolidated with the 34th Iowa Infantry, on the 1st day of January, 1865; since which time its history will be found in that of the latter regiment.

The following statement, taken from the records of the regiment, is a remarkable illustration of the disparity of losses sustained by troops in battle and by disease:

"Original strength of regiment: officers, thirty-nine; enlisted men, eight hundred and seventy-six. Added in field by recruits: enlisted men, one hundred and twelve. Added by promotion: officers, nine. Added by transfer: officers, one.

"Killed in battle: enlisted men, one. Died of wounds; enlisted men, one. Discharged: officers, twenty; enlisted men, one hundred and ten. Deserted: thirteen. Died of disease: officers, four; enlisted men, three hundred and seven. Transferred: enlisted men, twenty-eight. Total: officers, twenty-four; enlisted men, four hundred and sixty-five."

The following is from an eulogy delivered by Hon. M. V. Burdick to Colonel Hughes' memory:

"He is gone; but though dead he yet lives — lives in the example that he set, in the precepts that he gave — lives in the hearts of his friends. They will not endeavor to repress the generous pride which prompts a recital of his noble deeds, and manly virtues. He commenced his career among us without fortune, without influential friends, and surrounded by many difficulties. He has filled many positions of honor and trust, and has written his name in the history of this great struggle of the nation to maintain the national existence. He leaves to his friends none but the most pleasing recollections."

SOURCE: Addison A. Stuart, Iowa Colonels and Regiments, p. 523-4

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Iowa's Martyr Regiment, David Wildman, 2010. [At Vicksburg] Colonel Hughes gained the respect of the men and a reputation for coolness under fire on days like that. Private Eugene Tubbs told the folks at home, “He never sent the boys where he dare not go himself." Night or day, if his men were out on duty, he was with them. During the bombardment the Colonel could be seen smoking his cigar as he moved among the men reminding them to ‘to keep cool and dodge.” Ref: The Decorah County Republic, A Word of Praise, Private Eugene Tubbs: “He gained the good will of the boys at Vicksburg, during the siege, because he never sent the boys where he dare not go himself; and one great thing concerning his character was, he was always cool.