Monday, January 25, 2010

Colonel David Stokely Wilson


David S. Wilson is a native of Steubenville, Ohio, where he was born on the 18th of March, 1823. Both on the paternal and maternal side he came of loyal stock. His father was a Revolutionary soldier, and later, for twenty years, was an United States receiver of public moneys at Steubenville. The father died when the son was six years of age, leaving him to be cared for and instructed by his mother. Upon the organization of the Iowa Territorial Courts, Thomas Wilson, an older brother of David, received the appointment of Judge of the Northern District. In 1841, David joined his brother at Dubuque, and passed his first year in Iowa, in opening up a farm of his brother's, near that place. The next year he entered the office of the "Miner's Express," the old-time Democratic organ at Dubuque, and shortly after purchased an interest in the concern. He held the editorial department.

In 1844, he was elected a member of the Territorial House of Representatives, but with this exception confined himself to the editorial duties of the "Express" till the declaration of war with Mexico. Then he began enlisting a company for the service, and succeeded so well as to secure a lieutenancy. He was ordered with his command to relieve Captain, later General Sumner, who was stationed at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien. Lieutenant Wilson continued in the service about three years, a chief portion of this time being stationed at Fort Atkinson, and having charge of the Winnebagos. This tribe of Indians he assisted in removing to their reservation in Minnesota.

While stationed at Fort Atkinson, I am told he devoted his leisure moments to the study of law; and the knowledge thus gained enabled him, soon after leaving the service, to enter the law practice. He opened an office in Dubuque, and made the law his business till the breaking out of the rebellion. I should not omit to state that in 1857 he was elected to the State Senate from the Dubuque District. He was a democrat; but I need not have added that, for he was elected from Dubuque.

The services of the 6th Iowa Cavalry, like those of the 7th, are for the most part tame and uneventful. The regiment has served constantly on the Western Frontier, with head-quarters, the most of the time, at Sioux City. The history of its marches and campaigns may be found in General Sully's reports of his operations against the Indians in Dacotah Territory. In the latter part of August, 1863, Colonel Wilson marched with his regiment on General Sully's expedition up the Little Cayenne, and took part in the battle fought with twelve or fifteen thousand warriors near the head-waters of Elm River.

The above is the most important engagement the regiment ever took part in.

Colonel Wilson resigned his commission late in the spring of 1864, and was succeeded, in the colonelcy of the regiment, by Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel M. Pollock of Dubuque.

SOURCE: Addison A. Stuart, Iowa Colonels and Regiments, p. 631-2

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