Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fourth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry

The Fourth Iowa Infantry was organized under the proclamation of the President, dated May 3, 1861. The companies composing the regiment were mustered into the service of the United States at Camp Kirkwood, near Council Bluffs, Iowa, and at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, Mo., on different dates, ranging from August 8, 1861, to August 31, 1861. The discrepancy in the dates and places of muster in of the companies is accounted for by the official records in the office of the Adjutant General of Iowa, which show that Colonel Dodge was ordered to employ the companies which first reached the designated rendezvous at Council Bluffs, in an expedition to the southern border of Iowa, to repel a threatened rebel invasion of the State. In his official report, the Colonel states that the rebel force, that was being organized, disbanded and scattered upon the approach of the Iowa troops, and the object of the expedition was accomplished without a conflict. In the meantime the other companies, as they arrived at rendezvous, were ordered to proceed to St. Louis, in pursuance of orders from General Fremont, the exigencies of the service requiring the rapid concentration of troops at that place. By the 15th of August, all the companies, except I and K, had reached Benton Barracks. Colonel Dodge further reports that the eight companies which had reached the barracks left there on the 24th of August, for Rolla, Mo., where they joined the troops being concentrated there, and became a part of the Army of the Southwest under General Curtis. The remaining companies — I and K — were not mustered into the service until August 31st and did not leave Benton Barracks until September 13th, when they were sent forward to Rolla, where the full ten companies composing the Fourth Iowa Infantry were for the first time in camp together.

It will thus be seen that — as a full regiment — it had lacked even the brief opportunity for drill and instruction which the three regiments which were first organized in Iowa had been given while in their camps at Keokuk, and that it had to acquire such instruction after taking the field, and in the presence of the enemy. Detachments, consisting of one or more companies of the regiment, were sent out upon reconnoitering expeditions, from time to time, while encamped at Rolla, but no important movement against the enemy was undertaken until January 22, 1862, when the regiment started upon a winter campaign which was to put to the severest test its fortitude, courage and endurance of hardships.

General Curtis was in command of the Union troops, and by vigorous marching endeavored to overtake the rebel army under General Price. It was confidently expected that a battle would occur at Springfield, Mo., but the enemy continued to retreat towards the Ozark mountains, with the Union army following closely in his rear. At Sugar Creek, the advance of General Curtis came up with the rear guard of the enemy, and a brisk engagement ensued, in which the Fourth Iowa — with the brigade to which it belonged — supported the cavalry and artillery which led the advance, and drove the enemy from the field. After repeated maneuvers to gain advantage of position, the two armies at last confronted each other, and it became evident that a great battle was impending. The rebel army, having reached its chosen ground — a strong position at Cross Hollows, near the town of Fayetteville, Ark. — and being reinforced by fresh troops, and bands of savages from the Indian Territory, halted, and awaited the attack of the Union Army. But, instead of making a direct attack, General Curtis, by a skillful movement, succeeded in completely flanking the enemy's position, and making it untenable, and the rebel army was again compelled to retreat.

Subsequently General Curtis' troops were stationed, by divisions, at considerable distances apart, in order to obtain supplies from the surrounding country, and the enemy, taking advantage of this situation, was preparing to attack these separated forces and prevent them from being concentrated. They succeeded in passing the extreme right flank of the Union army during the night of March 6th, but General Curtis was apprised of the movement in time to change front and partially concentrate his forces, and, on the morning of March 7, 1862, the two armies again confronted each other, on the high ground of Pea Ridge, and, after some preliminary maneuvering on both sides, the battle began, and continued during that day and part of the next, ending in a complete victory for the Union army. The following extract from the official report of the part taken by the Fourth Iowa Infantry in the battle of Pea Ridge shows how well the regiment acquitted itself, and how nobly it maintained the honor of the State of Iowa on that field:

On the morning of the 7th of March, it was known that the enemy was advancing and attacking our army in the rear, when the regiment, in pursuance of orders from Colonel Dodge, marched about two miles from camp, and took position near the Elkhorn Tavern, on the right of the brigade, and to the right of the Springfield road going north, near the southern outlet of the Ozark Pass. Two companies were deployed as skirmishers to the front, and soon became desperately engaged with the enemy, who poured shot, shell and minie balls into their ranks incessantly, for two hours, but owing to the dense timber, our loss at this point was not very great. The left wing of the division, and also the left of Colonel Dodge's brigade, was now desperately engaged. Colonel Dodge ordered his lines to be closed, and awaited the attack, in the meantime keeping his skirmishers, and one section of the First Iowa Battery at work until about 2 o'clock, when the enemy ceased firing and drew back. Colonel Dodge changed front to the right, which left the regiment on the extreme right of the brigade, as well as of the whole army. The line being formed and our skirmishers drawn in and in their places in line of battle, the regiment in common with others awaited the concentrated attack of the enemy, whom we saw preparing for it. We did not wait long. The attack was made with apparently ten times our number, accompanied with the most terrific cannonading with grape, canister, solid shot and shell. For full three hours the regiment stood under this terrible fire, which dealt death to its ranks. The regiment being flanked on the right by a greatly superior force of the enemy, and their artillery being in a position to completely enfilade its lines, and the left wing of the division having fallen back to the open fields, leaving the left exposed, which was also flanked, it was compelled to fall back obliquely to the right, which it did in good order, fighting its way out, hard pressed by the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, to the open fields, where it was met by General Curtis who ordered it to fix bayonets, and charge back upon the enemy, which it did gallantly, eliciting from the General in his official report this highest meed of praise. "This regiment won immortal honors." It being now dark, and the enemy having ceased firing, the regiment, after having lost in killed and wounded almost one-half of those actually engaged, marched back to camp, partook of a scanty repast, and. immediately commenced preparations for the deadly conflict impending for the succeeding day, filling their cartridge boxes, and cleaning their guns, which had become very foul. This being done, the regiment was marched back, and bivouacked on the field until daylight, soon after which the fight was resumed by artillery. The regiment took its place again to the extreme right, marching forward in line of battle, pursuing the enemy, who commenced retreating early. It pursued the enemy until it had orders to halt. Soon after this orders were given to march back to the battle ground of the previous day and go into camp. The mention of individual acts of bravery could not be made without being invidious.

The report from which the above extract is made was written by Col. J. A. Williamson who succeeded Lieutenant Colonel Galligan, who commanded the regiment, and was wounded in the battle. Colonel Dodge, in his official report as commander of the First Brigade, says:

The list of killed and wounded in the brigade shows that it fought against fearful odds, and disputed the field with great stubbornness. Every field officer in the brigade was disabled, and had to leave the field, and only two Lieutenants were left in the battery.*

Lieutenant Colonel Galligan rendered efficient service in holding the Fourth Iowa firm, no part of which gave an inch, until the whole was compelled to fall back. I wish to mention especially the bravery and valor of Capt. H. H. Griffith (acting Major) and of Lieut. J. A. Williamson, Brigade Adjutant; also of private, J. W. Bell, Adjutant's clerk, Fourth Iowa, who fell mortally wounded while nobly doing his duty. The conduct of the above named officers came under my personal observation. All did well and fought nobly, in winning a great battle. Capt. W. H. Kinsman with Company B, Fourth Iowa, and two companies of the Twenty-Fourth Missouri, were detached from the brigade and deployed as skirmishers on the extreme left of the division, holding the high ridge on our left flank, which he did efficiently, and with great good judgment, against a greatly superior force of the enemy.

After the battle of Pea Ridge, the regiment remained in camp for several weeks. Col. G. M. Dodge was promoted to Brigadier General shortly after the battle, and Adjutant J. A. Williamson succeeded him as Colonel of the regiment, and Captain Burton succeeded Lieutenant Colonel Galligan, who had resigned. The regiment marched with the army to Helena, and participated in all the hardship and suffering of the succeeding campaign. It remained at Helena during the greater part of the summer and autumn of 1862. It subsequently joined General Sherman's army in the movement down the Mississippi River, against Vicksburg, in which it bore a most conspicuous part. On December 28 and 29, 1862, it participated in the desperate fighting at Chickasaw Bayou, suffering severe loss, and duplicating its record of gallantry at Pea Ridge. On the 10th and 11th of January, 1863, it again engaged in battle at Arkansas Post, after which it returned to Young's Point, landing there January 22, 1863, remaining there and below there at Gregg's Plantation until April 2, 1863, when it went 150 miles up the Mississippi River to Greenville, and from there engaged in the Deer Creek Valley Expedition. Returning to Milliken's Bend, it started on the active campaign against Vicksburg by way of Richmond, La., and Grand Gulf, Miss., to Jackson, Miss., and thence moved to Vicksburg, and became part of the investing force on May 18, 1863.

It engaged actively in the siege operations until the surrender July 4th, when it marched to Jackson and participated in the siege operations there, until the evacuation by the enemy July 16, 1863. After the fall of Jackson, the regiment went into camp on Black River, fourteen miles in rear of Vicksburg, where it remained from July 29, 1863, until September 22, 1863, when it embarked on steamer and proceeded to Memphis, Tenn., from which place it began the march ending at Chattanooga, Tenn., where it arrived November 23, 1863. The regiment participated in the battle of Lookout Mountain, November 24, 1863, in the battle of Missionary Ridge, November 25th, and in the battle of Ringgold on the 27th. On the 3d day of December, 1863, it went into camp at Bridgeport, Ala., and later moved from there to Woodville, where it remained in camp until the 26th of February, 1864, when it was ordered to proceed to Des Moines, Iowa, and report through the Governor of the State to the superintendent of recruiting service, for furlough and reorganization, and at the expiration of the thirty days' furlough — to begin after the regiment reached Des Moines — the regimental commander was ordered to report to Brigadier General Osterhaus, commanding First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, in the field. In compliance with this order, the veteran soldiers of the Fourth Iowa returned to their State, and enjoyed to the fullest extent the brief respite from the toils and dangers of war, at their own homes, and with their families, and the loyal friends of the cause for which they had suffered and endured so much, and for which they would continue to suffer and endure, until the enemies of the Union should be completely conquered, and a lasting peace secured. At the expiration of its furlough, the regiment returned to the field, and rejoined its brigade and division at Nashville, Tenn., from which place It moved forward and participated actively in the great campaign which led up to the siege and culminated in the fall of Atlanta.

From Atlanta began the remarkable campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas, and the march with Sherman to the sea, in which the Fourth Iowa Infantry had its full share. The regiment participated in the battles of Columbia, S. C, and Bentonville, N. C, and continued on the march to Richmond and thence to Washington, where it marched, with many other Iowa regiments, in the grand review of the battle scarred and war worn soldiers of the armies of the West.

After remaining for some time in camp near Washington, the regiment proceeded to Louisville, Ky., where it was mustered out of the service July 24, 1865, having served nearly four years. The compiler of this brief historical sketch of the service of this splendid Iowa regiment has made diligent search among the official records, and has found a mass of reports, and correspondence connected directly with the history of its service, which — but for the limitations under which he is working — would enable him to increase this sketch to the proportions of a good sized volume. In response to the request of the Adjutant General of Iowa, near the close of the war, Col. J. A. Williamson wrote a condensed report of the operations of the regiment, which extended over a very wide field, in many southern states, but could not give a list of "posts" occupied. He says, "I can hardly realize the meaning of the term as connected with this regiment. We have stopped from time to time to rest, after an active campaign, but never had charge of any post, or fixed camp, from the time the regiment was really equipped for the field at Rolla, Mo., in the fall of 1861." Only those who have had the same experience can realize the feeling, which old soldiers had in common, that it was useless to make definite calculation upon remaining even a single day in one locality. While troops did remain in the same camp, sometimes for weeks, or months, they never knew how quickly a change would be made, and therefore, in time of war, the soldier's life is very much the same as that of the Nomads, ready to break camp and to move upon the shortest notice. Such was, in a most pronounced degree, the experience of the Fourth Iowa Infantry during its long period of service from 1861 to 1865.

The subjoined roster, summary of casualties, list of those buried in National Cemeteries, and of those who were captured by the enemy and confined in rebel prisons, have been carefully compiled from the official records.

The paragraph after each name in the roster gives briefly the history of the service he rendered, and the descendants of the soldiers of this gallant regiment may here learn how well and faithfully they served their country in her hour of greatest need, and know that a great and grateful commonwealth has herein discharged a high duty to the memory of her brave sons.

Inseparably connected with the history of this regiment is that of the man who first commanded it, and under whom it won its first glorious victory. Subsequently he won high honor as a General and enjoyed the personal friendship and confidence of President Lincoln and General Grant. Since the close of the war, he has achieved fame and distinction in civil life. Through all his career he has cherished the memory of the men of his old regiment, and has — from time to time — given evidence of his abiding friendship for them. This is therefore an appropriate place to record the official military history of Iowa's most distinguished soldier. The record is compiled from the files of the War Department in Washington and of the Adjutant General's office of the State of Iowa, and is therefore officially correct.


Captain Council Bluffs Guards July 15, 1856.

Appointed Colonel Fourth Iowa Infantry June 17, 1861, and ordered into camp at Council Bluffs.

Commissioned Colonel Fourth Iowa Infantry July 6, 1861.

During July marched with part of his regiment to Missouri State line against Poindexter, who, with 1,200 Confederates, was threatening Southwestern Iowa. Poindexter retreated when Dodge approached.

Reported at St. Louis with Fourth Iowa Infantry August 13, 1861.

Proceeded to Rolla, Mo., August 24, 1861.

Assigned to command of post at Rolla, October 9, 1861.

Commanded expeditions to Houston and Salem, November 1, 1861. Enemy defeated in both engagements.

Wounded in left leg, December 15, 1861.

Assigned to command of First Brigade, Fourth Division, Army of Southwest, January 21, 1862. Advanced to Springfield. That place occupied February 13, 1862.

In engagements at Sugar Creek, February 17, 1862, and Cane Creek, February 20, 1862.

Defeated Gates' command at Blackburn's Mills, February 27, 1862.

Battle of Pea Ridge, March 6, 7 and 8, 1862. Wounded in right side.

Commissioned Brigadier General of Volunteers, March 31, 1862.

Reported to Major General Halleck at Corinth, June 6, 1862, and ordered by him to report to Brig. Gen. W. F. Quimby, commanding District of Columbus, to rebuild Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

June 28, 1862, assigned to command of Central Division, Army of Tennessee, with headquarters at Trenton, Tenn.

Finished rebuilding Mobile & Ohio Railroad in August and built stockades and earthworks at all its important bridges and stations.

During the time in command at Trenton the captures of Dyersburg, Huntington and O'Brien were made, and Villipigue was defeated on the Hatchie River.

September 29, 1862, by order of Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant, was assigned to the command of the District of Columbus, Ky.

Captured Colonel Faulkner and his command at Island No. 10. Also captured the State troops and conscripts, some 1,400 in number, twenty-three miles west of New Madrid.

October 30, 1862, assigned by order of Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant to command Second Division Army of Tennessee, at Corinth, Miss.

November 15, 1862, assigned to command of the District of Corinth, by order of Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant.

Extensive fortifications and important works in and around Corinth finished while holding that command.

December 1, 1862, a combined movement was made from Holly Springs and Corinth in which his troops captured Tupelo and Okolona, Miss., defeating the enemy and capturing the stores at those places.

December, 1862, by order of Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant, moved to Lexington and Spring Creek, Tenn., driving Forrest across the Tennessee River.

February, 1863, attacked Van Dorn's column at Tuscumbia, Ala. Place was captured with its stores, artillery, etc.

April, 1863, in command of Second Division, part of Fifth Division and portion of Cavalry Division of the Sixteenth Army Corps. Made expedition in Northern Alabama, defeating the forces of the enemy in the Tuscumbia Valley. During the movement the fights at Bear Creek, Cherokee, Burton Station, Leighton and Town Creek occurred. Immense quantities of stores for Bragg's army were captured and destroyed.

April, 1863, Chalmers and Ruggles were attacked and defeated at Tupelo.

June, 1863, crossed the Tennessee River at Savannah. Moved into Van Dorn's rear. Captured the town of Florence, defeating its garrison.

June 19, 1863, attacked Furgeson's command on Big Muddy, and stopped raid on Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Fighting was severe and loss considerable.

July 8, 1863, assigned to command of left wing Sixteenth Army Corps with headquarters at Corinth.

July 14, 1863, defeated a portion of Roddy's command at Jackson, Tenn., and captured a large number of prisoners.

August 15, 1863, made raid on Granada, Miss., capturing a large number of locomotives, cars, railroad stocks, stores, etc., and defeated the enemy at Water Valley and Granada.

While in command at Corinth organized and mustered into the service First West Tennessee Cavalry, First Alabama Cavalry, First Alabama Colored Infantry, and several companies of colored troops for siege artillery.

October 30, 1863, command was attached to command of Major General Sherman then moving into Middle Tennessee.

During months of November and December, 1863, rebuilt Nashville & Decatur Railroad, also pontoon bridges across Tennessee River at Decatur, Ala., and the Duck and Elk rivers, and constructed good and substantial earthworks and stockades at all the important bridges and points. During this time the command had several engagements with the enemy, and captured and fortified Decatur, Ala.

January, 1864, organized and mustered into service Second and Third Regiments Alabama Colored Infantry.

May 5, 1864, in command Sixteenth Army Corps in the field at Atlanta campaign. Took part in the battles and engagements at Ships Gap May 6th, Snake Creek Gap May 9th, Resaca May 11th, Estounula River May 12th, Kenesaw Mountain, Roswell, Decatur July 21st, Atlanta July 22d, Ezra Church July 28th.

Commissioned Major General June 7, 1864.

Wounded in head August 19, 1864.

October 14, 1864, ordered to City Point, Va., to visit General Grant.

November 3, 1864, assigned to command of District of Vicksburg and to command of left wing Sixteenth Army Corps.

December 2,1864, assigned to the command of Department and Army of Missouri.

December 9, 1864, commissioned Major General Missouri State Militia.

January 30, 1865, Department of Kansas added to Department of Missouri.

Gen. Jeff C. Thompson surrendered Confederate forces in Arkansas.

During January, February and March, 1865, made Indian campaigns on the plains, opening up the stage lines and rebuilding telegraph lines which had been destroyed by the Indians.

1865-66, made Indian campaigns extending from Arkansas River on south to Yellowstone on north. In these campaigns several severe battles were fought by forces under Generals Sanborn, Ford, Conner, and Colonels Cole, Walker and others. Treaties of peace were made with the Comanches, Apaches, Southern Cheyennes, and other Southern Tribes, and a council was held with the Northern Cheyennes, Arapahoes and Sioux at Fort Laramie, and basis for treaty agreed upon. For services in this campaign received the thanks of the Legislature of Iowa.

Resigned March 1, 1866.

Accepted May 30, 1866.


Total Enrollment 1557
Killed 61
Wounded 338
Died of wounds 54
Died of disease 239
Discharged for wounds, disease and other causes 333
Captured 49
Buried in National Cemeteries 136
Transferred 37

*Colonel Dodge was himself wounded in the right side.

SOURCE: Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers During the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 1, p. 527-33

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