The Twenty-fifth Regiment was organized under the proclamation of President Lincoln, bearing date July 2, 1862. The ten companies of which it was composed were ordered into quarters by Governor Kirkwood, on dates ranging from August 2 to September 1, 1862. The place of rendezvous designated in the order of the Governor was Camp McKean, near Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and there, on the 27th of September, 1862, the companies and the field and staff officers of the regiment were mustered into the service of the United States, by Captain George S. Pierce of the United States Army. At the completion of the muster the regiment had an aggregate strength of 972 men, including the field, staff and company officers. There were 23 early additional enlistments, which brought the total number of the regiment to 995, at or about the time it left the State for the field of active military operations [see note 1]. The commander of the regiment, Colonel George A. Stone, had won honor and distinction in his previous service as First Lieutenant of Company F, First Iowa Infantry and, later, as Major of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry. Under the instruction of this very capable and energetic officer, the regiment improved to the utmost the time it remained in rendezvous and, by the time it left the State, had acquired a fair knowledge of the drill and discipline so essential to effective service in the field.
Early in November the regiment proceeded to St. Louis, and thence down the Mississippi River to Helena, Ark., where it went into camp. During its stay at Helena, detachments from the regiment accompanied reconnoitering expeditions to White River and elsewhere, but the record does not show that these expeditions encountered any considerable force of the enemy. The regiment was assigned to the Second Brigade of the First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, the brigade commanded by General Hovey, and the division by General Steele. On the 22d of December, 1862, the regiment embarked on transports and moved down the Mississippi with the forces under command of General Sherman, and participated in that notable but unsuccessful movement against Vicksburg, by way of Chickasaw Bayou, in which it lost one man killed, seven wounded and two captured or missing [see note 2]. Returning from this expedition, the regiment, with its brigade and division, comprising part of the Fifteenth Army Corps, under command of Major General Sherman, with the Thirteenth Army Corps, commanded by Major General McClernand, moved down the Mississippi River to Arkansas Post. On January 11, 1863, the Twenty-fifth Iowa participated in the battle which resulted in the capture of that rebel stronghold. The conduct of his regiment in the battle is described in the official report of Colonel Stone as follows [see note 3]:
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIFTH IOWA INFANTRY,
CAMP AT ARKANSAS POST, ARK., Jan. 12, 1863.
GENERAL: I herewith hand you the report of the part taken by my regiment in the action yesterday. I was ordered by our brigade commander, General Hovey, to form the regiment in the rear of the Seventy-sixth Ohio, Colonel Woods, the leading regiment, and sustain him in a bayonet charge on the enemy's fortifications. My command, to that effect, was promptly obeyed, and the two regiments, with yells creditable to Indians, started over an open space of ground for some 500 yards, exposed to the grape and canister of a rebel battery, of 6-pounder Parrott guns, and the rifles of five Texas Infantry regiments. The clear space was passed over with some loss and we then had some 200 yards more to make, 100 of which was through abatis and ditches. The Seventy-sixth Ohio had cleared everything but the last 100 yards of open ground that separated it from the breastworks, we following 20 yards in their rear; when the fire was so terrific, and the men so much exhausted, that the first line was compelled to halt, and we then for the first capped our rifles and responded to the enemy's fire, constantly advancing till the last line of defense for us was reached; and, after three hours fighting, the rebel flag was struck and the white one displayed, indicating that the enemy had surrendered. Some 5,000 prisoners, with several batteries, siege guns, and ordnance stores, small arms, etc., are a part of the fruits of this truly great victory. My regiment was complimented by the Texas Colonel in front of us, who remarked he was almost sure they must be Iowa troops. The casualties are as follows [see note 4]: . . . Adjutant S. Kirkwood Clark was wounded severely by a gunshot wound through the left leg, just below the knee. I do but justice when I notice the Adjutant in this report, for his cool and gallant conduct as well in this fight as the one in the vicinity of Vicksburg. He has received and has well earned the praise of the entire regiment. I also must notice Privates Hiram Payne of Company B, and Ben F. Weaver of Company C, who, on account of the Color Sergeant being sick, volunteered for the duty of carrying the colors, and right nobly did they perform it. We were the second regiment in the rebel fortifications.
Very respectfully, General,
GEO. A. STONE, Colonel Commanding.
Adjutant General N. B. Baker, Davenport, Iowa.
Adjutant Clark died from the effect of his wound, and was succeeded by First Lieutenant Samuel W. Snow, of Company E. The regiment returned to the vicinity of Vicksburg, and went into camp near Young's Point for the remainder of the winter. During its first campaign, the Twenty-fifth Iowa had suffered much from sickness, having much the same experience as all new regiments in that respect; but the records show that the fatalities from disease were not as great as in most of the other Iowa regiments which were encamped in the same unhealthy locality. Colonel Stone was noted for the care with which he looked after the health of his men, and provided everything available for their comfort, while exercising strict discipline and requiring them to observe such sanitary regulations as were possible under the conditions in which they were placed during that gloomy winter of 1863. In the meantime, General Grant was making active preparations for the beginning of another aggressive campaign, to commence as soon as the necessary number of troops could be concentrated under his command.
On the 2d of April the Twenty-fifth Iowa, with its brigade and division, started upon the expedition — conducted by General Steele — to Greenville, Miss., and further into the interior of the State. While the object of the expedition was mainly to distract the attention of the enemy from the principal movement of the campaign, it accomplished more than that, by the capture of considerable quantities of supplies which were intended for the use of the rebel army. The division remained in camp near Greenville, from which place detachments were sent into the surrounding country, gathering supplies, until April 24th, when, the purpose of the expedition having been accomplished, it returned to Milliken's Bend. From that place, Colonel Stone, commanding the Twenty-fifth Iowa and the Thirtieth Missouri regiments, marched to Richmond, La., where he remained in camp for a few days, and then marched to Hard Times Landing, where his troops crossed the river on transports to Grand Gulf, arriving there too late, however, to overtake the main portion of the army, which had moved on towards Jackson. Colonel Stone was ordered to proceed with his regiment as escort to a supply train, loaded with rations and ammunition for the army. Upon arriving with the train at Clinton, the regiment rejoined its brigade and division, then marching from Jackson towards Vicksburg. The march was continued. On the 18th of May the regiment joined with the other troops in the investment of Vicksburg, the siege of that rebel stronghold having already begun. In the operations which ensued, the regiment performed its full share of duty. It participated in the arduous and dangerous work of advancing the lines, digging and occupying the trenches, driving the enemy from one advanced position to another, until the troops of the Union army were intrenched in a line close to the frowning forts of the enemy and the main line of heavy works which connected them. The regiment was engaged in the assault upon the enemy's works on the 22d of May, as will be seen from the following extracts from the official reports of its brigade and regimental commanders. In the report of Colonel Charles R. Woods, commanding Second Brigade, First Division, the following reference is made to the Twenty-fifth Iowa:
Owing to the difficulty of moving my brigade, so as to prevent the enemy from seeing our movements, several hours were consumed in reaching our position, and, having reached the rear of the position where the charge was to be made, it was necessary to pass over several pieces of open ground within close range of the enemy's rifle-pits, part of the road being swept by artillery. Fifty or sixty men and officers were killed and wounded in gaining our position. The Twenty-fifth Iowa, Colonel Stone commanding, being in the advance, suffered severely, but as soon as it gained the ravine one wing was thrown forward as skirmishers, and succeeded in a great measure in keeping down the fire of the enemy. . . . The Twenty-fifth Iowa, while deployed as skirmishers, did good execution and lost severely. . . . The officers and men, during all the skirmishes in which they have been engaged, have done their duty well and faithfully, and deserve the highest praise [see note 5].
Colonel Stone, in his official report, says, in part:
A general attack was ordered by our entire line. Our division, occupying the extreme right of our army, was ordered to gain the heights to our left, near the center of our line, and to assist in carrying the fort opposite. In making this movement, I had the advance with my regiment, and kept it until the heights above mentioned were gained. We failed to carry the fort, and at night the entire division was withdrawn to the position each regiment had occupied in the morning. Officers and men of my regiment behaved well, and I shall not particularize by mentioning any, save Private Isaac Mickey of Company F, who, when I called for some one to volunteer to carry an order for me past a line exposed to the enemy's entire line of sharpshooters, responded at once to the call, carried my message, and returned promptly when the order was executed [see note 6].
Captain James D. Spearman, of Company H, was among the severely wounded and was subsequently discharged on account of the disability thus incurred. The number of casualties in the regiment, in the assault on the 22d of May, were as follows: Killed, enlisted men, 5; wounded, 1 officer and 26 enlisted men; captured or missing, 5 enlisted men. Total 37 [see note 7]. The total casualties sustained by the regiment during the entire siege of Vicksburg numbered 65 in killed, wounded and missing. In addition to this number, many were prostrated by sickness, the result of the great hardships, toil and exposure to which they were subjected in that protracted siege.
On the day following the surrender of Vicksburg, the regiment, with its brigade and division, joined the army under command of General Sherman, which promptly marched in pursuit of the rebel army under command of General J. E. Johnston, and, in the short but vigorous campaign which ensued, performed its full share of duty. During the brief siege of Jackson it lost 2 men killed, and 2 wounded [see note 8]. Returning from Jackson, the regiment went into camp on Black River, near the scene of the battle of that name, where it enjoyed a season of well-earned rest. It had now been in. the service but little more than ten months, had lost 134 men killed and wounded in battle, and a much greater number by disease and discharge for disability. If its record had ended with the campaign just closed, it would have taken its place in history as well deserving the gratitude of the people of the State and Nation for the gallant service it had rendered. But it had yet a long and arduous period of service to perform, as will appear in the history of its subsequent operations, ending only with the close of the war.
In the latter part of September, 1863, the Twenty-fifth Iowa, with its brigade and division, moved from its encampment to Vicksburg, and there embarked for Memphis. General Osterhaus had succeeded General Steele as commander of the division. Upon arriving at Memphis, the troops disembarked and at once took up the line of march to Corinth, thence to Iuka and Cherokee Station. At the latter place the enemy was encountered. The following extract from the official report of Colonel Stone will show with what vigor the enemy's skirmishers were attacked, and how persistently the march was continued to Chattanooga, to reinforce the troops which were so soon to become engaged in the tremendous conflicts around that place:
On Sunday evening, October 25th, at Cherokee, our division received marching orders for 4 A. M. next day, and accordingly the division moved at the hour indicated, in the direction of Tuscumbia, in light marching order and in fine fighting condition. The First Brigade, Brigadier General C. R. Woods commanding, had the advance, and ours, the Second Brigade, Colonel James A. Williamson commanding, the rear. General Osterhaus' orders were very imperative and strict concerning the tactical arrangement of battalions, as the enemy, but some three miles in front of us, was composed entirely of cavalry, and was fully our equal in numerical strength. About two miles from camp we met the enemy's skirmishers, and here formed our line of battle, the First Brigade on the right, and the Second on the left, with one of the other divisions of our Corps as reserve. My position was on the extreme left, and, in accordance with orders, I formed a square to repel cavalry, first, however, having covered my front properly with skirmishers. Our skirmishers pushed the enemy so vigorously, and our lines followed so promptly, that after a short resistance the enemy fell back to another position some four miles to the rear, and made another stand. The same disposition was again made by our division, the same sharp, short fighting with the same result, the hasty retreat of the enemy. We continued this skirmishing during the entire day, and renewed it on the 27th, literally fighting them from Cherokee to Tuscumbia. We entered the town at 3 P. M., on the 27th. Sergeant Nehemiah M. Redding, of Company D, was killed while skirmishing on the 26th. I have no other casualties to mention. Officers and men behaved handsomely [see note 9].
The troops continued to press forward by forced marches, and at midnight, on November 23d, had reached a point near the foot of Lookout Mountain. The division under General Osterhaus was temporarily attached to the forces under the command of General Hooker. The Twenty-fifth Iowa was assigned to a position in support of a battery of New York artillery. Colonel Stone's official reports of the part taken by his regiment in the battles which followed in rapid succession, are here given in full:
BRIDGEPORT, ALA., Dec. 19, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report as follows, of the battle of Lookout Mountain, on the 24th of November, 1863. Our division camped on the 23d of November opposite Lookout Mountain, and near General Hooker's headquarters. At 9 P.M. I received orders to be in fighting trim at daylight next morning, and accordingly, at 5 A. M. of the 24th, I was in line of battle, and received orders to support the First Iowa battery during the day. It was intended that our division should act as reserves, while some of Hooker's division should storm the mountain, but this was partially changed, probably on account of one column being ordered further to the right than was first intended, and our division soon took an active part. At 9:30 A. M. I had orders to go to the front, just under a point of rocks on Lookout Mountain, to support the guns of Battery I, First New York Artillery, then in position, and two of which guns were protected by being hastily casemated. This position I retained during the day, and, on account of the admirable place for defense, and the inability of the enemy to sufficiently depress his guns, I found at dark I had not lost a man. Nothing could exceed the grandeur of this battle, from the point at which we viewed it. Every gun from Raccoon Mountain batteries to those of Moccasin Point was in plain view, and our lines of infantry so close that acquaintances were easily recognized. At 12 M. the grand attack began, and soon the battle smoke hung over and enveloped the mountain like a funeral pall, and the whole battle, like a panorama, passed around and before us. At dark, in accordance with orders from General Osterhaus, I reported, with my regiment, for special duty, to Major General Butterfleld, General Hooker's Chief of Staff, and was ordered by him to a position on the extreme right of the army, to prevent an anticipated attempt of the enemy to turn our flank at that point. I occupied the point indicated, and made a personal reconnaissance of the ground in front of me. The enemy threatened some during the night, but made no attack, and, at daylight next day, in obedience to orders, I reported back, with my command, to the division.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE A. STONE,
Colonel Commanding Twenty-fifth Iowa.
ADJUTANT GENERAL N. B. BAKER, Davenport, Iowa [see note 10].
BRIDGEPORT, ALA., Dec. 19, 1863.
GENERAL: I respectfully report as follows of the part taken by this regiment in the battle of Mission Ridge on the 25th day of November, 1863. On the morning of the 25th we left Lookout Mountain at 10 o'clock; passed through Chattanooga Valley, and arrived at the front of Mission Ridge at 2 P. M. We had just formed in line of battle for an attack, when the enemy's artillery became so annoying that we commenced to gain distance to the right for a more vulnerable point of attack. A messenger having now arrived with the intelligence that two regiments of rebel cavalry had passed down the mountain for the purpose of turning our left flank, General Osterhaus ordered me to take a position up the valley in the direction of the rebel cavalry, with my own regiment and the Twenty-sixth Iowa. The skirmishing soon became very brisk on the right, with intimations of a general attack on our left. A division of the Fourth Corps now relieved me, and I at once reported back to my division, but had no sooner arrived at my former position than General Osterhaus informed me that the enemy was endeavoring to gain the mountain pass between Chattanooga Valley and Rossville, and that I must gain it first and hold it at all hazards. I proceeded as ordered and held that pass till dark, securing one six-pound gun, one loaded ammunition wagon, and 27 prisoners, (including three Lieutenants,) and a quantity of corn meal and bacon. I am happy to say I have no casualties to report.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE A. STONE,
Colonel Commanding Twenty-fifth Iowa.
Adjutant General N. B. Baker, Davenport, Iowa [see note 11].
BRIDGEPORT, ALA., Dec. 19, 1863.
GENERAL: I respectfully make the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the battle of Ringgold, or Taylor's Ridge, Ga., on the 27th of November last, with the list of casualties of that day. Our division had the advance that morning, and we had not anticipated the stubborn resistance the enemy would make there, or at least were not wholly prepared for it; or perhaps, better still, both. We approached the hill or mountain by a right flank, perpendicularly to the face of the mountain, and, in order to get into line of battle, had to front and change front forward on first company. Regiments therefore got into line of battle alternately, an evolution that more or less endangered each regiment to loss, without leaving it any means for defense or protection. My position being on the extreme left, I came into line last, and, when formed, found myself in open ground, and in easy range of the enemy above us, protected by abatis and breastworks. The fire here was very annoying, but the men responded so promptly to my command "Forward, double quick," that we cleared the open field and gained the base of the hill, with the loss of but three men. The duty assigned me was this: to gain the crest as best I could and turn the enemy's left flank. The hill up which I had to go was very steep, a valley to my right and left running perpendicularly to the base of the mountain, and above a long range of rocks, barricades, etc. I was there exposed to three fires, namely, direct right, left and oblique. I discovered, by their battle flags, that two regiments confronted me, and, considering the odds about proper for an Iowa regiment, ordered an advance. The enemy had his skirmishers admirably posted and in strong force. The hillside was stubbornly contested, but we pressed steadily forward, and, in an hour from the time we started, had advanced to within seventy-five yards of the crest of the hill and driven the enemy completely off of it to his fortification.
I now occupied a splendid position, and, preparatory for a final charge, had ordered a halt for the men to obtain a few moments' rest. Three regiments of the Twelfth Corps now came up over the ground I had won by fighting, one passing on my right, one through the Thirtieth Iowa, still further to my right, and the remaining one through my line. I attempted to stop this silly maneuver of advancing, where men could barely climb, by a flank, and ordered and entreated the officers to go to my left and advance in line of battle, properly, with their skirmishers well forward. I pointed to them the fire they must meet, from three points, so soon as they passed my line, and reminded them that their men would be shot down like sheep, as marching thus, by a flank, they could not possibly return the fire. All to no purpose, however. An officer of a Pennsylvania regiment said they would show western troops how to storm a hill, and that they were acting under orders, etc. They passed above me, and at once the fire of the enemy ceased, and at a glance I discovered the reason. He saw this column coming up by a flank, and commenced at once to mass a fresh column on its flank. Again I went to the officer, pointed out his situation, showed him where the rebels were massing; but he would listen to nothing, and went forward. A moment of agonizing suspense to me, and the fire opened on them from the three places designated. I never heard a more terrific and incessant fire of musketry. The men stood manfully for a minute — till the next volley was being poured into them — and then, like a flock of frightened sheep, and with exclamations: "We are flanked — they are coming — they are coming," came rushing down upon us, carrying everything before them, like an avalanche, and as far as we could see they were still running shamefully to the rear. I am credibly informed they organized again more than a mile from the scene of this disaster. My men were thrown into temporary confusion, but I at once re-formed in range of the enemy's fire, and, taking the hill at a new point, threatening to flank him in return, again commenced to climb the hill. Our entire brigade was now ordered forward, and this time we gained the hill, and, as regiment after regiment of the Iowa Brigade gained the plateau above us, the rebels, now threatened at every point, fled in confusion, and the battle of Ringgold was over. I lost 29 wounded, none killed, none missing. ... Of 21 officers in the fight, one-third of them were struck. The day following the battle orders were issued reorganizing our division. We are now in the Third Brigade, First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Palmer commanding the regiment, and I commanding the brigade.
Very respectfully, General, your obedient servant,
GEORGE A. STONE,
Colonel Twenty-fifth Iowa Volunteers.
Adjutant General N. B. Baker, Davenport, Iowa [see note 12].
It is always the duty of a commanding officer to take advantage of every opportunity that offers to protect his men from the fire of the enemy in battle. To do this he must carefully study the position of the enemy and, in advancing to the attack, avail himself of the conformation of the ground over which he has to pass, and, if possible, strike the enemy in flank; in short, to execute the movements he is ordered to make with military skill and good judgment, and, while strictly obeying the orders he has received, accomplish the desired results with the smallest possible loss. In the dreadful game of war much depends upon the skill and ability with which the commanding officer handles his troops. While heavy losses cannot always be avoided, it is always a credit to the commanding officer to achieve a victory over the enemy with the loss to his own command reduced to the minimum. Thus, in the series of battles around Chattanooga, in which the Twenty-fifth Iowa participated — Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge and Ringgold — Colonel Stone's official reports clearly show that he obeyed implicitly every order which he received, and that his regiment accomplished all that was required of it with comparatively small casualties. Colonel Stone and the officers of his regiment had freely exposed themselves to the fire of the enemy, and, as shown in the battle of Ringgold, had suffered more severely, in proportion to their number, than the men under their command. This certainly was greatly to their credit. Both officers and men had fully sustained the high reputation they had previously won for the regiment. It will be noted that, immediately after the battle of Ringgold, Colonel Stone was honored by being placed in command of the brigade to which his regiment was attached, and that Lieutenant Colonel Palmer succeeded him as regimental commander.
After the battle of Ringgold the regiment, with its brigade and division, returned to Chattanooga, and, a few days later, marched to Bridgeport, Ala., where it remained until December 23d, on which date the division was ordered to proceed to Woodville, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, at which place it went into winter quarters. Colonel Stone's Brigade was engaged in two expeditions during the winter. The first of these expeditions ended at the town of Lebanon, Ala., at which place and vicinity there were a considerable number of citizens who had remained true to the cause of the Union, many of whom came to Colonel Stone's camp, where they were organized into companies and furnished with arms and ammunition. They subsequently became part of a Union regiment and rendered good service to their country. Upon his return to Woodville, Colonel Stone was ordered to proceed to Cleveland, East Tenn., at which place his command constituted a garrison for the post until early in March, 1864, when the brigade rejoined the division at Woodville, where it remained until the beginning of the great Atlanta campaign, in which it was to take a most conspicuous part.
To give a detailed description of the operations of the Twenty-fifth Iowa during the remainder of its term of service would far exceed the limitation of space to which the compiler of this condensed historical sketch is subjected. He can, therefore, only give the outlines of its splendid service during the Atlanta campaign, its subsequent march to the sea and, from Savannah, through the Carolinas to Washington. The regiment had — prior to the commencement of the campaign — been again placed in a brigade composed exclusively of Iowa troops, as follows: The Fourth, Ninth, Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first regiments of Iowa Infantry. These four regiments remained together until the close of the war and became known throughout the army as the "Iowa Brigade of the Fifteenth Corps." Colonel J. A. Williamson of the Fourth Iowa, by virtue of his seniority in rank, became the commander of the brigade, and Colonel Stone resumed command of the Twenty-fifth Iowa. Colonel Williamson had entered the service with his regiment early in 1861, and had succeeded to the command of the regiment when Colonel Dodge was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. The brigade, therefore, came under the command of an officer with a distinguished record. He had long been in command of a brigade and had well earned the promotion to the full rank of Brigadier General [see note 13]. The record of the Twenty-fifth Iowa is practically identified with that of the Fourth, Ninth and Thirty-first during the campaigns which ensued to the close of the war. On the 1st of May, 1864, the brigade and division marched from Woodville to join the army at the front. It first met the enemy in fierce conflict at Resaca, Ga. The operations of the brigade in that battle are fully described in the official report of Colonel Williamson, from which the following extract is made:
About 10 o'clock on the 13th instant the brigade was ordered into line of battle immediately on the left of the First Brigade, where it remained for two or three hours, when I received orders to move my brigade forward, which I did, taking the direction and keeping the alignment of the First Brigade until I arrived near the fortified hill from which the enemy kept up a heavy fire of artillery and musketry. At this point I halted, keeping my right aligned with the First Brigade, and advancing my left wing so as to bring them under cover, where I remained until the enemy fell back, when I advanced, with the First Brigade on my right, and took possession of the hill immediately in front of the enemy's fortifications, where I remained, skirmishing until a late hour at night. On the morning of the 14th, commenced skirmishing at daylight, and kept it up all day, suffering considerable loss. Late in the afternoon of the 14th, I was ordered by General Osterhaus to send one regiment to support a battery which was engaging the enemy's fortifications. In obedience to this order, I sent the Twenty-fifth Iowa, Colonel Stone. A little later in the evening I was ordered to send a regiment to support the First Brigade, which was assaulting the enemy's line on my right, and, in obedience thereto, sent the Twenty-fifth Iowa, and moved the Fourth Iowa into position to support the battery. I remained in line of battle during the night of the 14th, skirmishing until a late hour, and again resumed the skirmishing at daylight on the 15th, and continued it through the day and until late at night. At daylight on the 16th, I received an order from General Osterhaus to advance into the town of Resaca, the enemy having evacuated it during the night. I have only to say in conclusion, that there was neither straggling nor cowardice in my command. All were anxious to do their duty [see note 14].
Colonel Williamson reports the casualties in his brigade at Resaca as follows: Killed, 6; wounded, 37; total, 43. Colonel Stone reports the casualties in the Twenty-fifth Iowa: Killed, 3; wounded, 15; total, 18 [see note 15]. It will thus be seen that the regiment sustained a loss of one-half the number killed, and nearly one-half the number wounded, in the four regiments of its brigade at the battle of Resaca.
In his next official report, dated at "Camp, near Lovejoy's Station, September 5, 1864," Colonel Williamson describes the movements and operations of his brigade at length, covering the entire period of the campaign, including its movements prior to the battle of Resaca, in which, however, it did not come into conflict with the enemy. From this report the compiler will endeavor to give a condensed account of the part taken by the Twenty-fifth Iowa in this campaign, — one of the most important and vigorously conducted campaigns of the entire war [see note 16]. A summary of the report shows that, on May 16th, the Twenty-fifth Iowa was on duty as provost guard in the village of Resaca. Between the dates May 17th and 20th, the regiment marched with its brigade from Resaca to Kingston, Ga. Remaining in camp at Kingston for three days, it continued the march to Dallas, and arrived in front of that place on the 26th of May. In the skirmishes and heavier fighting, which ensued and lasted until the 31st of May, the Twenty-fifth Iowa bore a conspicuous part, and again demonstrated fully the bravery and efficiency of its officers and men. During the night of May 28th, Williamson's brigade had built a complete line of defensive works. On the 29th, it occupied and continued to strengthen the works, all the time under the fire of the enemy. Soon after dark on the 29th, the brigade was ordered to leave the works and take a position on the main road, to cover the rear of the corps which was then moving out. As soon as the movement began, the enemy made a vigorous attack, when the Ninth and Twenty-fifth Iowa were ordered back to the original position, where they remained until daylight,, holding the enemy in check, when they were joined by the other two regiments of the brigade, which remained in the works during the 30th and 31st of May, successfully defending them, and delaying the advance of the enemy. At daylight, on June 1st, the brigade was ordered out of the works to another line one mile in the rear, which had been constructed to cover the withdrawal of the corps. When the corps had passed the works, the brigade moved out and acted as rear guard on the march to New Hope Church, the enemy following closely, as far back as Dallas.
The enemy fell back on the night of June 4th, and the brigade continued the march to Ackworth, where it arrived on June 6th, and remained in camp until the 10th, when it again moved forward toward Kenesaw Mountain, and, on June 11th, had reached a position in front of that stronghold of the enemy. During the contest for the possession of Kenesaw Mountain, which lasted for twenty-one days, the endurance and bravery of the officers and men of Williamson's Iowa Brigade was put to the severest test, and the Twenty-fifth fully maintained the record it had made at Vicksburg, while engaged in much the same character of service it had rendered in that great siege. The frowning heights of Kenesaw proved equally as impregnable to direct assault as had the works around Vicksburg. On June 27th a general assault upon the enemy's strong line of works along the face of the mountain was ordered, in which the Twenty-fifth Iowa, with its brigade, participated and suffered considerable loss. The assault was unsuccessful, and the brigade returned to its line of works, from which it kept up an incessant fire upon the enemy's line until the night of July 2d, when the enemy evacuated his line of defenses on Kenesaw Mountain, and began his retreat in the direction of Atlanta. The enemy fell back slowly, stubbornly resisting the advance of the Union army, and there were frequent skirmishes, in which the Twenty-fifth Iowa and the other regiments of its brigade participated.
On July 20th the brigade marched near to Atlanta and built a line of earthworks. On July 21st it again advanced and built another line of works, but had only just completed and occupied the new line when it was ordered — on the morning of July 22d — to move about three-fourths of a mile to the west and occupy a line of works which the rebels had abandoned on the night of the 21st. Then followed the hard-fought battle of July 22d, 1864, in front of Atlanta, the rebels attacking the Union lines in heavy force. In that battle the Twenty-fifth Iowa shared the honors won by its brigade, and suffered its proportion of the loss of 5 killed, 2 missing and 29 wounded. From the 22d to the 29th of July the regiment was actively engaged in the siege operational with its brigade. On July 28th the rebels made another attack in heavy force, ending in their repulse. The heaviest part of this day's fighting was to the right of the position occupied by Williamson's brigade and, consequently, it took only a minor part in the engagement. On July 30th, the brigade moved to the extreme right of the army and occupied that position until August 6th, when it moved one mile to the front and built a new line of works, in which it remained — expecting an assault from the enemy every day — until August 13th, on which date it participated in an attack, made by its brigade and division, on the enemy's skirmish line, making a complete success, and capturing nearly the entire force of the enemy in the rifle pits.
Active demonstrations were continued almost daily against the rebel works until August 18th, and there were some casualties nearly every day in each of the regiments of the brigade. On August 19th the line was again. advanced, the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Iowa taking the advance and digging new intrenchments. The advanced line was occupied until August 26th, when Colonel Williamson was ordered to move his brigade further to the right of the army, for the purpose of reaching and destroying the railroad on that side of Atlanta. The brigade started at dark on the 26th and marched all night and until 10 A. M. of the 27th; rested until the morning of the 28th, when the march was resumed and the Montgomery Railroad reached at 11 A. M. The brigade took position on each side of the road, and, while the Fourth and Twenty-fifth Iowa were engaged in building a line of defensive works to guard against a sudden attack of the enemy's cavalry, the Ninth and Thirty-first Iowa were engaged in destroying the railroad. After completing the work, the brigade marched on August 30th to a point one mile north of Jonesborough, where, on August 31st, it again came into conflict with the enemy and, after a severe fight, repulsed the attack, the enemy retiring with heavy loss. On the 2d of September the brigade, with the entire division, was sent in pursuit of the retreating forces of the enemy and, upon coming up with the rebel rear guard, a sharp engagement ensued. On the 3d, 4th and 5th of September the regiment was almost constantly on the skirmish line. On the night of the 5th, the division was ordered to return to Jonesborough and go into camp. Atlanta had fallen, and the victory was complete. The total casualties in the brigade during the campaign were 281, and, of this number, the Twenty-fifth Iowa lost 8 unlisted men killed, 4 officers and 49 enlisted men wounded and 4 enlisted men captured. Total loss in the regiment, 65 [see note 17]. It may be regarded as a singular coincidence that the regiment should have had precisely the same number of casualties in the Vicksburg campaign. At the close of his report Colonel Williamson says:
So closes the record of this memorable campaign. I could not make it more brief and do justice to the regiments of the brigade. The vast amount of labor done by this command, in addition to the marching and fighting, and the cheerfulness and zeal with which it has been performed, is sufficient to encourage the best hopes for the success of our army. The troops have neither hesitated nor murmured at any privation or labor. To the officers and men I owe a debt of gratitude for their prompt and willing obedience to orders.
On the 8th of September the regiment went into fortified camp at East Point, where it remained until the 4th of October, when it joined in the rapid pursuit of the rebel General Hood's army. The pursuit was continued by forced marches until October 16th, when the regiment went into camp on the bank of Little River, Ala., in sight of Lookout Mountain. October 20th, the regiment participated in a skirmish with the rebel General Wheeler's cavalry. On October 26th, the countermarch began and, on the 12th of November, the regiment was again in camp near Atlanta. With only a brief rest, after its long and toilsome march, it joined the army of General Sherman in his famous march to the sea. During this memorable march the Twenty-fifth Iowa performed its full share of duty and, on December 21, 1864, closed the triumphal march at Savannah, where it went into camp and enjoyed a brief period of rest. Colonel Williamson was at this time promoted to the command of a division, and Colonel Stone again succeeded to the command of the brigade, which he continued to command until the close of the next campaign, and the end of the war. Lieutenant Colonel Palmer again succeeded to the command of the regiment, which he also retained until the close of the war. The operations of his brigade, in that last great march through the Carolinas and on to Washington, are fully described in the official report of Colonel Stone, and, for the purpose of showing the part taken by the Twenty-fifth Iowa, in that closing campaign, the following extracts are taken from the report [see note 18]:
In accordance with orders, I respectfully report a summary of the part taken by this command in the campaign just ended. The campaign commenced on the 10th day of January, and ended, with my command, on the 26th day of March, 1865, making the duration two months and sixteen days. On the 10th of January last I had orders to march from our camp near Savannah, Ga., to Fort Thunderbolt. On the 12th of January, I took shipping at Fort Thunderbolt for Beaufort, S. C, with all the regiments of my command, save one, (the Twenty-fifth Iowa,) which was left behind to assist in fetching up the transportation of the division. This regiment reported to me at camp near Beaufort, S. C, on the 14th day of January, 1865. On the 27th day of January, we broke up camp and resumed the march. During the campaign this brigade has had four engagements with the enemy; first at Little Congaree Creek, near Columbia, S. C, on the 15th day of February, 1865. The Second Brigade had the advance that day, and commenced skirmishing with the enemy within two miles of the camp we had left that morning. They drove the enemy without further assistance until near Little Congaree Creek, when, from the nature of the ground, the enemy was enabled to make a stubborn resistance. Here my brigade was ordered up, and went into position on the left of the Second Brigade.
After describing the gallant part taken by the Fourth and Ninth Iowa in the engagement, (the other regiments of the brigade having, in the meantime, been held in reserve,) the report makes reference to the part taken by the Twenty-fifth Iowa, as follows:
The whole division now crossed and formed a line of battle on a plateau about a mile from the creek. I again went into position on the left. Some rebel cavalry skirmishers threatening my front, I moved on them with four companies of the Twenty-fifth Iowa, and we soon drove them back to their main line. . . . My next engagement with the enemy was at the city of Columbia, captured by my command on the 17th day of February, an official account of which, with the casualties, and the number of prisoners, was made to you, under date of the 19th of February.
The report referred to gives a graphic description of the capture of the city, in which each of the regiments of Colonel Stone's brigade bore a gallant part. After describing the preliminary movements which led up to the attack, Colonel Stone says:
Everything being now in readiness, the signal was given, and the assault made by all the regiments at the same time. The result proved no mistake either in planning or the execution. Before the enemy was hardly aware of it we were right into the skirmish pits and scattering them in every direction. The Thirtieth Iowa here captured 23 prisoners. I accompanied this regiment in the charge, and can by personal observation testify to the gallant manner in which they made it. In front of the Island are a number of small bayous running parallel to the river about 20 feet wide and waist deep; few stopped to find logs on which to cross, but plunged in, holding guns and cartridge boxes above the water. The enemy seeing his skirmish line destroyed, and the eagerness with which our success was being followed up, became confused and soon broke, leaving our way open to the city. . . . When within a mile of the city, a carriage was discovered approaching, flying a flag of truce. It proved to contain Mr. Goodwin, Mayor of Columbia, and the city aldermen, who came to offer terms of capitulation. After some words had passed, they unconditionally surrendered to me the city of Columbia. . . . Proceeding to the State House with Captain Pratt, I planted the first United States flag on that building. To Iowa alone is credit to be given for capturing the capital of the State that has been disloyal since the days of John C. Calhoun, and the contemplated Capital of the Confederacy, as none but Iowa troops were engaged.
I did not meet the enemy again in any force till the 20th instant, on our march that day from our camp near Cox's bridge on the Neuse River toward Bentonville. The Second Brigade, Colonel Catterson, had the advance that day, and skirmished freely with the enemy, driving him easily until we had arrived within about three miles of Bentonville. The enemy here became stubborn, and threatened an attack on the Second Brigade. I was ordered up and went into position on Colonel Catterson's left. We now advanced our line of battle of two brigades about half a mile, and put up works. About 3 o'clock P. M., I was directed by Brevet Major General Woods, commanding the division, and also by Major General Logan, commanding the corps, to take three regiments, and, if possible, clear the road in our front, and open communication with the Fourteenth Corps, now fighting apparently about a mile from us on our left front. I placed the Twenty-fifth Iowa, Lieutenant Colonel Palmer commanding, (which regiment I had ordered out about an hour before as skirmishers,) to take the advance, and directed the Thirtieth Iowa, Lieutenant Colonel Roberts commanding, and the Thirty-first Iowa, Lieutenant Colonel Jenkins commanding, to follow as a reserve. The Twenty-fifth Iowa was deployed as skirmishers, with their colors in the road I was going to clear, and my first movement with the regiment was to change direction to the right. This movement was made steadily until about three-fourths of the regiment had crossed the road, when our proximity to the rebels on my left and in the road caused very severe skirmishing. Two regiments of the Second Division now came up on my left rear, (I think the Sixth Missouri and Thirtieth Ohio,) one of them, the Sixth Missouri, deployed as skirmishers. I made arrangements with the officer commanding the last mentioned regiment to join the two regiments with mine, and, at a given signal, the Twenty-fifth Iowa and Sixth Missouri should make a charge. The charge proved entirely successful, although at a severe loss in the Twenty-fifth Iowa. We drove the enemy's skirmishers, composed of Hoke's division from the Virginia army, back to their works across the swamp, clearing the road, and opening communication with the Fourteenth Corps. The officers and men of the Twenty-fifth Iowa behaved handsomely and fought desperately. Lieutenant Colonel Palmer, commanding the regiment, and Captain Allen, acting Major, (who lost his right leg in the engagement,) deserve notice for exposing themselves freely, and for the gallant manner in which they cheered their men forward. At night I retired to a new line, and my place was occupied by other troops. . . .
On the 21st instant I had orders to erect a new line of works on the skirmish line, and at 10 o'clock P. M. I moved three regiments to the front line, the Fourth Iowa on the right, connecting on the left of the First Brigade, Brevet Brigadier General Woods commanding; the Thirtieth Iowa in the center; and the Ninth Iowa on the left. The Twenty-fifth Iowa and Thirty-first Iowa were in the rear, held in reserve. We put up a temporary line of works under fire of the enemy, and at 2 o'clock I received orders to charge the enemy's skirmish line, 150 yards in my front, in good skirmish pits. We captured the pits with but slight loss, but the enemy evinced so much determination to regain them that the fighting became very sharp. The enemy's main line of battle, behind good works, was by actual measurement but 100 yards from these skirmish pits, and he fired from the works by volley. At three different times they followed up the fire by volley by an assault on my skirmishers. Their men swarmed over the works and charged gallantly, but I had reinforced the line until I had nearly a line of battle, and our incessant firing prevented him from charging as a perfect organization, and every charge was repulsed. The order came to me so positively, from Generals Howard and Logan, to hold the ground I had already gained, that I should have done so, or ruined the brigade. At night I relieved the skirmishers' line with the Thirty-first Iowa, Lieutenant Colonel Jenkins commanding. Colonel Jenkins managed the new line admirably. It rained a good deal during the night, but his men worked faithfully, and he put up quite a strong line of works so near the enemy that the conversation had to be carried on in whispers. Captain Teale of the Fourth Iowa deserves special notice for his gallantry in holding the most exposed and dangerous part of the line. I regret to announce this gallant young officer was severely wounded in the leg. Lieutenant Colonel Nichols and Major Anderson, of the Fourth Iowa, deserve mention for voluntarily going on the skirmish line when there was some wavering manifested. Captain Bowman, of my staff, also exposed himself freely and deserves notice. I mention these officers from personal observation, as twice during the day I deemed it my duty to go on the skirmish line myself. The other officers on the skirmish lines, Captain Inman, Ninth Iowa, Lieutenant Shields, Fourth Iowa, Lieutenant Sharp, Ninth Iowa, Lieutenant Reffley, Thirtieth Iowa, are all reported to me to have behaved well and set a good example to their men. The loss in the skirmish line was quite severe. I sent you an official list of casualties the same night, and of the prisoners captured.
On the morning of the 22d, half an hour before day, I rode out to the advanced post, and ordered a patrol forward to feel of the enemy; but it was discovered that he had left during the night. I at once sent word to the General commanding division, and, with a detachment of the Thirty-first Iowa, followed him. Everything indicated a precipitate retreat; a few stragglers were picked up; some of their dead and wounded were found near the roadside uncared for, and quite a number of small arms, haversacks and clothing were found scattered in their deserted camp. Just at sunrise I ran onto their rear guard, composed of cavalry, and my detachment being too small to fight it, I covered the road with a few men to make an effect, and ordered some ten or fifteen men as skirmishers to annoy the enemy until a regiment, the Thirty-first Iowa, which I had just ordered up, should arrive. Very soon after this our entire division moved to Bentonville, where we remained during the day, and, at sundown, we returned to the camp we had left in the morning. The graves of 17 rebel officers in my front indicate that the enemy suffered severely in killed and wounded.
On our march to Goldsboro, on the 23d inst., I had the good fortune to have the post of honor — rear guard for the "Army of the Tennessee." The rear of my command fell upon the Twenty-fifth Iowa. On the 24th inst, I was ordered to remain at the pontoon bridge over the Neuse River, near Goldsboro, to cover the crossing of our corps train, and, on the 26th inst., I rejoined the division in camp near Goldsboro. During the campaign just closed, this brigade has been in four engagements with the following loss: Killed, 7; wounded, 64 ; missing, 12. We have captured, and turned over to the provost marshal, 145 prisoners of war. In taking Columbia, S. C, we captured 43 pieces of artillery, about 5,000 stand of arms, immense quantities of ammunition and ordnance stores, and released 40 officers confined there. We have marched 485 miles, built 15,037 yards of corduroy roads, and destroyed 3 miles of railroad. The brigade is in excellent health and spirits, but very ragged. My thanks' are due to all my staff officers, Captain John N. Bell, Twenty-fifth Iowa, A. A. Q. General; Lieutenant Samuel W. Snow, Twenty-fifth Iowa, A. A. A. General; Captain A. Bowman, Ninth Iowa; Lieutenant Baron H. Crane, Twenty-fifth Iowa; Lieutenant D. Rorick, Thirty-first Iowa — now in the hands of the enemy — and J. W. Gilman, Thirty-first Iowa, A. A. Q. M., for the zeal and earnestness with which they have discharged their whole duty in the campaign just ended [see note19].
As will be seen from Colonel Stone's report, his regiment and brigade took a most conspicuous part in the battle of Bentonville, which was the last general engagement of the closing campaign of the war. The Iowa regiments composing his brigade had been assigned to the duty of holding a position of vital importance in that battle, and, under the immediate orders and direction of two of the most distinguished officers of the Union Army, they nobly performed their duty and upheld the honor and credit of their State, whose soldiers had won distinction in all the hardest fought battles of the war.
From Goldsboro, the Twenty-fifth Iowa moved, with its brigade and division, to Raleigh, and thence, after the surrender of the rebel General Johnston and his army, to Washington, D. C. On the 24th of May, 1865, the regiment, with its brigade; under command of its gallant leader, Brevet Brigadier General George A. Stone, participated in that greatest military pageant of modern times — the grand review at Washington. It then went into camp near Washington, and was there mustered out of the service of the United States on the 6th day of June, 1865. Soon after being mustered out, the regiment was provided with transportation to Davenport, Iowa, where it was formally disbanded, and the officers and men departed for their homes, there to resume and discharge their duty as citizens, with the same fidelity they had shown while serving their country as soldiers. Among all the splendid regiments from Iowa, which had marched and fought under the folds of the dear old flag, none reflected greater honor upon the State than its Twenty-fifth Infantry. None rendered more important or effective service.
The compiler extends an old soldier's cordial greeting to the surviving members of the Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry. He has endeavored to perpetuate the memory of the men who composed the regiment and were its history makers. Their personal record of service will be found in the roster which follows this sketch. It is made up from the official reports and returns contained in the military archives of the State and of the War Department in Washington, and is only a transcript of what is found there recorded. It does not and cannot be made to show the details of the service they performed or what they endured and suffered. Many of those who served during the entire term of the regiment, and who may have been engaged in every battle in which it participated, but who were so fortunate as to have been saved from death, or serious injury from wounds or disease, have only the record of continuous service. They were mustered in with the regiment and mustered out with it, and were, therefore, completely identified with its history. But few of the officers or men received special mention for acts of gallantry, but all are frequently commended in the official reports for having bravely performed their duty. Some errors and omissions may appear in these personal records; some names may not have been correctly spelled, and, in some cases, injustice may have been done in the making up of the original records and perpetuated in the transcript. While such errors, if found, are greatly to be regretted, they were unavoidable, and it is hoped and believed that, in the main, the records will be found correct [see note 20].
SUMMARY OF CASUALTIES.
Total Enrollment 1136
Died of wounds 24
Died of disease 201
Discharged for wounds, disease or other causes 164
Buried in National Cemeteries 104
[Note 1.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1863, Vol. 1, page VIII, and the Original Roster of the Regiment, Vol. 1, pages 884 to 917 inclusive.
[Note 2.] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 17, Part 1, page 625, Chickasaw Bayou.
[Note 3.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1864, pages 473, 4.
[Note 4] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 17, Part 1, page 718. Casualties of the Twenty-fifth Iowa at Arkansas Post: Killed, enlisted men 10; wounded, officers 5, enlisted men 41. Total 56. The names of the killed and wounded included in Colonel Stone's report of this battle will be found noted in the subjoined revised Roster of the Regiment, together with the names of the killed and wounded, and those who died from wounds or disease, during the entire term of its service.
[Note 5.] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 24, Part 2, pages 251, 2.
[Note 6.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1864, pages 474, 5.
[Note 7.] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 24, Part 2, page 162.
[Note 8.] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 24, Part 2, page 548. Return of casualties in siege of Jackson, Miss.
[Note 9.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1864, page 475.
[Note 10.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1864,. page 476.
[Note 11.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1864, page 477.
[Note 12.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1864, pages 477, 8.
[Note 13.] Colonel Williamson was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General by brevet Dec. 19, 1864, and brevetted Major General United States Volunteers Jan. 13, 1865.
[Note 14.] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 38, Part 3, page 151.
[Note 15.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1865, Vol. 2, page 1164.
[Note 16.] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Serie's 1, Vol. 38, Part 3, pages 152 to 159 inclusive. Report of Colonel J. A. Williamson, Brigade Commander.
[Note 17.] War of the Rebellion Official Records, Series 1, Vol. 38, Part 3, page 113. Official reports of casualties in Atlanta Campaign.
[Note 18.] Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1866, pages 423 to 426 inclusive.
[Note 19.] The brevet rank of Brigadier General United States Volunteers was conferred upon Colonel George A. Stone, Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry, March 13, 1865. Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, 1867, Vol. 1, page 159.
[Note 20.] Lieutenant Colonel David J. Palmer, surviving commander of the Twenty-fifth Iowa, informed the compiler of this sketch that the name of Charles W. Payne, of Company B, should have appeared in the report of Colonel Stone as the soldier of Company B who was one of the Color Bearers of the regiment in the battle of Arkansas Post; and that Hiram Payne, who was a member of Company A, and who died at Vicksburg, August 25, 1865, was not one of the Color Bearers at Arkansas Post. The rosters of the two companies confirm this statement, showing that Hiram Payne was a Private in Company A, and that Charles W. Payne was the only soldier of that name in Company B, but the compiler could not change the name, as it appeared in the report and was, therefore, official.
SOURCE: Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers During the War of the Rebellion, Volume 3, p. 903-17