Monday, December 19, 2011

The Twenty-Eighth Iowa Infantry

The Twenty-eighth was made up of companies raised in the counties of Benton, Iowa, Tama, Poweshiek, Johnson and Jasper, in August and September, 1862. At the time it went into camp at Iowa City it numbered 956 men. The field officers were, colonel, William E. Miller; lieutenant-colonel, John Connell: major, H. B. Lynch. Early in November it embarked for Helena, Ark., where it remained most of the time until January 11, 1863, when it joined General Gorman's expedition up the White river. The weather was very severe, and the men suffered greatly from exposure and sickness, resulting in many deaths. Returning to Helena, the regiment went into rude winter quarters, where disease ravaged the camps and death and misery reigned everywhere. With clothing worn out, clad in rags, living in rude huts, without pay, or any of the ordinary comforts of life, it was a winter of wretchedness and despair never forgotten. On the 14th of February General Washburn left Helena with a large force to remove the obstructions from Yazoo Pass. Great trees had been felled across the river, and the men worked here in the swamps and water, dragging with cables the obstructions from the pass. Soon after the return to camp Colonel Miller resigned, and was succeeded by Colonel Connell, and Capt. B. W. Wilson was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. On the 11th of April the Twenty-eighth, then brigaded with the Twenty-fourth Iowa, and other regiments started on the Vicksburg campaign. It was first under fire at the battle of Port Gibson, and fought bravely, losing seventeen men. At the battle of Champion Hill, on the 16th, the officers and men fought like veterans. General Hovey says: "Of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-eighth Iowa — in what language shall I speak? Scarcely more than six months in the service, and yet no troops ever showed more bravery or fought with more valor." The Twenty-eighth in this battle lost 100 men in killed and wounded. It was in the siege of Vicksburg, and after its surrender was sent to assist in the Jackson campaign. Major Lynch resigned and was succeeded by Capt. John Meyer.

In September the regiment was sent to western Louisiana and was with General Franklin's army on its march to Opelousas in November.

In March it was sent to join General Banks in the disastrous Red river expedition. It fought well at Sabine Cross Roads, where Colonel Connell was severely wounded and taken prisoner; in the absence of higher officers Capt. Thos. Dillin took command. When the army, in its retreat, reached Grand Ecore, Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson joined his regiment, bringing a number of recruits.

In June the regiment was lying at Carrollton where Colonel Connell, who had been exchanged, rejoined his command, having lost an arm at the time of his capture. In July, 1864, the regiment embarked for Alexandria, Va., which place it reached on the 2d of August. Soon after it was sent with the Twenty-second and Twenty-fourth Iowa to join Sheridan's army in the Shenandoah Valley.

At the battle of Winchester it was heavily engaged and lost ninety men. On the 22d it was in the battle of Fisher's Hill, where it captured a battery with small loss.

At the battle of Cedar Creek the Twenty-eighth did valiant service. Overborne, in the early part of the day by the furious onset of the enemy, the regiment made a vigorous resistance and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson was borne from the field severely wounded. Major Meyer took command and soon, the tide of battle turning; the confederates were driven with heavy loss, the Iowa regiments joining in the pursuit. The Twenty-eighth lost nearly a hundred men in killed, wounded and prisoners.

In January, 1865, it was sent to Savannah and joined Schofield, and remained in Georgia until late in June, when it was mustered out of the service, numbering about 500. It reached Davenport in August, where it was disbanded.

SOURCE, Benjamin F. Gue, Biographies And Portraits Of The Progressive Men Of Iowa, Volume 1, p. 110-1

No comments: