Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dedication Exercises at the Sixth Iowa Regimental Monument: Shiloh National Military Park

November 22, 1906

9:45 A.M.

Music: Fifty-fifth Iowa Regimental Band
"Lead, Kindly Light"

Introduction of Speaker:
Captain Charles W. Kepler

A son of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander J. Miller, who at the time of the battle of Shiloh was Lieutenant of Co. G, Sixth Iowa, but who on July 18, 1863, became Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, will speak a few words for the Sixth Iowa Infantry.

Jesse A. Miller of Des Moines, Iowa

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have heard this morning that certain regiments went into this battle as green troops. That is true of almost all the regiments that were here, for this was one of the early battles of the war, but there was no regiment that was placed here in as bad a predicament as the Sixth Iowa. On the morning that the battle commenced, its Colonel was in command of a brigade. Its Major was away on staff duty, and its Lieutenant Colonel was drunk and unable to command the regiment. The regiment fought here on this field for some time, without any commanding officer at all, except its company commanders, and when the commander of the brigade found that the Lieutenant Colonel was drunk he had him placed under arrest and sent to the rear. Captain Williams, who was not a ranking captain, was placed in command, and he commanded the regiment during the battle, until he was wounded, and then Captain Walden was placed in command. And so, while I say they were green troops, they were even worse off than other regiments, for they started without any commanding officers at all, and when they got one, he was not the one who had commanded them in the past. And yet this regiment did as valiant service as any regiment engaged. This regiment lost more men killed and mortally wounded in this battle than any other from Iowa, and more than any other regiment engaged, either north or south, with possibly one exception. I believe the Ninth Illinois had more men killed or mortally wounded here than the Sixth Iowa.

Throughout this battle, when Albert Sidney Johnston in the front was charging them, this regiment stood as a wall until they were driven back, and when driven back, although separated into two detachments, they again formed and on the second day of the battle they again went into the fight and fought until the end of the engagement.

This monument is erected to the memory of those who fought and suffered here, and it is a fitting memorial. The thing it teaches to us is not so much the valor of those who died and suffered here, as that we who come after them must live a high and noble life to merit what our forefathers have done for us. I, as one who was born after the war, as one who knows nothing of the war except as I have heard and read, feel that I am a better man and will live a better life for having visited these battlefields; and I believe that the people of all the states of this Union would be better citizens if they would visit the battlefields and see what we have seen and hear what we have heard. I hope that as the days go by and as the years roll on, that annually there will be pilgrimages from the north and from the south to these fields, that inspiration may be received by others, as it has been received by us, and that these memorials will ever tend to raise the citizenship of this country and make the people of this nation a better and higher type of civilization than any that has gone before.

Rev. S. H. Hedrix of Allerton, Iowa

"Our Father and our God, we praise thee for all of this great work and for this great regiment. Do thou bless the Sixth Iowa, its living and its dead; Lord bless and care for them all. Help us who are here today to know that our part is linked together with all of these great regiments on this and other fields, and do thou keep us all near to thee, looking forward and upward to better things, with purity of heart and life. May we keep our schools, our churches, our homes and our land, in all of its civilization, growing wondrously, in the great Redeemer's name.  Amen."

SOURCE:  Alonzo Abernathy, Editor, Dedication of Monuments Erected By The State Of Iowa, 212-4

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