Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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

November 22, 1906

11:50 A. M.

Music Fifty-fifth Iowa Regimental Band:
“Onward, Christian Soldiers” “Rock of Ages”

Introduction of speaker:
Colonel G. W. Crosley

Mr. Chairman, Governor Cummins, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Representing the Third Iowa Infantry upon the Iowa commission for the erection of monuments upon this historic battlefield, it becomes my sacred duty to my comrades of the old regiment — both the dead and the living — to give personal testimony as to the courage and devotion they displayed upon this field on the sixth and seventh of April, 1862. This monument is erected upon the line of battle where the Third Iowa fought the longest and suffered its greatest loss. Extending to the left you see the monuments of the Twenty-eighth, Thirty-second and Forty-first Illinois regiments which — with the Third Iowa — constituted the First Brigade of the Fourth Division of the Army of the Tennessee. For long hours the fighting on this line was hard, determined, and persistent. The brigade was at last compelled to fall back by the enemy forcing the troops immediately on our left to retire, thus rendering this position untenable. The inscription upon the bronze tablet attached to this monument tells how the regiment fought, and shows its loss to have been one-third of the number engaged. That inscription is its best eulogy.

It gives me great pleasure to present to you one who fought in the ranks of the Third Iowa here, as a private soldier, and who afterwards suffered as a prisoner of war at Andersonville — a typical Iowa soldier and citizen — who will add his tribute to the memory of his comrades who fought and fell upon this field: The Honorable Joseph A. Fitchpatrick.

Private J. A. Fitchpatrick, Third Iowa Regiment

Mr. Chairman, Governor Cummins, Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Third Iowa Infantry landed here about March 20, 1862, and went into camp about one-half mile north of this monument. It was a part of the First Brigade, Fourth (Hurlbut’s) Division, and went into action Sunday morning, April 6, 1862, on the south side of this field, but in order to get in alignment with other troops, soon fell back to this line, leaving the open field in our front. We maintained this position for about five hours, repelling frequent assaults resulting in terrific slaughter of the enemy and considerable loss to ourselves.

According to the official reports of the eight regiments of Confederates suffering the greatest loss in the battle of Shiloh, the losses of seven of them occurred in this immediate front, and the loss in killed and wounded in our brigade here posted was the greatest of any brigade on the Federal side in the entire army engaged on the field of Shiloh.

About two o'clock in the afternoon, by reason of the turning of the left flank of our division, we fell back two hundred yards and there maintained our position for one hour more, and then for like reason we retired to Wicker field, two hundred yards farther and remained until four o'clock when both flanks having given away, the regiment retired, fighting all the way to its camp, and there finding itself nearly surrounded broke through the ranks of the enemy and all, except thirty, who were there captured, succeeded in joining the command of Colonel Crocker about one-half mile from the Landing and there remained in line during the night.

On Monday the survivors were in action under Lieutenant Crosley, he being the senior officer present for duty, and charged and captured a battery near Jones’ field. No losses occurred on the second day.

On Sunday the loss was 23 killed in action, 17 mortally wounded, who shortly afterwards died; 117 others wounded, most of them seriously, and 30, including Major Stone, captured. Total number engaged in line was about 500 on the first day and 250 on the second day.

The total loss of the regiment during the war was 127 killed and died of wounds; 122 died of disease, 321 wounded and 227 discharged for disabilities contracted in the service, making a total of 798 casualties of a total enrollment of 1,099.

On the whole we claim for the Third Iowa a record made upon the field of Shiloh as honorable and effective as that of any other organization here engaged.

Albert B. Cummins, Governor of Iowa

Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen of the Shiloh Commission:

There has been gradually growing in my throat since we began this journey a lump that effectually precludes speech. Possibly, however, I can find words to thank the members of the commission for the beauty of their regimental monuments. It seems easy to design a memorial to commemorate the soldiers of the whole state, and into which a great part of an appropriation may go, but I desire to thank the members of this commission for having presented regimental monuments which I believe have no superiors upon any of the battlefields that we have visited.

We seem to be getting a little closer to the army — a little closer to our “boys” as we hold these memorial exercises upon the very spots where the regiments fought and lost their men. I believe a little more sacred emotion is expressed here than can possibly be expressed over there where tomorrow we will dedicate all these monuments to the honor of the Iowa boys.

Some one said this morning that the men from Iowa were inexperienced; just from their homes. It is so, but remember that bravery is not a matter of experience; bravery is not taught to men. Courage is born in men, or it is never attained. And so it is not wonderful that these boys from Iowa were courageous upon this field, even though they had never before heard the sound of battle and knew nothing of the horrors — the awful horrors — of war. They were brave because they were born of brave, righteous mothers. They were brave because they had breathed the spirit of fidelity to duty, and they came to suffer and to die for their country, and they did suffer for it and die for it as bravely, as courageously, at the beginning of the war as they did at the end of the war. I am sure that we feel now the very climax of the pride that has so often run like a thrill through our veins in the last ten days. I am sure that we feel it renewed as we pass from point to point upon this great battlefield, and find that here, as we have found before, whenever and wherever the fight was hottest, there we find monuments to the Iowa soldiers. We of our state, I am sure, grow in gratitude as we observe that the boys of 1861 knew that the post of honor was the post of danger.

And so we love these lasting monuments, and dedicate these, with all the others, to the dear memory of the men who died here, — not only to the men who died here, but the men who suffered here, because these monuments are not reared alone for those who have paid the last debt of patriotism, but they are reared to the honor of every Iowa soldier who, upon this battlefield, offered his life, whether the relentless god of war took it or not. And so we part upon this morning's journey, another step in the sad, beautiful mission upon which we are engaged; and I know that there is not a heart here that has not been inspired to higher, better things because we have stood around these regimental monuments, and have rendered our final tribute to the memories of these men, at the altars upon which some laid down their lives, and before which all of them earned their title to eternal fame.

Rev. S. H. Hedrix of Allerton. Iowa

To me the Third Iowa is dear. When they fell back to the Second Iowa, my regiment, the Twenty-third Missouri, touched shoulders with them; and listening to the eloquent words of Governor Cummins and others around here it seems to me that God's inspired servant uttered a great truth. We are all poor mortals and walk only as we are directed. Oh, how we need God's help:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

“The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

“For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

“And now, may God recognize and approve the great good work of our state, of our governor, and of our great nation and guide us under the shadow of the wings of' his great love, to an eternal home, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Bugler, Fifty-fifth Iowa Regimental Band

SOURCE:  Alonzo Abernathy, Editor, Dedication of Monuments Erected By The State Of Iowa, 238-41

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