Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dedication of the Iowa Monuments at Shiloh National Military Park: Introductory

The ceremonies attending the dedication of Iowa monuments on the battlefield of Shiloh as outlined by the official program, were arranged for November 23, 1906, 1:30 P.M., at the Iowa State Monument, near Pittsburg Landing.

The commission desiring that further tribute should be paid to the Iowa soldiers at Shiloh on the sacred ground where, with their respective regiments they met the foe, was instrumental in so arranging the itinerary as to give a day for services at the Iowa regimental monuments in various parts of the Shiloh field. Accordingly it was planned that two days should be spent on the battlefield, the party to arrive at Pittsburg Landing Thursday morning, November twenty-second, and to depart the following evening, and that the regimental exercises should be held on the morning of the first day.

These exercises involved the matter of transportation for one hundred and fifty people or more over a five-mile circuit at a place where there were no public conveyances. To obviate the difficulties anticipated, an arrangement was made to bring carriages from Corinth and other distant towns; but while at Chattanooga the commission was notified that this plan had been abandoned because of high water which had made the streams next to impassable. In the dilemma the chairman of the commission, Colonel W. B. Bell, left the governor’s party, going by rail to Corinth, thence by team to the Landing, and spent a day driving through the surrounding region, rousing the inhabitants to the necessity for providing transportation of some sort, and notifying them to bring what they had to “the store” at the Landing at 8:30 A.M. the next day. The Tennesseans came, some twenty-five in number, with teams of horses and mules, with lumber wagons in variety, and as the governor's party marched up from the river preceded by the band, all were given seats in the unique conveyances and the procession moved out upon the field.

The exercises of this day were in charge of Captain Charles W. Kepler, who led the procession and determined the order in which it should move, which was, proceeding first to the extreme right of the Union battle line, thence dedicating the monuments in the order in which they came while moving from the right to the left. At each regimental position the company alighted and forming in a group about the monument joined in loving tribute to those whom the memorial honored.

The dedication ceremonies began at the monument of the 16th Infantry.

SOURCE:  Alonzo Abernathy, Editor, Dedication of Monuments Erected By The State Of Iowa, p. 201-2

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