Monday, April 22, 2013

The Iowa Fifth Regiment Volunteers

We presume that a few items, in regard to the organization and movements of this regiment since it has been in the field, will not prove altogether uninteresting to our readers as there has been considerable interest taken in its welfare by high military distinction and civilians. The Fifth first rendezvoused at Burlington, Iowa and the most of the companies were mustered into the United States on the fourteenth of July last.  The field officers commanding the regiment were W. H. Worthington, Colonel, of Keokuk, C. L. Mathies, Lieutenant Colonel, of Burlington (formerly a Captain in the three month’s service under General Lyon), W. S. Robertson, Major, Columbus City, and J. P. Foley, Adjutant, from Bellevue, all of Iowa.  The regiment left Burlington on the 3d of August for Keokuk, where they were quartered for a couple of weeks and took part in the memorable engagement at Athens.  On the eleventh of August left for St. Louis on board the Die Vernon, and after a quick and pleasant trip, arrived there on the 13th.  From there went to Jefferson City were after spending some time were provided with tents and uniforms, our guns having been delivered to us on our voyage up the river.  Much dissatisfaction was exhibited by some of the companies on receiving the common muskets, for they had expected to get rifles.  No blame was attached to our Colonel, however for he had done all that mortal men could do and received the assurance, as some say, that his men would not have to use them but thirty days.  The time must be up now.  While at Jefferson City, the most of the time was spent in drilling and perfecting the troops in the manual of arms.  Nothing occurred worthy of note here, unless we except a trip made to Columbia, for the purpose of showing the people of that place our new knapsacks.  From thence, we were ordered to the Osage – a small place, 8 miles below Jefferson – to guard the R. R. bridge, on the St. Louis and Pacific Railroad, which the rebels, instigated by Claib, had kindly endeavored to burn last spring.  From there back to Jefferson City where we remained for a while sweltering beneath the rays of powerful sun to which our canvass tents offered but poor protection, and finally started for Boonville aboard the War Eagle, which we reached on the 14th of September, ult.  After being quartered at this place and Glasgow for a number of weeks, we were ordered on the memorable march to Springfield, departing on the 14th of October.  Of the trip and numerous incidents which befell us on our march to the latter place I have not time to speak.  Just two months had elapsed ere we made our appearance on the Fair Ground of Boonville again, and we were not sorry for all of the places we have seen in Missouri, Boonville takes the lead in beauty, intelligence, and uniform kindness on the part of the citizens.  The other regiments, Illinois 37th and Missouri 9th, composing the brigade with us under Gen. Kelton, are now quartered at Lamine bridge and if reports speak truly are not very well contented.  We had been in expectation of being ordered into winter quarters either at Tipton or St. Louis, – and our sick were sent to the latter place, – but our sudden departure for Boonville coupled with the fact that the other three companies of our regiment left at Syracuse, are to join us in a few days, would seem to indicate that we are to spend the winter here.  The Fifth regiment numbers among its officers and privates some of the most intelligent, enterprising and patriotic citizens of Iowa – men, who have forsook their farms, offices and counting houses, to shoulder a musket – who enlisted from no mercenary motives – but for the maintenance of the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws.  But although we have traveled to almost every point of note in the State where it was rumored the secesh would make a stand we have been unsuccessful in getting into an engagement.  None of our boys have been wiped out by the enemy’s bullets while few, comparatively, have fallen victims to disease.  So far the regiment has been tolerably well clothed though in one instance clothing which was destined for us, was forwarded to another regiment, giving us theirs, which consisted of the despicable roundabout.  We are somewhat in need of a new stand of colors, and it is probably that the patriotic ladies of Iowa will send us one ere long.  The band is not quite so full as desirable but, we understand that steps are being taken up to fill it up.  Taking all things into consideration, we have no reasonable ground for complaint, our regiment being fully as well equipped, officered, and disciplined as any in the service. – {Boonville Register.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 1, 1862, p. 3

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