Iowa in the Civil War














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Iowa in the American Civil War

Iowa and the Civil War (1861-1865)

Iowa (1861-1865)

According to the census of 1860 the population of Iowa was
674,948. The early spring of 1861 was a period of general
unrest. Several of the Southern states had seceded from the
Union before President Lincoln was inaugurated. Iowa watched
the movement with interest and stood ready to check its prog-
ress whenever the proper authorities should give the word.
On April 16, the day following the president's call for 75,000
troops, a telegram from the war department called upon Gov.
Kirkwood for a regiment of militia for immediate service.
Col. Vandever carried the telegram from Davenport to the
governor's farm near Iowa City. When the governor had
read it, he expressed some doubt about being able to raise
"a whole regiment of men." And, indeed, at the commence-
ment of the war, although Gov. Kirkwood exerted himself
to the utmost of his ability to raise troops for the defense of
the state, and for the purpose of complying with the calls of
the U. S. Government, the task seemed one of considerable
difficulty; for Missouri, on the southern border of the state,
was not then loyal, and Nebraska, at the west, though loyal,
had too few inhabitants to be able to oppose much resistance
to an armed invasion. But the work of recruiting was imme-
diately begun, and Gov. Kirkwood soon discovered that his
doubts were without foundation. It was easier to raise the
men than to secure equipments for them. To provide for
the necessary expenses he summoned the legislature of the
state to meet in extra session on May 15. The day before
the legislature met, the 1st infantry was mustered into the
service of the United States at Keokuk, and other regiments
were in process of formation, but the question of arming and
equipping the men became a serious one. From all parts
of the state came the demand for muskets. When the special
session of the legislature met. Gov. Kirkwood delivered his
message, in which he made use of the following language:
 
"In this emergency, Iowa must not and does not occupy a
doubtful position. For the Union, as our fathers formed it,
and for the government they formed so wisely and so well,
the people of Iowa are ready to pledge every fighting man in
the state, and every dollar of her money and credit; and I
have called you together in extraordinary session for the pur-
pose of making that pledge formal and effective.
 
"The procuring of a liberal supply of arms for the use of
the state is a matter that I earnestly recommend to your early
and serious consideration. The last four weeks have taught
us a lesson which I trust we may never forget — that peace is
the proper time in which to prepare for war.
 
"I feel assured the state can readily raise the means necessary
to place her in a position consistent alike with her honor and
her safety. Her territory, of great extent and unsurpassed
fertility, inviting and constantly receiving a desirable emigra-
tion; her population of nearly three-quarters of a million of
intelligent, industrious, energetic, and liberty-loving people;
her very rapid past and prospective growth; her present financial
condition, having a debt of only about one-quarter of a million
of dollars, unite to make her bonds among the most desirable
investments that our country affords."
 
No doubt about being able to raise "a whole regiment
of men," now existed in Gov. Kirkwood's mind. Already
enough companies to organize five regiments had been formed,
and the recruiting still went on. From the experience of the
last four weeks, he had learned the spirit of Iowa's sons; and
it was no exaggeration when he said in his message that Iowa
stood ready to pledge the last man and the last dollar to pre-
serve the Union.
 
On May 28 the legislature passed an act appointing the
governor of the state, Charles Mason of Des Moines county,
William Smyth of Linn, James Baker of Lucas, and C. W.
Slagle of Jefferson, a commission to sell from time to time,
as exigencies demanded, bonds to the amount of $800,000,
the proceeds to constitute a "war and defense fund." In
order to make the loan a popular one, one-fourth of the bonds
was ordered to be printed in denominations of $100; one-fourth,
of $500, and the remainder, of $1,000, each. But through
the careful management of Gov. Kirkwood only about $300,000
of this war and defense fund was used.
 
On the same date the governor was empowered to purchase
5,000 stands of arms and such quantities of ammunition as
he might deem necessary, also tents, clothing and camp equip-
age, all to be paid for from the war and defense fund. A joint
resolution to uniform the 1st regiment in the same manner
as the 2nd and 3d regiments had been uniformed, had been
passed four days before. A memorial to the president asking
permission to form an "Iowa Brigade" of the regiments then
organized, and also to permit Iowa to furnish at least one com-
pany of cavalry, was adopted during the session.
 
These acts, resolutions, and memorials, were not passed
without some opposition. Although a majority of the members
were in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war, there was
a considerable minority that held the opposite view. They
wanted a cessation of hostilities, to hold peace conventions,
to compromise, etc. On July 22, about a month after the
special session adjourned, this minority met and passed resolu-
tions declaring the $800,000 loan unconstitutional. They
based their opinion on a clause in the state constitution, which
provided that "the credit of the state shall not be given in
any manner for any purpose. To meet casual deficits in the
revenue, the state may borrow not exceeding $250,000 at any
one time, and the state may contract debt to repel invasion
or suppress insurrection." The money-loaners outside of the
state took the same view of the constitutional provision, and
the bonds were not sold. In this emergency Gov. Kirkwood
appealed to the patriotic people of Iowa. The first regiments
were clothed and equipped upon the personal security of Gov.
Kirkwood, Hiram B. Price, Samuel Merrill and Ezekiel Clark.
Cloth for uniforms could not be obtained in Chicago, because
the supply had been exhausted. Samuel Merrill ordered enough
from Boston for 1,500 uniforms. When it arrived the loyal
women of Iowa set to work to make it up into garments. Early
and late toiled the wives, mothers and sweethearts of Iowa's
soldier boys, to send them to the front properly equipped.
Perhaps a tear from the eye of some fair seamstress now and
then fell upon the cloth as she thought that the wearer might
fill a nameless grave in the enemy's country.
 
Nor were the resolutions adopted by the "Mahoneyites,"
as they were called, the only expression of the "foes within."
At Ossian a Confederate flag was raised amid the cheers of
the assembled populace. In Marion county, on July 10, a
meeting adopted resolutions to the effect that "Under the
administration of President Lincoln we behold our beloved
country distracted at home and disgraced abroad; commerce
paralyzed; trade annihilated; coasts blockaded; rivers shut
up; the constitution trampled under foot; citizens imprisoned;
laws suspended; legislatures overawed by bayonets; debts
repudiated, and states invaded and dismembered." Even
in the capital of the state, the course of Gov. Kirkwood and
the administration of President Lincoln were condemned in
public meetings.
 
Meantime the progress of secession was watched with much
solicitude in Iowa, and upon the call of the president for a
military force, the troops of the state were among the earliest
in the field. The organization of the regiments went steadily-
forward. Soon after the 1st had been mustered in, the 2nd
was accepted by the governor. The 3d infantry and 1st cavalry
were also mustered into the service during the early summer.
Cyrus Bussey of Bloomfield was colonel of the 3d cavalry, and
when he began the organization he issued a call for each man
to bring a good horse to sell to the government. He went
to Chicago and personally contracted for all the necessary
equipments. The result was that, within two weeks from the
time the first man was enlisted, the regiment was complete
and ready for service. (See Records of the Regiments.)
Notwithstanding the work of recruiting volunteer troops,
a lively interest was taken in the political campaign of 1861.
On July 31, the Republicans held a state convention at Des
Moines, at which Gov. Kirkwood was unanimously nominated
for reelection. The platform adopted declared "unalterable
devotion to the constitution and union of states;" condemned
the doctrine of secession as an abomination and abhorrent to
patriotism, and insisted that "government always means
coercion when its lawful authority is resisted." The action
of the general assembly in providing a war and defense fund
was approved. The Democratic convention, which had been
held at the capitol a week before, nominated William H. Merritt
for governor. In the platform the condition of the country
was regarded "as the legitimate result of the successful teach-
ing of the doctrine and policy of the 'irrepressible conflict;'
a doctrine and policy which arrayed northern sentiment in
antagonism to the constitutional rights of the slave states,
and which proclaimed an 'irrepressible' and unceasing hostility
to the domestic institutions of our brethren of the South."

The course of the Southern states "to obtain redress" was unequi-
vocally condemned; the doctrine of secession was "heartily
opposed;" the doctrine of state rights was proclaimed; all paper
money was characterized as "system of legalized swindling;"
and a tariff on imports for the purpose of protection was opposed.
Gov. Kirkwood was re-elected by a majority of 16,608, in a
total vote of 103,098.
 
The legislature which met in Jan., 1862, ''passed acts exempt-
ing the property of soldiers from execution; authorizing the
governor to employ army nurses and surgeons for sick and
wounded Iowa soldiers, and providing transportation for sick
and disabled soldiers discharged because of their disabilities
or sent home on furlough. A second session was held in Septem-
ber, of the same year, at which provisions were made to offer
inducements to volunteers to enlist; also a modification of
the election laws, that volunteers might vote when absent;
and increasing the resources of the executive department.
Early in the year 1862, the 15th regiment of infantry was
mustered into the Federal service at Keokuk. The 16th
infantry was mustered in a few days before the 15th. At the
time the 16th was mustered in, it was generally thought
that it was the last Iowa would be called on to furnish. But
the war was not over, and before the close of 1862 the
Hawkeye state had forty regiments of infantry in the field,
of cavalry four, and three batteries of artillery. In addition,
there were soldiers from the state in the 1st Neb., 5th Kan.,
7th, 10th, 21st and 25th Mo.
 
In Aug., 1862, occurred the Indian outbreak in western Minne-
sota, and the citizens in the northwestern part of Iowa became
alarmed through fear that the war would be carried into this
state. With that promptness for which he was distinguished.
Gov. Kirkwood sent S. R. Ingham to distribute arms and
ammunition to the people of the northwestern counties. Ingham
was authorized to draw on the state auditor for $1,000 to defray
the expenses of organizing the citizens for their defense. He
visited Dickinson, Emmett, Palo Alto, Kossuth, Humboldt
and Webster counties. A company of 40 men was soon organ-
ized and placed under the command of Lieut. Sawyers, with
instructions to increase the number to 80 if thought necessary.
Arms and ammunition were distributed among the people
of the border counties, but before the arrangements could be
completed Little Crow and his band were fleeing toward the
Missouri river and the scare was over.
 
While the fight for possession of Missouri was going on,
the Iowa counties along the southern border were in a constant
state of agitation, fearing an attack from the Confederate forces
gathered at various points south of them. In Aug., 1861, a Con-
federate detachment under Col. Mart. Green made an attempt to
capture some government stores at Athens, a little town on the
Missouri side of the Des Moines river, about 20 miles from Keokuk.
Some of the shots fired from the Confederate cannon on that
occasion flew wild and landed on the Iowa side of the river.
Loyal citizens in these border counties appealed to Gov. Kirk-
wood for arms, and for permission to organize companies for
the defense of their homes. They did not appeal in vain.

Under date of Sept. 11, 1862, the governor wrote a letter to
one man in each of the southern tier of counties authorizing
him to organize a company of from 80 to 100 men. The men
selected for this purpose were Charles W. Lowrie of Lee county;
Joseph Dickey of Van Buren; Hosea B. Horn of Davis; H.
Tannehill of Appanoose; W. W. Thomas of Wayne; James
H. Summers of Decatur; Thomas Ayr of Ringgold; R. A.
Moser of Taylor; John R. Morledge of Page; E. S. Hedges of
Fremont, and D. W. Dixon of Wapello. In his letter of instruc-
tions the governor recommended that a few men of each com-
pany should be kept on duty as scouts, and that the remainder
should stay at home, engaged in their usual avocations, but
subject to call at any time. They were to be known as "minute
men," because they were liable to be called into military ser-
vice at a minute's warning. He also cautioned those com-
missioned to organize companies to "accept none whose devotion
to the government is doubtful." The troops thus organized
were afterward known as the "Southern Border Brigade."
 
In the political campaign of 1862 the Democrats adopted
a long platform. It was declared therein that the constitution,
the Union and the laws must be preserved and maintained;
that rebellion against them must be suppressed; that the war
was only for the purpose of suppressing the rebellion and vin-
dicating the constitution and the laws; that the doctrines of
secession and abolition were alike false to the constitution
and irreconcilable with the unity and peace of the country;
that the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was a menace
to civil liberty; that this is a government of white men, estab-
lished exclusively for them, and negroes ought not to be admitted
to political or social equality, and that the tariff bill recently
passed by Congress imposed unfair and unjust burdens upon
those least, able to bear them. The bravery of Iowa soldiers
was extolled and sympathy extended to the families of those
who had fallen in the struggle. The Republican platform set
forth the principles that the constitution of the United States
is the supreme law of the land; that, for the maintenance of
the government in its hour of peril, it was the duty of every
citizen to devote time, property and life; that the party abhorred
all sympathizers with secession; that the confidence in the presi-
dent of the United States was undiminished; that the valor of
the soldiers of Iowa had earned for them the everlasting gratitude
of the people of the state, and that Iowa stood ready to furnish
her quota of troops in any call that might be made. In the
convention were a number of men who had formerly acted
with the Democratic party. They were welcomed in a resolu-
tion which quoted the words of Stephen A. Douglas: "There
are only two sides to this question: Every man must be for
the United States or against it. There can be no neutrality
in this war — only patriots or traitors." The legislature of
1862 had made provisions by which soldiers in the field could
vote. At home 116,823 votes were cast, and at the front
18,989 by Iowa soldiers. Of this combined vote the Repub-
lican ticket received a majority of 25,874, and all six of the
representatives in Congress were Republicans.
 
While the Iowa regiments were winning victories at the
front, the state was not without its troubles at home. On
the south the roving bands of guerrillas were a constant menace
to the border counties, and all over the state the "copper-
heads," as the Confederate sympathizers were called, grew
more open in their denunciations of the war and of those who
favored its prosecution. The hot bed of this sentiment was
in Keokuk county. On Saturday, Aug. 1, 1863, a meeting
of these so-called "Copperheads" was held on English river
near the town of South English. Among the speakers was
a Baptist minister by the name of George C. Tally, who was
particularly venomous in his arraignment of the national and
state administrations. Fired by his incendiary utterances,
the crowd started for South English with the avowed deter-
miination to "wipe it off the map." Such a demonstration was
not unexpected, and the Union men of the town were ready
to receive them. When they entered the town, wearing butter-
nut colored clothing and decorated with butternut and copper
pins, they were met with shouts of derision. The taunts were
hurled back, and the oil and flame came together. In the
melee which followed more than 100 shots were fired. Tally,
who was the acknowledged leader of the "Copperheads," fell
at the first fire with several bullets in his body, and several
others were wounded. The invaders withdrew and went
into camp in the western part of the county, where they began
recruiting a force to avenge Tally's death. A committee of
citizens, composed of Allen Hale, William Cocliran and Thomas
Moorman, asked the governor to send troops for the protection
of the town, or at least a supply of arms to be distributed among
the citizens in case of necessity. Gov. Kirkwood sent 40 stands
of arms to the committee in care of the sheriff of Washington
county. At the same time he ordered James Adams, the
sheriff of Keokuk county, to investigate and report, and ta
maintain the peace at all hazards. By this time fully 1,000
men had gathered at the "Copperhead" camp. To guard
against any general insurrection, the governor ordered the
Muscatine Rangers, the Washington Provost Guards, the
Brighton Guards, the Richland, Abington and Sigourney
Home Guards, the Fairfield Union, the Fairfield Prairie Guards,
the Liberty ville Guards, and the Mount Pleasant infantry
and artillery, to march to South English, there "to remain
until notified by the sheriff" of Keokuk county that they will
be no longer needed." The command of these eleven com-
panics was given to Capt. Satterlee of the Muscatine Rangers.
After remaining at South English for about two weeks, matters
quieted down and the troops were withdrawn.
 
Provost Marshal Van Eaton, of Fremont county, was killed
by a band of guerrillas going toward Nebraska. Capt. Hoyt
with a body of mounted men pursued the murderers to the
Missouri river, but they made their escape. About 9 o'clock
in the evening on Nov. 10, 1863, the court-house at Sidney,
Fremont county, was wrecked by an explosion. It was not
known whether it was the work of guerrillas bent on robbery,
or was done by interested parties to destroy the records. A
meeting in Davis county passed resolutions to resist the draft,
to drive negroes out of the state, to expel the white men who
brought them in, or to "welcome them with bloody hands
to hospitable graves." These and similar ebullitions kept
Iowa in a state of turmoil during the summer and fall of 1863.
At the beginning of the political campaign of 1863, the consti-
tutionality of the law permitting soldiers in the field to vote
for state officers was called into question. A case was brought
before Judge Isbell, of the 8th judicial district, where it was
held that the law conflicted with that provision of the con-
stitution requiring 60 days residence in the county, and that
all votes cast outside the counties where the voters claimed
residence were illegal and must be rejected. An appeal was
taken from this decision to the supreme court, and with
two other cases came before that body. The court held that:
"The constitution, as applied to the legislative department
of the government, is a restriction, and not a grant of power,
and it is competent for the legislature to prescribe the quali-
fications of electors, and the time, place, and manner of exercis-
ing the elective franchise, when not expressly prohibited from
so doing, or when the prohibition in not implied from some
express prohibition of the constitution.

"Sect. 1, Art. 2, of the constitution of 1857, defines only
the qualifications of an elector, and does not prescribe the
place of exercising the elective franchise, as a test of qualifica-
tion. The power to fix the place and manner of its exercise
is left with the legislature.
"The provisions of an act approved Sept. 11, 1862, entitled
'An Act to amend Title 4, of the Revision of 1860, so as to
enable the qualified Electors of the State in the Military Serv-
ice to vote at certain Elections,' are not inconsistent with
Section 1, Article 2, of the constitution of 1857, for the reason
that they permit such electors to cast their votes at polls opened
and conducted beyond the limits of the county and state
of which they claim to be residents."
 
As soon as this decision was reached, and for the purpose
of taking this vote, the governor appointed a number of com-
missioners to proceed to the different camps in other states
and hold the election. This measure induced the opposition
central committee to address letters to Gens. Grant, Rose-
crans, and Schofield, in command of the western armies, mak-
ing the following inquiries:
 
"1st — Whether the Iowa officers and men of your command
will be permitted to hold an untrammeled election under said
law; and if so —
"2nd — Whether a member of this committee or any com-
petent agent of their selection will be furnished by you with
the same safe conduct and facilities which may be granted
to the governor's commissioners, for the purposes of distrib-
uting ballots to the officers and men, and exercising the legal
right of challenge, as to any vote offered at such elections,
which may be supposed to be illegal, and of promoting by other
lawful means the fair and impartial holding and return of
said elections?"
 
Under date of Aug. 4, Gen. Grant replied from Vicksburg,
as follows:
"L. G. Byington: — Sir: Your letter of the 6th of July
asking if citizens of the state of Iowa will be allowed to visit
this army, and distribute tickets when the election is held
for soldiers to vote, &c., is just received. In reply, I will state,
that loyal citizens of Northern states will be allowed to visit
the troops from their state, at any time. Electioneering,
or any course calculated to arouse discordant feeling, will
be prohibited. The volunteer soldiers of this army will be
allowed to hold an election, if the law gives them the right
to vote; and no power shall prevent them from voting the
ticket of their choice.
"I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient
servant,
"U. S. Grant, Major-General."
 
This letter was not regarded as particularly encouraging
to the committee and the Iowa soldiers were left to hold their
elections in their own way.
 
On June 17 the Republicans held a convention at Des Moines
and nominated William M. Stone for governor. Gov. Kirk-
wood's administration, during his two terms, was endorsed;
the soldiers of Iowa were lauded for their bravery, the act
of the legislature giving soldiers the opportunity to vote was
approved; and the national administration was commended,
in the following resolution:
 
"That we fully and heartily endorse the policy of the admin-
istration, and we will to the utmost continue to sustain the
government in suppressing the rebellion, and to effect that
object we pledge our fortunes and our lives."
 
On July 8, the Democratic state convention met at the capital
and nominated for governor Maturin L. Fisher. Shortly after
the convention Fisher declined to make the race and the central
committee substituted the name of Gen. James M. Tuttle.
In the platform it was declared that the will of the people is
the foundation of all free government; that free speech and
a free press are absolutely indispensable; that the people have
the right to discuss all measures of government and to approve
or disapprove as seems right; that these and all other rights
guaranteed to the people by the constitution are of more value
in time of war than in time of peace, and that these rights
would not be calmly surrendered. War for the purpose of
carrying out the emancipation proclamation was opposed,
as was emancipation by compensating the slave-holders. The
power of the president in suspending the writ of habeas corpus
and declaring martial law in states where war did not actually
exist, was declared unwarranted by the constitution. Gen.
Tuttle, in his letter accepting the nomination, said:
 
"For the present, let us all unite heartily in support of the
government. If the administration adopts measures for the
prosecution of the war that do not coincide with our peculiar
views, let us make no factious opposition to them, but yield
to the constituted authority. Mr. Lincoln is the legally elected
executive of this government, and during his presidential
term we can have no other. The fact that we did not vote
for him renders us under no less obligation to support the
government under his administration than if we had been
his most ardent supporters."
 
The election resulted in the choice of Mr. Stone for governor.
The vote of the soldiers was: Stone, 16,791; Tuttle, 2,904.
Total, 19,695. The whole number of votes cast for governor,
including the army vote, was 142,314, of which Stone received
86,107, Tuttle, 56,132, scattering, 75. The majority for Col.
Stone was 29,975. The Republicans elected 42 members
of the state senate and 87 members of the house of representa-
tives, while the Democrats elected but 2 senators and 5 repre-
sentatives.
 
At the beginning of the legislative session in Jan., 1864,
Gov. Stone was inaugurated. At this session of the legisla-
ture a bill was passed requiring the several counties to levy a
two-mill tax for the benefit of the families of persons in the
military service. A general bill was also passed enabling the
inhabitants of any county to change its name. The object
of the bill was to give the people of Buchanan county an oppor-
tunity to change the name of their county. It was urged
as an objection to the bill, that only one county in the state
could take the name of "Lincoln," hence the danger that every
county in the state would vote at the same time and all select
the same name, and that "Lincoln."
 
The quota of the state under the two calls of the president
for 700,000 men at the close of 1863 and beginning of 1864
was, 22,535 men. At the same time there was a credit due
of 7,881 men. The balance was filled up by April 1 by new
recruits and the reenlistment of veterans, and a surplus obtained.
Among Gov. Stone's noted services to the state and nation
in the early part of 1864 was his earnestness in urging on the
government the 100 days volunteers. With two or three
other governors of northwestern states, he believed that in
the great campaigns about to be inaugurated for that summer,
the hands of our generals could be strengthened by the use
of several thousand men enlisted for short terms. These men,
he maintained, could garrison posts, hold interior lines, guard
railroads, care for the thousands of prisoners in our hands,
and so release for duty at the front a whole army of veteran
soldiers. It was a splendid conception, but the plan was not
so readily adopted as would have been expected. It met,
indeed, with extreme opposition at its very inception. S. H.
M. Byers, in his "Iowa in War Times," gives in substance the
following account of the meeting at Washington when the
matter was under consideration: Gov. Stone was on intimate
terms with President Lincoln, and at an interview between
the president and the governors who wished to offer the troops,
appealed to the president in deep earnestness for their accept-
ance. Mr. Lincoln's whole cabinet was present. So, too,
was Maj.-Gen. Halleck. "Let us have your opinion. Gen.
Halleck," said Mr. Lincoln. "No faith in it at all! Volunteers
won't earn their clothes in a hundred days," answered the gen-
eral, emphatically. "But look at Wilson's creek," interrupted
Gov. Stone; "Iowa's 100 days' men won that battle; look at
Donelson, stormed by men who never fired a gun before."
"You are right," cried the president, slapping his knee as he
spoke. "Mr. Chase, can you raise the money and how much
will the venture cost?" turning to the finance secretary. "Yes,"
was the quick answer, "the money can be had. The prop-
osition is excellent, and there are the figures." Sec. Stanton
also favored the proposition, and before the meeting closed,
the governors were authorized to raise the regiments.
Stone hurried home and in a stirring and patriotic appeal
asked young Iowa again for men. His letter to the people
was one of the best expositions of the critical situation of pub-
lic affairs that had appeared anywhere. In language burn-
ing with eloquence and patriotism, he urged the immediate
raising of the 100 days regiments. All the young men in the
stores and shops were begged to enroll themselves and con-
nect their names with those of the heroes at the front. The
young women of the state were urged to do as their sisters
in Mt. Pleasant and Burlington — volunteer to supply the
places of young men enlisting to be soldiers. Rapidly the
regiments were filled up and in quick time Iowa had nearly
4,000 more men marching toward Dixie.
 
Just as Gov. Stone was hurrying to organize his 100 days
men, the draft was proceeding in other states, and the war
department also ordered a draft in certain derelict districts
of Iowa, unless the governor should object. And he did object,
until all other states should do as Iowa had done — fill their
quotas — and, in any event, until the state should have failed
in raising the 100 days men. A few men in certain districts
had been drafted in Iowa, but had the full number of volunteers
been credited on the books of the war department, no draft
at any time would have been necessary in the state. Indeed,
so ready were the people to enter the army, that when the
call for 300,000 men was made in Dec, 1864, the governor
found upon a settlement with the war department that all
previous demands had not only been filled, but the state was
placed beyond the liability of a draft under that last call. Prob-
ably Iowa is the only state that was always ready with her
quota, and every one of her soldiers a volunteer.
 
Some of the men enrolled from Poweshiek county failed
to report for duty on Oct. 1, and the provost marshal sent
Capt. John L. Bashore and J. M. Woodruff to arrest the deserters
and bring them in. About 14 miles south of Grinnell the
two officers were fired upon from ambush. Woodruff was
instantly killed and Bashore mortally wounded, but he managed
to wound one of the waylaying party, a man by the name of
Gleason, who was left behind while the others fled. The pro-
vost marshal ordered out a company of militia at Grinnell.
Bashore lived long enough to make a statement to the captain
of this company as to what had taken place, and the man
Gleason told who the parties were that had made the assault
upon the officers.
 
Some time before this incident occurred a company of militia
had been organized in Poweshiek county. Most of the members
of this company lived in Sugar Creek township, where the
outrage occurred. The company was known as the "Democrat
Rangers," and Robert C. Carpenter was the captain. Accord-
ing to Gleason's. story it was members of this pretended mihtia
company that resisted the attempt to arrest the deserters
and committed the assault on Bashore and Woodrufif. Gov.
Stone on Oct. 4, furnished a list of the "Rangers" to Capt.
W. R. Lewis and ordered him to take his company, arrest
every man whose name appeared on the list, and to take up
his arms and equipments. On the 6th the men were all under
arrest at Grinnell. Gov. Stone ordered the adjutant-general
to go there and personally examine every man. All that he
thought were guilty, and against whom there was evidence
enough to secure conviction, were to be held for trial. The
rest were to be discharged. Most of the men were liberated,
several were held for trial and a few were convicted, but Capt.
Carpenter's company was completely broken up. On Oct.
12 a party of guerrillas wearing Federal uniforms and mounted
on good horses crossed the southern border near the south-
east comer of Davis county and began plundering the citizens.
They first called upon Robert Gustin, from whom they took
a good watch and $160 in money. From Thomas Miller they
took $110; they broke William Downing's gun, and even robbed
a small boy of his few pennies and a pocket knife. At Bloom-
field the county fair was in progress. A messenger rode into
the fair grounds with the news that the guerrillas were raid-
ing the southern part of the county. Instantly people lost
all interest in the fair. A company of men v^as quickly organ-
ized and, at the suggestion of one of the citizens, was placed
under the command of J. B. Weaver, late colonel of the 2nd
la. With his command of raw recruits, well mounted but
indifferently armed, Col. Weaver started in pursuit of the
raiders. Ten miles west of Bloomfield the guerrillas killed a
man named Thomas Hardy, took his team and $300. Here Wea-
ver and his company struck the trail. The next outrage com-
mitted was the capture of Capt. Philip Bence of the 30th la.,
who was at home on furlough, David Saunderson, Joseph and
William Hill and Andrew Tannehill. They carried their prison-
ers a few miles, when they compelled Capt. Bence to take
off his uniform and give it to them, after which he was shot
to death. The balance of the prisoners were released after
losing all the money they possessed — about $500. At mid-
night Col. Weaver came to the place where Bence had been
killed and learning that he was 5 hours behind the gang, which
was headed for Missouri, where they doubtless knew every
bridle path, he gave up the chase.
 
On June 7, the Republican party held a state convention
at Des Moines. The platform was brief, the principal features
"being the endorsement of the work of the national convention
as to platform and candidates and commending the Iowa soldiers
and the women of the state for their patriotic labors. On
the 16th of the same month the Democrats met at the capital.
No resolutions were adopted by the convention, but on Aug.
24, a "Peace Convention" met at Iowa City and promulgated
the following:
 
"Whereas, we believe that there is indisputable evidence
existing that the Union may be restored on the basis of the
Federal constitution; and,
"Whereas, We further believe that a vigorous prosecution
of this abolition war means the speedy bringing about of a
division of the republic; and being ourselves in favor of a restored
Union and against the acknowledgment of a Southern con-
federacy therefore, be it
"Resolved, That the war now being prosecuted by the Lincoln
administration is unconstitutional and oppressive, and is the
prolific source of a multitude of usurpations, tyrannies and
corruptions, to which no people can long submit, without
becoming permanently enslaved.
"Resolved. That we are opposed to the further prosecution
of the war, believing that the Union can be preserved in its
integrity by the president agreeing to an armistice, and by
calling a national convention of the sovereign states, to con-
sider the terms upon which all the people may again live together
in peace and harmony.
"Resolved, That believing war to be disunion, and desir-
ing to stop the further flow of precious blood for a purpose
so wicked as disunion, we respectfully urge the president to
postpone the draft for 500,000 men 'to be driven like bullocks
to the slaughter' until the result of an armistice and national
convention of states is known.
"Resolved, That in the coming election we will have a free
ballot or a free fight.
"Resolved, That should Abraham Lincoln owe his reelection
to the electoral votes of the seceded states under the applica-
tion of the president's 'one-tenth' system and military dicta-
tion, and should he attempt to execute the duties of the president
by virtue of such an election, it will become the solemn mission
of the people to depose the usurper, or else be worthy of the
slavish degradation, which submission under such circum-
stances would seem to be their just desert.
"Resolved, That if the nominee of the Chicago convention
is fairly elected, he must be inaugurated, let it cost what it may.
"Resolved, That the African negro is not our equal in political
or social sense; and that every usurping attempt, by Federal
force, so to declare him, will meet with our determined resist-
ance.
"Resolved, That the foregoing preamble and resolutions
be submitted to our delegation to the Chicago convention,
for their consideration."
 
At the election the combined citizen and soldier vote for
president was 138,671. Lincoln received 89,075, and McClellan
49,596. All the Republican candidates for representatives
in Congress were elected.
 
Altogether Iowa furnished 78,059 volunteers during the
Civil war. That they were good soldiers may be seen from
the list of casualties reported. The number reported killed
in action was 2,127; wounded 7,741; died of disease 9,465;
captured by the enemy, 4,573, and on that mysterious list,
told in the one word "missing," 132. Thus it will be seen
that more than one-fourth of Iowa's men suffered some of the
contingencies of war.
 
At Fort Donelson the 2nd IA. occupied the post of honor,
and its gallant colonel, Samuel R. Curtis, was promoted to
the rank of brigadier-general for bravery and the skillful handling
of his forces. Ten Iowa regiments were in the thick of the
fight at Shiloh, the 8th and 12th being captured after 10 hours
of hard fighting at the "Hornet's Nest." After some eight
months in Confederate prisons the men were exchanged or
paroled and afterward became part of the "Union Brigade,"
made up of those who never surrendered. Not long after
the battle of Shiloh the 11th, 13th, 15th and 16th regiments
were united in one brigade, and Marcellus M. Crocker, as rank-
ing colonel, became the commander. On Nov. 29, 1862, he
was commissioned brigadier-general, and his brigade was
soon known all through the army as "Crocker's Iowa Brigade."
When Sherman started upon his famous march to the sea,
it was the 9th lA. that cut the railroad connecting the army
with the North and changed the "base of supplies" to the
enemy's country. This regiment traveled more than 4,000
miles and was in every Confederate state except Florida and
Texas. It was the 10th lA. that turned the tide of battle at
Champion's hill, winning words of commendation from the
commanding general, though half the regiment was reported
among the killed, wounded and missing after the engagement.
While other regiments very properly had emblazoned upon
their battle-flags the names of engagements in which they
had participated, that of the 10th bore only the legend, "Tenth
Iowa Veteran Volunteers;" but its deeds of valor are recorded
in history and in the hearts of a grateful people.
 
At Columbia, S. C, in Feb., 1865, the flag of the 13th lA.
was the first to float from the old state-house, and at Savannah
it was the 16th that struck the first blow at the enemy's works.
Seventeen Iowa regiments marched with Sherman from
Atlanta to the sea. They were all present at the fall of Savannah
and afterward followed their victorious commander through
the Carolinas to Richmond and Washington. More than
half of Iowa's troops were at the fall of Vicksburg, and in one
assault upon the Confederate works Sergt. Griffith and 11
men of the 22nd were the only ones to gain the parapet. Of
these only the sergeant and one man returned.
 
Four colonels of Iowa regiments, Samuel R. Curtis of the
2nd; Frederick Steele of the 8th; Frank J. Herron of the 9th
and Grenville M. Dodge of the 4th, rose to the rank of major-
general. Eighteen others were commissioned to wear the
stars of the brigadier. From Wilson's creek to Appomattox,
scarcely a field can be mentioned where Iowa troops were not
present to render a good account to themselves.
 
From what has been said in this sketch concerning the action
of a few so-called Democrats in Iowa during the troublous days
of the war, it must not be inferred that the Democrats of Iowa
were, as a body, disloyal to their country. That party fur-
nished its full share of the gallant men who sprang into line at
their country's call. The supporters of Douglas were as patri-
otic as the supporters of Lincoln. Exceptions were rare. Dem-
ocrats and Republicans alike shed their blood in defense of the
Union, for freedom and the flag. It was the united effort of the
supporters of Lincoln and Douglas that saved the government
and reconsecrated it as the champion of good will among the
nations of the earth.

See also Iowa Civil War History
 
Source: The Union Army. vol. 4































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