Saturday, July 14, 2012

Alamakee County Soldiers in the Civil War

By W. E . Alexander.

A Civil War Cavalry Charge
The principal regiments of Iowa State troops in which Allamakee County volunteers served were the 5th 12th and 27th Infantry, and the 1st, 6th and 9th Cavalry. A brief outline of their operations is given below.

The Fifth Regiment was mustered into the service in July 1861, at Burlington, whence it went to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, in August, and spent the fall and most of the winter at various points in Missouri. In February 1862, it was sent southward and took part in the operations at New Madrid, Island No. 10, Iuka, Corinth, Vicksburg, Jackson, Champion Hills, and Mission Ridge. At the expiration of its three years’ term of service it was disbanded, the veterans being transferred to the Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

The Twelfth Regiment was organized at Camp Union, Dubuque, in October and November 1861, mustered into the service November 25, 1861, and shortly after went to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, where it remained until January 27, 1862, when it were ordered south. It immediately went to the front, under General Grant, with the force that caused the evacuation of Ft. Henry, and thence to Ft. Donelson where it was the first time in action, February 12, 13 and 14, 1862. In the first day’s fight at Shiloh, April 6, 1862, they were allowed to be surrounded, having had no orders to fall back, and after several hours desperate fighting were obliged to surrender, at 6 o’clock p.m., 16 men being killed and 98 wounded, among the latter being Col. Woods, severely. About 400 were captured and remained over six months in rebel prisons before they were paroled. Those who were not captured were immediately reorganized as Companies E and K of the "Union Brigade", and took a prominent part in the siege of Corinth, and in the battle of Corinth, in October following. About the first of April, 1863, the Regiment was reorganized at Benton Barracks and immediately reported to General Grant in the field near Vicksburg. On December 25th, 1863, the regiment re-enlisted as veterans and served until mustered out January 18, 1866, at Memphis, when they were ordered to Davenport for final pay and discharge, January 25th. The regiment participated in twenty-five engagements, viz: Fort Donelson, Shiloh, siege of Corinth, battle of Corinth, Jackson, Vicksburg, Jackson (siege and capture), Brandon, White River, Tupelo, Nashville, Brentwood Hills, Spanish Fort, besides twelve skirmishes at different dates. It was under fire 112 days and marched 2,670 miles. Total miles traveled, 13, 809. The total number of causalities was 582, of which 95 were killed in action or mortally wounded, 217 died of disease, 22 died of disease caused by wounds, 247 discharged for disability and wounds, and one dismissal.

The Twenty-seventh Regiment was mustered into service at Camp Franklin, Dubuque, October 3, 1862. Companies A, B and I were largely recruited in this county. The regiment was first ordered into Northern Minnesota to superintend the payment of friendly Indians in that region, and thence to Cairo, Ill., thence to Mississippi, thence to Tennessee, thence to Arkansas, doing duty most of the year 1863 as provost guards, train guards and picket guards, except in September, when it assisted in the capture of Little Rock. March 10, 1864, the regiment moved from Vicksburg to take part in the Red River expedition and assisted in the capture of Fort De Russey, March 14. At Pleasant Hill, April 9, the regiment came out with following casualties: Killed in action, 4; wounded, 70; missing, 14. In October and November 1864, was in pursuit of Price through Missouri, and thence moved to Nashville, Tenn. Thence in February and March, 1865, to Cairo, New Orleans, and into Alabama, participating in the capture of Mobile, and in July to Vicksburg, St. Louis, and Clinton, Ia., where they mustered out August 7, 1865, having marched over 3,000 miles, and traveled by steamboat and rail over 10,000 miles. Its principal engagements were in the Red River expedition—Pleasant Hill and Old Oaks—Ditch Bayou, Ark., Cane Creek, Tupelo, Old Town Creek, Nashville, and Fort Blakely.

Of the service performed by the cavalry, it is difficult to give a connected sketch, so much of it being by detached companies. The First Regiment operated in Missouri and Arkansas during 1862, doing good service against Quantrill and other guerrillas, and participating in the battles of Clear Creek, Prairie Grove, etc. During 1863 it was engaged in hot work in Arkansas a great deal of the time, making an excellent record. In 1864 the veterans were in Arkansas and Missouri, constantly scouting and skirmishing with guerrilla bands, participating in the campaign against Price and the battle at Boonville. In 1865 the regiment operated against Forrest in Tennessee and Mississippi and went to Texas that summer. On the 19th of February, 1866, they left Austin, Texas, for Davenport, where they were discharged and paid off, in March.

The Sixth Cavalry was mustered in at Davenport early in 1863 and participated in several campaigns under Gen. Sully against the Indians in Dakota. They were mustered out in Sioux City October 17, 1865.

The Ninth was mustered in November 30, 1863, at Davenport, and proceeded to St. Louis, where it remained until May 1864, when it was transported to Duvall’s Bluff, Ark., and the remainder of that year performed scouting, foraging and garrison service in that vicinity, with frequent engagements with guerrilla bands. The service during 1865 was similar, until the cessation of hostilities, when the companies were assigned stations at various points. The regiment was mustered out at Little Rock, Ark., in February 1866.

The total number of men furnished by Allamakee County during the war was about eight hundred, or two hundred more than her quota. A complete list of them it is impossible to prepare at this day. 

Taken from - History of Allamakee County, Iowa, 1882, by W. E . Alexander.

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