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Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 8/20/2003 at 23:19:09

Biography reproduced from page 14 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

Charles W. Sarchett, who since 1880 has been a well known resident of Algona, is a retired educator with an interesting Civil war record. He was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, four miles north of Cambridge, October 6, 1841. He is of French lineage, his grandfather and great-grandfather both having been natives of the Isle of Guernsey. The great-grandfather was Thomas Sarchett, who in 1805 became the forerunner of the colony which came to look up a location in the new world and which settled at Cambridge, Ohio, where he built the first house ever erected on the present site of that city. The ancestors of Charles W. Sarchett were farmers but the great-grandfather, Thomas Sarchett, the founder of Cambridge, Ohio, was also a manufacturer of salt. Moses Sarchett, brother of Thomas Sarchett, was clerk of the court of Guernsey county, Ohio, for thirty years. Solomon M. Sarchett, the father of Charles W. Sarchett, was born in Guernsey county, in 1811, and there grew to manhood. In 1857 he settled at Center Point, Iowa, where he lived for many years but in the latter part of his life made his home with his children, passing away in 1906 at Algona, where his remains now rest in Riverview cemetery. The mother of the subject of this review bore the maiden name of Mary A. Wilson and was born in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1815. Her grandfather, Thomas Wilson, was the man who burned the brick which Thomas Sarchett used in building the first house in Cambridge. She died in 1896 and was buried in Riverview cemetery at Algona, having spent her declining years with her husband here at the home of her son, Charles. She was the mother of thirteen children, as follows: Cecelia S., who is deceased; Thomas W., a retired farmer residing at Algona, Iowa; S. B., who is engaged in the hotel business at Kinmundy, Illinois; Elizabeth J., the deceased wife of W. L. Bumgartner, of Waterloo, Iowa; Charles W., of this review; Catherine M., the wife of John McStay, of Waterloo, Iowa; Lucinda H. and Martha A., both of whom are deceased; Josiah Clarke, living in Boulder, Colorado; Mary E., deceased; Edwin J., an agriculturist of Linn county, Iowa; George M., who passed away; and Addy, who is a resident of Nebraska.

Charles W. Sarchett was educated in the common schools of Ohio and took up the profession of teaching in 1858, at the early age of sixteen years. He taught three terms of school in Linn county, Iowa, and then, on the 10th of August, 1861, enlisted in Company C., Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, for service in the Civil war. After a most creditable military career he was discharged July 18, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Sarchett’s company, in 1861, rendezvoused at Dubuque, Iowa, and on September 23 moved down the Mississippi river to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, where they were armed, going at once into camp at Pacific City, Missouri, and remaining there until February, when they went to Rollo, Missouri, and started on the campaign under General Curtis. Private Sarchett had now been made corporal and a little later was made sergeant. Moving through Missouri, his regiment had a skirmish at Springfield and thence marched toward Fort Smith in pursuit of General Price. It was at the skirmish of Sugar Creek that our subject saw the first dead Confederate soldier. They next camped at Cross Hollows, thence moved to Huntsville and then, making a forced march, returned to their camp forty miles distant, arriving there at nine o’clock on the 6th of March. The next morning they went into action at nine o’clock, participating in the battle of Pea Ridge. They fought all day, lay on their arms at night and, opening fire at daybreak, continued lively fighting until 11 o’clock A. M., when the enemy was put to rout. After the battle of Pea Ridge, Mr. Sarchett went with Curtis’ army to Helena, Arkansas, camping four miles from the town and remaining until Sherman started on his expedition to Chickasaw Bluffs. Mr. Sarchett accompanied this expedition, which was made up of a fleet of sixty-five vessels, the Penbina being the one to which he was assigned. Here the battle of Chickasaw Bluffs was fought on the 29th of December, after which they reembarked and went back up the Mississippi river to the mouth of the Arkansas, disembarked and marched overland to the Arkansas Post, taking the fort on the following day. Here the Federal forces captured seven thousand prisoners. The command then moved southward and landed at Young’s Point, beginning operations around Vicksburg. Shortly afterward they marched down the Mississippi to Grand Gulf on the west side of the river and, crossing on gunboats under fire, fought the battle of Port Gibson. From there the command went to Jackson, Mississippi, where J. E. Johnson was unexpectedly encountered and defeated. Returning to Black River, the Union soldiers constructed a bridge under fire and, crossing the river, went to Haynes Bluffs to engage the enemy; but before the Union troops arrived there, the Confederates evacuated the place and went back to Vicksburg with the Federal army in pursuit. On May 19, 1863, they closed in on the enemy’s works and, after constructing some light breastworks, on the 22d the subject of this review took part in Grant’s famous charge at Vicksburg. On learning that the fort could not be taken by storm, the Federal forces settled down to a siege which lasted until July 4. On the 5th they started, moving toward Jackson, Mississippi, where they defeated Johnson again, and destroyed most of the city, after which they returned to Black River and remained in camp until September. Boats were then taken to Memphis and the work of repairing a railroad was entered upon and opened up to Cherokee Station, at which point a skirmish with Wheeler’s cavalry took place. The Federals pursued Wheeler to Bear Creek, Alabama, and engaged him. Crossing the Tennessee river at Florence, the regiment of which Mr. Sarchett was a member was rear guard and in this exposed position were harassed by Wheeler, a large number of the regiment being killed. After crossing, orders were received to move on Chattanooga and by forced marches the Federal forces reached there November 23. In rain and mud the Union forces all crossed the Tennessee at Brown’s Ferry excepting the division to which Mr. Sarchett belonged. That night the bridge was destroyed by logs placed in the river above that point by the Confederates for that purpose. Being unable to cross, Mr. Sarchett’s division joined General Hooker and assisted in the storming of Lookout Mountain. After that battle they marched across Lookout Creek to Rossville, Gap, on the extreme right of Grant’s army. After a brisk engagement they took the Gap and pursued the Confederates across the ridge, taking three thousand prisoners. Crossing the Chickamauga battlefield, the command to which our subject belonged had the hardest fight of the campaign at Ringgold, Georgia, after which it moved back along the same line of march to Chattanooga, Tennessee, going into camp at Woodville, Alabama. Having now completed the term of his enlistment, Mr. Sarchett reenlisted and returned home on a furlough, stopping at Dubuque, where a reception was tendered the boys in blue, which, on account of its enthusiasm, so overcame our subject that he was unable to partake of the banquet. Journeying on to Independence, another reception was tendered the homeward bound soldiers. At the expiration of his furlough he again went south, joining the Federal forces at Chattanooga, which shortly afterward entered upon the hundred-day campaign to Atlanta, being in active service all this time. Corporal Sarchett was now made acting sergeant major. Crossing the Chattahoochee river, the command started for Decatur, engaging in the action at Peach Tree Creek en route and participating in another skirmish at Decatur. Still pressing toward Atlanta, the Federal forces marched down the railroad track, tearing it up as they progressed and arriving at Atlanta about July 22, where De Gross’ battery was recaptured. Deflecting to the right of Atlanta, the Unionists now pressed on to Ezra Chapel, where on the 28th of July the bloodiest battle of the war was fought. Seven times the Federal forces were charged, each time standing firm with unbroken lines, although they had no earthworks. After the battle had ended and the dead had been buried on both sides, Mr. Sarchett participated in the siege of Atlanta, which the Confederates were forced to evacuate. Following them to Lovejoy Station, the southern army made a stand but, being routed, the chase was continued to Jonesboro, Georgia, where the last engagement of the campaign was fought. After this the Federal army camped at Atlanta for two weeks. From there it moved to Altoona, which was being besieged by Hood’s troops, but on receiving reinforcements the siege was raised. The next battle in which Mr. Sarchett participated was near Huntsville, Alabama. From Atlanta he started on Sherman’s victorious march to the sea. The Union soldiers captured Savannah and camped there until February, 1865, when the division to which Mr. Sarchett belonged was put on board vessels and landed on Port Royal Island, off the coast of South Carolina, after which began the march on Columbia, South Carolina, which was captured. Goldsboro and Bentonville in North Carolina were the next places of action, Mr. Sarchett receiving a wound at the latter place. This wound was in the left thigh, and the flesh and muscles were torn away so that the bone was exposed. On receiving this wound he was sent to New York city, where he arrived the day after President Lincoln was shot. As a result of his injury he developed spotted fever in New York and was transferred to quarantine on David’s Island. Although he recovered, the fever left him with a weak heart, an infirmity which he has never overcome. Mr. Sarchett was also slightly wounded at Pea Ridge, receiving buck shot in his leg which he still carries as a momento of the great American Civil war.

After he had recovered sufficiently, Sergeant Sarchett, on returning north by way of Cambridge, Ohio, found five of his relatives at home, all of whom had been mustered out of the service at the close of the war. He then returned to Linn county, Iowa, where he again engaged in teaching school, his profession before entering the army, teaching also in Wisconsin and in Linn county until 1876, when he went to Kansas and took up a homestead. In connection with his farm work there he also taught four terms of school and perfected his title to the land he acquired. He then removed to Kossuth county, Iowa, making his way to Algona for the first time in 1880 and taking up his abode on a farm in Union township. He remained there four years. In 1887 he bought his present comfortable home in Algona, near the Milwaukee depot. A little to the south he has a block of ground, which he cultivates. On settling here he continued his work as a teacher, having taught eighteen terms of school in Iowa. Aside from his work as an educator he conducted a cream route for ten years and served as a janitor in Algona public schools for nine years.

Mr. Sarchett was married September 6, 1868, to Miss Elizabeth R. Johnson and to this union were born nine children, as follows: Eugene M., who is a resident of Bancroft, Iowa; Elmer C., deceased; Mary Elizabeth, living in Kossuth county; Frank M., who acts as principal of the schools at Lonerock, Iowa; Bertha E., the wife of P. W. Reece, of Springfield township, Kossuth county, Iowa; Thomas J., living in Cherokee, Iowa; Ada F., who has passed away; and Edwin C. and Winifred E., both at home.

The political affiliation of Mr. Sarchett is with the republican party. He is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church and belongs to the G. A. R. post of Algona, being past commander of same. Mr. Sarchett is a man of remarkable memory and is able to give minute details concerning his entire war experience. He is also the author of a book and numerous poems that have been received favorably by the large circle of warm friends and acquaintances which he possesses.


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