There are three published rosters for the 21st Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry. They're significantly different and all three contain numerous errors, in large part since they were relying on handwritten records, handwriting was often difficult to decipher, some men could not read or write, and others sometimes did not know how to spell their own names or altered the spelling from time to time.
a. Nathaniel B. Baker, Report of the Adjutant General, Volume I (Iowa State Printer 1863). Baker's roster was prepared while the war was still in progress, many had not yet enlisted, and there were errors for those who did enlist.
b. George Crooke, The Twenty-First Regiment of lowa Volunteer Infantry (King, Fowle & Company, 1891). Crooke's roster has limited information and was prepared at a time when record keeping wasn't the best. While he was a member of the regiment, he was absent for almost ten months and probably for that reason some of his narrative is also wrong.
c. Roster and Record of lowa Soldiers, Volume 3; by Guy Logan (Iowa State Printer 1910). The most recent of the three rosters, part of a massive state effort to accurately reflect those who served and, I thought, the most likely to be accurate.
I have researched the regiment for more than thirty years and visited most sites that were visited by the regiment. Each of these biographies is based on that research, the soldiers records and records of his comrades that are on file with the National Archives & Records Administration, records and diaries on file with the State Historical Society of Iowa, original letters by members of the regiment, county histories, other original source documents and relevant online information.
John Kain's parents were married on November 10, 1840, in the borough of Belfast in northern Ireland. They immigrated to Canada where John was born and then to the United States. In 1856 John's mother died in Lansing, Iowa.
John was only eighteen, the minimum age for a legal enlistment, when he was enrolled by Willard Benton at McGregor on August 14, 1862, for three years or until the end of the war. He was described as having gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and being 5 feet 6¼ inches tall; occupation, farmer.
On August 22, 1862 he was mustered in as a private in Benton's Company G of the 21st regiment of Iowas volunteer infantry, a regiment still in formation. On September 9, 1862, with ten companies of sufficient strength, they were mustered in as a regiment with a total complement, officers and enlisted, of 985 men, 87 of whom were in Company G. Like most others, John was paid $25.00 of the $100.00 enlistment bounty plus a $2.00 ''premium" that was paid to volunteer recruits who appeared in person.
Most of the enlisted were farmers with no prior military experience and they would receive only brief training before going south. For John and others in the 21st, training was at Camp Franklin "on a sandy plateau on the bank of the Mississippi" "at the upper end of the bottom land adjoining Lake Peosta" just south of Eagle Point on the north side of Dubuque. Its ten buildings were each twenty by sixty feet and "arranged to accommodate one hundred men each." The camp, including the drill and parade grounds, was enclosed by a line or path where a sentry walked his beat day and night, with instructions to let no one pass either in or out without permission.
It was a miserable rainy morning, September 16th, when the regiment left camp and marched south through town, while families, friends and local residents watched. Women sent cakes and cheese and others tossed apples. From the levee at the foot of Jones Street most of the men boarded a "densely crowded'' steamer, the Henry Clay, with two open barges lashed to one side, ''packing ourselves like sardines" said one at a reunion fifty years later.
Bi-monthly company muster rolls indicated the presence or absence of the soldier as of the last day of the period and, initially, John maintained his health well. He was ''present" at Salem, Missouri for the roll ending October 31, 1862, at Houston, Missouri, for the roll ending December 31st, and at Iron Mountain, Missouri, for the roll ending February 28, 1863. He was also with the regiment when it went to Ste. Genevieve but, when it started south at the end of March, John did not go with it. He was seriously ill and, on March 28th, was admitted to a general hospital in Cairo, Illinois.
Suffering from "typhoid pneumonia," he died the next day. Medical terminology varied over time and from one doctor to another, but records attribute another twenty-four regimental deaths to "typhoid fever" and eleven to "pneumonia" (also known as lung fever). John was buried in the national cemetery at Mound City, Illinois. He had been paid through the end of December and had subsequent pay still due, but had drawn $41.61 in clothing since his enlistment. His personal effects were sent to relatives.
Twenty-seven years later, John's father, Henry Kain, was living in DeSoto, Wisconsin, upstream from McGregor, when, at age sixty-six, he applied for a pension claiming he was "greatly dependent" on John for support. Having survived so long without support from his son, it would be hard to convince the government that he had truly relied on John for his support and his task became more difficult when his attorney, N. W. Fitzgerald of Washington D.C. was disbarred for having committed pension fraud. On December 14, 1886 the Pension Office sent a circular to Henry advising him of the proof that would be needed to substantiate his claim. The letter was returned to the government with a note from his attorney, his new attorney, indicating that John had notified him that "he wishes to abandon his claim."
Nothing more was found regarding Henry or any other members of the family, but a "Henry Kain," possibly John's father, is buried in the Milwaukee County Almshouse and Poor Farm Cemetery, in Milwaukee.
Vinzenz Kapler and Bernhardina Stehle were married in Binsdorf, Germany, on April 1, 1839. They had ten children including Othmar who was born on November 15, 1840, in Binsdorf. In about 1852 they emigrated -first to West Virginia, then to Illinois, and eventually to Iowa.
On August 12, 1862, in Grand Meadow Township, Othmar was enrolled by Strawberry Point resident William D. Crooke in what would be Company B of the 21st Regiment of Iowa's Volunteer Infantry. The Company was mustered in at Dubuque on August 18, 1862, with a complement of ninety-nine men. Training was at Camp Franklin where men, mostly farmers with no military experience, were expected to drill, perform fatigue duty, and get used to taking orders. Company officers, however, were unhappy with the uniform coats that were, said one author, "too short by several inches." The site was also "so near the men's homes, that their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, sweethearts, and friends, were too often present to allow either drill or discipline to any great extent" As a result, little if any drill was practiced before the regiment left for the South.
Othmar had grey eyes, fair hair and a light complexion and, at 5 feet, 11½ inches, was about three inches taller than the average height of men in the regiment. On September 16th they boarded the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay (described by a Dubuque newspaper as a "miserable cramped up old tub") and two barges lashed to one side and started downstream. They spent one night at St. Louis' Benton Barracks before boarding rail cars that took them to Rolla. From there they walked to Salem, Houston, Hartville and back to Houston, and that's where they were when word was received that a Confederate column was advancing on Springfield. Othmar was one of 262 men from the regiment who rushed to its relief but, before getting there, met the enemy at Hartville where they fought a one-day battle on January 11, 1863, suffering three killed, one mortally wounded, and at least thirteen who were wounded less seriously.
They spent several more months in the Ozarks of southern Missouri, but were then ordered to join a massive army being formed by General Grant to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg, a city that President Lincoln said was "the key" to winning the war. They organized at Milliken's Bend, walked south along the west side of the Mississippi, and on April 30th crossed to the landing at Bruinsburg. From there, the 21st Iowa was the point regiment as the army moved inland in total darkness and drew first fire about midnight. After a short, restless night, they fought the Battle of Port Gibson on May 1st. They were present but held in reserve during the Battle of Champion's Hill on May 16th, but were at the front on the 17th when, with the 23d Iowa, they led an assault on entrenched Confederates at the Big Black River. The enemy was routed, but seven in the regiment were killed, eighteen were fatally wounded, and at least forty had wounds that ranged from slight to serious.
The regiment then took its position on the siege line at the rear of Vicksburg and participated in a massive assault on May 22, 1863. Again, casualties were heavy with twenty-three killed and at least fifty wounded, twelve of whom would soon die from their wounds. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863, and the next day the regiment joined General Sherman in an expedition to and siege of Jackson. By July 20th they were back in Vicksburg and, for the first time in months, were allowed to rest, but not all were well. Among them was John Grutchek, an Austrian who, like Othmar, had been living in Grand Meadow Township. John was suffering from chronic diarrhea, an ailment that caused the death of at least sixty-five men while still on the muster rolls. He was granted a thirty-day furlough to return home to recuperate, but was so weak that he could no longer walk. Othmar secured a team of horses, took John to a hospital boat, and, helped carry his friend on board. John's recovery took longer than expected, but he rejoined the regiment several months later and was restored to duty without penalty.
Meanwhile, Othmar had maintained his own health well and continued on active duty with the regiment during many months on the Gulf Coast of Texas, subsequent service in Louisiana and Arkansas, and during the campaign in the spring of 1865 to capture the city of Mobile, Alabama. By then he had been promoted from Private to 4th Corporal and, on July 15, 1865 he was with the regiment when they were mustered out at Baton Rouge. On July 24th, at Clinton, they were discharged, received their final pay, and headed for their homes.
Five months later, on December 28, 1865, Othmar and Barbara Bachel married in Festina, Iowa, at St. Mary's Church, 2348 County Road B32. Othmar said they lived in Conover (no longer in existence) from 1865 to 1866 before moving to Spillville, but their first two children - George R. born November 7, 1866 and Caroline P. born June 9, 1868 - were born in Calmar. Other children were Rosalia born March 11, 1870, Ludvica born January 9, 1872, Mary Anna born September 14, 1874, Regina born January 31, 1878, Frank born August 26, 1881, and Gertrude E. born May 1, 1888.
They were living in Spillville on September 11, 1880, when thirty-nine year old Othmar signed an application seeking a government pension. He had, he said, contracted rheumatism during the Vicksburg Campaign and had sustained a severe rupture during service in Texas. With support from others who knew him, a pension was eventually granted. Othmar also signed affidavits supporting pension applications of several men with whom he had served. One of them was John Grutchek. Othmar remembered that John had been a robust and hardy person before the war, but had suffered greatly during the forced march to Hartville and had been too weak to walk to the hospital boat at Vicksburg.
Othmar's mother, Bernhardina (Stehle) Kapler died on September 13, 1882 and was buried south of Spillville in the St. Clement Cemetery, 1705 County Road Wl4, Fort Atkinson. Othmar and Barbara continued their life in Spillville. In November 1892, "while in the employ of the U.S. Government while carrying the mail from Conover to Spillville," Othmar was getting out of his buggy when he slipped and fell "striking my elbow ofright arm on the frozen ground and breaking the cap of same." Ten years later, in January 1902, while walking on an icy sidewalk in Spillville he again slipped and fell, this time "breaking my hip ofleft leg very severely." Othmar's father, Vinzenz "Vincent" Kapler, had left Spillville after his wife's death and, on March 9, 1896, died in Postville. He was buried with his wife in St. Clement Cemetery. Othmar died on September 1, 1911 and was buried in St. Wenceslaus Cemetery, 207 Church Street, Spillville. Barbara applied for and was granted a widow's pension, a pension she received until her death on April 27, 1924 at age seventy-seven. She was buried with Othmar in St. Wenceslaus Cemetery.
At forty-two years of age, Christopher Kellogg was one of the oldest men to enlist in the infantry where the acceptable age was generally given as eighteen to forty-five. He was enrolled at McGregor on August 14, 1862, in a company being recruited by postmaster Willard Benton. Christopher was mustered into Company G on August 22, 1862. With eighty-six men (officers and enlisted) it was the smallest of the companies, but another fourteen recruits would join the company during its subsequent service.
When all ten companies were of sufficient strength they were mustered in at Dubuque as the 21st regiment of Iowas volunteer infantry with George S. Pierce, a Captain with the 19th U.S. Infantry, serving as the mustering officer. On the Company Muster-in Roll, Christopher was described as being 5 feet 9½ inches tall with grey eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion; occupation farmer. Like other volunteers, he was paid $25.00 of the $100.00 federal enlistment bounty and a $2.00 local premium. The balance of the bounty would be paid on completion of honorable service.
Brief training was received at Camp Franklin that was located "on a sandy plateau on the bank of the Mississippi," "at the upper end of the bottom land adjoining Lake Peosta," just south of Eagle Point, a mile or two above Dubuque. Its ten buildings were each twenty by sixty feet and "arranged to accommodate one hundred men each" and "boarded horizontally with pine board with shingled roofs having within on either side three tiers of bunks for the men, with a hallway or aisle through the middle with doors at either end, built on opposite sides of the drill or parade ground.
On September 16, 1862, Christopher was with the regiment when the men crowded on board the steamer Henry Clay and two barges lashed to its side and started down the Mississippi. After one night in St. Louis, they traveled by rail to Rolla, Missouri. On October 19th, they left Rolla and started a southerly march to Salem where, on October 23d, Christopher, possibly due to his age, was detailed as a hospital nurse. He returned to regular duty on December 12th, but was soon ordered back to his nursing duties. He continued in that capacity through the balance of the regiment's service in Missouri (Houston, Hartville, West Plains, Ironton, Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve) and was with it throughout the Vicksburg Campaign that culminated with the city's surrender by Confederate General Pemberton on July 4, 1863.
Soon thereafter, however, Christopher became ill and was taken to a hospital in Memphis. From there he went north and, on July 25th, was admitted to the New House of Refuge United States Army General Hospital in St. Louis with an undisclosed illness. He continued to be hospitalized in St. Louis at both the New House of Refuge and at the Jefferson Barracks United States Army General Hospital. On September 9, 1863 he was well enough to be granted a furlough to McGregor and, on his return, he was assessed $10.18 to cover the fare.
He continued to be listed as being sick in a St. Louis hospital until being transferred to the Invalid Corps on March 15, 1864.
Notes: The Invalid Corps permitted men to perform garrison duty, guard duty and other services commensurate with their condition and to thereby free more able-bodied men for active service. Due, however, to an absurd, if understandable, prejudice against the word 'invalid, 'which had led men in the field to throw aspersions on a garrison organization the name was changed in the spring of 1864 from Invalid Corps to Veteran Reserve Corps, a change which also permitted the enlistment of discharged soldiers, not incapacitated but no longer subject to the draft." (Lonn, Desertion During the Civil War, p. 177). Some also objected to the "IC" acronym which was the same as that used for "Inspected-Condemned" stenciled on defective equipment.
Kellogg, William F.
Co B, age 35, b. New York, residence Clayton County
02/01/65 enlist as Recruit
02/01/65 muster in Company B
07/12/65 transfer to 34th/38th Consolidated
00/00/14 died in Clayton County
This is from the R&R. I have not verified the information.
Co D, age 39, b. New York, residence Elkader
08/22/62 muster m
06/23/63 promote to 7th Corporal
07/26/63 promote to 5th Corporal
11/11/63 promote to 4th Corporal
12/25/63 promote to 3d Corporal
05/01/64 promote to 2d Corporal
07/01/64 promote to 1st Corporal
07/15/65 muster out Baton Rouge
This is from the R&R. I have not verified the information. When he signed statements supporting the pension application of George Chapman's mother, he signed his name as Charles Kimber although the Roster & Record of lowa Soldiers has it as Kimberg. He is also shown as Kimble. The R&R and George Crooke have his surname as Kimber.
King, Harvey H.
Co D, age 25, b. New York, residence Strawberry Point
08/22/62 muster in
10/18/62 discharge at Rolla for disability (convulsions)
00/00/14 died in Clayton County
This is from the R&R. I have not verified the information.
Knight, Albert Harmon
Samuel H. Knight and Betsy (also seen as Betsey) Stevens were married on March 14, 1833, and lived in Norwich, Hampshire county, Massachusetts. Albert, the seventh of ten children of the marriage, was born on April 27, 1847, and was an eight-year-old schoolboy when the family moved to Strawberry Point in 1855. Reclaiming unimproved land in Section 30, the family worked hard and Samuel "became one of the pioneer farmers and influential and honored citizens of Lodomillo
On April 12, 1861, Southern artillery fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Initially, Iowa was called upon to provide one regiment of infantry, but it soon became apparent that more were needed and more calls were made. Enlistees were to be no younger than eighteen nor older than forty-five although age requirements were not always honored. On September 15, 1861, Albert's brother, seventeen-year-old John (giving his age as eighteen), enlisted in Iowa's 9th regiment of volunteer infantry. On March 7, 1862, he was severely wounded in the right leg during the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas. After treatment in the field, he was discharged on August 14th.
By then, twenty-year-old Myron Knight had become the second brother to join the army when he enlisted at Strawberry Pointon August 11, 1862, in what would be Company B of the state's 21st regiment of volunteer infantry. Myron saw extensive service with his regiment in Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. In the spring of 1865 the regiment started its final campaign of the war when those still able for duty were transported to Dauphin Island, Alabama. That's where they were on February 1, 1865, when Albert became the last family member to join the military. Almost eighteen years old, his address was in Strawberry Point when he enlisted at Yankee Settlement (Edgewood) in Myron's Company B. He was described as being 5' 4¾" tall with grey eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion.
At the same time, Will Boynton, who had already served ten months with the company before being discharged due to illness, reenlisted. (After the war he would marry Katherine Knight, a younger sister of the Knight brothers). Albert, Will and five other recruits started south from Davenport but, on the way, Albert became sick. He was briefly hospitalized in St. Louis and again in New Orleans, but reached the regiment on March 25th at the mouth of the Fish River on the east side of Mobile Bay.
Confederate troops were forced to abandon Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely and, on a "warm and pleasant" April 11th, Albert, his brother Myron, Will Boynton and Jim Bethard (a comrade from Grand Meadow Township) took time to examine Blakely. Meanwhile, Confederate troops withdrew from Mobile and, on April 12th, Union troops moved in. The regiment camped nearby and, on May 10th, the same day Jefferson Davis was captured in Georgia, Albert and William were granted leave and explored Mobile. Albert then continued with the regiment during its subsequent service on Louisiana's Red River.
With the war at an end, recruits such as Albert, who had not completed their three-year enlistments, were transferred on July 12th to a consolidated 34th/38th infantry. Myron and other original enlistees were mustered out on July 15th at Baton Rouge. Albert was one of 110 men who were transferred as "unassigned recruits" to their new regiment then stationed in Texas, but their service was brief. There was no longer a need to maintain a large military force and, on August 15th, they were mustered out at Houston.
A prewar farmer, he pursued a postwar career as a machinist and tool maker. In December 1871 (or 1872), Albert and Mary Wright Platt were married at her father's house in Paterson, New Jersey, by the Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. They had two children, Samuel Wright Knight and Albert Platt Knight. The family lived most of the time in Cleveland, Ohio, but, in answer to an inquiry from the Pension Office, Albert said he had also traveled to or, for short periods, lived in California, the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
During his prewar residence near Strawberry Point, he had met Truman McKee who lived a few miles'south in Honey Creek Township, Delaware County. Truman was an accomplished and well known drummer "who had learned it from his father, a Mexican war veteran. His father, in turn, was taught by a veteran of the war of 1812." During the war, Truman would serve as Drum Major of Iowa's 12th Infantry.
Albert learned from Truman. Many years later, a news article described a sixty-seven-year-old Albert as a "grizzled old drummer, probably the greatest expert on the 'long roll' in the country." The "long roll" was the call to arms and something Albert never forgot. He "devoted years to mastering it as it was taught him by Trueman [sic] McKee of Iowa. And his first 'tryout' came when he was seventeen, when he had to play long lines of "tired men in blue into action." In postwar contests, other drummers performed well, "but the ovation came when the gray-haired veteran, with the young hands, smilingly stepped forward". He won so often that '"first prize to Mr. Albert Knight,' became popular."
By 1916, he was concerned that drumming was "becoming a lost art." "But it will always be best for marching," he said. "A good war drummer can make himself heard five miles." "I am willing to compete with any drummer in the country on the long roll," he said. "I learned it from the master of them all." At Cleveland's hippodrome that Fourth of July he would "play an imitation of a battle, including the march of men; the rattle of rifle and the boom of artillery."
After Mary's death on March 21, 1922 (or 1923), Albert continued to live in Cleveland at 1529 East 4 7th Street. He was slowed by heart trouble and other age-related problems, but it was a fall from the back porch on February 2, 1925, that most incapacitated him. He died on March 26, 1927. Albert's body was cremated and the ashes sent to Paterson, New Jersey, for interment. His drum is in the possession of a great-grandson.
Knight, Myron Elder
Samuel H. Knightand Betsy(also seen as Betsey) Stevens were married on March 14, 1833, and lived in Norwich, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Myron, the fifth of ten children of the marriage, was born on February 19, 1842, and was a thirteen-year-old schoolboy when the family moved to Strawberry Point in 1855. Reclaiming unimproved land in Section 30, the family worked hard and Samuel "became one of the pioneer farmers and influential and honored citizens of Lodomillo township. "
With the outbreak of the Civil War, volunteers were needed with enlistees to be no younger than eighteen nor older than forty-five although age requirements were not always honored. On September 15, 1861, Myron's brother, seventeen-year-old John (giving his age as eighteen), enlisted in Iowa's 9th regiment of volunteer infantry. On March 7, 1862, he was severely wounded in the right leg during the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas. After treatment in the field, he was discharged on August 14th.
Three days earlier, twenty-year-old Myron had been enrolled at Strawberry Point by Charles Heath, a local dentist, in what would be Company B of the state's 21st regiment of volunteer infantry. His Descriptive Book said Myron was 5' 10" tall with blue eyes, fair hair, and a light complexion.
The company was mustered in at Camp Franklin in Dubuque on August 18, 1862, mustered in as a regiment on September 9th, and left for war on a rainy September 16th. After one night at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, they traveled by rail to Rolla and, from there, walked south to Salem, Houston and Hartville. When a wagon train bringing supplies from the Rolla railhead was attacked on November 24th, they moved back to Houston but, on January 11, 1863, they were again in Hartville where a one-day battle was fought. Myron was one of the participants in the battle during which Company B was assigned to help guard the cannon.
They returned to Houston but, on January 27th, started south to West Plains. They were there only a short time before moving again, this time to the northeast. They passed through Thomasville, Ironton and Iron Mountain and, on March 11th, reached Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River. A month later the regiment was camped at Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, where General Grant was organizing a massive army to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. They were assigned to a corps led by General John McClernand, walked south across bayous and through swamps west of the river, and crossed to Bruinsburg, Mississippi, on April 30th.
As the point regiment for the entire Union army, they drew first fire about midnight but, after a short exchange, both sides rested. On May 1, 1863, Myron participated with his regiment in the Battle of Port Gibson. On May 16, 1863, they were present but held in reserve during the Battle of Champion's Hill, but, the next day, were one of two Iowa regiments that led a successful assault on Confederates entrenched along the Big Black River. It took only a few minutes, but the regiment had seven killed during the assault, eighteen with wounds that would prove fatal and at least forty with less serious wounds. Among the most seriously wounded was the regiment's colonel, McGregor banker Sam Merrill, and among the dead was Company B's 1st Lieutenant, Henry Howard.
On May 22, 1863, after taking their place on the line that General Grant was extending around the rear of Vicksburg, they participated in an assault on the steep-sided railroad redoubt and Fort Beauregard (Salient C) directly in front of them. The assault was unsuccessful and casualties were heavy: twenty-three killed in action, twelve fatally wounded and at least forty-eight with non-fatal wounds, some serious and some not.
On June 3, 1863, one of Myron's sisters, ten-year old Mary Alice, died in Strawberry Point. Myron learned of her death on June 18th. He was treated for illness in quarters on the 20th, and "wrote to Mother in answer to the notice of Alice's death" on the 21st. Following the city's surrender on July 4th, the able-bodied in the regiment joined in a pursuit of Confederate General Joe Johnston to Jackson, but Myron was among those left in Vicksburg so he could receive further medical care.
After his comrades returned from their Jackson expedition, they left for Carrollton, Louisiana, on August 13th but, again, Myron remained behind, sick in a Vicksburg hospital. On the 18th, according to hospital records, he was admitted to the No. 3 U.S.A. General Hospital where a comrade, Charles Reeves, was a working as a nurse: "and I helped take care of him his feet and legs were so badly swollen that he could hardly walk. the surgeon told me to go and tell Knight "I have got a furlough for him."
Myron started north with a 30-day furlough on August 27th, reached Strawberry Point on September 3rd, and was there on the 22nd when one of his brothers, twenty-five year old Judson, died. Myron's recovery took longer than anticipated and, lest he be viewed as a deserter, he visited a local doctor and, three times, secured certificates documenting his continuing disability. Finally, on Christmas day, Myron and Seymour Chipman, a comrade from Strawberry Point, started for Davenport. A doctor cleared Myron for a return to the regiment, but Seymour was held in the hospital and ultimately transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps.
For Myron the trip to his regiment - by rail to Cairo, the Emmadale to New Orleans and the George Peabody to Texas - was a long one but, on February 14, 1864, he reported for duty at the regiment's camp in Indianola, Texas. He continued on active duty during the balance of the regiment's service in Texas and was with it when it saw subsequent service in southwestern Louisiana and on the White River in Arkansas. They were at Duval's Bluff on November 20, 1864, when Jim Bethard, a Company B comrade, wrote to his wife in Grand Meadow Township: "we commenced building our shanties on Tuesday morning and on wednesday morning I went on picket and on Thursday morning Jim Rice went on and on Friday morning Frank Farrand went on and this morning Miren Knight our fourth tent mate went on but notwithstanding all the picketing and rain we have got us a comfortable log shantie built a fier place to it".
On February 1st, 1865, another brother, almost-eighteen-year-old Albert Knight, enlisted at Yankee Settlement (now Edgewood) as a new recruit for the regiment that was about to start its final campaign of the war. (see Albert's bio above) Myron and others in the 21st regiment were mustered out at Baton Rouge. They were discharged from the military on July 24th at Clinton and Myron reached home the next evening.
On January 1, 1871, Myron and Bessie Jane Gilbert were married by Elder Perry of the Baptist Church. They would have six children: Mary Alice in 1872, John Samuel in 1873, William Myron in 1875, Katie Maria Knight in 1878, Charlie W. in 1880, and Earl Munro in 1882.
Myron lived in Lodomillo Township for the rest of his life, worked a splendid 215 acre farm, and had a "commodious and attractive brick residence." The 1916 county history said he had "the distinction of having maintained longer continuous residence on a single farm than any other man in Lodomillo township." He was a member of Strawberry Point Lodge No. 131 of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, was a member of the Henry Howard Post, Post 259, of the G.A.R., was a township Treasurer and Trustee, served on a local school board, and attended numerous regimental reunions.
In 1889, reciting his wartime disabilities, Myron applied for an invalid pension with former comrade, Gilbert Cooley, as his attorney. Supporting his application were two other comrades, Charles Reeves who had helped care for Myron in the Vicksburg hospital and Abe Treadwell who was "his near neighbor ever since he came home from the army." A.R. Carrier testified that Myron was free from illness before the war. After the war, they sometimes worked together, "changing work on their respective farms," but Myron was frequently unable to work due to his continuing infirmities. Myron was granted a $2.00 monthly pension, but was dropped from the rolls after his "Disability ceased to exist." Several years later he reapplied under new laws and was granted a pension that increased in increments to an eventual $40.00 monthly, payable quarterly.
Bessie died on October 23, 1908, at sixty-six years of age. Myron was seventy-eight when he died on April 5, 1920. They're buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery. Descendants continue to live in the area.
Larkin, Thomas J.
Co D, age 19, b. New York, residence Volga City
08/22/62 muster in
07/26/63 promote to 8th Corporal
11/11/63 promote to 7th Corporal
12/25/63 promote to 6th Corporal
07/15/65 muster out Baton Rouge
This is from the R&R. I have not verified the information.
Lawrence, Andrew 'Judge'
Andrew Lawrence, nicknamed "Judge," was born in Scotland, immigrated to New York and, shortly before the war, moved to McGregor. On August 14, 1862, at age thirty-four he enlisted in the union army for three years or the war. The company was ordered into quarters at Camp Franklin (formerly Camp Union) in Dubuque where, on August 22, 1862 it was mustered into service with an original complement of eighty-six men, officers and enlisted. On the Company Muster-in Roll he was described as being 5' 9½ tall with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. When all ten companies were of sufficient strength they were mustered in on September 9, 1862, as the 21st regiment of Iowas volunteer infantry.
On September 16th, they left Dubuque on board the steamer Henry Clay and two barges lashed to its side and started down the Mississippi. Andrew was one of relatively few men who were marked "present" on every bimonthly company muster roll although he was away from the regiment from September 4, 1863 (when he was ill and left behind while the regiment moved to Texas) until he rejoined the regiment a month later. From November 5, 1864 to February 5, 1865 he was detailed as a hospital nurse and it was during that time that he would later claim he contracted a debilitating head cold and chronic catarrh of the head. A private throughout the war, Andrew was meticulous. As one of his comrades, Jim Bethard, said, "Judge Lawrence is the same old Judge he keeps his gun in splendid order devoting the whole of every Saturday afternoon to scouring and cleaning it up."
Andrew was reported present for the entire Vicksburg Campaign when the regiment saw its heaviest casualties. General Grant organized a massive army with three corps of infantry at Millikens Bend, Louisiana. From there they walked, and rode, and waded, through swamps and bayous west of the river, until crossing to the east bank on April 30, 1863. The next day they fought in the daylong Battle of Port Gibson. On May 16th, they were present but held in reserve during the Battle of Champions Hill. Because of that they were rotated to the front the next day when they were one of two Iowa regiments that led an assault on entrenched confederates at the Big Black River. During the assault, the regiments Colonel, Sam Merrill, was seriously wounded when shot through both thighs. On May 22d, they were in position on the union line encircling the city when they participated in another assault. They then participated in the siege that ended on July 4th with the regiment having suffered a verified 31 killed in action, 34 who died due to mortal wounds, 102 who incurred non-fatal wounds, and eight who were captured.
Andrew continued with the regiment during its subsequent service in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, and in Alabama during a campaign in the spring of 1865 that ended with the occupation of Mobile. He was mustered out with the rest of the regiment on July 15, 1865 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, paid $6.00 for his musket and accouterments, and headed north to be discharged at Clinton.
From there he returned briefly to his old home in New York where, on March 17, 1870, he and Jane Biggar were married. An online site for Bovina, New York, indicates that Jane was born on November 22, 1837. Although having no children of their own, they later adopted the son of Andrew's youngest sister.
Andrew and Jane settled first in Crawford County, Missouri, where Andrew worked as a carpenter and joiner. Applying for an invalid pension in 1873, he claimed that on or about August 4, 1864, during their second posting near Morganza Bend, he developed a liver problem and that, on or about December 26, 1864, near Germantown, Tennessee, he contracted catarrh which later became chronic although he had not been treated in the hospital for either problem.
After investigation by the federal pension office, Andrew was awarded a monthly pension of $6.00 and, periodically thereafter, he applied for increases based on increasing disabilities and new laws enacted by Congress. Claims were supported by affidavits from neighbors and other friends who knew him before and after the war. Many soldiers had also become good friends during the war and maintained their friendships subsequently. Others were located through the Grand Army of the Republic, periodic reunions, and the Adjutant Generals Office. Andrew was successful in securing supportive affidavits from several former comrades including Iowa residents William Barber and Edward Warn in Luana, former surgeon William Orr in Ottumwa, and Maple Moody in McGregor. Also signing affidavits were Rufus Grosvenor (a former hospital steward) living in Covington, Nebraska, Frederick Richardson in Madison, Nebraska, and Gilbert Gulbrandson living in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Although military records disclosed no illness, Dr. Orr recalled that Andrew had been under his care for malaria. Rufus Grosvenor said that, in December 1864, Andrew "was detailed as one of the best and most capable men of the Regt to carry a medicine pack on his back and a case of Instruments in his hand on the Wolf River," and it was during the return that Andrew contracted a "severe cold and considerable fever."
Andrew was receiving a $14. 00 monthly pension when, on December 8, 1904, he died of heart disease at his home 5.5 miles east of Ewing, Nebraska. As his widow, Jane was entitled to a widow's pension, but would first have to prove that she had married Andrew, that they lived together as husband and wife, that they were still married when Andrew died, and that she was in financial need of a pension. To do this, she secured an affidavit from the minister who had married them thirty-four years earlier, from sixty-three year old Nelson Reynolds who had served with Andrew, and from friends and neighbors who knew of her lifestyle and financial circumstances. A pension was approved and, like her husband, Jane periodically applied for increases as new and more generous laws were approved by Congress. She was receiving $30.00 monthly when, on November 21, 1922, one day before her 85th birthday, she died in Ewing, Nebraska.
Lewis, Henry Thomas
Henry Lewis was born in 1828 in Essex, New York. Sarah Ann Johnson was born on August 28, 1833, also in New York. They were married in New Albion, New York, by justice of the peace Arad Rich. Their children included Helen Melissa (born July 6, 1855 in Cattaraugus County, New York), Charles Nelson (born December 30, 1856 in Buchanan County, Iowa), Edward Alphonso (born September 19, 1858 in Buchanan County, Iowa), and Forest Leander (born August 5, 1861).
On the day of Forest's birth, Iowa's Governor, Sam Kirkwood went to Washington to confer with Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs and, to finance what had become an increasingly expensive war, Congress enacted the country's first income tax. Those who predicted an early end to the war were wrong. Iowa troops were already in the South and more were needed. The following year, when President Lincoln called for more volunteers, Governor Kirkwood assured him "the State of Iowa in the future as in the past, will be prompt and ready to do her duty to the country in the time of sore trial. Our harvest is just upon us, and we have now scarcely men enough to save our crops, but if need be our women can help." A draft was organized but not needed.
On August 14, 1862, Henry Lewis enlisted at McGregor in a company then being organized by Willard Benton. On the 22nd they were was mustered as Company G with Benton as Captain and, on September 9th, with nine other companies, they were mustered in as the state's 21st Infantry. Henry was described on the Company Muster-in Roll as being 5' 10" tall with brown eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion; occupation farmer.
During their short training at Camp Franklin in Dubuque, several soldiers contracted measles. One was Thompson Spottswood, a thirty-one year old dentist who was given leave to return to his uncles home to recuperate, but soon died from the illness. Due to a long incubation period, the illness did not manifest itself with others until weeks later.
On September 16th, crowded on board the Henry Clay and two barges lashed to its side, they left for war. Henry's four children and his twenty-nine year old wife, pregnant with their fifth child, stayed in McGregor. Henry had three weeks to live.
The regiment went first to St. Louis and then, by rail, to Rolla, Missouri. Finding its first camp unsatisfactory due to poor water, water that "oppressed the senses like the breath of sewers," they moved on September 28th to a place Walter McNally called Sycamore Springs, about five miles southwest of town on the Springfield Road. There they camped in a cornfield and there, on October 7, 1862, Henry Lewis died from the measles. He was buried with others a quarter of a mile north of the camp.
On January 19, 1863, Sarah gave birth to a daughter, Flora Emma Agnes Lewis. Soon thereafter she hired McGregor attorneys Murdock & Stoneman to pursue a pension claim on her behalf and, on April 1, 1863, she and the children moved into town. On April 16th the Pension Commissioner referred the matter to the Adjutant General in Washington to verify Henry's service and death but, on the 27th, the Adjutant General replied that records were incomplete. There was no record of Henrys enlistment, but there was a record of his death. Sarah needed more proof of Henrys service. Nathaniel Baker, Iowas adjutant general, confirmed that Henry had enlisted in and been mustered into the regiment. The regiment's initial chaplain, Sam Sloan, a Congregationalist minister from McGregor, said, "I conducted the burial services of said Lewis." Willard Benton appeared before Judge Baugh in McGregor, and testified that Henry had been a "good soldier" who died "in the service of his country."
While Henry's service and death were then sufficiently documented, Sarah also had to prove she was his legal widow. A document written and signed by justice of the peace Rich, said they were married on July 3, 1854, and was, said Rich, given under my hand the 3d day of July 1854. This apparently did not suffice and an undated form Certificate of Marriage, also signed by justice of the peace Rich, said the marriage was on the 3d day of July 1855. Information written into the blanks on the form was in a handwriting that was different from that of justice of the peace Rich. The contemporaneous document, indicating it was signed on the date of the marriage and was entirely in Richs handwriting, most likely has the correct year while the undated certificate was not signed until sometime between 1857 (when Benton & Andrews, printer of the form certificate, started in business) and the date of Sallys application and seems less likely to be correct. For unknown reasons, both gave her name as Sally rather than Sarah.
On September 25, 1865, satisfied that Henry and Sarah had been married, and that Henry had served as claimed, the Pension Office mailed a certificate confirming that Sarah had been approved for an $8.00 monthly pension, retroactive to Henry's death three years earlier. Sarah was entitled to an additional $2.00 per month for each child of the marriage until the childs sixteenth birthday. On November 17, 1866, Sarah applied for these additional amounts (and for an increase to her own pension), but listed only Helen, Charles and Edward as her children. Witnessing her application was Jabez Rogers, one of Henry's former comrades. Sarah was no longer able to get testimony from persons who had been present at her childrens birth, but said she had an important record in her family Bible of the births of her children which she cut out and sent to the Pension Office. The record from the Bible also reflected Henrys 1828 birth and the birth dates of Sarah and her two youngest children, apparently now deceased. Signing the same affidavit was Ellie Hatfield, a McGregor resident, who said she had no doubt as to the ages of the children since she had been a near neighbor of Mrs Lewis and her children until they were taken to the Assylum and ever since they came to this town to wit on 1st of April 1863.
The Assylum was a Soldiers Orphans Home, the Anne Wittenmyer home, 2800 Eastern Avenue in Davenport, that admitted children whose parents were deceased or, as in this case, unable to care for them. Helen, Charles and Edward Lewis were admitted sometime prior to January 1, 1867. On June 30, 1893, the pension agent in Des Moines, wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions to advise him that Sarah, who was last paid at $12-, to 4 Oct., 1892, has been dropped because of death. The specific date of her death was not mentioned.
Libby, Hiram S.
Hiram S. Libby was born on November 9, 1840, in Somerset County, Maine, but the family was living in Iowa at the start of the Civil War. His brother, Ebenezer, enlisted in Iowas 3rd Infantry in 1861 and, on August 9, 1862, at Strawberry Point, Hiram was enrolled by Charles Heath in what would be Company B of the state's 21st Regiment of volunteer infantry. The company was mustered in on August 18, 1862 and the regiment on September 9th, both at Camp Franklin in Dubuque. On September 16, 1862 they crowded on board the Henry Clay, a sidewheel steamer, and two barges lashed to its sides and started for the South. Hiram was described as having a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair and, at 6' 1¼, was one of the tallest men in a regiment where the average height was about 5' 8."
Hiram was in good physical condition when he enlisted, maintained his health, and participated in most of the regiment's early engagements. On January 11, 1863, he was one of twenty-five volunteers from Company B who participated in a daylong battle at Hartville, Missouri. The regiment was posted at Houston at the time and returned to Houston after the battle. During the next three months they walked to West Plains, Eminence, Ironton, Iron Mountain, Pilot Knob and into St. Genevieve. From there they were transported down the Mississippi to Millikens Bend where General Grant was organizing a massive army intent on capturing Vicksburg. During the campaign Hiram participated in the May 1, 1863 Battle of Port of Port Gibson, the May 17th assault at the Big Black River when the 21st and 23rd Iowa regiments routed entrenched Confederates, and the ensuing siege of Vicksburg. He then participated in a pursuit of Confederate General Joe Johnston to Jackson and a siege of that city. After returning to Vicksburg and recuperating from their campaigns in Mississippi, they were transported south where, for a while, Hiram was detached to serve with a battery of light artillery. On the 24th of that month Ebenezer died in Natchez.
On September 4, 1863, in a large field between New Orleans and Carrollton, the regiment was formally reviewed by General Nathaniel Banks before embarking on a new campaign west of the river. Moving from place to place - Bayou Boeuf, Berwick, Vermillion Bayou, New Iberia, Brashear, Jenerette - they encountered little resistance and, before long, were back in New Orleans.
In the meantime, President Lincoln had become increasingly concerned about French designs on Texas and the ability of Confederates to receive arms shipped to various points on the Gulf coast. Defenses were to be strengthened and, on November 23, 1863, Hiram and others well enough to travel left New Orleans on two transports. Landing near Aransas Pass, they moved up San Jose Island and the Matagorda Peninsula. For the next six months they would move to various locations on the peninsula and the nearby mainland.
On February 22, 1864, they were camped at Indianola when a party of twenty-two to twenty-five scouts from several regiments, mounted on "poor scrubs," rode out about eight miles to graze lame horses and gather cattle. Each man had been carefully selected for "known ability as horsemen marksmanship and courage." Included in the party were several men from the 21st Iowa, including Hiram Libby. While rounding up cattle and performing reconnaissance near Green Lake, they realized they were surrounded and outnumbered by "well armed and well mounted cavalry of the enemy." Some in the scouting party managed to escape but others, including Hiram Libby, were captured and taken to Lavaca. Joseph Speer, a private in Iowas 20th Infantry, was captured several weeks later and, in a postwar affidavit supporting Hirams pension claim, said:
I first met him in company with some fourteen or fifteen other Prisoners of war at a little place by the name of Lavaca Texas they were confined in a stockade made by placing logs of wood side by side in such a position as to make an enclosure so common in the south as prison pens. This was some time in April 1864 I do not remember the exact date but it was the forepart of the month I do not remember anything about the condition of his health at that time but we were removed shortly afterwards to Houston Texas where we were confined in a room some 14 feet square said room was in the Basement of the Court House and had been used as a common jail for criminals The windows were grated with Iron Bars the same as other jails but to make the place more safe or more gloomy the rebels nailed oaken planks over the windows on the inside so that there was not ray of light in the room only which little came through the cracks of the planks In the course of a few days the place became mouldy and damp on the account of there being but little or no ventilation while thus confined I remember very distinctly of said H S Libby having a severe cough and he raised a considerable corruption and as there was nothing to spit upon but the floor he used that, much to the annoyance of the remainder of the prisoners I do not remember very distinctly how long we were confined in that jail but I think about five weeks when we were removed to a stockade located near Tyler Texas known as Camp Ford this prison was a common pen as I have already described We were confined there without any shelter or blankets of any kind until the middle of July 1864 during the latter part of May & part of June there was a great deal of rainfall, cold rains at that, and we had to stand in the wet mud & sand a great many nights all night through and make the best of it After that rainy season was over with is when I first remember of H S Libby having what I supposed was inflammatory rheumatism he may have had it before that time but I do not remember as to that but I do remember very distinctly of his feet and legs from the knee down being swelled & inflamed very badly & he suffered with them so much at times that I have seen him cry like a child from pain At the time when we were exchanged which was July 22d 1864 his feet was so puffed up that he could not wear his shoes We separated at a Camp of Distribution New Orleans I have never seen him since.
Camp Ford was a former Confederate training facility about four miles northeast of Tyler. By the time the Green Lake prisoners arrived it was described by some as a "sewer pit" and "hellhole" that was a "sty not fit for pigs." On July 8th, Hiram was among those taken by their captors to Shreveport and down the Red River to the Mississippi where they were exchanged on the 22d at Red River Landing and boarded transports for New Orleans. All had lost weight and were in poor health. Hiram Libby's cough was worse. His feet and legs, from the knees down, were swollen and inflamed and he was unable to wear shoes, but he refused a discharge.
Hiram stayed with the regiment when it moved to Morganza in Louisiana, performed service on the White River in Arkansas, and participated in the next spring's Alabama campaign to occupy the city of Mobile. They were mustered out on July 15, 1865 at Baton Rouge, went north by river steamer and rail, and were discharged at Clinton on July 24, 1865.
In 1871 Hiram was badly injured while working on a farm owned by John Getchell near Glencoe, Minnesota. According to John's son, Marshall Getchell, Hiram was working on a threshing machine and "standing upon a pile of bundles oiling the gearing in the cylinder of the machine. The bundles slipped from under him and his left hand was caught in the gearing." Byron Pierce took Hiram to see Dr. Wakefield in Hutchinson, but there was little that could be done. Hiram lost two fingers on his left hand and a third finger was stiff and permanently flexed down on the palm of his hand.
Not long thereafter, Hiram moved to Montana where he worked at several mines near Butte, but health problems resulting from his confinement during the war continued to plague him. Lung problems, swollen ankles and feet, and rheumatism severely limited his ability to earn a living. For several years he worked for the Hecla Consolidated Mining Company where a supervisor said Hiram: "has been 'a jack of all trades' ever since he first commenced working for this Company a part of the time as machinist, blacksmith, lubricant on account of disease of the lungs and rheumatism he could only do about one half (½) of a sound able bodied mans work."
Horace Brown said Hiram: "worked in various capacities, but mostly in the capacity of day watchman whose duty it was to watch the machinery, do light repairs and a general tinkering business. He was not able to do laberious work owing to frequent and prolonged attacts of rheumatism and shortness of breath under heavy work."
In 1879, Hiram was living in Glendale, Montana Territory, when he applied for an invalid pension, a pension that required him to demonstrate a war-related disability. The process was complicated and lengthy but, with supportive affidavits from other Green Lake prisoners and from those aware of his current health problems, a $2.00 monthly pension was granted in 1884. Later, as pension laws became more liberal, he secured testimony regarding the hand mangled in the threshing machine and an increase was granted.
On June 6, 1898, in response to a government questionnaire, Hiram said he had married Alice Roberts in Forestville, Iowa, in 1867, a daughter (Kathlyne J. Libby) was born in June 1875, and Wife died in Nevad about 87. The following year, on September 6, 1899, Hiram gave conflicting information when he answered another questionnaire and said Alices Mother informed me that she died in Nevada in 1890 not divorced. Hiram was receiving a $24.00 monthly pension when he died on March 27, 1914. He is buried in Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis. His daughter, Kathlyne, married James L. Bird and, in 1940, they were living in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Kathlyne J. (Libby) Bird died on December 30, 1947. Her husband, James Langton Bird died on January 27, 1951. Like Hiram, theyre buried in Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis.
Lyons, William W.
William W. Lyons was born in Morgan County, Ohio, southeast of Columbus, on December 27, 1832. From there he moved to Iowa where he married Jennette J. Beedy, daughter of Julius C. Beedy, a Hardin merchant and postmaster, and his wife, Susan M. (Debar) Beedy. On May 18, 1859, Jennette gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Hattie. In August of that year the Clayton County Journal told readers there never will be a better time than the present, for investment in Iowa lands, but two months later abolitionist John Brown raided Harpers Ferry and tensions began to escalate rapidly between North and South.
On April 12, 1861, Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter. A year later, with the war in its second year and Hattie three years old, William was enrolled at Hardin on August 13, 1862, as a 2d Sergeant in what would be Company B of Iowas 21st Infantry. At Camp Franklin in Dubuque, the regiment was mustered into service on September 9th. A week later, on a rainy Tuesday, they marched through town and, from the levee at the foot of Jones Street, boarded the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started south.
The regiments early service was in Missouri. After spending one night at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, they traveled by rail to Rolla where they camped outside of town for a month. They then moved south to Salem and, from there, to Houston followed by Hartville and back to Houston. On January 27, 1863, they started another march, this one fifty miles to West Plains near the Arkansas border. After a brief stay, they left on February 8th and walked to the northeast through Ironton to Iron Mountain where they camped near an iron mine a quarter mile from town. While there, on March 1st, William was promoted to 1st Sergeant to take the place of Barney Phelps who had been promoted to 2d Lieutenant. Two days later Jennette gave birth to their second child, a boy named Leroy.
On March 19th, Mason Bettys of Grand Meadow Township died at Ste. Genevieve from the debilitating effects of chronic diarrhoea and, the same day, William Lyons started north on a furlough to see Jennette, Hattie and his new son. Two days later, Jim Bethard, also a resident of the township, wrote to his wife, Caroline (Cal), that you will probably see Mr Lyons our orderly sergeant who went home with the dead body of Mason Bettice [Bettys] before this letter reaches you he promised me that he would go over and make you a visit.
Williams furlough was brief and, on April 14th, Myron Knight noted in his diary that three of our furloughed men came back W. W. Lyons, D. Maxson and John Carpenter. The regiment was then under the command of General John McClernand in an army led by Ulysses S. Grant intent on capturing Vicksburg. William was present on April 30th when they crossed the Mississippi River from Disharoons plantation on the west bank to the Bruinsburg landing in Mississippi. On May 1, 1863, the regiment participated in the one-day Battle of Port Gibson, on May 16th they were present but held in reserve during the Battle of Champions Hill, and on May 17th, with the 23d Iowa, they led an assault on entrenched Confederates at the Big Black River. William was wounded in the left hand during the assault and that evening Dr. Orr amputated one of his fingers. On June 10th, William was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Company B.
In the interim, Cornelius Dunlap, Lieutenant Colonel and second in command of the regiment, had been killed during an assault at Vicksburg on May 22d. Promotion of the officer next in line would normally have come quickly but, for reasons he chose not to put in writing, Colonel Merrill, then in McGregor recuperating from serious wounds he received while leading the assault at the Big Black, delayed making his recommendations. Eventually, on July 17th, after inquiry by Governor Kirkwood, he wrote a cover letter admitting, but not wanting to explain in writing, his hesitancy. He then wrote separately to say, I have the honor to recommend the promotion of Maj S. G. Van Anda to the office of Lt Col 21st Regiment and Capt Wm D. Crooke of Co. B for Maj of said Regiment. I certify on my honor that Capt W. D. Crooke above recommended does not use intoxicating liquor to such an extent as to interfere with the discharge of his duties as an officer or as to set a bad example to those under his command.
The promotions were made and the commissions issued, but that left a vacancy at the company level. William was in line for the position but, again, a usually prompt promotion came slowly. On August 15th, after a two day trip from Vicksburg on board the Baltic, the regiment went into camp at Carrollton, Louisiana. Still there on the 26th, William was ordered to report to Division headquarters where he was detailed for detached service as an officer with a Pioneer Corps. Pioneers were soldiers, and sometimes civilians, who cleared roads, erected bridges, built breastworks, dug trenches and constructed other structures. For the next several months he served in that capacity in southwestern Louisiana and on the Gulf coast of Texas until, at his own request and by reason of his promotion to be Captain of co. B, he was relieved on January 17, 1864, and ordered back to his regiment. I think Lyons will make a good captain, said Jim Bethard. [H]e was verry well liked as orderly and lieutenant by the majority of the company his worst enemy is from his own town and I think his enmity originated mainly from jealousy.
Three months later and still in Texas, it was ordered on April 18th that William again be detailed for duty in the Pioneer Corps of this Division and will report at once and take Command of the Corps. In June the regiment, and William who was still with the Pioneer Corps, returned to Louisiana where, on August 8th at Morganza, he resumed command of Company B.
On September 17, 1864, Jennette Lyons died. She was buried in the Hardin Cemetery, but Williams duties kept him in the South as the regiment saw service in Arkansas. They were near the mouth of the White River on November 6th when Jim Bethard wrote again. William, he said, is a well meaning man and wants to please every body but dont know how to do it. there has been some complaint in the company of his being to fraid of displeasing some of the higher officers to do his duty to his men.
By February, 1865, they were on Dauphin Island at the entrance to Mobile Bay and about to start a march along the east side of the bay to Mobile, when Jim, his brother-in-law, Captain Lyons and some of the hardin boys packed a box of clothing for shipment to Jims father-in-law, Joel Rice, for delivery to Jennettes father, Julius Beedy, who will call for it. If not picked up soon, Captain Lyons would be obliged if you would open and air it. The upcoming march was going to be difficult and the Brigadier General commanding the 1st Brigade advised the Assistant Adjutant General of the U. S. forces, that William Lyons was the most suitable man in my Brigade to command the Pioneer Corps of the Division. General Veach ordered that William immediately take command and organize a company of pioneers - including three Sergeants, three Corporals and thirty Privates, all to be selected by William.
The march was difficult said Strawberry Points William Grannis - "through swamps much of the way and that the men were detailed to make corduroy causeways, that the swamps were of such a nature that horses and mules could not be used so that the men had to cut and drag in place the timbers for causeways, that heavy rains fell, especially on the night of the 20th of March that the work was arduous and hard on the men; work all day in the mud and wet and then lie down at night in their wet clothes." Lyons pioneers labored hard as roads floated away, teams and wagons floundered, and animals were half buried but, on April 12th, the regiment walked into the city of Mobile, a city that had been quickly abandoned by the enemy.
Mobile was their last campaign. On July 15, 1865, the regiment was mustered out of service at Baton Rouge and, on July 24th, they were discharged from the military at Clinton. Two years later, on September 5, 1867, William married Atlantic Hatfield in Montezuma. They had at least three children - William E. Lyons on August 21, 1870, Charles A. Lyons on March 5, 1876, and Samuel M. Lyons on January 7, 1877.
In 1879 they were living in Glenville, Nebraska, when William applied for an invalid pension based on the loss of his finger. A pension of $4.00 was approved and, on July 30, 1890, he applied again. By now he was fifty-seven years old and said he was suffering from a bad back and hip and other ailments. During the fall of 1893, he said, I was working on a hay loader and was trying to keep the hay out from the drive pinion and chain which caught the middle fingers of my right hand and mashed them up to the second joint. A witness recalled that he had been standing on the back end of the hay rack when Mr William W. Lyons walking along the side was trying to adjust the drive chain. I seen the chain catch his Right Hand and drawing his fingers in the sprocket wheel under the chain.
William died on July 25, 1904, and was buried in Adams Countys Parkview Cemetery. Abbie continued to live in Hastings for several years, applied for a widows pension, and eventually moved to Edison, Nebraska. She died on May 9, 1923, and was buried with William in Parkview Cemetery.
~researched and compiled by Carl Ingwalson for Clayton co. IAGenWeb ©Carl Ingwalson & Clayton co. IAGenWeb.
Carl has offered to do look-ups in his extensive records of the 21st Iowa. His email address is on the Look-up Volunteers page.
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