Fayette County IAGenWeb
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by Carl Ingwalson
|Historical information, notes & comments, in some cases correcting the record. Soldier biographies written by Carl Ingwalson. Carl will do look-ups in his extensive records of the 21st Iowa and he is always willing to share what he has.|
William Snowden Warner was born in Yorkshire in northeastern England on September 28, 1818. Dorothy Hoyt was born in Quebec, Canada, on September 2, 1823. On February 19, 1840, they were married in Hopkinton, St. Lawrence County, New York.
The first of their eight children, Rectina Amelia Warner, was born on August 8, 1841, in St. Lawrence County. Two years later Jehiel G. Warner was born, also on August 8th in New York. He was followed by William Chandler Warner who was born in 1845. Their next three children were born in Winnebago County, Illinois - Albert Milton Warner on August 2, 1848, Thomas Oscar Warner on September 5, 1850 and Luther Howard Warner on July 15, 1853. In 1854 they moved to Fayette County where Lois Rose Warner was born on April 17, 1858.
The family lived near Brush Creek (now Arlington) in Putnam Township. Nearby were Thomas and Exceen McNary. On March 5, 1860, Dorothy assisted Exceen when she gave birth to a daughter, Phebe McNary. Later that year, on December 29th, it was Dorothy giving birth when Morris E. Warner was born.
Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, the war continued into a second year, and President Lincoln called for more volunteers aged eighteen to forty-five. Iowa was asked to furnish five regiments in addition to those already in the field. On August 1, 1862, Jehiel Warner enlisted. His father, William, enlisted on August 12th and Thomas McNary on the 13th. William was described as being 5' 7½” tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. Almost forty-four years old, he was one of the oldest men in the regiment. On August 18, 1862, at Dubuque, they were among ninety-nine men mustered in as Company B and, on September 9th, ten companies were mustered in as Iowa’s 21st Regiment of volunteer infantry.
Training at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin was brief and, on a rainy September 16th, they walked through town to the levee at the foot of Jones Street, crowded on board the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started down the Mississippi. They reached Rock Island on the 17th, spent the night and resumed their journey on the 18th, but low water at Montrose forced them to go ashore. On the 19th, they boarded rail cars and traveled to Keokuk where they boarded the “more commodious” Hawkeye State and continued south. They reached St. Louis on the 20th, left on the 21st and reached Rolla by rail on the 22d. On October 18th they started the first of many long marches. From Rolla they went to Salem, then Houston and Hartville. When a wagon train was attacked on November 24th, Colonel Sam Merrill moved his regiment back to Houston. On January 11, 1863, about 262 members of the regiment were in a one-day battle at Hartville.
So far William Warner had maintained his health well and was with the regiment at it walked south from Houston to West Plains and then northeast through Thomasville, Eminence and Ironton. When the roll was taken at Iron Mountain on February 28th, William was present but “sick.” At a special muster on April 10th at Milliken’s Bend, he was again marked “sick.” Sickness was common, especially during cold winter months and when the only available drinking water came from mud puddles, rivers and snow melt. William was sick, but thirty-one of his comrades had already died from illnesses such as chronic diarrhea, measles and pneumonia. Another four had been killed in action and three more had died from wounds received in battle.
At Milliken’s Bend, General Grant organized a 30,000 man army into three corps with the 21st assigned to a corps led by John McClernand. They walked south along the west side of the Mississippi until April 30th when they crossed to the Bruinsburg landing on the east bank. William’s Descriptive Book indicates that he participated in the May 1, 1863, Battle of Port Gibson, was present during the May 16th Battle of Champion’s Hill when General McClernand held them out of action, participated in an assault at the Big Black River on the 17th, participated in an assault at Vicksburg on May 22nd, and participated in the ensuing siege that ended with the city’s surrender on July 4, 1863.
On July 5th, those able for duty left in pursuit of Confederate General Joe Johnston, but William was still in Vicksburg on July 14th when he was granted a 30-day furlough. The next day, Myron Knight noted in his journal that “Sarg. Dewey and W. S. Warner started home on furloughs - sent letter by them.” William returned to the regiment at Brashear City, Louisiana, on September 18th and, on the 20th, Jim Bethard wrote to his brother-in-law Jim Rice who was at home on furlough, “Old man Warner and Johnny Rogman arrived here last friday evening.” Although late returning, William was restored to duty without loss of pay or allowances.
For the next several months they moved from one place to another in southwestern Louisiana. By November 21st they were back in Brashear City and that night boarded rail cars. They reached Algiers about sun-up on the 22nd, crossed to New Orleans and were ordered to the Gulf Coast of Texas where they would spend the next six months.
On March 20, 1864, they were on the mainland when William, Jehiel, James Hicks and several others were detached for a special assignment. According to Jehiel, they were “detailed to do special or fatigue duty to wit to assist in putting a building on board a steamer for the purpose of moveing it to Matagorda Island and while in the act of putting said building on board the building droped from the Pier or wharf” and his father “was violently thrown against the edge of the roof displacing the collar bone and causing other injuries of the shoulder.” James Hicks recalled that “the building slipped or fell and caught Wm S Warner between the edge of the roof and the back severely injurying his shoulder crushing and mashing it from the effects of which he was laid up a long time.”
William continued on duty and was “present” on all remaining bimonthly company muster rolls. In the spring of 1865, they participated in their final campaign, a campaign to occupy the city of Mobile. On July 15th, William and other original enlistees were mustered out at Baton Rouge and on July 24th they were discharged at Clinton. William returned to Dorothy and their eight children ranging from Rectina (now 23) to Morris (age 4) and resumed work as a farmer near Brush Creek. Five years earlier, Dorothy had assisted with the birth of Phebe McNary. Now she signed an affidavit supporting Exceen’s request for a pension for Phebe. Thomas had died from pneumonia during the regiment’s early days in Missouri and Exceen had remarried, but a $2.00 monthly pension was granted and would continue until Phebe’s sixteenth birthday.
On September 15, 1873, William applied for his own pension. He said the shoulder injured in Texas was painful and he was “to a great extent disabled from obtaining his sustenance from manual labor.” Jehiel and James Hicks signed supportive affidavits. Brad Talcott said William had been “excused from duty for the space of about six weeks or two months” while David Drummond recalled that William had been “unable to carry his accouterments and knapsack on account of the lameness.” Dr. Sabin thought there was an enlargement of the right shoulder, but objective symptoms were otherwise non-existent.
In 1883 William joined the Brush Creek Post of the G.A.R. and, on the 15th and 16th of September, 1887, was one of thirteen members of Company B who joined comrades from other companies at the regiment’s reunion in Manchester.
Dorothy died in 1903 and was buried in Taylorsville Cemetery in Arlington. William received an invalid pension and, at the time of his death on January 15, 1909, was receiving an age-based monthly pension of $20.00. He is buried next to Dorothy in Taylorsville Cemetery.
|~ Compiled & Contributor: Carl Ingwalson|
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