IOWA IN RECENT WARS
Twice since the Civil War Iowa has been
called upon by "Uncle Sam" to come to the defense of the
nation. As in the Civil War, both calls were promptly met and
her sons and daughters did their full share in maintaining the
honor of both the state and the nation.
On April 21, 1898, the United States Congress
said that a "state of war" with Spain had begun. Two days
later President McKinley issued a call for 125,000 volunteers
and on April 26 Governor Shaw called for Iowa's share of the
soldiers. On June 2 the governor issued a second call for
IOWA'S PART AGAINST SPAIN
Concerning Iowa's part in the Spanish-American
War, Governor Shaw has given us the following facts: "Four
organizations, numbered consecutively the 49th, 50th, 51st,
and 52nd regiments, were mustered into the service of the
United States. The 49th was sent first to Jacksonville,
Florida, and thereafter to Cuba, where it did service during
the winter of 1898-99. It was discharged in May, 1899. The
50th was ordered to Jacksonville, Florida where it remained
for several months. It was mustered out at Camp McKinley, Des
Moines, in November, 1898. The 51st was ordered into camp at
San Francisco where it remained for several months. It was
then sent to the Philippine Islands where it rendered active
service in stopping Aguinaldo's uprising. It was discharged
at San Francisco in November, 1899. The 52nd was sent to
Chickamauga but returned to Camp McKinley, where it was
discharged in October, 1898. The losses by death in these
regiments were 163."
Governor Shaw says: "Words of highest praise
of the troops furnished by our state have been heard from many
THE WORLD WAR
Iowa's help in the World War was entirely
different from the part she played in both the Civil War and
the Spanish-American War. In those wars nearly all of Iowa's
soldiers were organized into local companies and served as
Iowa companies in the war. In the World War, Iowa soldiers
were scattered through many companies and it is not so easy to
give them full credit for all that they did. Iowa played a
large part, however, in the money, food, and other supplies
which she furnished.
When the war broke out, our state was enjoying
good times. Since many of Iowa's people had come from some of
the European countries that were in the war, an unusual
interest was taken in the conflict. The Red Cross made
appeals to our people for help and raised large sums of money
for relief work in Europe.
THE THIRD IOWA REGIMENT
After the European countries had fought for
three years, the United States was drawn into the struggle.
Germany, Austria-Hungary, and some smaller countries were
fighting against France, Britain, Russia, Italy, and their
allies. Congress declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
Great preparations then were necessary. Men had to be
obtained for a large army, and money had to be raised. Three
of Iowa's National Guard regiments had just returned from
guard duty on the Mexican border. One of them, the Third
Iowa, was chosen to go to Europe as a part of the Rainbow
Division. men were taken from the First and Second Regiments
and added to the Third to give it a war strength of 3,600 men,
which was required for the regular army.
In August, 1917, the Third Iowa Regiment was
made a part of the United States Army. It became the 168th
United States infantry in the famous Rainbow Division, which
was one of the first to go to France. The men landed on
French soil, Dec. 9, 1917. They had been trained in America
but were given more training in France. They went into the
trenches in February, 1918, and were in much of the hardest
fighting from then until the armistice was signed on Nov. 11,
1918. Of the men who belonged to the 168th in the spring of
1917, more than half were later killed in battle, died of
disease, or were wounded and sent to the hospital.
Not all of Iowa's soldiers were in the 168th
infantry. More than 113,000 of her men served in the United
States Army, the navy, and the marine corps. Over 2,000 of
her soldiers and sailors were killed in battle or died from
disease during the period of the war. Merle Hay of Glidden
was the first Iowa soldier to be killed in battle.
The United States Government built a large
camp near Des Moines in which to train soldiers. It was named
Camp Dodge. More than 40,000 soldiers were in training at
Camp Dodge during June, 1918.
Millions of dollars had to be raised to carry
on the war. Congress levied new taxes and increased old ones,
but taxes alone would not bring in enough money. The
Government had to borrow large sums. To do so, it offered to
sell the people "Liberty Bonds." In these bonds the
Government promised to pay a certain amount of money later to
the persons who bought them. Five great "Liberty Loans" were
made by the United States, and Iowa's response in them was as
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Campaigns were also put on to raise money as
gifts to such organizations as the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A.,
Knights of Columbus, and others. These organizations were
working for the comfort of the soldiers and for the relief of
the suffering people in Europe.
To sell the bonds and to get the gifts, great
drives had to be organized and carried through. More than
2,500 Iowa men and women were regular speakers on war topics.
They spoke at theaters, in churches, and wherever meetings
HOOVER AND FOOD
Herbert Hoover, a native-born Iowan and later
our President, was a leader in relief work. He was in London
on business when the war broke out. While there he was asked
to take charge of the relief work for thousands of families in
Belgium and France who were without food. Mr. Hoover worked
at this task for nearly three years without salary and paid
his own expenses.
After the United States entered the World War,
President Wilson asked Mr. Hoover to become Food
Administrator. His task was to get farmers to raise more food
and to have the people save wheat, flour, sugar, and meat, in
order that it might be sent to Europe. Iowa farmers did their
best to help and raised large crops. Thousands of city people
who had never done any gardening and people in small towns had
"war gardens" where they raised many vegetables. Food was
needed for other armies and peoples as well as our own.
ARMISTICE AND AFTER
On November 11, 1918, the Germans agreed to an
"armistice" and fighting was stopped on the western front.
The news reached Iowa early in the morning and the largest
celebration that our people had ever known was held over the
Most of the organizations that had been doing
relief work for the soldiers stopped their activities soon
after the war ended. One new organization, however, was
formed and has continued to do excellent work for the
"buddies" who were in need of help, particularly because of
wounds or disease. It is called the American Legion. Iowa
has many active legions and legionnaires.
OUR STATE MILITIA
Iowa has its soldiers in peace as well as in
war. The story of its militia is interesting. Governor Lucas
in his first message to the territorial legislative assembly
in November, 1838, advised the establishment of an Iowa
militia for defense against the Indians. A bill to organize,
discipline, and govern the militia of Iowa was passed by the
assembly and signed by Governor Lucas on January 4, 1839.
This bill created the first commander in chief of the
militia." The militia was to consist of infantry, light
infantry, riflemen, artillerymen, and dragoons or mounted
There were difficulties, however, in
organizing the militia. In 1840 Governor Lucas wrote to the
Secretary of War: "I meet with much difficulty in effecting
the organization of our Territorial Militia. It appears to be
attended with extreme difficulty to prevail on men of
competent military abilities to accept commissions as company
officers, though I trust this will ultimately be
accomplished." When the United States declared war against
Mexico in 1846 there was no organized militia in Iowa that
could be called.
When Iowa became a state in 1846 the
constitution provided for a state militia. There were several
volunteer companies in the state but the growth of the militia
was slow. Most of the governors stressed the need for
When Iowa's present constitution was adopted
in 1857, provision was again made for a state militia. During
the Civil War Iowa had a militia but it was difficult to
distinguish between state and federal troops.
In the years following the Civil War the state
militia became an efficient and effective fighting force. In
1877 the name of the active militia was changed from "State
Guard" to "National Guard, State of Iowa." It consisted of
4,000 well-officered and well-armed men. Several encampments
were held in 1878 and others followed annually.
The state militia has been called out three
1. On April 4, 1911, Governor Carroll ordered
the militia to Muscatine for duty during a strike at the pearl
button factories. There was no trouble after the troops
arrived but they were kept on duty until May 3.
2. On November 15, 1921, Governor Kendall
ordered the militia to Ottumwa for duty during a strike at the
plant of the Morrel Packing Co. They were withdrawn the next
3. On September 21, 1931, Governor Turner
ordered the militia to Tipton to help state veterinarians in
giving tuberculin tests to cattle as required by law. Troops
later went from Tipton to Mt. Pleasant, Burlington, and
THE "COW WAR"
Trouble over the testing of cattle for
tuberculosis had existed for several months. On September 21,
1931, after a crowd of about four hundred objecting farmers
had defied a posse of sixty-five deputies and driven them from
the J. W. Lenker farm, Governor Turner declared martial law
and called out two thousand troops. Soldiers from many cities
in Iowa were sent to Tipton. The encampment was on the fair
Many other states have had laws providing for
compulsory tuberculin testing but Iowa seems to have been the
only one in which the militia had to enforce the law. The
total cost for calling out the troops was over $100,000. The
last soldiers were ordered home on November 25, 1931.