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History of Iowa

Volume II

Chapter VII


Chapter XXI


Picture included in this chapter is: Colonel Milo Smith




The Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry


          Four companies from Henry County, three from Des Moines, two from Washington and one from Louisa made up the Twenty-fifth regiment. The field officers were Colonel George A. Stone, Lieutenant-Colonel Fabian Brydolph, Major Calvin Taylor, Adjutant S. K. Clark.

            It was mustered into the service on the 27th of September,1862, with nine hundred seventy-two men. For a month the regiment remained in camp undergoing thorough instruction in drill and discipline, rendering it one of the most efficient at the commencement of service. On the 17th of November the regiment landed at Helena, accompanying several expeditions into Arkansas and Mississippi. On the 22d of December the Twenty-fifth attached to the Second Brigade under General Hovey, First Division of the Fifteenth Army Corps, moved down the rive with the expedition under General Sherman to Chickasaw Bayou to which was unsuccessful, meeting with but slight loss. Soon after the army withdrew and was sent to Young’s Point to cooperate with General McClernand. The Twenty-fifth was engaged in the campaign which, on the 11th of January, 1863, terminated in the battle and capture of Arkansas Post. The regiment lost about sixty men killed, wounded and captured in this action. Among the wounded and captured in this action. Among the wounded were Adjutant Clarke (mortally), Captains Palmer and Bell and Lieutenants Stark and Orr.

            Soon after the regiment returned to Young’s Point remaining several months. In April it was in General Steele’s expedition into the interior of Mississippi, where large quantities of stores were captured and the attention of the enemy diverted from the important movements of the campaign. It joined Grant’s army at Grand Gulf and participated in the brilliant campaign which drove Pemberton’s army behind the intrenchments of Vicksburg, but was not engaged in any of the battles until May 22d. In the assault of that day it lost thirty men, among whom was Captain J. D. Spearman, severely wounded. During the siege which followed its losses amounted to about thirty more. The regiment was sent with General Sherman against Jackson, and returning, went into camp on Black River. In September it was with General Sherman in his march through Tennessee to the relief of Chattanooga and it took part in the battle near Cherokee, where Osterhaus engaged and defeated a Confederate army under Lee and Rhoddy. On the morning that the Twenty-fifth reached Lookout Mountain it went into the battle above the clouds, under General Hooker, and supporting a New York battery, met with no losses but gathered up many prisoners. It was engaged in the Battle of Ringgold on the 27th and lost twenty-nine men. Of the twenty-one officers in the battle, seven were wounded. Colonel Stone was soon after placed in command of a brigade and regiment. Near the close of December it went into winter quarters at Woodville, but was sent on several expeditions during that time. The Twenty-fifth was now assigned to the Second Brigade made up of the Fourth, Ninth, Twenty-fifth and Thirty-first Iowa regiments, under command of Colonel J. A. Williamson of Iowa and called the “Iowa Brigade.” Ingersoll says of this famous brigade:


            “There was no brigade in the Fifteenth Army Corps which performed more eminent services in the grand campaign of Atlanta than Williamson’s Iowa Brigade. It met the enemy at Resaca on the 11th of May and from that time until the 5th of September at Lovejoy Station, two marches beyond Atlanta, it was nearly every hour of the time within sound of the enemy’s guns under fire. It met the foe in heavy skirmish and in battle on all of the last five days of May at Dallas. On the 28th, when the division on its right was about giving way before overwhelming numbers, it was Williamson’s Iowa Brigade that saved that division and the day by a daring charge. It was engaged in the movements and heavy fighting which preceded the assault on Kenesaw Mountain and the evacuation of that strong position by the Rebels. It was again most conspicuous in the corps at the great Battle of Atlanta on the 22d of July. Here again did Williamson’s Iowa Brigade make a bold charge under the eye of General Sherman himself, restored the line of the Fifteenth Corps which had been broken, drove the enemy from our works and recaptured the guns which had been taken from us. Again at the Battle of Ezra Church it fought finely and suffered heavily. So also at Jonesboro and Lovejoy. Everywhere and at all times, on the march by day or by night, in the trenches of a besieged army, or in battle, it faithfully, bravely, nobly did its part in that remarkable campaign.”


            The Twenty-fifth was in all of the engagements here mentioned, except at the Battle of Dallas, where its position was such that it did not take part in the charge. When Marietta was captured, Colonel Stone was made commandant and his regiment was detailed as provost guard. Its losses during the campaign were considerable, but do not appear in any of the official reports. Early in October it joined in the rapid pursuit of Hood’s army and had a skirmish with Wheeler’s cavalry, putting it to flight. On the 21st of December the Twenty-fifth entered Savannah and there went into camp. While here Colonel Stone took command of the Iowa Brigade and Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer commanded the regiment. In the campaign through the Carolinas, which began on the 10th of January, 1865, and lasted until the 26th of March, the Iowa Brigade performed hard marches and labor and was in several battles, among which were the engagements at Little Congaree on the 15th of February; at the capital Columbia two day later, at Cox Bridge on the 20th of March and the following day at Bentonsville. The Twenty-fifth was in all of these conflicts.


The Capture of Columbia


            The Iowa Brigade took a prominent part in the capture of Columbia. Early in the evening of February 16th, Colonel Stone received orders to cross the Broad River on pontoon boats two miles above the city He landed his troops on an island early on the morning of the 17th and erected earthworks which ere attacked by sharpshooters. As reinforcements were preparing to come to the assistance of the enemy, Colonel Stone ordered an assault upon his lines at once. The Thirtieth Iowa led, following by the Twenty-fifth, supported by the Fourth. They moved forward rapidly, wading the bayous and scattering the enemy, took many prisoners. The way now open to the city, but before reaching it Colonel Stones was met by a carriage bearing a flag of truce in which wee the mayor and aldermen who came to surrender the city. Colonel Stone received the unconditional surrender and with Major Anderson of the Fourth Iowa joined the officials in the Stars and Stripes above it. During the night the city was set on fire in several places and more than one-third of it was destroyed. The fires were believed to have been started by some of our released prisoners and negroes. Every possible effort was made to save the city but a strong wind carried the flames into the cotton warehouses and a vast amount of property was destroyed. Colonel Stone reported the capture of forty pieces of artillery, 5,000 stands of small arms and two hundred prisoners. Soon after the capture of Columbia the army continued its march northward meeting the enemy at Cox Bridge on the 20th of March, where the Twenty-fifth Iowa was in the thickest of the fight. It had about thirty men killed and wounded, among the latter Captain William G. Allen, acting major, who lost his right leg. The next day at Bentonsville the entire brigade fought bravely and received the commendation of superior officers. This was the regiment’s last battle. The losses during the campaign were seven killed, sixty-four wounded and twelve missing. The command forming the rear of the army reached Goldsboro on the 26th of March. From there it moved on to Raleigh and, after the surrender of Johnston’s army, by way of Richmond to Washington. The Iowa Brigade was in the grand review of the Union army on the 23d and 24th of May, where it attracted general attention from the martial bearing of its veteran regiments. The Twenty-fifth Iowa went into camp at Crystal Springs near the city, where it was mustered out on the 6th of June, returning to Davenport, where it was soon after disbanded. On the 13th of March Colonel Stone was commissioned Brigadier-General.


The Twenty-sixth Iowa Infantry


          This regiment was made up of Clinton County men, although Jackson and Jones counties made contributions to the ranks. It was mustered into the service at Clinton on the 30th of September, 1862. The field officers were Colonel Milo Smith, Lieutenant-Colonel S. G. Magill, Major Samuel Clark, Adjutant Thomas G. Ferreby. Very little time was given for drill before the regiment was ordered South, going to Helena on the 38th of October. Its first service in the field was under General Hovey on the White River expedition. Two of its prominent field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Magill and Major Clark, were so unfortunate as to be captured at Helena and both resigned on the 2d of December. After a march into Mississippi, in support of General Grant’s first movement against Vicksburg, the regiment was assigned to the Third Brigade, First Division of the Fifteenth Army Corps. With General Sherman in his bloody defeat at Chickasaw Bayou it suffered no loss. On the 2d of January, 1863, it was sent down the river to the mouth of Yazoo River, where General McClernand was in command of the army. Soon after the regiment moved against the enemy occupying a strongly fortified position on the Arkansas River about fifty miles from the mouth. This was the key to central Arkansas, had a fine armament of heavy Parrott guns and columbiads; the garrison numbered about 7,000 well disciplined troops under command of General Churchill.


Battle of Arkansas Post


          General McClernand moved his army by transports up the Arkansas River and disembarked on a swampy bank a few miles below the little village of Arkansas Post. Dispositions for the attack were promptly made. General Morgan commanding two divisions of the Thirteenth Corps on the left and Sherman with two divisions of the Fifteenth Corps on the right moved forward over ground greatly obstructed by swamps and bayous. A brigade under Colonel Lindsay was landed below the Post on the opposite side of the river to prevent the escape of the enemy in that direction. Admiral Porter with a fleet of gunboats was cooperating with the land attack. Finally after much difficulty the lines were drawn around the Post under a heavy fire of artillery from the fort and of musketry from the earthworks and rifle pits. The fleet soon opened fire, which was kept up until after dark when the troops passed a cold and gloomy night in swampy bivouac without fires. The next day a heavy fire was opened on the works from the gunboats and land artillery under cover of which the infantry advanced to the attack. The brigades of Hovey, Thayer and Smith gained a position in the woods near the enemy’s rifle pits, but met such a terrible fire of artillery and musketry that they were compelled to seek shelter for a time. Again they advanced supported by Blair’s Brigade, to within short musket range and took position in deep wooded ravines. The infantry of Morgan’s Corps advanced and gained a position close to the works. The battle now raged with great fury all along the lines, the enemy making a desperate defense. The guns of the fort had been silenced by our heavy artillery, but the musketry fire of the enemy never slackened. General McClernand now decided to order an assault. The brigades of Burbridge, Smith and Sheldon pushed forward under a deadly fire and several of the regiments swept over the intrenchments. Sherman’s command at the same time stormed the works in front in an equally brilliant manner, the victory was won and soon the Union flag was raised over Fort Hindman. There was captured with the Post 5,000 prisoners, seventeen pieces of artillery, 50,000 rounds of ammunition, six hundred horses and mules, 5,000 muskets and a large amount of other property. The Iowa regiments engaged in this battle were the Fourth, Ninth, Twenty-fifth, Twenty-sixth, Thirtieth, Thirty-first and the Thirty-fourth. This was the first battle in which the twenty-sixth met the enemy in mortal combat, and no regiment contributed more to win the great victory. Its loss was one hundred twenty men. Lieutenants P. L. Hyde, J. S. Patterson and James McDill were slain, and among the wounded were Colonel Smith, Adjutant Ferreby, Captain N. A. Merrill and Lieutenant Svendsen. Soon after the battle the Twenty-sixth was sent down the river and stationed a few miles below Vicksburg, where it remained until the 2d of April—then accompanying General Steele’s expedition to Greenville, Mississippi, where five men were captured.

            Toward the last of the month it went into camp at Milliken’s bend and early in May joined Grant’s army then moving out on the Vicksburg campaign. The regiment participated in the capture of Jackson and on the 16th moved with the troops toward Vicksburg. During the siege it was on the left of Thayer’s Brigade in General Steele’s Division and took part in the assaults of the 19th and 22d of May; its losses during these engagements and the siege were six killed and thirty-three wounded. The Twenty-sixth was in the second expedition against Johnston’s army, in which Colonel Smith commanded a brigade, and Adjutant Ferreby who had now recovered from his wound was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and in command of the regiment. At the close of the campaign it returned to Black River, remaining in camp about two months. In the latter part of September it was sent to Memphis and on to Corinth, where Osterhaus’ Division was engaged in repairing the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Early in November Osterhaus’ command joined General Sherman’s army the moving on toward Chattanooga. The Twenty-sixth reached Lookout Mountain the evening before the battle and took part in the engagement. Lieutenant-Colonel Ferreby was again severely wounded. Under Hooker’s command, which followed the retreating enemy, the Twenty-sixth was in the battle near Ringgold where it did excellent service. Captain J. L. Steele was here mortally wounded and Lieutenants N. D. Hubbard and William Mickel were severely injured. During the month the regiment marched over three hundred miles of the rough mountain country of Alabama and took part in three battles. About Christmas time it went inot winter quarters at Woodville, reduced in numbers to about one-half of the original strength, and during the winter it did patrol duty along the Tennessee River where eight men were captured. Early in May the Twenty-sixth joined General Sherman’s army at Chattanooga and fort he next four months participated in the marches, skirmishes, sieges, battles and exhausting labors of that famous campaign. The regiment lost eighty men in the various battles at Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw and Atlanta. After a month’s rest at East Point it joined in the march northward early in October in pursuit of Hood, and on the 16th lost five men in battle at Taylor’s Ridge. In December the regiment was with the army in Savannah and In January, 1865, started on the march through the Carolinas, sharing the labors, hardships and battles of that campaign and at Bentonsville ended its brilliant fighting career. Marching on northward to Raleigh, and from there to the National Capital on the 6th of June it was mustered out of the service. The flag of the “Clinton County Regiment” bears upon its folds the names of the numerous battles in which honor is reflected upon the State by gallant conduct. Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Jackosn, Vicksburg, Cherokee, Tuscumbia, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold, Resaca, Dallas, Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Ezra Church, Jonesboro, Lovejoy, Savannah, Columbia and Bentonsville make a formidable list of engagements where this noble regiment won its proud place in our war history.



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