Iowa First Cavalry

This information has been transcribed and graciously provided by volunteer John Davis from
the "1880 History of Keokuk County Iowa."

The First Cavalry Regiment raised, and tendered to the government by joint resolution of the State legislature, at the extra session, was in the spring of 1861. It was accepted June 13, 1861, making it the oldest volunteer regiment in the service. It was ordered to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, October 15, 1861, and immediately after to the interior of the State, to look after guerrillas who infested that section. From November of that year, to the following march the regiment was constantly on the move, and no regiment did greater service or covered more territory. So brilliant, quick and effective were their movements , the guerrillas soon gave them a wide berth wherever they went. In March, 1862 it was ordered to Sedalia, and for several months was divided into small detachments scouring the country. July 9th the noted guerrilla chief Quantrell, was met in Cass county, and after a severe, sharp and short contest, he took to the brush, from which he was quickly driven out. In August it returned to Sedalia, and was frequently sent out, at night making long and rapid dashes. In December, at Prairie Grove, it showed its fighting qualities, under great disadvantages. December 27th, it started with the expedition of General Blunt, to Van Buren, Arkansas and participated in its capture on the 28th, when it returned to Prairie Grove. The year 1863 was but a repetition of the first year. The presence of the regiment will be remembered at Huntsville, Dry Fork, Crooked Creek, Kingston, Yellville, Finley Fork, Mountain Grove, Pilot Knob, and Jackson, the latter being the celebrated midnight attack April 26, 1863. In June, 1863 it was supplied with new and improved equipment and joined the Little Rock expedition. Up to that date, scarcely two men were equipped alike, but each had what he could get, from a musket to a pocket pistol. At Bayou Metoe, it as a whole regiment, first engaged the enemy, and as usual was in the front, and made a most successful charge. November and December was passed at Little Rock, doing post duty, meanwhile executing several brilliant skirmishing movements, in one n which 260 men suddenly came upon the enemy in strong position near Princeton 800 strong. With a dash, they were routed and several captured. This closed the work of 1863, and early in 1864 they were entitled t a veteran furlough, but, waiving the right joined Steele's command on the Camden expedition, which was, owing to the rigor of winter, a severe one. It engaged the enemy at Spoonville March 30, and Antoine, April 2, in a five miles' running fight; at Little Missouri River, April 4, routing Price's army. Arriving at Camden, it was accorded the honor of being the first to enter. Here the regiment took its furlough, sold their horses, but retained their arms. They marched to that point, and by way of diversion, assisted is scooping the enemy at Jenkin's Ferry, April 30. The non-veterans remained at Little Rock. The veterans came home, arriving May 17. June 30 found them again on the war path, and at Benton Barracks they were again mounted, and July 27, sent to Mexico and other points, operating against Price until December, when they went to Little Rock, where they scouted until February 20, 1865, when they moved to Memphis, to operate against Forest's guerrillas, meeting them successfully at Tallahatchie. They remained at Memphis until the Confederacy collapsed, when they were ordered to join General Custer, at Alexandria, La, and started August 8. The regiment will probably never forget this movement. They were shamefully treated.

General Custer by his infamous general order No. 15, inherited the lasting hate of the entire regiment. The regiment arrived at Hempstead August 26, without rations, barefooted and nearly naked, few blankets and no supplies. While there, says Lieutenant Colonel McQueen, the regiment put in its time vainly "endeavoring to obey a series of voluminous, threatening and conflicting orders, general and special, and individual instructions, with as little prospect of success as an attempt to make a rope of sand." General Custer treated the regiment as though they were a gang of thieves and desperadoes. Three days after arriving at Hempstead, five days rations were given them, consisting of hogs' jowles, ornamented with tusks five inches long. And hard bread spiced with maggots. Those who had money, in violation of order 15, and at the risk of condign punishment, purchased food, while those who had no money robbed the half starved horses of their small pittance of poor corn. To complete the infamy of order 15, all mail matter was ordered sent through the office of the Provost Marshall for that district, General Custer probably being assured that the regiment received no mail while there. But they found a way t the ear of the authorities at Washington, and the infamous orders were revoked. October 29 the regiment moved to Austin, where it was permitted to behave like soldiers and gentlemen. Here they remained while in the service, going out in detachments, to reserve order, protect the courts, and aid in reconstruction the machinery of the Federal government. The regiment had during its service, four different colonels, Fitz Henry Warren, James Otis Gower, Daniels Anderson, William Thompson. It was mustered out February 15, 1866, at Austin Texas, and disbanded at Davenport, March 13, Having been in service 5 years with the record of being equal in discipline and drill to the best of the "regulars."

The casualties of the regiment were: Among the officers, killed in action 1; died 3; discharged for disability, 1; wounded 4; resigned 34; dismissed, 3; total 46. Among enlisted men, killed 42; died, 212; discharged, 203; wounded 84; missing 2, total, 543.

Keokuk county was represented in the field and staff officers, to wit:

John A. Landis, battalion quartermaster.
John A. Donnell, quartermaster sergeant and adjutant.
Robert T. Newell, hospital steward and commissary.

Company I

-David C. Dinsmore first lieutenant; enlisted Jun 13; promoted captain Aug 26, 1862; mustered out Sep 9, 1864
-Amos Dilley first sergeant Jul 18; promoted first lieutenant Aug 26, 1862; captain Jan 9, 1865; veteranized Jan 4, 1864
-William D. Malone quartermaster sergeant, enlisted Jul 18, reduced to ranks
-Samuel R. Hoyne third sergeant; enlisted Jul 18, reduced to ranks Oct 1, 1861
-Benjamin F. Crocker fourth sergeant; enlisted Jul 18; promoted second sergeant, Sep 1, 1862; and commissary           sergeant Dec 11, 1862
-Thomas C. Moore second corporal; enlisted Jul 18
-Samuel Street third corporal; enlisted Jul 18; reduced to ranks Dec 10, 1961
-Matthew Hawk fifth corporal; enlisted Jul 18; reduced to ranks at his own request; died Mar 23, 1862 at Clinton           Missouri
-Hiram Holler enlisted Jul 18, reported sixth corporal; by probably should be sergeant; died Oct 13, 1863 at Little           Rock Ark
-Moses Miller eight corporal; enlisted Jul 18, reduced to ranks at his own request; Oct 15, 1861; veteranized Jan 4,           1864
-Edward F. Parish farrier enlisted Jul 18, discharged May 24, 1862 for disability


-Bottorf, David C. enlisted Jun 13; promoted eighth corporal; Sep 1, 1862 died Mar 23, 1864 at Keokuk; veteranized           Jan 1, 1864
-Donnell, Samuel H. enlisted Jul 18
-Donnell, Robert L. enlisted Jul 18
-Dalton, George W. enlisted Jul 18, veteranized Dec 9, 1863
-Hampton, James L. enlisted Jul 18; discharged Mar 12, 1862 for disability
-Hawk, Ezra enlisted Jul 18
-Hawk, Washington enlisted Jul 18; veteranized Jan 1, 1864
-Hawk, Andrew enlisted Jul 18, veteranized Dec 9, 1863
-Horton, Tyrus enlisted Jul 18; promoted to seventh corporal Dec 26, 1862
-Hollingsworth, Absolom enlisted; veteranized Jan 1, 1864 corps
-Hollingsworth, Benjamin enlisted; wounded Jan 1, 1864; discharged in 1863 for disability
-Jacobs, James W. enlisted Jul 18, transferred Aug 20, 1863 to invalid
-Johnson, Cornelius S. enlisted Aug 16, 1862; veteranized Jan 1, 1864
-Johnson, Andrew J. enlisted Jul 18, wounded at Silver Creek Missouri Jan 8, 1862; veteranized Jan 1, 1864
-Landis, John A. enlisted Jun 13, battalion quartermaster Oct 7, 1861; mustered out as ex-lieutenant Oct 15, 1862
-Lotspeich, Hosea F. enlisted Jul 13; promoted eight corporal Oct 15, 1862
-Lynn, Harrison C. enlisted Jul 18
-Leach, John J. enlisted Jul 18; wounded Mar 18, 1862 at Clinton Missouri
-Leach, William T. enlisted Jul 18
-Mallonee, William A. enlisted Jul 18
-Newell, Robert T. enlisted Aug 19, promoted fifth sergeant Aug 19, 1861; to quartermaster sergeant Sep 1, 1861;           Reduced to ranks at his own request Dec 11, 1862
-Powell, Zepheniah enlisted June 13; died Sep 21 1863; at Little Rock Ark
-Parrish, Alonzo enlisted Jun 13; veteranized Dec 9, 1863
-Petree, William enlisted Jun 13
-Renfro, William S. enlisted June 13, promoted seventh corporal Sep 1, 1862; reduced to ranks at his own request Dec           19, 1862
-Raser, Martin enlisted Jun 13
-Sisson, Samuel T. enlisted Jun 13, veteranized Dec 9, 1863
-Smith, Thomas T. enlisted Jun 13
-Williams, Nelson enlisted Jun 13
-Williams, Melvin L. enlisted Jun 13
-Young, John A. enlisted Jun 13


-Bottorf, Wilson K. enlisted Aug 16, 1862; appointed teamster
-Braden, John S. enlisted Aug 16, 1862
-Street, W. E. enlisted Aug 16, 1862; appointed saddler

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