of Pottawattamie County
by Homer H. Field and Hon. Joseph R. Reed
the winter of 1860-1
we, in common with all the north, felt the unrest and uncertainty that
hung like a nightmare over us, while
state after state was seceding, and a large element among us was in
sympathy with the movement, when the president's proclamation for
prayers proved unavailing; when the president-elect had to proceed by
to the capital we realized that the inevitable was close by and began
about as to what could be done in our small way at this distance.
Nor was the spirit of secession confined to the political world. Up to
this time Brigham Young had been the recognized head of the Mormon
Church, but a schism had crept in and had grown until the
non-polygamists came out openly, repudiating Brigham Young and the Utah
hierarchy and organized under the leadership of Joseph Smith, son of
the prophet who was murdered in the Carthage jail in Illinois by the
mob. The first
meeting under the new organization was held on the 4th of January,
1881, which continued for several days, and many converts were
baptized, and the
construction of a church building ordered; and although the local
society has not grown to large dimensions, it contains among its
adherents as good citizens as we have in the community, and one of its
that it is self-sustaining. Its members are never seen soliciting funds
getting up fairs or other schemes to get outside help. Although, as
stated, the local society is not large, it has quite a large membership
counties in Iowa as well as in other states.
With the advent of Mr. Lincoln's administration, his conservative,
kindly yet admonitory inaugural address, many still hoped that actual
war might be averted. Our local affairs were conducted as usual. Not
firing on Sumter did our entire people fully realize that the worst was
us; but the effect was magical. Old party lines were ignored and it
became Union or '"Copperhead," as those in sympathy with secession were
termed. G. M. Dodge, who had already organized a company, tendered its
to Governor Kirkwood, but he, believing it imprudent to leave the
frontier unprotected, declined to accept its service at that time, as
regulars at the frontier forts were being drawn in for the defense of
We at this distance got our first glimpse of actual preparation for war
one day as a battalion of regulars who had come by steamboat from Fort
Randall. As warning had been sent by General Dodge of probable
difficulty in their passing through Missouri, they landed here and
marched across the state to Eddyville, the nearest point to strike a
railroad. There were
four companies and they had a fine band, and as they marched up
Broadway to the tune of "Dixie," with the regular swing peculiar to
troops, they made a fine appearance; and three or four of our boys were
charmed that they joined them.
Nebraska promptly raised a regiment of cavalry to protect the frontier
on the withdrawal of the regulars, and Captain Dodge was authorized to
raise a regiment, which he proceeded to do by opening a recruiting
station in the Bluffs and establishing Camp Kirkwood on a beautiful
south of the city limits. Dr. S. H. Craig, who was sheriff of
county, resigned his office, and proceeded to raise a company. Captain
was the first to report with a full company from Mills county, which
became Company A, and Captain Craig, assisted by W. H. Kinsman, was
next in with Company B, recruited largely from the city and almost
wholly from within the county. It must be remembered that at that time
the entire population of the county did not exceed five thousand and
that, as now,
that of the city constituted about one-half; so that raising a regiment
an entirely different proposition from what it would be now with its
thousand, and the entire southwestern part of the state had to be drawn
upon to fill the different regiments and companies organized here,
different times we were drawn upon to fill quotas in other parts of the
and while we are justly proud of the achievements of our Pottawattamie
county boys we do not wish to withhold our praise from their fellow
other parts of the state or country at large.
Nor is it the purpose of this little history to follow our citizen
soldiers through their long terms of service, their suffering in
rebel prisons. This has already been done by abler writers. Suffice it
that we have no apologies to make. From General Dodge to the private
soldier, we simply wish to record our approval of their every act and
joy that a grateful country remembers them.
While the Iowa Fourth was being filled, N. T. Spoor, who had been
postmaster during Buchanan's administration, received authority to
raise an artillery company. He also opened a rendezvous at Camp
Kirkwood, and this brings to us another person who was destined to
become a prominent figure later on. Joseph R. Reed, a young lawyer of
Dallas county, had started to raise a company and had thirty-six men
enlisted. He came
with them and, combining these with those recruited by Spoor, and
few more recruits, a full company was formed and organized as the
Iowa Battery, with N. 'I'. Spoor as captain, Joseph R. Reed first
lieutenant, Charles V. Reed second lieutenant. Subsequently Daniel T.
commissioned junior first lieutenant and served one year. Captain Spoor
served three years as captain and, on being mustered out, Lieutenant J.
Reed became captain September 1. 1864. At the same time John W. Coons,
of Dallas county, became first lieutenant, and John Burke second.
During the four years of service the total number of enlistments in the
battery was over one hundred and fifty, among which were a number from
Council Bluffs and various other parts of the state. It was
mustered out at Davenport, Iowa, August 7. 1865, after exactly four
The record of the Fourth Iowa is a glorious one. From here they went to
St. Louis, then to Rolla; from there they joined the army under
command of General Curtis, participating in the battle of Pea Ridge,
marched across the states of Missouri and Arkansas to Helena: were in
capture of Arkansas post, the long seige and final capture of
here they moved to Corinth and from there to Chattanooga, where they,
the brigade of which they formed a part, were assigned to General
Hooker's command, and carried the point of Lookout Mountain in the
famous battle above the clouds. After the battle of Pea Ridge they were
commanded by their lieutenant-colonel, James A. Williamson, Dodge
promoted to brigadier-general and assigned to a higher and different
On January 1, 1864, the Fourth Iowa re-enlisted and on February 26 they
started for home on veteran furlough and arrived in Des Moines on March
9. The city gave them a royal reception, and the legislature then
in session adopted the following resolutions:
On the expiration of their furlough they returned and rejoined their
brigade, taking part in the campaign which resulted in the taking of
Atlanta, the march to the sea and capture of Savannah and the march
northward through the Carolinas and Virginia, taking their place in the
grand review at Washington. The regiment was finally discharged at
Louisville, Kentucky, on the 24th of July, 1865.
"Whereas, We have learned
that the veterans of the Fourth Iowa have re-enlisted for three years
or during the war, and that they are on
their way to this city on furlough to enjoy for a short time the
blessings of the
domestic circle, and the citizens of Des Moines are preparing to give
proper reception, and deeming it our duty as their representatives to
our appreciation of their gallantry and their services in the
of the rebellion; therefore, be it
Resolved by the General Assembly of the state of Iowa, That we have
watched with pride and admiration the Fourth Iowa Infantry, as step by
step they have borne the ensign of the free on the memorable fields of
Pea Ridge, Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Jackson, Vicksburg siege and
assault, Cherokee, Caney Creek, Tuscumbia, Lookout .Mountain.\,
Missionary Ridge and Ringgold, and in their long and weary marches,
enduring all the
hardships and privations of a soldier's life, they have toiled on and
fought for home and kindred until the mute graves of their comrades in
arms point with sadness to remnants of brave men who have honored their
added to the glory of the nation.
Resolved, That in the re-enlistment of said regiment we have the
strongest proof of their loyalty to the principles of civil liberty;
their love of country is paramount to all other considerations and
to the lasting honor and gratitude of those whose firesides have been
protected by their arms.
Resolved, That as a token of our confidence and regard for the
distinguished services of that regiment, we will adjourn and attend in
a body the reception of the veterans on their return to the city.
Resolved, That the Governor be requested to present them with a copy of
these resolutions, and on behalf of the members of this General
Assembly bid them welcome to the capital of the state whose honor they
so sacredly untarnished."
It is proper in this connection to refer to one who took an active part
in raising Company B of this regiment. This was W. H. Kinsman. He was a
native of Nova Scotia, who had drifted into this county, taught
school near the old Wicks' mill, was a newspaper correspondent, became
lieutenant in Company B, where he served until in organizing the
Twenty-third infantry he was commissioned lieutenant colonel in August,
colonel in September of same year; was killed at the head of his
regiment during seige of Vicksburg and was buried on the field, where
he rested forty
years, when his grave was identified and bis remains brought to Council
Bluffs and reinterred in the soldiers' ground in Fairview Cemetery and
suitable monument erected to his memory.
During the years of 1861, 1862 and 1863 the raising of troops seemed to
be the principal business.
After the Fourth Infantry and Second Battery had gone to the front,
there seemed to be no abatement in the zeal for carrying on the war. D.
B. Clark, a pioneer farmer, opened a recruiting office and with the
assistance of Steven W. King, of Pottawattamie, and John A. Donelson,
of Harrison county, raised a company for the Fifteenth Infantry. W. T.
Burke later raised seventeen men for the Seventeenth Infantry and was
lieutenant of Company H and J. C. Linieger raised twenty-three men and
took them into the Twenty-third Regiment and was made captain of
On looking back, one is inclined to wonder where so many soldiers could
be recruited from in the then thinly settled portion of Iowa, but
they came just the same and more were destined to follow. With the
enlistment constantly going on, prosecution of the war became more and
more popular and any man opposed to it had little show of
election to any office.
The Ladies of Council Bluffs were not behindhand in aiding the country
in its great struggle. At an early period of the war they organized a
Soldiers' Aid Society that did excellent work, and on March 22, 1862,
was merged into a branch of the Army Sanitary Commission of Iowa that
did a great work in supplying hospitals and prisons with needful
which could not always he furnished by the War Department.
During the summer of 1862 Thomas H. Benton, Jr., nephew of Senator
Benton, of Missouri, who had been a banker previous to the crash of
1857, received authority to raise a regiment of infantry and. although
territory had been pretty well drained of its young men. a rendezvous
was opened a little south of Camp Kirkwood. on the same beautiful table
land, and named Camp Dodge in honor of the general who had already
renowned. Sheriff J. P. Williams, like his predecessor S. H. Craig,
resigned and started a recruiting station and succeeded in raising
nearly all of the members of which were from Pottawattamie county, and
a large part from the city. In organizing the company J. P. Williams
captain; first lieutenant, George A. Haines; second lieutenant. R. R.
Kirkpatrick; orderly sergeant, C. V. Gardner. By December the regimenl
was organized and ready to take the field. Of the regimental officers
following were from Pottawattamie county: Colonel Thos. Benton, Jr.:
quartermaster, W. W. Wilson; surgeon, Dr. W. S. Grimes; adjutant,
Joseph Lyman. Lyman had enlisted at the forming of the Fourth Iowa and
service was commissioned a lieutenant by Governor Kirkwood and assigned
to the Twenty-ninth and served as adjutant and later became major. This
regiment went through the whole of Dixey and were stationed for some
months on the Rio Grande, observing the movements of the French in
Mexico after the rebellion had collapsed. It was mustered out at New
Orleans on the 10th of August, 1865, and on the arrival of Company A at
the Bluffs they were given a royal reception. Many arc still with us,
and many more have joined the great majority. Among the latter are all
of the field and
As an illustration of the spirit which prevailed at this time, Mr.
Curtis Burroughs, who had just built a neat cottage in Glendale on a
purchased on time, remarked that be would go with this regiment if his
was paid for, so he could leave his family comfortably fixed. Old
Captain Beal, his creditor, says: ''If you want to enlist, don't stop
on that account.
Intcrest will stop while you are in the service and if you die or get
your widow shall have a clear title to the lot." He died at Helena,
old Captain Beal kept his promise. Several of Council Bluffs' boys fell
this campaign, among which were Geo. W. Fouman, N. H. Folsom and
Lawrence Smith, brother to Hon. Spencer Smith. Captain J. P. Williams,
who had to resign on account of failing health, recovered and at
eighty-two is living in comfortable retirement, as is also his first
Geo. A. Haines. Second Lieutenant R. R. Kirkpatrick died in California
years ago. C. V. Gardner, who became the last to command the company,
became one of the founders of Avoca and later of Deadwood, Dakota.
Among the members that are still with us are Drum Major McFadden,
Bugler Robt. Bucroft and Oliver Payne.
About October 25, 1862, W. G. Crawford received a captain's commission
from Governor Kirkwood to raise a company for the Sixth Iowa Cavalry,
being formed at Davenport. D. F. Eicher and J. C. DeHaven enlisted and
all three commenced recruiting through the western part of the
state. Notwithstanding the territory had been pretty well drained, they
succeeded in raising a full company and in organizing. C. W. Lamb was
elected first lieutenant. D. F. Eicher second and J. C. DeHaven third.
Later the government dropped the third lieutenant from the rolls and
DeHaven was appointed orderly sergeant. The company was transported by
Davenport. Captain Crawford's health entirely failed, and he was
resign. Lieutenant Lamb also resigned, and Lieutenant Eicher became
captain, J. C. DeHaven first lieutenant and David Ellison second. Thus
they were incorporated in the Sixth Cavalry as Company E and went into
Camp Douglas for five months' drill and instruction and were assigned
command of General Sully for service in the northwest, and marched
across the state via Council Bluffs and Sioux City, first camping
city and Yankton. The summer campaign was through the Dakotas, reaching
Fort Pierre in June, and continued marching north to the Cannon Ball
Yellowstone rivers, encountering the Indians and defeating them in
numerous battles and skirmishes, in one of which seventy-five Indians
and eight soldiers were killed. After service until August, 1865, they
were relieved by
regulars and ordered to Davenport and mustered out, all returning to
respective homes to resume their former occupations. Among them
belonging to the Bluffs were Captain Eicher, Lieutenant DeHaven,
William Marble, Allen Spicer, Kade Rogers, and several others. The
company lost two men.
Captain Crawford died before their return and Captain Eicher in 1902.
Early in the spring of 1864 the draft was being used in places, but
Pottawattamie had done so well that department Marshal Field received
word from headquarters that if we would furnish twenty good men within
thirty days there would be no draft that spring.
Mayor Palmer called a meeting of the council and steps were taken to
get the board of supervisors to issue $2,000, so as to make a cash
bounty of $100. It was carried through promptly and the men furnished.
Provision was also made to assist the families of all soldiers that
were in need, this being accomplished largely by the ladies. During
this year W. F. Sapp came from Omaha and formed a law partnership with
Samuel Clinton. He was a native of Knox county, Ohio, came to Omaha at
an early day and when the war drew the regulars in he became
lieutenant-colonel of the
First Nebraska Cavalry and was for a time stationed at Fort Kearney. On
coming here he entered into an active participation of affairs. As a
was an able advocate, he was a man of commanding presence, being over
six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds; was a powerful stump speaker and
soon made bimself prominent. He was a republican and was elected to the
legislature, where his influence was largely instrumental in securing
the locaiton of tbe School for the Deaf at this place. Later he became
United States district attorney and was twice elected to Congress. It
was he and Judge A. V. Larimer that originated and conducted the
proceedings through the courts to compel the Union Pacific Railroad
Company to comply with the terms of its charter in making its terminus
at this point. He had
purchased a farm and contemplated retiring, but was stricken down and
died October 22. 1890. and, by a strange coincidence, in the same house
room in which the Hon. Walter I. Smith was born many years before.
Thus, one member of Congress was bom and another died in the same room.
During this summer the first brick schoolhouse in the city was erected
on the northwest corner of Pierce and Stutsman streets. The contract
was let to G. P. Smith for $6,000, being only a two-room house. Later,
when the large Pierce streel schoolhouse was built, this was sold. and
now owned and used as a dwelling by Mr. Bell. After the visit of Mr.
the city, the great hill on which was the old Mormon burying ground was
given by common consent tbe name of Mt. Lincoln, and this year a
company was formed and the ground bought and platted as tbe Fairview
Cemetery, and, as its name implies, is one of the most charming sites
in the country.
It was during this summer that a horse-thief was brought from Harrison
county and lodged in the old Cottonwood jail, only to be taken out and
bung on a tree in the eastern part of the city, where be was found the
next morning. No effort was made to learn who were the lynchers.
Notwithstanding Pottawattamie county had sent most of her young men to
the front, the commands to which they were attached had been reduced
to the extent that some of the regiments could muster but four or five
hundred rank and file, and a draft was ordered, and the quota assigned
Pottawattamie county was sixty.
It is probable that if it could have been credited with all that went
into regiments in other states Iowa would have been exempt, but the
determination to end the war left no time for parleying, and the draft
came. That for
the eastern part of the fifth district was held at Des Moines and that
eight counties in the western part at Council Bluffs. It was conducted
in the room over what is now the Pierce shoe store, on the corner of
Main and Broadway. It was done by towns and townships. The names of all
liable for military duty were written on cards and placed in a
cylinder, and after it had made several revolutions a ticket was drawn
by a person
blindfolded, and the man whose name was on that ticket was duly drawn.
This was repeated till the required number was secured. If any citizen
present belonging to the precinct being drawn upon he was invited to
in one instance a man drew his own son. Five days' notice then had to
be served on each drafted man, and if he failed to appear at the
rendezvous within that time he was considered a deserter and subject to
Nearly all came forward, but a few jumped the country. The same
assistance was extended to the families of these as to those of the
enlisted men, and,
although it was a serious matter, they started for the front
true Americans that they were.
The draft at Des Moines was conducted by Provost Marshal S. C. Brownell
and at the Bluffs by H. H. Field, deputy.
The presidential election followed immediately on the heels of the
draft and although party feeling ran pretty high it passed off without
violence. It commenced snowing in the morning and continued for
forty-eight hours and the weather was cold for three weeks, which made
it pretty severe
for the drafted men, who were coming in rapidly; but a requisition had
been made for blankets, which arrived in time, and detachments were
forwarded daily, until by the 25th the last of our quota were on their
Davenport, that being the rendezvous for Iowa. At this time the
railroad had only reached Grinnell.
The draft took some curious freaks. For instance, it took ten men out
of the first ward, and two out of the block where it was conducted. It
was no respecter of persons. It caught A. J. Bell, our representative
legislature, and it took Charles, son of L. W. Babbitt, editor of the Bugle.
People supposed he would put in a substitute, but he declared he was
able to do his own fighting and went, and ever since has been fighting
for the government right in the city of Washington. In looking back to
those exciting times, it is pleasing to remember that through it all
moderation prevailed, and at no time was violence resorted to. In fact,
the best friends of the writer were what were at that time called
The most trying time was on receipt of the news of the assassination of
Lincoln. Even then, although there were a few cases of rudeness,
moderation prevailed and nothing approached violence.
During the winter of 1864-5 fairs and festivals were held and quite
large sums of money were raised to assist the families of the soldiers.