Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Well Traveled Regiment: The 24th Iowa Infantry

Lieutenant Colonel William F. Fox chronicled many fascinating facts in his histories of 300 fighting Union regiments in his classic, Regimental Losses in The American Civil War, 1861-1865. This is the latest installment in my series on twenty-three regiments from his list of 300 fighting regiments. And what is so special about the twenty-three? They all served at some point in their history in the trans-Mississippi. Among the 300 fighting regiments was the storied 24th Iowa Infantry that had the interesting distinction of seeing combat duty in all three theaters of the war. Read on…

“Slack’s Brigade — Hovey’s Division--Thirteenth Corps.

1) Col. Eber C. Byam.

2) Col. John Quincy Wilds (Killed).

3) Col. Edward Wright; Bvt Brig.-Gen.

companies.

killed and died of wounds.

died of disease, accidents, in Prison, &c.

Total Enrollment.

Officers.

Men.

Total.

Officers.

Men.

Total.

Field and Staff

1

1

1

1

2

19

Company

A

1

19

20

1

12

13

107

B

4

4

1

23

24

127

C

2

12

14

16

16

107

D

1

17

18

24

24

137

E

1

10

11

26

26

117

F

1

14

15

20

20

123

G

16

16

22

22

113

H

1

10

11

23

23

129

I

12

12

20

20

104

K

1

5

6

25

25

124

Totals

9

119

128

3

212

215

1,207

128 killed == 10.6 per cent.

Total of killed and wounded, 474.

Battles.

K. & M. W.

battles.

K. & M. W.

Magnolia Hills, Miss.

2

Sabine Cross Roads, La.

6

Champion's Hill, Miss.

75

Rosedale Bayou, La.

1

Black River, Miss.

1

Opequon, Va.

21

Siege of Vicksburg

3

Fisher’s Hill, Va.

1

Jackson, Miss.

1

Cedar Creek, Va.

13

Grand Coteau, La.

1

Guerrillas, La.

2

Nachitoches, La.

1

Present, also, at Duvall's Bluff, Ark.; Fisher’s Hill, Va.

Notes.--Organized in August, 1862, the men having been recruited from the State at large. Leaving Iowa soon after, it proceeded to Helena, Ark., where it was stationed for a few months, and in January, 1863, took part in General Gorman’s Expedition up the White River to Duvall's Bluff. In the spring of 1863, the regiment joined the army in its advance on Vicksburg, having been assigned to Slack's (2d) Brigade, Hovey's Division, Thirteenth Corps. Its first engagement occurred at Port Gibson (Magnolia Hills), May 1, 1863, in which the regiment lost 1 killed and 5 wounded. At the battle of Champion's Hill, May 16th, it sustained a severe loss, having charged, captured, and held a battery of the enemy. It was a daring act, but as it made the advance alone, and without proper arrangement for support, it became the object of a concentrated fire which drove it back in disorder. Its loss at Champion's His was 35 killed, 120 wounded, and 34 missing; total, 189. From January, 1864, it lay encamped at Algiers and in the defences of New Orleans, until March 13th, when it joined Banks's Red River Expedition. It was then in Raynor's (2d) Brigade, McGinniss's (3d) Division, Thirteenth Corps. At the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, this division was commanded by General Cameron. The regiment was then transferred to the Nineteenth Corps, accompanying it to Virginia, where it fought in the Shenandoah Valley campaign, during which Colonel Wilds was killed at Cedar Creek. The regiment was then in Shunk's (4th) Brigade, Grover's (2d) Division, Nineteenth Corps. Its casualties at the Opequon were 10 killed, 57 wounded, and missing; and at Cedar Creck, 8 killed, 43 wounded, and 41 missing” (Fox, p. 412).

20 comments:

  1. I have a friend whose great great grandfather was in the 24th Iowa Infantry. The great great grandfather was killed in the very early parts of Champion Hill.

    In reading through the regimental history, it sounds like the 24th IA had a very inexperienced colonel.

    The 24th IA was one of the first regiments to engage the Confederates at Champion Hill. The colonel rushed his men into battle, having his smaller force attack a larger defensive force, and the 24th suffered huge losses as a result of this poor military action. The colonel stepped down about two weeks later.

    Charlie Larimer
    clarimer@prodigy.net
    (My gt gt grandfather, Lt. Col. Ezekiel Silas Sampson, commanded the 5th IA at Champion Hill.)

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  2. The best book about the battle of Champion Hill (and actually one of the best battle books that I have ever read) is CHAMPION HILL: DECISIVE BATTLE FOR VICKSBURG by Timothy B. Smith. According to Smith, the attack by the 24th Iowa was part of an assault by four brigades, and he makes no mention of any incompetence on the part of the 24th's colonel. Probably their colonel was inexperienced, but the high casualties of the unit may not relate so much to his actions. Then again, I am certainly no expert when it comes to the 24th Iowa!

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  3. I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. You make some very informative points . Keep up the great work!

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  4. Thank you for your positive comments! The 24th Iowa Infantry had a fascinating war record--because of that, I'm surprised that no one has written a history of this unit.

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  5. My great-great uncle was Capt. Joseph Gould. As a lieutenant he fought at Champion Hill. In a letter he described making a hasty retreat with a confederate prisoner in hand.

    Capt. Gould was killed in the Third Battle of Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864. He was mentioned in the 24th Iowa unit history written by Col. Ed Wright.

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  6. I apologize for not responding to your comment earlier--work has been unusually busy! That's wonderful that you have at least one letter penned by your ancestor, Captain Gould. Unfortunately, no letters or diaries survive from any of my Civil War ancestors, something that I greatly regret. I'm hoping that a historian will someday write a modern history of the 24th Iowa, a unit that is well deserving of some attention.

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  7. My great grandfather Edmond Dean Jones was a member of the 24th Iowa, Co. H. He was in all of the battles and made it through the war. He left about 45 letters from him to his parents in Springville, Iowa and they in turn sent him letters. I am writing a book of his life and including the letters with notes on all the people mentioned in them as well as life in Springville during the war. It will be privately published, but if anyone is interested in getting a copy when it comes out, you can contack me and I will see that you get a copy. My email is herring@mlode.com

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  8. I have recently discovered that I have 2 great grand uncles who were in the 24th Iowa. Theodore C Jacobsen was killed in the Champion Hill Battle. Frederick A Tolman died of disease about a month later in Vicksburg. At the time, they were not "family" but 5 years after the war each had a sibling who married thus they Theodore and Frederick are now my family. A letter from Theodore to his family just after enlistment has been discovered on line and it gives a bit of personal insight to life at camp.http://battleofchampionhill.org/jacobson.htm. Unfortunately, it's not my letter so I can provide no further info. I can find no burial information for either man.

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  9. I'm obviously running behind on responding to comments. Thanks for the heads up about the Edmond Dean Jones letters; it's always good to hear about the publication of such items.

    And thanks, Wendy, for the interesting tidbits about Theodore Jacobsen and Frederick Tolman--what sad fates they had. As I've mentioned before I really hope that a historian takes on the task of writing a modern history of the 24th Iowa.

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  10. I wrote a history of the 24th Iowa as my masters thesis at Western Illinois University, in 1974. It has never been pulished although a copy is on file I am sure in the Library at the University. Having retired this year from teaching American History for 40 years, you comments have inspired me to update my thesis and see if I can get it published.
    Harvey Kimble kimbeap@aol.com

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  11. As you could tell from my comments, I had no idea that a thesis had been written on the 24th Iowa. That's wonderful that you're planning to update the thesis and try and get it published. There seems to be quite a bit of interest in the 24th, so I wish you the best of luck on your project!

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  12. I had a 3rd gg-father in the 24th, he made it all of the way to Opequon where he was captured. I'm still trying to find out where he was held at. I have been to Andersonville, and Vicksburg twice, as well as a few other places. Spent last weekend at the Iowa Monument rededication. It was a wonderful experience.

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  13. I can tell that you are proud of your ancestor's service, and I hope that you're able to determine where he was imprisoned. Hopefully he survived the war! That's great that you were able to attend the Iowa Monument dedication.

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  14. I just found this blog. My gg grand father, 2nd Lt. Alonzo T. Waln was in Company F. Wounded and captured at Champion Hill. Most interested to see Mr. Kimble's history of the 24th.

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  15. Glad that you found my blog! I am impressed with the number of comments for my posting on the 24th Iowa. No other regiment that I have blogged about has drawn so much attention. Not sure why that is, but the 24th was clearly a special unit.

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  16. rkscott9999@charter.netJune 28, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    my greatgrandfather, sgt. george m. scott, company d, 24th iowa, was wounded at champion hill. have not been able to learn the nature of his injury. family lore has it that he managed to crawl under a slave cabin, had a portion of one ear bitten off by a hog, but was found and rescued by company comrades.

    he returned to duty and was mustered out in july of 1865 in savannah, ga.

    i have read that there is a private tour of the hampion hill battlefield conducted by a champion family member. has any reader ever been on it?

    thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, tours are conducted by Sid Champion V. I took the tour with other family members on July 3rd this summer. Information at http://www.battleofchampionhill.org/. Dewey Jones dsa3jones@chartermi.net. Descendant of Sgt Ben Jones, 47th Indiana Inf.

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    2. rkscott9999@charter.netMay 21, 2015 at 11:26 AM

      I traveled to Vicksburg in July, 2014and went on the Sid Champion V tour-EXCELLENT!

      I have always wondered where the wounded were taken for treatment, where they recovered and by what means of travel they rejoined their units where duty fit.

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  17. I just stumbled across this blog as well, I am sure I'll be back. My GG Grandfather was in the 24th, his name was Henry Swoyer. He survived the war but died shortly after being mustered out in Savannah. Now I am trying to get more details on that.

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  18. Good luck on your research and stop by again!

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