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Roster and Record
of
Iowa Soldiers
Vol. 6 - Miscellaneous
(1911)

  
 

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Explanatory Introduction

To Miscellaneous Volume and General

Summary of the Work


The greatest obstacle which was encountered at the inception of this work was an arbitrary order of Secretary of War Daniel S. Lamont, dated at Washington, D. C., February 23, 1897.  That portion of the order which directly affected the successful compilation of this work reads as follows:  "Compilations or statements relative to individual officers, enlisted men or organizations will not be furnished from the records on file in the Record and Pension Office, for historical, memorial or statistical purposes, or for publication, or to complete the record of States, societies or associations."

The records in the office of the Adjutant General of the State of Iowa were, in many cases, known to be incomplete, showing only a portion of the record of both officers and enlisted men.  It therefore became evident that every possible effort should be made to secure such modification of the order referred to as would enable the State of Iowa to obtain the desired information.  The following communication was therefore addressed to the Secretary of War:

 

Office of the Adjutant General, State of Iowa.
Des Moines, July 25, 1907.

The Honorable The Secretary of War,
            Washington, D. C.

Sir:  Referring to orders of the Secretary of War dated February 23, 1897, and particularly to the concluding portion of Rule No. 8, relating to the completion of records of the States, I would respectfully call your attention to the enclosed copy of Chapter 223 of the laws of the Thirty-second General Assembly of Iowa.

The Board created by this act, having entered upon the discharge of its duties, find that, in a number of cases, the records of this office do not furnish the requisite information to fully complete the individual record of Iowa soldiers, and, that in a few instances, the complete record of Iowa military organizations cannot be correctly compiled without information which can only be obtained from the records of the War Department.

Appreciating the fact that as complete a military history of the State of Iowa as it is possible to obtain from official sources is required under the provisions of the act above referred to, and the further fact that the compilation is to be made under my direction, I respectfully request that the orders of the War Department be modified to such an extent as will enable this office to obtain the information above referred to.

I would respectfully suggest that the careful compilation of such official history should be, and is, a matter of interest to the General Government, and should receive such aid, encouragement and assistance as it is in the power of your Department to render

         Very respectfully,          

W. H. Thrift,   
Adjutant General.

Dic. Col. G. W. C.

 

The following reply was received:

War Department, Washington, August 1, 1907.

Adjutant General, Sate of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

Sir:  If an exception to the rule of the Department referred to were to be made in behalf of the State of Iowa, similar exceptions would have to be made in behalf of all other States that are engaged in compiling rosters or military histories of troops furnished by them to the Union or Confederate armies of the Civil War period, or to the armies in service before and after that war.  But this is entirely impracticable, and the present Secretary of War has repeatedly refused to make any exception to the rule in favor of any State or of any person, although frequently importuned to do so by Governors, Senators, Representatives in Congress, and other distinguished persons.

The Department is now engaged, under a recently enacted law, in compiling a complete roster of the Union and Confederate armies.  When this compilation is completed and published, all the information that it contains will be readily available for the use of the various States and for all persons who are interested in it.  In view of the fact, and because the Department stands ready at any time to furnish to any individual, or to the proper official in his behalf, such information as the records afford and as may be required for any useful or necessary purpose in his case, there is no real necessity for the Department furnishing information to enable the States to duplicate records of information on file in the Department.

By order of the Acting Secretary of War.

F. C. Ainsworth,                 
The Adjutant General

 

Feeling that the refusal of the War Department to make any concession whatever was unjust, not only to the State of Iowa, but to all the States that were making a similar patriotic endeavor to preserve the records of their soldiers.  Governor A. B. Cummins addressed a letter to the President of the United States, of which the following is a copy:

 

Executive Office, Des Moines, Iowa.   
August 8, 1907.

My Dear Mr. President:  Our General Assembly, at its last session, passed an act providing for the publication of a roster of Iowa soldiers in the Civil War (and other was as well).  I beg to enclose you a copy of the act.

The Board provided for in the law is now engaged in preparing the roster, and necessary histories of our military organizations.  It is discovered that in some instances our records are incomplete, and the information we have must be supplemented by the records of the War Department of the general government.  Under date of July 25th, the Adjutant General of the State of Iowa wrote to the Secretary of War a letter of which I enclose you a copy.  Under date of August 1st, the Adjutant General of the Army of the United States made reply, and of this reply I also enclose a copy.

The rule of the Department to which reference is made was, as I understand it, promulgated many years ago, under President Cleveland.  I agree with the Adjutant General in his conclusion that there is no reason for making an exception of the State of Iowa or any other State, but I do most earnestly ask consideration respecting the propriety of modifying the rule.  It is, beyond dispute, an eminently appropriate and patriotic thing for the State to undertake to publish a roster of the men who were willing to hazard their lives in the defense of their country.  There has been for years in this State a general demand for such a publication, and ever since I became governor I have been pressing the subject upon the attention of the General Assembly.  We cannot perform the duty which has been imposed upon us by the legislature, as it should be performed without an opportunity to secure such information from the records of the War Department at Washington.  It seems to me that the request of a State to be given a chance to verify or supplement its own records in such a manner should be granted.  I did not know of the rule that had been promulgated by President Cleveland, and it was hard for me to believe that the general government looked upon the States as so far alien that they must be excluded from the archives of the Department.  I can well understand that the process of securing the information should be protected by such regulations as would, first, insure the safety of the records of the War Department, and second, interfere as little as possible with the work of those who have them in charge; but it is certainly easy to accomplish both objects without entirely denying the State the opportunity to prepare its roster.

I do not ask that the State be furnished certified copies, as that might unduly increase the work at Washington.  What I ask is that the rule be so changed that a competent and accredited agent of the State may be given access, under the supervision of the officers of the Department, to such records as will complete the history in our own department.  The suggestion made to the Adjutant General that the War Department is now making a roster of the Union and Confederate armies does not help us, first, because we cannot delay our publication until after the general roster is prepared and published, and second, because Iowa soldiers want an Iowa Roster.

I beg that you consider the matter, and after a conference with the Secretary of War so modify the rule that we can avail ourselves in some manner of the records of the government.  So important is the subject to us that if you desire it I will be glad to submit my request in person.

With high regard, I am.

Yours very truly,                       
(Signed) Albert B. Cummins

Hon. Theodore Roosevelt,
   
President of the United States,
        Washington, D. C.

 

Incredible as it may seem, the President referred the foregoing letter of Governor Cummins to the War Department for reply, without, apparently, having given the subject any personal investigation whatever.  The reply was dictated by Adjutant General Ainsworth, was arrogant, undignified and insulting and the compiler does not deem it worthy of publication as a reply to the courteous and dignified letter of Governor Cummins to the President.  Suffice it to say that the former unjust and indefensible attitude of the War Department was fully maintained, and it seemed that any further effort to secure the needed information must result in failure.  It was subsequently learned, however, that duplicate records were on file in the office of the Auditor of the War Department, and that it was possible to obtain corrected records form that office.   Adjutant General Thrift then made a trip to Washington and succeeded in making an arrangement with Madison Whipple, Chief of the Records Division in the Auditor's office, by which the State of Iowa was finally enabled to secure such completion of records as could be obtained there.  The information could only be obtained, however, by the payment of a stipulated amount -- five hundred dollars -- to Mr. Whipple and other clerks in that office, who performed the work of searching the records after office hours.   In addition to this stipulated sum, a considerable amount was paid these same clerks for transcripts of Mexican War Rosters of Iowa soldiers.  While this information was of a semi-official character, it is believed to be reliable, as Mr. Whipple and his co-workers were highly recommended as men of honor and integrity, and thoroughly familiar with the records.  They had furnished similar information for New York and other States, and such corrections of records as they were able to supply may, therefore, be regarded as being as nearly officially reliable as it was possible to obtain.  The continued refusal of the War Department, to allow the States which furnished the troops to save the Republic access to their own records for historical purposes, can only be regarded as arbitrary and unjust.  It will be seen, however, that ever effort was exhausted to overcome the difficulty, and it is a reasonable presumption that the records of Iowa soldiers, shown in the pages of this work, are as nearly correct as those of any State that has published a similar work, all the information having been derived from the same source.

In addition to the names of the officers and enlisted men who belonged to the organizations, whose revised rosters appear in the preceding volumes of this work, there were a large number of men, who were citizens of Iowa, who enlisted in various organizations of other States.  The State of Iowa was entitled to credit upon her quota of troops for those men who, for various reasons, preferred to go into other States to enlist in the Regular Army.  In order to obtain such credit from the General Government, Adjutant General Baker made special efforts to obtain as complete a list of the names of the men thus enlisting as possible.  His efforts were rewarded with a considerable measure of success, as shown by the list of names published in his report for the 1865.  (Note: Report of Adjutant General of Iowa, Vol. 1, 1865, pages 779 to 833 inclusive.  List of names of Iowas men known to have enlisted in military organizations of other States.)  This list includes the States of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Wisconsin.  Other lists, showing enlistments in the Thirteenth Regiment of the United States Infantry, the Mississippi Marine Brigade, and various other organizations have been found in other volumes of his report, and the names have been transcribed and are republished in the subjoined roster, which also contains a considerable number of names not found in the reports of the Adjutant General of Iowa, but obtained from other sources deemed absolutely reliable by the compiler of this work.   While every possible effort has been made to include in this miscellaneous roster the name of every soldier from Iowa who served in an organization of another State, or in the Regular Army or Navy, the fact that General Baker -- notwithstanding his persistent efforts -- failed to discover and list so many names since discovered, leads to the conclusion that there are more names which have never been reported, and that the roster is not, therefore, absolutely complete.  It is, however, as nearly complete as it is possible to make it, after the lapse of fifty years since the commencement of the war.   It will be seen that in some instances -- notably in the list of Iowa names in the First Nebraska and Sixth Kansas Cavalry Regiments -- General Baker succeeded in obtaining not only the names but the personal records of a good many of the men.  The record opposite the great majority of the names, however, shows only the age, place of residence, and date of enlistment and muster.

The general design and purpose of this work has been to preserve the military history of the State of Iowa, and of the men who were the makers of that history.  To have conducted an exhaustive search of the military archives of other States or of the General Government, in order to find the additional information about these Iowa men whose records of service are contained in the rosters of the various organizations to which they belonged, would have been a prodigious task.  Within the limitation of time allowed, and the resources provided for the preparation of this work, it was not possible to make such extended research.  The genealogist who consults these pages for information will, therefore, be compelled to extend his researches to the sources referred to, in order to complete the record of any one of these men who belonged to Iowa, but who voluntarily relinquished his privilege to be included in its history, except in a general and incidental way (Note:  Works of similar character to this have been published by other States, and contain the records of the men who enlisted in their respective military organizations.).

The list of names and the records of Iowa Sailors and Marines are no doubt very incomplete, either as shown in the subjoined Miscellaneous Roster or in that of the Mississippi Marine Brigade.  The members of the latter organization consisted largely of men detailed from other arms of the service.  The rosters of a number of Iowa regiments show the names of men who were thus detailed.  Men living upon or near the sea coast and sailors engaged in the Merchant Marine service constituted by far the largest number of volunteers for service in the United Sates Navy.  But for the fact that the lower Mississippi was navigable for a considerable distance above its mouth by some of the larger vessels of the Navy, a still smaller proportion of western men would have volunteered for that service.  In addition to the fleet of naval vessels, operating on the Mississippi River, commanded by Rear Admiral David D. Porter, that unique organization known as the "Mississippi Marine Brigade" was, for a considerable length of time, an important adjunct of the Navy, and many Iowa men either enlisted in, or were -- as has been stated -- detailed for, that service, (Note: See Iowa Soldiers and Sailors, in "Mississippi Marine Brigade," this Volume.)  and constituted the largest number shown upon the records of the Adjutant General's office, as having been enrolled in that branch of the service.

It would require a volume larger than this to contain the names of the men and women of Iowa whose associated efforts contributed as much to the alleviation of the suffering of the sick and wounded soldiers, and who, in various ways, exerted themselves to sustain the cause of the Union.  More than two years before the close of the war, that beneficent institution, "The Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home," was founded by the combined efforts of the Soldiers' Aid Societies, led by Mrs. Annie Wittenmeyer, Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood, and many of the most noted men and women of the State.  The Iowa soldiers in the field gave practical evidence of their appreciation of the founding of such an institution , by contributing a large sum of money out of their meager pay toward its maintenance and support.

A list of names of a few of those persons living in the State of Iowa who were exempt from military duty, but who -- in a spirit of pure patriotism -- procured representative recruits, will be found in the Appendix in the subjoined roster.  Those names have been included for the reason -- so clearly apparent -- that the action thus taken was prompted by patriotic and unselfish motives.

The necessity for condensation has prohibited the insertion of a larger portion of miscellaneous history, which might have been appropriately included in the concluding volume of this work. (Note The Historical Department of Iowa and Iowa State Historical Society contain many volumes and manuscripts, which are other wholly or partly devoted to subjects pertaining to military exploits, in which Iowa men were participants.)   When the manuscript embracing the early military history of the State -- prepared by the late Harvey Reid -- was submitted to Adjutant General Logan, it was found to be so voluminous, and so much in the nature of a narrative that, to publish it in its entirety, would very materially have changed the general plan of this work and largely increased its cost to the State.  General Logan, therefore, considered it his duty to exercise his prerogative, in directing the condensation of the early history, in order to make it conform as nearly as possible to the general plan and character of this work.  In undertaking the task of condensation, the compiler has endeavored to preserve the most important features of Mr. Reid's work, eliminating only those particularities of detailed description, and those extended biographical sketches, which constitute a considerable portion of the original manuscript.  (Note:  Mr. Reid's manuscript has been carefully preserved, with the purpose of securing its publication in a separate volume, by the Curator of the State Historical Department, or by the Superintendent of the State Historical Society.  It contains a large amount of valuable historical matter not intimately connected with the early military history of the State and therefore is not included in this volume.)

The compiler renders grateful acknowledgment to Colonel Charles A. Clark, Commander of the Iowa Department of the Grand Army of the Republic upon whose recommendation he was appointed a member of the Iowa Soldiers' Roster Board.  At the time he began the work of compilation he had nearly reached the age of three score and ten years, and was laboring under a physical disability, contracted in the line of his duty as an Iowa soldier, during the War of the Rebellion.  He had, however, long cherished the hope that the work would be undertaken, and, when the assignment came to him, entered upon it with the determination to use the utmost limit of his strength and ability in his efforts to do justice to his Iowa comrades and to the various organizations in which they served.   In this labor of love he has had the cordial support of his brother members of the Board, and has been provided with the necessary facilities for the prosecution of the work.  Whatever measure of success has attended his efforts must, therefore, he accorded to their  co-operation and assistance.  To Governors Cummins, Garst, and Carroll, to Attorney General Byers, to Adjutant Generals Thrift and Logan, and to Curators Aldrich, Shambaugh and Harlan, the compiler of this work is under lasting obligations.  While the general direction of the work has been under the supervision of the Adjutant General, the exacting duties of his office would not permit him to give his close personal attention to details, and, in addition to the preparation of the historical matter, the supervision of the work of the clerical force has largely devolved upon the compiler.  Several changes have taken place in this force since the work began.  Full credit is due to those who have been longest engaged in transcribing the records, and who have rendered the most faithful service in that capacity.

Mr. William D. Christy -- a veteran soldier of Company D, Second Regiment Iowa Infantry Volunteers -- has been constantly engaged on the clerical part of the work since its commencement.  His work has been intelligently, faithfully and conscientiously performed.  He has always shown a deep personal interest in making the individual records as nearly correct as it was possible to make them, and his service in this regard has been marked to the same faithful devotion to duty which distinguished his record as an Iowa soldier.

Lieutenant Thomas L. Stephens, another Iowa soldier, the capable and efficient Record Clerk in the office of the Adjutant General of Iowa, has constantly rendered valuable assistance to both the compiler and the clerical force, in verifying the records, by careful investigation of the muster rolls and other official papers on file in his office.   This service has been rendered in addition to the discharge of his regular duties as Record Clerk.

Miss Edna M. Vorhees, first stenographer and clerk, remained along time and performed her duties faithfully and well.  Upon tendering her resignation -- a short time previous to her marriage -- she was succeeded by Miss Mabel W. Conlon, as efficient stenographer, who resigned December 1, 1910, to accept a position in the office of the Secretary of State, and was succeeded by the present very capable stenographer and clerk, Miss Elsie L. Wickware.

Mrs. Clara A. Neidig, proof reader and clerk, joined the force after the first manuscript had been sent to the State Printer.  She has ever since been most indefatigable in the discharge of her important duties.  Mrs. Neidig is not only an expert proof reader, but a woman gifted with a high order of intelligence and literary ability.  The State has been fortunate in securing her services in connection with this work.  The compiler feels personally indebted to her for many valuable suggestions.  Too much cannot be said in commendation of the earnest, faithful and thoroughly conscientious manner in which her work has been performed.

The old soldiers of Iowa are especially indebted to Honorable John McAllister, Member of the House of Representatives of the Thirty-second General Assembly, for his able, persistent and successful efforts in securing the passage of the law providing for the compilation of this work.  Senator James E. Bruce was the leading advocate of the measure in the Senate, while Senators John D. Brown and J. A. Fitchpatrick, and Representative William Anderson of the Thirty-third General Assembly were active and consistent supporters of the amended act, making provision for the continuation and completion of the work.  The Journals of the House and Senate give the full record of the legislation,  connected with this subject.  To include all the names of the friends and supporters of the measure would require a list of nearly all the members of the Thirty-second and Thirty-third General Assemblies.  It will be generally conceded, however, that the men whose names have been mentioned were the most active and earnest in their efforts in its behalf.

At the time those lines are written (January 10, 1911,) the work is approaching completion.  It is confidently believed that it will be found as complete and comprehensive as any similar work which has been published.  To the general reader, who wishes to obtain as complete a knowledge of the military history of the State of Iowa as is obtainable, these volumes will be found to contain the only comprehensive summary of such history.  To the genealogist, these records will supply a most important link in the chain of many family histories, and the men and women of future generations, whose lineage can be traced to the names of the Iowa soldiers recorded in these volumes, may justly cherish such an ancestral record as a priceless legacy.

 

 

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