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Full text of "Buttolph, John Randolph - Civil War Memoirs"

A WAR STORY 



Memoirs of the Civil War 



Reproduced by a Grandson 
LOREN D. BUTTOLPH 
Colonel, Armor 
30 March 1962 




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£u<v — 






FORWARD 



As was our father before us, we seven children were born on the farm 
located at Wolf's Station, six miles north of Ogden and two miles south 
of Pilot Mound, Iowa, which the writer of the following stories speaks 
about moving onto in 1867* As barefoot boys, my brother and I used to 
listen to Grandpa and his comrades tell war stories when they visited 
him. One day after such a visit my brother and I decided to hear some 
more stories and we asked Grandpa to tell us one. He looked surprised 
at the request and said he knew no war stories. We stated he and his 
visitors had been telling some to each other. His reply, "Someone has 
to tell a lie first before I can tell one." 

One story I recall Grandpa telling was that he, with several of his 
battery-mates, visited a peach orchard for some peaches to improve their 
army rations. They had completed filling their sacks with nice juicy 
ripe peaches when a detachment of Rebel horsemen rode in the only gate- 
way. The Rebs yelled to the Yanks to surrender as they were trapped. 
Grandpa said his group jumped on their horses and galloped out of the 
back of the orchard where they had thoughtfully opened the fence for a 
quick getaway. Although the Rebs shot at, and chased them, they all 
returned safely to their bivouac area. The fast ride, however, had 
smashed the peaches so that cleaning of horses, saddles, and clothing, 
used up the remainder of the day. So ended a peachy story. 

By reports, Grandpa was the neighborhood peacemaker. I've heard 
the story that whenever he heard gunfire to the west, he would go 
approximately three-quarters of a mile down the road to where two farms 
were almost opposite each other and generally would find each farmer in 
his bam shooting at the other with a shotgun. Grandpa would "talk them 
out of their mad" and go home until something would start them shooting 
again. Apparently each was willing to let his opponent take cover in 
the barn before starting to shoot. 

Grandpa was not only a mild, peace loving man, but also a fair man. 
He always said he was open-minded and that all people should vote as 
they desired. He claimed he didn't care how a man voted "just as long 
as they voted Republican." 

Grandpa writes about three close calls with death. I did, one time, 
get him to say that a spent cannon ball had hit him when they were in 
battle, and that his gun-mate pulled him to one side, out of the way, 
thinking he had been killed. I guess he not only recovered in good 
shape, but got out of servicing the gun for part of the battle. 

For years, beginning sometime before 1905 and continuing into 1918, 
or up to World War I, a "watermelon picnic" or "old soldiers' picnic" 
was held on the farm. Each spring an acre was planted to melons and the 
summer spent in hoeing out the weeds and pinching off the bugs. At 



reunion time of Company D, 32nd Iowa, special interburan cars (Fort 
Dodge, Des Moines & Southern Railroad) would bring veterans and families 
from Boone and other Iowa towns* Others would come by wagon and 
buggies, and later some by automobiles, all with well-filled baskets of 
food* The day would be devided between speeches, reminescences, and 
eating* 

Although Grandpa 1 s stories speak about the soldiers swearing, 
Grandpa's most expressive language was "by jocks*" 

Admittedly, the tonal quality of the stories is not exceptional by 
our present day standards* However, considering that the writer had 
only a few months schooling each year in a pioneer school, and was over 
76 years of age when he wrote the stories during World War I for Comrade 
Swick, Editor of the Boone County Democrat, I think he did outstandingly* 
Why shouldn't I? I'm his grandson! 



Date: 

1 March 1962 




LOREN DWIGHT 
Colonel, Armor 
United States Army 



LPH 




JOHN R BUTTOLPH 

2nd lowa Battery 

St. Louis- 1861 




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A WAR STORY 



Comrade Swick: • You know the Bible says there shall be wars 
and rumors of wars, and we know that is true. We read of the 
fighting that is raging in Europe, but the everyday details of it 
that we read about, we don't know whether they are true or not. 

Now, I am going to tell you a war story that I know is true. 
So do you know it is true, because us old soldiers believe in one 
another. So, all old soldiers will take my word for it. There 
were a good many witnesses at the time, but all were strangers to 
me except two of my own battery, and they have long since answered 
to the last roll call* 

My story commences after the Battle of Nashville when we had 
chased Hood's demoralized army to East port, Mississippi, on the 
Tennessee River* That was the winter of 1864-5. We lay in camp 
there during the winter, until the river opened in the spring, 
when the two divisions of General A. J. Smith, of the 16th Army 
Corps, were loaded on transports to go somewhere, us mortals never 
knew where, anyway. We knew that we were going downstream, until 
we made a landing above Memphis. The whole fleet tied up; of 
course we didn't know for how long, but myself and my other two 
comrades of my battery concluded we would like to get off and take 
a stroll down through the city. We got permission from our captain 
to do so, but he warned us that we might get left. We didn't want 
to get left, so I thought to make sure, I would ask the captain of 
the boat if he could tell us how long we would stay there. He said 
he could not tell how long we would stay, perhaps but a little 
while, but said he would have to take on coal and, in order to do 
that, would have to make another landing at Fort Pickering, just 
below Memphis. So, as that suited us, we got off and walked down 
to the city. 

We remarked about our finances and, as we had missed two pay 
days without being paid off, we found that we were very short; my 
comrades hadn't a red cent and I had just twenty five cents* I 
made up my mind that if I could see anything that suited us as we 
walked down the street, I would blow that. A little further along 
I espied some pickled pig's feet. I asked the proprietor the 
price and he said three for twenty five cents. I told him that 
was just my size, for I had just twenty- five cents and there was 
three of us; so we went on till we found a place to sit down and 
commenced our feast. 

We soon noticed that our fleet had begun to steam up, but 
what did we care? Our boat would have to land and coal up, so we 
could walk leisurely down that way. The boats pulled out one by 
one and we saw our boat swing out. We got up and walked down but 
we could see that it kept in the middle of the stream and acted 
very much like it was not going to land, and it didn't* 

1 don't know to this day why the boats didn't land to coal up, 
as the captain said they would, but I knew right at that time that 
we were left. What a predicament. I thought that in my almost 



. 1 - 



four years service at that time* 1 had never been away from my 
battery and was always dowm on what we called stragglers, and now I 
was one myself. Mot a cent of money in the crowd* bat we were old 
enough to know what we had to d© & but we didn't like to do it <> 

There were posts at towns along the river* for the purpose of 
holding all important places* with sore or less soldiers for guards* 
under an officer called a Post Coaamander, So we were right up 
against it, and as it was near nighty we straightway went and told 
the Post Comander our tale of woe* He took our names* unit* and 
rank* and told us he would see when we could get transportation down 
the river to overtake our command* We had found out by this time 
that we were not the only ones that got left* They kept on coming 
until I think about every organization in General Smith's two 
divisions was represented* This was* I think* on Friday evening. 
The next morning the Commander told us that we could not get away 
until Monday at 10 o'clock* He called me into his office on 
Saturday evening and told me as I was Sergeant* he would put me in 
charge of all the soldiers that had been left* and that I would have 
to draw rations and issue them to about three~hundred men. As I had 
no stripes on to denote my rank* I saw where I had made a mistake in 
giving it when I reported for a place to stay, I tried to beg off 
but it was no use* so I was in for it*. But as I had had a wide 
experience in that line* gained by frequently acting as Quartermaster 
Sergeant* I knew I could do its hut I didn't like it just the same. 
We spent Sunday in the barracks and listened to two sermons by 
the Chaplain, Monday morning came and we were all glad of it* I got 
the rations ready and had them delivered to the wharf early and* as 
our boat was already there* we got them aboard in short order, I 
then proposed to the men to form mess squads* as I knew in looking 
over the names that the Commander had given me that no one man would 
have to draw his rations separate* as no one man had got left with* 
out at least one of his company comrades with him At scheduled 
time* the steamer started and I commenced my task of issuing rations. 
The two men from my battery who were with me were both Corporals* and 
I just suspicioned they had told the Commander of my experience in 
the quartermaster line and that was the cause of his appointing me 
for the duty* although they always denied assisting me. Poor 
Corporal Smith and Corporal Keller, They have long since answered 
the final roll call and I have forgiven them for what I accused them 

of. 

Everything was going on nicely* we had about got done with the 
rations* the boat was running at good speed and we had got several 
miles down the river* and as I was issuing sugar out of a barrel a 
young soldier had just come up for his rations, I had asked his 
name and regiment; I have forgotten his name* but his regiment was 
the 114th Illinois, I had checked his name off and the one he was 
drawing for* had reached down into the barrel and got a tin cup full 
of sugar* and he was leaning over toward me holding his haversack 
open so I could put the sugar in when* rattle-de-bang* everything 
was in confusion, I heard the thud that all old soldiers know when 
a bullet strikes a man's body and my man wilted down toward me. It 



all happened quick, but 1 realized what it all meant. I saw the 
smoke from a bunch of bushes on the Tennessee side of the river and 
knew we had been fired upon by guerrillas of perhaps twenty men. I 
undertook to get oust of the earner I was in but the man's body held 
me down there until one of my men took hold of my hands and pulled 
me out, I had been held there so long that the man's blood had 
saturated me from my hips down to the bottoms of my feet. There was 
blood all over the floor* I never knew a human body contained so 
much blood. So yon see that just by the wink of your eye, I 
escaped that bullet * It came near enough t© take a button off my 
blouse. 

That was the third time I had escaped that ways that is, the 
other fellow was killed by my side, and I barely got out of the way. 
I could tell you of the other two. Am 1 a fatalist? It looks like 
I ought to be. Yes ^ I believe that a person's course is marked out 
from the cradle to the grave. 



BUTTOLPH TELLS OF THE DAYS WHEN HE WAS RICH 
AND WHAT HE DID WITH HIS MONEY 



My war story of last week left us on the Mississippi with our 
dead man on our hands and me with my clothes wet with the man's 
blood, I got my clothes off and had them washed. When we got down 
to Helena we put our man off in charge of the Post Conmander at 
that place. I suppose his bones lie bleaching there, as mine 
perhaps would have been, had it not been for that "Mysterious Hand" 
that had ruled otherwise. 

When we came up with out fleet they were tied up at Vicksburg, 
where two years before we had such a struggle to effect its capture* 
I have never been back to our own line since* Much as I would like 
to go there this fall, on account of old age and infirmities, I 

cannot. 

From Vicksburg we went to New Orleans , and from there across 
the lakes to the investment of Mobile* which made the five sieges 
the battery had been in under fire for about two-hundred days. I 
was lucky enough to have been in every one of them* and still lucky 
to be alive today, so I am a firm believer in a man having a certain 
allotted time to live* but I don't want to get up any argument on 
that for I have the advantage* for no one can say and prove that it 
is not so. 

After we had taken Mobile we went t® Montgomery, Alabama, and 
from there to Selma. Right there on that march, I want to tell you 
that I had more money than I ever expect to have S£*in* but I lost 
it all gambling. I bet as high as $10,00© on a foot race. I got 
the money around the State House at Montgomery* Their Confederacy 
had collapsed so that their money wasn't worth taking away. I have 
just a twenty dollar bill left out of that vast amount that I had in 
my possession. So much for getting sporty. 



This that I have been writisag afe@iafc happened tn the last year of 
my soldiering. Something must have happened la the three years at 
the front before that. I may mention them in Swiek's paper occasionally. 



ANOTHER LETTER FROM THE OLD BATTERY MAN 

la telling my war stories I will likely leave something behind 
that I will have to go back to and drag along. For instance. you may 
have thought that we captured Mobile to© easy. Bat I will say that 
we closed in on oar part of the line and on the rebel Spanish Fort, 
the 27th of March, 1865, and captured it on the 8th day of April. So 
it made our stay there, thirteen days, and I want to tell you there 
was something doing all the time. We had got a fort made to put oar 
six gens in. I will say here that ©tar battery consisted of four 12= 
poand Napoleon guns, smooth bore, and two 6=p©und Rodman rifle guns. 
In addition to this, we had a 64»pound Colambiad, mounted on the sane 
platform. We found that it was a terribly noisy creature but not at 
all reliable. 

There was a few of us that wanted the siege to last long enough so 
that we could get a chance to try a 100-pound Parrott gun. It was 
being mounted on a different platform built on purpose for it. It was 
put in position, ready for service, but the "Rebs" gave In before we 
got to use it. I was one of six of the battery boys that was going to 
man it. Ask Comrade Bob Harrington, of Boone, what he knows about 
that. He helped to get it on the platform. 

i ^ 'Jf'V! only a f ** P ri8 ° n «« captured at Spanish Fort, but they 
left all of their artillery. Fort Blakely, north of Spanish Fort, was 
being taken care of by Steele's Division of the 13th Corps. It was 
taken by storm late on the evening of the 9th of April. 1865, so you 
will observe that that was the date of Lee's surrender, only later in 
the day, Lee's surrender being earlier in the day. 

At Fort Blakely they captured a good many prisoners, including 
several hundred young boys, from 12 to 16 years of age. A few of them 
were killed, the rest were captured. Poor boys, brought out from the 
city to fight for a cause already lost. 

There were torpedoes used there, the same as they are now using 
over there in the war zone, only on a smaller scale. They were 
planted in the ground as well as in the water in Mobile Bay. General 
Canby ordered the prisoners under guard to dig up all the torpedoes. 
I saw "Rebs" digging them up, but I didn't want to be in their way or 
hinder them at their work, so I stayed pretty well back, but I believe 
it was all done without accident. 

In a few days we started on our trip through a dense forest of 
pitch pine, where the natives were making turpentine and tar. They 
were mostly women and only a few feeble old men. They seemed scared 
and surprised. It seemed that all the soldiers they had seen before 
were cavalry. The women called them "critter companies" such as, 
Joe Bacus of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry, and Josh Bennett of the 2nd, and 



all others that rode "critters* M They didn*t have any love for them 
either* but of course the soldiers didn 9 t stay long enough to get 
acquainted, or it might have been dif ferent* We went right along with 
but little resistance* A few of our advance guard were killed by 
Rebels lying in ambush* ®& our march through that dense forest* We 
stopped a few days at a little town named Greenville, I think, where 
we received the news of Lee's surrender* I was sent .oat from there 
with five to see if we could find $<me mules for our baggage wagons* 
We met hundreds of Rebels going to their tames <> Of course they had 
never waited to be surrendered^, but had taken "French" leave* They 
said they knew it would have to ccme* 

We had about given up finding any suitable mules * and had got 
back to within about three miles of camp* It was after dark in the 
woods , but close to a big plantation* We heard a noise off to one 
side of the road and stopped to investigate* We soon saw something 
brought into the road just ahead of us* and upon closer inspection, 
we found it was just what we had rode about forty miles that day to 
find»~six splendid mules* It seems they had them secreted in the 
woods through the day and were bringing them in to feed them overnight* 
So, we took the mules for the use of Uncle Sam$» but I don't know 
whether Uncle Sam ever paid for them or not* But let's see* What 
did Sherman say war was? Oh, yes, "Hell, more anon* 1 ' 



THE CAMPAIGN IN TENNESSEE 



In writing about our march through that pine forest in Alabama, 
I want to tell you how we got our water* There were no creeks or 
springs, and being so sparsely settled that the army could not rely 
on getting water from the plantations that might have supplied us, 
we had to resort to digging a hole in the ground, five or six feet 
deep, where we found a good supply of pure* nice water* That was the 
first night that we camped on entering the forest* It didn't take us 
long to dig a well in the sand* so we had nice water to drink and 
cook with that night* 

But* the next morning, what? The ones that went to the well to 
get water to do their cooking found the hole filled with a reddish 
colored fluid which was as bitter as gall* I belonged to a mess of 
six* We had a darkey to cook for us* and he had gotten his water the 
night before, so we had water for our coffee and other cooking* But, 
the ones that didn't lay in their supply * had to march the next 
morning without their coffee and* the horses went without water. We 
supposed it was the fine roots that gave it that reddish color and 
bitter taste* but why it wasn 9 t that way when it was running through 
the ground was what we wanted to know* However, we weren s t studying 
cause and effect then, although I know from what I heard that the 
effect it had on some of the boys caused them to swear* and caused 
those that didn't swear to want t®» 



la speaking of our march through the pine forest* I haven't 
mentioned that our battery had to be called upon to dislodge some 
"Johnnies" that had taken a stand where the wind had upturned a lot of 
pine trees by the roots* Our advance guard was having a whole lot of 
trouble with them* The big roots * covered with dirt* made an ideal 
protection against infantry bullets* We unlimhered our two little 
Rodman guns and* with their percussion shells* we soon brought the 
Rebels out* We took the whole bunch prisoners* So* these were the 
last shots the battery fired at a hostile foe, I wish I could 
remember the date* but it must have been ten days after Lee's 
surrender * so you see we were in it to the finish* 

I have told you about my fortune gained at Montgomery* This, of 
course* was on the same march* I wanted to tell you of my riches* so 
you see* I had to advance some* 

Now* on to Selma* We had no trouble getting into Selma* Wilson's 
cavalry had been there* and I guess they had the trouble* We were 
surprised to see the place so poorly fortified when the Confederacy 
had so much there that it seemed they would have done their utmost to 
save it* but Wilson 9 s cavalry sure did destroy it to a finish* That 
is where they made their cannon* and guns* and ammunition for their 
armies* It must have been a knockout blow to the Confederacy* 

The citizens told us many things that happened while the cavalry 
had the place invested* and after it was captured* They told of 
Confederate soldiers trying to make their escape across the river and 
being drowned, as well as citizens* including some women and children* 
That goes to show what a panic will cause when there is no occasion 
for it* One old fellow* said to be the richest man In Selma* told 
us that when the cavalry got over their works* he was pretty well out 
that way* He started for the rear as fast as he could* He heard a 
dashing cavalryman coming behind him* he saw that he had his sword 
unsheathed and raised high above his head* He expected to have his 
head cut off* but to his great relief* the soldier dashed up along* 
side of him and asked him if he knew where he could get a feed for 
his horse* He said* "You bet I can; follow me* " He said if he could 
have got to the river he might have tried to cross as so many others 
did* 



TRACKDOWN 



I cannot remember just the time we got to Selma* nor the time we 
left there* but us battery boys will always remember it as the most 
enjoyable place that we sprat in the southland* and there was a reason* 
The war was over and we were looking forward to the time when we would 
be on our weary way home to meet our loved ones who were almost heart- 
broken when we bade then good-bye to go forth to fight for a cause that 
I think everyone will call a just cause; especially now* since the 
mixup with the Germans* How this country would have stood had we been 
divided is a question* but we know we are stronger the way we are* 



6 - ^ 



At Selma we battery b@ys agreed that we would treat the citizens 
in a gentlemanly manner and pay for everything that we got* We well 
knew that we would meet with a great deal of opposition from the 
women, but as they thought they were right from their viewpoint , we 
agreed to make them respect us by our good behavior and, I believe, 
we won out* We hadn't been there long til we could see a marked 
change. They had good gardens and we bought their garden truck and 
paid them their price without a murmur* I had a lot of my Confederate 
money yet, aad * would hand them a $20 bill for a pail full of 
tomatoes and they would begin to hunt for change for the difference* 
I would tell them to keep the change, especially if I saw that the 
change was to be the same kind of money* 

There was none of our cavalry there so us battery men were sent 
out often after someone who had been reported as having committed 
acme crime* Sometimes it would be for a white man and sometimes for 
a negro, I was detailed to take five men and go about forty miles 
into the country and bring in a white man who was reported to have 
killed a negro. I started out with my five men pretty early one 
morning, and I remember too, that it was a terribly hot one* We 
stopped at a farm house to get our dinners and we paid 50 cents 
apiece, good money* We started again after resting awhile and visit* 
ing with a couple of "Johnnies" who had just gotten home from Lee's 
army* 

At this place the road forked, but I had learned enough about 
scouting not to inquire for the place you want, so I inquired for a 
place I knew to be on the road we did not want to take* About four 
o'clock we arrived at the plantation where our man was supposed to 
be, divided our squad and dashed up to the house, barn, and out» 
buildings, at the same time* I took one man and went into the house* 
There I found a man, a young woman, and two small children* I had a 
description of the man I was after, and could see that he was not the 
man I wanted, but I told him that I was after him* I then asked his 
name and he told me* The surname was the same but the given name was 
different from the man I wanted* I then asked him if he had a 
brother* He said he had, and gave me the name of the man I wanted* 
I didn't ask him where his brother was, but we made a thorough 
search all over the plantation but our man could not be found* The 
young woman in the house was his wife and she was taking on terribly 
about it* That was what hurt me the worst* A woman's tears* at 
that time, would almost make me disobey my military duties* 

We started back to Selma on a different road from the one we 
had come* We went about three or four miles and stopped at a 
plantation for the night* We didn't tell them what we were after, 
only inquiring the distance to Selma, but I had made up my mind what 
I was going to do in the morning* There was a few old darkies on 
the place so I told them to feed our horses and have them ready at 
four o'clock in the morning* 



EV'EM HONORS 



It has been sometime siiace I seat you my last war story. It was 
about being sent out to arrest a white man who had killed a negro. We 
had been to the place where the crime was said to have been committed, 
and not finding our man, had ©erne back about three ©r four miles and 
stopped for the night at a big plantation where there was an old 
couple, two young women, and two old darkies. One of the women said 
her husband had been killed at the Battle of Hashville, under General 
Hood. He told her we were at Hashville and she asked us a great many 
questions about the battle and wanted to know if we thought it 
possible for her to find her husband's body. We had to tell her that 
the Confederate soldiers were buried by our men and we did not think 
it possible to find his. She took on terribly about it. I was always t 
tenderhearted juke and I think they could see there were others that 
had hearts even if they were Yankee soldiers. 

I said in my other story I had in my mind what I was going to do 
so I told the boys in the morning my plan. It was to start and ride 
back to the place where our man lived and make another effort to get 
him. I hope no one will think in reading my story that I liked my job. 
I didn't, but I had one or two reasons, one was that I somehow had the 
good luck to stuble onto what I was sent after, but this was of course 
a different case, that was the reason I didn't like it. !$y main 
reason was that I knew of three other battery Sergeants who had been 
sent out at the same time to get someone who had been accused of 
committing crimes similar to the one my man had committed, and I was 
afraid they might outdo me, so 1 was going to do my best. We started 
back so that we arrived at the place very early in the morning. I 
had told the men on the way what I expected each one to do, for I 
knew there might be danger of a resistance, so when we got near and 
not seeing any one stir about the house, we dismounted and I left one 
man with the horses, so there were five of us to go to the house. I 
had one man that could use a gun the quickest and shoot as accurately 
as any man I ever saw, so I told him that he and I would go to the 
front door and demand admittance. I expected if there was any 
resistance offered it would likely be at the door we were at, and it 
would likely be a shot fired in our faces as the door was opened, so 
I said I would call the farmer and tell him that we were the same men 
who had been there the day before, and for the same purpose. I had 
my other men placed on opposite sides of the house. I knocked at the 

door. . . . 

Someone asked who was there and I asked him to ©pen the door, and 
he did, but no gun was fired in ©tar faces, but he asked us politely 
to come in. We went in and found the same folks as the day before: a 
brother of the man we were after, the wife of his brother and their 
two small children. We searched the place but failed to find our man, 
and I was glad of it, for after getting back to Selma I found the 
other Sergeants had failed- the same as I, so honors were even. 



BEFRIEND A FOE 



In my last story I told about getting back to Selma from my man 
hunt* Now I want to tell a little more about it as I said the man 
invited us in and we had quite an interesting visit with him* He and 
his brother had both belonged to the 27th Alabama and were with 
General Hood at the Battle of Nashville* The brigade that his regiment 
belonged to confronted our brigade in that battle. I remembered the 
regiment by our advance at the first day's fight about dark* They fell 
back a short distance and we took the ground that they had left* Their 
dead and wounded still laid on the field* As soon as we had gained 
our new position, I, with others, started out to look around to see if 
there was anything we could do to help the wounded* I found a man, a 
Lieutenant, that belonged to the 27th Alabama. I asked him if there 
was anything that I could do for him, he said that he was cold* As 
there were plenty of the grays lying around there who had blankets but 
didn't need them any more, I soon had him covered up with three or 
four blankets. He had a belt but no sword or scabbard. He asked me 
to take his belt off, which I did and laid it under the blanket* He 
told me to keep the belt, so I did, but lost it between my place and 
Boone a good many years ago* 1 had put it in the wagon to have a 
saddler put a few stitches in it, where it was ripping* It lost out 
through a hole in the wagon box and I could never find it* It was a 
U* S. officer's belt and the Lieutenant had no doubt taken it off some 
dead Union officer. I was sorry to lose it* 

I went back two or three hours afterward to see the Lieutenant as 
I had told him I would when I left him, but found he did not need any 
more help. I could but think of what the poet said: 
"Soldier, rest, thy warfare 1 s o'er, 
Dream of battlefields no more." 
This man knew the Lieutenant, as he was in his company, so we got our 
breakfast at the place and paid the woman for it. 

There is one thing that will never let me forget the trip. While 
we were at Selma we all toned up the very best we could. I had bought 
a pair of fine shoes and gave $8.00 for them in U. S. money. I had 
been wearing the coarse artillery boots for four years and that ride 
in the hot July sun with that fine leather, completely cooked my 
feet clear through. For two weeks or more I couldn't wear anything 
on my feet but a pair of socks. I can almost feel them hurt yet. 
Toned up? You betl We even wore paper collars* By this time the 
women seemed to think the battery boys were about right. 



LAST SHOT OF THE CIVIL WAR 



In writing my war stories, for the want of memory, I am leaving 
the dates out. However, I will venture one now that I am sure is 
correct, to-wit: Selma, Alabama, July 4, 1865. I am inclined to 



- 9 - 



that my feet roasting that I told about la say last story was on 
the first and second of July, anyhow I remember that ©a account of 
nursing my sore feet I wasn't able to help celebrate that day with the 
boys. The regiments of our brigade were stationed at different places 
along the railroads outside of Selma. i will say here that our brigade 
was composed of the following regiments s 47th Illlaols 9 11th Missouri, 
8th Wisconsin, and the 5th Minnesota. The 9th Minnesota was with as 
the last two years of the war 8 the 26th Illinois was attached to us a 
short tine, so was the 101st Illinois, bat their stay was of short 
deration, abeat three days, I think. They were left at Holly Springs, 
Mississippi to guard ©or cracker line when grant undertook to get In 
the rear of Vloksburg by that rotate. The Rebel General Van Dom 
swooped down en then there and Colonel Murphy of the 8th Wisconsin, 
who was In command, sarreadered the whole thing without firing a gun. 
Thus, we never saw the 101st Illinois again. 

Bat, I was going to tell you about the celebration. The 8th 
Wisconsin was stationed oat east of Selma, and as It would be the last 
Fourth that we would ever spend together, they Invited the battery 
boys to cone out and help then celebrate. On the morning of the 
Fourth quite a good many of the boys accepted their Invitation and 
loaded on the cars two of our Napoleon guns. They took no horses, 
just the guns without the linbers. They fixed up a lot of blank 
cartridges, and they were not sparing of powder, either. The noise 
was what they wanted. Our Lieutenant Burke went along, and a jolly 
Irishman he was. They put the cartridges In gunny sacks, and the 
Lieutenant didn't forget to put In a solid shot. They got there and 
had a jolly tine together. They had fired all their cartridges away 
long before night. "Now," said Lieutenant Burke, "I am going to fire 
the last shot of the Civil War." He brought out his 12-pound solid 
shot and loaded the gun. There was a bam about 100 yards away, and 
the owner gave his consent to let him shoot at It. Burke was a good 
gunner and a good judge of distances so he sighted the gun and gave the 
order to fire. That shot went right through the barn, so Lieutenant 
Burke claimed that he fired the last shot of the war. 

I am telling the story of the celebration as the boys told It 
after getting back, as on account of my roasted feet I could not go, 
which I very much regreted. I remember we accused the boys of 
celebrating too hard, but they said they had to in order to keep up 
with the 8th Wisconsin boys. We who stayed In Selma had a good time 
too. We burned a good deal of powder. The 47th Illinois was with us 
at Selma, so that was our Fourth and last celebration. Where, oh, 
where are those splendid boys now? 



FUNERAL RITES FOR GOLD AND SILVER 

In speaking of the regiments that composed our brigade, I have 
always had a pride that our battery had the good fortune to be assigned 
to serve with such splendid regiments of Infantry. The four old 



- 10 » 



regiments amd out battery was formed tot® a brigade in the fall of 1861 
and that formation was kept up until July & 1865* I doubt if there was 
another brigade in the Union Army better known than the "Old Eagle 
Brigade*% and their staying qualities could not be disputed* In meeting 
any of the boys who belonged to any one of these old regiments since 
the close of the war* it seeded like meeting one of my own battery* I 
used to meet them quite often at our State reunions 9 or on Soldiers' 
Day at the state fair 9 but the ones I used to meet have all answered 
the final roll call 3 so now so far as I know 8 there are none livings 
There used to be one of the 11th Missouri boys that lived in this 
county that I used to meet quite often <=> Comrade Huttenhow - but he has 
crossed the river « 

I have in my war stories quite often alluded to the women and 
girls of Selma It did seem that the longer we stayed^ the more 
friendly they goto One of the battery boys went so far as to engage 
himself to a girl there,, and a fine looking girl she was» and a fine 
gentlemanly fellow too$ was Comrade John Covalt. I wasn*t sure how 
that engagement culminated until forty»six years after the war* I met 
him at a reunion of our battery six years ago for the first time since 
we were discharged* I asked him if he went back and married his Selma 
girl, and he said 8 "You bet I did* 11 He told me that he went back that 
winter 9 they were married^ and settled in Nebraska* He said they had 
thirteen children* He was in the stock business » one of the biggest 
stockmen in the state £) owning eleven sections of land* So much for one 
of the first men who enlisted in the battery. He was a wheel driver 
on a gun carriage four years. 

There were rumors around Selma that the cavalry that captured the 
city had gotten a lot of gold* We had noticed in the cemetery a box 
not unlike a rough box for a coffin. It was* near a hole in the ground 
which we supposed was a grave from which the body had been taken up 
and removed to some other place of burial & tat afterwards we found 
out a different storyc A darkey told us that he knew that a lot of 
rich people, of Selma had put their gold and silver An bags with their 
names on them^ and then had put them in this box and buried them in 
the cemetery 2 fixing it up & of course^ to represent a grave. It would 
seem that the scheme ought to have worked^ boat the darkey who dug the 
grave and covered it up s gave it away when the @avalry took the place. 
SOj> they resurrected that body and divided sap between them* The 
darkey said he got his hat full of money^ but they gave him the white 
money. 

Now, it would be a hard matter to trace sap the truth or untruth 
of this story* but it looked to us at the time that the darkey told 
the truths and as we need not expect that the money will ever tell*, 
we'll have to let it go at that. ©$ld and silver were rarely seen in 
those times. I picked up a fifty cent and a twenty«five cent piece 
where there had been an old building burned down I believe the ones 
that found it first got quite a mint of money there. It was said that 
there had been gold pieces picked up at the same place. I had a couple 
of finger rings made out of my find but I lost them in a hay field 
after I came heme. I never could keep what I got? I expect that is why 
I am so poor. 



11 



FAREWELLS 



If my memory is correct, our stay In Selma was about four months, 
but all that time we kept up the regular routine of camp life, such as 
camp police, park and horse guard s roil call, sick call, and all other 
calls that an artilleryman well knew. There had been some changes made 
too in the company officers, our Captain, Reed, having resigned and 
gone home, but I cannot remmber the date, but probably before we came 
to Selma. Lieutenant Goons was appointed Captain, Second Lieutenant 
Burke was made First Lieutenant, and First Sergeant Snyder was made 
Second Lieutenant. I was Second Sergeant at that time, so I was made 
First Sergeant, although our roster does not show it that way. I^might 
say here that the history of the battery is very incomplete, all 
through, in regard to the number of wounded and those who died of 
wounds, and in not making mention of all the promotions of non- 
commissioned officers and privates. Our Captain Reed admitted that it 
was through his neglect. He himself got a bad flesh wound there, and 
several others that I could think of, all of which the records do not 

show* 

It was along in July that we had orders from the War Department 
that we were to proceed north to be mustered out. You yourself know 
the rejoicing that it caused* 

I don't remember the date that we left Selma, but we loaded on 
boats on the Alabama River and went down the river to Mobile, dis- 
embarked and stayed there for a few days, and then took a boat across 
the lake to New Orleans. At Selma we had to leave Lieutenant Snyder 
in the hospital, he being too sick to move* After a few days at New 
Orleans we loaded on a steamer on the Father of Waters for Davenport 
and to separate there for our various northern homes. I will say here 
that we turned in at Mobile our faithful old guns and horses to the 
ordnance officers there to receive them. Some of the more sympathetic 
boys actually shedding tears, kissing the old bronze guns, and bidding 
them a last farewell * 

At New Orleans Captain Coons was taken suddenly sick and we had 
to leave him in a hospital there, so that left Lieutenant Burke in 
command of the battery. 

In coming up the river there was something happened that I shall 
never forget. We had a boy in the battery who had become subject to 
fits. I had, at other times, noticed by his actions when his spells 
were coming on, so at this time on the boat I could see that he would 
need watching. We were then somewhere below Natchez, Mississippi 
when night came on. I had him fixed up and after removing his out- 
side clothes I made him a bed inside a big coil of rope on the bow of 
the boat. We landed at Natchez about 10 o'clock. There was a darkey 
regiment stationed there and our First Orderly Sergeant was its 
Colonel. The battery boys were all off the boat to see him and he 
was there to see us, but our stop was but a touch and the bells warned 
us to get aboard. The boat whirled out and had but fairly got under 
way when the cry came, "man overboard. 8 " I thought then of my boy and 
hurried to the place where I had left him, and sure enough there were 



- 12 



his clothes, but my boy was gone. But a small thing like that in those 
times would not stop a steamboat, so it kept right on. Some of the deck 
hands declared they saw someone in their night clothes run upon the 
wharf, but the very idea that a man in a fit could jump into the 
Mississippi River in the middle of the stream and get to shore seemed 
preposterous, although he was known as an expert swimmer* 



LINE INTACT 



I hear some are saying that I am the last one of the old boys of 
old Company D of the 32nd Iowa in the county. My wife and I nearly 
always attended their reunion the 11th of August each year. We were 
acquainted with most of the boys of that company before the war, so we 
made it a point to meet with them and their wives for a social good 
time, which we always had, for years and years. This is the reason, I 
suppose, that some thought I belonged to that company. I know of only 
one that is left in the county from old Company D, and that is Jesse 
Boone of Luther. One of the Company D boys called to see me the other 
day. He lives at Oxford, Kansas (Tice Buf fington) . There are two more 
of old Company D living in Kansas - H. Carpenter and John Kirkendall. 
Those are the only ones living of the old virginal company that was at 
roll call and marched from the old courthouse in Boonesboro, on August 
11, 1862. From all that old company and all its recruits, there is 
barely enough left for a corporal's guard. 

I met with them for several years. They seemed to hold their line 
nearly intact. Sergeant Frank Spurrier would call the roll but 
eventually he got to reporting death or deaths since their last reunion. 
I could notice their line growing shorter and shorter until at the last 
reunion they had which I attended, there were only two present. 



GOING TO ENLIST 



My home, when I enlisted, was in Boone County, in Pilot Mound 
Township, and has been since 1857. 

At the time the war broke out, when Fort Sumpter was fired on the 
12th of April, 1861, I was in Lynn County at school. Our teacher, a 
young man, threw up his school to go into the army at the first call 
for 75,000, 3-months men. Several of the scholars were of military 
age, or wanted to be, so we all wanted to quit and go to a different 
school, and we did. My brother Rome who was at school with me, and I, 
started back to work on a farm in Polk County on upper Four Mile Creek. 
I was going to work for the same man I had worked for two seasons and 
had hired to him for another season. My brother and I had hoofed it 
the fall before from Four Mile Creek to the school in Lynn County, so 
of course, we were going back on the same shanks over the sparsely 



- 13 - 



settled counties of Benton., Tama, Marshal* Story, and into Polk, 
E\rery little place we came to, everybody seemed to be going wild over 
firing on the flag at Fort Sumpter. Companies were being recruited for 
the call by President Lincoln for 75,000, 3~months men, I reported to 
my boss and told him that I was going to enlist so he would likely have 
to look for another man. 

A company was being raised at Rising Sun, a little town east of 
Des Moines, by a Captain McKinley, so my brother and I enlisted. 
Gilruth Cline, another Boone County boy who was going to work down there, 
enlisted in the same company. We were sworn into the State Service, and 
drilled and drilled* The boys began to think we had ought to go south 
to join the 1st Iowa which was being organized at Keokuk, but at one 
of our drills the Captain told us that the 1st Iowa was full and Iowa 
had furnished its quota, so we were left out. Of course, we wanted to 
go and were disappointed, and the boys blamed the Captain for not 
getting us in. So, that ended our 3-months service. 



FOR THREE YEARS 



I went back to my boss and went to work. Soon the call for 
300,000, 3-year men was made* so sometime in July, I enlisted for three 
years or during the war. In the company I enlisted in there were four 
Boone County boys, to-wit: Gilruth Cline, William Sumstine, my brother 
Rome, and myself. We enlisted at Des Moines and were credited to Polk 
County, while Boone County had ought to have had the credit. It would 
have saved that number from being drafted before the war was over, but 
who knew. We were organized at Council Bluffs and mustered into the 
U. S. Service the 8th day of August 1861, and called at that time 
Dodge's Battery as the company was recruited by Colonel Dodge (later 
General Dodge) of the 4th Iowa. 

Afterward the batteries were numbered and we got the number, 2nd 
Iowa Battery. About the middle of August we broke camp, which was 
called Kirkwood, and boarded a small sternwheel boat on the Missouri 
River, with three companies of the 4th Iowa, for St. Louis. 



FIRST FIRE 



I will say that in leaving Camp Kirkwood all we left behind was 
the ground we camped on, so no-one could be accused of graft in that, 
unless it was in the tents that we slept in. 

Our boat landed at St. Joe. We noticed right away that something 
was wrong because mounted orderlies were riding to and fro with 
dispatches for the commander, so we soon found out we had to dis- 
embark. We learned that the rebels had blocked the river below so 



14 - 



that we had to go by rail over the Hannibal and St* Joe to the 
Mississippi, which was no trouble at all for us for we had no baggage, 
only perhaps a little bundle we could carry under our arm* We had no 
uniforms* 

We got onto the train, no palace cars* We were requested, not 
ordered, after we had got out a few miles, to lay flat down in the 
bottom of the boxcar for we might be fired on* It was getting near 
night but we could see horsemen at the distance* There were some shots 
fired into the train but no- one was hurt* That was the first fight we 
were in, but it was all on their side, for I don't believe that there 
was a gun of any kind on the train« It forewarned us of what we were 
up against. 

We arrived at Hannibal at night and camped just outside the town. 
We had blankets but no tents. The tents we had at the Bluffs be- 
longed to the State of Iowa, and now we belonged to the old U. S* A. 
We had to leave our tents behind but it was warm weather so we didn't 
suffer any, only from mosquito bites 



OUR FIRST LOSS 



We had to wait until the next afternoon before we could get a 
boat for St. Louis. In calling the roll just before the boat started, 
the orderly reported that there was a man missingo Several of the 
boys had stripped off during the day and swam across the river and 
back. Some thought that perhaps he had undertaken it and drowned, but 
the boys that had done the stunt, some twelve or fifteen, said that he 
wasn't with them. Anyhow, he was missing and reported deserted. 

In about two years he was brought to the company to be identified. 
Of course, we all knew it was Stobaugh. He was court-martialed and 
sentenced to serve his time out without pay. In the meantime, he had 
married and had a kid, so it seemed he had been putting his time in 
anyway. He claimed that he didn't desert^ that he only got left, and 
that he tried to get passage down the river but having citizen's 
clothes he couldn't convince them that he was an enlisted man, and so 
he did the next best. He got paid on pay days just the same as the 
rest of us so the sentence was never carried out„ 

We did lose a man, or rather a boy, at St<> Joe* We never did 
hear from him. His name was Bird. 



FIRST ASSIGNMENT 



We boarded a boat and landed at the wharf at St. Louis. I 
remember that it was hot on that stone wharf. Benton Barracks was 
about five miles away and that is where we went, as did a part of the 
4th Iowa which was still with us all the way„ We got to the barracks, 



15 



what he had given to our army in May, at Guntown, and then some. 

In the fall of 1864, early in October, we were at Memphis. We got 
orders to move. We were always glad to go and wanted to be on the move. 
Of course, those lower down never knew where we were going to, neither 
did we care, just so we were moving. This time we took boats at Memphis, 
also all the infantry of our brigade, four regiments and steamed down 
the river to the mouth of the White River, to Devall's Bluff, where we 
disembarked and marched west to Brownsville, Arkansas. 

We learned there that we had been sent to head off the rebel 
General, Price, who was making a raid up into Missouri, but found out 
that he had passed before we got there. We laid there a few Jlays, I 
suppose for orders, and then took up his trail and followed him, not, I 
don't suppose, with the intention of overtaking him for he had several 
days the start. But we did pick up a few straggling ones, likely that 
wanted to be taken, for they were in their own state, Arkansas, so 
thev were paroled and turned loose and of course, they went home for 
keeps. Our chase turned out to be a long one. We marched by land from 
Brownsville, Arkansas, to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. So many of our 
horses had played out with sore feet when we got to the river that the 
carriages had only two horses where there should have been six. We had 
turned about forty horses loose, so by a little routing up, the natives 
got some good horses. In the meantime, General Price was marching west 
of us, living and feeding his army off of the count ry, J" «« ■ tate, 
and from friends and enemies about equally divided, with all the able- 
bodied in each army. This was Missouri. mil i,. r fc«d 
We boarded the boat at Cape Girardeau for St. Louis, disembarked 
there to recruit up and got nearly a full supply of horses. We were 
soon on the way again on a steamer u P the Mississippi, up the Missouri 
to Lyton*(l), disembarked there for another hike overland. We got 
close to the "Johnnies", still going north. At Independence we fired 
a few shots from our battery into the rear guard. The infantry £d 
been left behind and our battery was now with the cavalry. The infantry 
was too slow for the horses. The rebels tried to make a stand at Big 
Blue River where it is said the old battle ground is now part °* 
Kansas City. I don't know whether it's in Kansas or Missouri. Anyway, 
there is where our army put the finishing touches on old Pap Price. 
His army didn't retreat, they just skidaddled. Our cavalry followed 
him to Fort Scott, Kansas, took lots of prisoners, and left General 
Price without much of an army. We had fought Price at the battle of 
luka and Corinth, the fall of 1862, where he put up a fierce fight, 
but was defeated at both battles with fearful losses as well as a 
great loss to our army. 

*(1) LYTON: Query made to the Director of the Missouri State Historical 
Society brought forth reply that investigation of their 
maps and gazateers, and official state records, did not 
indicate a town of Lyton on the Missouri River m 1865. 
However, during that campaign, transports stopped at many 
spots on the river in an attempt to flank "Price's" column, 



- 16 - 



and it could be that Lyton may have been a landing. Many 
such landings were named after the families who owned them 
and, of course, many have been lost in time. Also, request 
made to the U. S. Army Engineer District, Kansas City Corps 
of Engineers, at date of this publication, produced 
negative results with respect to location of the town of 
Lyton, Missouri, during the Civil War period. 



"OLD ABE" 

After the battle at the Blue, our brigade, (we were called the 
Eagle Brigade, the 8th Wisconsin carried the live eagle "Old Abe", hence 
the name), started east and south. 

We had had fine dry weather from the time we had left Memphis the 
forepart of October up to the present time, about the 10th of November, 
1864. It snowed that night so in the morning when we got up we found 
about two inches of snow on our blankets. I hadn't said before that we 
had no tents on this march. I only mention it now because that snow i$ 
the only way I have of being certain that we had slept on the ground 
that entire march with only the canopy above for a covering. We hadn f t 
needed any other covering for the weather had been ideal, only a little 
too dry for all purposes as we needed more water part of the time on our 
long march. Neither had we brought overcoats, nothing but our blouses 
and an overshirt and underwear. That day after the snow it was cold but 
the snow melted. Mud, Iowa mud, wouldn't be in it. It was more glue 
than it was mud. It stuck to our shoes and to the horses so we just had 
to let it go till it wore off. 



A CHILLY ELECTION 



I don't remember the date of the presidential election that year 
but it was about that cold chilly time, before the weather warmed, we 
stopped long enough for the ones that wanted to vote. The polls were 
open and tickets both state and national. I was old enough to vote but 
I didn't. 

We marched on through the glue. We supposed that when we got to 
the Missouri River that we could get aboard boats. We didn't know 
where we were going, only we knew we were going back to the south some- 
where. After getting to the river we could see steamers, loaded with 
troops that had got to a nearer point on the river and got aboard the 
boats, glide past us and we, our brigade, that had marched about half of 
the way through the State of Arkansas and nearly through the entire 
State of Missouri, were still plodding along on foot. Of course, the 
battery boys could ride or walk as suited them, but our infantry got 
awful cross about it. The ones that didn't mind swearing just said it 



17 



right out loudj, others more mildly, and others that didn f t swear at all 
just said something as near like swearing as they could without calling 
it swearing. Us battery boys, of course, didn f t have so much cause for 
swearing but if we heard one of our infantry boys getting something off, 
we could say "me too. 11 

So, we marched down the banks of the Missouri River to its mouth, 
and then down the Mississippi to St. Louis, eighteen miles. Why we had 
to make that march on the banks of the two rivers, with a steamboat in 
sight nearly all of the time, is a thing that we never understood. But 
the boys would cuss anyway. They wanted to hit something. 

We got to St. Louis, the hardest march we had during the war. 
Camping out at night without shelter, short of rations, and that march 
over the Ozark mountains, turning a horse loose every day or two. We 
lost a man while crossing what was called the Nigger Wolf Swamp between 
Devall's Bluff and Brownsville, Arkansas. We buried him on the highest 
piece of ground we could find and marked his grave Conrad Forner, 2nd 
Iowa Battery. I have wondered whether his grave has ever been found 
and his bones moved to some national cemetery or do they lie in that 
dismal swamp, miles, at that time, from any human habitation. I don't 
remember that I thought much of it at the time but it makes me shudder 
now to think of it. But that was war then, horrible war, may it never 
touch our soil again has always been my prayer. Amen. 



RIGHT INTO BATTLE 



At St. Louis we got some new clothes and then we were wanted in a 
hurry. General Hood had got around General Sherman at Atlantic and 
was coming north pell-mell so we were put on steamboats and hurried to 
Cairo to the mouth of the Ohio River, to the mouth of the Tennessee 
River, to Nashville. We then belonged to General A. J. Smith's conraand 
of the two divisions of the 16th Army Corps. Hood was driving General 
Schofield and we were hurrying forward to reinforce him. The battle 
of Franklin was fought about the time that we got to Nashville, and 
Schofield was retreating back to Nashville, so maybe we got there in 
time to stop Hood. Anyway he stopped, so the Rebel army lay in camp 
and built breastworks and thought, perhaps, to cut our army to pieces. 
But when the time came, with General Thomas in command, the 16th day 
of December, 1864, the battle of Nashville commenced. It is called a 
great battle, and, of course, it was in a way. The Rebels lost about 
all of their army. 

But I didn't start out to give an account of the battle, only to 
say if it was a big battle, it was the easiest battle. We had two 
other men wounded. But the chase came after Hood. We stopped at 
Eastport, -Mississippi, the forepart of January, 1865, on the banks of 
the Tennessee River and commenced building log huts of pine logs which 
were plentiful there. I don't remember anything about the town of 
Eastport but I do remember that we almost starved while we were there 
for a couple of weeks before we could get anything to eat but com. 



- 18 - 



Boats were coming and going on the Tennessee River loaded with corn and 
hay, but nary a hardtack or anything for the men. We were glad to get 
feed for the horses but we couldn't see why the same boats could not 
bring something for the men* We made hominy and parched corn till 
rations finally came and the cussers got in their words again, not 
knowing who to aim them at, only it seemed to be a relief to them* We 
worked hard and had built log huts, almost as good as some of the houses 
in town* We had just got ready for a rest, which we certainly needed, 
when we had orders to get ready to march again, which caused some 
swearing* 



BREAK CAMP 



In a few days a fleet of boats came up and we broke camp and loaded 
on the boats for a passage down the river* We kept on going down into 
the Ohio River, into the Mississippi at Cairo, still going on and on 
down the river and landed seven miles below New Orleans at Jackson's 
monument where the battle had been fought between the British and 
American armies the 8th day of January, 1815* I don't remember how long 
we stayed there but when we did leave, we marched back to New Orleans 
and to Lake Ponchartrain and took a boat and landed on Dauphin Island* 
We knew then that we were going to Mobile and, in due time we got there, 
ajid the siege of Mobile commenced, the fifth siege that our battery was 
engaged in* I think that was about the 1st of April, 1865. 

I had forgotten to mention that we had a recruit from Boone County 
who had died at Eastport by the name of Paul Burkhart* I think he had 
been with us for about a year, was with us on that long march, and at 
the battle of Nashville. Burkhart is a familiar name in the county, but 
I don't remember meeting any by that name. 



HARDEST OF CAMPAIGN 



That march in Arkansas and Missouri, and exposure till after the 
battle of Nashville, was the hardest campaign we had during my four 
years soldiering and I was in every advance and retreat that the battery 
was in* The result was that we had left a good many sick at hospitals 
on the march, all recruits, some that never joined the battery again* I 
think that we lost three of the boys at Eastport by disease* Excuse/me, 
and I will commence the siege of Mobile* m 

The Johnnies, of course, met us outside their works and gave us a 
warm reception but they were pretty easily driven inside their strong 
works at that old Spanish Fort so our battery was directly opposite that. 
The Fourth Engineer Corps built a fort for us, I think we calculated it 
to be about 300 yards from their fort. We moved in before morning* 



- 19 - 



Rifle pits had been dug for the infantry so we settled down for a long 
or short siege, or anything the Johnnies had to hand us. Our battery 
consisted of four 12-lb. Napoleon and two 6«lb, rifled Rodman guns. In 
the morning, as soon as we could see, we opened fire on them. Of 
course they had their portholes all closed up but we well knew that they 
had heavy guns in their fort and we didn't have to wait long to find out. 
They opened on us with a gun of large calibre. 



GUNS WERE READY 



We had our guns ready and before they got their portholes closed 
the two little Rodman guns sent two shots into their opening, which we 
found out afterwards had disabled their big gun, so they lost that 
before it had done us any harm. It was us that didn f t care but the 
siege went on without very much artillery firing. The sharpshooters on 
both sides were watching for something to move so that they could have 
something to shoot at. I don't remember how long that siege lasted but 
they evacuated so we didn't get many prisoners. Anyway, another fort to 
the north of us, Fort Blakely, was taken the next day and Mobile was 
ours. What next? Of course we down the line didn't know but we could 
see that the army that had invested Mobile was being sent in different 
directions, loading on boats for somewhere. We soon found out that our 
little brigade was in for another march headed north. I don't remember 
how far it is from Mobile to Selma but that proved to be the end of our 
march. We fired a few shots from our battery when we first started on 
our march, at Rebs that had been stationed out that way who didn't know 
we had taken Mobile. That was about the 12th of April, three days after 
Lee had surrendered. We were away up in the Pine Woods in Alabama when 
we got the news that Lee had surrendered. That old tar pine forest 
will never again hear the cheering that went up then and there. We 
knew that we in the west had made a clear sweep in the last three battles 
we had fought. We, in the west, had thought all through the war that 
the eastern army wasn't doing their share but the west had sent a man 
there that had finally ended all. I think we were all glad of it, 
Johnnies as well as Yanks. 

We stopped at the little town of Greenville for a few days. While 
there the Rebs lined the road with stragglers or deserters from Lee's 
army. They said they didn't know of their surrender but they did know 
that it would have to come so they took French leave. 

We got to Selma in due time, passing through the beautiful city 
of Montgomery on the way. Selma had been taken by our cavalry a little 
while before. The Rebs had had an arsenal there and a foundry where 
they had made all kinds of guns, everything had been burned that would 
burn, but there were all kinds of cannon. A good many other business 
houses had been burned, no doubt, that had not ought to have been burned, 
but such is war. Selma is also a nice town, and in our stay there and 
after getting acquainted, we found them to be a nice sociable people if 
the quarter part of them were women and girls. When we first marched 



20 - 



through the city we only saw very few women peeping out of the windows 
with a frightened look on their faces. We established our camp just 
outside the city limits* We got to fixing ourselves up* We were mostly 
young men so we wanted to put on as good an appearance as possible and 
act it so that the women would know that we were real men even if we 
were Yanks. We soon found out that it worked. The women and girls 
began coming out of the hiding places more and more everyday, that scared 
look had left their faces, so in a little while we could see that we had 
made a hit. It wasn't long 'til you could actually see a southern girl 
and a uniformed Yankee soldier walking side by side. 



PICKED UP LOOSE MONEY 



We got to Selma probably the last of April and were there f till 
about the middle of July. The people from the country brought all 
kinds of vegetables which we bought. The storekeepers began to get 
goods and open their stores with the assurance from the military that 
they would be protected. We had one infantry regiment with us, the 8th 
Wisconsin, I think. The other regiments of the brigade were stationed 
in the towns nearby. We boys wanted to put on all the style possible. 
We, of course, had to wear our artillery uniforms fixed up in the best 
possible shape, but we could add a little to them and not break over the 
regulations. We could get fine shoes and a hat and put a red cord 
around it and thus more style. I, too, fell in. I had scads of C«S.A. 
money that I accidentally had picked up at the state house in Montgomery. 
I didn't have to hold anyone up for it either, just found it loose. No, 
not loose, but in a pack about like a bale of cotton, about all in $20 
bills. I never counted it. It wouldn't have paid for the time although 
I did buy some things of the natives for it. I gave as high as $20 for 
a peck of tomatoes. The hat and shoes that I bought; the price was four 
dollars for the hat and eight dollars for a dandy pair of fine shoes. 
That is what it cost in our money, greenbacks. I asked the old man what 
it would cost in his money. He hadn't given me an answer but I counted 
him out twenty, $20 bills and asked him if he would take that. "Well," 
he says, "you call it my kind of money but I will take your kind," so I 
gave him his choice. I had never gambled any in the army but with that 
iponey coming to me so easy, I commenced to let it go easy. So, in one 
way or another, of all that countless money I only have a lone $25 bill 
left. 



GET ALONG TOGETHER 



The Rebel soldiers were coming in from the different armies 'til 
it looked like there were about as many of then as there were of us, 
but we all got along fine together at all times. We noticed one of the 



- 21 



battery boys going with a fine looking girl, we thought a little too 
regular, so we called his attention to it and told him that we would 
tell his best girl at home what he was doing. He would only say that 
the girls at home were all alike to him. We could see that they were 
stuck on one another. We got well acquainted with her sister. She 
would inquire in a round about way how he stood in the company and we 
all could give a good word for him for he was certainly a manly young 
man, his home being in Nebraska. When we got on the boat on the 
Alabama river to leave, the girl and her sister as well as a good many 
other citizens of Selma were there to see us off. This girl and this 
hardened soldier drew the attention of all, no doubt the disgust of 
probably nearly all of the citizens of Selma. They had got to thinking 
that the Yankees were not nearly as bad as they had been pictured, but 
the idea of one of the best girls falling in with a Yankee soldier, 
they no doubt thought it the limit. He had told us that when he was 
discharged that he was coming back to get that girl. I had heard that 
he did. The battery had a reunion in 1911, the 50th anniversary of 
our muster in. I met John Covalt there (that was the soldier's name), 
and I asked him if it was so that he went back and got that Selma girl. 
He said, "You bet and thank God I have got her yet." War with all its 
horrors brings about strange and good things as well as bad. 



TO PROCEED TO IOWA 



At last we got orders from the War Department to proceed to Iowa 
to be mustered out. Of course, we longed for that. But our stay had 
been so pleasant in Selma that we didn't get out of patience waiting 
for the order. The boys were mostly pretty healthy while there but 
when we got ready to start, Second Lieutenant John E. Snyder was unable 
to go, so as bad as we hated to we had to leave him. We got aboard the 
small steamer, as I have described, for Mobile, I think about 60 miles 
by river. We had our horses and guns aboard. At Mobile we disembarked 
from our river steamer and after a day or two wait we got a larger boat 
in the bay. We went back the same way that we had come there, over the 
Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain, landing a few miles from New Orleans, 
disembarked there, hitched our horses to our caisson and gun carriages 
for the last time and marched to the city. There we turned our horses 
over to a Quartermaster and our guns to Ordnance there to receive them. 
After putting our guns and horses away, the cannoneers patted their 
guns goodbye and the drivers hugged their horses' necks. After all, 
there was a sad feeling there that a looker-on couldn't help but 
notice. Now we were free of everything and, of course, we felt lost. 
Yes, we were out of a job. We had to wait a day or so for a steamer to 
take us up the river. In that time, our Captain Coons took terribly 
sick and when we got ready, he was too sick to go so we had to leave 
him in the hospital. Something more to make the boys sad. 

We steamed up the river and all seemed serene when one of the boys 
came rushing in saying that First Lieutenant. Burke had taken a bad spell.1 



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~y 



He had suddenly taken to cramping and, there being no doctor aboard, 
the captain of the boat thought it might be cholera. We were a little 
below Vicksburg so the captain said he would land and we could take 
him to a hospital, so it was up to me now. I was First Sergeant and 
took charge of the company* I had sent one of the boys with the 
ambulance that took Lieutenant Burke to the hospital. The captain of 
the boat had to land there anyway and the man would have time to get 
back. He brought the word from the hospital that the doctor had said 
never fear for it was not cholera. 



UP TO CAIRO 



We steamed on up the river to Cairo, the mouth of the Ohio river, 
and that being the head of navigation of lower Mississippi boats. I 
got transportation over the Illinois Central to the Rock Island at 
Pine, and from there to Davenport* I reported to the commander at 
Camp McClelland, but our good old Adjutant General of Iowa was soon 
there (General Baker). He called the Iowa soldiers his boys and he 
sure was a good father. He had offices there for us to make out our 
discharge papers* We had some good penmen in the battery so I soon 
had them at work* I got leave of the commander of the camp to let the 
boys choose their own quarters in the city. It, of course, meant that 
each one would have to pay his own way. I suppose the boys thought 
they had been sponging off of Uncle Sam so they would ease up on him 
and board themselves for a couple of days. We soon had our papers 
ready and the U. S. office was then to muster us out August 7, 1865* 
We had been mustered into the U. S* service on August 8, 1861, just 
four years to a day. Our Lieutenant Burke joined us about the time of 
the muster out. Lieutenant Snyder, to the surprise of all of us, got 
well and came home that fall. Captain Coons got home shortly after 
the company had disbanded. There were about 60 men when I called roll 
for the last time at Davenport. I had been calling the battery roll 
for about a year and a half so I had it by heart and I could do the 
same thing for years after the war, but now they have all left my 
memory. I know of but 8 of that 60 that are living now. The 
commissioned officers are all gone and I am the only noncora that is 
left. At Davenport the boys all shook hands and a good many made a 
quick grab at their eyes as though to brush a big drop of sweat that 
had gathered there. There were boys from Illinois, Missouri and 
Nebraska, and from 18 counties south. If there was a worse scatter 
than when we were discharged from the U. S. Army, I would like to hear 
of it* 



WHERE THEY ALL ARE 

I only started out to tell where I belonged in the army and the 
boys that were with me* From now, I am going to tell where they all are. 



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My brother Rome lies in the National Cemetery at Jefferson Barracks 
below St* Louis, Missouri . Paul Burkhart, was removed from Eastport 
where we buried him, to the Corinth National Cemetery near Corinth, 
Mississippi, with a marker with his name and company. My old child 
playmate, schoolmate, comrade and chum is buried in Montana, My boy- 
hood playmate and comrade is buried in the Bass Cemetery in Boone 
County, I am here yet, I would have been picked out when we enlisted 
to be the weakest of the bunch but I have outlived them all, so I have 
been pretty tough, it seems, I mean, of course, physically, I never 
wanted to be tough any other way. We left our boys in five different 
states, I fear some of them in unknown graves. We scattered in 
different directions from Davenport, some going up the river in boats 
to get the nearest point to their homes. 

I, with the boys, took the Rock Island, At Iowa City I got off. 
I wanted to go by way of Cedar Rapids where I had an uncle living 
and then north in Benton County where I had a brother and sister 
living. My brother had been in the Rebel prison at Tyler, Texas, 14 
months • 



STAGE COACH RIDE 



I got on the stagecoach at Iowa City for Cedar Rapids, a distance 
of 25 miles. There was just one lone woman ii* the coach. After 
being in a crowd for so long, it looked lonesome to me. "Oh well, I 
thought, I will have someone to talk to anyway", but I soon found out 
that I was mistaken. I only had someone talk to me. I could only 
answer part of her questions, they came too fast for me, at least 50 
to the mile. I had no uniform on. The first word she said was, "You 
are a soldier." I said I had been. She says, "I saw you before you 
got in and I knew you were a soldier by your walk." Then the 
questions of where I belonged and how long I had been in the army, 
the battles I had been in, I thought she would ask me if I had been 
killed but she did ask me if I had been wounded. I told her I had 
only got a couple of little nicks. Then she says, "You did bleed for 
our country but didn't die for it." I only had time to say that all 
through the war that I would sooner live for our country than to die 
for it. She was still asking questions when we got off at Cedar 
Rapids. I didn't get lonesome, anyway. I thanked her for her company, 
we shook hands and parted, I didn't get a chance to ask her whether 
she was married or single. 



TICKET TO BOONE 



I stayed with my uncle a couple of days and then went up to 
Shellsburg in Benton County, where my brother and sister lived, stayed 



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there a couple of weeks and then back to Cedar Rapids by stage where I 
got a ticket for Boone, the limit of the railroad at that time, the 
latter part of August 1865. I had found who my best girl was when I 
came home on veteran* s furlough so if I got back we were to be married. 
At that time it didn't seem to worry me a bit but the thrill of my life 
happened after that* I may tell it some other time* My best girl and 
I were married the 24th day of December, 1865* Her folks lived in 
this old town of Centerville, not more than 100 yards from where I am 
writing. All the family was living then, seven in all. All are gone 
now. In 1867 we moved up into Pilot Mound Township and rented the 
farm which we bought later and still own, where we shared our joys and 
sorrows together for fifty- four years. We had kept out marriage vows 
'til death did us part, and then against my will or consent. So this 
is what we call life. 

My army life and, in fact, all seems more of a dream than a 
reality to me. I wonder sometimes if this life that we think we are 
living now isn't all a dream. There are so many mysterious things 
happening nowadays that we can't seem but know it, so that no matter 
how impossible anything may seem, I believe it. So this is our dream, 
would be we won't know it *till we wake up in another. 

Now, Mr. Editor, if you print this, you may call it "A War Story" 
ox anything else. It is up to you. Sine die. 



J. R. BUTTOLPH 
2nd Iowa Battery 



(The End) 



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