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18th Iowa Infantry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Eighteenth Iowa Infantry. Cols., John Edwards, Hugh J. Campbell; Lieut. -Cols., Thomas F. Cook, Hugh J. Campbell; Majs., Hugh J. Campbell, Joseph K. Morey. This regiment was mustered in Aug. 5, 6 and 7, 1862. Soon after it moved to Springfield via St. Louis and Sedalia, joined the Army of the Southwest under Schofield, and marched through Missouri into Arkansas. Returning to Springfield, it formed a part of the garrison there during the winter. On Jan. 8, 1863, Marmaduke's forces, numbering over 5,000 men, attacked the garrison, which consisted of not to exceed 1,500 men, the 18th being the only regular organization there, with detachments of several Missouri regiments, citizens and quite a number of convalescents in the hospitals. The fight commenced about noon and continued with varying success until almost night, the enemy gaining ground at times only to lose it by some daring charge, the tide being turned just before dark by the coming up of five companies of the l8th, which had been stationed at an outpost. They entered into the fight with such energy that the enemy was driven into a stockade at the outskirts of town and declined to give battle the following day, having lost more than 200 in killed and wounded. The loss of the regiment was 56 in killed and wounded and the loss of the entire Union force was about 200. The regiment remained at Springfield about a year, being denied the privilege of participating in the stirring scenes that were bringing glory to its sister regiments, but performing well the duties so necessary in guarding the border at that time. Col. Edwards assumed command of the post in April, and in the fall was in temporary command of the district of southwestern Missouri, and later in command of his regiment, which formed part of the force that made Shelby throw aside his artillery and much of his baggage to escape his pursuers. Reaching Fort Smith, Ark., on Oct. 30, the regiment was assigned to garrison duty and spent the winter there. Col. Edwards being placed in command of the post. In March, 1864, the regiment moved with Steele's forces to Arkadelphia, Col. Edwards being in command of the brigade to which the 18th was assigned. The command joined Thayer's forces at Elkin's ferry, the intention being to effect a junction with Banks. When the retreat of Banks was learned the entire command moved to Camden. It was engaged at Prairie d'Ane and at Moscow, where Edwards' brigade stood the brunt of the attack and on being reinforced drove the enemy for several miles. After some ten days at Camden the regiment engaged in a severe battle. With one section of the 2nd Ind. battery, it was sent to reinforce Col. Williams of the 1st Kan. Colored regiment, guarding a forage train. The force was attacked by several thousand troopers, the Kansas regiment receiving the first shock, and giving way, crowded through the lines of the 18th and left it to take up the fight alone. Seven fierce charges were repelled, more than its own numbers were put out of action, but it was finally surrounded, when, with fixed bayonets, it cut its way out and reached Camden, having sustained a loss of 77 in killed, wounded and missing. The wretched three weeks' retreat to Little Rock followed. Col. Edwards holding the reserve and guarding the ordnance train at the battle of Jenkins' ferry. Resuming its duty as garrison at Fort Smith, the regiment moved on numerous minor expeditions and was often compelled to forage to keep from actual starvation, the river below being blockaded. Col. Edwards was promoted to brigadier-general and was succeeded as colonel by Lieut. -Col. Campbell. The regiment marched to Fort Gibson in November to meet a supply train from Fort Scott, but finding it had not arrived, set out on the evening of the 27th with two ears of corn each and one tablespoonful of coffee for each mess of four, as rations, and found the train over 100 miles distant four days later. The regiment passed the winter and spring in alternate starvation and plenty, remaining on garrison duty at Fort Smith until the latter part of the summer of 1865, when it was mustered out. Its original strength was 866; gain by recruits, 9; total, 875.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 4

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