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in the American Civil War
|First Iowa Infantry. Col., John F. Bates; Lieut. -Col., William H.
Merritt; Maj., Ashbury B. Porter. This regiment was organized at Keokuk in April and May,
1861, as a three months regiment and was mustered in May 14. It left the state June 13,
moving to Hannibal, Mo., thence to Renick via Macon; from there to Boonville, joining
Lyon's command June 19, just after the defeat of Gov. Jackson's forces. On July 3 the
command moved to Camp Sigel near Springfield, thence to Camp McClellan, 12 miles distant.
Six companies formed part of a detachment which marched to Forsyth and dispersed a band of
the enemy, capturing 50 prisoners. On Aug. 1 the command moved and on the following day
defeated the enemy at Dug spring, the 1st Ia. acting as skirmishers on the right wing. At
Wilson's creek the regiment won the admiration of all by its splendid action in the face
of overwhelming numbers, repeatedly repulsing the most determined attacks, performing
feats of valor and materially contributing to the rout of the enemy at a vital moment.
Though not a victory for the Union forces, it was not a signal defeat, the opposing army,
five times as great being in no condition to pursue the retiring Union forces. "No
troops, regular or volunteer, ever sustained their country's flag with more determined
valor or fortitude," declared an officer who participated in that aflfair. The
regiment lost 21 killed and mortally wounded, 132 wounded and 2 missing. The following
morning it moved to Rolla, where it took the train for home, and was mustered out at St.
Louis en route. It returned to the state with about 800 men, of whom fully 600 reenlisted
in other regiments. Although but a three months organization, it had set the mark for
future regiments and its members won their spurs on many a hard fought field in the years
that followed. Capt. C. L. Matthies afterwards became a brigadier-general, and Capt. F. J.
Herron a major-general.
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing
Company, 1908 - Volume 4
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