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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Vinton, Iowa

    Keokuk Daily Gate City primary articles, 1861-1862

    A previous attempt to post this was, I fear, unsuccessful. Here is a second attempt:

    I spent the better part of Saturday morning looking through microfilm from the Keokuk Daily Gate City newspaper at the Keokuk Public Library. I was able to find articles from December 1861-March 1862 relating to the 15th Iowa. Some are very short, others are rich with detail. I’ll post some of the more interesting ones now. I have transcribed these as best I can and any errors not of the period are unintentional.

    27 December 1861: “The City Rifles will be at the Estes House Hall promptly at 8 o’clock this evening for the presentation of a sword to Major Belknap. The occasion will be one of much interest.”

    28 December 1861: “There was a Dress Parade last night for the first time in a week, the spectators were not numerous owing to the cold weather.” There is also an article about the sword presentation; apparently the sword “…is a specimen of beautiful workmanship, ordered from Boston…”

    3 January 1862: The men of Company E pass a resolution tendering “…our warmest thanks to the Ladies of Danville and vicinity, Des Moines county, for the sumptuous New Year’s dinner so kindly sent us…” Also on that day the paper prints a letter from H. Beckman to the officers and attendants of the military hospital and also to Company D, thanking them for the attentions paid to his son who died at the hospital on Christmas Day.

    7 January 1862: “Yesterday about noon Constable Hendrickson was seen in full chase after a soldier who had illegally taken some hats from Voorhies’ hat store—when last seen they were going full tilt out Johnson street.”

    9 January 1862: “It is well known that there is or has been a great deal of sickness in the 15th regiment, and that several deaths have occurred. As is usual, and might have been expected in the absence of frequent official reports, highly exaggerated rumors have got abroad in regard to the number of dead. For the sake of the regiment and the friends of the soldiers it would be well to publish accurate reports frequently. If the Surgeon or officers think thus, we will cheerfully give them the use of our columns for this purpose.” (NOTE: Newspaper accounts of soldier deaths in the 15th during this time in Keokuk cite pneumonia, measles, and typhoid as the primary causes.)

    13 January 1862: The 15th was paid off today. According to the paper the funds were in Treasury Notes and gold and silver for change under five dollars. “The soldiers and officers felt good. So did the sutler. So did several other people.”

    15 January 1862: A notice is placed in the paper advertising a military ball by permission of Lt. Col. Dewey; all in the regiment will be in attendance and admission is 50 cents. Doors open from 7pm-1am.

    16 January 1862: Company H, 42 men, were paid about $546 and sent home $400. Company G, Captain Cunningham, with 100 men received on average $20 per man and sent home $2,050.

    17 January 1862: Company E, Captain Hutchcraft, 96 men drew $2500 and sent home $2000. Also, Col. JW Rankin of a different regiment arrived from St. Louis stating that horses were forthcoming. It can be presumed that, at that point, limited commerce with St. Louis was happening.

    17 January 1862: “As several persons in Keokuk have, at times, purchased of the soldiers, clothing, blankets, and other property furnished them by the United States, it is deemed best to caution them as to the unlawfulness of this proceeding, and to inform them of the penalty to which they are liable…” it can be presumed that the 15th was engaged in this in some manner.

    22 January 1862: The privates of Company B write a letter to the paper thanking a group of young ladies who came into camp at 9pm and serenaded them with “The Red, White, and Blue”, the “Star Spangled Banner”, and “Home, Sweet Home”.

    23 January 1862: The “High Privates” of the regiment write a letter to the paper critical of their officers. Apparently a dance was held in Keokuk on the 22nd that only the officers were to attend; the privates write “…they (the privates) take this method of enquiring whether they are not as ‘good a set of men’ as ever prepared to open ranks? and would furthermore modestly express the opinion that officers elected by us are not the men to put on such exclusive airs…”

    27 January 1862: A letter from Company B expresses “…unqualified gratitude…” to a Mrs. Schuler and the other German ladies of the city for presenting to every member of Company B pin-cushions. It would follow that the men representing Company B would all have similar/identical pin cushions.
    28 January 1862: “Yesterday morning a large number of soldiers of Camp Halleck went through a performance not laid down in the “Revised Tactics”—They not only might have been, but actually were, seen loading up a big sled with a quantity of fresh beef, which they and some of the officers alleged was not good. The sled being loaded, a procession of about one hundred fifty soldiers, more or less, headed by drum and fife, playing “The Dead March”, started on the march. In the sled was one lone man with face covered, holding a long pole, on the end of which was tied a piece of the meat. As the procession moved along, the soldiers in rapid succession ran up to the sled and made a noise like the carrion crow whereat, of course, the man in the sled was dreadfully annoyed and was kept busy beating off the “crows”. This performance was continued all around the square once or twice, and then they marched off to a certain meat shop, broke in the door, and hung up the meat on all the hooks in the shop. Whereupon they all retired feeling they had done a good thing…” An investigation by Lt. Col. Dewey establishes the beef as “first-rate and perfectly sound”.

    6 February 1862: Company E presents “…a sword, of superior quality…” to Captain Hutchcraft. The inscription read: “Presented to R.W. HUTCHCRAFT by Co. E, 15th Reg. Iowa Volunteers”.

    7 February 1862: “A concert will be given at the Chatham Square Methodist Church this evening…The proceeds will be applied to the purchase of supplies for the Hospital, and to procure for the 15th Regiment such articles, necessary in care of sickness, as are not supplied by the government…” “We learn from Quartermaster Pressell, who arrived in town yesterday with eight teams for army supplies, that the forces of Col. Moore and Lieut. Col. Woodyard have been united…” It follows that, based on this account, some sorts of equipments were delivered to Keokuk on/about this day.

    14 February 1862: “At dress parade last evening an order was read directing that a private of Company I should be drummed out of camp for stealing goods at Clagett’s store.”

    20 February 1862: Large celebration in Keokuk celebrating Fort Donelson. The 15th paraded through the streets cheering, preceded by the Hose Company.

    24 February 1862: The regiment attended a celebration for Washington’s birthday where Washington’s Farewell Address was read aloud. That afternoon the regiment’s organization was concluded and Col. Hugh T. Reid was sworn in as colonel. The regiment numbers 1025.

    25 February 1862: According to the paper this day was the first time the regiment engaged in battalion drill. Also, “Some of the boys of the 15th regiment ‘cleaned out’ a little doggery on the corner of 4th and Johnson streets on Saturday night last.”

    28 February 1862: “Col. Hugh T. Reid appeared in command of his regiment for the first time at dress parade on Wednesday evening. We notice that the battalions, under the efficient and persevering drill of Major Belknap, are rapidly improving in the tactics. In watching the various evolutions it is easy to perceive who among the subordinate officers, are thorough disciplinarians. Discipline will tell.”

    14 March 1862: “The boys at Camp Halleck had great sport last evening at making feints to run the guard. A whole battalion or less with hootings and yelling, would run at the guard and as the bayonet was presented, suddenly dodge off to the next guard, and so they “goed it” in a most exciting manner. No lives lost."

    19 March 1862: “The 15th Regiment was out in full force last night, giving its last dress parade in this city. Every man carried his knapsack, and a most soldierly appearance was presented. The Jeannie Deans and Warsaw will be here this morning, and one or both will take off the 15th Regiment."

    Hopefully this is of interest and useful. I intend to do some further digging in two weeks or so and if anything else can be discovered in Keokuk I will do my best to find it.

    Best wishes,

    Alexander Vasquez

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Franklin, TN

    Re: Keokuk Daily Gate City primary articles, 1861-1862

    Great info Alexander! Thanks!
    Matt Woodburn
    Another Big Bug
    Hiram Lodge #7, F&AM, Franklin, TN
    "There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Waterloo, Iowa

    Re: Keokuk Daily Gate City primary articles, 1861-1862

    Great stuff Alexander, thanks for the digging and the posting.

    In case it might be of interest to anyone, the entry on 2/7/62 referring to "the forces of Col. Moore and Lt. Col. Woodyard" refers to the two batallions of the 21st Missouri Volunteer Infantry (US,) then on campaign (separately) in northern Missouri. Before several months of additional recruiting and browbeating into signing 3-year federal enlistments, they had been the 1st and 2nd Northeast Missouri Home Guard Regiments. The 1st Regiment was the Home Guard force engaged at Athens, Missouri, on August 5th 1861, commanded by Col. David Moore (he who is quoted in my sig.) (I hope to see some of you in a month at the 150 anniversary of that prodigious battle!) News of the battle so close to Iowa soil caused considerable panic in Keokuk (months before the 15th arrived, of course.)
    The 21st Missouri was the first entire federal regiment in the fight at the Landing on the morning of April 6th, and Col. Moore lost his leg there. The coat he (supposedly) wore that morning is on display at the (former Sweeny) museum at Wilsons Creek.
    Arch Campbell
    Hairy Nation
    Loyal Union League
    Past Master of Martin Lodge #624, GL of Iowa AF & AM

    "Secessionists and Rebel Traitors desiring a fight can be accomodated[sic]on demand." -David Moore

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Living on a land claim called Omaha

    Re: Keokuk Daily Gate City primary articles, 1861-1862

    From the 16th Iowa Regiment
    Benton Barracks, Mo., March 31, 1861

    Editor Gazette: We have had two attempts to make a start for the “seat of war” but both failed. The third will be mad to-morrow. Friday evening an order was received for the 15th and 16th Iowa regiments to prepare to leave immediately for the Tennessee river there to unite ourselves with Gen. Grant’s army, and take part in what promises to be some of the tallest fighting of the season. The next morning it was known among the boys that such an order had been received, and they had hailed it with great enthusiasm. There was but one damper—this sudden movement destroyed all hope of being “paid off” here. Some of our officers have not money enough to buy themselves swords, while many of the men have dependent families at home. All need money, and it is a bitter disappointment that we have to march away without being paid. But we are promised paymasters among us soon.

    Saturday we were busily preparing to be ready to march Sunday, according to an order issued by our Colonel. He announced to the commandant of camp that we could be ready Sunday afternoon. The 15th announced at the same time it could not be ready till Tuesday. Sunday, our marching order was countermanded till Monday, today, at 4 o’clock p. m. This morning everything was teamed to the river not already there, excepting a small quantity of officers baggage, and it was being loaded, when our Lt. Colonel announced an order again postponing the march till to-morrow, owing to the steamer not being ready to start. The boys had blankets and their haversacks full of rations, so it did not make much difference to them—but the officers had neither provisions nor much baggage. They have been dieting to-day and are “warmed up,” but they will cool off to-night. I think we will certainly start to-morrow evening on the large steamer Crescent City. We are to leave camp at 2 o’clock. The 15th Iowa and 23d Missouri will also start to-morrow on other steamers, with an Illinois regiment now across the river. Regiments are arriving and departing daily. The great mystery is—where do they all come from? We have the most beautiful prospect for a fight, and in quick time. Our only regret is, that we have not had more time to drill, especially with our new muskets. We had a dress parade with our arms a few evenings since and our regiment received high compliments. It was pronounced on all sides the best looking regiment in the barracks, where there are probably fifteen thousand troops. A high post official here, who has been in the barracks, almost from our arrival here, says ours has not been excelled if equaled by a single other in appearance and general bearing of the men. That will do. We shall soon see whether we can bear ourselves so well on the battle-field, although as “raw troops” we may be held back. But good night and good-bye. Tattoo has sounded and “taps” will soon follow—a signal to blow out lights and get to our bunks.

    A private named Hughes, belonging to Capt. Smith’s company, from Clinton Co., was horribly beaten last night about tattoo time by some unknown person. He was found insensible near the sink, with an ear nearly cut off, shoulder dislocated and other injuries. The Lt. Colonel carried on an investigation till nearly midnight, but the perpetrator of the outrage could not be discovered.~~H. E.

    Wm Green
    Illegitimi non carborundum
    (Don’t let the bastards grind you down!)

    Dreaming of the following and other events

    Picket Post

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