Tuesday, July 16, 2013

From The 11th Iowa Regiment


EDITOR GAZETTE:– On Friday last the Iowa 11th and 13th struck tents and marched out about 3 miles to a new camping ground, to the front and in line of battle with the army here.  Shortly afterwards the Iowa 15th and 16th arrived, and moved to our left.  These four regiments constitute the third brigade of the 6th division of the army of the West.  The division is under Gen. McKean, and this brigade is commanded by Col. Crocker of the 13th Iowa, and is the first and only brigade made up wholly of Iowa troops.

The Colonel commanding the brigade has the entire confidence of all who know him.  Col. Crocker is a good officer; at the head of his troops and in the thickest of the fray on Sunday, he gallantly lead the regiment, until Col. Hare’s injuries compelled him to leave the field, and the command of the brigade devolved on Col. Crocker, and no one who witnessed the heroic endurance with which his command still held the foe at bay, until night closed the scene can fail to appreciate the skill and honor his heroism and that of his men.

Our New Iowa brigade will do no discredit to our gallant State.  The best feeling prevails between the different regiments, and we all feel happy to be brigaded with a regiment that has so nobly vindicated the courage of our State, as the 13th, and under so noble a commander as Col. Crocker.  I might give thrilling incidents of the conduct of both officers and men of the 13th in the late engagement, as narrated to me, but prefer to leave this to others, who say and partook of the action with them.

We all concluded on Monday that among the most beautiful and moving things in history of poetry, were “Buell’s lines on Beauregard.

On Saturday our regiment had scarcely settled down in our new quarters, and dried off the rain of the day before, from clothing and accoutrements, when we were visited, on half hour notice, by. Gen. Inspection, (who is at no time a very welcome visitor to the soldiers) by Gen. Halleck, Inspector General.

Gen. Pope’s army has arrived, bringing up the Iowa 2d Cavalry and the 4th and 10th regiments of Infantry.  Your readers may think it a vastly pleasant time here to visit friends and enjoy this warm spring weather – birds singing overhead, and the pleasant breezes blowing through your evening tent, as you sit around the supper table, narrating thrilling incidents and “hair-breadth escapes.”  In reality it is almost as difficult to visit one’s friend outside the division to which we belong, as though States intervened.  Gen. Halleck has issued orders, forbidding company officers or men leaving their own division (except on duty) under any pretext, without leave from headquarters.

Mr. Editor, as one who had some little part in the battle of Pittsburg Landing, I am vexed to see those who took no part in Sunday’s fight, saying we were whipped that day.  I desire to deny the assertion.  Borne back by numbers, but with unconquered will, 20,000 brave men of the morning army fought through this day and lay on their arms at night to renew the fight next morning, and with Lew. Wallace’s division we would have won the battle on Monday.  No army is beaten while it can raise such a force and with such feelings as animated out brave men.

The sun shines once more warm and drying.  Skirmishers are out ahead and little encounters of pickets and skirmishers are of daily occurrence.  Look out for large events ere long.  Our army has all confidence in Gen. Halleck.  The health of our men is improving and we were ready to act at any time.

We have already buried over 3,000 of the rebel dead, from the late battle, and we are still finding them were their wounded were abandoned in their flight of Monday night.  Our present camp is near where Gens. Johnston and Beauregard lay the night before the battle.

Yours truly,
Co. B, 11TH IOWA.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Monday Morning, May 5, 1862, p. 2

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