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in the American Civil War
|Sixteenth Iowa Infantry. — Col., Alexander Chambers;
Lieut.-Cols., Addison H. Sanders, John H. Smith, Josiah T. Herbert; Majs.,
William Purcell, Peter Miller. This regiment was organized at Davenport
and was mustered in at intervals between Dec. 10, 1861, and March 24,
1862, seven companies at Davenport, one at Keokuk and the last at Benton
barracks, St. Louis. The incomplete regiment left the state the first
week in March for Benton barracks, from which point it moved on the
completion of its organization to Pittsburg landing and was one of those
regiments which were sent into the most exposed position at Shiloh
without having had any experience in warfare and assigned a place
without a brigade formation. Its loss was heavy but its action was
excellent, despite some confusion. After the battle it was made a part
of the "Iowa" brigade; took part in the move upon Corinth and at the
close went into camp. Near the close of July it accompanied the army to
Bolivar, Tenn., where it remained until the middle of September,
engaging in scouting, foraging and short expeditions having a few
skirmishes. It participated at the battle of Iuka and received Gen.
Rosecrans' highest praise for its performances. Again returning to
Corinth, it was engaged in the battle there two weeks later, where
Lieut.-Col. Sanders was severely wounded and Maj. Purcell took command.
It joined in the pursuit but returned 10 days later and remained until
Nov. 1, when it moved to Grand Junction to take part in the movement
against Vicksburg, which failed through the loss of Holly Springs with
its supplies. The regiment moved to Holly Springs, thence to Lafayette
and Memphis, which place was reached on Jan. 3, 1863. A week later it
embarked for Young's point, thence to Lake Providence where it remamed
with its brigade until ordered to Vicksburg. While there Maj. William E.
Strong, inspector-general of the 17th army corps, said of its brigade:
"Iowa may well be proud of the 3d brigade. Since I have been a soldier
it has happened that I have seen many brigades of many different army
corps, both in eastern and western armies, but never have I seen a
brigade that could compete with this Iowa brigade." Moving to Vicksburg
the regiment was constantly under fire during the siege, then went into
camp until called to take part in the expedition to Monroe, from which
it returned, worn out by the most fatiguing movement ever made without
purpose or result. It took part in the Meridian raid in Feb., 1864, and
returned to Vicksburg, where it reenlisted as a veteran regiment. It was
given a furlough home in April, returned in June, and accompanied
Sherman's army through Georgia; was engaged at Acworth, Kennesaw
mountain, Nickajack creek, before Atlanta, losing more than 50 in killed
and wounded in less than 30 minutes July 21, and the next day it fought
with great bravery; charged the batteries and lost 65 men; then held its
position until completely surrounded and being entirely without
ammunition, was compelled to surrender, after killing or wounding a
number of the enemy equal to its own numbers. Two companies of the 13th
sent to reinforce it were also captured. The prisoners were sent to
Andersonville, with the exception of the officers, who were sent to
Macon, thence to Charleston and later to Columbia. The men were
exchanged on Sept. 22, but the officers remained in prison much longer.
A few escaped, among them Capt. J. H. Smith, who was afterwards
appointed lieutenant-colonel in place of Lieut.-Col. Sanders, resigned.
About 100 men and officers answered roll-call on July 23, but their
numbers were increased by the return of the sick and wounded, the total
force soon after numbering nearly 200. The regiment moved in the march
to Savannah, accompanied the army through the Carolinas, and was in a
number of engagements connected with that campaign, the last being at
Cheraw on March 2, 1865. It then marched to Washington, was in the grand
review, and was mustered out at Louisville in July, 1865. Its original
strength was 910; gain by recruits, 9; total, 919.
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing
Company, 1908 - Volume 4
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