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1st Iowa Infantry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
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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