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5th Iowa Infantry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Fifth Iowa Infantry. — Cols., William H. Worthington, Charles L. Matthies; Lieut-Cols., Charles L. Matthies, Ezekiel S. Sampson; Majs., William S. Robertson, Jabez Banbury. This regiment was organized in April and May, 1861, but was not ordered into camp until July. It was mustered in July 15-17 and took steamer the last of the month for Fort Madison, thence to Keokuk. A detachment under Lieut. -Col. Matthies made an expedition in pursuit of Martin Green, who was operating in northeastern Missouri, but returned after a fruitless chase. In August it was ordered to Lexington, Mo., and embarked on the 14th, but met a regiment coming up stream whose members made such statements of the rashness of going there that a return was made to Jefferson City, where Gen. Fremont was advised of the matter and the regiment was ordered to go into camp. On Aug. 25 a detachment moved to Boonville, seized and confiscated the stock of a shot-tower, a tin-shop, a printing office, the specie of the Boonville bank, and took a number of the citizens prisoners. On Sept. 1, the regiment proceeded to Rocheport, where five companies disembarked and marched for Columbia. The other companies landed 10 miles below and marched for the same point in hope of capturing a body of the enemy said to be at that place, but finding no one there it proceeded via Jefferson City to Boonville. From there it moved to Glasgow, assisted in preventing the passage of Price's force, and then returned to Boonville, from which place it moved with Fremont's command into southwestern Missouri. During the winter, Col. Worthington, in command of the brigade, had his headquarters at Otterville; Lieut. -Col. Matthies, with seven companies of the regiment, was at Boonville, the remaining companies were encamped at Syracuse engaged in railroad patrol duty until Feb. 1, when they joined the regiment at Boonville. After moving to Franklin, St. Charles, St. Louis, Cairo and Commerce, the regiment joined the army of the Mississippi at Benton and was assigned to the 1st brigade, 2nd division, Gen. Schuyler Hamilton commanding. It took an active part in the operations against New Madrid and Island No. 10. It debarked at Hamburg landing and joined the advance on Corinth which place was occupied on May 30. Col. Worthington was killed by a Union picket at Farmington, while visiting the grand guard of the division as general officer of the day. Lieut. -Col. Matthies was promoted to the colonelcy, Capt. Sampson to the lieutenant-colonelcy, and Capt. Banbury was made major. The regiment remained in camp near Booneville, Miss., until June 11 and then moved to Corinth until Aug. 5, with a few movements towards Ripley, Rienzi, and other points. It took part in the battle of Iuka where it won high honors by holding its ground against four times its numbers, making three charges with the bayonet, and driving back the enemy in disorder, until its ammunition was exhausted and it was compelled to fall back. Col. Matthies was promoted to brigadier- general for his conduct and the regiment was accorded the highest praise. Out of 480 engaged the 5th lost 220 in killed and wounded. It remained at Jacinto until Oct. 1, when it marched to Corinth, where it repulsed a charge upon the 11th Ohio battery and drove the enemy in great disorder. In the pursuit the regiment marched to the Hatchie river, but returned to Corinth and went into camp until Nov. 2, when it marched to Grand Junction, Tenn., from which place it moved southward with the Army of the Mississippi, but retraced its steps on receipt of the news of the surrender of Holly Springs and reached Memphis on the 29th. At this time it became a part of the 7th division, 17th army corps, Gen. McPherson commanding. It remained in the vicinity of Memphis until March 2, then moved to Helena by steamer, took part in expeditions to Yazoo Pass, up the Coldwater and the Tallahatchie. From Milliken's bend it marched to Jackson and took part in the battle there. It was in the thick of the fight at Champion's hill, where it lost 19 killed and 75 wounded out of 350 in action, keeping the enemy back with bayonets after its ammunition was exhausted. At Vicksburg it took part in the siege until the surrender, and with its brigade kept off Johnston's forces at the Big Black river. Col. Boomer was killed in the assault at Vicksburg May 22, and Maj. Banbury was promoted to colonel. The regiment joined the pursuit of Johnston's army, and then encamped at Vicksburg until Sept. 12 when it moved to Helena, Ark., thence to Memphis and Corinth, and took part in the rebuilding of the railroad toward Iuka. At Missionary ridge it fought through the afternoon, being nearly overcome by an overwhelming force and many were captured. It moved via Bridgeport, Ala., to Larkinsville, where it remained until Jan. 7, 1864, and then moved to Huntsville for the balance of the winter. About 150 of the members reenlisted as veterans and were furloughed home in April. They rejoined the army at Decatur, Ala., in May. The regiment was on railroad guard duty at Madison until the last of the month when it moved to Huntsville, thence to Stevenson and Kingston, Ga., performing railroad guard duty until the last of July when the non-veterans were mustered out. The remainder of the regiment was transferred to the 5th Ia. cavalry. Its original strength was 918; gain by recruits 119; total 1,037.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 4

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