Friday, April 06, 2012

Bloody Shiloh: 150 Years

Good Friday this year coincides with a significant Civil War anniversary --- the 150th of the deadly battle of Shiloh, named for a small log church in southwest Tennessee whose Biblical name is one of the great misnomers of American history. In Hebrew, Shiloh means "place of peace."

The battle began on a Sunday morning, April 6, 1862, and continued through Monday, April 7. When the shooting stopped, battlefield casualties totaled approximately 3, 500 dead (roughly 1,700 each for Union and Confederate forces), 16,500 wounded and 3,000 captured or missing. It was counted as a Union victory.

Lucas County was heavily invested in this great battle, especially Company B, 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and Company C, 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, both raised largely here.

Two of my uncles were there, both serving in Company I, 8th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, a unit that after hard combat was surrounded and captured. Lot Redlingshafer, then 17, was a fifer. James M. Rhea, then 28, was an infantryman. Lot survived the war and lived a long life. Jim died at Vicksburg. You can read a letter he sent home to Lucas County on the eve of Shiloh here.

During April of 1897, near the 35th anniversary of Shiloh, Elijah Lewis --- also a Union veteran but not of Shiloh and then editor of The Chariton Patriot --- sat down to compose the following account of Lucas County and that great battle. It was published on April 8, 1897. Elijah misspelled quite a few names, but I've corrected only those of people I'm familiar with.

According to Lewis's count, 15 Lucas Countyans died in combat or in the aftermath of Shiloh, but that is most likely a conservative total.

The imagery here is taken from James M. Stanley's remarkable "white bronze" tombstone in the Chariton Cemetery, erected soon after his death during 1886 at age 48. Stanley also was a Civil War veteran although not of Shiloh.

THE BATTLE OF SHILOHLucas County’s Part in the Great Fight

Tuesday last, April 6th, was the 35th anniversary of the battle of Shiloh, one of the great battles of the civil war, and, up to that time, the most sanguinary and desperately contested battle ever fought upon this continent. It took place on Sunday and Monday, April 6th and 7th, 1862, and after a bravely contested conflict, resulted in a great victory for the Union army. The triumph for the Union was not won without sacrifice of life, so appalling, that our whole people read, with horror, of the awful slaughter. The wail of sorrow mingled with the shouts of victory. The Nation was learning the stern lesson and frightful cost of war. It was a costly experience, but only a beginning of the heroic sacrifices freely laid upon the altar of Union and Liberty before the end came and the Nation was saved. But we did not intend writing a history of the battle of Shiloh, nor an essay upon Patriotism; but simply to recall, on the anniversary of that fateful April day, the part which the citizen soldiers of Lucas County took in the memorable conflict.

Thirty-five years ago, in those April days, tidings came of those fallen in battle at Shiloh, shrouding many Lucas county homes in mourning. As an interesting and glorious record of local history, the Patriot, in memory of the heroic dead, and in honor of the old veterans of that stout fight, still living among us, thought it not inappropriate to gather from the records, who the Lucas county men were that went into the fire and death of battle in defense of their country, and through storm of shot and shell helped to carry “Old Glory” to victory on the field of Shiloh.

Company B. 6th Iowa Infantry, was quite largely recruited in Lucas county. Of these, Daniel Iseminger, Captain; Emmett B. Woodward, 1st Lieutenant (afterward promoted to Captain); W.H. Clune, 1st Lieutenant; E.E. Edwards, 2nd Lieutenant. Enlisted men: David J. McCoy, William Cowden, Valentine Mendel, John W. Armstrong, Joseph Best, Andrew C. Cameron, Graham Roney, James Baldwin, John Bell, John W. Boyse, Asa N. Callahan, John W. Dodge, Abraham Ellis, Marcus Edwards, Harvey Ford, Monroe Hardin, Thomas Hedge, Noah N. Larimer, John W. Musselman, Oliver B. Miller, John A. Miller, Abraham W. Morris, Isaac Plymate, John M. Roberts, R. Ross, John Relph, James R. Smith, William Sheets, James H. Spurling, Wm. D. Tull, Geo. F. Holmes, John W. Weaver, J.R. Landen. Of the above there were killed in action at Shiloh: Capt. Daniel Iseminger; Privates --- Monroe Hardin, Oliver B. Miller, Wm. Sheets, James H. Spurling, John W. Weaver. Wounded: James R. Smith, Geo. F. Holmes.

Company E, 6th Infantry. David E. Hayes, killed; James M. Hayes, John M. Hayes. The 6th Iowa was attatched to the first brigade of Sherman’s division, and everybody knows they had hot work on hand.

Company I, 8th Iowa Infantry, was attached to the division commanded by General B.M. Prentiss, and after a desperate struggle, lasting all day, were surrounded and captured. The members of this company from this county were, John C. White, Comodore Norris, James M. Rhea, Thomas R. Shannon, W.M. Turner, Jonathan C. Paine, wounded and taken prisoner; Henry Appelgate, missing; Henderson Applegate, wounded and captured; John W. Badger, killed in battle; Samuel C. Boyce, wounded and taken prisoner; Lot Redlingshafer, taken prisoner.

Company C, 13th Infantry, was attached to first brigade, McClernand’s division. This fine regiment was commanded by Col. M.M. Crocker, and was part of the famous Crocker Brigade. Lucas county was reppresented therein as follows: James Baker, Captain; Simon P. Young, 1st Lieutenant. Enlisted men: Jacob Swank, Stephen D. Gardner, Edward Essex, James M. Vincent, Theo. H. Miller, Stephen Julien, Wesley Huff, Peter C. Powers, John G. Harvey, W.A. Rose, Wm. Threlkeld, Abijah Cox, John Waynick, Boynton T. Chapman, Wm. Goodpasture, Henry Savacool, Fergus G. Holmes, Geo. W. Martin, Wm. B. Critchfield, Alkana Malone, Able Lindsay, Henry C. Anderson, W.M. Alexander (Alender?), Jacob Berket, Frank P. Carroll, Thomas Critser, Chancy Bailey, John D. Conner, John T. Calahan, Salmon B. Chapman, Albert Coles, Chas. L. Dooley, Jno. Dooley, Abel T. Edwards, Lemuel Ford, Geo. W. French, Geo. P. Fudge, Charles Gartin, Griffith Gartin, Cumberland Gartin, A.J. Goodpasture, Wesley Huff, Jacob Houk, Oscar F. Holmes, John Hall, Andrew Holmes, Thomas Hervey, Ingram Westfall, Azro King, James P. Morgan, John P. Martin, Ahira Morse, Peter Martz, N. McClintick, Wm. McKee, Wm. McDermott, Daniel McDermott, Harrison Moore, David Mathews, Elias Mills, James Mercer, Cooper Powers, James D. Roach, George W. Robinson, Martin Roseman, G.L. Ragsdale, Wm. H. Ragsdale, Geo. H. Ragsdale, John H. Stanley, Edward Spencer, David P. Smith, Oliver Threlkeld, James M. Vincent, Wm. Wykoff, Hardin Wilson, A.M. Wheeler, James Wells, Jesse Wells, John Wilson, Owen Wilson, Lewis Melville, John Melville, Geo. Ruple, Joseph Devault, Milo L. Doty, W.O. Mitchell. Ninety-eight officers and men.

Of this Lucas county company, those who fell at Shiloh were: Alkana Malone, Chas. L. Dooley, Abel T. Edwards, Jesse Wells, killed in action. Died of wounds received in battle: Jas. M. Vincent, Chancey Bailey, John Hall. Wounded: Edward Essex, Fergus G. Holmes, Wm. Aleander (Alexander?), Lemuel Ford, John P. Martin, David P. Smith, Joseph O. Devault.

Lucas county had also an honored representative in the 15th Infantry, Dr. W.H. Gibbon, deceased, assistant surgeon and later on, surgeon of the regiment. Col Reid, commanding this regiment, in his report of the part taken by the 15th Iowa in the battle, referred to Dr. Gibbon as follows: "Assistant Surgeon Gibbon also performed valuable service in the midst of great danger on the battle field in attending to the wounded then, and having them carried to our temporary hospital on board of the steamer Minnehaha."

Such is the story of Lucas county's part in the battle of Shiloh. Possibly, in the hurried examination of the reports, some name or names may have been unintentionally overlooked, but the record gives it as nearly complete as we could make it. There is no purpose in this to heap taffy on the old soldier. We suppose a good many of them, when they first heard the roar of battle at Shiloh would have preferred a quieter and more peaceable place in which to spend that Sabbath day down by the Tennessee, but we thought on the anniversary of the day, they would be pleased to read about what many of them had lived through on Sunday and Monday, the 6th and 7th of April, 1862.


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