Monday, April 25, 2016

July 8, 1861: Farewell to the Boys of Company B

I've posted this 1860s photo of the 1858 Lucas County Courthouse a few times during the last couple of weeks, but wanted to give it one more airing this spring in company with the following article, published in The Chariton Patriot of July 11, 1861, and republished in the Herald-Patriot of May 4, 1922.

The first troops recruited for Civil War service in Lucas and Clarke counties left Chariton on the morning of Monday, July 8, 1861, heading for Burlington to be mustered into federal service as Company B, 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. They were under command of Capt. Daniel Iseminger, Chariton's first mayor, a veteran of service during the Mexican War --- and an "old man" of 49 who had to lie about his age in order to be mustered in at Burlington. The men of Company B had elected him captain because of his military experience --- and because they liked and admired him.

The farewell ceremony for the "Boys of 61" was held in front of the St. John House, to left of the courthouse in this photo. The men assembled on what now is Court Avenue; the flag presentation ceremony was held on the front porch of the hotel. Hundreds were gathered round to say "goodbye" and to witness an historic moment. Hammer Medical Supply stands now on the site of the St. John House.

This first-hand account of the farewell barely survived. Early editions of The Patriot were destroyed in a fire, so we have nothing other than issues of the competing Democrat, launched in 1867, to tell us about Lucas County's earliest days. By that time, the war was over.

But someone in the family of Russell's Alfred Riley Werts had saved the Patriot of July 11, 1861, as well as two other editions from the 1860s, and he brought those to the Herald-Patriot offices during April of 1922 where they became the topic of two articles, including this one. What became of those editions, I do not know.

The Boys of 1861 would sustain many losses during the war that followed --- Fifteen of their number died in combat or soon after of wounds sustained during; perhaps double that of disease.

The Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, was especially deadly. Capt. Iseminger was fatally wounded by a shell fragment that struck him in the abdomen on the morning of the 6th. Monroe Hardin, Oliver B. Miller, William Sheets, Charles J. Cheeny (or Cheney), James H. Spurling, John M. Sayre and John W. Weaver also were killed outright. John W. Armstrong and Zara M. Lanning died of wounds soon after.

After the battle was over, surviving members of Company B returned to where their comrades fell, gathered the bodies of those killed and buried them together on the battlefield. By the time Shiloh National Cemetery was established, however, identities had been lost and so these Men of 1861 rest there in Tennessee among the "unknowns."

First Company Members Who Left Chariton to Serve in the Civil War
Company B, Under Command of Capt. Iseminger, Left on July 8, 1861; Were Presented With Flag by Ladies.

Last week we mentioned the fact that we have been loaned some old copies of The Patriot. One of them, of the issue of July 11, 1861, contained the message of President Abraham Lincoln, also a roster of company B, the first company to leave Chariton for the seat of war, which was in command of Captain Iseminger, after whom the G.A.R. Post at this place was named. Many of our present readers will remember these men. One of the Lucas county men, Asa N. Callahan, of Chariton, and one of the Clarke county men, Valentine Harlan, are living at the present time.

Mr. Callahan tells us that on July 4 the celebration was in progress at Baker's Grove, a short distance east of this city, when the word came to rendezvous, and the celebration was broken up. He also tells us that the flag carried by the company is now on exhibition at the state capitol building in Des Moines. Below we publish a short editorial from the paper of July 11th, 1861, regarding the president's message, also an account of the flag presentation and a list of the boys of Company B.


We give the President's message in this week's paper. It points out the only solution of our national difficulties, and that is by calling into exercise, and keeping in exercise, so long as it may be necessary, the war power of the government.

It is no war of conquest, or coercion, or of subjugation, but a war of self defense. It is the sworn duty of the President to employ force to repel force organized for the purpose of destroying the Government, and the nation will rejoice in the fact that our present executive will not shrink from his duty in this emergency. But while force is thus employed to punish traitors, loyal citizens and loyal states have every assurance the all of their constitutional rights will be strictly guarded.


Captain Iseminger's company left our town on Monday last for Burlington, The day will long be remembered; scarcely a dry eye was to be seen in the vast audience that collected to bid them adieu. While we may lament the absence of so many brave hearts from our midst, still we are happy in the thought that they go to right a wrong --- and that their banner will ever wave wherever their country demands their services.

No better set of men ever offered their services to their country. Captain (Daniel) Iseminger has not only had the experience to fit him for the position which he occupies, but as a man he is almost worshipped by the brave boys under his command. Lieutenant Edwards, although of limited experience in military tactics, bids fair to become an efficient officer. And as will be seen from the roll which we publish in this week's paper, our friend and fellow townsman, E.B. Woodward, is among the number. "Wood" was the first man who proposed the organization of the company at this place, and since that time he has zealously labored for the position which he now occupies. As will be remembered this proposition met with a good deal of opposition, but he labored against all opposition till success crowned his efforts Since the organization of the company, he has zealously labored to get into the service. We shall expect to hear of E.B. Woodward before this contest is ended. His kind heart will win him many friends wherever he wanders, while his bravery and manly bearing will as certainly achieve military honors.

Under the protection of such brave hearts the beautiful flag presented to them on the eve of their departure will ever remain safe --- they take it as the Magna Charta of their rights --- as the emblem of their national liberties. They take it with all the holy associations that cluster around it; with the history of their country written all over it --- with the glorious achievements of American valor burning upon every star and fold, and when the victory is won they will redeem the promise to return it to the fair hands who gave it, specked and spotted and mingled with glory.


Early on Monday morning our streets were crowded with men, women and children, who had come for the purpose of witnessing the presentation of a flag to the volunteers, and bidding adieu to their friends.

At 10 o'clock the company was formed in line on the street opposite the St. John House. Every available place within hearing of the speakers, who appeared on the porch of the St. John House, was soon occupied. A beautiful flag, prepared by the ladies of Chariton, was presented to the company by Miss McEldowney, with the following appropraite address:

"Officers and Soldiers of the Lucas County Guards --- In behalf of the ladies of Chariton I this day present to you the fruit of love's first offering. Assuring you that wherever you may bear it amid hunger and thirst, and fire and sword --- 'mid the pestilence that walketh at noonday, and the strife of battle, and the circumstances of war --- to glory and the grave, our prayers, our earnest hopes and our warmest sympathies shall go with you. And while at home with hushed and holy hearts, we wait for you to plant its starry folds on every hill and battlement of our common country, may our same woman's heart incline you to mercy rather than justice, and send not an erring rebel to his last home whose word or look shall plead for freedom --- rather,

When the fight shall thicken round thee,
Let each traitor brother feel,
Not in anger but in justice,
Come the cruel blows we deal."

On the reception of which, Lieut. E.E. Edwards replied as follows:

"Ladies --- I have been chosen by our captain in behalf of this company, to receive from your hands this beautiful flag --- the emblem of that glorious union which our fathers gave us. I think I can assure you that no traitor shall ever dim its glory, or blot from its bright constellation one single star, so long as strength enables us to bear it aloft. I have repeatedly had assurance from the brave soldiers to whom this presentation is made, that they are willing at the hazard of life, to bear it, and defend to the last with a steady arm and brave heart, the laurels which crown its past history as the emblem of a great nation, and in the exericise of this duty we will go forth in the strength of Him who controls the destiny of nations, to uphold the authority of law, to perpetuate the noble heritage of the fathers of the revolution, and to wrest and restore from lawless rebels a land long since dedicated as "a home for the brave and the free," whilst as soldiers upon the field of battle our efforts may be to sustain the honor and glory of our flag. You may rest assured that mercy and justice will be extended to the erring; that the blows struck, however severe or deadly, shall be in sorrow --- not in anger; and wherever duty may lead us in this conflict, we will keep in grateful remembrance your parting adieu as a stimulus to bravery as well as honorable deportment, knowing that as patriotic women, loving sisters and mothers, you will await with anxious and throbbing hearts that happy day when we shall return crowned with victory. This beautiful flag, if tattered and torn by bullets and covered with the stains of blood from many a hard fought battle, shall again be handed to your keeping as evidence of the valor with which it has been sustaned."

D.N. Smith then addressed the soldiers. His speech was brief as leaving time had arrived, but it was full of patriotism and words of encouragement. The greatest feeling prevailed as the soldiers bade adieu to their many friends and many tears were seen coursing the cheeks of fair women and brave men.


Capt. Daniel Iseminger, Chariton
1st Lieut E.B. Woodward, Chariton
2nd Lieut E.E. Edwards, Chariton
1st Serg. E.F. Alden, Hopeville
2nd Serg. D.J. McCoy, Lagrange
3rd Serg. W. Cowden, Freedom
4th Serg. V. Mendel, Chariton
5th Serg. J.W. Armstrong, Chariton
1st Corp. D. Frankhouser, Corydon
2nd Corp. J.H. Keplinger, Hopeville
3rd Corp. M.C. Fitch, Hopeville
4th Corp. Jos. Best, Chariton
Fifer A.J. Skelly, Hopeville
Drummer Dennis Myers, Warren county

John Relph, Lucas county
Raymond Ross, Chariton
Marcus Edwards, Chariton
Jas. R. Baldwin, Lucas county
Harvey Ford, Lucas county
Jas. B. Musselman, Lucas county
Oliver B. Miller, Lucas county
George Albertson, Corydon
N.M. Larimer, Chariton
J.L. Adkins, Hopeville
B.J. Hilling, Lucas county
G.H. Roney, Lucas county
John A. Miller, Chariton
John P. Williby, Lucas county
John W. Dodge, Freedom
Isaac R. Plymate, Lucas county
Monroe Hardin, Lucas county
John Bell, Lucas county 
Abraham W. Norris, Lucas county
Chas H. Griggs, Hopeville
Alonzo Ketchum, Hopeville
J.C. McPheters, Lucas county
W.H. Brandon, Osceola
Wm. D. Tull, Lucas county
Greene C. Adkins, Hopeville
Andrew Miller, Hopeville
John M. Roberts, Lucas county
Wm. Sheets, Lucas county
John Boyd, Lucas county
Wm. Monnahan, Lucas county
E.R. Godfrey, Lucas county
J.H. Hess, Osceola
Z.M. Lanning, Clarke county
M.L. Atwater, Hopeville
Lewis Ridgeway, Osceola
Kellogg Potsel, Osceola
Henry T. Wilson, Wayne county
J.H. Weaver, Wayne county
Jas B. Cameron, Chariton
J.N. Sayre, Osceola
Jas. M. Laughlin, Hopeville
Jas. S. Cain, Hopeville
Elijah J. Kent, Hopeville
C.J. Cheney, Hopeville
Joseph Hillier, Hopeville
Asa N. Callahan, Lucas county
L.G. Knotts, Osceola
N.J. Gordon, Osceola
W.J. Hamilton, Osceola
J.E. Thomas, Osceola
Daniel Musselman, Osceola
W.L. Brown, Osceola
G.B. Brown, Osceola
J.L. Miller, Osceola
Valentine Harlan, Osceola
David Sigler, Osceola
Lewis Brockway, Hopeville
J.R. Smith, Hopeville
Geo. W. Scott, Lucas county
J.H. Spurling, Lucas county
M.S. Campbell, Corydon
David Mann, Corydon
J.W. Boyce, Chariton
O.S. Rarick, Hopeville
Wm. J. Wilson, Promise City
J.M. Bond, Lucas county
C.H. Harvey, Pike's Peak
Jas. Myers, Newbern
H.I. Cameron, Chariton
A.C. Cameron, Chariton
Aaron Van Scoy, New Virginia
Otis Burbank, Hopeville
Nelson Maydole, Lucas county
James Rariden, Indiana
Jas. M. Harswell, Pike's Peak
L. Gardner, Lucas County

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