Chariton's Col. Warren S. Dungan, of the 34th Iowa, was among the organizers of the 1886 reunion. Here, from the Lucas County Historical Society collection, is a photo of Col. Dungan in Civil War uniform as well as a small photo album he filled with photos related to his service ranging from President Lincoln to lowly privates.
If your great-great, or even greater, grandfather served during the Civil War in either the 6th or the 34th regiments of Iowa Volunteer Infantry, there's a good chance he was in Chariton on the 8th and 9th of September, 1886 --- 130 years ago --- for a joint reunion a little more than 20 years after hostilities ceased.
At least 250 old soldiers registered for the event, but apparently quite a number slipped away without signing in. They were joined by nearly that number of veterans from other units as well as interested civilians, so it's almost impossible to estimate the total number involved.
This was all organized and carried out without the benefits of e-mail, Facebook and credit/debit cards. But our forebears had some advantages. Transportation was a breeze --- nearly everywhere in Iowa was accessible by train; and Chariton had at least a couple of hundred hotel rooms plus many families willing to house the overflow.
This is The Chariton Herald's report, published on Sept. 16, 1886, under the headline, "The Reunion." The editor noted toward the end that these veterans were becoming "old men." It's interesting to keep in mind that a majority of the veterans would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 50, not really considered old more than a century later.
The reunion of the surviving members of the 6th and 34th regiments of Iowa Volunteer Infantry, pursuant to previous arrangements was held in Chariton on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 8th and 9th. This meeting had long been looked forward to in expectation of a grand good time, and those who participated were not in any manner disappointed.
Through the untiring efforts of the members of the different committees, the arrangements were very complete, and all things passed off with clock-like precision. Particular attention had been paid to all the little minor details that are so essential to the success of such a gathering. The home committees were determined to give all the visitors the best entertainment the city afforded, and they did not fail in their efforts.
The weather was the only drawback experienced, but as this was a matter for which no one could be held responsible the situation was accepted with the best possible grace, and no complaints were heard. The arrivals began on Tuesday, and from that time until the evening of Wednesday, each train that arrived at the Chariton depot brought its complement of old soldiers. Previous arrangements having been made for the free entertainment of all who came, as soon as they arrived they were met by the different members of the committee, and assigned to their quarters, either at the private residences of citizens, or at the hotels. This work was so thoroughly done that no one of all those who came was unprovided for.
Promptly with the first arrivals came the rain. And it kept right on, and poured down in perfect torrents, so that almost everybody was discouraged except the old soldiers, who had seen much worse weather on the open field during their years of service from 1861 to 1865. The good cheer and good spirits which they manifested was soon transmitted to those who began to fear the rain would spoil all, and then came the determination to have a good time despite the elements.
Wednesday morning opened up dark and threateneing, and soon drove all indoors. But at the court house, with all the offices attached being thrown open, the crowd surged in and awaited developments. The noon trains brought hundreds of visitors, and after they had been assigned to quarters, and eaten their dinners, they all met for a few minutes in the park, between showers, and began to have a general good time. Pretty soon however, they were driven back into the court house, and then began a regular old-fashioned camp-fire. The entire afternoon was spent in spinning yarns, and relating incidents of the times spent in camp, on the march, and in battle. These little talks awakened many long forgotten memories, some thrilling, some amusing, and others sad. But they all came out, and were a pleasing feature of the reunion.
One very pleasing feature of the meeting of Wednesday night was the introducing to the platform of Col. Akers, who served in a Tennessee regiment on the other side of the question. He was introduced by Col. Dungan of the 34th Iowa in a most appropriate and pleasing manner, and was accorded a most hearty reception. He entertained the boys in a happy manner, making a speech that commanded their closest attention and brought from them round after round of applause. On this occasion, at least, the "Blue" and the "Gray" forgot the stormy days of the war and remembered that, although they were enemies then, they are friends and brothers now. Col. Akers will carry away with him a very warm feeling for the "old soldiers" who so heartily took him by the hand in Chariton.
Thursday morning was spent, principally, in transacting the business connected with the organization of the two regiments who were holding the reunion. The 6th decided to hold their next reunion in Centerville, while the 34th proposed fixing the time and place for their meeting until next year.
About 9 o'clock the sun broke through the clouds, and the hope sprang up that they day would be a pleasant one. This hope was fully realized, and soon the courthouse park was filled with the soldiers and citizens, who seated themselves on the benches, while the plaltform erected for the occasion was well filled up, and the regular order of exercises was gone through with. Among the old soldiers who addressed their comrades were M.M. Walden, of Centerville, Major Kellogg, of Garden Grove, H.B. Linton, of Nebraska, Joe Payton, of Centerville, Col. Dungan, of Chariton, Capt. Houston, of Marion, John Willmore, of California, J.F. Walker, of Kansas, Jas. Bracewell, of Allerton, Dr. C.T. Brant, of Chariton, Capt. Hunt, of Missouri, Major A.R. Anderson, of Sidney, Capt. McClannahan, of Corydon, Capt. Golding, Henry Blous, and some others whose names we failed to learn. But one man who had not been in the army addressed the survivors, and that address was delivered by J.C. Mitchell, Esq., whose father was a soldier in the 6th Iowa, and who died in the service. Mr. Mitchell made one of his characteristic speeches, which was attentively listened to by all, and well received.
THE 6TH REGIMENT
The following is a list of the member of the 6th Regiment by companies and their post office addresses. Major D.J. McCoy, Zero; Surgeon, W.S. Lambert, Albia; Band, A.G. Johnson and J.B. Thompson, Osceola.
Company A: A.P. Alexander, John Carnagy and W.M. Harrison, Marion; C.A. Houston, Waubeek; J.K. Mitchell, Waseca, Minn.; J.H. Nott, Marion; A.N. Patmore, Red Cloud, Neb.; and C.S. Wilson, Albert Lea, Minn.
Company B: J.L. Adkins, Prescott; Joseph Best, Chariton; George G. Brown, Benedict, Kansas; John Bell, Chariton; Asa N. Callahan, Woodburn; A.J. Egbert, Melrose; Harvey Ford, Hubbell, Neb.; Valentine Harlan, Osceola; A.J. Johnson, Lenox; Joe R. Landes, Chariton; D.S. Myers, Chariton; Val Mendel, Albia; John Relph, Russell; D.S. Sigler, Corning; and Jas. R. Smith, Martinstown, Mo.
Co. C: F.M. Allen, Harvard; L.W. Brannon, Princeton, Mo., V. Hallock, Bethany Mo.; James M. Hutchinson, Cincinnati (Iowa); E.C. Haynes, W.T. Ogle, Joseph Payton, Silas Parker and S.W. Shaw, all of Centerville; Almer Swift, Moulton; H.H. Wright and M.M. Walden, Centerville; and G.W. Warles, Greentop, Mo.
Co. E: Jas. Amber Lovilia; Wm. Collett, Western Saline, Neb.; John E. Carhartt and Chas H. Claver, Albia; H. Hickenlooper, Albia; Hiram Hull, Hummaconna; John H. Hiteman, Albia; Wm. Jinkins, Milo; Ben L. Kimler, Lovilia; R.B. Ramsay, Floris; Allan Roberts, Lovilia; H. Sanders and John W. Service, Albia; and R.A. Wills, Emmerson.
Company F: O.P. Anderson and J.N. Ballou, Osceola; C. Barber, Woodburn; Thomas Carson, John Diehl and S.P. Glenn, Osceola; Isaac Gregg, Van Wert; Geo. Gutches, Elijah Hart, John H. Jamison and F.M. Kite, Osceola; Minton Calvin, Norborne, Mo.; A.C. Rarick, Osceola; and John Williby, Indianola.
Company G: E.G. Fracker, Iowa City; W.F. Green, Shelby; Daniel Green, North Liberty; C.N. Overfelt, Riverside; and Frank Shaffer, New Virginia.
Company H: Ed F. Alden, Grant City, Mo., C.W. Cooper and Clarkson Cooper, Brainard, Neb.; W. Galland, Montrose; George W. McNeely, Dayton, Ohio; Geo. R. Nunn, Keokuk; Geo. Shaner, New London; and O.C. Snyder, Kirksville, Mo.
Co. I: H.B. Linton, Shelby, Neb; O.H. Lowery, Burlington; Henry Mahler, New London; and James Turner, Unionville, Mo.
Co. K: Daniel Brook, New London; J.C. Ferree, Marysville; Andrew Pantridge, Peeksville, Mo., and R. C. Shipman, York, Neb.
THE 34TH REGIMENT
The following is a list of the 34th regiment, by companies, with their post office addresses: Lieut Col. W.D. Dungan, Chariton; Major R.D. Kellogg, Garden Grove.
Company A: Eli H. Alexander, High Point; S.H. Briley, Garden Grove; G.W. Helt, Lewisburg; Perry Wolverton, High Point.
Company B: Samuel I Cassady, Somerset; James H. Cain and S.R. Cain, Hartford; J.B. Davis, East Des Moines; J.M. Freel, Pleasantville; J.C. Graham, Indianola; J.B. Guy and Geo. Hamilton, Milo; John McDole, Winterset.; Nathan McDole, Milo; J.A. Overbay, Milo; Robt. T. Pendry, Hartford; A.W. Pyle, Carlisle; A.J. Rodgers, Lacona; J.M. Ray and W.C. Rodgers, Hartford; Henry A. Stierwalt and W. Seaman, Sandyville; M.H. Stanton, Des Moines; and Jacob Smith, Lacona.
Company C: M.F. Clark, (New?) Sharon; H. Griffin, Angus; A.R. Henry, Battlecreek, Mich.; Joseph Hewett, Wm. P. Harbison, J.B. Moon and Joseph T. Meek, all of Indianola; B.S. Reynolds, Milo; J.A. Silcott, Indianola; and Nathan Smith, Lebanon, Kansas.
Company D: Chas W. Dunn, Lothrop; T.P. Edgerton, Liberty Center; Martin L. Flesher, Palmyra; J.B. Garbison, Milo; James Harlin, Lothrop; James Kimsey and James W. Lyons, Lacona; Henry Law, Chariton; Wm. W. Scott, Danbury; Morris Thompson, Caloma; and James L. Wilson, Milo.
Company E: J.A.J. Bentley and C.T. Brant, Chariton; Nathan D. Bales, Milo; Wilberforce Coles, Chariton; Samuel Carpenter, Newberg; Simon Cross, Leon; Luther Douglass and L.M. Duckworth, Chariton; Wm. C. Douglass, Williamsburg, Kansas; B.F. Dora, Chariton; Anderson Gartin, Delphos; N.B. Gardner and Amos Homsher, Chariton; Thomas W. Holloway, Woodburn; John L. James, Columbia; John Layton, Chariton; W.J. Moon, Newbern; Chas W. Mumford, Lacona; A.B. Noble, Chariton; Luther Riggs and Jas.. W. Stout, Newbern; and John Throckmorton, Derby.
Company F: Ranson G. Arnold, Norwalk; V.T. Bott, Corydon; James Bracewell, Allerton; H.H. Bobinhouse, Cambria; David Bott, Humeston; James B. Cook, Floris; D.R. Creig, Clyde, Kansas; James R. Davis, Confidence; I.G. Garnes and B. Gerard, Corydon; W.T. Kelley, Leon; J.L. Niday, Humeston; P.W. Syford, Allerton; P.L. Stech, New York; Saml. Scott, Corydon; and David Thomas, Harvard.
Company G: Monroe W. Fisher, Chariton; Wm. Goltry, Russell; A.J. Hood, Lucas; Wm. Hood, Great Bend, Kansas; A.M. Hood, Springfield, Mo.; John Long, Ola; Thomas J. Lowe, Weldon; James G. Leech, Derby; Jesse Mullen (McMulin?), Chariton; Abraham Sayers, Cambria; L.D. Smith Newbern; Ed R. Turner, Zero; James Tompkins, Clinton; John W. Willmore, Santa Ana, California; and James H. Woodmansee, Brooksville, Kansas.
Company H: Jasper R. Ashworth, Norwalk; C.H. Blosser, Patterson; Abraham Belz, Somerset; Emanuel Berry, Norwalk; Chas. Chandler, Spring Hill; Jacob H. Cox, Des Moines; Henry Egbert, Norwalk; Robert Herron, Derby; John Kern, Norwalk, Joseph Lockridge, Spring Hill; John McAndrews, Winterset; Matthew McCahill, Wick; Samuel Spring and Geo. W. White, Norwalk.
Company I: Peter Brennaman, Grand River; Nelson B. Eaves, Westerville; Alman S. Gardner, Leon; J.W. McGlaughlin, Decatur; F.G. Maffett, Grundy Center; Adnah Sheeley, Van Wert; L. Simpson, Leon; Albert Tharp, Leon; Thomas Ward, Decatur; and Henry H. Young, Grand River.
Company K: J.D. Barnard, Weldon; E. Badger, A.V. Boylan and Samuel Badger, Chariton; Wm. Boyle, Knoxville; Isaac Brown, Russell; John O. Coles, Chariton; S.E. Carmichael, Primgar; David Crawley, Chariton; John Chaney, Osceola; Stanford Lewis, Russell; C. Prather, Chariton; J.E. Robe, Ellinwood, Kansas; James Sowder and Thomas L. Strong, Russell; Geo. E. Sharp, Lacona; D.N.Simons and Levi Simons, Somerset; Jacob Seward, Sunshine, Dakota; Wm. Trout, Chariton; J.F. Walker, Bellville, Kansas; and C.W. Whitten, Chariton.
It is a matter of regret that a number of the two regiments failed to register their names with Capt. Gardner, to whom was assigned the work of completing the roll. The above embraces all the names of the 6th and 34th appearing on the register at the time it reached the Herald office. Capt. Gardner is making every effort to have the roll complete, and would be under obligations to any one who may be able to furnish the names of any other members.
A large number of old soldiers who were members of other regiments were present and participated in the exercises of the meeting. These men represented many different states, and numbered nearly if not quite as many as those of the 6th and 34th. Various estimates of the number of soldiers who were drawn to Chariton by the reunion have been made, but as many had no distinguishing badge from the citizens, it is merely guesswork to attempt to give the number.
The march round the public square on the afternoon of Thursday was a fine feature of the affair, and the steady tramp, tramp, tramp to the strains of martial music was a strong reminder that the boys, although somewhat out of practice, could still fall into line and do as nice marching as they could a quarter of a century ago, when called out on dress parade. But there was a marked absence of the springy and buoyant step that characterized them in days gone by. The "boys" are getting to be old men, and their ranks are being thinned out with frightful rapidity. It is a sad thought, that one many more years will come and go, until the last reunion will have been held, and the laslt man of that grand army will have passed off the stage of earthly existence. The soldiers of that army will soon be gone, but their legacy, a free and united nation, will be handed down to those who will never cease to revere their memory, while they enjoy the fruits of their labor and sacrifices.