At Kenesaw the 15th Iowa Regiment was commanded by Colonel Belknap. They were part of the Third Brigade under Colonel Hall which was and part of the Fourth Division commanded by Brigadier General Gresham. The Fourth Division was part of the XVII Army Corps commanded by Major General Blair. They were part of the Army of the Tennessee commanded by Major General McPherson.
Stephen and Clissory (Blakesly) Chapin
Mirabah Maria Blackesley Chapin 1808-1895 Onodaga County, NY
Evaline Chapin 1826-1911 Her Brother Corporal James C. Chapin d 1864
Marion Ellsworth Harlan 1861-1927
Pearl Hullinger 1895-1993
Clifford Hullinger 1920
|15th Iowa Infantry|
— Army of the Tennessee —
Prentiss' (6th) Division,
Army of the Tennessee.
Commanded by Col. Hugh T. Reid, (Wounded).
This regiment arrived at Pittsburg Landing on the morning of April 6, 1862. It disembarked, formed on the bluff, and there received its first ammunition. It remained in this position about an hour, when under the orders of General Grant, and conducted by one of his staff officers, it marched to join McClernand's (1st) Division. It entered the field to the right of this monument near Oglesby's headquarters and while crossing it was fired upon by artillery and musketry. It formed line of battle and advanced under fire into the woods. Its colonel commanding officially reported that the regiment held its position from 10 o'clock in the forenoon until 12 o'clock noon, and then under orders retired to a new line. Portions of the regiment fought with other divisions later in the day and on Monday. Present for duty 760. Its loss was 2 officers and 19 men killed; 7 officers and 149 men wounded; 2 officers and 6 men captured or missing; total 185.
IOWA VOLUNTEER REGIMENT
Hugh Thompson Reid, educated at Miami University and Indiana College, was its first colonel. In April, 1863, Reid was promoted to brigadier general, and William Worth Belknap, son of a regular army general, succeeded him. Belknap rose rapidly. For his efforts in recruiting the regiment he was named major. When Lt. Col. Dewey was made colonel of the Twenty Third Iowa, Belknap succeeded him. His outstanding achievements were in the battle of Corinth and at Atlanta under Sherman, for which he was made brigadier general commanding the Iowa Brigade.
When Grant, with whom Belknap had developed a close friendship was elected president, he appointed Belknap first Revenue Collector for Iowa, then Secretary of War.
John Morrow Hedrick, whose education was limited to the common schools and his own fireside, followed Belknap as colonel. His rise was also rapid; from first lieutenant to brigadier general.
The regiment left Keokuk on The Gate City, March 19, 1862, and arrived at Pittsburgh Landing April 6. The great battle was in progress and additional troops were desperately needed. The men hurriedly disembarked, ammunition was distributed, and for the first time these raw recruits loaded their guns. Fortunately it was a day when every boy knew how to handle a gun! Side by side with the Sixteenth, these Iowa boys with no battle or skirmish experience, marched forward into the roar of guns and the frenzied tumult of battle, breasting a flood of weary, wounded, panic stricken men, fleeing to the rear. Their colors riddled with bullets, without the support of a brigade, the Fifteenth led by Col. Reid moved into battle like veterans. Its loss was almost one-fourth of the number engaged.
Shortly after Shiloh the regiment was assigned to the Iowa Brigade under Col. Crocker. (See p. 30). Corinth was the brigade's first major battle, and Col. Crocker particularly recognizes Col. Reid of the Fifteenth in his report. Reid because of illness was unable to command on his first day. On the second day he left his bed. Too ill to sit in a saddle, he rode with his men in an ambulance following the retreating rebels until pursuit was abandoned. In Shiloh and Corinth the Fifteenth lost 334 men, killed, wounded and missing.
With the Iowa brigade, the Fifteenth moved in a fleet of fifteen steamers down the great river disembarking above the Yazoo River. Under Col. Belknap the Fifteenth was mounted and sent on reconnoitering expeditions. In February, 1863, the men labored on the canal connecting Lake Providence with the Mississippi. Again and again in the Iowa Brigade's campaign, special commendation was given the Fifteenth for the courage and endurance of its leaders and men.
In three days of fighting before Atlanta, the regiment lost 45% of its officers and men. From June until September, the regiment was under fire for 81 days, and in actual battle 16 days.
In October, 1864, the regiment, reorganized as veterans, marched with Sherman to the sea, and on through the Carolinas to Richmond and Washington fighting an enemy which knew itself defeated but refused to surrender. In Sherman's army, the regiment marched in the grand review before President Lincoln and General Grant, led by the Iowa Brigade's first commander, General Crocker, even then ill with the disease which would soon take his life.
The regiment was mustered out July 24, 1865, at Louisville, Ky.
Hugh T. Reid, Keokuk, Colonel 11/l/627 wounded Shiloh, Brigadier General 3/13/63
William Dewey, Sidney, Lt. Colonel 11/1/62
William W. Belknap, Keokuk, Major 11/7/61, wounded Shiloh, Lt. Colonel 8/1/62, Colonel 4/22/63, Brigadier General 8/17/64, Brevet Major General
3/13/65 George Pomutz, New Buda, Major
William T. Cunningham, Knoxville, Major 10/24/64
Total 1926, killed 65, wounded 416, died of wounds 80, died of disease 198, captured 83.
HISTORICAL SKETCH FIFTEENTH REGIMENT IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY The organization of the Fifteenth Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry began prior to Sept. 5, 1861, but the precise date is not revealed in the report of the Adjutant General of the State. His report for the year 1862, however (Vol. 1, Page 547), shows that company B of this regiment was ordered into quarters Sept. 5, 1861, and the entire ten companies of which the regiment was composed were ordered into quarters by Governor Kirkwood on dates ranging from Sept 5, 1861, to Feb. 13, 1862. Keokuk, Iowa, was the place designated for the rendezvous of the regiment and, at that place, the ten companies were mustered into the service of the United States, on dates ranging from Nov. 1, 1861 , to Feb. 22, 1862, by Capt. charles C. Smith and Lieut. C. J. Ball, united States Army. The aggregate strength of the regiment at must in was 1,127, rank and file. The compiler of this historical sketch has adhered to the official reports and returns found in the War of the Rebellion Official Records, published by authority of the Secretary of War, and the official data contained in the military archives of the State of Iowa, covering the period embraced in the service of each officer and enlisted man in the subjoined roster has also been obtained from the official sources above indicated, supplemented by such information as could be procured from the War Department in Washington and other reliable sources. Some of these records will be found to be incomplete and, no doubt, some are incorrect. This is of course much to be regretted, but every effort has been made to prevent errors and omissions. the reader is referred to the introductory article to this volume, which shows some of the difficulties encountered in obtaining the fact with reference to these individual records.
Suffice it to say that as much care has been exercised to secure a correct record for the enlisted man as for that of the officer. The compiler also wishes it understood that only the outlines of history of the long and faithful service of the regiment could be given within the limitations perscribed by the act of the General Assembly of the State of Iowa which authorized the publication of this work. The short time the regiment remained in rendezvous at Keokuk was utilized to the best advantage by the officers and men, in drilling as best they could without muskets, going through some of the simpler movements of company and battalion drill and applying themselves to the study of tactics and army regulations. Among the officers, Adjutant George Pomutz and Major William W. Belknap had the advantage of having received some military training, but the large majority of both officers and enlisted men were utterly without experience and had to acquire, in the brief time which elapsed before they were called upon to face the enemy in the field, such knowledge of their duties as soldiers as would enable them to acquit themselves with credit and honor to the State that sent them to the front to re-inforce their comrades, who had already met the enemy in several hard fought battles. In this state if unpreparedness the regiment left Keokuk on the 19th day of March, 1862, and was conveyed by steamboat to St. Louis and, upon its arrival there, marched to Benton barracks, where troops were being concentrated, and given such instruction as was possible before proceeding to join the Army of the Tennessee, then encamped at Pittsburg Landing. At Benton Barracks the regiment received the arms, accoutrements and general equipment.
On the morning of April 1, 1862, the regiment marched to St. Louis, where it embarked, with orders to report to General Grant at Savannah, Tenn. Arriving, the night before the commencement of the battle of Shiloh, Col. Hugh T. Reid, commanding the regiment, was ordered to proceed to Pittsburg Landing, and there disembark his command and report to General Prentiss. the regiment arrived at Pittsburg Landing on the morning of April 6, 1862. In his official report Colonel Reid states that, upon reaching Pittsburg Landing, he proceeded at once to report to General Prentiss, and found that officer and the division under his command already under the fire of the enemy. Colonel Reid was ordered to bring his regiment forward as soon as possible. He at once rode back to the landing and ordered his regiment to disembark quickly. As fast as the men reached the shre they formed in line of battle, ammunition was distributed, and guns were loaded for the first time since the men had received them. At this time an order was given by a member of General Grant's staff directing Colonel Reid to hold the position in which he had formed, to prevent strugglers from the battlefield from reaching the landing. The regiment remained in that position for about an hour, when and order came from General Grant to Colonel Reid to advance to the support of General McClernand's division, some two miles to the front. The Sixteenth Iowa Infantry was included in this order, and the two regiments moved promptly forward under the direction of a staff officer of General McClernand. A great many soldiers were met, retreating from the battlefield, while the roar of battle in front indicated that a desperate conflict was in progress, in which the enemy was succeeding in pressing the Union forces toward the river. The situation was such as to test to the utmost the courage of these men who were fresh from their homes, unused to the dreadful scenes transpiring about them, with the boon of cannon and crash of musketry sounding nearer each moment and with the panic-stricken and wounded streaming to the rear; yet they pressed steadily forward. The following extract from Colonel Reid's official report will show how bravely his regiment conducted itself when it came into action, and while under the fire of the enemy. Our flag staff was shot through and our colors riddled with bullets; for two hours, from 10 to 12 o'clock, we maintained our position, our men fighting like veterans. The undersigned was severely wounded by a musket ball through the neck, which knocked him from his horse, paralyzed fro the time, but recovering in a short time, remounted and continued in command throughout the fight. Fifteen of the thirty-two commissioned officers who went on the filed had been killed, wounded, or taken prisoners; twenty-two officers and men had been killed, and one hundred and fifty-six wounded. *** The enemy were attempting to outflank us on the right and left, we were unsupported by artillery or any other regiment except the gallant Sixteenth which had also suffered severely. It became necessary for the two regiments to retreat or run the risk of being captured, and by order of General McClernand the retreat was made. Portions of the regiments rallied and fought with other divisions later in the day and on Monday. Where nearly all fought with bravery it might seem invidious to particularize, but I hope to do no one injustice by specially pointing out those whose personal valor, during the action, came under my notice. Lieutenant Colonel Dewey had his horse shot under him; Major Belknap was always in the right place, at the right time, directing and encouraging officers and men as coolly as a veteran; he was wounded but not disabled, and had his horse shot under him, but remained on the field performing his duty on foot. Adjutant Pomutz distinguished himself during the action for his coolness and courage; he, too, was wounded.
Captains Kittle of company A, Smith of company B, Seevers of company C, Madison of company D, Hutchcraft of company E, Cunningham of company G, Day of company I, Hedrick of company k, who was captured in a charge upon the enemy, all distinguished themselves for their gallantry and courage in leading forward and encouraging their men; Captain Blackmar of company F, was wounded in the action and disabled; First Lieutenant Goode of same company also wounded; Captain Clark, of company H, was not in the engagement, having been left sick in the hospital at St. Louis; Captains Hutchcraft and Day were both severely wounded; Second Lieutenant Penniman of company A, and Hamilton of company I, were killed while bravely performing their duty. First Lieutenant King and Second Lieutenant Danielson of company H, were both severely wounded while acting well their part, thus leaving the company without a commissioned officer. First Lieutenants Studer of company B, Porter of company D, Craig of company B, Hanks of company G, J. Monroe Reid of company I, who, though wounded himself, continued in command of the company after the Captain was disabled and the Second Lieutenant killed, and Eldridge of company K, all deserve special praise for the manner in which they conducted themselves on the field. Second Lieutenant Lanstrum of company B, Brown of company E, Herbert of company C, and Sergeant Major Brown, who was severely wounded, conducted themselves well on the field. The non-commissioned officers generally were at their posts and performed their duty. The Color Sergeant, Newton J. Rogers, who fought in the First Iowa st Springfield, gallantly bore our standard forward and planted it among the enemy where it was bravely maintained and defended by portions of companies C, E, I and K. It must be remembered that this regiment had just received its arms and that the men had never had an opportunity of learning the use of them until they came on the battlefield; that they had just landed and were attached to no brigade, and fought the enemy without the support of artillery, in a position from which more xperienced troops had been compelled to retire. We have no means of learning the loss of the enemy in this engagement except from what they told some of our wounded men, who were taken prisoners and left behind the next day, when the enemy made their final retreat; but from this source we learned that they had forty men killed in the immediate vicinity of our colors, and a large number wounded. While we mourn our comrades in arms, the gallant dead, whose lives were sacrificed on the altar of their country, we are solaced with the belief that a grateful people will, in after times, pay a proper tribute to their memory. At the close of his report, Colonel Reid expresses his obligations to Quartermaster Higley, Surgeon Davis, Assistant Surgeon Gibbon and Chaplain Estabrook, for the faithful and efficient manner in which they discharged the duties of their respective offices. Colonel Reid states that the total loss of his regiment at the battle of Shiloh was 186. In the tabulated returns of casualties, as shown by the official records, the total loss is given as 185, and this slight discrepancy is readily accounted for, as stated by Loren S. Tyler, who compiled the history of the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry (publishes in 1887) in which he gives a tabulated statement of losses, by companies, showing an aggregate loss of 213, and says, "Without original lists of casualties, it is impossible to make a list that will agree with the number stated in the reports of battle, as, after the reports have been forwarded to headquarters, other casualties are always found." Adjutant Pomutz states that the number of the regiment engaged was 760, and gives the total loss as 188. The loss was, therefore, very nearly one-fourth of the number engaged. The compiler has given more space to the account of this first battle in which the regiment was engaged than he will be able to give to those which followed. With the highest appreciation of its subsequent splendid achievements on other battlefields, he considers the battle of Shiloh as having been the severest test of the courage and fortitude of the officers and men of the regiment to which they were subjected during their long term of service. No regiment ever acquitted itself with greater credit in its first battle. Soon after the battle the regiment was attached to a temporary brigade, consisting of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Iowa, and Eighteenth Wisconsin, Infantry, of which Colonel Reid of the Fifteenth Iowa was in command, and which took part in the advance upon Corinth, Miss., to which place the defeated rebel army had retreated, and where, behind strong earth-works, it grimly awaited the attack of the Union army. April 27, 1862, marked an important event in the career of the regiment, for unop that date it became a part of the brigade consisting th the Eleventh, Thirteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteeth Regiments of Iowa Infantry, known as Crocker's Iowa Brigade, and which achieved great distinction by it subsequent brilliant achievements in battle. The history of these four Iowa regiments fo the remainder of the war is largely identical. They remained together until they were mustered out, their terms of service expiring about the same time. The Union lines continued to advance upon Corinth, and laid siege to that stronghold. The Brigade, under command of the gallant and gifted Col. M. M. Crocker, of the Thirteenth Iowa, tool part in the arduous siege operations which ensued, and which ended on the morning of May 30, 1862, the enemy having evacuated Corinth during the previous night. The army of the Tennessee at once took possession of the abandoned works. During the month of June the regiment and brigade were encamped near Corinth. On June 27th the Fifteenth Iowa moved inside the works and acted as provost guard for the post, Major Belknap acting as Provost Marshall. At the end of July the regiment, with its brigade and division, under the command of General Tuttle, was ordered to march to Bolivar, to re-inforce the troops at that important post. Soon after reaching Bolivar, General Tuttle was ordered to another command and Colonel Crocker succeeded him in command of the division. The command of the brigade now devolved upon Colonel Reid, who detailed, Adjutant Pomutz as Assistant Adjutant General. The enemy, in large force, continued in the vicinity of Bolivar for several weeks, and an attack was constantly threatened; but this proved to be a ruse, intended to draw away from Corinth a sufficient number of Union troops to enable the rebel forces to recapture that important post. When the real purpose of the enemy was discovered, by his sudden appearance at Iuka and capture of that place, the Fifteenth Iowa, with it brigade, was ordered to return to Corinth, and thence to Iuka, where it assisted in the operations against the enemy. But only one of the regiments of the Brigade was ordered forward and became engaged in the battle if Iuka; this was the Sixteenth Iowa, which fought bravely and lost heavily in that engagement on Sept. 19, 1862. The brigade now returned to Corinth, where, on the 3d and 4th of October, 1862, it took part in the hard fought battles in and around that place. the Fifteenth Iowa occupied and advanced position and suffered heavy loss. The following extracts from the official report of Col. M. M. Crocker, brigade commander, will show how the regiment performed its duty in these battles: About 5 o'clock on the morning of the 3d inst., the brigade formed, two regiments (the Eleventh and Thirteenth in line of battles facing the west, and the Fifteenth and Sixteenth in close column by division in rear of the line. The regiments remained in that position, with skirmishers deployed in front, receiving and occasional cannon shot, until about 3 o'clock, when, the division on the right having fallen back, a change of front was ordered. The Fifteenth and Sixteenth were then formed in line of battle perpendicular to the first line and the eleventh and Thirteenth in close column by division in the rear. In this position the brigade remained until about 4 P. M., when orders were received to again change front so as to connect the right of the brigade with the left of General Davies' division, its left to rest in the direction of Battery E. After the execution of this order had been commenced notice was received from General McKean that the division was to move back inside the inner fortification, and an order received that the Eleventh and Thirteenth Regiments form in line of battle a quarter of a mile in rear of the line formed by the Fifteenth and Sixteenth, in front of and parallel to the road over which the artillery of the division must pass, and the brigade to protect the movements of the rest of the division and the artillery. The execution of the order to move back had just commenced when the enemy, in greatly superior force, attacked the front line--the Fifteenth and Sixteenth. The officers and men of these regiments, acting with signal determination and bravery, not only held the enemy in check, but drive him back, and held their position until notice was received that the artillery had passed safely to the rear, when they were ordered to fall back and form in line of battle on the right of the second line, which they did in good order, the enemy declining to follow.
This engagement lasted three-quarters of and hour; the firing was incessant, and the regiments, especially the Fifteenth, suffered severely. I deem it my especial duty to particularly mention Lieutenant Colonel Belknap, who commanded the Fifteenth Regiment. This regiment was under the hottest fire, and Colonel Belknap was everywhere along the line, mounted, with sword in hand, encouraging by voice and gesture his men to stand their ground. Lieut. Col. Addison H. Sanders, who commanded the Sixteenth, is entitled to great praise. He rode along the line of his regiment amid the storm of bullets, encouraging his brave boys who had so lately suffered at Iuka, to remember their duty, and although severely wounded, remained with his regiment until it marched off the field. Major Cunningham, of the Fifteenth, and Purcell, of the Sixteenth, did their whole duty, and conducted themselves with great bravery. Colonel Crocker then describes the positions occupied by his brigade after passing inside the fortifications at Corinth; the part it performed behind the works during the engagement of October 4th, in which ir suffered but few casualties; the pursuit of the retreating enemy, in which his whole brigade participated, and which continued until the evening of October 8th, and the return to Corinth on the 13th; and, near the close of his report, says: The Brigade, during the protracted movements of the battle and pursuit, encountering every hardship and privation incident to such campaigning, behaved with great fortitude, meeting every danger and hardship cheerfully; and I acknowledge my obligations to all the field officers for their cheerful, hearty and intelligent co-operation. Col. H. T. Reid of the Fifteenth Iowa, though prostrated by illness and unable to be in the filed during the first day's engagement, on the second day left his sick bed, joined his command, and, though unble to ride his horse, remained with his regiment, traveling in an ambulance until the pursuit was abandoned. Lieutenant Lanstrum of the Fifteenth Iowa, who acted as aide, deported himself as a good and faithful soldier. The loss of the brigade occurred principally in the engagement on the 3d instant, the Fifteenth suffering most. The killed, wounded and missing are as follows, namely; killed 14, wounded 119, missing 22. Total 146. The tabulated report of casualties gives the losses of the Brigade by regiments, as follows: Eleventh Iowa, Killed 3, wounded 8, missing 10, Total, 21
Thirteenth Iowa, Killed 1, wounded 14, missing--, Total 15
Fifteenth Iowa, Killed 11, wounded 67, missing 8, Total 86
Sixteenth Iowa, Killed 1, wounded 20, missing 6, Total 27 Total loss of Brigade------------------------------ 149 It will thus be seen that, in the battles of Shiloh and Corinth alone, the regiment had sustained and aggregate loss of 334, not including its smaller losses during the siege and its minor encounters with the enemy around Bolivar, which would considerable increase this aggregate. With less than eight months of its three years' term of service completed, it had made a record as a fighting regiment that would have entitled it to a most prominent place in history, if its service had ended with the battle of Corinth. The record of the long series of campaigns and battles through which the regiment was yet to pass must be condensed into a space not exceeding that already occupied, and to this difficult task the compiler now commits himself. Upon its return to Corinth the regiment went into camp, where it remained for several weeks. The weather grew cold and the troops were preparing for winter quarters, when, on November 2d, orders came to take up the line of march for Grand Junction, at which place the command arrived on November 5th, and where a part of the troops, that were to participate in the expedition against Vicksburg, were being concentrated. On November 28th the troops were put in motion for the South, the Third Brigade of the Sixth Division of Hamilton's Corps (Crocker's Iowa Brigade) taking the advance. The Fifteenth Iowa, with its brigade, took a prominent part in the operations of that great expedition which penetrated to the interior of Mississippi, and was well on the way towards Vicksburg when a strong force of the enemy's cavalry succeeded in getting in the rear of General Grant's army, captured Holly Springs, where the immense stores of supplies for the use of the army had been accumulated, destroyed the supplies, and thus compelled the retreat of the army towards Memphis. During this retrograde movement the soldiers suffered greatly from exposure to frequent storms and from lack of sufficient food. The regiment, with ist brigade and division, reached Memphis on the 13th of January, 1863. On January 18th, the expedition against Vicksburg was renewed, this time by way of the Mississippi River. The regiments and brigades of the Sixth Division, including Crocker's Iowa Brigade, embarked on a fleet of fifteen steamers and were conveyed down the great river to Milliken's Bend, a short distance above the mouth of the Yazoo River. Here the troops disembarked and went into camp. From this point a detachment from the brigade--consisting of details from the Fifteenth Iowa and the other regiments, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Belknap--was mounted and sent upon a couple of reconnoitering expeditions, in which they came in contact with the enemy and lost one man killed and several wounded. On the 20th of January, 1863, the Third Brigade and the Sixth Division were transferred to Major General McPherson's Seventeenth Army Corps, Brigadier General McArthur retaining command of the division, and Colonel Crocker of the brigade. On February 8th the command embarked and was conveyed to Providence, on the Louisiana shore, seventy miles north of Vicksburg, where it disembarked and went into camp. Here the cutting of the canal -- to connect Lake Providence with the Mississippi--was begun and continued, until the 16th of March, when it was completed. It was an arduous undertaking, participated in by all the troops, in which the Fifteenth Iowa bore its full part. During the first days in March, the regiment and brigade were subjected to a rigid inspection by William E. Strong, Inspector General of the Seventeenth Army Corps, who highly commended the officers, and men for their soldierly bearing, excellence in drill and the manual of arms, and the correct manner in which the records were kept, and concludes his report as follows: "Once more I say that the Third Brigade, commanded by Col. M. M. Crocker, are an honor to the army of the Tennessee, and honor to their friends at home, to their State and to their country, and I know from their record in the filed, that they must be a terror to the foe." On March 10th, Lieutenant Colonel Belknap was detached from the regiment and appointed Provost Mrshal of the Seventeenth Corps. The regiment with ts brigade left Lake Providence April 21st, and, from that time until the close of the Vicksburg campaign, was actively engaged in important movements, contributing its full share to the accomplishment of the grand result-- the surrender of the rebel stronghold on the 4th of July, 1863. About the time the command moved from Lake Providence, Colonel Crocker--whose appointment as Brigadier General had been confirmed--was assigned to the command of the Seventh Division of the Seventeenth Army Corps, and was thus separated from the brigade which bore his name and whose splendid conduct, under his command, had been a most important factor in securing his promotion, Col H. T. Reid, having been promoted to Brigadier General, was assigned to the command of the First Brigade of the division; Colonel Hall of the eleventh Iowa, who was the senior officer present for duty, became commander of the Third Brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Belknap--who was soon after promoted to Colonel--returned from staff duty and took command of the regiment. On the 26th of April the regiment and brigade marched to Holmes' Plantation and remained in camp there until May 11th. On May 13th, marched to Hard Times Landing, and crossed by boat to Grand Gulf, south of Vicksburg. The subsequent movements of the Fifteenth Iowa up to and including July 4th--the date of the surrender of Vicksburg-are described in the official report of Colonel Belknap, showing the numerous positions to which it was assigned during the progress of the siege, and the important service it performed, being part of the time on duty in the regiment occupied a position near Messenger's Ferry, in view of Johnston's army. At the close of his report Colonel Belknap says: "The men of this regiment have endured the hardships of these severe marches and the trials of the campaign without a murmur. Whether at work in the trenches or acting as sharpshooters, they have evinced an alacrity, zeal and courage which deserves full commendation, and in every movement I have had the full co-operation of every officer of the command." After the surrender of Vicksburg the regiment with its brigade took part in the expedition against Johnston, which ended with the evacuation of Jackson by the rebel forces on July 16th. The Third Brigade, now under the command of Colonel chambers of the Sixteenth Iowa, returned towards Vicksburg, halting at Black River until relieved by other troops, when it marched to Vicksburg and went into camp north of the city. Here a considerable number of the men were given a thirty days' furlough and some of the officers were granted leaves of absence for the same length of time, Colonel Belknap among the number. On the 21st of August the regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Hendrick, participated in an expedition against a force of the enemy occupying a fortified position at Monroe, La., on the Washita River. After a toilsome march and considerable skirmishing, by the cavalry which led the advance, the Regiment formed in line--with the other Union forces--in front of the enemy's position, but, after a brief skirmish, the rebel forces retreated, abandoning the town and a considerable quantity of military stores. The object of the expedition having been accomplished, the troops returned to Vicksburg, where they arrived Sept. 3, 1863. Colonel Chambers, of the Sixteenth Iowa, having been promoted to Brigadier General, was assigned to the command of the Sixth Division on September 11th, and Colonel Hall of the eleventh Iowa again took command of the brigade, which moved to a new camp south of Vicksburg.
Here the regiment was engaged in the performance of camp and garrison duty, varied only by participation in several expeditions into the country, in which it did not come into contact with the enemy. From the middle of September, 1863, to the last of January, 1864, the regiment was almost entirely relieved from active operations in the field. this long period was employed to the very best advantage by Colonel Belknap in instructing his officers and men in the proper discharge of their duties in camp, on the march and in battle. This capable and energetic officer felt a just pride in the high state of discipline and efficiency to which his regiment had attained. he had the satisfaction of witnessing the good results of his instruction in the splendid conduct of his regiment in the subsequent campaigns and battles in which it was engaged, and which are all too briefly described in the remainder of this historical sketch. Near the close of the year 1862, in response to the call of the Government, Three-fourths of the men of the Fifteenth Iowa had re-enlisted for three years, or during the war, to date from the expiration of their original term of service. On the 3d of February, 1864, the regiment, with its brigade and division, again took up the line of march and became part of the army, under command of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman, which penetrated far into the interior of the State of Mississippi. While the regiment did not come into actual contact with the enemy on this expedition, it sustained its full share of the of the hardships incident to a long march in winter without tents and often without sufficient rations. The regiment returned to its camp at Vicksburg on the 4th of March. On the 13th, that portion of the regiment which had re-enlisted started on veteran furlough to their homes in Iowa, being conveyed by steamer to Keokuk, which place they reached on March 22d, and each soldier was given a furlough of 30 days from that date; at the expiration of which they retuned to Keokuk and were conveyed, by way of Cairo, Ill., and Paducah, Ky., to Clifton, Tenn., where they landed May 6, 1864. From Clifton the command marched to Pulaski, Tenn., and thence to Huntsville, Ala., where the non-veterans of the regiment, under command of Majr Pomutz, had previously arrived, and the regiment was re-united. In the meantime, General Crocker had been compelled to relinquish the command of the division, on account of poor health, and Gen. w. Q. Gresham had succeeded him as division commander. Major General McPherson, having been promoted to the command of the Army of the Tennessee, was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair, Jr., as commander of the Seventeenth Army Corps. It was with deep regret that the regiment and brigade witnessed the departure of their old commander, General Crocker, to whom they had become greatly attached. And now the great campaign, which was to have such a decisive effect, was about to begin. The regiment, with its brigade, division and corps, marching through the mountainous districts of northern Alabama and Georgia, by way of Rome, Kingston and Allatoona, reached Ackworth June 8th and there joined McPherson's Army of the Tennessee, the Seventeenth Corps occupying the extreme left of Sherman's Grand Army, composed of the Armies of the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio. From Ackworth to Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain, Noonday Creek, Brushy Mountain, Nick-a-jack Creek, turner's Ferry and the Chattahoochee, the regiment with its brigade pushed steadily on, skirmishing with the enemy almost constantly and driving him from one after another of his strongly entrenched positions, all of which were bravely and stubbornly defended. These heavy skirmishes often rose to the dignity of a battle; indeed, it might be said that it was a regular series of battles, in which the
Fifteenth Iowa sustained its full share of the fighting. General Sherman made this statement:
"It is impossible to state accurately our losses in one separate battle; for the fighting was continuous, almost daily, among trees and bushes, on ground, where one could rarely see a hundred yards ahead." Up to the 22d of July the Fifteenth Iowa had lost nearly one hundred in killed and wounded. In the battles of the 21st, 22d and 28th of July, near Atlanta, the regiment lost heavily. The official reports of Col. Wm. W. Belknap show in detail the splendid conduct of his regiment in these engagements. Space will only permit brief quotations from these reports. Of the charge of the regiment on the 21st he says: "At 8 o'clock on the morning of the 21st, skirmishing having been constant after daylight, the order was received from Colonel Shane commanding brigade, to advance on the enemy's works in front. The whole front line advanced rapidly with cheers to the crest of the hill in full view of the rebel works, and fought with valor and determination. In front of the Fifteenth Iowa a battery of several guns, previously masked, opened upon us with grape and canister, and when the line was ordered to retire it did so in good order, notwithstanding the withering fire from the battery.
The attack was successful in enabling Force's brigade to hold the hill on our left, and compelling the evacuation of the line by the enemy on the next morning. The officers and men of the regiment did their duty, as they always did. After describing the different positions occupied by his regiment in that tremendous battle of July 22, 1864, in which the fifteenth and the other regiments of the Iowa Brigade so greatly distinguished themselves, Colonel Belknap depicts the closing scene of that terrible conflict, as follows: The enemy fought bravely and obstinately, and many of them were shot down fighting at the muzzles of our guns. The Forty-fifth Alabama, led by Colonel Lampley and Major Freeman, advanced on our line, but was instantly repulsed, every man within view being killed or captured. The Fifteenth Iowa captured two field officers, a captain and many men of this regiment, and the Lieutenant Colonel of the Thirty-eighth Tennessee. The bearer of the regiment, battle flag was shot down by Private Crowder of company C, and the commanding officer of the regiment had the satisfaction of personally capturing Colonel Lampley, commanding officer of the Forty-Fifth Alabama. The regiment mourns the loss of its gallant dead.
Veterans and recruits fought side by side, and testified their bravery and devotion. Lieut. E. M. Gebhart, of company D, was the only officer killed; wounded severely at Shiloh, captured there and a prisoner for months, he returned to his regiment, bravely did his duty, and died a soldier's death. The army has in its ranks no braver man. My thanks are due to Adj. E. H. King and all the officers and men of the regiment for their gallantry that contributed so eminently to the success of the day. We had 380 men in line, 131 of whom were killed or captured. After a brief respite, the regiment went into battle on July 28, 1864, and again gloriously sustained the honor of the flag. The combined losses of the regiment in these three days of battle were 190 men and officers out of 428 engaged, making an aggregate loss of forty-five per cent. No regiment that participated in the great Atlanta campaign made a better record. Col. Wm. W. Belknap was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General July 30th, and was assigned to the command of his old Iowa brigade. Maj. George Pomutz was at the same time--at his own request--relieved from staff duty at corps headquarters, and returning to his regiment, assumed command, in the absence of Lieutenant Colonel Hedrick, who was severely wounded in the battle of July 22d. The regiment and brigade continued in constant and active service to the close of the great campaign, and the list of killed and wounded grew longer. On the 1st of September the enemy evacuated Atlanta. The regiment and brigade took part in the pursuit of Hood's army, and in all the operations of the division and army corps after the fall of Atlanta. In his very complete and caregully detailed hstory of the regiment, from its organization to its final muster out of the service, Lieut. col. George Pomutz gives a statement showing the remarkable experience of the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry during the campaign and up to the fall of Atlanta. the statement is here quoted as follows: The Fifteenth Iowa was under fire during the siege of Atlanta, on the following days; In June, from 10th to 30th inclusive, north of Atlanta, 20 days, In July, from 1st to 16th inclusive, north of Atlanta, 16 days, In July, from 20th to 26th inclusive, east of Atlanta, 7 days, In July from 27th to 31st inclusive, west of Atlanta, 5 days, In August, from 1st to 26th inclusive, southwest of Atlanta, 26 days, In August, from 28th to 31st inclusive, southwest of Atlanta, 2 days, In September, from 1st to 5th inclusive, southeast of Atlanta, 5 days.
Number of days 81 days.
Days of battles or advances upon the enemy,
or of repulsing the enemy's attacks:
June 15th, 19th, 23d, 27th 4 days
July 4th, 5th, 20th, 21st, 22d, 28th 6 days
August 17th, 20th, 28th, 31st 4 days
September 1st, 2d 2 days Total days 16 days On the 19th of October, 1864, the non-veterans, whose term of service had expired, were conveyed by rail to Chattanooga, and were there mustered out of the service. These men were entitled to the honor of having faithfully performed their duty and of serving the full term for which they had enlisted. The end of the great war was evidently near, and the soldiers who had re-enlisted, together with the recruits constantly joining them, gave the Government an army amply sufficient for the crushing out of the rebellion. The veteran regiment, and the recruits which had been assigned to it, now entered upon the closing campaigns of the war. During the long and arduous march from Atlanta to the sea, and from Savannah through the Carolinas to Richmond and on to Washington, the regiment and brigade, its numbers greatly augmented by recruits which joined it on the way, performed every duty with the same alacrity fidelity which had characterized it in the past. There was much fighting yet to be done, but there were no great battles fought; the enemy, while stubbornly and bravely resisting the advance of the Union army, not being strong enough to seriously impede its progress. The rebel General Johnston surrendered his army on the 26th of April, 1865, and, from that time, the march towards the North was unobstructed. On the 19th of May the long march was ended, and the regiment went into camp at Alexandria near Washington. May 24, 1865, General Sherman's army passed in review before the President and Lieutenant General Grant. Conspicuous among the troops in that splendid pageant was the Iowa Brigade whose first commander, the gallant General Crocker, was then in Washington, suffering from the malady which had compelled him to leave the field, and from the effects of which he died soon afterwards. On June 1st the Army of the Tennessee was ordered to Louisville, Ky. The troops were conveyed by rail to Parkersburg, on the Ohio river, and thence by steamboat to Louisville, where the Fifteenth Iowa arrived June 12th, and remained in camp until July 24, 1865, on which date it was mustered out of the service of the United States. It then proceeded by rail to Davenport, Iowa, where it received final payment, was disbanded, and the men returned to their homes. Before disbanding, Lieut. Col. George Pomutz issued a farewell order, in which, after recounting the experience of the regiment amid the trials, dangers and hardships of war, he concludes as follows: Soldiers of the Fifteenth Iowa;--Your record is a noble one. For three and a half years you have borne the banner of the stars and stripes, the emblem of the power and unity of or Government; at the same time as the exponent of your own determination to assist in upholding that Government and its laws, you have carried and defended that banner through a distance marched, and traveled, of seven thousand eight hundred ninety-eight miles, since March, 1862.
Out of the aggregate number of 1,763 men who have been members of the regiment since its organization, 1, 051 are out, a fearful proportion of whom comprises those killed, the deceased and those crippled and disabled for life. Proof enough of the devotion of the members of the regiment to our Government and its laws. Then let our actions and deeds show, when we return to our firesides, that we are the foremost in obeying the laws of the country we have been fighting to uphold, that we are determined to let our future conduct ever be that of peaceful citizens in time of peace, as it has been that of true warriors in time of war. This patriotic injunction has been faithfully observed by the survivors of the Fifteenth Iowa, whose record as citizens has been kept up to the high standard of their military service. Many of them have been important factors in the development and upbuilding of this great commonwealth, which has discharged a high duty in thus endeavoring to honor the memory of the brave men it sent forth to battle for the principles of justice and human liberty, as exemplified by the Government of the United States of America. SUMMARY OF CASUALTIES. Total Enrollment 1926 Killed 65 Wounded 416 Died of wounds 80 Died of disease 198 Discharged for wounds, disease and other causes 332 Captured 83 Transferred 32 Buried in National Cemeteries 168 FIFTEENTH REGIMENT IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY Term of service three years Mustered into service of the United States at Keokuk, Iowa, Feb. 22, 1862, by Capt. Charles C. Smith and Lieut. C. J. Ball, United States Army. Mustered out July 24, 1865, Louisville, KY.
Warren County, Iowa History
Page 547 - Chapin, James C., enlisted October 24, 1861, veteranized (reenlisted) December 6, 1863, promoted Corporal, wounded at Kenesaw Mountain, died of wounds at Rome Ga., July 24, 1864
I (Craig Hullinger) visited the Kenesaw Mountain Battlefield in 1997, not knowing that our Great Great Uncle James Chapin had died at this battle. As we wandered the battlefield we found an impressive monument that had been erected by an Illinois Regiment. It stated that the Yankee and Confederate soldiers had been entrenched withing 30 feet of each other, and talked and joked with their enemy. A truce was called to rescue burning soldiers from a fire.
The Kenesaw Mountain was a formidable defensive position. General Sherman tried to flank the position, but failed. He ordered a frontal assault with severe casualties.
Craig Harlan Hullinger
"Just to the north of Cheatham Hill some woods catch on fire during the attack. Wounded Union soldiers, left during the hasty retreat, scream as they burn to death in the blaze.
A colonel from Arkansas steps on top of the entrenchments with a white flag and calls to the opposing force, "Come and get your men, for they are burning to death!"
Rifleless Federals approach and begin to remove the bodies, aided by men in gray. The two forces that had been killing each other less than fifteen minutes earlier now were working together to save the lives of fallen men.
The next day the Union commanders present the Colonel with a matching pair of ivory-handled Colt .45 pistols.
The battle is over. Unable to pierce the Confederate line, what remains of the Union attackers withdraw to safer territory.
Some Illinois men remain 20 yards from the Rebel line, trying to dig a tunnel to blow a hole in the entrenchments above them.
In an hour and a half the Federals loose more than 1,000 men, the Confederates one-third that total."