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The first hard fought battle that the Company engaged in was at Blue Mills, September 7, 1861, although previous to this they had been engaged in many hotly contested skirmishes. In the battle of Blue Mills the Unionists were driven back.
Wm. B. Miller, of Company D, was killed in this engagement and Capt. Willett, Second Lieut. Ole Anderson, and private Wm. B. Heckert, was seriously wounded. Capt. Willet's wound occasioned his resignation, and the promotion of Lieut. E. I, Weiser to the captaincy of the Company:
Lieut Ånderson fell, wounded in the temple, and was left on the field for dead. Company D having been obliged to retreat, he fell into the enemy's hands, His body was stripped of all its clothing but its pants, and he was robbed of everything by the rebels. The next day after the battle the rebels were obliged to retreat, and then Company D reclaimed his body. Lieut. Anderson lay unconcious three weeks, and it was a question for a long time afterwards whether he would survive or not. He entered the army a perfect athlete, and a perfect man, physicially and mentally, and to-day, from the effect of that wound, incurred at the cost of duty and bravery, he is a mere wreck of his former self. As an officer he was efficient and brave to a fault.
The battle of Shiloh, fought on the 6th and 7th of April, 1862, was the next great conflict in which Company D participated. Under the hottest fire and amid the most trying scenes, Company D behaved itself with coolness and bravery. After passing through that fiery ordeal, a summary of the loss it sustained showed the following: Killed-Edward Knapp, Hans H. Stenson, and Samuel D. Smith. Wounded—Capt. E. I. Weiser, Corp. J.H. Farber, Geo. H. Culver, Jas. S. Daskam, Hans Gulbrandson, Thos. Heath, Peter B. Hulverson, Knudt Knudson, Matthew Kellogg, Gilbert Knudson, Henry H. Sheldso, Geo. H. Kelley, John Jas. Fisher, Hiram S. Daskam.
The battle of Hatchie, fought on the 5th of October, was the scene of the next hotly contested engagement in which Company D took an active part.
The company lost the following: Wounded—Capt. E. I. Weiser, Corp. C. C. Watson, Geo. Culver, Martin E. Oleson (mortally), and Martin Pepper.
In the battle of Hatchie the second Captain of Company D was made incapable for active service by a rebel bullet.
Captain E. I. Weiser was born in York, Pa., April 10, 1835, and emigrated from the place of his nativity to Decorah in 1856. Being possessed with a warm heart and a genial nature, and a patriotic love of country, the threats of war against the Union aroused his impulsive nature to a desire to make any sacrificehardship, suffering, even life itself—in his country's cause. result, when the first cry of a distressed country was heard, calling on her sons for protection against the assaults of traitors,
Capt. E. I. Weiser was the first and foremost of her patriots in Winneshiek County to respond. Capt. E. I. Weiser was the first man to enlist from Winneshiek County in his country's service in the late civil war. He enlisted as a high private in Company D, and was elected first Lieutenant at the first election held by the company.
Capt. E. I. Weiser participated in many warm skirmishes and two hard-fought battles. He was wounded at Shiloh; also at Hatchie, on the 5th of October, 1862. The wound he received at Hatchie disabled him from further active military service during the war. Eight months he was detained in the hospital by his wound, and seven of these eight months he was compelled to lie in one position--on his back. He was with his company one week while it was at Memphis. While here the boys of Company D presented him with a silver pitcher, as a mark of their regard and the appreciation they had for him as a soldier and commander. Capt. Weiser was brave, cool, efficient, and possessed all the noble attributes requisite in a successful commander. His physical disability is a glorious certificate of his bravery.
Company D next went to Memphis where it remained six months, and from thence to Vicksburg. They were engaged in the siege of Vicksburg up to the date of its surrender. Vicksburg surrendered July 4, 1863. The white flag was raised on every fort at 9 A. M. on the 3d. The rebels sent out a flag of truce, and wished to surrender on conditions. Gen. Grant sent back word that nothing but an unconditional surrender would be accepted. On the 3d, when the white flags were hoisted, all firing ceased. The rebels came outside of their works and held a sociable with our boys. On the 4th of July, at 10 A. M., the rebels marched outside of their works, were drawn up in a line, and stacked their arms, and promptly at 11 A. M. the stars and stripes proudly floated over the rebel works.
In this siege, on the 26th of June, Thomas Kelly, of Company D, was mortally wounded. He lived about a week, having won, in dying, the honor of being the bravest among the brave.
The Third regiment received orders on the 5th to take up their line of march for Black River, to look after Johnston, who, with a large force had been prowling in the rear. On the 12th of July, 1863, about 223 men of the Third Iowa, among which number were many of Company D, made an assault on rebel works, behind which were ensconsed about 10,000 of Johnston's men. The result of the assault was a whirlwind of death. In the first volley fired by the enemy 125 out of the original 225 were almost instantly mowed down. There were about 800 men engaged, but 225 who ventured right into the jaws of this fiery hell. The commander in charge was immediately relieved of command.
On the 7th of July Johnston evacuated Jackson, the scene of the last engagement, and here, in rebel hospitals, were found the wounded who had survived the disastrous charge of the 12th inst. Among the number was Lieut McMurtrie, who had both legs broken by rebel shots. His right leg had been wounded with a piece of shell, and was so badly shattered that amputation was necessary. The left leg had been broken by a minie ball.
It was found necessary, on the 21st of July, to remove the wounded to Vicksburg. The journey had to be made in ambulances. Lieutenant McMurtrie was among the unfortunates that had to submit to the removal. Words cannot express the suffering this trip entailed upon him in his weakened conditution. On the 23d he was placed on a hospital boat
a hospital boat to be sent north, but died before the boat left the wharf, at 2 p. m., July 25, 1863.
Lieut. McMurtrie was born at Homer, Michigan, June 30, 1837. He came to Iowa in 1856. He was promoted First Lieutenant of Company D, May 21, 1862.
Lieut. McMurtrie was endowed with a great moral character, which lost none of its noble attributes by his army career. He died a brave soldier, lamented by his comrades in arms and all who knew him.
C. W. Burdick was promoted First Lieutenant, to fill the vacancy caused by Lieut. McMurtrie's death, which post of duty he held from that time until his three years enlistment had expired. At this time Lieut. Burdick was the only commissioned officer in the company. During three years' service, Lieut. Burdick was off duty but twelve days. He took an active part in every skirmish and battle in which his company was engaged, and was never touched by an eneny's fire. Few men, and I doubt if any, in Iowa can show a better record than this.
The engagement at Jackson was the last of any note in which Company D took an active part. The time of enlistment of Company D expired on the 10th of June, 1864. The Company was stationed at Kingston, Georgia. All that did not re-enlist, started home to be mustered out of the service. Many of the boys remained. At the memorable battle of Atlanta, fought July 22d, the Third Iowa literally fought itself to death.
The boys of the Third and Company Dwent into this battle with that Spartan valor that had characterized them, individually and collectively, in many a hard fought engagement. As the battle grew raging hot and desperate, a handful of our undaunted men, among whom were a remnant of Company D, gathered amidst the pelting shower of shot and shell, and there around our flag and banner they stood its guard in the most perilous moments. The color-bearer, the bravest of the brave, relinquished his hold by death alone. Still the mass stood there fighting madly for its defence. Their number fast decreasing by death, their hopes began to fail, and as they surrendered themselves to the enemy, they tore the emblem of our nationality, and regimental designation, into pieces and into shreds, which concealed, they proudly brought back to us, untouched and unsoiled by impious and traitorous hands.
COMPANY H—"IOWA GREY HOUNDS." Company H, Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, was organized at Decorah, in the months of August and September, 1861, and was mustered into service at Dubuque, on the 24th of September, the same year.
After remaining at Camp Union, Dubuque, until the middle of October, the Regiment was sent to St. Louis, and went into camp at Benton Barracks. A few weeks were passed in the usual routine of camp duty, when the regiment was ordered to Pacific City, Missouri, and passed some little time in guarding railroads and arresting guerillas. During this time the regiment was perfecting its discipline; and the diseases incidental to the climate and season, joined to the hardships of camp life, were thinning the ranks of all men who were deficient in physicial vigor.
When the expedition against Price was organized, the Ninth was ordered to Rolla, Mo., and after a week spent in camp at that place, started on the march for Springfield. The march was made in winter, and the crossing of the Gasconade, the roads knee-deep in mud, and the cold, inclement weather tested the endurance of the men, and when the regiment was placed in the advance, after the capture of Springfield, it earned its title, “The Iowa Greyhounds,” by marching 135 miles in four days in pursuit of Price. Company H received its baptism of fire” at Pea Ridge, and the day before the fight marched forty miles on a half-pint of cornmeal to the man. It mustered fifty-two men when the fight opened; twenty-two were unwounded at the close of the struggle.
On that field the boys, most of them beardless, who six months before were laboring on farms and in workshops, showed themselves able to defeat the practiced riflemen of Missouri and Arkansas, the Rangers of Texas, and the trained regiments of Louisiana.
The march across Arkansas, in the summer of 1862, followed the conflict at Pea Ridge. Some time was passed in camp Helena, and in December the regiment took part in the first attack on Vicksburg. The expedition up the dark Yazoo and its unfortunate results, were amply avenged at Arkansas Post, January 10, 1863.
In all the operations that culminated in the capture of Vicksburg the Ninth was actively engaged-from digging in the canal to storming rifle-pits and batteries. And in the charge on the 22d of May, Company H lost eighteen men killed and wounded out of a total twenty-six men in action, and of these nine were killed on the field or mortally wounded. From Vicksburg to Jackson, thence back to Vicksburg, up the river to Memphis, thence to Tuscumbia, where a severe conflict took place, then up the sides of Lookout Mountain, under the lead of Osterhaus, followed by a rapid pursuit of the routed foes, and the fight at Ringgold, is a brief outline of the work Company H took part in during 1863. The majority of the company re-enlisted as veterans, and after their return from furlough the boys found themselves a part of the mighty host Sherman was about to lead to the sea."
For seventy days from the opening of this memorable campaign, members of Company H who participated in the operations, were constantly under fire, with perhaps slight intermission prior to the crossing of the Chattahoochee. The fights at Resaca, New Hope Church, Burnt Hickory and Kenesaw Mountain, showed the valor and discipline of the Ninth. On the 22d of July the Ninth was one of the Lowa regiments that, under the eye of Sherman, recaptured the battery of DeGress, and drove the rebels, at the bayonets' point, from the entrenched line they had wrested from the loyalists. At Ezra's Church, on the 28th of July, and at Jonesboro, where the fate of Atlanta was decided, the boys of Company H were actively engaged.
After the capture of Atlanta and the pursuit of Hood, who was left to the tender mercies" of Thomas, the boys followed Sherman to the sea, and Company H furnished its full quota of able and accomplished "bummers." From Savannah the company marched through the Carolinas, taking part in any "little unpleasantness" that came in the way, and actively participating in the closing fight at Bentonville. After resting a few days at Raleigh, the regiment marched to Washington and took part in the "Grand Review," and was shortly after mustered out of the service at Louisville, Ky.
That Company H did its whole duty, the following figures, taken from the Adjutant, General's Report, prove: Company H, 9th Iowa-Total killed and wounded...
53 Total killed and died of wounds..
19 Company D, 3d Iowa-Total killed and wounded...
33 Total killed and died of wounds.
9 Company G, 12th Iowa—Total killed and wounded....
9 Total killed and died of wounds.
4 Company E, 38th Iowa-Total killed and wounded...
0 Company K, 38th Iowa-Total killed and wounded...
1 Total killed and died of wounds. Company D, 38th Iowa—Total killed and wounded..
1 Total killed and died of wounds. The above table shows the extent of the loss sustained by Company H in battle, as compared with the reported losses of the other companies organized in this county from the same cause. I do not think the above figures do full justice to Companies E, K