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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Following is my Greet-Great Gandfather's account of the Battle of Fort Donelson. He served with the 2nd Iowa Infanty. At the time of the battle his unit was considered unbloodied as it had only been doing guard previously in MO (a few very small skirmishes with locals). Interestingly in his diary he mentions his unit had rebelled months before because of poor weapons. They had stacked their arms and refused to pick them up again. Rebellion was only ended after they were promised new weapons as soon as they became avail. His diary never mentions wether they got them
According to "Rifles of the US Army" they had the Mississippi Rifle in Nov/Dec. 1862.
Later his unit fought at Shiloh (unit famous also for this blood bath), but Sebra missed it as he was in the Hospital with Pneumonia. The 2nd Iowa loses were 97 dead, wounded, and missing.
Then the unit, and Sebra, fought at Corinth, Miss in Sept. 1862. Another famous blood bath! Accounts widely state that his unit was forced to scavenge among the dead for ammo!
He survived the war ending it as a 1st Sgt.

For you Southeners (I live in Richmond, VA); Fort Donelson was really the beginning of the legend that was Gen. Nathan B. Forrest (my favorite officer from the Civil War).
 

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Very interesting. I have been researching and am writing a biography on a man who served in the 3rd Iowa Infantry. They remained in Missouri longer going down to Pittsburg's Landing for their first real taste of combat.
My man was struck in the body by a spent bullet that knocked him out but didn't penetrate. That got him listed as "killed at Pittsburg's Landing."

If you would like I can share some sources of Iowa Civil War history. Weapons particularly were a problem. The men of the 3rd had smoothbores at Shiloh but at least they were Springfields and reliable. I have some source data on the problems of weapons procurement.

As a matter of fact, my fellow later became an officer and wrote a paper, "Shiloh as seen by a private solider" (I'll have to check for the exact title) in MOLLUS California commandery edition. It's an excellent article and the men should have been right alongside.
(I have put down the writing of late and the off my head details are a little vague at the moment.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would love any info you have on the weapons of the 2nd or 24th Iowa.

If you would like - I can scan his diary for any info on the 3rd Iowa. It's been a few years since I read it, but I do seem to remember references to other Iowa units. His diary did not continue for the entire war, but ended after a few months (lack of paper, lack of time whatever).
 

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Not sure I follow. The account you attach seems to be recounting the battle "thirty years ago, last February". What's Sebra's full name and is he somehow related to the George Davis that was married for a time to your great great gandmother?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The account was written thirty years after the fact to honor the memory of his commanding officer who had just died. Not sure what the purpose was - possibly for the local newspaper? I have read/heard that the North was quite patriotic and enthusiatic about the war for some time afterwards. Now the war is largely forgotten in the north, and avidly remembered in the south.

His full name was Sebra Nelson Howard - born 25 March 1840 in Ontario, Canada. Moved with his family to Lyons, Iowa in 1855.

Sebra married the widow of George Davis - Harriet Matilda (Cook) Davis. Note that Harriet was quite a bit younger than George Davis. Sebra is my ancestor.

I also have a diary of Sebra that he kept early on during the war.
 

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That fellow I'm following had quite a notable life. Raised in poverty on the Iowa frontier he got little education but enough to qualify as a school teacher at 17 in 1857. The following year, he became school superintendent. One of his students, btw, was a young Wyatt Earp. The next year he became a freshman in college. In 1860 he went to Missouri where he again taught returning to Iowa after Ft. Sumter. He then enlisted. He never returned to that college but is carried on their lists as a graduate though he spent no more than 1 & 1/2 semesters there.
In the war he was much sick. After Shiloh, being a teacher, he got a job as a HQ clerk. No more battles for him. He spent the rest of the war trying to get out of the Army (ala Klinger?)
He then managed to get an appointment in the USCT as a capt. commanding a company. That unit never saw combat but did have the highest death rate by disease in the army, over 50%. He continued to try for a discharge and in 1864 got sent home on convalescent leave. There he got his discharge... but never heard of it. He returned to his unit and served through the remainder of the war until August 1865 when he was, again, and finally, discharged.
The unit he left was one of those that eventually was formed into the famous "Buffalo Soldier" units.
This fellow then married his sweetheart, went to University of Michigan and with a law degree moved to San Francisco. He had a successful career, was a mayor of Oakland, co-founder and vice president of the Sierra Club (yeah, I know. Still a notable event for him). He lived to be 80 and saw his son as Chief justice Supreme court of California and his grandson would become chief Justice of the USA.

Quite a tale, ain't it? I was brought to all this by a signature in the page of a MacClellan's bayonet manual. Aint it sumpin'?:cool:
 

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Thanks for filling in the information as to who he was. His ability to tell a story is obvious. Interesting individual history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sounds like an interesting character!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are the extracts talked about. Only one reference to 3rd Iowa. Many on Ill reg. and a couple of other Iowa units.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Only about six months long - ends before the real fighting begins. However a very important slice of history. I really don't consider it mine (but family's and "his"). Might try typing it up, and seeing if one of the Civil War magazines interested in publishing it. Otherwise posting it in it's entireity on some History or Civil War site.
He names quite a few soldiers by names - even mentions a commanding officer fooling around with "fallen women". Did'nt care much for drinking either. He was a very religious person! Became a Presbyterian preacher after the war.
 

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One of the Civil War magazines should be interested in it.....just be sure to mention that it contains remarks on "fallen women"...they may pay more...LOL.
 

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He names quite a few soldiers by names - even mentions a commanding officer fooling around with "fallen women". Didn't care much for drinking either. He was a very religious person! Became a Presbyterian preacher after the war.
CO's and fallen women were not exactly unique. Gen'l. Hooker's name lives on...:rolleyes:
 
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