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Iowa History Daily: April 15 - Iowans in the Civil War

Iowa History Daily: On April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers from the states not in rebellion to serve in the Union Army. Over the course of the conflict 76,309 Iowans enlisted, more than half of Iowa's male population of military age, and 13,169 paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Iowans formed into 48 infantry regiments, 9 cavalry regiments, and 4 artillery companies during the four years of fighting. Iowa soldiers fought primarily in the western Confederate states of Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Later in the conflict Iowans also fought with General William Sherman in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Three Iowans rose to commission as major generals during the war. Keokuk’s Samuel Curtis resigned from Congress in 1861 and commanded Iowa forces at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Grenville Dodge, an engineer and railroad builder, recruited a company of volunteers at the start of the war and served under Curtis in the Battle of Pea Ridge. Francis Herron, a banker from Dubuque, also commanded under Curtis at Pea Ridge.

In the years before the war started 675,000 people called Iowa home, including roughly 116,000 men of military age. 76,534 would serve, or 11% of the total population. 13,169, or one out of six, did not return. 1/3rd perished due to active combat, while the other 2/3rd died from disease. An additional 8,500 Iowa men, or roughly 11%, came home severely wounded. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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