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Iowa History Daily: April 6

Iowa History Daily: On April 6, 1862, Mayor Robert Dott of Anamosa, along with many of his fellow volunteers in the 14th Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, found himself “in the thick of the fray” at the Battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War. 

Born in Fifeshire, Scotland in 1824, Robert Dott headed for America and arrived in Anamosa during 1848. A pillar of the community, Dott served as a justice of the peace, worked as the Auditor of Jones County, and served as mayor. When the American Civil War started, the 37 year old Dott answered the call to service on December 1, 1861 and the 14th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. 

In mid-March 1862, the Fourteenth passed through Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River, joined the combined forces under US General Ulysses Grant, and went into camp. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston tried to smash Grant’s forces with the 44,000 soldier Army of Mississippi. By the evening of April 5, the armies started to exchange static gunfire across established pickets.

At dawn, Johnston’s Confederate force stormed the southernmost portion of the American position, and intense fighting centered on Shiloh Church. As the day unfolded, Confederate forces completely encircled the Iowa 14th. Eventually out of ammunition, the Iowans surrendered around 6:00 p.m. 273 Iowans died in the battle. Overnight, Union Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of Ohio, arrived to swell the Union forces to over 54,000 men. At dawn, Grant led the counterattack which led to a Union victory.

Despite the victory, Dott and the other men of the 14th found themselves captured behind enemy lines. Transferred to Macon, Georgia, the men languished in a Confederate prison camp for months until provided with a parole release and sent through Confederate lines to Annapolis, Maryland. Following their return behind Union lines, the military sent the men to Benton Barracks at St. Louis, where they were regularly exchanged on November 19, 1862. Dott continued to serve in his role as commissary sergeant until his official discharge on March 21, 1863. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar #IowaOTD

1 Comment

Robert Dott is my 3x great uncle. He emigrated from to America via Canada, from Cupar, Fife, Scotland where the rest of his family remained, including his brother - my g-g-grandad. He continued to write to his mother who was very proud of him and he returned to Scotland to visit her once. He was the 1st mayor of Anamosa City and was elected auditor of Jones County for 4 terms. Judge Dott died in 1905 in South Dakota.

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