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Iowa History Daily: August 11 - 32nd Iowa Volunteers

Iowa History Daily: On August 11, 1862 the 32nd Iowa Infantry Regiment mustered at Boone. Over the course of the American Civil War 322 men serving with the 32nd Iowa died while serving in the Red River Campaign, the Battle of Pleasant Hill, and the Battle of Nashville.

After enlisting at the county seat of Boone County, the men headed east to Camp Franklin in Dubuque before descending the Mississippi. Led by Colonel John Scott or Nevada, Iowa, the regiment initially served in the Mississippi Theater of the war. Scott, a veteran of the Mexican-American War, later went on to serve as the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa from 1868-1870.

The first major action for the 32nd Iowa Volunteers occurred with the launching of the massive Union offensive known as the Red River Campaign during March of 1864. Hoping to cut off the Confederate Army from the port of Shreveport while also splitting Rebel forces, 30,000 American troops under Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks squared-off against Confederate General E. Kirby Smith’s forces.

During the campaign, the 32nd Iowa saw notable action at the Battle of Pleasant Hill. A relative draw where both sides lost around 1,600 soldiers, historians consider it an American victory in a tactical sense but a strategic Confederate victory. Authorities often consider the expedition a failure for the United States which may have extended fighting in the western theater for several months while diverting from capturing Mobile, Alabama.

The 32nd Iowa Volunteers also participated in the Battle Nashville during mid-December 1864, a battle representing the end of large-scale fighting for the war outside of the coastal region. One of the largest victories for the American army during the war, many Iowans served valiantly over the two-day engagement between the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lt. General John Bell Hood and the Union Army of the Cumberland under Major General George H. Thomas.

Today, a marker in Boone at the intersection of Mamie Eisenhower Avenue and State Street erected by the Woman’s Relief Corps in 1936 commemorates the service of the 32nd Iowa Infantry. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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