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Iowa History Daily: November 29 - Marcellus Crocker in Command

Iowa History Daily: On November 29, 1862, Marcellus Crocker of Des Moines was promoted to Brigadier General in the Union Army. Far-famed as “Grant’s Hammer in the West” and for his highly disciplined regiment known as “Crocker’s Greyhounds,” the important military leader helped the United States triumph in the Civil War.

Born in Indiana, Crocker moved to Iowa after a two-year stint at the United States Military Academy. Soon after Crocker started practicing law before entering the army as a captain in the 2nd Iowa Infantry during 1861. Rising rapidly, Crocker first rose to Colonel of the 13th Iowa Infantry. Fighting with distinction at the Battle of Shiloh and leading the far-famed “Iowa Brigade'' at the Second Battle of Corinth, Crocker’s leadership skills put him in position to gain a broader command.

Leading “Crocker’s Greyhounds” during the Vicksburg Campaign, the Brigadier General gained a reputation for putting forth a highly disciplined regiment which moved rapidly in the field. Commanding a division at the Battle of Jackson and the Battle at Champion Hill, Crocker furthered his reputation as one of the most able leaders in the American military during the Civil War. Suffering from terrible consumption (bronchial) problems throughout the war, Crocker eventually attempted to resign after growing too ill to continue during a journey to join General William T. Sherman’s forces in Atlanta.

Crocker found his resignation rejected, and instead spent a brief stint in New Mexico Territory before returning to the eastern theater in an attempt to rejoin the war effort during 1865. However, Crocker’s health worsened and he died in Washington D.C. in August 1865. Returning to Iowa, Crocker’s body found a resting place in the Woodland Cemetery of Des Moines. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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