Become a Member

contact our Department Junior Vice Commander 

Alan Kirshen, DJVC 

P.O. Box 635

Red Oak, Iowa 51566  

             712-623-6967                    

  mickrott13@msn.com

          Welcome to the             Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

"Soldier’s Lot"
Aspen Grove Cemetery
Burlington, Iowa

August 2011

August 2015

August 10, 1821...Missouri is admitted to the Union as a slave state

August 10, 1861...Iowans receive their first Trial by Fire at Wilson’s Creek
August 10, 1894...Iowa Battle Flag Day observed in Des Moines
August 10, 1894...Soldier’s Lot Dedicated at Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington
August 10, 2015...Soldier’s Lot Re-Dedicated at Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington

 

At 1 p.m. on August 10, 2015, Soldier’s Lot was Re-Dedicated.  With one hundred fifty in attendance, Mike Bloomer, of Burlington, told the story of his three year restoration of this final resting place for eighty-four Civil War Veterans.  The original forty by sixty foot lot of land was donated by the Aspen Grove Cemetery Board of Control in 1893, at the request of the Matthies Post #5, Department of Iowa, Grand Army of the Republic.  The request was to accommodate those Veterans who were indigent and would otherwise be placed in Potter’s Field.  This “Soldier’s Lot” is within view of the mausoleum of Brigadier General Corse and the grave of Brigadier General Karl  Matthies,

namesake of Post #5.  More land was added in later years.

 

In April of 2012, Michael Bloomer, a twenty-one year veteran of the Burlington Police Department along with his son Jace, a member of the Power-Dunlavy Camp at Bloomfield, began the fund raising needed to restore these Hallowed Grounds.  All of the stones were cleaned and straightened, fourteen new headstones were ordered and set.  The cannon tube, which was covered with twelve coats of aluminum paint was restored and placed on a Steen carriage.
The two bronze plaques containing the first and last verse of “The Bivouac of the Dead” were restored, each also having twelve coats of paint.  The Soldier Monument, placed by the GAR in 1912, was cleaned and the three bronze plaques removed and restored to pristine condition.  The bushes, weeds and broken fence have been removed and a new steel, powder-coated fence placed around the lot.  A new lighted flag pole has also been added as well as a granite bench.  Mike and Jace estimate they have spent from eight hundred to one thousand  hours on the restoration.

 

Speakers at the Re-Dedication were: Bob Reid, President of the Aspen Grove Cemetery Association; Mike Bloomer; Ned Fry, Command Sergeant Major, Iowa National Guard; Angela Beenken, Executive Director, Des Moines County Historical Society; Danny Krock, Department Commander, Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Reverend Orland Dial of  St. John’s AME Church.  The “National Anthem“, “Rally ‘Round the Flag” and “Taps” were played on trumpet, by Derrick Murphy.  The Honor Guard was provided by the Southeast Iowa Civil War Roundtable.

 

Department Commander Krock presented Mike with the “Commander’s Award” for his

inculcation of citizenship in this project.  The award read as follows:

 

 The Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Commander’s Award is hereby presented to
Michael Bloomer
for his Meritorious Service in restoring “Soldier’s Lot” at
Aspen Grove Cemetery. His commendable work in replacing and restoring the gravestones of those Patriots buried there, his restoration of the Monument, Plaques, Cannon and over-all beautification of these Hallowed Grounds will serve as a reminder of true Citizenship to this and future generations.
Those “Boys in Blue” who rest beneath these Fields of Green as well as the Membership of the Grand Army of the Republic would have been grateful and honored to be present here today.
Signed at Burlington, Iowa, on this Tenth day of August, in the
Two-Thousand and Fifteenth year of Our Lord and the Two Hundred and Thirty Nineth year of American Independence.

Last Soldier Project

The SUVCW is identifying and recognizing the “Last Soldier” in each
county in the United States. In Iowa, past Department Commander Ron
Rittel has done a great deal of research on this project. He has identified
the final Civil War soldier to pass in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. The
Department of Iowa will be providing a marker at the gravesite and
conducting a ceremony for each of these soldiers. This has already been
accomplished in Clarke, Decatur, Fayette, Greene, and Lucas counties.

The age or the last soldiers in Iowa’s 99 counties ranged from 87 to 103.
Most died in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. The final one to pass was
James P. Martin of O’Brien County in 1949. One unusual occurrence was in
Lucas County where two soldiers died on the same day. It was decided to
honor both soldiers. The marker for Robert Killen of Lucas County is shown
along with relatives who attended a ceremony on August 23, 2014.
SUVCW member Mike Rowley is on the left.

In addition to honoring these soldiers, we hope that this will increase
interest in the Civil War throughout the state. We intend to contact
organizations and news outlets in these counties to generate interest and
local involvement.

Please see the link to the Iowa Grand Army website for detailed information
of the last soldier in each county based on Ron Rittel’s exhaustive
research. For the counties (identified above) where markers have been
placed, go to the link for Iowa Civil War Monuments.

 

submitted in F, C and L

by Tom Gaard

Department Memorials Officer

Decoration Day

May 30, 2015

Delhi, Iowa

 

The annual Decoration Day ceremony was held at the Upper Bay Settlement Church & Cemetery in rural Delaware County.  The ceremony is coordinated by the Upper Bay Cemetery Committee and includes members from the surrounding communities as well as participation by the American Legion Post 45 of Manchester and Robert Mitchell Camp #206 of Marion.

 

Due to strong winds this year, the ceremony was inside the 1873 church.  One of the speakers this year was Department of Iowa Commander Danny Krock who gave a brief history of Decoration
Day  as well as the reading of General Logan's General Order #11.  A reading was made of the names of area veterans who died during the Civil War and who are listed on the monument in the cemetery.  With the reading of each name, the bell in the new bell tower was rung.

 

As the ceremony concluded, all moved outside for the firing of the volleys by the American Legion Honor Guard, Civil War reenactors and the cannon of the Robert Mitchell Camp.

 

Flags were placed for all veterans in the cemetery.  After the ceremony, flowers were placed at the stones of veterans by those who attended.

 

submitted in F, C & L

by Dennis Gessaman

Memorial Sunday

Union Chapel Church

Ira, Iowa

 

On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Department Commander Danny Krock and

Department Patriotic Instructor Ron Deal conducted a Memorial Sunday Ritual during the

annual church service held at Union Chapel Church, Ira, Iowa.  Recognized during the ritual were the

Forty-Eight Veterans buried at the Union Chapel Cemetery,

Nineteen of which served during the Civil War.  There was an unfolding of the American Flag, the names of the Veterans were read and the Flag refolded, all to absolute silence.  Many of the family members were in attendance; we were asked if we would return again next year.

 

From 1910 through 1920 Members of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Sons of Veterans held Memorial Day Services at Union Chapel.  By 1918, only two of these Veterans remained. On March 9, 1918, a motion was passed that the Sons of Veterans be invited to meet with the Union Chapel Religious and Cemetery Association to arrange for the decoration of the graves of deceased soldiers. The Union Chapel Memorial Association resulted from that invitation. The Church closed soon after but has been maintained by the families.  Beginning in the 1990’s an Annual Memorial Day service has been held there.   

 

During my research of the Veterans buried or memorialized at Union Chapel, one unknown Civil War Veteran has been identified and when the regulations change, a stone will be ordered and he will finally be recognized, 2nd Lt. David D. Deselms, died March 10, 1871.

Union Chapel Veterans

 

John R. Alexander……Co. K, 166th Ohio Infantry……American Civil War

b. Jun. 8, 1846 d. Sep. 22, 1910

William F. Baker……Co. E, 40th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Aug. 27, 1837 d. Jan. 14, 1917

Silas Hereford Beals……Co. I, 10th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Jun. 12, 1840 d. Jan. 5, 1915

William Lowell Byal……Korea

b. Jun. 11, 1933 d. Jan. 4, 1973

James Lewis Castor……Co. D, 13th Iowa Infantry......Mexican War, American Civil

      War (died of disease Oct 4, 1863, buried Vicksburg National Cemetery, Vicksburg, MS)

b. May 20, 1826 d. Oct. 4, 1863

Russell Earl Castor…… United States Army, South Pacific…. WWII

b. Jun. 15, 1920 d. Jun. 8, 2014

Seward Victor “Hadley” Castor……United States Army……WWI

b. Mar. 14, 1893 d. Jan. 13, 1952

William Francis Castor…… United States Army……WWI

b. Jul. 26, 1895 d. Dec. 3, 1922

Henry Oscar Comer……United States Army……WWII

b. Apr. 16, 1917 d. Dec. 20, 2003

Denver M. Cross…… United States Army……WWII

b. Jun. 20, 1912 d. Jan. 12, 1979

Eli D. Cross……Co. D, 174th Ohio Infantry……American Civil War

b. Nov. 11, 1834 d. Jul. 14, 1915

Glen Richard Cross……United States Navy

Donald William Crozier……

Richard D. Crozier……WWII

b. Jan. 24, 1926 d. Jan. 8, 1948

David D. Deselms……Co. B, 93rd Illinois Infantry….American Civil War 

d. Mar. 10, 1871

James Richard Farver…… United States Army……WWII

b. May 30, 1924 d. May 16, 2001

Donald O. Funk…… United States Army……WWII

b. Apr. 9, 1913 d. Dec. 12, 1994

Jerry Eugene Funk……United States Army Reserve

b. May 20, 1931 d. May 25, 2014

Holden C. Gist……Co. B, 5th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. 1828 d. Nov. 11, 1870

Edwin Rutherford Godfrey……Co. I, 156th Illinois Infantry……American Civil War

b. 1838 d. May 12, 1888

Forrest B. Inglis Jr……. United States Army……WWII

b. Apr. 19, 1917 d. Nov. 11, 1988

Allen Jeffries……Co. I, 30th Indiana Infantry……American Civil War

b. Jan. 31, 1842 d. Nov. 17, 1913

Andrew Edgar Jeffries……Co. D, 40th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Jan. 13, 1846 d. Aug. 3, 1931

Arthur W. Jeffries…… United States Navy……WWII

b. Oct. 31, 1926 d. May 9, 1983

Francis M.  Jeffries….Co. I, 30th Indiana Infantry…..American Civil War

b. 1839 d. 1928

Alfred Zenus Jones…… United States Army……WWII……(KIA Nov 16, 1944, buried  Lorraine American Cemetery,   St. Auld, France)

b. 1918 d. 1944

Jason Jones……War of 1812

b. 1796 d. Mar. 31, 1860

Zenus Crane Jones…… WWI

b. Sep. 30, 1896 d. Dec., 1968

Elias H. Keyes……Co. K, 28th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Nov. 4, 1823 d. Aug. 7, 1892

Richard Davoine Lukert…..United States Navy

Ogle Lee Minear…… United States Army……WWII

b. Jan. 16, 1921 d. May 25, 2008

James Irvin Neal…… United States Army……Viet Nam

b. Jun. 20, 1945 d. Sep. 16, 1993

Buril Jesse Norris……United States Army……WWI

b. 1893 d. Jul. 3, 1942

Oliver A. Osborn……Veteran, United States Army

b. Jan. 17, 1928 d. Sep. 4, 2010

Merle Gene Planalp……United States Navy ……WWII

b. Aug. 21, 1926 d. Mar. 10, 1983

William Owens Price……Co. K, 23rd Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. 1832 d. Jul. 7, 1890

Aaron Rand……108th New York Militia…War of 1812

b. 1790 d. 1887

William F. Rippey……Co. I, 10th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Apr. 9, 1838 d. Nov. 16, 1917

Phillip Eugene Robinson…… United States Navy……WWII

b. Aug. 22, 1922 d. Apr. 22, 1995

John H. Smith……Co. K, 28th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Feb. 21, 1830 d. Jan. 9, 1915

James B. Streett……Co. B, 48th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

                (died Oct 6, 1864, Rock Island, Illinois…buried Rock Island National Cemetery)

b. Sep. 25, 1848 d. Oct. 6, 1864

James J. Tramel……Co. D, 40th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Nov. 26, 1842 d. Jan. 7, 1912

Charles Leland “Mike” Weston……WWII….Surgeon

b. Apr. 15, 1905 d. Oct. 16, 1987

David T. Weston…..

Austin W. Whitehead……Co. K, 28th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War

b. Jan. 29, 1837 d. Nov. 13, 1918

Donald Dean Whitehead…… United States Army……Korea

b. Nov. 16, 1928 d. Dec. 15, 2001

George Miller Wilson……Co. K, 28th Iowa Infantry……American Civil War…..buried at

                Washington Veterans Home Cemetery, Port Orchard, Washington

b. Apr. 29, 1838 d. Dec. 7, 1916

Elmer R. Zimmerman…… United States Army……WWI

b. Oct. 8, 1894 d. Oct. 13, 1965

 

submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny Krock, Department Commander

 

Adair Monument Ceremony

 

Saturday, May 23rd, Co. B, 10th Iowa, SVR was back in action as we dedicated a NEW Civil War monument, the first such in Adair County.  This particular monument was dedicated to Co. I, 29th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, many of whom came from the area.

Remarks were given by Mayor Larson of Adair.  This was followed by a poem, When the Boys in Blue are Gone, read by Auxiliary Chaplain Denise Sasse.

The ceremony was conducted by Capt. Mike Carr, assisted by 2nd Lt. Dennis Sasse as Chaplain.  Sgt. Dan Rittel was Master of Ceremonies.  First Sgt. Jim Braden acted as the guard during the ceremony.

The Symbols of the Soldier were laid by Corp. Alan Kirshen.  Dept. Auxiliary President Mary Rittel, placed the wreath and Auxiliary member Jeanie Kirshen laid the white rose.

Pvt. Richard Cunningham played “taps” to conclude the ceremony.

We were assisted by members of ASUVCW #23.  Many thanks to Mayor Larson and the City of Adair, Camp #23, the Dept. of Iowa Sesquicentennial Committee and the 4th Military District, SVR for the funding.

Also present were Pvt. Dave Hancock and Dept. Monuments Officer Tom Gaard

Spring Monument Tour

 

Over the weekend of May 16th and 17th, members of Co. B, 10th Iowa V. I., SVR, held five ceremonies in NW Iowa to commemorate the end of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Saturday started off with thunderstorms, which did not bode well for our ceremonies.  Fortunately, the rain held off, although the clouds kept us in suspense. The ceremonies went off quite well, with 7 members of the unit and 4 members of ASUVCW #23 also in attendance, as well as DC Danny Krock and PDC Ron Rittel.

 

Our first ceremony was in Lyon County, and was a Last Soldier Ceremony for G. W. Lyon, with Sgt. Dan Rittel acting as Master of Ceremonies.  Two of Lyon’s descendants, Spencer Lyon and wife (from Arizona), and Rita Sehr, were present, with Mrs. Lyon laying a white rose.  .  Also present were PDC Ron Rittel, instigator of the Last Soldier project, and DC Danny Krock and wife, Tammy.  The ceremony opened with the singing of the National Anthem by Doug Robinson.  Doug Rentschler from the City of Inwood gave a greeting.  Corp. Alan Kirshen gave a short talk on the Northern Border Brigade, which was raised in this area.  ASUVCW member Denise Sasse then read the poem, When the Boys in Blue are Gone.  The ceremony was conducted by Capt, Mike Carr as Commander and 2nd Lt. Dennis Sasse, the unit chaplain.  Corporal John Weeber acted as the ceremonial guard, with Corp. Roy Linn laying the accoutrements at the stone.  To conclude the ceremony, members from American Legion posts #128, #310, and #561 fired the three traditional three volleys followed by Pvt. Charles Boeck playing taps

 

Our next stop was Dickinson County. We rededicated the Civil War monument in Lakeview Cemetery in Spirit Lake. It was originally dedicated in 1910. Due to a military funeral, the American Legion post was unable to attend as originally planned.  Sadly, this was the largest community we visited and had the least public attendance.  This ceremony, and the ones that followed, followed the basic format as that at Inwood.  ASUVCW member Linda Linn laid the white rose.

 

Our last stop of the day was in O’Brien County for a very special Last Soldier Ceremony. Waterman Cemetery SE of Sutherland, our ceremony honored James P. Martin, who was the very last Civil War veteran to die in Iowa in 1949 at age 102. He was active in the GAR, attending many national encampments and being appointed the last state Dept. Commander in 1947. Just an hour or so after the ceremony, the rain moved in again.

 

On Sunday, May 17, We were in Buena Vista County for a monument rededication ceremony at Newell, which is just east of Storm Lake.  Again, we had a nice crowd, with the American Legion Post #193 taking part.  Rod Rasmussen from Newell gave a few brief remarks, welcoming us to Newell and thanking our organization for their efforts.

Sunday afternoon, we visited Ida Grove for a gravestone ceremony, to honor Medal of Honor recipient George W. McWilliams, who served on the USS Pontoosuc during the battle at Fort Fisher, NC. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions from December 24, 1864 to February 22, 1865. during which action he was wounded severely. Despite high winds, the public came out to take part.  Local historian and childhood acquaintance of Landsman McWilliams, gave a brief biography of our honoree.  ASUVCW Dept. president Mary Rittel laid the wreath with Linda Linn again laying the white rose.

Again, we would like to thank Ida Grove’s Mayor Hurd for his welcome, for the participation of American Legion post #61 and the Second Battery, Iowa Light Artillery re-enactors from Sac City for their participation.

G. W. Lyon

Ceremony

Inwood, Iowa

 

 

Dickinson County

Spirit Lake, Iowa

 

 

James Martin

Iowa's Last Soldier

Sutherland, Iowa

 

 

Buena Vista

County

Newell, Iowa

 

 

George McWilliams

Medal of Honor

recipient

Ida Grove, Iowa

 

 

submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Mike Carr, Captain, Co. B, 10th Iowa SVR

Company B, 10th Iowa Infantry SVR  gave living history demonstrations at Atlantic Middle School May 15. Participants were Dennis Sasse, Jim Braden, Mike Carr, Joyce and Glenn Kelly, and Jeannie and Alan Kirshen.

William John Pickerill Gravestone Dedication

April 19, 2015

Twelve members of Co. B, 10th Iowa Infantry SVR gathered at Graceland Cemetery at Avoca, Iowa on a very wet, blustery day to dedicate a new gravestone for Corporal William John Pickerill, 116th Indiana Infantry. Corporal Pickerill had never had a gravestone.  They were joined by six members of the ASUVCW #23, as well as about forty relatives, friends, and spectators, including members of the American Legion Post #227, who provided the rifle squad and Avoca Boy Scout Troop #97, who provided their Color Guard.

 

            Among the dignitaries present were Department of Iowa Commander Danny Krock, City Council Representative Sandra Peterson, and Pottawattamie County Director of Veteran Affairs Darlene McMartin.

 

            There were nine descendants of Corporal Pickerill present, who were introduced by his grand-daughter, Florence Pickerill Mass.

 

            Department Commander Danny Krock read William John Pickerill’s biography and service record.  The Gravestone Dedication Ceremony was moved to the Cemetery’s Committal Gazebo due to the inclement weather and was conducted by Captain Michael Carr, with William McAlpine, and Denise Sasse the Camp, and Auxiliary Chaplains participating as well.  Corporal Alan Kirshen acted as Master of Ceremonies.  1st Sergeant James Braden served as Officer of the Day, with Sergeant Dan Rittel placing the Symbols of the Soldier.  Corporal Pickerill’s grand-daughter Florence Pickerill Mass, laid a white rose during the ceremony.  Private David Hancock served as Bugler.

 

            A post-ceremony social hour was held at the Avoca/Newtown Historical Society Museum.  Many thanks to Mrs. Barb Butcher and the local historical and genealogical society for their kind assistance and hospitality. 

 

          

            William John Pickerill was born at Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana on October 26, 1846, the eldest son of George Edward Pickerill.   

            Two months short of his seventeenth birthday, William enlisted as a Private with Company B, 116th Indiana Infantry on August 8, 1863.  The 116th was organized at Lafayette and mustered in as a six month regiment. They first were assigned to Detroit, Michigan where they guarded the U. S. Arsenal. The 116th was then ordered to Nicholasville, Kentucky and moved to the Cumberland Gap, reaching there October 3. From there they moved to Tazewell, Morristown, and fought at Blue Springs, where the enemy was routed and driven for miles. The 116th Indiana took part in the battle at Walker's Ford, wading the river under heavy fire and taking a position commanding the approach through a gorge, where it held the enemy in check until the balance of the command had crossed the river. They were under fire from noon until 3 p. m., while this movement was taking place, and from that time until 5 o'clock were in a brisk skirmish with an entire brigade. The 116th was mustered out at Indianapolis in February 1864 and was discharged March 1, 1864.

            On January 24, 1865 William enlisted from Watterstown, Wisconsin into Company G, 47th Wisconsin as a Veteran Volunteer at the rank of Corporal.  The 47th Wisconsin was organized and mustered in at Madison on February 27, 1865. They were ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, thence to Nashville, Tennessee, and Tullahoma, Tennessee. They were assigned to guard the railroad at Tullahoma and the District of Middle Tennessee until September. The 47th was mustered out on September 4, 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.  William Pickerill had accomplished all of this before reaching his nineteenth birthday.

 

            William followed farming as an occupation and later took up the barbers' trade and followed this trade to Western Iowa and Nebraska. He was also a well-known violin player and become a member of several well-known Nebraska orchestras.

 

            He married Millie E. McCuen, of Newton, Iowa on December 20, 1875 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  William and Millie became the parents of three sons; George William, Frederick John and Francis Marion, his obituary mentions a daughter Estella.  Millie passed away on January 31, 1919 after forty-three years of marriage.  William then made his home with his son Fred in Colorado. He died at St. Benedict Hospital in Sterling, Colorado on April 24,1931 at the age of 83 years.  He was one of two remaining members of the U. S. Grant G.A.R. post in Avoca.

 

            "Mr. Pickerill was a man who made friends easily and never missed an opportunity to pay his friends a short visit. He was ill but a few days and his sudden death came as a shock to many. One by one the members of the Grand Army of the Republic are being mustered out and taps sounded. In a few short years the "Boys in Blue" will be but a memory. Yet they played a most important part in making history and the United States."

 

            The following poem was included in Millie’s obituary:

 

The pains of death are past….Labor and sorrow cease

And life’s long warfare closed at last…..His soul is found in peace

Soldier in Christ! Well done…..Praise be thy new employ

And while eternal ages run….Rest in thy Savior’s joy

 

submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

by Captain Michael Carr, Co. B, 10th Iowa SVR

               In Remembrance of the 150th Anniversary of                    President Lincoln's Death

 

Atlantic, Iowa, April 15, 2015.  At 7:00 pm, members of the Colonel William H. Kinsman Camp #23 & Auxiliary along with members of Company B, 10th Iowa Infantry SVR, gathered around the sixty-two foot granite Civil War Monument to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Death of President Abraham Lincoln.

2nd Lieutenant Dennis Sasse of the 10th Iowa was Master of Ceremonies, Kinsman Camp Chaplain, William McCalpine led with a prayer, Denise Sasse, Chaplain of the Kinsman Camp # 23 Auxiliary spoke about Lincoln, the Grand Army of the Republic and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Brother John Butcher laid the wreath.

Brothers Charles Boeck, and John Weber were the Honor Guard.

Also in attendance were Brothers Robert Boots & David Hancock.

submitted in F, C & L by Dennis Sasse, 2nd Lt., 10th Iowa SVR

Lincoln Remembered

 
For many throughout our country, the programs, projects and events to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil war ended on April 9th.  Some extended until April 14th.  For the Iowa Department SUVCW those observances would extend a day longer.
 
As April 15, 2015 was the 150th anniversary of the death of our 16th President it was important to Iowa Department Commander Danny Krock that this day did not go without a special observance.
 
So on this night as the sun began to set and its rays bounced off the broken clouds overhead, members of the Iowa Department, the Dodge camp, the women's auxiliary and even those from the S.A.R. came together to remember Lincoln, to remember veterans and to remember their families. 
 
Below the gold leafed dome of the Iowa Capitol, at the bottom of the main entrance steps near the monument of Lincoln and son Tad, the man was remembered more for being a son, a husband and a father than for Commander in Chief.  He was remembered as one who had to deal with extraordinary circumstances faced by many servicemen and women and their families who serve our country.
 
The stories shared and the period music selections chosen by Commander Krock and Mary Rittel gave those listening in the crowd an almost eerie sense of looking into the family home of the Lincolns during war time.
 
At the conclusion of the program I was able to introduce myself to a few folks in the crowd.  I was particularly impressed with one young man who stood alone.  I asked him what had brought him out on a night that threatened rain.  He told me that he was a history major.  He knew this was the anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln and just felt it was important to come here and remember.  He had no idea there would be others doing the same. Perhaps that is why we do these things and how we often see there are others who feel the same.
 
Among those present were Marilyn and Mary Rittel from the Women's auxiliary, Dodge Camp Commander Jeff Rasmussen, Last soldier project creator Ron Rittel, www.iowacivilwarmonuments.com creator Tom Gaard, brother Daniel Rasmussen, and other guests.

submitted in F, C & L by Mike Rowley, photos by Marilyn Rittel

Samuel Merrill

 

The recession of 1857 had left the state near bankruptcy. 

Governor Kirkwood pledged his land and fortune to equip the 1st and 2nd Iowa.  Samuel Merrill who ran a mercantile in MacGregor provided the money to purchase the woolen fabric to outfit Iowa's first two regiments. He became the Colonel of the 21st Iowa Infantry and  was seriously wounded at the Battle of Black River, 24 miles south of Vicksburg in May, 1863, reported as mortally wounded.  He resigned his commission as a result of his wounds and returned to Iowa.  Samuel Merrill became Iowa’s 7th Governor in 1867 and served two terms....

today, his final resting place is in desperate need of repair.....

Governor Merrill now rests abandoned in Woodland Cemetery, his mausoleum damaged due to decades of neglect and a falling oak tree. His monument has become home to opossums and raccoons instead of being the hallowed ground of a hero.

 

http://patriotoutreach.org/Samuel_Merrill_Mausoleum-Restoration.html

The restoration project is visible, low cost and doable.  Through the collaboration of talented and energetic people, together we will restore this monument leaving future generations a testimonial of our respect. 

Jonas Cutler

Who Will Tell Their Story When The Boys Are Gone

On the Evening of April 9, 2015, the 49th Iowa SVR held a final Civil War Sesquicentennial Event at Des Moines’ Woodland Cemetery.  Commencing at 7:00 pm at the end of a wet and blustery Iowa spring day luminaries were lit at the graves of the Civil War Veterans buried in the two G.A.R. Sections there. 

Taps were played at 9:00 pm. 

Lights Out.

in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny E. Krock, Commander, Department of Iowa, SUVCW

LEE SURRENDERS !

 

April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, in essence bring the four year long struggle to an end.  The terms were agreed to and signed that afternoon in the home of Wilmer McLean.

On July 21, 1861, the First Battle of Bull Run took place on McLean's farm in Manassas, Virginia.  Union Army artillery fired at McLean's house, which was being used as a headquarters for Confederate Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard.

In the spring of 1863, McLean moved his family south to Appomattox County, Virginia, near a crossroads community called Appomattox Court House.  The War had started in his kitchen and ended in his parlor.

On Thursday April 9, 2015, members of the Department of Iowa, SUVCW including the 49th Iowa SVR and the Liberty Band of Iowa commemorated the 150th Anniversary of Lee’s Surrender at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the State Capitol Grounds, in Des Moines.

The Ceremony began at 3:00 pm with a wreath being placed on the steps of the Monument by Governor Terry E. Brandstad who then read to those gathered, his Proclamation which declared April 9, 2015, as a day of remembrance and recognition of the great sacrifice of the people of Iowa and our fellow citizens across the nation on this the
Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the End of the Civil War.

The Proclamation was presented to and accepted by Department Commander Danny E. Krock in behalf of the 76,534 Iowans who served in the Civil War and especially those 13, 169 who did not return.  The Liberty Band then played “The Vacant Chair” followed by “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. 

The Wreath placed by the Governor was woven from branches of an evergreen which first took root in what is now Glendale Cemetery, in 1842.  It was here during the Civil War and is still with us today.

In Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny E. Krock, Commander, Department of Iowa, SUVCW


 

Littleton Brothers’ Monument Project Unveils Website

 

Those interested in the on-going drive to construct a Memorial to the six Louisa County, Iowa, brothers who all lost their lives while in service to the nation during the American Civil War can now visit the website at:

 

www.littletonbros.com

 

to read about the progress of the effort, obtain further information about the Littleton family and make direct donations to the project.  This website is the handiwork of Mallory Smith and will chart the progress of the Louisa County Historical Society and all interested stakeholders in the progress being made to build this monument to commemorate the service and sacrifice of this remarkable family during the darkest days of our nation’s history.

The Davis County Raid

 

On October 12, 1864, Confederate Lieutenant James “Bill” Jackson along with twelve Missouri Partisan Raiders dressed in Union uniforms and riding splendid horses entered Van Buren County and proceeded to Davis County, Iowa.  These Guerillas embarked on a 30 mile long wave of robbery, kidnapping and the murder of three men.  Killed that day, were:

 

 

Thomas Hardy

 

Eleazer Small, 3rd Iowa Cavalry

had been discharged on September 13, 1864

 

Philip Bence, 30th Iowa Infantry

wounded at Atlanta on July 28, 1864, and was home on furlough

 

 

The following is taken from the “History of Davis County”

published in 1882:

 

“The expedition under Col. Weaver struck the trail at Hardy's, and followed it with rapidity and unerring precision until they arrived at the place where Captain Bence was killed. It was now 12 o'clock at night; they were in Missouri five hours behind the raiders, to whom every bridle path was familiar. It was impossible to track them.

 

Procuring a conveyance for the body of Captain Bence, they reluctantly retraced their steps homeward. The scene at the residence of Captain Bence, when his lifeless form was laid down at the feet of his wife and children, cannot be described. The bruised and mangled heart of his poor wife, who had so often leaned her head trustingly, like a weary dove, upon his manly bosom, sank beneath the shock, and she swooned away. The piteous wail of his little children, as they clung to that lifeless form, and called it "father," moved the stoutest hearts to pity, and bathed the seared and bronzed cheek of the veteran soldiers in tears.

 

God is just, and sooner or later the incarnate fiends, whose crimes of pillage and murder have spread the pall of universal mourning and woe over our people, will meet their just deserts.”

 

 

On October 12, 2014, members of the 37th Iowa remembered Thomas Hardy, Eleazer Small and Philip Bence by holding grave side services at each of their graves, may they never be forgotten.

 

A detailed account of the Raid can be found at:

http://iagenweb.org/davis/guerilla.htm

 

Submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

by Danny Krock, Corporal, 37th Iowa SVR

Two Provost Marshalls

 

On Saturday, October 1, 1864, Provost Marshalls John L. Bashore of Centerville and Josiah M. Woodruff of Knoxville were killed in the line of duty while searching for three draftees that had been declared deserters.  Shortly after 1:00 pm, Bashore and Woodruff were gunned down in cold blood south of Grinnell by friends of these deserters.  The names of the assassins will not be mentioned here.

 

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, members of the 37th Iowa performed Remembrance Ceremonies at the graves of John Bashore and Josiah Woodruff.  (John Bashore was taken to the home of James A. Craver, where he died four to five hours later.)  A descendant nephew of J. A. Craver was present at the Centerville Ceremony.  Officer Lance Eysinck of the Knoxville Police Department placed the third wreath at the ceremony for Josiah Woodruff.  Both men are listed on the “Officer Down Memorial Webpage”.  The following two “life stories” were read at each ceremony:

 

John L. Bashore

John L. Bashore was born March 16, 1834, in North York, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry and Susan Bashore.  He moved to Centerville, Iowa, where in 1860, he became a partner in a general merchantile firm with Jacob Rummel by the name of

Rummel and Bashore.

 

            John was the third person from Centerville to enlist, doing so on May 16, 1861, at the age of 27, and was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in Company D, 6th Iowa Infantry on July 16, 1861. He was promoted to Captain on December 11, 1862. John resigned on March 5, 1864.

            On Saturday, October 1, 1864, the Provost Marshal of the 4th District of Iowa sent two Deputy Provost Marshalls, Captain John L. Bashore of Centerville, and Agent Josiah M. Woodruff of Knoxville, Iowa, to Sugar Creek Township, Poweshiek County, Iowa for the purpose of arresting three deserters. In the process Bashore and Woodruff were shot and killed by a band of Copperheads.

            At approximately 1 o’clock in the afternoon Captain Bashore came upon relatives of one of the deserters. The behavior of the men showed clearly to the officers that they were about to have trouble. Bashore sprang out of the buggy with his revolver in his hand and began remonstrating with the three men, saying they had no quarrel with them, but were in search of other citizens of the township. Woodruff remained in the buggy. After a short parley Bashore turned to join his fellow officer when one of the men leveled a double-barreled shotgun at the officer and shot him in the back. Woodruff was shot with the other barrel in the chest. A second shot struck him in the face, breaking-his lower jaw. His team took fright and ran away, throwing him on his face. While in this position he was shot through the head and instantly killed. Despite his wounds, Marshal Bashore was able to return fire and wounded one of the men in the thigh to the point that he was unable to get away, but had strength enough to approach Bashore and break his gun over the fatally wounded marshal.  Marshal Bashore succumbed to his wounds several hours later after reporting what had transpired. John left a wife and two children.  The wounded man was convicted of both murders in 1867, and subsequently sentenced to death; however, he later received clemency from President Andrew Johnson, after his wife had gone to Washington and pleaded for his life.

            The following telegram was sent to Major General Pope:

Major General JOHN POPE,

Commanding Department of the Northwest, Milwaukee, Wis.:

GENERAL: Captain James Matthews, provost-marshal Fourth District of Iowa, reports to me that two of his officers while on duty in Poweshiek County, Iowa, were murdered by a gang of outlaws on Saturday, the 1st instant. The names of the murdered officers are John L. Bashore, an assistant provost-marshal, and Josiah M. Woodruff, special agent. These officers had been detailed to arrest certain deserters from the draft in that county, and were waylaid and shot without any pretense or provocation except the lawful discharge of their duty. The outlaws engaged in the affair about twelve in number, seven of whom have been arrested and lodged in jail at Oskaloosa. I have laid these facts before the Secretary of War, and he instructed me to furnish you with the information for your action, should the same be necessary.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. B. FRY

             The John L. Bashore Post #122, of the Grand Army of the Republic, here in Centerville, was named in his honor.”

 

 

Josiah M. Woodruff

Josiah M. Woodruff was born March 1, 1843, in Marion County, Ohio, the son of Stephen and Isabelle Woodruff.  He was the eldest of their five children.

Josiah enlisted as a Private in Company B, 3rd Iowa Infantry on May 21, 1861, at the age of 18.  He was wounded seriously in the left thigh on September 17, 1861, at Blue Mills Landing in Missouri and discharged due to his wounds on February 11 1862, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

 

On the 30th of September, James Mathews, the Provost Marshal of the 4th District of Iowa, sent two officers—Captain John L. Bashore and Josiah M. Woodruff—into that vicinity (Sugar Creek Township, Poweshiek County, Iowa) to arrest deserters from the draft.  Near 1 p.m. on October 1st, Woodruff and Bashore had nearly reached the residence of one of the deserters, fourteen miles south of Grinnell, when they were fired upon by a number of armed men. Woodruff had remained in the buggy and was instantly killed, his body was dragged into the bushes twenty yards from the road, where it was found riddled with bullets. Josiah was murdered where the Hickory Grove schoolhouse once stood.  Captain Bashore was lying in the road mortally wounded; he was shot in the head and through the body, then beaten over the head with the butt end of a rifle, which lay broken beside him.

 

.The following is taken from the History of Poweshiek County: Some time ago a motion was made by some of the heirs of one of the murderers that, as an absence of seven years raised the legal presumption of his death, an administrator be appointed to dispose of his property; he having left behind him a quantity of land in this county. J. G. Hambleton was accordingly appointed, and there was published the usual administrator's notice, calling upon all who had claims against the estate to present them in the usual time. In the meantime Stephen W. Woodruff, the father of Josiah Woodruff, one of the marshals, had the court appoint John Hall, of Montezuma, administrator of the estate of Josiah Woodruff, deceased, and Mr. Hall, as administrator aforesaid, recently filed the following claim: "The estate of the murderer, deceased, to the estate of Josiah Woodruff, deceased, debtor: To damages for the wrongful, unlawful and malicious killing of Josiah Woodruff by the murderer, in 1864, in the sum of ten thousand dollars. Unless the claim is paid, which is very doubtful, or compromised, the matter will come up before the courts, and the people of the county will have an opportunity to hear the whole affair again thoroughly canvassed.

 

Josiah M. Woodruff’s body was brought back here to Knoxville and buried in Graceland.  His parents moved on to Kansas, one brother Melvin “Mel” remained and is also buried here, along with an aunt, uncle and many cousins. Josiah was 21

years and 7 months.

 

Submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty:

by Danny Krock

Corporal, 37th Iowa, SVR

Fall Monument Tour

 

Sept. 27th, 10 members of Co. B 1oth Iowa and Co. A, 49th Iowa SVR and 6 ASUVCW members assisted in re-dedicating Civil War monuments in Bedford (Taylor County), Mt. Ayr (Ringgold County), and Creston (Union County). The ceremonies were well attended by the public on a perfect fall day.

 

The day started out well with our 10 AM ceremony on the Taylor County Courthouse lawn at Bedford.  Capt. Mike Carr presided as Commanding Officer, with Corp. Jim Braden of the 49th acting as Master of Ceremonies.  The colors were posted by Bedford’s American Legion post.  Corp. Dan Rittel acted as Officer of the Day and 1st Sgt. Dennis Sasse, the Dept. chaplain, acted in that capacity.  Others from the 10th Iowa present were Privates Charles & David Boeck, Alan Kirshen, Roy Linn, Bill McAlpine, and John Weeber.  Pvt. Linn laid the Symbols of the Soldier.

 

ASUVCW members present were Sharon Braden, Bev Carr, Jeanie Kirshen, Linda Linn, Denise Sasse, and Jennifer Sharp.

 

The wreath was laid by the great-great granddaughter of the man who originally dedicated the monument.

 

We then travelled to Ringgold County. At 1:30, our troops repeated the performance at the Mt. Ayr Courthouse.  The rifle squad was made up of members from three local American Legion posts.  We switched roles a bit, with Corporals Braden and Rittel switching positions and Pvt. Charles Boeck laying the Symbols of the Soldier.  Linda Linn laid the wreath.

 

We were gifted with a thumb-drive containing the location of all Civil War veterans’ graves in the county.

 

Our last stop was atop a beautiful hill in McKinley Park, located in Union County’s county seat of Creston.  Mayor Warren Woods and Board of Supervisors Chair Ronald Riley both attended and spoke a few words.

 

The local VFW post provided the color guard and bugler.  Pvt. John Weeber laid the Symbols of the Soldier, with Linda Linn laid the wreath.

 

The ceremonies were well-received and the local residents seemed to appreciate our efforts very much.

 

======

Submitted by Capt. Michael Carr, PDC

C.O. Co. B, 10th Iowa, SVR

Chair, Dept. Sesquicentennial Committee

The Centralia Massacre September 27, 1864 

 

Eight Iowans among the twenty-two Federal Soldiers removed from the westbound train, from St. Louis, and murdered by guerrillas.  “Every man was robbed, no papers or other articles were found on the soldiers by which they could be identified.  Not much effort was made, however, at identification, the bodies, in most instances, being allowed to lie where they had fallen until the next morning.”

Eleven members of the 1st Missouri Engineers were headed home; most on furlough, some had served their enlistment, following the surrender of Atlanta.  Seven members of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry were returning to their unit, which had seen action on September 22nd in Central Missouri.  One Iowan from the 23rd Iowa Infantry was on 60 days leave from New Orleans.  One member of the 17th Illinois, was also headed back to his unit.  Two others are still unknown.  One unknown soldier made an escape and Sergeant Thomas M. Goodman of the 1st Missouri Engineers was taken prisoner.  Also killed that day was one German Immigrant wearing a faded blue coat.

At Noon, on September 26, 2014, 1st Sergeant Thompson, Color Sergeant Deal and Corporal Krock of the 37th Iowa SVR held a Remembrance Ceremony for these men at the Train Station location in Centralia, Missouri.  A candle was lit, a wreath was placed and twenty-three roses were laid to remember these men.  A sack coat was folded upon which personal items were place and then strewn with a rose pedal from each of the twenty-three roses.

 

Submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny E. Krock, DSVC


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