Tag Archives: Kentucky

April 6, 1906 (conclusion)

This concludes Isaac’s speech on April 6, 1906…

now it is more than likely, it is very probable, that one Shot from an Iowa boy brought that leader down, & consternation at his loss, & the delay incident to a change of Commanders, consumed the time & greatly helped to Save the day,  genl Johnston is represented at that time as being in the prime of life, 6-2 in tall Strong & active a born leader of men, & it was feared the news of his death might have a demoralizing Effect on their men, So the word was given out that it was another Johnston – Geo M. Johnston who had been provisional gov of Ky,[1] but he too was Soon mortally wounded & their Story was too quickly confirmed, had Albert Sidney Johnston lived to carry out the plans So well begun, Buregard would probably have watered his horse in the Tenn riv, but where would Grant have watered his,  So I say that that one Shot & in all probability fired by an Iowa Soldier had much to do with Saving the day at Shiloh,  one reason given by genl Sherman in his memoirs for not fortifying was we had no orders to do so,  now who Should these orders have Come from & who Should they have been issued to,  in the usual order of military affairs they Should have come from the Commanding genl, & been issued to Divis Comdrs & while this localizes the responsibility in a measure, I fail to See wherein it is any Excuse at all for the oversight,  genl Grant in his memoirs States that Criticism has been often made that the union troops Should have been intrenched at Shiloh, but after taking the matter under consideration he Says I concluded the troops needed discipline & drill more than they did Experience with the Shovel & axe,  after weighing well all the circumstances I concluded he Says that drill & discipline were worth more to our men than fortifications,  now however that maybe we needed no experience with the Shovel & axe we had that before the war & Could have thrown up a breast work in one day, yes in ½ a day that would have cost many a Johny reb his life before he got on our Side of it & the Cracking of the guns on the Skirmish line only helped to hasten Such work, & the closer it got the more we hastened,  I have Seen Soldier boys who gave Evry Evidence of being constitutionally tired, born tired, but who would work with all the vim & Energy they had under Such circumstances,  the failure to throw up breastworks here Cost the Country dear & nearly changed the fate of the war, but it taught our Commander a lesson he never forgot,  from that day he never moved his army any distance to the front without intrenching it, & if the mistake of one genl did imperil the whole army it was more than Rectified by the men that carried the guns, & who tho raw in discipline & drill & needed instruction in both as the Commander Said, yet they were united in purpose & Steadfast in the faith of a noble cause the Preservation of the union, the valor of the American volunteer Soldier was fully Established at Shiloh, & we heard no more the boast that 1 reb could lick 5 yanks,  also the question of whose Soil was going to be invaded was Settled then & there for good,  from that day on the war in the SW was waged on the Enemys Soil, 

[1] Neace, James Clell & Harnard, Edgar Porter, Kentucky Had Two Confederate Governors, 2000, published at the Breathitt County, Kentucky website – http://www.breathittcounty.com/JCN-2governors.html

Shiloh Battlefield - Sign showing the battlefield diagram and an explanation of what occurred the first day of the battle.
Shiloh Battlefield – Sign showing the battlefield diagram and an explanation of what occurred the first day of the battle.

So that Shiloh is considered by many one of the most decisive battles of the war, & nearly ¼ of the federal army there Engaged was from Iowa,  history Says that of the 73000 men Engaged on both Sides more than 20000 were Killed wounded or prisoners,  now to get a better Idea of the magnitude of this battle let us rember [remember] that the population of this co [Washington County, Iowa] was 20718, & just imagine if you please all the people of Washington co geathered on one TP [Township?] or less, & all Killed wounded or prisoners, men women & children  it would require them all to Equal in numbers the casualties at Shiloh, & in adition the ground Strewn with all the diferent weapons & Equipments used, guns napsax dismounted canon artillery wheels 6 mule teams with big government wagons upset & part of the mules killed with dead horses in all directions & the noblest animals we had at that time, now this picture is not over drawn but just gives a fair Idea of that terrible 2 days

Map of the first day of battle at Shiloh
Map of the first day of battle at Shiloh

Courtesy – Civil War Preservation Trust




July 5, 1865

The soldiers hear that they are finally going home.

4 miles S E of Louisville  K.Y.  Wednesday, July 5, 1865   Very Warm and dry   A patch of oats is being harvested close by our camp   there is considerable meadow land around here and haying has been going on ever since we have been here   the Soldiers try their hand at haying and harvesting a little but their work don’t amount to much   I tried it a little just a few minutes   didnt see any fun in it   recd a letter from and wrote to David   the order to muster out all the army of the Tenn was read to our reg   the boys were in high glee and manifested their delight by loud and frequent cheers   an abolitionist undertook to preach Nigger Equality  boys Stoned him and made him quit   Ralston was very drunk also   some other of our boys slightly intoxicated

July 4, 1865

Tuesday, July 4, 1865   4 miles SE of Louisville, K. Y.   Weather very warm   we assembled at eight Oclock in a cool nice shade close by our camp to await the arrival of Genl Sherman   he arrived at 10 A M looking very pleasant   made us a short speech but twas delivered with a Solemnity and depth of feeling seldom witnessed   all were deeply impressed with his farewell address of our beloved Sherman   about noon returned to quarters   guards refused to go on duty but were persuaded after calling the brig Genl but immediately spit all their spite on a Sutler and cleaned him out   Shooting of muskets and revolvers very lively in camp   I took a good drink of wine with [Wallace] Darrow for my stomach’s Sake    I recd a letter from Allice  one from carpenter in Leightons [1]

[1] The Leightons were a farm family in Washington County, Iowa. At about age 18, Isaac was looking for work when Isaac Leighton’s children invited him to their house.   He told Mr. Leighton about his circumstances. Isaac Leighton gave him work and a place to stay.

July 3, 1865

4 miles S E of Louisville K.Y.  Monday, July 3, 1865   Reveillee at one A M  as we start at two we hurry breakfast and barely have time to swallow it  March at two the morning is very fine   we arrive at the river at sunrise   all are dressed clean and neat   our Co all have white collars but two  McDowell got drunk and acted very foolish   could not march in ranks  Sherman arrived at eight in open carriage followed by seven other carriages containing prominent men   we formed one rank on either side of the street   Genl passed between bear headed   we presented arms  Marched up to Osborns house where the Genl Stoped   we proceeded on to camp   Several boys in the brigade were too drunk to get to camp Soon  tis too bad men will so debase themselves

July 2, 1865

At long last, Isaac and his fellow soldiers heard some good news.

Sunday, July 2, 1865 4 miles SE of Louisville, K. Y.   Warm and Pleasant  Many are having pictures taken as there is an artist in our brig   I sat for my Negative to day and got a good one   will get the pictures about Wednesday or thursday    I spoke for a dozen   cost four dollars   paid in advance   We had preaching in our reg P M  text 3rd chap 20th  verse revelations, I stand at the door and nock was very ably discussed   See orders this evening that Genl Sherman arrives in town via river tomorrow morning and our brig [brigade] is ordered to move at 2 P M in morning to escort him through town   We dont like the idea of rising so soon but anything for Sherman

July 1, 1865

4 miles S E of Louisville K.Y.   Saturday, July 1, 1865   Some appearance of rain throughout the day but only sprinkled a little and was quite pleasant   I washed up my clothes in the forenoon and wrote a letter to Laura   She is an odd child   I don’t know how this correspondence will end but I guess I can hold my own   I should like to See her   I still get no letter from Maggie   I guess I might as well slip that from my mind   there’s no great loss but ther’s some small gain   all quiet in camp   Sutlers still doing a good business in the way of beer &c&c but the boys have got their appetites somewhat appeased   had dress parade this evening   the first for some time   the brigade band was in attendance   our reg looked small but neat