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History of Cedar
County, Iowa, 1878.

  
 

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War History

 

If there is anything more than another of which the people of the Northern States have reason to be proud, it is of the record they made during the dark and bloody days of the war of the rebellion.  When the war was forced upon the country, the people were quietly pursuing the even tenor of their ways, doing whatever their hands found to do --- making farms or cultivating those already made, erecting homes, founding cities and towns, building shops and manufactories --- in short, the country was alive with industry and hopes for the future.  The country was just recovering from the depression and losses incident to the financial panic of 1857.  The future looked bright and promising, and the industrious and patriotic sons and daughters of the Free States were buoyant with hope --- and looking forward to the perfecting of new plans for the ensurement of comfort and competence in their declining years, they little heeded the mutterings and threatenings of treason's children in the Slave States of the South.    True sons and descendants of the heroes of the "times that tried men's souls" --- the struggle for American independence --- they never dreamed that there was even one so base as to attempt the destruction of the Union of their fathers --- a government baptized with the best blood the world ever knew.  While immediately surrounded with peace and tranquillity, they paid but little attention to rumored plots and plans of those who lived and grew rich from the sweat and toil, blood and flesh of others --- aye, even by trafficking in the offspring of their own loins.    Nevertheless, the war came with all its attendant horrors.

April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter, at Charleston, South Carolina, Major Anderson, U. S. A., Commandant, was fired upon by rebels in arms.  Although basest treason, this first act in the bloody reality that followed was looked upon as mere bravado of a few hot heads --- the act of a few fire-eaters whose sectional bias and freedom hatred was crazed by excessive indulgence in intoxicating potations.  When, a day later, the news was borne along the telegraph wires that Major Anderson had been forced to surrender to what at first had been regarded as a drunken mob, the patriotic people of the North, were startled from their dreams of the future --- from undertakings half completed --- and made to realize that behind that mob there was a dark, deep and well organized purpose to destroy the government, rend the Union in twain, and out of its ruins erect a slave oligarchy, wherein no one would dare question their right to hold in bondage the sons and daughters of men whose skins were black, or who, perchance, through practices of lustful natures, were half or three-quarters removed from the color that God, for His own purposes had given them.  But they "reckoned without their host."  Their dreams of the future --- their plans for the establishment of an independent confederacy were doomed from the inception to sad and bitter disappointment.

Immediately upon the surrender of Fort Sumter, Abraham Lincoln, America's martyr President --- who, but a few short weeks before, had taken the oath of office as the nation's chief executive, issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers for three months.  The last word of that proclamation had scarcely been taken from the electric wires, before the call was filled.  Men and money were counted out by hundreds and thousands.

The people who loved their whole government could not give enough.    Patriotism thrilled and vibrated and pulsated through every heart.  The farm, the workshop, the office, the pulpit, the bar, the bench, the college, the school house --- every calling offered its best men, their lives and fortunes in defense of the government's honor and unity.  Party lines were, for the time, ignored.  Bitter words spoken in moments of political heat, were forgotten and forgiven, and, joining hands in a common cause, the masses of the people repeated the oath of America's soldier statesman; "By the great Eternal, the Union must and shall be preserved."

The gauntlet thrown down by the traitors of the South in their attack upon Fort Sumter was accepted, not, however, in the spirit with with which insolence meets insolence --- but with a firm, determined spirit of patriotism and love of country.    The duty of the President was plain under the Constitution and laws, and above and beyond all, the masses of the people from whom all political power is derived, demanded the suppression of the rebellion, and stood ready to sustain the authority of their representatives and executive officers.

April 14, A. D., 1861, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, issued the following:

Proclamation.

Whereas, The laws of the United States have been, and now are, violently opposed in several States by combinations too powerful to be suppressed in the ordinary way, I, therefore, call for the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000 to suppress said combination and execute the laws.  I appeal to all loyal citizens to facilitate and aid in this effort to maintain the laws, the integrity and the perpetuity of the popular government, and redress the wrongs long enough endured.  The first service assigned to the forces, probably, will be to repossess the forts, places and property which have been seized from the Union.  Let the utmost care be taken, consistent with the object, to avoid devastation, destruction, or interference with the property of peaceful citizens in any part of the country; and I hereby command persons composing the aforesaid combination to disperse within twenty days from date.

I hereby convene both Houses of Congress for the 4th day of July next, to determine upon measures for public safety which the interest of the subject demands.

Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States.

Seventy-five thousand men were not enough to subdue the rebellion.  Nor were ten times that number.  The war went on, and call followed call, until it began to look as if there would not be men enough in all the Free States to crush out and subdue the monstrous war traitors had inaugurated.  But to every call for either men or money, there was a willing and a ready response.  And it is a boast of the people that, had the supply of men fallen short, there were women brave enough, daring enough, patriotic enough, to have offered themselves as sacrifices on their country's altar.  Such were the impulses, motives and actions of the patriotic men of the North, among whom the sons of Cedar made a conspicuous and praiseworthy record.

The readiness with which the first call was filled, together with the embarrassments that surrounded President Lincoln in the absence of sufficient laws to authorize him to meet the unholy, unlooked for and unexpected emergency --- an emergency that had never been anticipated by the wisest and best of America's statesmen --- together with an underestimate of the magnitude of the rebellion, and a general belief that the war could not and would not last more than three months, checked rather than encouraged the patriotic ardor of the people.  But very few of the men, comparatively speaking, who volunteered in response to President Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers for three months, were accepted.  But the time soon came when there was a place and a musket for every man.  Call followed call in quick succession, until the number reached the grand total of 3,339,748, as follows:

April 16, 1861, for three months 75,000
May 4, 1861, for five years 64,748
July, 1861, for three years 500,000
July 18, 1862, for three years 300,000
August 4, 1862, for nine months 300,000
June, 1863, for three years 300,000
October 17, 1863, for three years 300,000
February 18, 1864, for three years 500,000
July 10, 1864, for three years 200,000
July 16, 1864, for one, two and three years 500,000
December 24, 1864, for three years 300,000
     Total 3,339,748

The tocsin of war was sounded.  Meetings were held in all the townships, at which stirring and spirited addresses were made, and resolutions adopted that admitted of but one interpretation.  The spirit of the people in the early days of the war is very clearly reflected in the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, It becomes American citizens to know no political law but their country's welfare; and, whereas, the flag of our country has been insulted, and the laws set at defiance by formidably organized bands of lawless men, whose avowed purpose and overt acts are high treason against the government, therefore,

Resolved, That in the present endangered state of our country, we will ignore all party differences and distinctions, and will unite in rendering all the aid within our power to the Federal Executive in executing the laws and defending the honor of our national flag.

Resolved, That we are unalterably for the Union of the States, one and inseparable, now and forever.

With such a spirit, and guided by such patriots as Judge William H. Tuthill, James H. Rothrock, Alonzo Shaw, John S. Tuthill, Wells Spicer, S. S. Daniels, editor of the Advertiser (of Tipton); William Baker, of Rochester Township; Moreau Carroll, of Massillon Township; Lawrie Tatum and Thomas James, of Springdale Township; Ebenezer A. Gray, of Iowa Township; and Robert Gower, of Cass Township, there was no wavering, if there had been a disposition to waver, the masses of the people were united in sentiment and prompt in action.

In a few days after the first call for volunteers was issued, a sufficient number to form a full company enlisted at Tipton, were enrolled, officered and completely equipped, their uniforms being presented to them by citizens of the town, who had by voluntary contribution raised, in a few hours, the amount required for that purpose.  An illustrative incident is told respecting this subscription; that upon its first inception, a somewhat notorious Copperhead remarked that those who talked the loudest were not always the largest givers, and that, although he had said but little, he would give half as much as Judge Tuthill.  This conservation was reported to the Judge, who at once subscribed and paid in $50, and the subscription list being immediately brought back to "Charlie," he handed out his "twenty-five," without audible comment, but doubtless thinking the curses it was bad policy to utter aloud.

The pen could be employed for months in sketching the uprising of the people, the formation of companies, and telling of the deeds of valor and heroism of the "Boys in Blue" from Cedar County.  There is material here for volumes, and it would be a pleasing task to collect and arrange it, but no words our pen could employ would add a single laurel to their brave and heroic deeds.  Acts speak louder than words, and their acts have spoken --- are recorded on pages written in blood.  The people of no county in any of the States of the freedom and Union-loving North made a better record during the dark and trying times of the great and final struggle between freedom and slavery, patriotism and treason, than the people of Cedar.  Monuments may crumble, cities may fall into decay, the tooth of time leave its impress on all the works of man, but the memory of the gallant deeds of the Army of the Union in the war of the Great Rebellion, in which the sons of this county bore so conspicuous a part, will live in the minds of men so long as time and civilized governments endure.

The people were liberal, as well as patriotic; and while the men were busy enlisting, organizing and equipping companies, the ladies were no less active.  Committees were appointed to look after the necessities and to secure comfort to the families of those who enlisted.

Men and money were given by tens, and hundreds and thousands.  No one stopped to count the cost.  The life of the nation was at stake, and the people were ready to sacrifice all, EVERYTHING, for the preservation and maintenance of the Union.

"A union of lakes, a union of lands,
A union that none can sever;
A union of hearts, a union of hands,
The American Union forever."

Looking after the Families of the Volunteers. --- At the June Term, 1861, the Board of Supervisors, J. B. McGill offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That there be and is hereby appropriated for the use of the families of volunteers, who are or who may be called to enlist in the services of the State, or of the United States, from the county of Cedar, the sum of $5,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, and all sums thus appropriated shall be determined by the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Wright moved to amend by striking out all after the work "resolved," and to insert the following:

That each of the members of the Board of Supervisors be, and they are hereby appointed a Committee in their respective townships to attend to the wants of the families of volunteers, either in the State or United States' service; said Committee to furnish such articles as said families may stand in need of, and present their accounts, properly verified, to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, who may allow the same and issue warrants, if he believes just and in accordance with the laws passed by the extra session of the Eighth General Assembly.

On motion to adopt the amendment the yeas and nays were called, resulting as follows:

Yeas --- Messrs. Ed. Wright, J. J. Wright, Loomis, Stanton, Wharton, Houghton, Robinson, Z. Brown, Mason, J. W. Brown, Sheldon, Baker. --- 12.

Nays --- J. B. McGill.

The amendment was adopted.

Under this resolution, the enormous sum of $27,093.66 was paid out for the purposes specified.  Can any other county in the State show a more liberal spirit?    But the end is not yet.  The war went on, and more men and more money were needed.

At the June term, 1864, the Board of Supervisors appropriated $4,500 for the benefit of the men enlisted in the hundred day service, under Capt. L. D. Durbin.    At the same time a committee of two, consisting of Messrs. Henderson & Hollingworth were appointed to inquire into the propriety of paying a county bounty to the hundred day men.  This committee reported at the September Session of the Board, recommending the payment of a bounty of $50.00 to each non-commissioned officer and private who had enlisted from the county, and who were credited to the county.  The report of the committee was adopted.

January, 1865, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution providing for the payment of a county bounty of $200.00 to each and every man who volunteered in response to the President's call for 300,000 volunteers, issued under date of September 21, 1864.   The resolution provided that of this sum $50.00 should be paid at the time of enlistment, $50.00 at the end of six months, and the remaining $100.00 at the end of one year.

Such was the war spirit, and spirit of just and merited liberality that characterized the people of Cedar County during the years of the war of the rebellion.

As an additional evidence of the patriotism of the people, it is shown by the statement of Judge Tuthill that he sold principally to farmers of the county $100,000 of 7.30 Government securities.  He knew also of other subscriptions to a large amount, made by citizens of the county at Muscatine and Davenport.

Of their war record the people of Cedar County may well be proud.

It would be interesting to record the money contributions, voluntary as well as by means of taxation, made by the people during the years of the rebellion, but that would be impossible.  Of the former, no accounts were kept.  People never stopped to reckon the cost, or to keep account of what they gave.  Whenever money was needed for any purpose, and purposes and needs were plenty, it was given and paid on demand.  There were no delays, no excuses, no "days of grace," no time for consideration demanded.  People were ready and willing.  Husbands and fathers abandoned homes and their comforts, wives and little ones for the dangers of tented fields of battle, assured that, in their absence, plenty would be provided for their loved ones.    Because of this knowledge their dreams were none the less sweet, nor their slumbers less refreshing, even if their beds were made upon mother earth, and their covering only that of the starry dome above.

The world never witnessed such an uprising of the masses, such a unanimity of sentiment, such a willingness to sacrifice men and money, as was shown by the people of the States of the North from the time the rebels fired upon Fort Sumter, in April, 1861, until the surrender of treason's army, in 1865; and no county in all the Northern States made a bolder, clearer or better record than Cedar.

Having thus noticed the spirit of patriotism that fired the hearts of the sons and daughters of Cedar, the sacrifices and readiness of the wealthier classes and of the tax payers to sustain the Union, we come now to the volunteer soldiery.  And of these what can we write?  What words can our pen employ that would do justice to their heroic valor --- to their unequaled and unparalleled valor?  Home and home comforts, wives and little ones, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, were given up for life and danger on the tented fields of battle, for exposure, disease and death at the cannon's mouth.  They reckoned none of these, but went out with their lives in their hands to meet and conquer the foes of the Union, maintain its supremacy and vindicate its honor and integrity.  We can offer no more fitting tribute to their patriotic valor than a full and complete record, so far as it is possible to make it, that will embrace the names, the terms of enlistments, the battles in which they engaged, etc.  It will be a wreath of glory encircling every brow and a memento which each and every one of them earned in defense of their country's honor, integrity and unity.

 

AN UNJUST DRAFT.

In face of the fact that men volunteered from the county by hundreds, that to every call for volunteers there was a ready and willing response, it seems strange that the odium of a draft should have been ordered; but a draft was ordered, nevertheless.    In making up their accounts at the War Department, a mistake occurred, which showed a deficit of 114 men.  To the credit of the people of the county, be it said, that subsequent investigations revealed the fact that the deficit did not exist, that the quota of the county had been more than filled, and that the War Department had committed an error that deeply wounded the patriotic pride of the people.  The discovery of this error was not made, however, until after the draft had been ordered and the men drawn.

The enrollment, quota and deficit in the several townships, as reported in the order commanding the draft, was as follows:

Townships. No. Enrolled Deficit. No. Drawn.
Center 428 22 44
Pioneer 159 7 14
Fremont 81 7 14
Red Oak 85 4 8
Linn 62 7 14
Gower 104 4 8
Springdale 162 11 22
Iowa 119 12 24
Springfield 137 9 18
Inland 104 5 10
Sugar Creek --- 2 4
Rochester --- 4 8
Farmington 131 14 28
Dayton 101 6 12
      Total 1,673 114 228

Of this draft, the Advertiser, of October 6th, says:  "The draft has come at last, and many breathe easier;  but it is not so with all, for there are some whose worst fears are realized.  They are drafted.  We sympathize with them, and hope they may return from their year's fighting and live to a good and happy old age.    Most of those who are drafted take it quite coolly; and are preparing to go or send substitutes; but there are some, we hear, who have 'skedaddled.'  It may not be known to them that, in thus fleeing from the draft, they forfeit their right to hold office.   This is right.  Men who are not willing to bear their share of the burdens of Government should have no voice in administering it.  Dayton and Inland Townships have raised volunteers to release them from the effects of the draft."

The war ended, peace concluded and the Union preserved in its integrity, those sons of Cedar who had volunteered their lives in defense of the unity of the Government who were spared to see the triumph of patriotism over treason, returned to their homes to receive grand ovations of welcome and tributes of honor from friends and neighbors who had eagerly and zealously followed them wherever the fortunes of war directed.  Exchanging their soldier's uniform for citizen's dress, they fell back to their old vocations --- on the farm, at the forge, the bench, in the shop, and whatever else their hands found to do.    Brave men, are honorable always; and no class of Cedar's citizens are entitled to greater respect and consideration than the volunteer soldiery, not only because they were soldiers in the hour of the country's peril, but because, in their association with their fellow citizens, their walk is upright and their honesty and character without reproach.

 

 
 

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