1862: David Knowles to General Baker

Rev. David Knowles

This letter was written by Rev. David Knowles (1811-1899) of Columbus City, Iowa, in June 1862. In his letter, David requests the assistance of “Gen. Baker” in securing a discharge for his son serving in Co. C, 8th Iowa Infantry. His son was David A. Knowles (1843-1863) enlisted on 10 August 1861. He died at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis on 6 August 1863.

I believe the General Baker that David addressed his letter to was Nathaniel Bradley Baker who Governor Kirkwood appointed as adjutant-general of Iowa to coordinate Iowa’s response to the Civil War.

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Jim Petersen and is published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]


Columbus City, Iowa
June 10, 1862

To Gen. Baker
Respected Sir,

According to your advice to me on Monday last on the steamer Admiral Hine, I send you these lines to ask for the requisite instruction in regard to my son’s discharge.

His name is David A. Knowles and is a private in Capt. Bell’s Company (Washington Rifles) 8th Regt. Iowa Colunteers. When his regiment was leaving Sedalia for “Dixie,” he was sick with pneumonia. Bro. Rankin sent me word to try and get him home if possible. I did do. He is better but not fit for camp duty. He has pain in his side so that he can not be on his back nor chop a stick of wood without much pain. Having been away from his regiment at 2 months, during which time he has sent a Doctor’s Certificate to Headquarters twice, if you can help us in the premises, you will confer a lasting obligation upon yours respectfully. — David Knowles

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