Category Archives: 3rd Iowa Infantry

1865: Charles Clement Goodale to Elbert Buck

The following letter was written by Charles Clement Goodale (1844-1925), the son of Jared Goodale, Jr. (1812-1871) and Pheba Ann Norton (1814-1907) of Addison, Vermont, though he was raised in Essex County, New York. At the age of thirteen, Charles came to Farmersburg, Clayton County, Iowa, where his parents located on a farm. He worked on the farm and studied at the country school for a few years and then began teaching the school himself. In the fall of 1863, he went to Chicago and spent the ensuing winter there as a student in a mercantile college. He then returned to Iowa and on the 5th of May 1864, he enlisted in Co. C, 3rd Iowa Infantry which was later consolidated with the 2nd Iowa and he was carried on the roster in Co. F, 2nd & 3rd Iowa Veteran Infantry (Consolidated). He was taken prisoner on 22 July 1864 near Atlanta and sent to Andersonville prison. He was confined there for two months and then sent to Florence, South Carolina, until paroled in Charleston Harbor on 6 December 1864. From there he was taken to Annapolis, Maryland, and then sent home on a furlough. When he wrote this letter in March 1864, he was detailed as a clerk in the assistant adjutant-general’s office at Benton Barracks.

After he was mustered out in June 1865, he returned to his home in Iowa, where he continued to farm and teach school until his mother’s death when he moved to Madison county and at once began to take a prominent part in its affairs. He was elected county auditor and took up the study of law which from that time became his chosen profession. He visited Lamar, Colorado, where some of his old-time friends had located, in August 1886, and decided to locate here. He filed on land and purchased city property. He moved there with his family in April 1887, and “from that time his history and the town’s have been so intertwined that the story of one could rest be told without that of the other.”

Charles wrote the letter to Elbert Buck (1849-1921) of Farmersburg, Clayton county, Iowa. He was the son of Samuel H. Buck and Maria Hazen.

Prisoners in the stockage at Florence, South Carolina


Benton Barracks, [St. Louis, Mo.]
March 4, 1865

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I received your welcome letter today and hasten to answer it. I have been expecting one from Mother for some time and I see the reason is that she has never written. Tell Father that I take the hint about Gen. Butler but still cannot acknowledge the [?] till I see more positive evidence. I think Master Elbert, if I was there, that you would soon know whether you would down me or not. Always judge the future by the past and book back and see what you have to encourage you in your quaint ideas.

Today has been a holiday in honor of the President’s Inauguration. I was down and saw the procession. It was two miles in length, composed of soldiers, artillery, and civilians. They fired salutes and on the whole it was quite a good time.

Tell Mother that I have taken the liberty of giving the needle case she intended for Will to Conrad Madison, my fellow prisoner in Florence [South Carolina]. 1 I took out the Testament and if I see Will, he shall have it. My reasons for giving to Madison were that I think it will be a great while before I shall see Will and if I do, he can have the free use of mine. And as I was at headquarters and was going to leave Madison, I wished to present him something, which I did, and he sends his thanks to her.

My eyes feel more like peeled onions that anything else but they are getting better. Have you any snow yet? Tell Father that I have Expressed a box to McGregor to him with two overcoats and a pair of pants. The large overcoat is for Emerson and the pants and the other coat, which is mine, is for Father. Clothing has raised and the boys do not wish to sell while it is so high. I will enclose a note in this which you will hand to Emerson and when you write, send me his P. O. address as I have forgotten it. Tell Father that he have mine for eight (8) dollars and if he concludes to take it, to send the money as there is no prospect of my getting any pay for some time yet.

Well, I suppose this is rather dry. If it ain’t, I am and shall get a drink of muddy Mississippi water.

And now mt dear sisters & brothers
Your patience no longer I’ll bother
And as parting advice I’ll give
That as long as you have health, you will surely live
So I’ll bid you goodbye this Saturday night
And as soon as you receive this I hope you will write
So remember and write and send the next mail
An answer to your servant, Mr. Charlie Goodale

Miss Emily Buck, Miss Cynthia Buck, Mr. Albert Buck

1 Conrad Madison served in Co. D, 53rd Illinois Infantry. He was from Leland, La Salle county, Illinois. Conrad was born in 1836; he was mustered out of the service at Benton Barracks, Missouri, on 16 May 1865, discharged as a veteran for disability.

1862: Alpheus Andrews to his Friend

The following letter was written by Pvt. Alpheus (“Alf”) Andrews (1841-1911) of Co. H, 3rd Iowa Infantry. Alpheus was taken prisoner at the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing) on 6 April 1862 and was eventually paroled and sent to Benton Barracks in St. Louis to await exchange. It was while at Benton Barracks that he wrote the following letter.

I could not find an image of Alf but here is one of George W. Smith who served in Co. C, 3rd Iowa Infantry (Iowa Civil War Images)

After he was changed he was returned to duty with his regiment and on 15 August 1864 he was transferred into Co. C. until he was mustered out of the service on 12 July 1865 at Louisville.

Alf was the son of Hiram Andrews (1813-1889) and Catherine Schisler (1812-1901) of Springfield, Keokuk county, Iowa.

Alf’s letter, written in mid-July 1862, pertains to the parolees who were being held at Benton Barracks at the time. The War Department had two weeks previously issued General Orders No. 72 announcing that furloughs would not be granted to paroled prisoners and instead sent to one of three parole camps established for their reception. Those from the East would go to a facility near Annapolis soon to be christened Camp Parole. Parolees belonging to Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan regiments were ordered to Camp Chase near Columbus, Ohio. The War Department designated Benton Barracks, located near St. Louis, for paroled soldiers from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.

Benton Barracks was the first parole camp to receive large contingents of men. On July 13 Colonel Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville, commander of the post, reported that 1,167 had just arrived. They reached the camp “without officers and with extraordinary opinions of duties proper for them.” Specifically, the soldiers insisted that the terms of their paroles precluded them from performing any military duties whatsoever. They refused to stand guard duty or to perform garrison duty. Bonneville disagreed, and many ended up in the guard house adorned by a ball and chain. Many did not bother to remain in the camp, opting instead for “French leave” and risking being charged with desertion. On February 1, 1862, Bonneville reported that there were 818 parolees at Benton Barracks and 971 reported absent.

It is sometimes erroneously claimed that the Shiloh prisoners were taken to Andersonville which is impossible as that prison did not begin taking prisoner until late February 1864. From what I can learn, the prisoners were taken to Montgomery, Alabama, before they took the oath and were paroled.

[Note: The following letter is from the personal collection of Jim Petersen and was transcribed and published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]


Camp Benton
St. Louis, Missouri
July 18th 1862

Dear Friend,

As things is very dry and dull here and as I get very lonesome, I have to spend some of my time in writing and as I have to write, I thought that I might as well write to you as anybody else. I have not much to write to you as I have wrote to you once since my release from prison and I did not write much to you that time for I expected to be at home long before this time but we have had a set of officers over us that has been acting the rascal with us ever since we have been back in our lines. We should have been back home long ago if they had of done us justice but they wanted to make something off of us and keep us from place to place now for about 2 months and there was an order come they say from the War Department for us to be garrisoned at Benton Barracks to perform such duty as may not interfere with our parole which I will give you a copy of at the close of my letter so you plainly see that that little thing of coming home is plated out altogether.

We are now at the barracks and they have begun to try to put us on guard they make the details for guards every morning and the boys refuse to go on and they march them off to the guard house and put a ball and chain to their leg. It was detailed yesterday morning but when they come to get me, I was found missing so they did not get any of their jewelry on me.

They say it is a great pity for such boys to act so they tell us to remember that we are from Iowa, to remember that we fought and bled in the bloody struggles of Donelson and Pittsburg [Landing] and won great laurels for ourselves and the State from which we hailed but still all of that will not make us stand guard every day or go to the guards house and wear their French Jewelry from June till eternity. First they find they have a set of [ ] set of Iowa and all to deal with and whenever they feel their rights trampled upon, the Devil is to pay right off. We don’t think that our government wants us to violate our parole and we also believe that the government—owing to the great excess of business now to transact in the War Department—that they are in a great measure ignorant of our case. And as we are dead broke, we have no means of informing them of it. We wrote time and again to the government of our different states concerning it but the officers would stop any letter directed to any governor of any of our respective states. They thought by so doing to keep the thing all in their own hands.

Our camp is now pretty near in a state of mutiny and it would have been long before this time, but we feel that we owe too great a duty to the States from which we hailed to ever be guilty of that and we also feel that we owe our government a great duty and we also feel that one of the greater duties that now involves itself on us is to kill a few of the officers now in charge of us. I think that that would be doing ourselves and government and all parties concerned the greatest service that it is now in our power to do. We all feel that we have been grievously wronged and we will only submit when we have to. They have ordered two hundred balls and chains for us so there is one consolation. There is about 1300 of us and you see that they can’t put us all in at once and those that are out can minister to the wants of those that are in irons. They tell us to submit and we shall have our money and not before but that has played out and we will only submit when we have to. We will freely lose every cent that that is due us which is something over a hundred dollars before we will give in—not that we dread or have any fear of the duty. But we respect our oath and hate the idea of being gulled in any such a way. It was a mercy to us to get to take the oath of parole for we was starting to death as fast as we could. They gave us a piece of corn bread about two inches square and a piece of mule beef about the same size for 24 hours and it was half rotten at that. So you see a man naturally would want to get out of that the quickest way possible.

But that is all over now and we are living very well now. They don’t ask us to go int the field nor I don’t think by the information that I can gain by the papers that there will be any exchange. The paper of this morning said that they would not exchange so I don’t think that it will pay the government to keep us so I don’t think it will be a great while before they will do something with us. I want you to write to me immediately and give me a full account of things in general and tell the rest of them to write to me. I have not heard from any of my friends since the battle. I have not got a letter from you since the battle. I have not got a letter from you since I was home.

Direct as follows: Alpheus Andrews, Paroled Prisoner of War. Benton Barracks, Mo. in care of Captaincies. Albertson

As I told you that I would send you a copy of our parole, I present it to you below a copy from the original.

I do solemnly swear and pledge my most sacred word of honor that I will not during the present war between the Confederate States and the United States of America bear arms or aid and abet the enemies of said Confederate States or their friends either directly or indirectly in any form whatever until regularly exchanged or released.

1861-63: Wheaton Montgomery Dutcher to his Family

I could not find an image of Wheaton Dutcher but here are George W. and Miles Kennedy Ramsey of Co. E, 3rd Iowa Infantry wearing their early-war, grey-cloth battle shirts. (Michael Huston Collection)

These letters were written by Wheaton Montgomery Dutcher (1840-1863), the son of master carpenter Newman Dutcher (1813-1905) and Mary Jane Morrison (1812-1841). The Dutchers lived in Oneida and Chautauqua counties, New York, before moving to Cuyahoga county, Ohio, just prior to the 1850 US Census. After a brief stay in Wisconsin, the family moved to Charles City, Floyd county, Iowa, in 1855. Wheaton’s mother died when he was less than a year old and by the time of the Civil War, his father had married twice more fathering at least ten more half siblings. It seems that Wheaton and his father were not close; their relationship described as being not “on confidential terms.” At the time of the 1860 US Census, Wheaton was enumerated in the household of George R. Pete in Butler, Iowa, working as a hired farm hand.

According to military records, Wheaton enlisted on 20 May 1861 in Co. I, 3rd Iowa Infantry, giving his age as 19 and his residence as Waterloo, Iowa. He was officially mustered into service as a private on 10 June 1861 and served with his regiment until 12 July 1863 when he was killed in action during the Siege of Jackson.

While researching Wheaton Dutcher and his service in the 3rd Iowa Infantry, I discovered this interesting article by Chris Masckowski entitled, “A Bold Scheme and a Mysterious Coincidence in the Final Days of the Vicksburg Campaign” which followers of the 3rd Iowa Infantry might enjoy.

[Note: These letters are from the private collection of Michael Huston and are published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]

Letter 1

[In this letter, Wheaton informs his father that he has decided against teaching a school in Floyd county during the winter of 1860-61, choosing instead to stay in Waterloo, Black Hawk county, Iowa, to clerk in a store and attend school himself.]

Waterloo [Iowa]
November 28, 1860

Respected Father,

I have concluded not to take that school so I thought that I would write you a few lines so you could get someone else. I am going to attend store night and morning and going to school this winter in Waterloo.

Give my respects to all. Respectfully yours. — Wheaton M. Dutcher

Letter 2

Camp Benton [St. Louis, Mo.]
December 25, 1861

Dear Father,

I received a letter from Frances last night. She said that you sent me some papers which I received a few days ago and am very much obliged to you for sending them for reading matter is pretty scarce here in camp for it is seldom that we get out to get any.

I am well with the exception of a bad cold. The weather is pleasant here. It seems more like summer than winter although the weather is very congenial here.

About eighteen or twenty thousand soldiers is here at present but I expect that we will leave here soon. I hope that you are well. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and New Years. I should like to be there with you but since that can’t be, I will have to wait till next time.

How is all the children? Albert is here. He is well. Give my best respects to all, yourself included. From your son, — Wheaton M. Dutcher

Letter 3

January 19, 1862

Dear Brother,

I received your welcome letter a few days ago. When I write before, I had not received your letter but it came at had the day after I mailed my letters. We left the barracks about three weeks ago. We have had some hard times since then. The first three days we were out we got to private houses, but the poultry had to go. But I presume you have heard of it before this.

The weather is changeable. The ground is covered with snow. I am well, all but a cold which I have had for the last month.

I was out a hunting yesterday and have not much to do here on the account of it being so wet. We have not drilled any since we left the barracks. Several has died out of the Twelfth Regiment since we left. They have gone to Cairo now. I expect they will stay on the North Missouri Railroad this winter.

I haven’t see Lamon Kellogg since we left. I shall have to close my letter for the present for the drums is beating for the guards so I shall have to go giving respects to all.

Address the same as before. Write soon. From your brother, — W. M. Dutcher

Letter 4

Camp in the rear of Vicksburg
June 29, 1863

Dear Brother,

I received your welcome letter in due time after date. I was well pleased to hear from you.

We are now within a mile and a half of Vicksburg. Most of the town can be seen from our lines. We have rifle pits dug within ten rods [@ 55 yards] of their forts. One night last week we had quite a skirmish. It was about ten o’clock and raining & so dark that one could not see more than two rods. The rebels came out of their works & charged on us but did not succeed to drive us out of our pits. It lasted about one hour and a half. One out of our company was killed by the bursting of a shell & two are wounded in the regiment. Their works are very strong. I think that it would be a hard matter to storm them. It may have to be done but I don’t think it will.

I am perfectly confident that our grub will hold out the longest so I think that they will have to give in after awhile. We come on picket every other night.

You must excuse my short letter this time for there is not much to write about. Write soon. From your brother, — W. M. Dutcher

Letter 5

Camp near Vicksburg
July 20, 1863

B. F. Cleery, Esq.
Dear Frank,

You will excuse me for addressing Mr. Dutcher under cover to you and also expressing his effects in your name which will make it necessary for you to give the order upon the express agent. I could not find among his things his father’s address and remembering that he was not on confidential terms with his father, I have barely made the announcement to him without comment.

He was a young man whose loss I regret deeply. He did not fear to do his duty. I have no doubt but you and family will unite with me to shed a tear over his untimely end.

My kind regards to the girls, Father, and brother and believe [me] yours with respects, — J. P. Knight [Capt. Co. I, 3rd Iowa Infantry]

The post war image at right is Newman Dutcher, Wheaton’s father. The document at left, dated 8 October 1863, certifies Newman’s identity and may have been carried with him to Mississippi or wherever he had to go to retrieve his son’s body.