A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William by Donald C. Elder III

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By Donald C. Elder III

William Henry Harrison Clayton used to be one in every of approximately 75,000 squaddies from Iowa to affix the Union ranks throughout the Civil battle. owning a highschool schooling and stronger penmanship, Clayton served as an organization clerk within the nineteenth Infantry, witnessing battles within the trans-Mississippi theater. His diary and his correspondence together with his kinfolk in Van Buren County shape a different narrative of the day by day soldier existence in addition to an eyewitness account of severe battles and a prisoner-of-war camp. Clayton participated within the siege of Vicksburg and participated in operations opposed to cellular, yet his writings are exact for the descriptions he provides of lesser-known yet pivotal battles of the Civil battle within the West. combating within the conflict of Prairie Grove, the nineteenth Infantry sustained the top casualties of any federal regiment at the eld. Clayton survived that conflict with simply minor accidents, yet he used to be later captured on the conflict of Stirling's Plantation and served a interval of ten months in captivity at Camp Ford, Texas. Clayton's writing unearths the complex sympathies and prejudices widely used between Union squaddies and civilians of that interval within the country's background. He observes with nice disappointment the brutal results of battle at the South, sympathizing with the plight of refugees and lamenting the destruction of estate. He excoriates draft evaders and Copperheads again domestic, conveying the intra-sectional acrimony wrought via civil struggle. ultimately, his racist perspectives towards blacks show a typical yet ironic perspective between Union infantrymen whose efforts helped result in the abolition of slavery within the usa.

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They work ten days and get 25 cts. per day extra. I have not been detailed yet. I would have been but the Capt. had me to do some writing for him so that I got off. There has been a little fighting going on s. west of here. 25 The last named regiment came through with us to this place. , 20th Wisconsin and our own regiment are encamped together. Gen.  Photo by the author. Herron commands our brigade. Springfield is his headquarters. It is reported that we will stay here all winter but there is no telling.

I did not stop to go over it as I would have liked to. I went over one edge of it and saw the remains of clothing, shoes, some bones and a few graves. Some of the boys who remained behind the regiment found knives, balls etc. On Sunday Oct. 12th we marched about 17 miles and about the same distance the next day. On Election Day we reached this place. Rutledge30 who was to have taken the vote of this regt. did not arrive. 31 The majority of our boys are down on Old Van Buren [County], and talk about disowning the county on account of the manner in which we have been "bamboozled" in getting no county bounty.

We went back this way and got them to bake up a lot of flour for us, the biscuits they made were excellent and pleased the boys very much. I would like very much to receive a letter from you. I know you dislike writing but do write. Give my respects to all my friends. Nothing more, but I hope this will find you as it leaves me, enjoying good health. I remain yours truly, William H. H. S. We received yesterday evening while on dress parade news of the defeat of old Price. 28 The whole regt. gave three rousing cheers and after the boys had a great jollification.

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