The Cedar Valley Times
Cedar Rapids, Linn Co., Iowa
August 25, 1864.
From our own Correspondent [not Dr. Freeman McClelland of the 16th Iowa
Infantry, who had resigned]:
News from the 12th Iowa Regiment.
Headquarters 12th Iowa Vet. Inf.
Holly Springs, Aug. 6, 1864.
Editor of the C. V. Times:
We are again on the "war path." As we shall soon pass beyond the reach of
mail facilities, I send you a short note to advise you and our other friends of
the fact, and of such other items of news as have occurred since my last. To
begin Seriatim [in a series or sequence].
Soon after writing, the 12th received from Adjutant General [Nathaniel B.]
Baker, a splendid flag, voted by the General Assembly of Iowa, for gallantry at
the capture of Fort Donelson [Feb. 13-16, 1862]. The flag thus presented by
the State, is called the regimental flag, and made in accordance with the
following army regulation. The color is "blue, with the arms of the United States
embroidered in silk on the centre; the name of the regiment in a scroll
underneath the Eagle; the size of each color [flag] to be six feet six inches fly,
and six feet deep on the pike; the length of the pike, including the spear and
ferrule, to be nine feet ten inches; the fringe yellow; cord and tassels, blue
and white silk intermixed."
Although such is the regulation, I have not yet seen a regimental flag in the
army, with the arms of the United States embroidered on it in silk; instead
of being embroidered in silk, the arms are simply painted in the centre of the
flag. In addition to this, we have the national flag--the stars and stripes,
in red, white and blue.
Several official changes have occurred. Lieut. Homer C. Morehead, of your
city, a brave and efficient officer, has been appointed Acting Regimental
Quartermaster, in the place of Lieut. [Augustus A.] Burdick, killed at the battle of
Tupelo. He fills the office cum magna laude. The Surgeon of the 12th, Dr.
[Sanford W.] Huff, of Iowa City, has been appointed Surgeon-in-Chief of the
First Division of the 16th Army Corps; Dr. [Myron] Underwood distinguished for
his skill and efficiency at the battle of Tupelo, takes Dr. Huff's place in the
12th Iowa. Dr. Underwood is highly esteemed by the soldiers, not only of
their own, but of other regiments in which he has officiated.
On Sunday morning, July 31st, 1864, our brigade left Memphis on the Memphis
and Charleston Railroad. On arriving at Grand Junction we took the Mississippi
Central Railroad south to Davis' Mills. The railway not having been repaired
beyond this, we left the cars and encamped for the night.
In the morning we marched for Holly Springs and arrived here Tuesday
forenoon, August 2d.
The army presented a beautiful martial array as it approached the town, with
music and with banners unfurled to the fresh breeze of the morning.
The distance from where we first come in sight of the town, to the town, is
about two miles; the intervening space a slight depression, the approach
descending gradually, and then ascending to the town. The approach is entirely
open, smooth, unobstructed, and defended by a formidable line of rifle-pits.
The 12th Iowa first entered the town. Lieut. Col. [John] Stibbs was
appointed Provost Marshal of the city, and the 12th was detailed to act as Provost
Guard. The Colonel and his men have won the confidence and esteem of those
bitter secessionists by the able and impartial manner in which they have discharged
their delicate and difficult duties.
Indeed I tell the Colonel and his men, that I fear that their Northern loyal
friends would look with suspicion upon the compliments which they receive from
rebels. The citizens, however, receive simple, but strict justice. They
return the favor by inviting the boys to good dinners, which you know, have ever
been noted since the days of Falstaff, for producing friendly cheer and social
feelings. I don't think they have any beer or wine.
Major [Edward M.] Van Duzee, of Dubuque, is now in command of the Regiment.
He is popular with the men--a thorough disciplinarian, and decidedly opposed
to the indiscriminate pillage, plunder and vandalism which mark the course of
some of our regiments. Indeed, all our officers are opposed to it. If it must
be done, they say let vengeance be inflicted by the legally authorized
military authority, and not by a mob which will demoralize and ruin our own army.
We expect to move south soon. Camp rumors locate [Confederate Gen. Nathan
B.] Forrest, Dick Taylor, and part of [Gen. John Sappington] Marmaduke's forces
at Oxford, thirty miles south of this place. We have a larger force than in
the Tupelo expedition. Everything has the appearance of work--hot work, at an
early day. Still there may be no fighting; yet the rebels must fight or fly.
I intended to speak of this little town which was quite a resort, before the
war, for the "Southern chivalry"--a chivalry inferior to the
"small-fisted"farmers of the North, in all those higher elements of character
true men and women.
But I have already exceeded the limits of a "note" and must close.
Very truly yours,
F. H., Citizen of Iowa.
[I'm not sure who this letter writer was or whether he belonged to the 12th
Iowa Infantry. There were several soldiers with the initials F. H. in the 12th
So far as flag terminology, the "fly" of the flag is the right half or edge
of the flag as you face it, with the "canton" (with the American flag, the
blue of the flag containing the stars) in the upper left quarter of the flag.
"Fly" also refers to the horizontal length of the flag from the left [hoist end]
to right on the obverse side. The ferrule is the end piece that fits at the
base of the staff holding the color or flag (as opposed to the finial that
sits at the top of the staff). The length of the "pike," etc., refers to the
length of the staff on which the color is fixed. In other words, the flag or
color measures 6 feet 6 inches horizontally (from staff to fly end) by six feet
vertically, flown on a staff 9 feet 10 inches in length. I hope I've described
Since an item on the 3rd Iowa Cavalry was just posted, I might mention that a
wounded private of Co. D of that regiment is credited with capturing General
Marmaduke, referred to above, during the battle of Mine Creek/Osage River,
Kansas, Oct. 25, 1864. This would be a rare occurrence, that of a Private
soldier capturing a General during a battle.]
Source of roster information: "Roster and Records of Iowa Troops in the
Rebellion, Vols. 1-6." Civil War and Iowa: Greyhounds and Hawkeyes. CD-ROM.
Creston, IA: O. J. Fargo, 2000.
Sue Trout Reisdorph