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The Fourth Regiment of Iowa Cavalry

was organized and mustered into service at Mount Pleasant

 

Excerpt from Fourth Iowa Regimental History

The 4th Illinois Cavalry

About the middle of September 1864, a force of three hundred men from the regiment, under Captain William Pursell, formed part of a force of nine hundred under Colonel Winslow, which marched towards Kosciusko to make a diversion in favor of Sherman's troops, then moving from Memphis, via Corinth to Chattanooga. This command marched about one hundred and forty miles, was engaged in one or two sharp skirmishes, and returned via Benton and Yazoo City. October 15th, the Fourth Iowa, Fifth and Eleventh Illinois and Tenth Missouri formed the cavalry forces of a small army under Major General McPherson, which made an expedition through Brownsville, towards Livingstone, a town twenty miles north of Jackson. During the five days' march the cavalry was almost constantly engaged, and inflicted severe injury upon the rebels. The Fourth lost: Private John Irland, killed October 16th; Sergeant George W. Caskey; killed October 18th; and Private Samuel R. White, captured. This Samuel R. White died at Andersonville prison in 1864.

There being only troops enough now at Vicksburg for its garrison, the lines of the army were drawn in, and the Cavalry was encamped on *Clear Creek, ten miles cast of Vicksburg. On the 4th of December, a detachment of one hundred men of the regiment under Major C. F. Spearman formed part of a force commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace, Fourth Illinois Cavalry, which moved by transports to Natchez. Arriving on the 6th, this force was joined to a large one under Brigadier-General Gresham, and pursued the rebel cavalry under Wirt Adams one hard day's march, and on the next day returned to Natchez. On the 17th, the detachment reached Vicksburg. The regiment now belonged to what was designated as the Cavalry Forces, Seventeenth Army Corps.

On December 11th, began the "veteran" reenlistments in the regiment, although promissory reenlistments had been made in November. On the 19th, having reached the proportion of reenlistments required. The Fourth became a "veteran" regiment, the first to reenlist from the State of Iowa. In November recruits had began to appear from the recruiting rendezvous in Iowa, and new detachments joined from time to time thereafter until seven hundred were received, and the regiment was full. During the winter the men had good quarters & Emdash; huts built by themselves & Emdash; and their service was the old story of picket, scouting, and foraging.

On the 1st of February, 1864, Sherman's great Meridian expedition began to move, and the regiment eagerly joined it, although it was spoiling the prospect of "veteran" furlough on which the men had been relying, and to which they had been some weeks entitled. The cavalry & Emdash; four regiments including the Fourth & Emdash; under Colonel E. F. Winslow, which constituted the advance of the army, crossed the Big Black on the Id, and visas almost every day engaged with the enemy during the march of one hundred and fifty miles to Meridian. Distinct skirmishes or battles were fought by the cavalry, at Bolton on the 4th; Jackson, 5th; Hillsboro, 7th; Morton, 8th, Tunnel Hill, lath; and Meridian, 14th. The cavalry moved to Marion and Lauderdale Springs while the infantry destroyed the railroads and supplies at Meridian, and on the 20th, the army having enjoyed a complete and triumphant success, began its return march to Vicksburg. Colonel Winslow was ordered to make a detour to the north by Philadelphia and Kosciusko to learn, if possible, the position of General AV. S. Smith, who had moved from Memphis with a large force with orders to Join Sherman at Meridian. The command passed through Philadelphia and Kiosciusko, and after a very fine trip, arrived at Canton a few hours before Sherman s infantry advance, on the '15th, but without having gained any knowledge of the movements of General Smith. On the next day the regiment was ordered to Vicksburg to go to Iowa on its long-promised veteran furlough and early on the following morning it left the army behind and took up a joyous march for the Mississippi, distant sixty miles.

Editors note: * Clear Creek, also known as Hebron Plantation