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Ozzy

Color Bearer

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As we all know, the role of color bearer, though highly sought after (and considered a high honor, to carry your regiment's colors) was not without danger: some regiments had four, five or six color bearers shot down over the course of a single battle...

Which is why this Shiloh veteran was unusual: selected to be the color bearer shortly after enlistment in 1861, he is acknowledged as having carried his regiment's colors in every major battle from the time of enlistment, until he was mustered out at the end of the war... the only color bearer known to have 'enjoyed' such longevity. (He died of natural causes in 1907.)

What was his name?

 

Ozzy

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Jim

Sergeant E.D. Lucky, to be precise...

One incident, in particular, was witnessed during the second day's fight at Nashville:  'The regiment charged across an open field, upon the enemy entrenched behind a stone wall. When about halfway across the field, a rebel shell exploded exactly in the folds of the flag, tearing it to shreds. The colors and color bearer disappeared... so enveloped in smoke that it appeared the Sergeant's luck had run out. But without a moment's halt, the battered flag came out of the smoke, and the Sergeant, still unhurt, carried it forward with a rush... over the wall... up the high hill, in pursuit of the fleeing enemy, until he and the little squad in company with him were far in advance of the rest of the line...'

 

Ozzy

 

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Belle

Following this man's first action, he was 'mentioned in despatches' by the Colonel of his regiment:  'The color-bearer showed much coolness amid the sharp fire of the enemy.'

And, how the selection of color bearer was made, for that particular unit (initially called 'the University Recruits'), is a story in itself: During the school year of 1861, the students at the school decided to raise their own company; by the end of September, 101 young men had 'signed on.' The female students at the campus requested to 'participate,' and support the company in some way... and it was decided to allow the young women to vote for their choice of color bearer. Later, when the University Recruits became Company C of their regiment, the color bearer of Company C was elevated to Regimental Color Sergeant; and the women of the university sewed the regiment's flag, which was carried at Shiloh.

 

Ozzy

 

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Henry James Grannis was born in July 1841 in Indiana, to parents who were originally from the State of New York. When Henry was 18, the family moved to Fayette, Iowa where the young man completed his high school education, and was admitted to nearby Upper Iowa University. With the whole nation in turmoil that erupted into war following the attack on Fort Sumter, classmates at the university decided in the Summer of 1861 to form a militia company, the services of which were to be offered if the President of the United States made a call for more troops.

In September, the militia company, known as University Recruits 101, became Company C of the 12th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment; Henry Grannis was selected by vote of the female students of the university to be the Color Bearer, with rank of Sergeant. From then on, Sergeant Grannis shared the fate of his regiment: at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh (where almost the entire unit was forced to surrender after the seven-hour stand along the 'Sunken Road.') Following release from captivity in October 1862, Henry Grannis rejoined his reconstituted regiment at Benton Barracks, and resumed the role of color bearer (taking custody of the replacement flag, sewn by the women of Upper Iowa University.) Sent into action at Jackson, Mississippi in May 1863, the 12th Iowa next became part of the Siege of Vicksburg; Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi (July 14-15, 1864); Battle of Nashville (December 15-16); and the operation against Mobile, Alabama, culminating in the Battle of Spanish Fort (April 1865.) Henry Grannis was given meritorious promotion to First Lieutenant in November 1865, and mustered out with the rest of his regiment in January 1866.

Henry Grannis returned to Fayette, Iowa and eventually took to farming, and running a sawmill. And he married his sweetheart, Carrie, and raised five children. Known as 'modest and unpretentious,' Mr. Grannis was briefly Recorder of Deeds for Fayette County; and it is said that he attended every reunion of his old regiment. Henry Grannis died in 1907, and is buried in Grandview Cemetery, Fayette.

 

Ozzy

 

References:  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=39099840   Henry Grannis at find-a-grave

http://www.mobile96.com/cw1/Vicksburg/GH/ColorBearer.html      Henry Grannis bio at Mobile96

http://archive.org/details/campaignsbattles01reed     Campaigns and Battles of 12th Iowa by D.W. Reed  (at archive.com)

 

 

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Transylvania

Iowa was, at one time, an innovator in 'higher education.'

  - Mary Edwards Walker (attended what became Lenox College, 1860)  http://www.hawaiireporter.com/mary-edwards-walker-the-only-woman-ever-to-receive-the-medal-of-honor

  - George Washington Carver (attended Simpson College, 1890-91)  http://www.blackiowa.org/exhibits/past-exhibits/george-washington-carver/3/

  - Upper Iowa University (initially a Methodist seminary, 1857): attended by David W. Reed, Father of Shiloh NMP  https://www.uiu.edu/about/history.html

 

Cheers

Ozzy

 

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