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When Abraham Lincoln uttered the lines < 'I can't spare this man... He fights' > he may very well have been speaking of Jacob Lauman of Burlington, Iowa. In command of the 3rd Brigade of Hurlbut's 4th Division at the Battle of Shiloh, BGen Lauman demonstrated initiative, tenacity and profound devotion to duty, that caused Stephen Hurlbut to write:  'I saw Jacob Lauman hold the right of my line on Sunday with his small body of gallant men, for three hours. After delivering its fire with great steadiness, the 3rd Brigade charged and drove the enemy 3 or 400 yards...' [OR Serial 10 pp. 204-7]

For Lauman, it was continuation of a trend that began at Belmont, Missouri on November 7, 1861, when the 7th Iowa [commanded by Colonel Lauman] found itself in the thick of the action, taking on the role of shock troops. Colonel Dougherty, in charge of the 2nd Brigade (to which the 7th Iowa and 22nd Illinois belonged), wrote, 'Regardless of obstacles, the 2nd Brigade advanced as rapidly as possible, and stayed in line. The enemy obstinately resisted, and a storm of musketry raged along our whole line... The 7th Iowa throughout the battle fought like veterans. Iowa may well feel proud of her sons who fought at Belmont.' [OR 3, pp 272-298]

Jacob Lauman had his horse shot from under him; he advanced with his men on foot, and during a 'storm of musketry' took a shot to the leg [the minie ball passed through the thigh, and just missed the bone.] Colonel Lauman was carried from the field, and successfully evacuated aboard a steamboat. His wound was dressed, and he was sent home to Iowa to recuperate.

His wound healed sufficiently after a few weeks, and Colonel Lauman rejoined his regiment. But, prior to the Siege of Fort Donelson, Lauman was elevated to command of the 4th Brigade of the 2nd Division (BGen C.F. Smith.) Colonel Lauman accompanied his brigade on the afternoon of February 15th, when under orders of U.S. Grant to 'Take that Fort,' Charles F. Smith advanced his division until Lauman's Brigade (spearheaded by the 2nd Iowa Infantry) broached the outer works... and was only brought to a halt by the setting of the sun (with the conclusion promised on the morrow.) But, there was no resumption of aggressive action: the Confederate commander surrendered before hostilities could resume. Deemed to be 'courageous, aggressive, and bold,' Jacob Lauman was promoted to Brigadier General on March 21st, 1862.

Jacob Gartner Lauman was born in Maryland in 1813, but grew up in Pennsylvania. As a young man, he engaged in commercial activities in the Keystone State, but was drawn by the promise of opportunity available in the Territory of Iowa (which had been opened to settlement following the removal-by-treaty of the Sac Fox Indians.) Lauman arrived in Burlington in 1844, and set himself up in business -- JG Lauman & Brother, wholesale and retail providers of groceries, clothing and hardware. And, Jacob became involved in the local militia organization -- the Burlington Grays -- as a Lieutenant. He continued involvement with the militia, and eventually was promoted to Major of the 1st Battalion of Iowa Volunteers... the post he occupied at the time of Fort Sumter. Put to work by Governor Samuel Kirkwood as a recruiter of soldiers, Lauman was commissioned as Colonel in July 1861 and given command of the 7th Iowa Infantry Regiment.

After the Battle of Shiloh, Lauman remained with Hurlbut's Division and commanded a brigade during the Crawl to Corinth. He was still with Hurlbut, operating in vicinity of Memphis, when the Confederates attacked Corinth on October 3rd. Sent to reinforce Rosecrans at Corinth, the 4th Division was incorporated into a force under the command of General Edward Ord, and diverted towards Davis Bridge in an effort to block Van Dorn's retreating force. The action of October 5th became known as the Battle of Hatchie Bridge, and although recorded as a Union 'victory,' was not regarded by participants as having been 'correctly fought' (including Jacob Lauman, who may have been too vocal in expressing his interpretation of Ord's leadership.) [Sherman's Memoirs, Vol 1, pp 262-4] and [wikipedia 'Battle of Hatchie's Bridge'] and [The Civil War Siege of Jackson by Jim Woodrick, pages 64-66],

Regardless, Lauman was elevated to Division Command by General W.T. Sherman in November 1862; and upon the promotion of Stephen Hurlbut to command of Memphis, BGen Lauman was put in charge of Hurlbut's old 4th Division (soon to become part of General Cadwallader Washburn's 16th Army Corps, at the Siege of Vicksburg. Lauman's Division contributed significantly to the Union success at Vicksburg, which officially ended with the surrender of General Pemberton on July 4th, 1863.) [Memoirs of US Grant, Vol 1, p 456] But, there was still work to be done: General Joseph Johnston's Army had been advancing to the relief of General Pemberton at Vicksburg... but was too late. Johnston was stalled at Jackson, Mississippi, and his force was seen as a threat that had to be neutralized: US Grant put WT Sherman in charge of an expedition to accomplish that mission. Sherman assembled the 15th Army Corps, the 9th A.C. and the 13th A.C. (MGen Ord took charge of the 13th Army Corps upon the removal of John McClernand in June.) Two brigades of Jacob Lauman's Division were assigned detached duty with the 13th A.C. -- and BGen Lauman took charge of that detachment.

Sherman's Jackson Expedition commenced on July 9th. By July 11th, the encirclement of Jackson, Mississippi was nearly complete. On the 12th, Lauman's detachment advanced in line with Hovey's Division (on his left) across heavily wooded, undulating ground... until Colonel Pugh, in charge of the 1st Brigade, halted the advance: something about the ground in front did not look right. Lauman came to Pugh, had a discussion, and skirmishers were sent forward. But when the skirmishers drew no significant fire, Lauman ordered Pugh to advance [Crosley p. 375]

There is debate whether Lauman was following orders, or acting recklessly. In any event, Pugh's Brigade advanced into a trap, and was cut down by a dozen Confederate guns firing canister, and by lines of Rebel infantry firing from behind protective earthworks. Four hundred men became casualties in a matter of minutes, with almost no loss to the Rebels.

Eventually, MGen Ord arrived on the scene, found a distraught Lauman still attempting to retrieve the situation... and ordered Lauman to conduct a muster of his troops. BGen Lauman had no idea how to conduct the numerical assessment while under fire; Ord relieved him of command, and assigned his division to Hovey. And Jacob Lauman was sent away in disgrace to report to MGen U.S. Grant at Vicksburg [OR Serial 38 page 506.]

It is evident from their writings that both US Grant and WT Sherman were sympathetic to the plight of Jacob Lauman. But, as Sherman admitted, 'I deem it most important to support Army Corps commanders, so must sustain Ord [over Lauman] for the time being.' [Papers of US Grant vol 9, page 45]

Jacob Lauman was sent back to Iowa 'to await orders' that never came. He was given a brevet promotion to Major General at the end of the war. And he continued to suffer from lingering effects of the wound from Belmont... which may have contributed to his death on February 9, 1867. He died in Burlington, and is buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery there.




References:  Papers of US Grant, volume 9, pages 37-45.

Annals of Iowa, vol 11, no. 6 (1914) pages 461-5  'General J.G. Lauman Collection.'

Annals of Iowa, vol 1, no. 5 (1894) pages 371-381  'Lauman's Charge at Jackson' by Geo. W. Crosley.

OR Serials 3, 7, 10 and 38

The Civil War Siege of Jackson, Mississippi by Jim Woodrick (2016) History Press of Charleston, SC


Memoirs of US Grant

Memoirs of William T. Sherman





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Continuing the story of Jacob Lauman...

In the 48 - 72 hours immediately following the surrender of Fort Donelson there was much work to be done: the wounded had to be retrieved from the many ravines and hollows and transported to Hospital; the dead had to be buried. The processing and transport north of over 12,000 Confederate POWs required several days to accomplish (as of February 18th only seven thousand prisoners had passed through Cairo -- Burlington Weekly Hawkeye of 22 FEB 1862, page 3.) As well, there were all the heavy guns to dismount; muskets to collect; swords and knives to collect up and send away. And the necessary tasks of picket duty and patrol remained... as well as the onerous task of talking to reporters (who descended on the site of Fort Donelson with the Sanitation Commission steamers and sought out Heroes of the Federal Victory.)

Somehow, Colonel Jacob Lauman got overlooked by the earliest reporters (who fawned rightfully on U.S. Grant, C.F. Smith and James Tuttle, Colonel, 2nd Iowa) but missed the story of Lauman (whose brigade led the assault on February 15th.) [See Burlington Weekly Hawkeye of 22 FEB 1862, page 3.]

But, General Grant knew who his "key performers" at Fort Donelson had been: which is probably why Brigadier General C.F. Smith was given the plum assignment of occupying Clarksville; and why the party of officers Grant took to Nashville third week of February 1862 consisted of Colonel J.D. Webster, Captain Ezra Taylor, Colonel WHL Wallace, Surgeon John Brinton, Brigadier General John McClernand, and Colonel Jacob Lauman. (Note: McClernand's inclusion in the "Hero Party" may appear curious... but remember, while McClernand was with Grant, he was not in command at Fort Donelson.]

Upon return of Grant and his party to Fort Donelson on February 28th, preparations for the next operation commenced: a movement up the Tennessee River. But, in process of planning and organizing, word was received at St. Louis regarding Grant's "unauthorized visit" to Nashville. Halleck amended Grant's plan; and then put General C.F. Smith in charge of carrying it out (effective March 4th -- OR 11 page 3.) As steamers were loaded with Federal troops for the expedition south, it was found there was a bottle-neck at Metal Landing, south of Fort Henry. On March 10th Colonel Lauman was sent to Metal Landing to oversee expeditious loading and dispatch of troops marching across from Fort Donelson. After about three days, with his job of forwarding troops nearly done, Colonel Lauman was tasked with constructing pens at Metal Landing, capable of holding 1000 head of cattle [Papers of US Grant, vol.4 page 356.]

Colonel Lauman reported to Savannah on about March 18th. On March 19th Lauman was "assigned to the Second Division, with instructions to report to General C.F. Smith for assignment to a brigade." He took charge of the 1st Brigade, which consisted of Iowa Infantry Regiments 2, 7, 12 and 14 -- similar in make-up to the brigade Lauman commanded at Fort Donelson. And, with the realization promotion was imminent, acting-Brigadier General Lauman -- due to C.F. Smith's absence -- was accorded status as acting-commander of the Second Division [see communication of 20 MAR 1862, WT Sherman to Lauman, concerning siting of camp at Pittsburg Landing, in OR 11 page 53.] Lauman received his promotion March 21st and remained with the Second Division until April 2nd, when he was re-assigned to Hurlbut's 4th Division and given command of the 3rd Brigade... that office he held at eruption of Battle of Shiloh, morning of April 6th.

Always more to the story...



References as sited.



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I think that Lauman got a raw deal regarding Second Jackson. He had been ordered the day before IIRC to keep abreast of the division on his left.

He, and many of his supporters, claim that he was following orders when the unfortunate incident occurred. Ord, Sherman, and Grant had him immediately releieved and given no chance to obtain justice through a court of inquiry. Their hurry to get Lauman out and keep this quiet indicates that Lauman was more of a scapegoat than a guilty party.

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In case you have not run across this reference yet: Medical Histories of Union Generals by Jack D. Welsh (1996) Kent State University Press


Jacob Lauman's entry, page 199, makes for interesting reading.



N.B.  Now, if there was available a "Personality Conflict History," to detail what was going on between Lauman and Ord...



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