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Ozzy

Letter from the 6th Iowa

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Oliver Boardman was a 21 year old from Albia, Iowa who enlisted as a Private in the 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Co. E at Burlington in July 1861; and spent the next several months guarding trains in northern Missouri. On 14 March 1862, the Crescent City touched at Savannah Tennessee, and two days later the 6th Iowa disembarked at Pittsburg Landing. On April 24th, Private Boardman wrote a letter to his brother and sister back in Albia, and in eight pages describes his activity "on the far right of the Army, under General Sherman." Boardman recalls "just getting out of a trap" and hurrying with his regiment to the north; being engaged, while continually falling back; and "being supported" by one regiment after another, "which would fire two or three shots, then disappear." Eventually reaching "the tight pocket of our Army, on the bluff," Private Boardman identifies the arrival of Buell; the Siege guns; and the gunboats as crucial in warding off Rebel success {"They finally gave up on taking the Landing, and left us alone til morning.") Day Two, Private Boardman went with a company of the 6th Iowa, attached to "another regiment," and joined Sherman in fighting "in a westerly direction" during which Boardman's company was assigned as support to a battery. During the course of an artillery duel, Boardman describes, "there being so much smoke, it was hard to see anything. But eventually we took that Rebel battery."

In the aftermath, Private Boardman contemplated "what went wrong" at Shiloh, and put it down to "believing too much in our own strength," and "the scattered nature of the camps." [In a later letter, written May 11th, Oliver Boardman also remarked that, "He believes the generals will do right, this time. Grant is not with us; Halleck has our confidence."]

The 24 April 1862 Letter from Oliver Boardman is one of more than a dozen letters, covering July 1861 through the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863. Each letter is written in a legible cursive handwriting (with typed transcript at bottom of each page.) The collection is on file with Iowa Heritage Digital Collection (associated with Universities of Iowa):

http://128.255.22.135/cdm/ref/collection/cwd/id/21464  Private Oliver Boardman Letter from Shiloh, 24 April 1862

Cheers

Ozzy

 

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