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Ozzy

14th Iowa "diary"

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Richard Reay, a Clark County Historical Museum volunteer, holds a leather-bound book used as a diary  [from Clark County H.S.]

Lewis Wells Sutton was born in Ohio in November 1839 and in about 1855 migrated with his Father Philip, Mother Elizabeth, and five brothers and sisters to Henry County, Iowa. The railroads at that time were advertising “cheap land,” the first bridge over the Mississippi River had been completed (with likelihood of a ribbon of steel soon reaching California), and the Sutton Family was certainly drawn to some of the richest farmland in America by the promise of a Golden Future.

The eruption of War in 1861 put on hold the Dreams of the Future: Lewis (20) and his brother Jacob (18) enlisted in the 14th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company I, in October. Mustered in at Davenport, the 14th Iowa saw service at Fort Donelson with Lauman’s Brigade of C.F. Smith’s Second Division. And then moved on to Pittsburg Landing. And along the way, Lewis Sutton was promoted to Corporal. And the 14th Iowa (Colonel Shaw) was attached to Tuttle’s Brigade of C.F. Smith’s Second Division (but with General Smith away sick, the Division was under acting command of Brigadier General WHL Wallace, effective 2 April 1862.) And the under-strength 14th Iowa (Companies A and B were detached months earlier to fight Indians in Minnesota) recruited new members from the Union-supporting residents of Savannah.

On Sunday morning, April 6th the 14th Iowa was marched south “toward the sound of the guns” and upon witnessing a distant hoard wearing butternut emerging from the trees below them, Colonel Tuttle directed the 14th Iowa to line along a trail to the ESE along the top of the slope. When fully deployed, the regiment almost connected with the 500 remaining men of General Prentiss’s Sixth Division (Prentiss soon to be reinforced by the 23rd Missouri in a position to become known as The Thicket.) And the 8th Iowa was detached from Sweeny’s Brigade to fill the gap between Prentiss and the 14th Iowa.

After holding the position nearly eight hours, the 14th Iowa Infantry was surrendered by Colonel Shaw (with Corporal Sutton one of those captured.) In October 1862 Lewis Sutton (along with all the surviving Shiloh Prisoners) was released from confinement at Camp Oglethorpe (Macon, Georgia) and returned to Union lines; and in early 1863 the reformed 14th Iowa returned to duty. The loss of men due to battle and disease resulted in promotion of veteran soldiers: Lewis Sutton gained advancement to Sergeant Major. And for the remainder of his enlistment, Sergeant Major Sutton assisted the Regimental Adjutant with keeping the Ledger of the 14th Iowa: Muster rolls, casualty lists, record of significant occurrences… it reads like a diary.

Lewis Sutton’s enlistment expired end of 1864 and he returned to Iowa, and eventually went into business at Mount Pleasant, and then at Ottumwa. In 1893 Mr. Sutton relocated his family to Vancouver Washington, established a business, and lived out the rest of his life (Lewis Sutton died July 1914 at the age of 75.)

Fifty years later, Lewis Sutton’s granddaughter donated his Civil War materials to the local historical society (Clark County Washington Historical Society.) The brown leather satchel containing Sergeant Major Sutton’s materials was stored in the basement… and it appears no one bothered to investigate the contents until 2011. And even in 2011, they did not realize what they had in their possession (calling it “Lewis Sutton’s Diary.”) It is actually the Regimental Ledger for the 14th Iowa Infantry, and should have gone into the Official Records storage of the War Department after the Civil War ended. But, somehow, Sergeant Major Sutton ended up with it. And it is now in the possession of the Clark County Historical Society.

Why is this important?

Most researchers never see a Regimental Ledger, or what it contains (these Ledgers are now kept by NARA and are difficult for interested parties to access.) This particular 14th Iowa Ledger should contain the names of all the Savannah Tennessee men recruited into service before the Battle of Shiloh. And the Ledger provides an excellent example of how the Casualty List was maintained.

References: https://www.columbian.com/news/2011/jul/19/donated-satchel-yields-writings-of-a-civil-war-sol/  Lewis Sutton's diary

https://www.columbian.com/news/2014/apr/02/clark-county-historical-museum-civil-war-exhibit/  2014 exhibition at Clark County H.S. of Vancouver Washington

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/139406853  Lewis Wells Sutton 14th Iowa Infantry Co.I

 

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i wish the men that enlisted at savannah was accessable.i cant find it anywhere.. i wonder if his father ,phillip, survived the war he's death date is?? on find a grave. interesting .

 

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Mona

The other Federal units to recruit men from Savannah and Hardin County in March and April 1862 were the 40th Illinois (Hicks) the 46th Ohio (Worthington) the USS Lexington (Shirk) the USS Tyler (Gwin) and the USS Alfred Robb. The Roster for the 40th Illinois includes names of Tennessee men recruited into Company C, and Colonel Thomas Worthington recorded names of the Savannah men recruited into his Companies A, B, D, G, I and K (on a slip of paper he compiled a day or two after the Battle of Shiloh, because I believe the camp of the 46th Ohio was overrun and their records lost.) The three gunboats would all have names of recruits entered in their Logbooks.

Unfortunately, only select pages of the Operational History (Ledger) of the 14th Iowa Infantry are available online… at the present time.

As regards Lewis Sutton’s father, Philip: he survived the war, returned to Mount Pleasant, Iowa and lived until November 1880.

Cheers

Ozzy

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i hope they will make the entire..if not the shiloh section ..available omline..because inquirying minds want to read.

 

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