By Donald C. Elder III
William Henry Harrison Clayton used to be one in every of approximately 75,000 infantrymen from Iowa to affix the Union ranks in the course of the Civil warfare. owning a highschool schooling and better penmanship, Clayton served as an organization clerk within the nineteenth Infantry, witnessing battles within the trans-Mississippi theater. His diary and his correspondence together with his relatives in Van Buren County shape a different narrative of the day by day soldier existence in addition to an eyewitness account of serious battles and a prisoner-of-war camp. Clayton participated within the siege of Vicksburg and participated in operations opposed to cellular, yet his writings are distinctive for the descriptions he supplies of lesser-known yet pivotal battles of the Civil conflict within the West. combating within the conflict of Prairie Grove, the nineteenth Infantry sustained the top casualties of any federal regiment at the eld. Clayton survived that conflict with in basic terms minor accidents, yet he used to be later captured on the conflict of Stirling's Plantation and served a interval of ten months in captivity at Camp Ford, Texas. Clayton's writing finds the complex sympathies and prejudices general between Union infantrymen and civilians of that interval within the country's historical past. He observes with nice unhappiness the brutal results of struggle at the South, sympathizing with the plight of refugees and lamenting the destruction of estate. He excoriates draft evaders and Copperheads again domestic, conveying the intra-sectional acrimony wrought by way of civil battle. ultimately, his racist perspectives towards blacks exhibit a typical yet ironic angle between Union squaddies whose efforts helped result in the abolition of slavery within the usa.
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Extra info for A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William Henry Harrison Clayton
In this manner, Lincoln hoped both to avoid using a draft and to obtain the desired number of three-year enlistments. States responded quickly to the government's challenge. Offering financial inducements and appealing to patriotism, they all succeeded in meeting their quotas. In Iowa, for example, the federal government mandated a total of 21,140 enlistments; the state actually enrolled 24,438 three-year volunteers in 1862. One such individual who answered the call in the summer of 1862 was twenty-two-year-old William Henry Harrison Clayton.
Page 11 The boat on which we came was the same one which conveyed the Second Iowa 35 to Ft. 36 It is a large side wheel37 boat but it was tolerably well crowded. Our company and several others were quartered on the lower deck. At night everyone tried to get a good place to sleep. John Stone & I got upon a large coil of cable rope on the left side of the boat a little forward of the boilers. We slept very comfortably. At nearly every town & house we passed we were greeted with the waving of hats & handkerchiefs, which compliment was returned by the boys with a will.
It rained slowly several hours, during the last days march, but only laid the dust and made it pleasant marching but just as we reached the camping place a thunder shower came up and before we got our tents up it rained very hard. But by the time we got our tent up it quit, but it did not hurt us any, we can stand almost anything now. The march from Cross Hollows to Crane Creek was the most disagreeable one we have yet had. The road was very dusty, it being 2 or 3 inches deep and we sometimes could not see more than 10 or 15 steps ahead.
A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William Henry Harrison Clayton by Donald C. Elder III