Do you have a favorite recruiting story from the Civil War er?
The teenager who put a piece of paper in his shoe and wanted to enlist over his parents’ objections. When the recruiter asked how old he was he proudly announced he was over the age necessary for parental consent for enlistment which was the number on the piece of paper in his shoe
My ancestor enlisting in the US Engineers Battalion in October 1861. He had never been to any city before, let alone one the size of Boston. His recruiter at the Boston office was a Captain named James B. McPherson and once he passed his physical (such as it was), he was in for 3 years. After he enlisted he initially served under a Lieutenant named Godfrey Weitzel (sort of a Forrest Gump story).
On 22 April 1861 the Iowa Governor’s Greys of Dubuque, destined to become Company I of the First Iowa Infantry, and the Jackson Guards (soon to be Company H) cast off from the Key City aboard the passenger steamer, Alhambra, for a fateful voyage down the Mississippi River: first stop, Davenport, where they were met by brass bands, thronging patriotic crowds, and vociferous politicians. And at Davenport two more companies were slated to join the Governor’s Greys, boosting the nascent First Iowa to about half its programmed capacity (with the remainder anticipated to join further downriver, at the ports of Muscatine and Burlington.) But the unexpected happened at Davenport: 300 anticipated volunteers swelled to 1000… and then two thousand… and no one was sure what to do (small-population Iowa was only allotted one Federal-sponsored regiment.) What was to be done with the additional volunteers, arriving from the farms and small towns by train, on horseback, and on foot, and now approaching 3000 in number?
War Governor Samuel Kirkwood telegraphed Washington, and offered two additional volunteer regiments. And the offer was accepted. Soon, the 2nd Iowa and 3rd Iowa were in Keokuk, training beside the 1st Iowa for duty against the Rebels…
For additional details, see newspaperman Franc Bangs Wilkie’s “The First Iowa: Letters from the War” https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011631194
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