About the 22nd Iowa Infantry

 


Confederate defenders in the Railroad Redoubt, 22 May 1863 
(Todd Pederson Collection)
 
Following the action at Vicksburg, the regiment rested only briefly before campaigning further in Mississippi.  After that came a transfer to the command of Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks in Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Coast, where  weather proved as much a challenge as the occasional Confederate.   In the meantime, the 22nd's commanding officer, Col.  William M. Stone, sought and won Iowa's governorship, becoming Iowa's second "War Governor."   

 
William M. Stone (1827-1893)


By late spring 1864, the regiment was on the move again, to Virginia, where it joined the 24th and the 28th Iowa infantry regiments as the only Hawkeye units to fight in the Old Dominion.  The 22nd suffered heavy casualties at the Battle of Third Winchester, 19 September 1864, and again at the Battle of Cedar Creek exactly a month later. In both battles, the 22nd helped turn the tide after initial setbacks and contributed to  Union victories that cleared the Shenandoah Valley of serious Rebel resistance.

    
Pvt. Joseph G. Halbrook of Company D, who died of wounds received at Third Winchester, September 1864.  
(Todd Pederson Collection) 



The Spring of 1865 found the regiment involved in occupation duty in the Carolinas and Georgia, where the residents' initial hostility sometimes turned to friendliness towards the  midwesterners.  The men of the 22nd played the part of goodwill ambassadors as best they could, and found some common ground with their erstwhile enemies.   

After frustrating delays, by August 1865 the regiment was back among friends and family.  The 22nd's  journey over three years and thousands of miles was over.  Its wartime sacrifice of 114 battle deaths entitled it to a place among Fox's "Fighting 300" regiments. 

The 22nd began regular reunion meetings in 1886, and its members maintained an active regimental organization well into the 20th Century.   



 


Memorial plaque placed at the site of Camp Pope

The  22nd Iowa was composed of seven companies of men credited to Johnson County, with three additional companies from Jasper, Monroe and Wapello counties.  The men gathered and drilled at Camp Pope in Iowa City in late summer 1862.   The 22nd first did some hard campaigning in Missouri, before joining Gen. Grant's army for the Vicksburg campaign of April through July 1863. 



A stone in Protestant Cemetery, Riverside, Iowa, for brothers Henry and Cawsey Lingo of Company G.  Both died of disease in Missouri in early 1863.

The regiment was in the lead of Gen. Grant's Army of the Tennessee as that force crossed the Mississippi River into Mississippi the night of 30 April-1 May 1863.  The 22nd thereafter was in or near the thick of the fighting at Port Gibson (1 May), Champion Hill (16 May) and Big Black River Bridge (17 May)  - all Union victories. 
 


Lt. Daniel Webster Henderson (1830-1906) of Co. H, who was wounded at Port Gibson
( Duane Coon Collection)

But the regiment's assault on the defenses of Vicksburg on 22 May proved to be its ultimate challenge.  Alone among the attacking federal units, it penetrated the Rebel defenses, at a fortification called the Railroad Redoubt.  Without timely and adequate reinforcements, the tenuous hold earned by the 22nd could not last, and the  survivors of the attack eventually stumbled back to their lines.  More than eighty percent of their number had been killed, wounded or captured - perhaps the highest casualty rate for one unit in one action in the entire war.   

 "A deep washout was almost filled with the wounded, and dead.  In some places they had huddled together, evidently to aid each other, and had died in bunches.... Stumbling over dead bodies, wounded men crawled into camp at all hours of the night, weak from the loss of blood..." 
(Vanishing Footprints, p. 125)



Regimental Quartermaster James W. Sterling (1834-1905) braved enemy fire to prepare and serve food and coffee to the exhausted men who made it back to Union lines from the Railroad Redoubt.  
(Todd Pederson Collection)
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