The old adage is that "the winner gets to write the history." But there are winners on a multitude of levels, winners of arguments, winners of skirmishes, winners of battles, and winners of wars. The Union Army won the war, but they lost a lot of battles. One of those catastrophic, unnecessary battles claimed the life of my 2xg-granduncle Edward W. Hall, 1st Lieutenant Co. B, 3rd Iowa Infantry.
General Grant was involved in a chess match in Mississippi in the summer on 1863, trying to take Vicksburg. To draw Confederate defenses away from Vicksburg he attacked the state capital of Jackson. After defeating Vicksburg he had to turn around reclaim Jackson. On the 13th of July, Brigadier General Jacob Laumann ordered Col. Isaac Pugh to line up and march his brigade of over three thousand soldiers, passed an abatis of downed trees, through a cornfield and up a hill directly into an enemy firing artillery the entire time. The lined up Union soldiers were mowed down by rebel artillery. Whole slashes of men were wiped away with each cannon ball or canister of grape shot.
I now pass it over to Lt. S.D. Thompson and his self-published book from 1864, Recollections with the Third Iowa regiment --
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Each regiment was literally torn in pieces. In proportion
to their numbers the 53d Illinois suffered most, to say
nothing of losing their gallant Colonel Earle, who was
struck by a volley of canister while riding in advance
of his men. Our own regiment lost one hundred and
thirteen, sixteen being killed, fifty-seven wounded, and
forty missing and taken prisoners. A number of the
wounds were mortal. Among those who lost their lives
were some of our best names. The Ruckman brothers,
the one Captain, the other 2d Lieutenant of Company B;
1st Lieutenant Hall, of the same company; and 1st
Lieutenant McMurtrie of Company D; 1st Sergeants
Woodruff of Company B, and McClure of Company I;
Sergeants Gilmore and Dent of Company E, Follett of
Company F, and many other gallant names were among
the sacrifices of this needless blunder.
-- The soldiers knew this was a bad idea. The field officers knew this was a bad idea, everyone all the way up to and including Col. Pugh knew this was a bad idea. But General Laumann was to be trusted and obeyed. Laumann was recalled to HQ in Vicksburg and never allowed to command again.
Such was the death of my 2xg-granduncle Lt. Edward W. Hall, July 13th, 1863.
Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker