Muscatine & the Civil War - Display of Artifacts from the Permanent Collection

Muscatine & the Civil War - Display of Artifacts from the Permanent Collection: June 1 - October 20, 2019

At the onset of the Civil War in 1861, Muscatine men hurried to enlist, sending more men to the conflict than any other county in the state despite the fact that others had much larger populations. That same year, young Shelby Norman of Muscatine was mortally wounded at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, the first Iowan to be killed in action on a Civil War battlefield.

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76,534 Iowans served in the Union Army - 3,450 died of wounds, 8,498 died of disease, 706 died of other causes, 8,500 returned home wounded.

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Iowans fought in many battles. Iowa soldiers first saw combat at Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, and Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Early in the war, many Iowa units accompanied General Ulysses S. Grant in his campaign to gain control of the Mississippi River. They took part in the great battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh. At Shiloh, five Iowa regiments held the center of the Union line (called the hornets’ nest) until late in the first day of the battle. This campaign ended with the great Union victory at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. Iowa soldiers then fought in Mississippi and Tennessee. Finally, in the spring of 1865, thousands of Iowans took part in General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous "March to the Sea" through Georgia and South Carolina.

African Americans from Iowa served the Union cause by forming the 1st Iowa African Infantry – later reorganized by the U.S. Army as the 60th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops. Considering that Iowa’s total African American population was no more than 1,000 in 1861, this was a significant contribution to the Union war effort.

76,534 Iowans served in the Union Army - 3,450 died of wounds, 8,498 died of disease, 706 died of other causes, 8,500 returned home wounded.