By Donald C. Elder III
William Henry Harrison Clayton was once one in all approximately 75,000 infantrymen from Iowa to affix the Union ranks in the course of the Civil battle. owning a highschool schooling and improved penmanship, Clayton served as a firm 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 special narrative of the daily soldier existence in addition to an eyewitness account of severe 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 exact for the descriptions he offers of lesser-known yet pivotal battles of the Civil struggle within the West. struggling with 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 basically minor accidents, yet he was once 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 usual between Union infantrymen and civilians of that interval within the country's historical past. He observes with nice unhappiness the brutal results of battle 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 means of civil battle. ultimately, his racist perspectives towards blacks reveal a typical yet ironic angle between Union infantrymen whose efforts helped bring about the abolition of slavery within the usa.
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Extra resources for A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William Henry Harrison Clayton
Signed by the col. & countersigned by the commander of the post. The company is now divided into messes of 14 each. We get better food & more of it than when the whole company messed together. There are grocery stores & a meat store, 3 or 4 daguerrotype or ambrotype38 establishments, a bookstore & nearly everything we could wish besides insides the enclosure. I got my likeness taken yesterday and sent to you. 25. 39 They take a better & cheaper picture here than in Keokuk. I do not know how long we stay here.
There has been a little fighting going on s. west of here. 25 The last named regiment came through with us to this place. , 20th Wisconsin and our own regiment are encamped together. Gen. Photo by the author. Herron commands our brigade. Springfield is his headquarters. It is reported that we will stay here all winter but there is no telling. It was also said that the general has requested to have his command removed to St. Louis. It is a difficult matter to provide sustenance for the large number of troops now in the s.
The boys grumble a good deal & confiscate a hog or calf once in awhile & chickens by the wholesale to make up the deficiency. I believe I will stop writing at the present. Direct your letters to Benton Barracks Mo. & they will follow the regt. There are 4 regts, here the 19th and 20th Iowa, 20th Wisconsin & 94th Illinois, commanding [is] Genl. Herron. 18 Write often I am glad to get letters. The boys are all well. I stopped writing to get some dinner. I thought that I would add a little more. When the brigade is moving from place to place each regiment takes its turn to lead the advance.