Campaigns and Battles of the Twelfth Iowa Veteran
By David Wilson Reed
Submitted by Donald J. DuBay
|"About the middle of July, 1865, a large number of regiments were mustered
out of service, among them all the regiments of our brigade except the 12th
Iowa. The 27th and 35th Iowa regiments had some men who had enlisted for
one or two years, and had been but a short time in the service. These men
were ordered to be transferred to the 12th Iowa to complete their term of
service. In his haste to get home, the officer of the 27th, who had been
appointed to make the transfer, failed to make descriptive and pay rolls, and
paymasters refused to pay these men. This trouble increased the feeling
among the 27th's men that they had been unfairly treated by being compelled to
complete their term of service in another regiment after their own had been
mustered out. Among the old members of the 12th there was a feeling that
they had been unfairly treated by being retained in service after the war was
over, and after other regiments of shorter service were allowed to go home.
Another reason of discontent was found in the fact of continued issue of poor
rations. Some commissary officer, anxious, no doubt, to dispose of ration
on hand so as to enable him to settle his accounts, was endeavoring to dispose
of his stock on hand by issuing it to the troops. These evils, fancied or real,
were by constant talk and agitation made to appear very serious, and resulted at
length in an agreement by quite a number of the men of the regiment to refuse to
do duty or answer to roll call until their wrongs were righted. This
agreement was to be carried into effect on the morning of September 15.
Accordingly a number of the men -- in two or three companies the entire company
-- refused to obey any order. For a day or two great confusion existed.
Captains of about half the companies succeeded in controlling the matter in
their own companies; the others were unable to do so, and willing companies were
obliged to furnish extra details to do the work. Finally a number of the
leaders of the revolt were arrested and sent to Montgomery to be tried by
court-martial. A few days in the guardhouse there satisfied the boys that
nothing was to be gained by revolt, and they signified their willingness to
return to duty, and asked the regimental officers to come to their relief.
A request for their release was signed by all the officers of the regiment and
presented at headquarters by Major Knee, then a Provost Marshal at Montgomery.
The request was granted, and the first and only revolt in the ranks of the 12th
Iowa was ended."