By Donald C. Elder III
William Henry Harrison Clayton was once one in every of approximately 75,000 infantrymen from Iowa to affix the Union ranks in the course of the Civil battle. owning a highschool schooling and greater penmanship, Clayton served as an organization clerk within the nineteenth Infantry, witnessing battles within the trans-Mississippi theater. His diary and his correspondence along with his kinfolk in Van Buren County shape a different narrative of the day by day soldier existence in addition to an eyewitness account of serious 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 specified for the descriptions he supplies of lesser-known yet pivotal battles of the Civil conflict within the West. battling 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 in basic terms minor accidents, yet he used to be 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 unearths the complex sympathies and prejudices regular between Union squaddies and civilians of that interval within the country's background. He observes with nice disappointment the brutal results of struggle 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 through civil warfare. ultimately, his racist perspectives towards blacks reveal a standard yet ironic perspective between Union infantrymen whose efforts helped result in the abolition of slavery within the usa.
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Additional info for A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William Henry Harrison Clayton
I thought that would be the easiest way to get it sent. I sent my clothes by Mooney on Friday. I sent all home except 1 pair of socks & my boots. I have drawn a dress coat, overcoat, pants, 2 pair drawers, 2 pair socks & 2 shirts. We have our knapsacks haversacks & canteens, cartridge boxes guns & nearly everything necessary for going to war. Our guns are the Enfield rifled musket21 with raised sights, said to shoot 900 yds. 22 The company has been drilling this week. We had dress parade for the first time on Thursday last.
These letters and diaries allow us to bring the experiences of these men, long since deceased, back to life. This process of historical preservation has allowed me to reconstruct the story of one such Iowan. William Henry Harrison Clayton, who served in the 19th Regiment of Iowa Infantry Volunteers, faithfully corresponded with his family back in Van Buren County, Iowa, during the war; he also kept a diary during his years of service. His family passed the letters and diary down through two generations, and in 1989 his granddaughter, Dorothy Newman, donated these items to the Lincoln Shrine in Redlands, California.
The next day after writing, we packed up and came to this place about 1 1/2 miles northwest of Springfield. The location is a very good one, with one exception, that is the water is too far off. It is nearly 3/4 of a mile to the spring, we carried water for awhile, but it is now hauled. It is the greatest spring I ever seen. It furnishes water for half a dozen regiments with all of the mules and horses. This place is being strongly fortified. Fort No. 1 is near our camp. There is about 850 men at work on it.
A Damned Iowa Greyhound: The Civil War Letters of William Henry Harrison Clayton by Donald C. Elder III