John Reed of the 18th Iowa Infantry,
Ft. Smith, Ark. /
March the 8th, 1865
letter reads in part:
Father, Mother and Sisters
It was mismanagement of Government Officials and not the fault of Uncle Sam at all. And now I will give you the sequel. The General that was in Command has been removed and ordered to Washington and there is a strong probability that he will loose his Commission and we have a new order of things. We have a new General and we also have plenty to eat. You was lamenting about the poor Negro, that he was going to be free and be made better than the White man. Well I can tell you without fear of contradiction that they are better than a great many White men gave alms in the sight of men and yet laid grievious burdens on men shoulders, too grievous to be borne. Our Armies are going on conquering and to Conquer. It is not in their own strength but the God of Liberty and of Freedom is with us. You think according to the Richmond papers there is no prospect of peace (I was not aware before that you took the Richmond paper). The Johnies are in the last ditch and Grant and Sherman are about to push them to the wall.
son and Brother, John Reed
Source: eBay, June 2007
John Reeds info:
John Reed, a resident of Afton, Union County, Iowa enlisted in the Union army on July 28, 1862. Reed was twenty-six years old when he was mustered into Company “B” of the 18th Iowa Infantry.
The 18th Iowa was organized at Clinton and saw service in Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory. The regiment made up part of the Frontier Division stationed at Fort Smith. It took an active part in Frederick Steele’s Camden Expedition and suffered its heaviest casualties of the war at the battle of Poison Spring. Following the failure of the campaign, the regiment returned to Fort Smith where it engaged in garrison duty until the end of the war.
Residence Afton IA; 26 years old.
Enlisted on 7/28/1862 as a Private.
On 8/5/1862 he mustered into “B” Co. IA 18th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 7/20/1865 at Little Rock, AR
born in Ohio
See his letters
History of the 18th Iowa
Eighteenth Infantry IOWA
Eighteenth Infantry. Cols., John Edwards, Hugh J. Campbell
Lieut.-Cols. Thomas F. Cook, Hugh J. Campbell; MaJs., Hugh J.
Campbell, Joseph K. Morey.
This regiment was mustered in Aug 5, 6 and 7, 1862. Soon
after it moved to Springfield via St. Louis and Sedalia,
joined the Army of the Southwest under Schofield and marched
through Missouri into Arkansas. Returning to Springfield, it
formed a part of the garrison there during the winter.
On Jan. 8, 1863, Marmaduke’s forces, numbering over 5,000 men,
attacked the garrison, which consisted of not to exceed 1,500
men the 18th being the only regular organization there, with
detachments of several Missouri regiments, citizens and quite
a number of convalescents in the hospitals. The fight
commenced about noon and continued with varying success until
almost night, the enemy gaining ground at times only to lose
it by some daring charge, the tide being turned just before
dark by the coming up of five companies of the 18th, which had
been stationed at an outpost. They entered into the fight
with such energy that the enemy was driven into a stockade at
the outskirts of town and declined to give battle the
following day, having lost more than 200 in killed and
wounded. The loss of the regiment was 56 in killed and
wounded and the loss of the entire Union force was about 200.
The regiment remained at Springfield about a year, being
denied the privilege of participating in the stirring scenes
that were bringing glory to its sister regiments, but
performing well the duties so necessary in guarding the border
at that time. Col. Edwards assumed command of the post in
April, and in the fall was in temporary command of the
district of southwestern Missouri, and later in command of his
regiment, which formed part of the force that made Shelby
throw aside his artillery and much of his baggage to escape
Reaching Fort Smith, Ark., on Oct. 30, the regiment was
assigned to garrison duty and spent the winter there, Col.
Edwards being placed in command of the post. In March, 1864,
the regiment moved with Steele’s forces to Arkadelphia, Col.
Edwards being in command of the brigade to which the 18th was
assigned. The command joined Thayer’s forces at Elkin’s
ferry, the intention being to effect a junction with Banks.
When the retreat of Banks was learned the entire command moved
It was engaged at Prairie d’Ane and at Moscow, where Edwards’
brigade stood the brunt of the attack and on being reinforced
drove the enemy for several miles. After some ten days at
Camden the regiment engaged in a severe battle. With one
section of the 2nd Ind. battery, it was sent to reinforce Col.
Williams of the 1st Kan. Colored regiment, guarding a forage
train. The force was attacked by several thousand troopers,
the Kansas regiment receiving the first shock, and giving way,
crowded through the lines of the 18th and left it to take up
the fight alone. Seven fierce charges were repelled more than
its own numbers were put out of action, but it was finally
surrounded, when, with fixed bayonets, it cut its way out and
reached Camden, having sustained a loss of 77 in killed,
wounded and missing.
The wretched three weeks’ retreat to Little Rock followed,
Col. Edwards holding the reserve and guarding the ordnance
train at the battle of Jenkins’ Ferry. Resuming its duty as
garrison at Fort Smith, the regiment moved on numerous minor
expeditions and was often compelled to forage to keep from
actual starvation, the river below being blockaded. Col.
Edwards was promoted to brigadier-general and was succeeded as
colonel by Lieut.-Col. Campbell. The regiment marched to Fort
Gibson in November to meet a supply train from Fort Scott, but
finding it had not arrived, set out on the evening of the 27th
with two ears of corn each and one tablespoonful of coffee for
each mess of four, as rations, and found the train over 100
miles distant four days later.
The regiment passed the winter and spring in alternate
starvation and plenty, remaining on garrison duty at Fort
Smith until the latter part of the summer of 1865, when it was
mustered out. Its original strength was 866; gain by
recruits, 9; total, 875.
Source: The Union Army, vol. 4