Saturday, January 22, 2011

Will's Enlistment

Hi everyone, I'm back now from the Holidays, that is CHRISTMAS. I also took some time out to start another blog. No, not about the Civil War and History, but Real Estate. That's how I make a living. Not all the bugs are out of that blog, or this one either. It's an on-going learning experience: how the heck to present a good looking blog site. 

So, I want to continue with Will Newlon's narrative from his first journal. Here we read Will's account of  his enlistment into the Union army. 
THURSDAY, MAY 16, 1861
W.C. Newlon’s Diary
Winterset Madison County
State of Iowa. In the year of our Lord,
A.D. 1861 May the 16th
     _ach Bloon Iowa
Adams Co., Iowa
     At sunrise little did I think I would be here. I was at work on the road when a friend sent me a note to meet him at the Stone Schoolhouse in 20 minutes to go with him and E.H. Brown to Page Co., Iowa on business, which offer I gladly accepted. And taking a pony, I soon went home, got ready, and was on my way.
Page County, Iowa
     We left our host this morning in Adams Co. During the forenoon the weather was pleasant, and we traveled along, passing the time away shooting chickens and taking turns in riding the pony. We took dinner [mid-day meal] at Captain Baker’s.
     In the afternoon we made good time. At a heavy rain came up, so we had to stop for the night. The rain is pouring down.

SUNDAY, MAY 19, 1861
     Page Co. Iowa
     It is still raining like fury & has been all day along [sic] without ceasing. It has been a lonely day with me so close to my journey’s end, and couldn’t get any further on account of the rain, which fell in torrents.
     This is a fine place to stay, very clever people, natives of Ohio.
     The gentleman of the house is a practical physician.
Good night, W.C. Newlon
     We started for Clarinda early; proceeded half way to town when we met my brother-in-law [Moreland]. I went on to town; got to see a good many friends. Remained here till after dinner, which I got at James Wilson’s. Moreland came along with his team & I went home with him. Found my sister [Dorcas Jane] & children well; Mattie [Moreland] did not recognize me. Things look natural.
Clarinda, Page Co., Iowa
I feel happy this morning to think I am with my friends once more. I have not been here for some time before. I spent the day in visiting particular friends. I find them all in good health.
The Boys tried to get up a party for the evening, but failed.
I could not get Mattie to recognize me at all this evening.
I went to see my &c, &c, &c.   W.C. Newlon

To Winterset
Adams Co., Iowa
I left my sister’s early this morning. Went to Clarinda where I found my friend E. H. Brown & 3 other passengers waiting for me. We were soon on our way to Winterset
We took dinner at Capt. Baker’s of Montgomery Co. We proceeded on our journey to Adams Co. where we stopped for the night.
After supper [evening meal] I visited my friend Frank McDaniel, formerly of Winterset, Iowa.
Winterset, Iowa
We started in good time this morning with a drive of 50 miles before us to Winterset. We passed through the thriving town of Nevin [perhaps present-day Nevinville, 40 miles northeast of Clarinda] at took dinner at Swear’s Mill on Grand River. Arrived at Winterset I did not go home, but stayed at the Pitzer House.
I went to Sewing Society at Mr. B.F. Bixbys, ladies plenty. Good time.
Fort Desmoines
I left Winterset early this morning for Desmoines; took dinner at Swan’s Tavern, 9 miles from Desmoines.
After a fine rest of two hours, we made our way to the city.
I put up at the Desmoines House where the members of the Legislature & Gov. Kirkwood were boarding. The town is alive.
SATURDAY, MAY 25, 1861
St. Charles, Iowa
I left Desmoines City at for Indianola to join [Captain] Ogg’s company. I arrived at Indianola The town was alive with people here. I joined the company & took the oath for 3 years service in the war.
 At I hired a team & buggy & started for home. Went as far as St. Charles [five miles east of Winterset] where I will stay till morning.
W.C. Newlon

I Bade Adieu

Winterset, Iowa
     I called for my team & buggy as soon as breakfast was over, and soon found my way to Winterset.
     I soon found myself surrounded, all wanting to know what I had done.
     I stayed but a few moments here. I proceeded directly home; told what I had done. After a little change of clothes, I went to Hoosier Prairie, where sister Mary [Wilson] was teaching. But [she] was now sick; father [Nathan] had also gone. See page 125.
     I found her health poor, after a short conversation. I ate a few bites of dinner, and without shaking hands, bid goodbye to all & soon was riding across the plain toward home. So far this was a lovely day to me.
     I went to town; attended church of the Christian Church. After which, I returned home where I spent the remainder of the day and night in the most melancholy manner imaginable. May I never witness another such. I could not get to see sister Martha, as she was gone to her school on Grand River, 18 miles distant. And, as I was to leave the next morning, it made it another impossibility to see her.
I have been to funerals but I cannot say that I ever witnessed one at any time that I felt more solemn than at the present time.
     After we had heard a portion of God’s word & all had knelt around the family altar to implore the blessings of Divine Providence in that and future events, I took my hat; went out to a sacred spot and there I knelt & prayed that God might be with me through the war, which I had just enlisted & that God would protect my friends while gone & that we all might live to meet again on earth to enjoy the blessings of home.
     Late this evening I visited our old neighbor, Mr. Evans. Had a pleasant interview. Long may they live.    W.C.Newlon
     Indianola, Iowa
     I bade adieu to my earthly parents [Nathan and Eliza Ann Winder], sisters [Mary, Mattie, Dorcas, Martha, Phebe] & brother [name not known] this morning. For how long a time God only knows.
     I have often parted with friends before, but never in all my life did I feel as I did upon this occasion. To see all looking so solemn with tears stealing stealthly [sic] down each one’s cheeks was almost too much to bear. But I summoned all my courage & kept up as good spirit as possible. See page 126.
     This day I bide you, my friends, adieu; I go to war. I go to offer my life a sacrifice upon the altar of my country. If my life is demanded to sustain our glorious Republic, I go to fight the battles of my country. I go to lend a hand, to put down rebellion against our glorious government. Nothing else would induce me to go.
     And who can say not go? I feel it my imperative duty; my country calls me to her aid. The laws, which have protected me through life, call me to go. And the God of Heaven calls me to go.
     What is better than life, & how can a man enjoy life with home & friends? And how can a man have these without laws to protect them?
     When I look at the cause my heart burns with patriotism. Therefore, my friends, mourn not after me; do not be troubled about me. What am I & what is my life compared with my country? Then for my country, my friends, I bid you adieu.
I left Winterset with B.F. Maury, S. G. Ruby,[1] M.R. Tidrick, and others for Indianola at After a little fast driving, we arrived at Indianola [25 miles] at My friends were there to welcome us.
TUESDAY, MAY 28, 1861
It rained this forenoon without ceasing. Our company drilled in the public hall on the north side of the public square. It was my first light infantry drill and is very fatiguing.
At the rain ceased. The citizens began to assemble & in a short time the number was great.
At the company of citizens assembled at the north side of the square & heard a farewell address by the Rev. J. C. Roed. See Page 127. It was an excellent piece of composition and was very well delivered. And, I do think it was very appropriate for the occasion.
Tears, in abundance, flowed from the eyes of all present, after the ladies presented us with a flag, to which Captain Ogg responded in a very appropriate manner.
The next thing was the presentation of copies of the New Testament by the ladies of Indianola to the Volunteers. This I accepted as the highest prize and may it do me good as it does the upright in heart.
The Order of the Day now being closed, friends from the country took leave of their friends, some, perhaps, forever. A very affecting scene, indeed.
The Volunteers received a uniform consisting of a blue & red shirt and a glazed cap.
The day, having passed, I retired to the hotel; spent the evening in writing letters & settling up my business.
I know not whether I shall ever live to come back to Iowa again. This may be my last night in Indianola, Warren Co., 30 miles from my home.


Red Rock
Today we started from Indianola to Edenville in wagons. I witnessed scenes this morning long to be remembered, the parting of friends, fathers with sons, sisters with brothers, and young men parting with sweethearts. I was glad that I had no relations to part with there at Indianola.

[1] Samuel G. Ruby, U.S. Consul, Belfast, Ireland, during Harrison Administration. Note to W.C. Newlon from S.G. Ruby on Consulate stationery.