The motto of Company A, 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment
"There Lies the Most Perfect Ruler of Men the World Has Ever Seen."
On this very day, in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln passed from this life into immortality in the hearts and minds of freedom loving peoples all over this planet. Let us all pause to reflect upon the life and times of this great man and the legacy that he left for us. Let us ask ourselves whether or not he would think that we have cherished that legacy proudly and done all that we might to protect and defend it.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding Co. “A”, 49th Regiment Iowa V.V.I. The Governor’s Own Honor Guard to the Iowa Military Heritage Society
Our Final Duties as part of the Sons of Veterans Reserve
Saturday, 11th April 2015, saw guardsmen of the 49th Iowa busily unfurling and dressing our Colors straightening “gig-lines” gloving up, and doing the final polishing and “pick and pluck” that has been our trademark for the past six years at the annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremonies at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.
Since 2009, guardsmen of the 49th Iowa have faithfully made the trip to this annual event put on by the Sons of Veterans Reserve and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (SVR/MOLLUS) at the Tomb of President Lincoln. We have considered it to be our duty to the SVR, and a fulfillment of the oaths that we all took when we became members of same. Indeed, Chapter V, Section 3 of the Regulations governing our Order state, in part:
“The responsibilities of the SVR shall include participation in ceremonies, programs, and parades such as Remembrance Day, Lincoln Birthday, Memorial Day, Lincoln Tomb Ceremony, and National Encampment programs, and at the request of the Commander-in-Chief, special ceremonies and parades on behalf of and representing the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.”
And, the 49th Iowa has always been about honoring our commitments, for so long as we wore the uniform of the Order.
This year marked the fifty-ninth anniversary of this outstanding event. It is one of two National undertakings of the SVR/MOLLUS (the other being the “Remembrance Day” event in Gettysburg each November, at which the 49th has also been represented since 2009).
In 2009 and 2010, our contingent of twelve to fifteen members of the Honor Guard fell in with the other SVR units for the processional from the front gate of the cemetery to the foot of the Tomb. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 we had the honor of leading the processional, and in that year (2013) a new duty was given us.
Since 2013, the 49th Iowa has had the singular honor of being designated as the formal Tomb Guard, and allowed to post sentries inside the inner sanctum of the President’s burial place at each end of the seven-ft. red marble gravestone that stands above the final resting place of our martyred sixteenth president.
This honorable duty we have performed each year since, and shall continue to do so in a slightly different capacity, and perhaps at other times than during the SVR/MOLLUS annual events.
After what we consider to have been honorable service to the Sons of Veterans Reserve for nearly six years (since 4th June, 2009) Company “A”, 49th Regiment, Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry, “The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles” have elected to withdraw from the SVR and continue the march under our own colors as the Honor Guard of the newly formed Iowa Military Heritage Society. As of midnight on April 11th, we are no longer a part of the SVR.
A New Era Begins
At one minute past midnight on the morning of April 12th, we officially became the Honor Guard of the Iowa Military Heritage Society.
Our missions, goals and objectives will remain as they have always been, to honor our ancestors and their military service to this great nation by providing support to monument restoration, historic preservation, educational and civic activities, graves registration, veterans affairs, supporting our serving military forces; and, to pay particular homage to the role that Iowans have played in ALL of this nation’s wars and armed conflicts from the 17th century onward. We shall also continue to serve the Governors of Iowa as their Personal Honor Guard for so long as they desire for us to do so. We will also continue to perform our duties as the Tomb Guard at Lincoln’s Tomb.
Those efforts and activities shall continue to be chronicled here on these webpages as we move forward from here.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding Co. “A”, 49th Regiment Iowa V.V.I. The Governor’s Own Honor Guard to the Iowa Military Heritage Society
At just a few minutes past 8:00 pm in the evening of a mist-filled and frigid April night in Des Moines’ Woodland Cemetery The Governor’s Own Forty-ninth Iowa V.V.I. rendered our final honors to those at rest in the two Grand Army sections with the sounding of Taps over the graves of our ancestors who fought the American Civil War.
Department Commander Danny E. Krock was in attendance for the duration of the event and Col. Robert King, Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs honored us by attending. Jonas Cutler, the Des Moines attorney who is heading up the Gov. Samuel Merrill Mausoleum restoration efforts, also attended and assisted in the placing of luminaria.
We had been planning the ceremonial “Grand Illumination” of the nearly 400 graves in the two sections of Des Moines’ oldest cemetery for several years after witnessing it at the National Soldiers Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA, during one of the six trips to the SVR’s annual “Remembrance Day” activities. So when this day arrived with an early morning fog that turned to a steady but intermittent drizzle, that increasingly turned cold and uglier as the day progressed, it was “decision time”.
The men of the Honor Guard, chose to honor our long-established commitment to this endeavor and decided that we would continue to render the planned honors come-what-may.
With white waxed-paper bags turned-luminaria by the insertion of weighting sand and an electronic tea light “candle” in each of the bag, carefully placed at the uniform thirteen inches from the face of each gravestone by 7:00pm the citizens began arriving to view this never before done tribute. On foot and in vehicles, they came over the course of the first hour of rapidly growing twilight into fog-shrouded and misty darkness to observe the men of the 49th Iowa walking the twenty-one step guard posts of the silent sentry in each section.
By shortly after 8:00pm, with the rain increasing and the crowds thinned to a single individual as the temperature dropped past 35 degrees, I reached the decision to “call” the exercise by forty-five minutes and proceeded to order the final honor of the rendering of Taps in each section.
We then paid our final respects, performed our final salutes, and silently policed up 400 extremely wet and water-logged luminaries before exiting the grounds of the cemetery at 8:40 pm.
Honors rendered, respects paid, and duty done.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding The Governor’s Own
And in just a matter of a few instants in time, by the faint scratching of pens upon paper by those weary men, a blessed silence fell upon this land that had known for far too long only the sounds of fury and the obscene wails of the dying.
- ¬Pvt. Luther Shattuck Parker, Co. “C”, 26th Massachusetts Veteran Volunteer Infantry, writing of the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Virginia, 9th April, 1865.
It has always seemed ironic that no one in that room when the Army of Northern Virginia was surrendered thought to jot down the precise moment in time when it ended. Perhaps all involved were simply too overcome with the magnitude of the moment to worry themselves about whether or not the exact instant of the signing of the Articles of Surrender would matter. Perhaps it was enough for them to know that the long nightmare of Civil War that had ravaged our land and its people was finally over. The closest estimate of the time that Lee signed his name to the document was that it had occurred at approximately five minutes before the hour of four o’clock in the afternoon.
In honored memory of that most hallowed of moments in the life of our nation, “The Governor’s Own” Forty-Ninth Iowa; joined for the occasion by the talented musicians of The Liberty Band of Iowa
under the able direction of Band Major Steven Sprague, formed up in-front-of the Soldier and Sailors Monument on the on the South grounds of the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines at just before 3:00pm local time to await the arrival of Governor Terry Branstad and Department Commander Danny E. Krock.
At the hour of 3:00pm these gentlemen would lay a simple wreath of evergreen boughs (cut and woven for us from an artifactual pine that was known to have been a small sapling at the time the war ended and thus a living link to that moment) upon the base of the monument in remembrance of the 76,543 Iowans who served; and the 13,164 who perished in the Civil War.
Governor Branstad would then proclaim from these very steps:
P R O C L A M A T I O N
WHEREAS, April 9, 2015, marks the sesquicentennial of the end of the American Civil War at Appomattox Courthouse; and
WHEREAS, the end of Civil War closed one the most trying periods in United States history; and
WHEREAS, the state of Iowa was represented throughout the course of war by 76,000 gallant officers and men who served in 65 units: 51 Infantry Regiments, 4 Artillery Batteries, and 10 Cavalries;
WHEREAS, per capita, Iowa sent more soldiers to fight in the Civil War than any other state; and
WHEREAS, the significant sacrifice of the Civil War is demonstrated by the fact that the Civil War accounts for nearly half of all Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our nation; and
WHEREAS, the state of Iowa has continued to demonstrate our commitment to remembering those who fought for the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans through a preserved Union, including appropriating funds to refurbish and rededicate the Iowa monument located at the Vicksburg National Military Park and in maintaining the “Iowa and the Civil War: Nothing But Victory” exhibition at the State Historical Society of Iowa; and
WHEREAS, remembering and observing the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, enables us to reaffirm our commitment to the memory of those Iowans, and all Americans, who served in the American Civil War:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby declare April 9, 2015, as a day of remembrance and recognition of the great sacrifice of people of Iowa and our fellow citizens from across the nation on this the
SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE END OF THE CIVIL WAR
and call this observance to the attention of all Iowans. .
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I HAVE HERE¬UNTO SUBSCRIBED MY NAME AND CAUSED THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF IOWA TO BE AFFIXED. DONE AT DES MOINES THIS NINTH DAY OF APRIL IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN.
TERRY E. BRANSTAD GOVERNOR OF IOWA
The Governor would then personally thank all members of the regiment that have served him as his personal Honor Guard throughout the entire Sesquicentennial observances of the American Civil War before taking his leave of those assembled to witness this historic event.
This regiment extends its deepest gratitude to Governor Branstad for having been afforded the singular honor of serving him over the length and breadth of this state and nation in that capacity for the past four years (we served his predecessor in office for two).
We thank Department Commander Krock for his attendance and participation in the day’s events marking the passing into history of the Sesquicentennial observances here in Iowa.
We especially thank Band Major Sprague for the unanticipated joy of having his band of talented musicians playing genuine period instruments from the Civil War era. Their efforts added much to the occasion and we are in their debt.
And last, but certainly not least, we thank Almighty God for staying the rain on what was one of the darkest, dreariest and wettest of April days in memory. It was truly as though for at least the few precious moments needed to render this honoraria, the hand of Divine Providence was cupped about us allowing us to honor our ancestors who honored us by their service and sacrifice on those distant fields, so long ago.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding The Governor’s Own
49th Iowa VVI Honored by a Full Resolution of the Iowa House of Representatives
9th April 2015 on the floor of the Iowa House of Representatives inside the Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa, guardsmen of the 49th Iowa fell into formation at 8:30am to join the entire body of the House and their staff for the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the flag before the public reading of House Resolution 29 (below) was read into Iowa law. To wit;
HOUSE RESOLUTION 29 BY STANERSON and KEARNS
EXPRESSING GRATITUDE TO MEMBERS OF THE 49TH IOWA VETERAN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY FOR THER EFFORTS TO HONOR IOWANS WHO SERVED IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.
WHEREAS, the 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry was formed in June, 2009, for the express purpose of establishing a highly trained and historically accurate uniformed ceremonial Honor Guard of military historians from across the State of Iowa who were also members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; and,
WHEREAS, this groups sworn “missions” are the preservation and restoration of Iowa’s aging Civil War monuments across the State of Iowa; and, on distant battlefields, and, the education of the public at large about the role played by Iowans in the American Civil War, (1861-1865); and,
WHEREAS, in its very first year of existence as a unit of the Sons of Veterans Reserve, the National Commander of the Sons of Veterans Reserve awarded the 49th Iowa the National Meritorious Unit Citation for excellence in all of their undertakings; and, were further honored by both Iowa Governors Culver and Branstad by being named by each Governor, in turn to be “The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles”; and,
WHEREAS, the 49th Iowa also undertook to support historic preservation efforts of entities like the Iowa State Historical Society by providing thousands of man hours of volunteer services to the Iowa Battle Flags Project; and,
WHEREAS, when members of the 49th Iowa learned of the deplorably decrepit state of the largest Iowa Monument at the Vicksburg National Battlefield Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi, they immediately set about working with members of the Iowa House and Senate to seek a bi-partisan funding bill passed by the General Assembly in 2013, that allowed for the funding of the total restoration of this monument; and,
WHEREAS, the 49th Iowa has consistently and repeatedly supported veterans of this state and nation by participating in a wide array of ceremonies throughout the State of Iowa; and, accompanied Iowa’s Governor as the official Honor Guard to the re-dedication of the Iowa Monument at Vicksburg National Battlefield Military Park; and,
WHEREAS, the 49th Iowa has replaced dozens of gravestones on veterans graves throughout the Midwest and has performed uniformed Full Military Honors ceremonies in strict compliance with United States Military regulations for veterans who had in some cases lain in unmarked and un-honored graves for over one-hundred-years; and,
WHEREAS, after appearing at the annual Lincoln’s Tomb Observances in Springfield, Illinois, in April of every year since 2009, the 49th Iowa was afforded the singular honor of being designated as the Tomb Guard at Lincoln’s Tomb in 2013.
We, Kraig Paulsen, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Carmine Boal, Chief Clerk of the House, hereby certify that the above and foregoing Resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-sixth General Assembly. Signed:
Kraig Paulsen Carmine Boal Speaker of the House Chief Clerk of the House
We then received a standing ovation of the legislators and staff for our efforts over the course of the past six years to educate and inform the public of the role that Iowa played in the American Civil War.
We are humbled by the magnitude of this greatest of honors that can be rendered by the People of the state of Iowa, and we hereby pledge to continue to serve the same goals and missions that we have already adopted that have carried this unit to this place in time.
Although we are formally ending our association with the Sons of Veterans Reserve of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the 49th Iowa will continue the march and re-double our efforts to honor all Iowans who have served in our nation’s military as the uniformed Honor Guard of the Iowa Military Heritage Society.
You will soon be hearing much more about this organization as we close one chapter in the annals of our unit, and open another.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding The Governor’s Own Forty-Ninth Iowa V.V.I. Honor Guard of the Iowa Military Heritage Society Personal Honor Guard to the Governors of Iowa Tomb Guard at the Tomb of President Abraham Lincoln Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois
Headquarters Company “A”, 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry The Governor’s Own
Special Order 37
Gentlemen, it is my painful duty to inform the command of the untimely death of Sherleen Bodkins, mother of Mrs. Debra Grim; beloved spouse of Color Sergeant Richard D. Grim of this Command.
In Honor of the Life of Sherleen Bodkins I hereby Order that the Command is in a state of mourning for a period of THIRTY DAYS commencing with today’s date, 5 April, 2015. All membership badges shall be dressed in mourning bands and the Regimental Colors if displayed in public will be dressed in mourning wreath and ribbon until midnight on 5 May, 2015.
By Order of the Commander, dated this 5th day of April, 2015 at Johnston, Iowa
All our men and women in uniform take the oath and are willing to put themselves in harm's way to fulfill their word. Some volunteered while many were drafted...all who served, no matter how they arrived "In Country", put their lives on the line.
But our veterans of the Vietnam era lived through a particularly troubled time in our Country's history; a time that their service and sacrifices were not appreciated, not Welcomed Home with thank you's or warm embraces.
One day a year is the least we can do to say we recognize that wrong.
Thank you Commander David Lamb, Ron Rittel, & Frank Hanna; brave men still setting an example for the rest of us on how to live a life well and honorably!
Civil War Series Presentation LOUISA COUNTY LITTLETON BROTHERS
The Louisa County Historical Society will be presenting their recently found story about the Six mixed-heritage Littleton Bros. from Louisa who all died in the Civil War.
The event is being sponsored by the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids and held at the Marion, Iowa Library at 6:30 pm on Friday March 27th, 2015. The public is invited to hear and see a most descriptive and historical power-point presentation.
This tragic loss of six Iowa brothers is the largest loss of life from any one immediate family known in the history of all U.S. Wars. It is truly a compelling story lost for over 100 years.
A Memorial monument is being designed and built by the LCHS in the Littleton hometown of Toolesboro, along the scenic Great River Road/Mississippi River Valley Byway. A to-scale granite model of the monument and site plans for the Memorial will be on display.
Those interested in the on-going drive to construct a Memorial to the six Louisa County, Iowa, brothers who all lost their lives while in service to the nation during the American Civil War can now visit the website at:
to read about the progress of the effort, obtain further information about the Littleton family and make direct donations to the project. This website is the handiwork of Mallory Smith and will chart the progress of the Louisa County Historical Society and all interested stakeholders in the progress being made to build this monument to commemorate the service and sacrifice of this remarkable family during the darkest days of our nation’s history.
The Honor Guard of “The Governor’s Own Forty-Ninth Iowa”, The Fourth Military District of the Sons of Veterans Reserve; and, the Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War whole-heartedly supports these effort on the part of the Littleton Brothers Monument Committee of the Louisa County Historical Society. We fervently urge you to visit this website and give consideration to doing likewise.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Commanding Co. “A” 49th Iowa V.V.I. “The Governor’s Own”
Gettysburg Address Plaque To Have New Home at Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery
Original 1930’s era Gettysburg Address Plaque, property of Co. “A”, 49th Iowa V.V.I., The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles
History of the Acquisition
This cast bronze plaque was originally commissioned by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and placed in the Wilson Public School in Ottumwa, Iowa in 1930. It remained there until the building was demolished in 1980, at which time the plaque was given to the long-time custodian of the school. It was then purchased at his estate sale by an antiques dealer in Missouri and placed for sale in a retail antiques shop. The plaque was found there and purchased by Mr. Robert Northup, of Kahoka, Missouri, who kept and cared for it, in his private collection for several years. Mr. Northup stated that he, “always intended to see the piece returned to Iowa, where it belonged.” He did so in selling it to the 49th Iowa at the Davis County Raid Sesquicentennial observance in October of 2014, with the understanding that we would, in turn, see to it that it again might be enjoyed by the citizens of Iowa.
On February 19th, 2015 the plaque was presented to Colonel Robert King, Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs by the 49th Iowa in honor of the 13,151 Iowa who lost their lives during the American Civil War (1861-1865). It will be used by them at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery at Van Meter, where it is to be permanently mounted in the Committal Building where final rights and ceremonies are held before a veterans remains are interred at their last posts. It is the sincere hope and prayer of all members of the Regiment that the immortal words of our martyred sixteenth President might bring comfort to the bereaved in their hour of need. A formal dedication ceremony will be held at the IVC on Memorial Day, 2015 (time yet to be determined) with members of the 49th Iowa and their families; and, officials from the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs in attendance.
Physical Description and Dimensions
The plaque features a relief casting of a bust of President Abraham Lincoln, and the full text of Lincoln’s famed “Gettysburg Address”, which was delivered by President Lincoln at the National Soldiers Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19th, 1863. The plaque measures approximately twenty-three and one-half (23½) inches in width by twenty-one and one-half (21½) inches in height at its tallest point, and is approximately one-half (1/2”) inch in thickness. It weighs just under 40 pounds.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding “The Governor’s Own” 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry