Cpl Stahr 22 Jul : 10:53
NOTE: The Last Soldier link in our site's menu will now direct you to its own Last Soldier web address, which is outside this site.
Cpl Stahr 20 Jul : 13:18
NOTE: Special Order #38 has been published on the Front & Center page of this web site.
Cpl Stahr 10 Jun : 11:06
The Clayton County Monument project was completed with great personal effort in time and money by the members of the 49th! This is another tangible example of our stated mission…we are NOT a paper unit, but an active, hard-working, committed group of men. I am a proud member of an organization who remembers those who have served & are serving today. 1/Cpl. Stahr
Cpl Stahr 31 May : 13:06
Full Military Honors rendered to Sgt. Isaac Ford; no better way to spend Decoration Day!
Cpl Stahr 28 Apr : 08:29
The new Rules & Regulations are published and may be viewed by clicking the R & R link in the top menu.
Cpl Stahr 04 Mar : 10:44
"...With malice toward none, with charity for all..." Remembering Father Abraham's Second Inaugural Address, 150 years ago today, on March 4, 1865.
Cpl Stahr 12 Feb : 08:47
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Father Abraham!
Cpl Stahr 01 Jan : 14:45
Happy New Year, Brother Riflemen and to all our visitors! 1/Cpl Stahr
In the City of Des Moines Municipal Cemeteries there are thousands of veteran’s graves that are marked by government issued gravestones. These include both upright markers as well as flush-mounted stones that are placed at or slightly below ground level.
Under extant city ordinances the care and maintenance of these stones are the responsibility of the family members of the veterans interred there. In many cases, those families have either passed on or have moved away from the area and there is now no one to make certain that those stones are maintained.
Local veterans groups as well as some fraternal organizations volunteer hundreds of man-hours every year to clean, straighten, and make certain that flags fly over the graves of our veterans from wars all the way from colonial times up to the modern day. Sadly these efforts are not enough and many hundreds of gravestones are is desperate need of assistance.
The Des Moines Parks and Recreations Department that oversees the seven municipal cemeteries in Des Moines have undertaken a program to enlist the aid of volunteers to spend a few hours of their time in the process of lifting and straightening several hundred in-ground stones so that new underlayment materials can be placed and the stones levelled. City workers will be on-hand at all times, and equipment and supplies will be provided. Participants should be in good physical health and capable of aiding in the lifting of approximately forty-pound markers as well as shoveling and tamping of sand and underlayment materials.
The first “work days” for this fall are tentatively scheduled for September 14th through 17th, from 9:00am to 3:30pm for Glendale Cemetery, 4909 University Avenue, in Des Moines.. Any amount of time that can be volunteered will be most helpful, and you need not be in attendance for the entire period of the event.
Flag Disposal Detail Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines 25 June, 2016
As an integral part of fulfilling our deeply held commitment to public service, Guardsmen of the 49th Iowa, Iowa Military Heritage Society came together today to retire unserviceable National Colors at Glendale Municipal Cemetery in Des Moines.
For the past four years, the unit has provided this service to the municipally-owned and operated cemeteries of Glendale and Woodland (a Division of the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department). Between two and four of these ceremonial retirement in compliance with Federal statutes and military tradition are performed annually dependent upon need. The largest of these entailed the disposal of over 2,500 flags on one detail approximately two years ago. Today’s exercises consisted of the retirement of approximately five-hundred flags collected since last fall when the last ceremony was held.
Another of these ceremonies is slated for 5th November, 2016 at Glendale.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding “The Governor’s Own”
On this 241st anniversary of the founding of the United States Army (14 June, 1775) a group of some three hundred citizens gathered in the sun drenched rolling hills of SE Iowa to honor six brothers who perished while serving as soldiers of that army during the American Civil War. Their sacrifice in the causes of Union and Freedom had been long forgotten and nearly lost to us all until two dedicated historians from the Louisa County Historical Society uncovered fragmentary evidence of the story some seven years ago.
Working diligently to discover more of the tale of the six members of the Littleton family who perished during the Civil War, Tom Woodruff and Ed Bayne would first become champions of the resurrection of the memories of these young men; and then, the driving forces behind the magnificent monument to their memories that was dedicated on this day near the site of the pioneer homestead where they spent their youths. The deaths of these six brothers represents the largest loss of life endured by any American family in time of war in the history of this nation.
The 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Iowa Military Heritage Society, was deeply honor to be chosen to be the official Honor Guard for the ceremonies; and provided the very first National flag that will be flown over the monument. As the colors were taken aloft and then returned to half-staff (per Presidential Proclamation in honor of the slain in the Orlando) local bugler Elaine Pacha played “To the Colors”.
Master of Ceremonies for the event was author and historian John Busbee of Des Moines, would guide the events of the late afternoon observances.
“The Star Spangled Banner” was ably performed by the Wapello High School Band under the direction of Mr. Micah Peck; who also led his musicians through a stirring rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” later on in the program.
The Invocation was offered by Pastor Dan Doolin, Solid Rock Baptist Church, Wapello; and Monument Project Chair from the Louisa County Historical Society, Mr. Tom Woodruff offered the opening remarks.
Descendants of the Littleton Brothers surviving sisters, Mr. Jake Shoppa and Mrs. Julie Wagner offered their gratitude and acknowledgement for the tremendous efforts involved in making this monument a reality; and, gave thanks for the efforts of all in remembering their ancestors.
In all, nearly two-dozen descendants of the Littleton's, from several states, would be present at this historic event honoring their family members.
Governor Terry E. Branstad offered his congratulations and those of all Iowans on this momentous occasion; and, also presented Mr. Woodruff and the monument committee with a check in the amount of $10,000.00 from the Iowa History Foundation to help defray the costs of erecting this beautiful monument.
Dr. Tom Morain, Graceland University, gave the keynote address referencing his thoughts on how this story should resonate with all Iowans and remind us of the costs involved in maintaining our precious freedoms.
At the end of Dr. Morain’s remarks, I briefly took the rostrum to offer comments and gratitude from our perspective as the chosen Honor Guard; and, to present both Tom Woodruff and Ed Bayne with certificates of induction into the “Loyal Legion of Abraham Lincoln for 2016” for their Herculean efforts in making this monument, and this day, into a reality.
“Taps” was played by Elaine Pacha.
As the last notes faded into the wooded hills surrounding this monument, myself and Regimental Color Sergeant Michael J. Rowley retired the regiments National Colors, and Color Sergeant Richard Grim and Sergeant Ronald F. Rittel presented arms before retiring the Regimental Colors of the 49th Iowa from the field.
Photos by John Lovretta & Marilyn Rittel
The afternoon's event was organized and shepharded into being by the efforts of dozens of local people of the Louisa County area; but, most especially the efforts of Kathy Jolly Vance, Iowa State University Extention Officer, and Chair of the Event Committee, deserve special recognition. Without Mrs. Vance's efforts, this marvelous event might never have happened.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf. Commanding “The Governor’s Own”
On June 5, 2016 members of the Iowa Department of the Sons of Union Veterans of The Civil War joined with about 135 others in historic Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa for the unveiling of the restored monument of Governor and Civil War Col. Samuel Merrill.
Key note speakers were Jonas Cutler the man behind the private fund drive and current Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Several Iowa legislators and Congressman Young and retired senator, historian and author Dennis Black were also in attendance. Local VFW members fired a 21 gun salute and Taps. Members of the Patriot Guard also participated along with several lineage and historical society members including Commander Danny Krock of Iowa Department SUVCW, Alan Wenger, 1 VP of Iowa S.A.R., Volney Smith, Past President and current Secretary and Treasurer of Iowa S.A.R and General Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa President Mike Rowley.
Nearly One-Hundred-and-fifty-three years after Pvt. Lyon fell mortally wounded during the assault of his beloved 23rd Iowa Infantry on the Black River Bridge near Champions Hill, Mississippi, he now lay at rest on a peaceful hilltop in Des Moines; Woodland cemetery. And from this day forward, the site of his “last post’ is marked with the grey-granite government issue stone that his impromptu service to his nation had earned him.
Lyon need not have perished in the terrible fighting in the early days of the campaign to invest by siege the fortress City of Vicksburg, Mississippi. In fact, he needn’t have gone off to war at all. Born in 1812, Alfred Lyon was a man who was beyond what was considered to be “of military age” and had tried to enlist several times only to be told that by recruiting officers. Un-fazed by rejection he had attached himself to the 23rd Iowa Infantry as a civilian “Sutler” whilst the unit mustered and trained at Camp Burnside on the eastern fringes of Des Moines in the fall of 1862; and had accompanied the regiment south into Missouri and Arkansas and ultimately on to Mississippi to take part in wresting Vicksburg (the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy”) from enemy hands. Several times he had still entreated various and sundry military commanders to allow him to join the ranks of the infantry, only to each time be told that he was “too old” and not physically up to the rigors of a “soldiers life.”
Lyon had been an early settler in Des Moines, and had been a business partner of B.F. Allen in a dry goods store in a converted barracks building in the old Fort Des Moines. He had been elected Sheriff of Polk County, and had gone on to serve a term in the Iowa Legislature before the Civil War. Lyon had a family that included a wife and three children, two of whom were under the age of fourteen when he died.
His determination to serve in the ranks of the Union Army compelled him to leave his family. Friends, business interests and community behind him. His unflagging commitment to joining into the fray ultimately led one of the officers of the 23rd to accept his repeated entreaties and to have him fall into the ranks of Company “A” of that venerable regiment just days before they were to be fiercely engaged in the fighting to establish siege lines around Vicksburg. On May 16th, 1863, Lyon’s company led a charge against Confederate positions at Big Black River Bridge and he fell mortally wounded, a ball passing entirely through his abdomen. He live long enough to tell his commanding officer that he knew his wound to be mortal, but stating that he died with no regrets.
Today, April 23rd, 2016, “The Governor’s Own” 49th Iowa V.V.I., Honor Guard to the Iowa Military Heritage Society, was joined by a firing detail from the American Legion Post 274 in the rendering of Military Honors at the gravesite.
On hand for the event were members of the Patriot Guard Riders; Bill McCarthy, Sheriff of Polk County and his Chief Deputy, Tim Krum; Col. (Ret’d.) Robert King, Director of Veterans Affairs for the State of Iowa; representatives from the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Children of the American Revolution; Danny E. Krock, Department of Iowa Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; representatives of the Des Moines Historical Society, and the Iowa Military Museum at Camp Dodge, and private citizens.
Col. Robert King was presented with the ceremonial flag used during the day’s ceremonies.
It will be flown in Pvt. Lyon’s honor at either the Iowa National Guard Headquarter building at Camp Dodge; or, at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery at Van Meter.
David M. Lamb Iowa Military Heritage Society
Thank you to Jerry Tormey, Des Moines Historical Society, for a few of the photo seen in the preceding After Action Report