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
Volunteer Group of the Year 49th Regiment Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry
Company "A", 49th Regiment Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry/SVR "The Governor's Own Iowa Rifles,” has, for many years, been outstanding in their service and support of the City of Des Moines’ cemeteries. The Governor’s Own has served as the military honor guard and presented the colors at various City historic events and also conducted memorial events and marked military graves with flags in City cemeteries in conjunction with Veterans Day and Memorial Day holidays. As part of the nation’s commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, in 2012, they conducted a historic walking tour of Woodland’s Cemetery’s Civil War gravesites and are likewise planning another event, a candle-lit walk to those same graves, in April this year to mark the end of that all-important American war. The past two years, the unit has taken on the role of providing proper Military Disposal of “unserviceable” National Flags for the City of Des Moines Park and Recreation Department in ceremonies at Des Moines’ Woodland and Glendale Municipal Cemeteries. Over 2,000 flags from the City’s parks and cemeteries as well as those from surrounding metro communities have been committed by fire, as is required by long-standing military tradition and Federal law. The Governor’s Own saw the need and response was so great that they created a larger burner/disposal unit and christened it the U.S.S. Zenti. The new unit weighs over five hundred pounds and is constructed entirely of sheet steel; it will be permanently located at Glendale Municipal Cemetery, where the “the 49th” plans to conduct several “burns” each year to accommodate the metro’s need. The Governor’s Own was able to commit five 18' X 24' unserviceable flags as well as several hundred smaller flags in the new unit with no problem at the most recent ceremony in November. Des Moines Parks and Recreation honors The Governor’s Own for their service to our forefathers, our veterans, our nation and our community, as they carry out long-standing and historic military traditions in the City’s cemeteries.
(The first photo is the presentation. Those in the second photo are: Corp. Frank Hanna, Sgt. Ron Rittel, Mayor Frank Cownie, Cemetery Board Chair Marlene Anderson, Corp. Paul Stigers, and Corp. Jeff Rasmussen. Both photos by Dan Rittel.)
The Governor’s Own continues our march toward the closing days of the Sesquicentennial Observances of the Civil War with renewed pride in past achievements, and unflagging dedication to our mission of honoring our ancestors and their sacrifices to save the Union.
The unit was made aware today that the Park and Recreation Department of the City of Des Moines has chosen to honor Company “A”, 49th Regiment, Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry as Volunteer Group of the Year for 2014.
Citing our long commitment to supporting historic activities of all sorts related to the municipal government of Iowa’s Capitol City; and, our on-going efforts in connection with Des Moines’ cemeteries through our Military Flag Retirements, marking of graves with flags at Memorial Day and Veterans Day events each year, replacing broken gravestones, and other activities, Director Ben Page released the formal announcement to the news media today, January 7th, 2015.
The 49th Iowa will join four individual awardees, and three other civic groups in receiving formal honors and recognition at an event to be held at the January Parks and Recreation Board Meeting, Des Moines City Hall, at 5:00pm on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015. The event will be televised live on the City of Des Moines’ dedicated Cable Channel 7 DMTV, and carried by other local media as well. Uniformed Guardsmen of the regiment will be in attendance to receive the honors.
Mrs. Marlene Anderson, Des Moines Parks and Recreations, was the driving force behind these honors, and is deserving of our most sincere thanks for her efforts in causing this accolade to be put forward on our behalf. It is noted with pride that our own Regimental Color Sergeant Michael J. Rowley was an individual recipient of the City’s Volunteer of the Year Award two years ago.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding The Governor’s Own
On December 30th, 2014, The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles issued its year-end honors to five outstanding Iowans, and others for their significant contributions to this unit in its on-going mission to honor our Civil War ancestors; and/or who have made significant contributions in aiding us to preserve our historical heritage.
Governor Terry E. Branstad
Major General Timothy Orr (Adjutant General of Iowa)
Col. Robert King (Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs)
Mr. Patrick Palmersheim (Past Exec. Director of IDVA, and Iowa Coordinator of the “Wreaths across America Project”)
Each of these gentlemen have served the citizens of the State of Iowa and our nation as members of our Armed Forces; and, as elected and appointed public officials. Each have contributed enormously to the goals of this unit from its earliest days and continue to do so.
Each of these gentlemen have been presented with copies of National Historian Robert J. Wolz’ monumental work, “Grand Army Men the GAR and its male organizations” along with a certificate of appreciation for their efforts.
The Regiment wishes to formally thank author (and “Brother”) Wolz for personalizing each of these presentation volumes and for the expeditious manner in which he shipped them to us to ensure that they were received in time for presentation at the end of this year’s cycle of awards.
Mr. Terry W. McGee or Urbandale, Iowa, is the sole recipient of the Loyal Legion of Abraham Lincoln Award” for 2014 for his exceptional talents in constructing the custom-built frames for the original charter documents of the Maj. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge Camp # 75; and, the Department of Iowa. Both documents, dating from the closing days of the nineteenth century, have undergone cleaning and conservation treatments that included being re-matted and mounted using acid-free materials, and encasement under ultra-violet neutral Plexiglas that called for the design and creation of custom made wood frames in which to permanently house these priceless artifacts of our Order. Mr. McGee donated all materials and labor to the accomplishment of these treatments and has earned the undying thanks and admiration of the entire membership of the Department of Iowa for his efforts.
Col. Robert Petrovic, Chief of Staff, Sons of Veterans Reserve, is to be awarded as an honoraria of the Military Order of the Inner Sanctum, a Gold Commemorative Badge and Certificate of the Order. The Tomb Guard badge is worn by active duty members of the 49th Iowa who have shared in the honor of having stood watch at the Tomb of President Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois. Col. Petrovic has been the organizing Sons of Veterans Reserve officer for this event for several years running; and was instrumental in gaining permission from the overseers of the President’s Tomb, that bestowed upon us the honor of allowing us to stand the annual post during the SVR/MOLLUS sponsored event in April of each year. No other unit, SVR or otherwise, has ever been afforded this extreme honor and privilege, and it is through “Col. Bob’s” efforts that this has come to pass. The Regiment shall be forever indebted to him for making this honor possible. And, last, but by no means least, “The Governor’s Own” 49th Iowa wishes to acknowledge and honor our brothers from the 49th California’s “Sutter Rifles” (Sixth Military District) who are striving to begin a tradition like our own of paying true homage to the memory of our ancestors in disciplined, dignified, and militarily appropriate ways.
Our “sister” unit, though only recently formed (and established upon the framework of our own) has already participated in its first public event as it took part in the local Wreaths across America Project at a cemetery in Sacramento, California, on the same date and time as did we at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter.
As a token of our esteem and sincere wishes for success in all of their coming endeavors, and to properly commemorate the momentous occasion of their first successfully completed “mission”, the 49th Iowa has taken the liberty of ordering the first streamer to be made for the new unit’s Regimental Colors. The Kelley Green and Scarlet streamer mirrors that borne on our own Regimental Colors for this re-currant national event, and is being custom-made for them by Glendale Parade Stores of Northvale, New Jersey, who have supplied this Regiment with many of our parade and ceremonial needs since 2009.
This custom-made streamer will be sent to the 49th California as soon as it is received from the vendor.
Well done, gentlemen!
The Governor’s Own 49th Iowa most heartily extends its congratulations to all of these gentlemen and wishes them all a happy, healthy, prosperous and productive New Year on behalf of the Regiment, and the membership of the Department of Iowa.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Inf., Commanding “The Governor’s Own” Forty-Ninth Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Robert J. Wolz National Historian, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
More than fifteen years in the making, this monumental work by noted GAR and SUVCW/SVR Historian Wolz was definitely worth the wait! It is the result of countless thousands of hours of research into the history of the veteran organization that was comprised of the soldiers, sailors, marines, and revenue cutter services men who comprised the Federal forces of the American Civil War (1861-1865); and, the various off-shoot organizations that evolved therefrom. Embodied within this historical work too, are the personal recollections of many “real sons” that the author knew from his early days in the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and other of the Allied Orders.
In a recent, personal, correspondence Brother Bob shared with me that,
“As you may have noticed I referenced that I was the lone dark haired boy in a sea of gray haired older men when I joined. My SVR unit in 1962-63 brought a whole wave of under 40 into a camp held together by 5 real Sons”. He adds, “Many things told to me were by members who joined in 1900 so I somehow became the link between the Old Order and the new. Thus the need for the book.”
I could not agree more.
As a museum person and volunteer conservator myself who has spent hundreds of hours working with and around the artifacts of the Civil War, and the thousands upon thousands of physical badges, ornaments, and decorations of the Grand Army of the Republic and the subsequent organizations that Wolz so painstakingly documents in this seminal work, I can say from experience that there is not a serious student of the history of this Order, nor a museum curator in the nation, that could not benefit enormously by this outstanding work.
And, as an added benefit, helping the author diminish his now considerable stock of copies on-hand will greatly aid him in his on-going work toward completion of a companion volume on the Grand Army Women!
Please visit Brother Wolz’ website at; http://GrandArmyMen.com to order your copies for Christmas giving. You can also purchase this excellent work through the Quartermaster of the SUVCW at http://suvcw.org or find the work available through Amazon.com.
For this year’s Salvation Army “Red Kettle Campaign”, Sergeant Ron Rittel has crafted his own version of Thomas Nast’s Santa Claus and can be seen most evenings at various venues around Des Moines doing his bit to help that noble organization’s annual funds raising campaign. On most of these excursions, Sgt. Rittel-Claus is joined by his own resident helper-elf, Sister Marilyn, but today I got to play second fiddle to the Jolly Old Elf.
Ron’s Santa suit is based on the January 1863 illustration from the cover of Harper’s Weekly magazine showing St. Nick, perched on a sleigh, drawn by reindeer, and delivering packages and letters to Union soldiers. It is believed to be one of the earliest illustrations of the classic Santa Claus shown in such a conveyance.
This is the sixth year running that guardsmen of the Forty-Ninth Iowa have signed up to support the Salvation Army’s Christmas time funds raising efforts, and we are often told by the local organization that they can pretty much tell when and where our presences are by the increased donations being dropped into the kettles. It is a great way of meeting the public, and providing a meaningful service to our community. And, we get to tell the story of how Nast’s illustrations helped create the image of the iconic Santa Claus that we know today as an outgrowth of the American Civil War. Also, there is an occasional fresh cookie from one of the pastry counters involved, so it just doesn’t get a whole lot better than that!
Today’s photos were taken at the Dahl’s Grocery Store on 86th Street in Johnston, Iowa by Nick McCarty, one of the store managers. Sgt. Ron and Mrs. Rittel-Claus have another bell ringing gig tonight at a competing grocer just up the road.
Wreaths Across America 2014 End-of-Year Honors for The Governor’s Own
In 1862, as the nation entered into its second summer of the terrible carnage of the American Civil War, the Congress of the United States passed legislation authorizing President Lincoln to purchase lands to be used as cemeteries for the growing number of Union Army dead. By the following summer, fourteen parcels of land had been designated as National Cemeteries like the one at the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland where 4,476 Union soldiers were laid to rest from a single days fighting at the Battle of Antietam. By 1870, more than three-hundred thousand Union dead would lay buried in these set-aside plots of ground. More than one-half of these would be interred as “Unknowns” mostly on pieces of ground near the battlefields where they fell in the defense of freedom.
Iowa would become home to one of these National Cemeteries, during the Civil War, when some six hundred Union and eight Confederate soldiers who had died of wounds and disease at the College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Hospital in Keokuk would be laid to rest near the banks of the Mississippi.
In 2004 efforts began here in Iowa to raise monies to construct a state-run Veterans Cemetery. After receipt of the generous gift of over 100 acres of land from local citizens near the town of Van Meter, construction of the current cemetery facilities began in 2007 and by the summer of 2008 the formal dedication of the facility would take place. This cemetery would become a part of more than 140 others, occupying more than 17,000 acres across the length and breadth of our nation, that are now the final resting places of over 3 million men and women who have served our nation in times of war and peace from the earliest days of the American Revolution through the current conflicts of the Global War on Terrorism.
Since the founding of this unit in 2009, the second Saturday in December has meant only one thing…Wreaths Across America at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery at Van Meter, Iowa. We have had a presence at every “Wreaths” event since. This year the frigid North winds that sometimes sweep up the rolling hillsides of this beautiful piece of hallowed ground stayed away, and the assembled guardsmen and citizens who came to honor the more than fifteen hundred veterans who are at rest here enjoyed unusual temperatures that hovered near the fifty degree mark for the course of the ceremonies.
Altogether, twelve guardsmen were present and accounted for at the 9:45am muster this morning. We were honored to have been joined today by Private Bill McAlpin of Company “B” 10th Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity of having such a large contingent of our number in one place at the same time, I chose today to be the presentation date for the newly minted Gold Commemorative Badges for those who have joined the “Military Order of the Inner Sanctum” by standing Guard Duty inside the Tomb of President Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois. From today onward, guardsmen of the Forty Ninth Iowa who have performed this ritual duty in honor of our 16th President will wear the likeness of President Lincoln’ marble catafalque upon the right breast of their uniform frocks superior to all other awards and decorations that they might earn during their service to the unit. Once earned, the badge of the MOIS is a guardsman’s for life.
The unit’s next Tour of Duty at the Tomb will take place on April 11th, 2015, and it is anticipated that more members of the guard will earn their badges at that time.
Proudly receiving their Tomb Guard Badges (shown here) today were 1/Lt. David M. Lamb, 1/Sgt. James A. Braden, RCS Michael J. Rowley, CS Richard D. Grim, CS Henry Krecklow, Sgt. Ronald F. Rittel, 1/Cpl. Courtney S. Stahr, 2/Cpl. Andrew J. Braden, Cpl. Frank Hanna, Cpl. Paul Stigers, Cpl. David A. Sample (absent), Cpl. Asher Beermann (absent), Cpl. Aevon R. Hohenshell (absent).
In both our annual honoraria at the Tomb of President Lincoln; and, in the execution of our undertaken duties today, may we ever strive to live up to the motto of the Order, “Accedimus ad Honorum”, (We Come to Honor).
Col. Robert King (IANG- Ret’d), the Executive Director of Veterans Affairs for Iowa, took time from his busy schedule on the day to address the men of the 49th Iowa Honor Guard at our morning formation. The Director thanked us personally for agreeing to once again provide the official Color Guard for the day and execute the posting and retiring of the National and Iowa colors at the ceremonies, and recounted for us that the interments of veterans at the cemetery is well on its war to exceeding five hundred in 2014, with some days seeing as many as five funerals.
Patrick Palmersheim, (Former Executive Director of the Iowa Division of Veteran’s Affairs; and, current Director of the Wreaths Across America Project also welcomed us to the days ceremonies.
After posting the colors at the Committal Center, vocalist (and military veteran) KC Collins Hummel led the several hundred persons present in a magnificently done version of our National Anthem before all present recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Lt. Col. Gary Selof, Chaplain, Iowa National Guard invoked the Divine blessing upon the days endeavors before opening welcome and remarks by Director Palmersheim.
BG Douglas Pierce, USAF (Ret’d) spoke eloquently of the need for our nation to honor all who serve in our nation’s Armed Forces, and to care for their families during times of both war and peace.
Military veteran Leslie Marquardt led the assemblage in singing “God Bless America” before family members and friends of a member of each branch of our nation’s military services came forward to accept the honor of placing specific wreaths on the graves of one member of each branch of our military.
Following the Benediction given by Lt/Col. Selof, bugler Gloria Doyle played “Taps” at the central flagpole outside of the Committal Center. At the completion of which, the 49th Iowa retired the colors, bringing the formal ceremonies to a close.
Guardsmen of the regiment then assisted the families and volunteers in the placement of over 1,800 wreaths at the headstones, monuments, memorials and columbaria of the cemetery.
As in the preceding years of the unit’s history, this event will mark the last time of the season that the majority of us will be in the same space at the same time. From now until the end of the year, individual guardsmen and small groups of us will be participating in the Salvation Army’s “Red-Kettle Campaign” as bell-ringers; and, actively participating in the United States Marine Corps Reserve’s annual “Toys for Tots” drive across the state of Iowa.
On behalf of the regiment, it is my singular honor to wish all who read these pages a Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year!
1/Lt. David M. Lamb Commanding
(Two previous fresh snow photos taken by Commander Lamb, 01.05.2015)
As we have done now for several years running, guardsmen of the Governor’s Own have travelled to the South-Central Iowa town of Albia to join in the local celebration that has come to be known as the Victorian Christmas Stroll, held in the evening of the first Saturday in the month of December.
This year’s gala seemed particularly appropriate, falling as it did on the celebration of Saint Nicholas’s Day. In this country, as so-called Christmas traditions have evolved, children typically anticipate the receiving of gifts from Saint Nick on the eve (Dec. 24th) the celebration of the Christian Advent on the following day. In parts of Europe, where many of our modern-day concepts of the “traditions” of Christmas arose, many children receive their presents of December 6th.
This year, as we celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the final Christmas season when our nation was engaged in the bloody struggles of the American Civil War, one of our devoted Brother Rifleman, Sgt. Ronald Rittel, added a bit of an interesting twist of his own when he designed and built his own interpretation of a Civil War Santa inspired by the works of the war-time artist, illustrator, Thomas Nast.
Nast, born in Germany in 1840,
grew to fame in this country as a serious illustrator-caricaturist and editorial cartoonist before, during, and after the Civil War; and, as a chronicler of the corruption of the nefarious political quagmire of “Boss Tweed” and Tammany Hall. He is credited also with the commonly conceived images of both “Uncle Sam” and “Santa Claus” as we know them today.
Sgt. Rittel nicely melded both into his own version of “Sam-ta Claus” by combining the red and white stripped trousers of the former, with the star-studded (one-time military) sack coat of the latter….much to the delight of all who encountered him during our rounds of the courthouse green and streets of Albia last evening.
Seen here seated in a sleigh on the grounds of the Appanoose County Courthouse, Sgt. Rittel was bidding his heartiest “Ho-Ho-Ho” to the delighted crowds, when snapped by Sister Deb Grim.
Colors Sergeant Jake Grim, Corporal David Sample, and myself acted as flank-men for the erstwhile Santa on his rounds to make merry all who encountered him over the course of the evening.
But, I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!
Clement Clark Moore, 1823, in “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” (aka The Night Before Christmas).