23rd Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment

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23rd Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry
Flag of Iowa.svg
Iowa state flag
Active September 19, 1862, to July 26, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Engagements Battle of Port Gibson
Battle of Champion Hill
Battle of Big Black River Bridge
Siege of Vicksburg
Assault on Fort Blakely

The 23rd Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


It was organized at Des Moines and mustered on September 19, 1862. It was ordered to St. Louis, Mo. Attached to Dept. Missouri to February 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of Southeast Missouri, Dept. Missouri, to March 1863. 2nd Brigade, 14th Division, 13th Army Corps, Dept. Tennessee, to July 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 13th Army Corps, Dept. Tennessee, to August 1863, and Dept. of the Gulf to March 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 13th Army Corps, Dept. Gulf, to June 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 19th Army Corps, Dept. Gulf, to August 1864. 4th Brigade, 2nd Division, 19th Corps, Dept. Gulf, to December 1864, 4th Brigade, Reserve Corps, Military Division West Mississippi, to February 1865. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Reserve Corps, Middle Division West Mississippi, February 1865. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 13th Army Corps, Military Division West Mississippi, to July 1865.

SERVICE.--Duty at St. Louis, Camp Patterson and West Plains, Mo., until February 1863. March via Thomasville and Eminence to Iron Mountain, Mo., February 9–26, and duty there until March 9. Moved to St. Genevieve March 9–12, thence to Milliken's Bend, La., March 22–27, and duty there until April 25. Movement on Bruinsburg and turning Grand Gulf April 25–30. Anderson's Hill April 30. Battle of Port Gibson May 1. Bayou Pierrie May 2–3. Battle of Champion's Hill May 16. Big Black River May 17. (A detachment of Regiment guard prisoners to Memphis, Tenn., May 18-June 10, and while en route to rejoin Brigade at Vicksburg, reinforced the garrison at Milliken's Bend, La., June 5, and participated in the repulse of McCullough's attack on Milliken's Bend June 6–7.) Siege of Vicksburg May 18-July 4. Advance on Jackson July 5–10. Siege of Jackson July 10–17. Ordered to the Dept. of the Gulf August 13. Duty at Carrollton, Brashear City and Berwick until October 3. Western Louisiana Campaign October 3-November 17. Expedition to New Iberia October 3–7, and to Vermillion Bayou October 8–30. Moved to Brazos Santiago, Texas, November 17–23. Fort Esperanza November 27–30. Duty at Indianola until March 1864, and at Matagorda Island until May 4. Moved to New Orleans, La., thence to Join Banks on Red River, May 4–15. Joined at Simsport and retreat to Morganza May 16–22. Duty at Morganza until October. Simsport October 6. Moved to Duvall's Bluff October 12, and duty there and in Arkansas until January 1865. Ordered to New Orleans, La., thence to Barrancas, Fla., February 17. Campaign against Mobile and its defenses March and April. Steele's march from Pensacola, Fla., to Blakely, Ala., March 21-April 2. Occupation of Canoe Station March 27. Siege of Fort Blakely April 2–9. Assault and capture of Fort Blakely April 9. Occupation of Mobile April 12, and duty there until June. At Columbus until July. Mustered out July 26, 1865.

Battle of Big Black River Bridge[edit]

During the Vicksburg Campaign, the 23rd Iowa served in Lawler's Brigade of Carr's Division. After the Battle of Champion's Hill John McClernand's corps chased the remaining confederates towards Vicksburg, on May 17 of 1863, they arrived at the rebel defenses in front of the Big Black River. This was a strong position in command of the field of battle. Brigadier General Michael K. Lawler’s Second Brigade, containing the 21st, 22nd, 23rd Iowa, and 11th Wisconsin regiments, was first on the scene and positioned at the far right of the line, an excellent position to launch an attack. The distance between their position and the rebel entrenchments was very short. Once it was known that they were to make an assault the 23rd's own Colonel, William Kinsman volunteered to lead the charge. The 21st and 23rd Iowa regiments lead the charge while the 22nd Iowa and 11th Wisconsin lined up in support. With a cheer, the attack began. Kinsman went down very early in the charge. “[Kinsman] Struggling to his feet, he staggered a few paces to the front, cheered forward his men, and fell again.” Numerous shots went clean through, mortally wounding him.[1] General Grant recalled the moment of victory: "I heard great cheering to the right of our line and, looking in that direction, saw Lawler in his shirt sleeves leading a charge upon the enemy. I immediately mounted my horse and rode in the direction of the charge." The Rebels were already torn and tattered from their loss at Champion Hill, fled their cover and either retreated or surrendered.[2] The 23rd Iowa suffered over half of the Union casualties in the battle. The entire charge lasted a mere three minutes.[3] The unit was remarkably weakened after the engagement. When they were put in charge of the prisoners captured in the battle, they sent them up to Memphis. General Lawler said that if the war ended that day, their regiment would surely be one of the most distinguished in the entirety of the war.

Total strength and casualties[edit]

A total of 1070 men served in the 23rd Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment at one time or another during its existence.[4] It suffered losses of 6 officers and 69 enlisted men who were killed in action or who died of their wounds and one officer and 208 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 284 fatalities.[5]


  • Colonel William Dewey
  • Colonel William H. Kinsman
  • Colonel Samuel Lyle Glasgow[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.soldierstudies.org/blog/2013/05/battle-of-big-black-river-bridge/
  2. ^ http://www.battleofchampionhill.org/history/big-black.htm
  3. ^ http://www.nps.gov/vick/historyculture/bigblack.htm
  4. ^ http://iagenweb.org/civilwar/books/logan/mil507.htm Iowa Genweb Iowa in the Civil War Project after Logan, Guy E., Roster and Record of Iowa Troops In the Rebellion, Vol. 1
  5. ^ http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/uniainf3.htm#22ndinf The Civil War Archive website after Dyer, Frederick Henry. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. 3 vols. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959.
  6. ^ Iowa Genweb Iowa in the Civil War Project after Logan, Guy E., Roster and Record of Iowa Troops In the Rebellion, Vol. 1