G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
32nd IOWA VOLUNTEERS
Organized: 10/6/62 Dubuque, IA
Mustered Out: 8/24/65 Clinton, IA
55th INFANTRY U.S. COLORED TROOPS
Mustered Out: 12/31/65
REGIMENTAL HISTORY: (32nd IA)
This three year “western theater” regiment was sent to St. Louis, Mo almost immediately following federal muster. From that time, until the spring of 1864 detachments of the 32nd served in various parts of Kentucky and Mississippi.
During this period cos. A, D, F, and G were attached to a cavalry division. In March, 1864 the 32nd was reunited and set out on what was to be known as the Red River expedition. Therein the unit was active at Pleasant Hill, Bayou de Glaize, and Lake Chicot.
The Tupelo, MS campaign and the battle of Nashville, TN followed. The regiment capped off its combat career with the siege and capture of Spanish Fort and the storming of Ft. Blakely both of which resulted in the fall of Mobile, AL.
REGIMENTAL HISTORY (55th U.S.C.T)
The 55th was organized from the 1st Alabama Infantry (African Decent). As a “western theater” unit, it performed post and garrison duty at Memphis, TN until 6/1/64. Sturgis’ Expedition into Mississippi followed, encompassing the battles of Brice’s Cross Roads, Guntown (6/10), Ripley (6/11), and Davis’ Mills (6/12).
Another brief term of duty at Memphis culminated in Smith’s Expedition to Oxford, MS during the month of August. During this period the 55th was in action at Waterford. A third stint of garrison duty at Memphis lasted until 2/65 when the unit was ordered to Louisiana.
There the regiment was stationed at New Orleans, Morganza, Port Hudson, Baton Rouge and other points until final muster.
SOLDIER: (32nd IA)
Residence: Webster City, IA Age: 31.4 yrs.
Mustered In: 9/6/62 Rank: 4th Cpl.
Discharged: 2/17/65 Louisville, KY
Highest Rank: 4th Srgt.
55th U.S. COLORED TROOPS
Enrolled/Mustered In: 2/17/65 Rank: Sgt.
Highest Rank: Q.M. Sgt.
William K. Laughlin was born 12/15/31 in Paris, Edgar Co., and Illinois. No information is available on his birth family, formative or teenage years. Mr. Laughlin was apparently a farmer most of his life. On 12/16/57 he married Mary Elizabeth Cheney in Webster City, Iowa. The union would produce seven girls and one boy, all of whom would grow into adulthood: Margaret A. (4/4/61, Fanny M. (3/4/68), Sarah C. (Sadie) (1/7/70), Florence K. (12/19/71), Cyrus C. (1/25/74), M. Lida (3/4/77), Artha E. (Artie) (3/15/82), and Elizabeth (12/2/85).
In 1862 William Laughlin, husband, father and farmer, left the farm to join the U.S. Army. It appears he entered the service as a corporal and remained a non commissioned officer throughout his tenure with the 32nd: 3rd Corpl. 10/28/62, 2nd Corpl. 2/10/63, Corpl. 3/13/63, 5th Sergt. 9/26/63, and 4th Sergt. 5/30/64. He retained his sergeant’s stripes while with the 55th.
Records indicate William contracted pneumonia and chronic diarrhea in the spring of 1864 while stationed in Memphis, TN. By 8/65 his ailments, compounded by an ear abscess which rendered him “entirely deaf in (the) right ear,” made him unfit for further military service and he was granted a medical discharge.
Little information is available on Mr. Laughlin’s activities from the time he left the military until he died 2/10/05 in Snohomish, WA. As it has been noted he was a farmer “most of his life”, most likely he initially returned to the family farm in Iowa. At some point William and family moved to Snohomish, WA. He apparently lived in the city itself for a time, but two years prior to his death, at the age of 73 years one month, he moved to a farm “west of Clay’s addition.”
Returning to farming “reportedly improved his health,” but in February, 1905 William contracted a cold which quickly became bronchial pneumonia and caused his death. At the time of his passing four of his adult children were residing in the Snohomish area and his two youngest were still living at home when not teaching music in nearby communities. At death William was receiving a government disability pension of $12 per month based on his Civil War soldiering.
Buried at Snohomish G.A.R.
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