G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
14th IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: Fall, 1861 Camp McClellan Davenport, IA
Mustered In: 11/6/61 Davenport, IA and Iowa City, IA
Mustered Out: 11/16/64 Davenport, IA
This three-year western-theater regiment was organized during the fall months of 1861 under somewhat peculiar circumstances. Three companies, "A", "B" and "C" were sent to the western frontier on special service and were never identified with the rest of the regiment - except on paper - at any time. They were initially located at Ft. Randall, Dakota Territory and were later completely detached from the regiment.
In light of the above scenario, the 14th entered the fray against Johnny Reb with but seven companies numbering some 600 strong. This unit departed for St. Louis, MO on 11/28/62. It remained there at Benton Barracks until 2/5/62 when it moved to Ft. Henry and thence to Ft. Donelson on the Tennessee River. Three weeks later it proceeded to Pittsburg Landing, TN where, during the battle of Shiloh it formed part of the famous brigade composed of the 2nd, 7th, 12th and 14th Iowa that during the first day's fighting, fought from morning until dark against ten times its numbers. Doing so, the brigade allowed the rest of the beleaguered Union army to retire and take up new positions. At last, cut off from help, the brigade surrendered to the enemy. Although having surrendered, many of the Union soldiers were unceremoniously shot down by the victorious Confederates. Others were subsequently imprisoned.
Those members of the 14th who escaped the Shiloh surrender became part of the "Union Brigade" and joined their comrades at Benton Barracks where they spent the winter of 1862/'63.During this Benton Barracks stay the regiment was joined by new recruits and two new companies designated "A" and "B". These organizations had been recruited to replace those troops earlier sent west.
On 4/10/63 the rejuvenated 14th moved to Cairo, IL where it was joined by a newly organized company "C". While at Cairo part of the regiment was sent into the interior of Illinois to quell some political disturbances and arrest those who were inciting treason.
Moving to Columbus, KY in the latter part of June, 1863, the 14th remained there on garrison duty for seven months before, on 1/14/64 embarking for Vicksburg, MS. From there, after the Meridian raid, it took part in the disastrous Red River Expedition, was engaged at Ft. De Russy which was taken by storm in less than thirty minutes; then joined Union Gen. Banks just in time to save his army by its determined fighting at Pleasant Hill, LA. The regiment was next engaged at Cloutierville, Moore's Plantation, Marksville and Yellow bayou before crossing the Mississippi River to Morganza and returning to Vicksburg. It was then involved in the affair at Lake Chicot before moving to Memphis, TN. It took part in the battle of Tupelo, MS and soon after fought at Old Town Creek before going into camp at Memphis, TN for a brief rest. The rest, however, was broken by a trip to Oxford, MS during which several skirmishes occurred.
The 14th was next ordered back to Cairo, IL and from there to Jefferson Barracks, MO where four companies were detached and sent to re-enforce other Union forces at Pilot Knob, MO. The day after their arrival the Federals were attacked by a largely superior force, but succeeded in repulsing the enemy several times. The following day a direct assault by the Rebels was beaten back, but cannon planted on a nearby hill compelled the blue forces to evacuate the place after blowing up the fort. The little command then retreated to Rolla, MO after cutting through enemy lines and fighting all the way. While the above was transpiring, the remainder of the regiment marched across Missouri in pursuit of Confed. Gen. Price's retreating gray backs.
In November, 1864 the regiment was reunited at St. Louis, MO. From there it proceeded to Davenport, IA where those soldiers from 1861 were mustered out of the service. Afterwards, reenlisted men and new recruits were formed into a two company brigade, who performed provost (military police) duties until August, 1865.
Residence: Anamosa, IA Age: 22 yrs. (as per mil. svs. rcds.)
Enlisted/Enrolled: 11/1 or15/62 Davenport, IA Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 11/ 1 or 15/62 Davenport, IA
Deserted: 3/27 or 28/63 Davenport, IA
Highest Rank: Pvt
NOTE: Most men, who served for the Union during the American Civil War and were honorably discharged, subsequently obtained a pension because of their service. Surviving pension records/documents prove to be a treasure trove of personal information. For reasons you shall see, Curtis A. Willard was not a pensioner. As such the biographical profile which follows is constructed from census tallies and what few other documental references could be located pertaining to this man.
Curtis A. Willard was born in 1841 in the State of Vermont. No month or date of birth has been located. His father was Oliver Willard (b. 1790 VT), a bricklayer/mason by trade. His mother's maiden name was Lucy Weeden.
As best as can determined, Curtis was the youngest of five Willard children. His older siblings were: Hosea (b. 1821 VT), Charles O. (b. 1828 VT), Martha (b. 1831 VT) and Helen M. (b. 1836 VT).
The U.S. Census for 1850 placed the Willard family - consisting of Oliver and his five children - in the community of Sycamore, DeKalb Co., IL. Lucy is not listed in the household. Her fate is not known.
1860. Another decade. Another census. Another state. The listing for that year found the Willard household now headed by Charles O. - a bricklayer/mason as was his father - wife Amelia & children, as well as his younger sister Helen and younger brother Curtis living in Anamosa, Jones County, Iowa. It was from this location that Curtis - also listed as a bricklayer in 1860 - enlisted in the U.S. Army in November, 1862.
Army life did not set well with Private Willard as evidenced by the fact that as of 3/27/63 he was listed as being a deserter. While there is no documentation pertaining to details regarding the desertion, that fact that it came in Davenport, IA would lead one to believe that while he likely joined his unit - the 14th Iowa Infantry - he probably never left the state of Iowa to confront Johnny Reb.
Where Private Curtis A. Willard went and what he did following his desertion is not known. Obviously, however, he avoided arrest by military authorities.
The first post-war sighting of Curtis comes from the census of 1870. As of that date he was residing in Flagg, Ogle Co., Illinois. Listing his occupation as "bricklayer" he was a boarder with one Bessey Strong.
On 6/19/79 Curtis wed Della I. Dow (b. IA Note: While birth years of 1856, 1858 and 1859 exist for Della, likely she was born in March, 1858). The union would produce four children, three of whom were noted as living as of 1900. Those three were Albert (b. 1882 or '83 IA), Velma (b. 11/84 IA) and Winnie O. (b. 11/89 SD). The name of the fourth child is not known.
As noted by the birthplaces of the Willard children, the family moved westward as it grew. In 1880 it was in Ogden, Boone Co., IA. At that time the household consisted of Curtis, his young bride and his then-widower brother, Charles. Five years later the clan was still in Iowa, but with Curtis, Della and son Albert living in or near the community of Peoples. Next door lived Brother Charles. While the census tally for 1890 was mostly destroyed by fire, as evidenced by the South Dakota birthplace of daughter Winnie, the Willard’s were obviously in that state by 1889. That the Willard’s were moving westward is further evidenced by the fact that in 1900 they - stone and brick mason Curtis, Della, Albert, Velma and Winnie - were in Everett, Snohomish County, Washington.
1910, 68 year old mason/builder Curtis, Della and Winnie were still in Snohomish County, in the Puget Sound region of western Washington State, but there was no listed community of residence.
Curtis A. Willard died 8/4/15 in Stanwood, Snohomish County Washington. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Snohomish, WA
In 1920 Della was living in Everett, Washington once again. Her residence was that of married daughter, Winnie O. Trimble. A decade later she was still with the Trimble family which was then residing south of Everett in Meadow Point area of King County, Washington. In 1940 she was back in Snohomish County residing in an area designated only as "Fir." (Note: The locale of “Fir” is not known.) At that time the 82 year old widow was noted as being a boarder with one Lucy Noel. She reportedly had no income.
Della died 1/25/55 in Seattle, King County, Washington. Her final resting place is not known.
Buried at Woodlawn Cemetary
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