G.A.R. Post: John Buford Post #89 Everett. WA
2nd IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: April & May, 1861 Keokuk, IA
Mustered In: 5/27 & 28/61
Mustered Out: 7/12/65 Louisville, KY
The 2nd was Iowa’s first three year regiment and first from the state to take the field. In mid June the unit traveled to Missouri where it maintained order while guarding railroads and prisoners. Before long the Missouri climate, not Missouri rebels had reduced their once strong ranks to 400.
The regiment would spend the winter recuperating. Early 1862 saw the 2nd perform magnificently at Ft. Donelson, TN. They lead the column storming the enemy’s works on the left, planted their flag on the out works and poured a murderous fire into the Confederates compelling them to retreat to inner fortifications.
As a result, the 2nd was awarded the honor of being the first Federal regiment to enter the surrendered fort. The price, however, had been 41 killed and 157 wounded out of 630 in action. From Donelson the regiment moved on to Shiloh (80 killed and wounded), the siege/battle for Corinth, MS (108 killed, wounded and missing out of 346 engaged) and the pursuit of Confed. Gen. Beau regard’s fleeing troops.
Movements into Tennessee and Alabama capped the year. While 1863 proved relatively quiet for the 2nd, such was not the case with 1864. After reenlisting as a veteran organization the regiment joined the Union movement toward Atlanta, GA.
They skirmished at Snake Creek, fought at Resaca and other points and participated in the siege/battle for Atlanta. At Jonesboro they, along with another infantry unit, cleared the way for the cavalry through a fortified position. The 2nd then marched to the sea and moved into Savannah.
1865 found the 2nd moving northward through the Carolinas where it completed its fighting history at Columbia and Lynch’s Creek. Participation in the Grand Review in Washington City preceded final muster.
Residence: Forest City, IA Age: 19.2 yrs.
Enlisted: 10/12/64 Ft. Dodge, IA Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out: 7/12/65 Louisville, KY
Highest Rank: Pvt.
George H. Durham was born 12/17/45 in Illinois. No additional details are available on his birth family or formative years. In 1864 the 5’3” teenaged farm boy entered the U.S. Army as a “substitute.” Most likely he was paid to enlist by the drafted individual he was replacing. While private Durham’s unit was combat active in late 1864 and early 1865, the experience does not appear to have proven deleterious to his health. In fact, available documents make no reference what-so-ever to George’s military tenure.
Leaving the army Mr. Durham settled in Richester, MN. He likely remained there until 1871 when he removed to Waseka where, in 1885, he married Mary Coutter. The Durham’s then moved to Illinois where, in November, 1887, in Douncey, daughter Chlora E. was born. A second, unnamed child was born in May, 1889, but died the same year. At some point thereafter George and Mary divorced. In 1915 Mr. Durham noted that he’d last heard Mary was in Canada, but had no knowledge of where or if she was even still alive.
From Illinois the former Union infantryman appears to have made a stop in Minneapolis, MN before moving west to Everett, WA. Why he chose Everett is not indicated. However, in that community he “became well known….as an expressman and as member of the G.A.R.” George Durham died in Everett on 4/21/15. No cause of death was listed in his obituary. While the obituary indicated he was “67,” a comparison of birth and death dates would place his age at 69.4 years. At his passing he was receiving a $15.50 monthly government disability stipend.
Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish
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