American Patriotism: or, memoirs of "common
Peter Calahan submitted by Dick Barton
[Company D, Sixtieth U. S. Infantry (or First Iowa Infantry of African Descent)]
Age, twenty-one; residence, Des Moines; native of Virginia; first corporal; enlisted Aug. 19, 1863; died April 10, 1864, at Helena, Ark., of small-pox. "He was a man of some learning, and," says a comrade, "he was considered a good man."
submitted by Dick
residence, Des Moines, Polk County; native of Kentucky; private; enlisted
August 20, 1863, and died August 9, 1865, at Little Rock, Ark., of typhoid
malarial fever. He had worked in Des Moines one summer; a prompt and
dutiful soldier, and a religious man.
Mr. John Crow, of Walnut Township, had four sons in
the army - two of whom, Benjamin and John Lewis, lost their lives.
was born on the 22d of July, 1839, in Warren County,
Indiana. He was married
on the 20th day of October, 1859, in Polk County, Iowa: became a member
of Company E, 4th Iowa, on the 4th day of July, 1861, and died in Andersonville
prison, Ga., on the 10th day of September, 1864. Picture to yourself, reader, one in a filthy pen, literally
rotten with scurvy, covered with filth and vermin, starving for want
of proper food, with no shelter but the heavens, no bed but the bare
earth, no covering but a few tattered garments, without human sympathy,
dying like a best on the common - it were a true picture of Benjamin
Crow in his last moments. He
lay all night in a rain-storm just before he died, on the bare ground,
in mud and water. When
he attempted, in his sickness, to eat the morsel made of corn and cobs
ground together into meal and boiled into mush, he was often obliged
to take from his mouth teeth which had dropped out of their sockets,
his gums being rotted away.
When Benjamin Crow was captured, he had one hundred
and sixty dollars in money with him.
He managed to save seventy-five dollars of this by hiding it
in his sleeve. This sum
might have saved him, for he could buy some provisions with money; but
he was of so kind a disposition that he must needs share with his suffering
comrades as long as he had a cent.
He was a very benevolent man, and never could see any suffering
without according relief if within his power.
His "booth" (for he had made out of a handful of hay
brought into his prison by negroes, a little "tent," as he
called it, to shelter him from the sun) was the resort of all the despondent.
They came to hear Ben talk, and to be cheered.
He never gave up his cheerfulness while health remained to him,
but after he fell sick in prison, he lost hope.
He and a number of others of his company were captured
at Claysville, Ala., while guarding Gunter's Ferry.
He was taken first to Libby prison, and then to Andersonville.
He was captured March 14, 1864.
Benjamin Crow had poor health much of the time in
the service. It was eleven
months after the regiment was organized before the men drew any clothing.
Ben travelled with the regiment through the whole campaign, from
Rolla to Helena, 400 miles, being engaged with his company in the battle
of Pea Ridge, sick with ague and almost naked.
From Helena he was sent to Keokuk to the hospital, where his
father visited him. When
he entered the service, he weighed one hundred and forty-eight pounds;
when he reached Keokuk he weighed less than one hundred pounds.
He remained in hospital from October till April; then he returned
to his regiment. While
sick, he was offered a discharge, but he would not accept it.
He wrote in his absence many letters to his home - oftenest to
his wife, whom he dearly loved, and to whom he showed the greatest kindness,
sending her many presents as tokens of his faithfulness and love, remembering
her always in his letters. He
says to his wife, in a letter addressed to his mother: -
"Tempy, I received your letter, and was glad
to hear that you got the present I sent you.
I want you to write often."
The unfaithfulness of his wife, of which he was informed
in his absence, was the cause of more grief to him than all of his sufferings
of sickness and imprisonment.
He refused to believe, for a long time, the reports of her infidelity,
but when at last convinced of their truthfulness, his grief knew no
bounds. Of this, however,
I will say no more.
Benjamin Crow was a man of good education and remarkable
memory. He "honored
his father and mother." His
mother says he never spoke a cross word to her in his life. He loved his home deeply.
Highly esteemed by all who knew him, upright in his dealings,
though not a member of any religious denomination, yet a man of good
Lewis Crow, was born in Warren County, Indiana, April 24th,
1848; enlisted in Company E, 4th Iowa, April 1864, being then about
fifteen years old. He went
with the consent of his father, but his mother opposed his going.
The veterans were at home on furlough, and John must go to the
front with them. His brother
Edward offered to take his place, giving him all the bounty money, but
John would not consent to it.
"I would not," said he, "take one thousand dollars
for the privilege of going."
On arriving at the front he wrote: -
"We started the Rebels from Chattanooga, and
chased them to Jonesboro'. A
great many of them are deserting and coming into our lines. Another round like the one we have given them will be as much
as they will want."
He says: -
"July 23, 1864
"We have been fighting ever since our brigade
made a charge yesterday, and drove the Rebels.
This morning I went over the field, and the butternuts lay around
as thick as hail. We are
about two miles from Atlanta, where we expect to go into camp and rest
John was taken sick, and lay sick all winter.
In February, he got a furlough to return home, and wrote his
brother to meet him at Nashville. He bade good-bye to his comrades, telling them that he was
going home to be nursed by his mother. A
kind-hearted doctor took charge of him and nursed him with care, giving
him a good, soft, spring mattress to lie on while on the train.
John said he felt better after he started than he had ever felt
before in his life. The
doctor thought this a bad symptom, as it proved to be; for John grew
worse, and died before the train reached Nashville. When his father
reached Nashville , John was buried.
Mr. Crow went into the cemetery; taking the graves tier by tier,
he searched for his son's. At
last he found a board on which was written: -
"JOHN L. CROW
John was not yet sixteen when he died.
He had been in all of the marches and battles of his regiment,
from the time it started with Sherman on his great campaign against
Atlanta, until the capture of that city - a good and brave boy.
His father says: "I would rather all my sons were buried,
having died fighting for their country, than that one of them should
ever go to jail for crime."