Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 2.djvu/467

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CHAPTER XXVII
THE GRAY-BEARD REGIMENT.

THERE were in Iowa large numbers of men past the age for military service who were anxious to serve the country during the War of Rebellion. They succeeded in obtaining authority through our State officials to organize a regiment of men over the age fixed by military regulations, for the performance of garrison and post service, which would relieve younger soldiers and thus add to the active army in the field. No purer patriotism was ever exhibited than that which prompted these men exempt by law, to thus serve their country in this great extremity. In the month of August, 1862, Secretary Stanton at the head of the War Department authorized the organization of such a regiment. The companies were soon raised, made up of men from forty-five to sixty-four years of age. It was officially known as the Thirty-seventh regiment but was universally called the “Gray-Beard Regiment.”

Iowa alone of all the States in the Union raised a regiment of “gray beards.” Every Congressional District in the State was represented in the regiment. Stephen B. Shellady, who was sixty-one years of age, and had been Speaker of the House of Representatives, was a volunteer in its ranks. The field and staff officers were: George W. Kincaid, colonel; George R. West, lieutenant-colonel; Lyman Allen, major; David H. Goodno, adjutant; Prentice Ransom, quartermaster; John W. Finley, surgeon, and James H. White, chaplain. They went into camp at Muscatine but the regiment was not mustered into service until the middle of December. Early in January, 1863, it was