Campaigns and Battles of the Twelfth Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry
By David Wilson Reed
Submitted by Donald J. DuBay
"About the middle of July, 1865, a large number of regiments were mustered out of service, among them all the regiments of our brigade except the 12th Iowa. The 27th and 35th Iowa regiments had some men who had enlisted for one or two years, and had been but a short time in the service. These men were ordered to be transferred to the 12th Iowa to complete their term of service. In his haste to get home, the officer of the 27th, who had been appointed to make the transfer, failed to make descriptive and pay rolls, and paymasters refused to pay these men. This trouble increased the feeling among the 27th's men that they had been unfairly treated by being compelled to complete their term of service in another regiment after their own had been mustered out. Among the old members of the 12th there was a feeling that they had been unfairly treated by being retained in service after the war was over, and after other regiments of shorter service were allowed to go home. Another reason of discontent was found in the fact of continued issue of poor rations. Some commissary officer, anxious, no doubt, to dispose of ration on hand so as to enable him to settle his accounts, was endeavoring to dispose of his stock on hand by issuing it to the troops. These evils, fancied or real, were by constant talk and agitation made to appear very serious, and resulted at length in an agreement by quite a number of the men of the regiment to refuse to do duty or answer to roll call until their wrongs were righted. This agreement was to be carried into effect on the morning of September 15. Accordingly a number of the men -- in two or three companies the entire company -- refused to obey any order. For a day or two great confusion existed. Captains of about half the companies succeeded in controlling the matter in their own companies; the others were unable to do so, and willing companies were obliged to furnish extra details to do the work. Finally a number of the leaders of the revolt were arrested and sent to Montgomery to be tried by court-martial. A few days in the guardhouse there satisfied the boys that nothing was to be gained by revolt, and they signified their willingness to return to duty, and asked the regimental officers to come to their relief. A request for their release was signed by all the officers of the regiment and presented at headquarters by Major Knee, then a Provost Marshal at Montgomery. The request was granted, and the first and only revolt in the ranks of the 12th Iowa was ended."