27th Iowa History
27th Iowa Top Banner

Col., James Gilbert
Lieut.-Col., Jed Lake;
Maj., George W. Howard.

This regiment was organized in the summer of 1862 and was mustered in Oct. 3. A week later it reported to Maj.-Gen. Pope, commanding the Department of the Northwest, to take part in the campaign against the Indians, who were waging war against the settlers of Minnesota.

Upon reaching St. Paul it went into quarters at Fort Snelling, and soon after Col. Gilbert, accompanied by six companies of the regiment, proceeded to Mille Lac, to superintend the payment of the annuity to the tribe at that point. In the meantime Maj. Howard had been ordered to report at Cairo, IL, with the remaining four companies and had departed for that place. Col. Gilbert received similar orders on his return from Mille Lac and moved at once.

The regiment went into camp at Memphis but soon moved on the expedition into central Mississippi, marched to the Tallahatchie River, and was assigned to the duty of guarding the Mississippi Central railway between that point and the town of Waterford. In December a small band of cavalry made a dash on the regimental hospital, captured 11 men and hurried them across the country 15 miles, when, finding them unable to proceed, the officer in command paroled them and turned them loose.

The regiment went to Jackson and marched with the other forces to assist Gen. Sullivan, who was in a fight with Forrest beyond Lexington, but failed to reach him in time to take part in the fray or even to overtake the flying enemy, who was in retreat for Clinton. It spent the winter at Jackson, suffering greatly from sickness, the result of the last campaign which was made without blankets or rations. The regiment held the post at Corinth part of April, and was then posted in detachments at various points along the railway from Jackson with Col. Gilbert in command of the post at that place.

In June it moved to La Grange, thence to Moscow, and performed similar duties near that place for two months, having frequent skirmishes with guerrillas. In August it formed part of a detached brigade which went to the support of Gen. Steele, then moving on Little Rock, and took part in the capture of that place. It remained there on guard and picket duty until Nov. 15, when it moved to Memphis and went into quarters until Jan. 26, 1864.

It then proceeded to Vicksburg and was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 3rd division, 16th corps, with which it took part in the Meridian raid and returned March 4. It accompanied the Red River expedition a few days later and was in numerous skirmishes and battles of that movement. At Pleasant Hill it lost 88 in killed and wounded, and it formed a part of the force that covered the retreat from Grand Ecore to Alexandria, almost constantly skirmishing on the way. It was also engaged at Marksville and Yellow Bayou. It accompanied the forces under Smith, which dislodged Marmaduke from his position at Lake Chicot and then went into camp at Memphis.

It was heavily engaged at Tupelo, and at the battle of Old Town Creek on the following day it took a prominent part. Returning to Memphis, it joined the Oxford expedition, after which it proceeded to Jefferson Barracks, Mo. It accompanied an expedition through the state in the early part of October, in pursuit of Price, as far as Little Santa Fe on the Arkansas line, but returned without having had a fight.

It accompanied Smith's forces to Nashville, where it took position in the line of defenses and was active in the battle in December. Col. Gilbert was in command of the brigade and its work was such as to win for him a commission as brigadier-general soon after. The regiment lost 61 but inflicted much greater damage on the enemy. In the pursuit it moved to Pulaski, thence to Clifton and Eastport and Feb. 9, embarked for Dauphin Island, Ala.

It took part in the operations about Mobile, aided in the siege of Fort Blakely, was in the final assault when its brigade captured 8 pieces of artillery and 600 prisoners. Gen. Gilbert was afterwards brevetted major-general for his skillful conduct in this affair. With its brigade the regiment was assigned duty in garrison work, but was soon after sent to Montgomery where it remained for two months and was mustered out in July, 1865, when its recruits were transferred to the veteran 12th IA

Historical Data Systems, Inc.
P.O. Box 196
Kingston, MA 02364