Linn County, IA Biographies
Private Amos Scott Stevens
Company H, 24th Iowa Infantry
Mount Vernon, Linn County, Iowa 1862-1865

Private Amos Scott Stevens

Amos S. Stevens was born in Morgan County Ohio on June 17, 1839 to Mr. Isaac Stevens and Mrs. Elsie (Haines) Stevens at Zanesville, Muskingum County Ohio. Amos spent his beginning years there learning to farm with his father moving from Morgan County to Hamilton County near Cincinnati.

Other children born to Isaac and Elsie were: Henry H. born in 1829 in Morgan County Ohio; Sarah Ellen born 1830 in Morgan County Ohio; Mary Delilah born October 13, 1832 in Ohio; Heulda Ann born August 18, 1834; Mary Jane born May 2, 1836; Elizabeth Ann born in 1850 and Vincent F. born May 4, 1842.

A search of the 1840 Census Index reflected a large Stevens Clan in the Hamilton County, Ohio area. Those names were: Henry A., Giles, Ira, Issac L., Jacob, John W., Isaac, Earl, Elijah, Elizabeth, Enoch, George P., James, Job, Jonathan, Lowig, Marus, Mary, Oliver, Reuban, Thomas, William, and William L. Stevens.

The 1850 Census Record had the family of Isaac and Elsie Stevens in Richhill, Muskingham County, Ohio with all the children listed above.

Some of these names were most likely Aunts and Uncles of Amos S. Stevens that moved to Ohio in this timeframe.

Somewhere in 1853 Amos and his family moved from Ohio to a Farm near Springville, (Linn Country) Iowa. (My Grandfather (Kenneth) told a story that during this timeframe Amos' Grandfather (Oliver) passed away after having been married twice due to the death of his first wife and upon his death; left all his wealth and possessions to the his second set of children. Thus a huge family rife ensued and with that rife, Amos and his brother's started towards Iowa and the Great West in hopes of making a better life.)

Here Amos and his brother Henry H. along with a brother-in-law Benjamin Mann (Mary Jane's first Husband) were mustered along with ten other companies of Iowa Volunteers into service of the United States on September 18, 1862 at "Camp Strong", Muscatine, Iowa as the 24th Iowa Infantry Regiment. The original enrollment was 979 with subsequent recruitment brought the total up to 1207 by the end of the war. From 1862 through 1865, 128 died from wounds inflicted in battle while another 215 died from disease. Benjamin Mann died from Chronic Diarrhea on January 4, 1863.

Henry H. Stevens, Amos S. Stevens (Stephens) and Benjamin Mann were all mustered into service at in the Union Army on August 8, 1862 near Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Captain Abraham R. Knott's Company H, 1st Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Henry H. was twenty-three (33) years of age and Amos S. was Twenty-One (21) years of age at Five Feet Nine Inches Tall (5'9"), Light complexion, blue eyes and light hair.

Amos S. was listed as a residence of Springville, Iowa, nativity of Vermont and enlisted on August 9, 1862. Henry H. was listed as a residence of Springville, Iowa, nativity of Vermont and enlisted after Amos on August 11, 1862.

Henry, Amos and Benjamin moved with their Volunteer Infantry Company from the county muster area to a Regular Army Training site near present day Cedar Rapids for further Infantry Training and induction into Federal Service.

The 24th Iowa Regiment departed Camp Strong on October 19, 1862, for St. Louis, Traveling by river transport. On Arrival in St. Louis they received orders to proceed to Helena, Arkansas. The troops disembarked in Helena on October 28th, many of them ill from contagious diseases (Measles) contracted aboard the crowded boats. The Regiment joined the brigade of Colonel McGinnis of the Eleventh Indiana in a swampy, unhealthy camp just south of the city. The sick list continued to grow.

The 24th Iowa Regiment fought at the Skirmish at Madison, Yazzo Pass Expedition, Fort Pemberton, Battle of Port Gibson, Bayou Pierrie, Fourteen Mile Creek, Battle of Champion Hill, Big Black River, Siege of Vicksburg, Siege of Jackson, Western Louisianan Campaign, Red River Campaign, Battle of Sabine Cross Roads, Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Battle of Cedar Creek VA, and duty in the Shenandoah Valley.

The regiment formed part of the force under General Hovey that departed for the mouth of the White River on November 17, 1862. Returning once again to Helena, the troops then formed part of an expedition to Coldwater, Mississippi, to cooperate with the movement of General Grant against Vicksburg. On January 11, 1863 the regiment again found itself on the march up the White River, under General Gorman this time.

These three mid-winter campaigns never met with any consequential number of Rebel forces, but that winter took a heavy toll on the regiment, and indeed the entire brigade. Poorly equipped for the stormy, blustery weather and chronically short of good food, the troops readily fell prey to debilitating, often fatal, illnesses. The moral of the 24th Iowa Volunteers was never lower. Upon their return from the third expedition the troops found their camp at Helena flooded. The arduous task of moving camp, however, turned out to be most beneficial exercise. Once on higher ground, the overall health of the camp improved tremendously.

On February 15, 1863, the brigade joined other forces under the command of General Washburn, engaged in clearing out obstructions in Yazoo Pass. Then in early Spring they returned to Helena. At that point, the regiment was transferred to the 13th Army Corps and ordered to join General Grant's army in its operation against Vicksburg. The troops were shipped on transports to Milliken's Bend. Disembarking there they made the difficult march overland to Perkin's Landing. On April 28th at Perkin's Landing they again boarded transports and barges, and headed downriver.

Just above Grand Gulf the troop boats stopped while gunboats exchanged fire with Rebel batteries on the shore. The fierce exchange seemed to have little effect in quieting the enemy guns, so the troops disembarked and marched down the levee to a point about three miles below Grand Gulf, where they bivouacked until morning. During the night the gunboats and some transports slipped by the Rebel batteries, allowing the troops to embark once again in the morning. They continued down to Bruinsburg, where they landed and began the march toward Port Gibson.

At the Battle of Port Gibson on May 1, 1863, the 24th Iowa was held in reserve while the 34th Indiana, supported by the 56th Ohio captured a Rebel battery along with 220 prisoners. Later in the day however, the 24th and 28th Iowa were ordered to support Major General Logan's troops who were under heavy fire. Here the 24th Iowa got their first experience of sustained battle, continuing the fight until the enemy was driven from the field as night began to fall.

Between May 2nd and 15th the 24th Iowa and other members of the 13th Army Corps were engaged in various small skirmishes with Rebel forces. On May 16th they fought the bloody Battle of Champion's Hill. During the Battle of Vicksburg and Champion Hill, the 24th Iowa Infantry Regiment under command of Colonel Eber C. Byam with Lieut. Colonel John Q. Wilds and was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee under Major General Ulysses S. Grant, Thirteenth Army Corps under Major General John A. McClernand and Major General Edward O.C. Ord, Twelfth Division under Brig. General Alvin P. Hovey, Second Brigade under Colonel James R. Slack. The Second Brigade consisted of the 87th Ill., 47th Indiana, 24th Iowa, 28th Iowa and 56th Ohio. Nine of the ten companies comprising the 24th Iowa were involved in the fight, Company "B" being on detached duty at the time. Outnumbered three to one, the Union forces still managed to prevail, but at great cost of life to both sides. Major Edward Wright of the 24th Iowa was severely wounded, while Captains Silas Johnson and William Carbee, and First Lieutenant Chauncey Lawrence were among the dead. The toll for the 24th Iowa was 35 dead, 120 wounded and 34 missing and presumed captured. Theirs was the highest percentage of loss for any regiment in the battle. The Brigade losses during the battle of Champion Hill were 108 killed, 365 wounded, 93 captured or missing for a total of 566 men.

During the battle of Vicksburg, MS at Champion Hill on May 16, 1863, Private Henry H. Stevens (Stephens) of Company H, 24th Iowa was killed in an Union Infantry assault of Confederate Trench works.

From the battle at Champion's Hill the 24th Iowa marched to Black River Bridge, but the fighting there had drawn to a close by the time of their arrival. After a few days at Black River Bridge they marched on to Vicksburg, joining General Grant's siege on that city. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863, and on the morning of the fifth the 24th Iowa were on the march again, joining General Sherman's expedition against Jackson, Mississippi. On July 16, 1863, the Rebel forces evacuated Jackson, and the regiment returned to Vicksburg and the taking of Jackson amounted to one killed and twelve wounded.

While the 24th Iowa rested in camp at Vicksburg, their Commander, Colonel Byam resigned (June 30, 1863) and Lieutenant Colonel Wilds assumed command. In mid August the regiment transferred to a new field of operations, taking transports to New Orleans. The 24th Iowa spent the fall and early winter of 1863 moving about south-central Louisiana - Brashear City, New Iberia, Opelousas, Vermilion Bayou.

The Brigade engagements with Rebel forces near Vermilion Ville, where losses exceeded 600 men, nearly 20 killed, 175 wounded and the rest captured. The 24th Iowa was not directly involved in this fight, having been left behind to guard the camp. In early November, five men of Company "F" of the 24th Iowa Volunteers were captured by Rebel forces while out gathering wood.

The 24th Iowa Infantry fought battles at Helena, Arkansas, Coldwater Mississippi, Vicksburg Mississippi, Yazoo Pass Mississippi, Port Gibson Mississippi, Champion Hill Mississippi where the 24th had 35 killed, 120 wounded and 34 missing and presumed captured, and Pleasant Hill Louisiana part of the Red River Expedition.

During the Red River Expedition the 24th Iowa under Major Edward Wright was part of the Second Brigade under Colonel William H. Raynor and the Third Division under Brig. General Robert A. Cameron, which was part of Thirteenth Army Corps, under Brig. General Thomas E.G. Ransom (Wounded) and later Brig. General Robert A. Carmeron. The Second Brigade consisted of the 24th Iowa, 28th Iowa and 56th Ohio.

Most of January, 1864, the 24th Iowa spent in Camp at Algiers, Louisiana, until January 21st when the division was moved to Madisonville on the opposite side of Lake Pontchartrain. There they remained until February 26th when they returned to their old camp at Algiers. On March 5th the regiment was transferred by rail to Berwick Bay, Louisiana. There they dispensed with as much equipment and baggage as they could spare, sending the excess back to New Orleans, as they prepared for a rapid march to reinforce General Bank's Army, then engaged on the unfortunate Red River Expedition.

By March 31st the troops reached Natchitoches, Louisiana, some 290 miles from their starting point. After a few days in that vicinity they moved up to Pleasant Hill, arriving late on the 7th of April. There they found Federal cavalry skirmishing with Rebel Forces, but before they could move up to support the cavalry, the enemy withdrew. For the next two days the division moved slowly forward, meeting with scattered opposition. Five companies of the 24th Iowa were detailed as escort for the train in the rear. In mid afternoon April 9th the battle of Pleasant Hill began. The Third Division, numbering about 1200 men, were ordered to advance against a force of over 8000 Rebels. After a couple hours of fierce battle, nearly depleted of ammunition, the division was forced to fall back, though even that was nearly impossible because they had been outflanked by Rebel Cavalry.

Major Wright, in Command of Five Companies of the 24th Iowa that were engaged in the battle, ordered his men to retreat by means of a narrow strip of thickly wooded brush. Of 130 men from the 24th Iowa engaged in battle, there were 34 casualties. In retrospect it is clear that this battle, like many others on the Red River Expedition, was poorly handled by the incompetent General Banks.

General Banks retreated from Pleasant Hill to Alexandria, reaching there on April 25th. While the troops were at Alexandria, Lieutenant Colonel Wilds returned from a recruiting trip to Iowa and resumed command of the 24th Iowa Volunteers. On May 13th General Banks began his retreat from Alexandria.

General Bank's army reached Morganza Bend on May 22nd. While there the 24th Iowa was involved in a skirmish with Rebel forces that cost one life and left four wounded. The total loss of the regiment while they were connected with General Bank's Army numbered 48. The consensus among the men was that the sacrifice had been in vain.

The 24th Regiment left Morganza on June 13th and proceeded to Carrollton, Louisiana, going into camp at Greenville Station on the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad. Leaving there on June 21st, they were subsequently stationed at Kennerville, and then Thibodeaux, Louisiana. On July 6th they moved by rail back to Algiers, where they were issued new Springfield rifles to replace the old Enfield rifles they had been using.

On July 22 1864, the regiment embarked on the Ocean steamer "Star of the South" enroute to Fort Monroe, Virginia. From there proceeded into Washington, D.C., where they took a train to Monocacy, Maryland arriving on August first. At Monocacy the 24th Iowa joined a detachment of the 19th Army Corps under General Emory. Colonel Wilds was placed in command of the brigade to which his regiment was attached.

On August 4, 1864, the 24th Iowa was transferred by train to Harper's Ferry which began a series of movements designed to intercept 30,000 Confederates under General Early in the Shenandoah Valley.

Later in the month they joined forces with troops under General Grover. These and other forces, under the overall command of Major General Sheridan, began a series of movements leading up to the Battle of Winchester on September 19th, 1864.

On October 19th, 1864 the 24th Iowa Infantry around noon, the 24th was engaged in the battle of Cedar Creek (Fisher's Hill) where the 24th was surprised by Rebel forces on their right flank. Sequestering themselves in a deep hollow, the Rebels set up a battery of artillery and began a deadly barrage. This was followed by a hail of musket shot from a column of Rebel infantry, firing at right angle along the lines. After a severe loss the Union forces fell back to the woods, and redirecting their efforts toward the flank managed at length to rout the enemy. Colonel Wilds was mortally wounded in this confrontation, and died November 18, 1864.

During the battle of Cedar Creek, the 24th Iowa under command of now Lieutenant Colonel John Q. Wilds (killed)and later Major Leander Clark, were assigned to the Fourth Brigade under Colonel David Shunk. The 4th Brigade, Second Division (under Brig General Cuvier Grover (wounded) and Brig. General Henry W. Birge) consisted of the 8th Indiana, 18th Illinois, 24th Iowa and 28th Iowa. Brigade losses during the battle of Cedar Creek were 26 killed, 200 wounded, 103 missing or captured for a total of 329 men. The 24th Iowa losses during this battle were 7 killed, 45 wounded, 41 captured for a total of 93 men.

The 24th Iowa Volunteers from the end of October 1864 to the end of the war were in various guard details and moved from Virginia to North Carolina and later Georgia. They were mustered out at Savannah, Georgia on July 17, 1865.

Private Amos S. Stevens during the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia in 1864 when Confederate Forces under GEN Early tried to defeat GEN Sherman's Army in the Shenandoah Valley 1864 Campaign was partially disabled due to disease of the liver and kidneys contracted near Richmond Virginia in May of 1864. (See Pension Record #427.791 signed by Lt. Leui S. Staufield, 24th Regimental Adjutant)

At the end of the war Amos was discharge as a Teamster on July 7, 1865 from Company H (Co 26), 24th Iowa Infantry as a Private at David's Island, New York State.

Amos and his brother, Vincent F. returned to the Isaac Stevens homestead near Springville, Harlin and Shelby, Iowa. From Iowa, Amos and Vincent moved to St. Edward Nebraska on March 12, 1882. Somewhere here Amos dated and married Ms. Sarah Whitlach from Virginia on April 2, 1867. Sarah Whitlach (born: January 15, 1843 in Virginia, died November 23, 1914) was the daughter of John Whitlach and Annie Mann. Annie Mann was the sister of David Mann whose father Levi Mann had married Amos's sister Elizabeth Stevens. David Mann's brother Jacob Mann's daughter Ann Mann was the mother of Alonzo Smith who married Amos's sister Mary Jane. Thus they were all double cousins.

Amos moved his family from Linn County Iowa on March 12, 1882 towards Platte County Nebraska either by wagon or by train. This move included passing through Pawnee Country, the last Nebraska home of an Indian Confederacy which once numbered more than 10,000, consisting of four tribes -- Skidi, Grand, Republican and Tapage. The Skidi Pawnee were the primary Pawnee Tribe in the area during this time and living on a reservation south of Genoa and present day Nance County. Their domain covered a large part of Central Nebraska where they lived in permanent earthlodge villages and developed an elaborate religious and social organization. The Pawnee grew corn, made pottery and many flint tools and weapons. They depended on buffalo for their meat and hides, and each year carried on extended hunts along the Platte and Republican rivers where they conflicted with their enemies the Sioux and other Plains Indians.

In 1857 they ceded their remaining lands, with the exception of what is now Nance County and established their villages at this site under their famous Chief, Petalesharo. Nearly always friendly to the Whites, the Pawnee furnished scouts commanded by Major Frank North, which were a colorful and effective fighting force in the Indian wars of 1864-1877.

Under continued harassment by nomadic tribes and demoralized by association with the Whites, the Pawnee dwindled in numbers and prestige. In 1873 they suffered major losses in battle with the Sioux at Massacre Canyon near present day Trenton. In 1874-1875 they left their ancestral Nebraska home for a reservation in Oklahoma.

The first hardship that Amos and Sarah had to endure was the fierce blizzard that came on January 12, 1888, that slashed across the Midwest. The temperature fell to between 30 and 40 degrees below zero. A howling northwest wind swept the plains. The storm raged for 12 to 18 hours and is probably the most severe single blizzard to have hit Nebraska since the settlement of the state.

Sometimes called "the school children's storm," the blizzard caught many children away from home. Many acts of heroism were performed by parents, teachers, and the children themselves. Many people performed similar acts of heroism, and at least one lost her life in the attempt. No accurate count of the total deaths from the storm is possible, but estimates for Nebraska have ranged from 40 to 100.

Both Amos Scott Stevens and Vincent F. Stevens joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Local Post 140 St. Edward GAR Post once they settled into the region.

Amos is thought of joined Company K, 1st Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry during this time (1882-1890). The Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry was a home defense unit against Sioux Indian attacks.

On April 21, 1884, Amos S. Stevens borrowed $40.00 for a Windmill on property located at Section 33, Township 2, Range 5 in Boone County secured with 100 Improved Acres valued at $200.00 from A.L. Strong.

In 1886, Amos S. Stevens was farming one mile north and five miles west of St. Edward. He secured a loan from the Genoa State bank for $22.00 on April 8th, 1886 for a 11 foot Hoosier Broadcast Seeder and completed paying for it on October 27, 1887.

Amos applied for a Homestead on March 4, 1886 of 160 acres for farming under the Homestead Act in Nebraska from the Grand Island Land Office. The application was final on December 12, 1888 for Section 28, Town 19, Range 4. The Final Certificate Number was 8310, Homestead Application Number: 16602.

Amos and Sarah's Homestead had a one framed house, a grainery, barn, windmill, seven acres of woodlands and 120 acres of broken farm land. They also had three wagons, one buggy, five horses, ten head of cattle and sixty-five hogs.

In 1891 Amos S. Stevens paid taxes for property located on Section 28, Township 19, Range 420, of 160 Acres valued at $453.00 of 421.50.

He farmed this section for a number of years until his sold it. The Farm was later farmed by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Albert Arlt and family.

Amos and Sarah had two children, George (Dick) Albert Stevens (born March 17, 1869) and Lucy Stevens (born 1870). Lucy was killed as a child while sitting at her desk in her local rural school house, lighting hit the school house traveling down the chimney and hitting her (May 27, 1882). Lucy was eleven years of age at her death. Lucy M. Stevens is buried at the Rosehill Cemetery in Albion Nebraska.

In the early 1890's Amos sold the Homestead and moved into St. Edward and bought a local harness and buggy shop (located now where Dale Nelson old Machinery Company was and now the COOP storage building is). Amos also ran the local Dray Line hauling freight from the train station to local business and farmsteads around 1893.

Amos and Sarah bought the Captain Robert Hardy (Civil War Veteran from Indiana) Addition home in St. Edward. Captain Hardy was one of the first homesteaders in the area arriving from South Bend, Indiana after the Civil War. Captain Hardy established the first Post Office in the area and named it the "Beaver City". The Hardy Addition is still located near J.W. Carter Grain Company.

Amos' Son George (Dick) married Ms. Clara Justus (Who's family (Ludwig Justus) came from Germany and owned a ranch in the Sand Hills) on August 2, 1887. George (Dick) and Clara has three children, Earl (named for the Dick's Great Grandfather's Middle Name) who died in infancy, Arthur, born on February 4, 1889 and Lucy (Named after her late Aunt) born 1892.

George later took in his son, Arthur in his Dray Business and changed the Stevens Dray to Stevens and Son Dray business.

George died in 1938. Clara (or Grandma Dick) passed away in 1955. Amos Scott Stevens died on November 25, 1910 from cancer of the stomach and Sarah (Whitlach) Stevens passed away on December 8, 1914. Both are buried in the St. Edward Evergreen Cemetery in Boone County, Nebraska.
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Biography submitted by Randall Stevens on 1/22/98.
Copyright (c) 1998 by Randall Stevens, All Rights Reserved.
Email: eadbear@earthlink.net

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