Dick Worden was born in Oswego Township in Oswego County, New York, on February 4, 1843. By the time Dick was 11 his parents had moved their family to Linn County, Iowa.
Dick was 19 when he enlisted as a private in Company G, of the 24th Iowa Infantry Regiment on September 3, 1862. The 24th was known as the "Temperance Regiment."
"They were composed of men of temperance principles and temperance habits--that is to say, of men who touched not, taste not, handle not spirituous or malt liquor, wine or cider. If the men have since adopted other principles or other habits, it has only been at such times as they were under the overruling power of military necessity."*After mustering on September 18th and initial training at Camp Strong near Muscatine, Iowa, the 24th Iowa's active service began on October 20th at an army camp near Helena, Arkansas.
[Detail from County Map Of Louisiana, Mississippi, And Arkansas. Entered ... 1860, by S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. ... Pennsylvania.
Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]
[Interior of Fort Curtis, Helena, Ark. (photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed between 1880 and 1889).
No. 3158, Brady-Handy Collection. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.]
"There it arrived and disembarked on the 28th of October, going into camp just south of the city and joining the brigade commanded by Colonel McGinnis of the Eleventh Indiana. Many of the men had been attacked by sickness while upon the boat, and the unhealthy locality in which the regiment was now encamped added largely to the number upon the sick list. The privations and hardships endured by the Twenty-fourth Iowa, while at Helena and when engaged in the several expeditions in which it participated during the winter of 1862-3, were the most severe in its history. On the 17th of November the regiment formed part of the force under General Hovey which proceeded to the mouth of White River; upon its return it engaged in another expedition to Coldwater, Miss., to co-operate with the movement of General Grant against Vicksburg and, on the 11th of January, 1863, it again formed part of a force engaged in another expedition up the White River, this time under General Gorman. While no considerable body of the enemy was encountered upon any of these expeditions, and no practical results were accomplished by them, the troops suffered almost unendurable hardships from exposure to storms of rain and snow, and the fatalities which resulted were as great as those sustained in many of the hard-fought battles in which the regiment subsequently participated. The survivors of the regiment always remembered that winter campaign as the most discouraging of the many through which they passed in their long period of service. Upon its return from the last expedition the regiment found its camp ground flooded, compelling removal to higher ground, and the change in location resulted in a decrease of the sick list, but many had died and a still larger number had been incapacitated for further service and were discharged. A considerable number of those who were thus discharged for disability never fully recovered.
"On the 15th of February, 1863, the Twenty-fourth Iowa left Helena with its brigade, which formed part of the force under General Wasburn engaged in clearing out the obstructions in Yazoo Pass and opening the same to navigation. This duty, while arduous, gave the men active employment and relieved them from the depressing effects of witnessing the daily depletion of their ranks from disease, while lying idle in camp."**When their regiment returned returned to Helena, order came transferring them to General U.S. Grant's army which was about to make another attempt at capturing Vicksburg, "the Gibralter of the Confederacy."
Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.]
Since the 24th Iowa's participation in the Vicksburg Campaign began on April 28 (1863), I've decided to do a series of occasional posts highlighting the battles that Dick participated in 153 years ago.***
*From Iowa and the Rebellion, Lurton Dunham Ingersoll, 1867, J.B. Lippincott & Company, Philadelphia, p.501.
**From 1910 Historical Sketch--Twenty-Fourth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
***Last year I did the same for a paternal fifth great grandfather, Abraham Heath, who served in the Virginia line of the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
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