SHORT HISTORY OF THE REGIMENT
The Thirty-fourth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry was made up of ten companies, four were organized in the County of Warren, three in Lucas, two in Decatur, and one in Wayne. In response to the Proclamation by President Lincoln, dated July 2, 1862, Governor Kirkwood authorized the organization of the regiment, and the companies were ordered to assemble at Camp Lauman, near Burlington, Iowa, where they would receive preliminary instruction prior to entering the service of the government. Colonel George W. Clark, who had been selected by Governor Kirkwood to command the regiment, arrived at the rendezvous on September 17th, 1862, the same day the last company arrived. Col. Clark assumed command at once, and issued the necessary orders for the preparation of the muster rolls and the field and staff Officers. However, the mustering Officer, Lieutenant Charles J. Ball of the Regular Army, did not arrive until October 15th, at which time the regiment was mustered into the service of the United States.
The regiment suffered many deaths from disease before it even left Camp Lauman. Six hundred (600) men contracted measles, later, pneumonia became prevalent, as a sequel to the measles epidemic. The weather had turned cold, and the soldiers, who had not become inured to the hardships and exposures incident to life in camp, were experiencing what was inevitably connect with the life of a soldier - contention with sickness - which took more lives than the enemies bullets. The regiment was conveyed to Helena, Arkansas, on Novemeber 22, 1862, arriving on December 5th, where it was assigned to be commanded by General Steele. Shortly after it's arrival, the regiment was hit by an epidemic of smallpox, which took a great toll on the regiment.
The men and officers, who were able for duty, joined the expedition of General Sherman against Vicksburg by way of Chickasaw Bayou. General Steele commanded troops which composed the Fourth Division of the Sixteenth Army corps and the Thirty-fourth Iowa formed the Third Brigade, which was commanded by Brigadier General John M. Thayer during the days of the battle, December 27, 28 and 29, 1862 at Chickasaw Bayou.
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