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of the role of the 27th Iowa Vol. Inf.

in the capture of Fort DeRussy, Louisiana 

From The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 34

No. 46.

Report of Col. James I. Gilbert, 27th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, of the capture of Fort DeRussy


On Board Steamer Diadem, Alexandria, La., March 17, 1864


CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders from headquarters Second Brigade, Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, I have the honor to report that while on the march near the town of Marksville, La., on the 14th day of March, 1864, the Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry was ordered to halt in the town as provost guards until the army had passed through, after which we were to resume our march. When the column had moved by I assembled the guards and moved rapidly forward, keeping well closed up on the train just in my advance. When cannonading commenced the remainder of the brigade to which my regiment was attached were in the advance, having moved forward while we were on duty as provost guards in the town of Marksville. I immediately sent forward Lieutenant Peck, acting adjutant, to Colonel Shaw, commanding brigade, requesting him that I might be permitted to take my place in the brigade. Lieutenant Peck returned and reported to me that he had failed to find Colonel Shaw. I sent him a second time. The request was granted, and we were directed to move forward. We were ordered to relieve the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, and moved up to do so, but at that moment a simultaneous charge was ordered. It was a long way to the fort (DeRussy). The ground over which we must charge was well cleared of trees. Many logs lay on the ground, and several ditches were to be crossed. At the command, "Forward, double-quick, march!" the entire regiment sprang forward with a will, moving too rapidly at times for a long charge, but all the time under apparent good control. We sprang into the ditch on the east and south sides of the fort, and mounted the parapet in all haste. When the fort was surrendered a part of my regiment, with others of other regiments, joined in a fire of musketry, and with them united in a wild, ringing, vociferous yell of joy. It was the first time we had ever charged upon an enemy's works, and it has not been reported to me that any officer or soldier failed to do his duty and to do it well. Our list of casualties is as follows: Robert Beck, private, Company G,* dangerously wounded in the left breast by accidental discharge of gun.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


                                                                      JAS. I. GILBERT

                                                                Colonel, Commanding Regiment



     Acting Assistant Adjutant-General



*   The casualty was actually Jacob Beck, Robert Beck's brother. He died on March 22, aboard the hospital boat Woodford at Alexandria.