JOHNSTON, Iowa — Iowa was in its infancy as a state when the Civil War broke out, but the state still played a role in the war being fought a thousand miles away. Iowa sent 76,000 soldiers to war – 13,000 of whom died in battle or captivity by Confederate insurrectionists.
“A common misconception in Iowa is that we contributed more soldiers, that we had a higher loss rate per capita or percentage of any other state,” said Mike Vogt, Curator of the Gold Star Museum. “Unfortunately, that seems to be the one thing about the Civil War but it is incorrect.”
Early on in the Civil War, there was a battle at Athens, Missouri – across the river from Croton, Iowa.
“Some cannonballs landed in the town of Croton, but other than that there was no direct action as a result of the Civil War,” said Vogt. A majority of Iowa units served in the western theater west of the Allegheny Mountains. Iowans were heavily involved in the capture of the Mississippi River Valley and Vicksburg. They also marched with General Sherman’s route across the south in 1864 and Spring of 1865.
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum has the display of the Civil War, and WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10-2 pm.