EDGAR DYKEMAN, originally from Colesville New York, enlisted into the 14th Iowa Infantry, Company G in October 1861, from Tama County Iowa. Before the War, Dykeman had been living near the small Iowa town of Redman, which straddled the line between Tama and Benton counties. The town no longer exists.
Edgar's company fought bravely at Fort Donelson in one of the early important Union victories of the War and later he became part of the heroic stand now remembered as the Hornets' Nest at the battle of Shiloh.
Just at dawn on April 6 1862 rebel forces attacked the unprepared army of Generals Grant and Sherman that were encamped near the Shiloh Church of Pittsburg Landing
Tennessee. At first the attack met with quick success in
driving back and scattering the Federal forces until a stiff resistance began forming around an old road in the area called the Hornets' Nest today. These Union regiments held their ground all day despite several waves of Confederate assault. Finally at sundown these stubborn Northern men were all but out of ammunition and almost completely surrounded by equally determined Southern forces and were finally forced to surrender. They were rounded up, marched off the field, and eventually sent south to POW camps.
But the long delay had bought Grant and Sherman the time they needed to organize a final line of defense, to resupply their scattered men and to bring thousands of fresh troops in overnight. This second chance allowed them to win a very important victory the next day and probably saved not only their careers as generals, but saved probably the outcome of the War itself, which certainly would have followed a different course had Grant and Sherman been removed from command early in 1862.
A few months after Edgar was captured, his older brother SIMON DYKEMAN, also from Redman, enlisted in August 1862, into the 24th Iowa Infantry.
Edgar, who was called by another soldier of his company as "one of the best men we had" survived his time as a POW and later rejoined his regiment, still suffering from disease caused from bad food and water. In July 1863, while his company was stationed at Columbus Kentucky, Edgar's health problems suddenly became severe and he died within a few days. He was buried near the Columbus post but today the location of his grave is not known.
Sadly within days of Edgar's death news came that Edgar's
brother Simon had died in St. Louis just a few days earlier, also of disease. Simon, who had been married with two young sons, was buried in St. Louis.
Six months after his brothers had given up their lives
serving the Union cause, a third brother, ABRAM DYKEMAN, who farmed near Redman on the Benton County side of the county line, joined the 2nd Iowa Cavalry from Benton County Iowa. Abram served until the end of the War.
Here are the Dykeman brothers entries in the Iowa rosters:
Company G 14th Iowa Infantry:
Dykeman, Edgar. Age 24. Residence Redman, Tama County,
nativity New York. Enlisted October 9, 1861. Mustered
November 2, 1861. Missing in action April 6, 1862, Shiloh, Tennessee. Promoted Fifth Corporal April 12, 1863. Died of
chronic diarrhoea July 19, 1863, Columbus, Kentucky. Buried in ---- Cemetery near Columbus, Kentucky.
Company E 24th Iowa Infantry:
Dykeman, Simon. Age 35. Residence Tama County, nativity New York. Enlisted Aug. 21, 1862. Mustered Aug. 28, 1862. Died of disease July 8, 1863, St. Louis, Mo. Buried in National Cemetery, Jefferson Barracks (St. Louis), Mo. Section 6, grave 40.
Company G 2nd Iowa Cavalry:
Dykeman, Abram. Age 30. Residence Benton County, nativity
New York. Enlisted Jan. 21, 1864. Mustered Jan. 21, 1864.
Mustered out Sept. 19, 1865, Selma, Ala.
Here is the family listed in the 1850 census in Colesville NY:
1850: Colesville, Broome County NY
Henry Dikeman 49 abt 1801
Susan Dikeman 34 abt 1816
Simon Dikeman 23 abt 1827
Abram Dikeman 16 abt 1834
Edger Dikeman 12 abt 1838
Mary J Dikeman 9 abt 1841
Mariah Dikeman 1 abt 1849
George Dikeman 24 abt 1826
Nancy Dikeman 22 abt 1828
Recently a book has been published containing a full diary and a large volume of letters from Edgar's companions in
Company G. Edgar is mentioned several times. The book gives almost a day by day description of the experiences Edgar and his companions went through, all in the mens' own words. Descendants of this Dykeman family or anyone interested in good first-hand accounts of the Civil War may enjoy this detailed book. It is 288 pages, 11x8, hardbound with photographs, maps, an index and a very nice dustcover. It was published by the museum from a small Iowa town near where the town of Redman once stood. The book can be found at www.traermuseum.com
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