During the Civil War, REZIN DARBY WOODWARD of Marietta, Marshall County, Iowa enlisted into Company G of the 14th Iowa Infantry. His first combat experience came when his regiment fought at Fort Donelson in February 1862. It was the first important Union victory of the War.
As they marched on foot to Donelson, the weather turned unseasonably warm. They were told to leave their tents, overcoats and extra blankets behind but during the night they arrived to surround the fort the temperature shifted dramatically and they were soon pelted with freeziing rain which then turned to wet snow.
They could not build fires because enemy sharpshooters from the fort could target them so they slept on the wet snowy ground with little cover for two nights before the fort finally surrendered. Many of them suffered from severe frostbite and pnuemonia, some described shivering all night in misery while other men said some soldiers woke up with their hair and clothes frozen to the ground. They still fought bravely and managed to take the outer areas of the fort.
When the defenders of the fort put up a white flag and asked for "terms of surrender" General U S Grant replied "there are no terms but unconditional surrender" which matched his initials and he became instantly famous across the country. The victory was wildly celebrated across the North.
Woodward family memoirs state that Rezin was wounded at Donelson, hospitalized at the Union field hospital at Corinth Mississippi, and in July he was discharged for disability and sent home.
After the War Rezin Woodward moved to Cloud County Kansas to farm and raise his family. He is buried in Mount Hope cemetery in Clyde Kansas.
Two of his brothers, James and Mortimer, Woodward, also of Marietta, served from Marshall County in other Iowa regiments. James served three years, Mortimer served three months.
Here are all three brothers in their roster entries:
Company G 14th iowa Infantry:
Woodward, Rezin D. Age 33. Residence Marshall County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted October 9, 1861. Mustered November 2, 1861. Discharged for disability July 8, 1862, Corinth Mississippi.
Company E 3rd Iowa Infantry:
Woodward, James M. Age 25. Residence Marietta, nativity Ohio. Enlisted May 21, 1861. Mustered June 8, 1861. Mustered out June 8, 1864, Davenport, Iowa, expiration of term of service.
Company G 44th Iowa Infantry:
Woodward, Mortimer L. Age 23. Residence. Marshall County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted May 8, 1864. Mustered June 1, 1864. Mustered out Sept. 15, 1864, Davenport, Iowa, expiration of term of service.
Woodward family members and anyone else interested in Cloud County's history or genealogy, or those who enjoy good first hand accounts of Civil War soldiers, may enjoy the hardcover book published recently by the Traer Iowa museum which contains a diary and letters written from the front lines by Rezin's companions in the 14th Iowa Company G.
The book can be seen and ordered from the museum website www.traermuseum.com
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