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The History of Company I, 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry

and Biographies of its Officers

Contributed by Judy Landauer
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The following is the printed history of the 49th Iowa, Company I and biographies of its officers.

The History:

"Company I is rather uniquely officered.  Its present Captain was formerly and for nearly eight years Colonel of the Regiment to which it belonged.  Its First Lieutenant served as its Captain for about eight years, and its Second Lieutenant was chief two years.  None of these excellent officers were reduced, however, but all retired honorably from their higher rank and accepted their present positions simply from devotion to the Company and the cause in which it was embarked.  It is one of the oldest Companies in the State and none is more capably officered nor more reliable.

Captain Albert H. STEWART, son of Thomas STEWART, Esq., comes from an old Virginia family, of Scotch-Irish ancestry.  He was born in Wisconsin, on March 1st, 1854; finished his education and studied law in the University of Wisconsin, and was admitted to the bar in Iowa in 1876.  He enlisted as private in 1878 and was promoted twice before his time expired and was discharged in 1881 a sergeant.  He immediately re-enlisted as private, and was soon chosen Captain of the Company.    Under his command the Company was freely acknowledged to be the best in the State, winning prizes in 1882 and 1883.  In 1885 Captain STEWART became Colonel of the Fourth Regiment, Iowa National Guard, and served one term and part of another, until 1892, going on the retired list with a rank of Colonel. In 1897 his old Company became disorganized, and at the request of the Govenor and Adjutant General, Colonel STEWART easily accomplished the reorganization, the men refusing, however, to be mustered in unless Colonel STEWART would again take active command.  At the President's call for volunteers, Company I unanimously responded and were mustered in with their organization intact.  Captain STEWART lost his only son, Albert, aged 18 years, sergeant in Company I, at Camp Cuba Libre, Jacksonville, Fla., the second victim in the Regiment of the dread Typhoid fever, which afterwards wrought much havoc among the men.  Captain STEWART has been prominent in legal, political and social circles in northeast Iowa for many years.

First Lieutenant Ross A. NICHOLS was born in Ohio in 1861, but removed when a small child to Waukon, Iowa, where he has resided since, and received his education.  He joined Company I, Fourth Regiment Iowa National Guard, in 1878, as private; served through all the various grades, including First Lieutenant, till 1887, when Captain STEWART was chosen Colonel of the Regiment, Lieutenant NICHOLS was made Captain, serving faithfully until 1893, when he resigned under the pressure of business.  Four years later on the reorganization of the Company  he accepted the position of First Lieutenant, and at the President's call for volunteers, in the absence of the Captain, he was in command during the concentration and mobilization of his Company.  In civil life he is a contractor and is prominent in local politics.

Second Lieutenant Wm. S. HART was born in Allamakee County, Iowa in 1866, receiving his education in the public schools, and later graduating in law from Iowa State University, teaching school as a means to this end.  At the age of twenty-three he was elected clerk of the District court of Allamakee County, serving one term and a part of the second, resigning to take up the practice of law.  Joined Company I as private in 1889, and, serving through the various grades, became Captain in 1895.  At the reorganization of the Company in 1897 he re-enlisted as private, but was made Second Lieutenant soon thereafter, and was mustered into the United States service as such.  He is an intelligent and capable officer."


"Historical and Biographical Souvenir of the 49th Iowa U.S. Volunteer Infantry.  Illustrated with scenes of camp life." (Jacksonville, FL 1898).

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