Letter of Recommendation by 17th Iowa Colonel Sampson Archer, who was severely WIA at Iuka, and taken POW (see the great story about this below). Written from Vicksburg, MS on August 15th, 1863.
Archer is recommending Samuel P. Curtis (nephew of General Curtis) for promotion.
In good condition with wear as shown in the scan.
$165.00 plus shipping
Sampson M. Archer
Residence Keokuk IA; 32 years old.
Enlisted on 5/27/1861 as a 2nd Lieutenant.
On 5/27/1861 he was commissioned into "A" Co. IA 2nd Infantry
He Resigned on 10/8/1861
On 3/25/1862 he was commissioned into "C" Co. IA 17th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 7/25/1865 at Louisville, KY
He was listed as:
* Wounded 9/19/1862 Iuka, MS (Severely)
* POW 11/25/1863 Missionary Ridge, TN
* Confined 12/1/1863 Macon, GA (Estimated date)
* Captain 3/25/1862 (As of Co. C 17th IA Infantry)
* Major 1/23/1863
* Lt Colonel 6/3/1863
* Colonel 6/12/1865
Intra Regimental Company Transfers:
* 1/23/1863 from company A to Field & Staff
born in Kentucky
Federal Pension Information:
He applied for a pension on 1/24/1870
application # 152,244
His Widow (Bettie Archer) applied for a pension on 8/18/1877
application # 232,812
After the fall of Atlanta on Sept. 2, 1864, Confederate Gen. John B. Hood made plans to move his army north to the rear of the Union Army which was then concentrated at Atlanta. His thoughts were to interrupt Gen. William Sherman’s supply route running down from Nashville.
By Sept. 29, 1864, Hood and his army had crossed the Chattahoochee River and marched by way of Acworth, Dallas, Cedartown and Cave Spring into north Georgia. By Oct. 11, they were at Armuchee Post Office where they encamped for the night. The next stop was made at the Sugar Valley Post Office and from there to Resaca, Tilton and Dalton.
About 4 p.m. on Oct. 12, a surrender of the garrison at Resaca was demanded by the division commander, Gen. Stephen B. Lee of Gen. Alex P. Stewart’s Corps on behalf of Hood. The garrison located there under the command of Col. Clark B. Weaver refused the demand. After a day of fighting, Lee deemed it not prudent to attack their well-fortified position and withdrew west to the mouth of Snake Creek Gap.
There were two companies of the 10th Missouri U. S. Infantry near Green’s Wood Station between Resaca and Tilton. They were attacked around 2 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 13 by Gen. Samuel G. French’s division of Stewarts Corps. The garrison of 70 or 80 men was forced to surrender about daybreak. Their tools, wagons and work oxen were also taken. One of their African American cooks managed to escape and make his way to the Tilton block house that had been constructed a few months earlier to protect the Western and Atlantic Railroad and the bridge across Swamp Creek just north of Tilton. While relaying the news of the fight and capture about 7 a.m, Confederate skirmishers stepped out of the brush and began firing on the bluecoats. The garrison consisted of 290 muskets or about 300 men of the 17th Iowa Veteran U.S. Infantry under the command of Lt. Col. Samson M. Archer. He immediately deployed his men and skirmished with the Southerners and slowly fell back to the block house. Archer stated that he placed about 75 men in the block house, about as many as could conveniently man the loop holes, and placed the rest in the trenches on either side. At the same time he sent companies A and B out as skirmishers, A on the left across the railroad toward the Conasauga River and B on the road in the direction from which the first demonstration was made.
Very soon French’s men had the block house completely surrounded and secreted themselves behind trees, stumps, logs and their partially destroyed huts. A brisk fire was maintained by both sides for about four hours. At 11 a.m. Confederate firing ceased and a white flag of truce was run out by officers of French’s division with a message from Stewart that was delivered to Archer, commanding the block house. It read; TO THE OFFICER COMMANDING THE U.S. FORCES AT TILTON, “Sir, I have ample force to take the garrison at Tilton. To save loss of life I demand the immediate and unconditional surrender. If the demand is complied with, all the white troops and their officers shall be paroled within a few days and the Negroes shall be well treated. If refused I will give instructions to take no prisoners.” Signed, Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant, Alex P. Stewart, Lt. General, C.S. Army.
Archer’s reply was, “I will not surrender. If you want my garrison you will have to take it.” During the brief truce the Confederates posted themselves more advantageously and, as soon as the bearer of truce passed out of danger, the firing resumed. Sharpshooting was kept up until 1 p.m. Archer perhaps thought that French would follow the tactics employed the day before at Resaca, abandon the thought of taking the block house by force, and back away. That assumption was short-lived for just then a cannon ball passed over the house.
French had placed three 12-pound howitzers from Lt. William M. Seldon’s battery of Gen. Edward C. Walthall’s division at the edge of a wooded area about 300 yards southwest of the block house. Twenty-one shots were fired from these guns at two-minute intervals but their position was so little elevated that only slight injury was done to the block house. However, soon thereafter three 12-pound Napoleons were placed in position on a commanding point west of the block house and opened fire. The first shot cut a telegraph wire strung along the railroad. The next was a little lower and the third cut a rail in two on the tracks. They were still too high but after some adjustments were made the next shell hit the bank, burst and threw dirt all around. Now on target it was just a matter of time before the block house would be reduced to splinters. At 2:30 p.m. the last and 47th shot fired from the Napoleons entered a loop hole and exploded in the middle of the room knocking down half of the men, enveloping them in smoke so thick that no one could see his comrade. Common sense prevailed and a white flag of surrender came out. A loud and sonorous rebel yell went up from the victorious Confederates as they rushed in.
The story goes, while riding up to Archer, Stewart asked, ”Do you know whom you have been fighting? Your obstinacy has given me a d***d sight of trouble and detained me nearly a whole day.” “Well General,” replied Archer, “that’s what I was put here for.” After the surrender, the men of French’s division destroyed the railroad bridge over Swamp Creek and the defending fortifications.
The Tilton block house had been attacked at least two other times. It had been successfully defended against a troop of 300 Confederate cavalry men on July 5, 1864, and an attack by Gen. Wheeler’s cavalry force in his raid on Dalton on Aug. 20, 1864.