ISAIAH R HUNNICUTT, son of Thomas Hunnicut and Mary,Sinclair, enlisted from Tama County Iowa into the 14th IowaInfantry Company G in October 1861.
Isaiah's company fought during the taking of Fort Donelson, and a few weeks later at the battle of Shiloh. At Shiloh they were among the men who made the famous stand in the area now remembered as the "Hornets' Nest".
When the rebel army attacked Union forces gathered at Pittsburg Landing Tennessee, near the little church called Shiloh, they caught Generals Grant and Sherman unprepared.
The dawn attack quickly moved foward pushing through each line of defense the Union army attempted. Finally a stiff line of resistance formed at the Hornets' Nest area along an old road. The regiments along this line stubbornly held their ground until nearly sundown when, almost out of ammunition and almost completely surrounded, and caught in a crossfire, they were finally forced to surrender.
They were gathered up to be taken to POW camps in the deep south but their stubborn stand had bought Grant time to re-organize his scattered army, draw up a final strong line
of last defence, re-supply, and bring in thousands of fresh troops overnight to win a crucial victory the following day.
The men of the Hornets' Nest had bought Grant this second chance with their lives and freedom. Their stubborn bravery saved the careers of both Grant and Sherman who almost certainly would have lost their army and their positions as generals had they been defeated that day.
Isaiah was taken prisoner with his regiment and taken to a POW camp in Macon Georgia. A couple months later the privates were paroled and delivered to Union lines with a promise not to fight again until officially exchanged. A book called "THE SUN RIDES HIGH" quotes Joseph Burright, one of Isaiah's fellow soldiers, as saying the two of them then walked home together to Iowa, walking by night and hiding during the day.
Isaiah returned to his regiment when they were officially exchanged and he remained with them through many more battles through Louisiana and Mississippi until his three year enlistment was completed. One of those battles was at Pleasant Hill Louisiana on the Red River campaign. After the war he married, raised a family of five sons and two daughters. He farmed in Tama County for decades after the War. Late in life he moved to Belle Fourche South Dakota where he is buried with his wife, and his two married daughters.
Isaiah's older brother Thomas Hunnicutt also fought at Shiloh, having enlisted into the 11th Iowa Infantry a month before Isaiah enlisted into the 14th. The 11th Iowa, although it paid a steep price in killed and wounded, was not captured at Shiloh and went on to fight several more battles. In April 1863, while helping dig a canal meant to help Grant take Vicksburg, Thomas became very ill, probably of malaria or dysentery, and died before the final battle for Vicksburg. He is buried in the national cemetery in St. Louis.
Two more Hunnicutt brothers, William H Hunnicutt and Lafayette W Hunnicutt, enlisted together into the 24th Iowa Infantry from Cedar County Iowa. They both served a full three year term, although William spent some time as a POW in Virginia after the battle of Cedar Creek. During those three years the 24th Iowa participated in the battle at Champion Hill and the siege of Vicksburg (where Thomas died) as well as the Red River campaign and Pleasant Hill (where Isaiah fought). William’s health must have been seriously affected, as he died in Tama County, still relatively young, sometime after 1870. He is buried in Mattingly Pioneer cemetery in Tama County. Lafayette is buried in Glenville, Nebraska where he settled after the War.
Here is the roster information of these four Hunnicutt brothers:
COMPANY G14th Iowa Infantry
Hunnicut, Isaiah. Age 19. Residence Tama County, nativity Indiana. Enlisted October 12, 1861. Mustered November 2, 1861. Missing in action April 6, 1862, Shiloh, Tennessee. Mustered out November 16, 1864, Davenport Iowa.
COMPANY D11thIowa Infantry
Hunnicutt, Thomas. Age 23. Residence Rochester, Cedar County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted Sept. 27, 1861. Mustered Oct. 3, 1861. Promoted Sixth Corporal Oct. 1, 1862. Died April 24, 1863, St. Louis, Mo. Buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo. Section 2, grave 80.
COMPANY C24th Iowa Infantry
Hunnicutt, William H. Age 34. Residence Tipton, Cedar County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted Aug. 16, 1862. Mustered Aug. 29, 1862. Taken prisoner Oct. 19, 1864, Cedar Creek, Va. Mustered out July 17, 1865, Savannah, Ga.
COMPANY D24th Iowa Infantry
Hunnicutt, Washington Lafayette. Age 20. Residence Pedee, Cedar County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted Aug. 11, 1862. Mustered Sept. 4, 1862. Promoted Eighth Corporal Sept. 10, 1864; Seventh Corporal Oct. 20, 1864; Fifth Corporal Nov. 3, 1864; Fourth Corporal June 1, 1865; Fifth Sergeant June 8, 1865. Mustered out July 17, 1865, Savannah, Ga.
A book of first hand accounts about Isaiah's Company G, 14th Iowa Infantry has recently been published. It contains a wartime diary and many many letters written by Isaiah's companions. Isaiah is only mentioned very briefly as one of the captured men from Shiloh, but anyone interested in knowing more about his service can find an almost day by day description of experience of his Company in this book called SOLDIER LIFE - MANY MUST FALL. It can be found at www.traermuseum.com