Cornelius Joor -- Civil War soldier
Dutch-born CORNELIUS JOOR enlisted from Story County, Iowa
into the 14th Iowa Infantry in October 1861. He was 38 years old and enlisted as a private.
The following February his regiment participated in the taking of Fort Donelson, one of the important early Union victories of the Civil War. In April the 14th Iowa was camped at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee,where the Union army was gathering around a small church called Shiloh. They were preparing to attack the Confederate army in nearby Corinth.
At dawn on Sunday April 6, 1862, the rebel army turned the tables by opening a full scale attack on Generals Grant and Sherman, who were totally unprepared for such an event. The southern men originally met with success in overpowering the Federals until finally a stiff line of resistance formed in the area of the battlefield now known as the Hornets' Nest.
Cornelius Joor's Company G formed up in the middle of that line and stubbornly held off several waves of rebel assaults until almost sundown. Finally, units to the left and right gave way and almost out of ammunition and all but completely surrounded, they were forced to surrender. The men of the Hornets' Nest were rounded up and marched off the field to be taken to POW camps in the deep south. Cornelius Joor was probably taken to Macon Georgia. Joor survived his time in the POW camp while many of his companions in Company G never made it home.
The bravery of the men at the Hornets' Nest in delaying the rebel advance had bought a second chance for Grant and Sherman, who were able to use the time to organize their scattered army into a strong line of last defense, re-arm and resupply their forces, and to bring thousands of fresh troops into line overnight. The following day Grant and
Sherman turned the near disaster into a crucial victory for the Union. At the cost of their own lives and freedom the men of the Nest had saved Grant and Sherman's careers, and by doing so, probably saved the outcome of the entire War itself.
After his release from the POW camp Joor and many of the
younger men with him were suffering from serious health
problems. Cornelius was discharged for disability and sent home to Story County to recover. Just over a year later, even though he was 40 years old, and a married man with small children, he was still determined to serve his adopted country. In February 1864, Joor volunteered again and joined the 32nd Iowa Infantry. This time he served until the end of the War. In July 1865 he transferred to the 8th Iowa Infantry which was still doing duty in the deep South a year after the fighting had ended. In August 1866 Joor was finally mustered out of the service.
He quietly returned to his farm near Nevada in Story County, raised his children and lived twenty more years. His son Peter Joor grew up and became a well known physician in the area. When Cornelius died in 1885 he was buried in Pleasant Run Cemetery south east of Nevada.
Recently a book about Company G of the 14th Iowa has been published by the museum of the small town of Traer Iowa. The hardback 288 page book consists of a complete wartime diary and a full volume of letters from Joor's companions giving an almost day by day account of what Joor and his companions experienced in the war, told by the soldiers themselves. Anyone interested in good highly detailed first-person accounts of Iowa men in the Civil war can find the book at www.traermuseum.com