At the start of the Civil War JACOB OVERTURF, son of Simon Overturf, lived in the small village of Redman Iowa, which straddled the border between Tama and Benton Counties along the present day State Highway 21. The town was in Tama county, the cemetery was in Benton county. The town no loner exists.
Living with the family of Simon Overturf, was Simon's nephew SIMON ECCLES.
When the War broke out Simon Eccles enlisted with his cousin Jacob Overturf into the 14th Iowa Infantry Company G. They fought at Fort Donelson and at Shiloh. At Shiloh they were part of the famous Hornets' Nest stand that helped save Grant's army from complete destruction by holding off the rebel attack long enough for Grant to reorganize his suprised and scattered army, and bring in reinforcements to fight again and win a crucial victory the following day.
The men of the Hornets' Nest however fought all day, ran low on ammunition and were eventually surrounded when other Union regiments near them retreated. They were caught in a crossfire and finally forced to surrender. Simon Eccles and Jacob Overturf were captured along with most of their company and were taken to a POW camp near Andersonville in Georgia. As a private, Overturf was eventually released after a few months but the officers including Lt Eccles were held for a longer period. Overturf's health was broken however and he was soon discharged from the service and returned home to Redman to try to recover. Eccles did not survive the POW camp and is today buried at Andersonville cemetery in Georgia.
Jacob Overturf, whose parents are buried in Redman cemetery, did recover and later moved to Darby Montana where he raised a large family.
Here are the roster records of these two cousins:
Eccles, Simon F. Age 27. Residence Redman, Tama County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted October 9, 1861, as First Sergeant. Mustered November 2, 1861. Promoted Second Lieutenant January 25, 1862. Missing in action and taken prisoner April 6, 1862, Shiloh, Tennessee. Died while a prisoner of war August 26, 1862, Madison, Georgia. Buried in National Cemetery, Andersonville, Georgia, Grave 13560.
Overturf, Jacob Bonham. Age 21. Residence Redman, Tama County, nativity Ohio. Enlisted October 9, 1861. Mustered November 2, 1861. Missing in action April 6, 1862, Shiloh, Tennessee. Discharged for disability March 27, 1863, St. Louis, Missouri. Buried in Lone Pine Cemetery, Darby Montana.
The museum of the small towwn of Traer Iowa has recently published a new book containing the Civil War diary, and a complete set of letters from the frontlines, of two soldiers of the 14th Iowa Company G who enlisted from the Traer area. They were companions to Eccles and Overturf and they shared the same experiences.
Eccles and Overturf are mentioned several times and the book even includes a couple necently discovered letters written by Simon Eccles describing the battle at Fort Donelson. Members of the Overturf - Eccles familes would learn a great deal about the wartime experiences of these soldiers in their own words.
The book is 288 pages hardbound with photographs and maps and a good index and a beautiful dustcover. It is available at the Traer museum or online at www.traermuseum.com . I am not associated with the museum that is selling the book, but I thought if these soldiers were my own family I'd want to know about this, so I thought I'd pass the word along.