The 37th Iowa, or “Graybeard regiment,” was a remarkable command.
It was organized under General Order
89, State of Iowa
, August 25, 1862, which specified that the regiment should be “composed of active and vigorous men, over the age of
45, and be assigned to garrison duty.”
The average age of the men thus recruited was 57 years. The rolls of the 37th, on which the age of each man is recorded, show that 3 of the recruits were over eighty, 7 were over seventy, and 123 were over sixty years of age. They enlisted for three years, and the hardy old pioneers performed their allotted duty as well as any regiment could have lone.
Had occasion demanded they would undoubtedly have gone into action cheerfully and acquitted themselves honorably.
Many of the regiments from this State were brigade by themselves.
These Iowa Brigades made brilliant records in the field, and secured for their State a full share of the laurels of the war. Prominent among these was “Hall
's Iowa Brigade,” of the Seventeenth Corps, composed of the 11th, 13th, 15th, and 16th Regiments.
These troops were brigade thus in April, 1862, under command of Colonel Crocker
of the 13th Iowa, and served together until mustered out in July, 1865.
, having been promoted Brigadier, was succeeded by Colonel Hall
of the 11th, who was in turn succeeded, in August, 1864, by General William W. Belknap
, formerly of the 15th. Colonels Reid
, also, commanded the brigade at times.
It fought in all the