On this 241st anniversary of the founding of the United States Army (14 June, 1775) a group of some three hundred citizens gathered in the sun drenched rolling hills of SE Iowa to honor six brothers who perished while serving as soldiers of that army during the American Civil War. Their sacrifice in the causes of Union and Freedom had been long forgotten and nearly lost to us all until two dedicated historians from the Louisa County Historical Society uncovered fragmentary evidence of the story some seven years ago.
Working diligently to discover more of the tale of the six members of the Littleton family who perished during the Civil War, Tom Woodruff and Ed Bayne would first become champions of the resurrection of the memories of these young men; and then, the driving forces behind the magnificent monument to their memories that was dedicated on this day near the site of the pioneer homestead where they spent their youths. The deaths of these six brothers represents the largest loss of life endured by any American family in time of war in the history of this nation.
The 49th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Iowa Military Heritage Society, was deeply honor to be chosen to be the official Honor Guard for the ceremonies; and provided the very first National flag that will be flown over the monument. As the colors were taken aloft and then returned to half-staff (per Presidential Proclamation in honor of the slain in the Orlando) local bugler Elaine Pacha played “To the Colors”.
Master of Ceremonies for the event was author and historian John Busbee of Des Moines, would guide the events of the late afternoon observances.
“The Star Spangled Banner” was ably performed by the Wapello High School Band under the direction of Mr. Micah Peck; who also led his musicians through a stirring rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” later on in the program.
The Invocation was offered by Pastor Dan Doolin, Solid Rock Baptist Church, Wapello; and Monument Project Chair from the Louisa County Historical Society, Mr. Tom Woodruff offered the opening remarks.
Descendants of the Littleton Brothers surviving sisters, Mr. Jake Shoppa and Mrs. Julie Wagner offered their gratitude and acknowledgement for the tremendous efforts involved in making this monument a reality; and, gave thanks for the efforts of all in remembering their ancestors.
In all, nearly two-dozen descendants of the Littleton's, from several states, would be present at this historic event honoring their family members.
Governor Terry E. Branstad offered his congratulations and those of all Iowans on this momentous occasion; and, also presented Mr. Woodruff and the monument committee with a check in the amount of $10,000.00 from the Iowa History Foundation to help defray the costs of erecting this beautiful monument.
Dr. Tom Morain, Graceland University, gave the keynote address referencing his thoughts on how this story should resonate with all Iowans and remind us of the costs involved in maintaining our precious freedoms.
At the end of Dr. Morain’s remarks, I briefly took the rostrum to offer comments and gratitude from our perspective as the chosen Honor Guard; and, to present both Tom Woodruff and Ed Bayne with certificates of induction into the “Loyal Legion of Abraham Lincoln for 2016” for their Herculean efforts in making this monument, and this day, into a reality.
“Taps” was played by Elaine Pacha.
As the last notes faded into the wooded hills surrounding this monument, myself and Regimental Color Sergeant Michael J. Rowley retired the regiments National Colors, and Color Sergeant Richard Grim and Sergeant Ronald F. Rittel presented arms before retiring the Regimental Colors of the 49th Iowa from the field.
Photos by John Lovretta & Marilyn Rittel
The afternoon's event was organized and shepharded into being by the efforts of dozens of local people of the Louisa County area; but, most especially the efforts of Kathy Jolly Vance, Iowa State University Extention Officer, and Chair of the Event Committee, deserve special recognition. Without Mrs. Vance's efforts, this marvelous event might never have happened.
1/Lt. David M. Lamb
“The Governor’s Own”