Biographies of the Regimental Officers of

The 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry

Contributed by Judy Landauer

For a roster of the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, click here
For a history of the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, click here!
Col. William Dows ||| Lt. Col. Clifford Ham  |||   Maj. Samuel Clapp |||  Maj. Fred Clarke ||| Maj. Frank Fisher ||| Capt. Albert Jaeggi

 Lt. John Hamilton ||| Lt. E L. Martindale ||| Chaplain O. H. L. Mason ||| QM Lt. Frank Woodring ||| Lt. E. E. Reed ||| Lt. E. E. Olmstead
 Lt. William Siddle

The following are the biographies of the regimental officers of the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry's  during the unit's Spanish American War.

The Biographies:

Colonel William G. Dows:

"Colonel DOWS, of the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on the 12th day of August, 1864, hence is thirty-four years of age.  He received his education in the public schools of his home town, and later graduated from the Shattuck School, at Faribault, Minn.

Colonel DOWS is one of the most influential young men in the State of Iowa; his generous nature and genial disposition have made him hosts of friends. And in addition to his unswerving fidelity to what he believes is right, and his ability to carry our his ideas successfully, make him a recognized leader.  He is prominent in the political world of his home State, as well as in the social, business, and military worlds, having served a term as a member of the Cedar Rapids City Council, and is now a member of the Iowa State Legislature.

Colonel DOWS' military career began 15 years ago, when he joined Company C, Iowa State Guard, at Cedar Rapids, as a private.  He has been continuously in the service of the State since 1883, and is one of the oldest members of the Iowa National Guard.  He served Company C in all the various ranks, and has served the 1st Regiment, I. N. G., as Regimental Adjutant, Major, Lieutenant-Colonel, and after faithful service to his State, reached the top-most rank in his regiment, when he was elected Colonel, April 4th, 1898.

At the President's call for Volunteers, the 1st Regiment was mustered into the United States service as the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with the organization intact.

At Camp Cuba Libre during the summer of 1898, Colonel DOWS at once began to make improvements necessary for the comfort of the men of his command.  He caused floors to be built for each tent several feet above the ground, and when the dread Typhoid fever began to play havoc with the men of his Regiment, he was untiring in his efforts to bring relief to the fever-stricken men, and succeeded.

Colonel DOWS is universally esteemed by both officers and men of his regiment, and there can be no doubt but that he is one of the most popular, as well as the most efficient, officers in the Seventh Army Corps."

Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford D. HAM:

"Lieutenant-Colonel Clifford D. HAM, of the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, was born at Detroit, Mich., but has lived in Dubuque, Iowa, all his life.  He is a graduate of Yale University.  He is thirty-seven years of age, and has had considerable experience in military affairs and held important positions at different times in connection with the State Militia.  Lieutenant-Colonel HAM was in the Iowa National Guard for a period of 14 years; was at one time Lieutenant and Captain of that well-known crack Company--A.  Was appointed Private and Military Secretary to Gov. BOIES; later he was Major on Inspector General's staff. When the Regiment was called into service, Lieutenant-Colonel HAM was a Major of the 1st Regiment, Iowa National Guard, and on mustering in of the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry he was elected Lieutenant-Colonel of this fine body of men, who represent the flower of the State.  Lieutenant-Colonel HAM is a newspaper man of considerable experience, being a brilliant writer, and editor of the Dubuque Herald. He is a man and officer of commanding presence, and is very popular with all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance.  By his untiring efforts for the welfare of the Regiment and the natural pride he takes in it, he has endeared himself to one and all connected with the 49th Iowa ."

Major Benjamin F. Blockinger:

"The subject of this sketch was born January 1st, 1864, in Dubuque, Iowa, and graduated from the public schools of that place.

He enlisted as a private in Company A, the celebrated "Governor's Greys", of Dubuque, December 1st, 1886.  He has served all the various ranks in this crack company.  Was elected First Lieutenant in November, 1890.

In 1893 he was appointed Regimental Inspector of small arms practice, with the rank of Captain, which position he filled creditably until May, 1894, when he resigned and was elected Captain of Company A (Governor's Greys), the best drilled company in the Iowa National Guard.

In October, 1897, Captain BLOCKLINGER was elected Major of the Second Battalion, First Regiment, Iowa National Guard, and was mustered into the Volunteer Army with the same rank in the Forty-Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry.  He is an accurate marksman and one of the State sharpshooters.

In civil life, Major BLOCKLINGER is a banker, and resides with his family at Dubuque, Iowa.

The Second Battalion is composed of Companies D, E, G, and B."

Major Samuel E. CLAPP

"Major CLAPP, First Battalion, is a native of Iowa and was born in Scott County, October 25th, 1861.  He was educated in Davenport, and when a young man moved to Nebraska, where he studied law in Liberty, and was admitted to the bar in Beatrice.  After a residence of five years in Nebraska, he returned to Davenport, where he was a dealer in real estate.

Six years ago he moved to Toledo, Iowa, where he still lives.  Major CLAPP's military career began early in 1890, when he joined Company H, First Regiment, Iowa National Guard, and in March of the same year he was elected Second Lieutenant January 3d, 1891; while serving as such, at the reorganization of the State Militia was transferred, as Company K, to the Fourth Regiment, in which Company he was elected Captain, March 13, 1898.  A short time subsequent to this he was transferred back in to the First Regiment, and received his commission as Major February 25th, 1896, and was mustered into the U. S. Volunteer Army with his present rank.

While the Regiment was in camp was entrusted with the general supervision and instruction of the guards and guard duty of the Second Division.  He compiled from manuals now in existence a short and concise list of instructions for guards and sentinels, which was approved and adopted by Major General Lee.

In special order No. 53, issued August 2d, Major CLAPP was appointed, by Brigagier General Arnold, president of the general court martial. The first battalion is composed of Companies F, C, H, and K."

Surgeon, Major Fred CLARKE:

"Major Surgeon Fred CLARKE was born at Fairfield, Iowa, and is 36 years of age.  He graduated at University of Pennsylvania 1889, and practiced his profession at Fairfield, Iowa, with remarkable success. Major CLARKE has travelled extensively in pursuit of medical knowledge, visiting the large Universities of the Continent.  He has taken post-graduate course under Prof. OSLER at John Hopkins Unversity.  In mustering in of the Regiment at Des Moines, Iowa, he was appointed Major Surgeon by Governor SHAW, of Iowa, May 6th, 1898."

Major Frank R. FISHER:

"The Major of the Third Battalion was born in Rockford, Ill., June 20th, 1857, but moved to Waterloo, Iowa when he was ten years old, and was educated in the public schools of that city.

He has had ten years experience in military matters, joining Company B, Fourth Regiment, I. N. G., on July 6th, 1888, as a private. He served as Sergeant, Second and First Lieutenant in that Company up to January 25, 1892, when he was transferred to First Regiment, April 30, 1892.  He was elected Captain Oct. 27th, 1893, and was a member of the State Rifle team in the interstate competition during its existence--1890 to 1896-- winning two gold medals in the competitive shoot at Fort Sheridan, Chicago, in 1892.  Major FISHER was appointed to his present rank May 24, 1898.  In private life he is a prominent business man and manufacturer of tents and awnings, and also held the position of Road Commissioner of Blackhawk County, Iowa."

Captain Albert M. JAEGGI, Regimental Adjutant:

"Captain Albert M. JAEGGI, Regimental Adjutant, was born in Dubuque, Iowa, on Decoration Day, in the year 1865.  He received his education in the public schools there, and also in the Bayliss Business College, and St. Joseph's College in Dubuque, and has been successful in the dry goods business in his home town.

Captain JAEGGI's military career began 14 years ago, when he joined the justly celebrated 'Governor's Greys', of Dubuque, Iowa, which had the reputation of being the best drilled military organization in the West.  In this company he rose to the rank of First Lieutenant, which position he filled with distinction.

He was Battalion Adjutant in the Iowa National Guard for two years, and was mustered into the United States service as Regimental Adjutant, with the rank of First Lieutenant, but was commissioned Captain on September 1st, 1898. He is an accurate marksman, and is one of the State sharpshooters.

Captain JAEGGI's military life, as well as his civil life, has been a success, and he is withal one of the most courteous gentlemen in the Seventh Army Corps."

First Lieutenant and Assistant Surgeon John HAMILTON:

"First Lieutenant and Assistant Surgeon John HAMILTON was born at Fon-du-Lac, Wisc., August 6th, 1871, and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in the Medical Department.  Lieutenant HAMILTON was appointed Assistant Surgeon of the Forty-Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry May 6th, 1898, and has been with the Regiment during its entire service.  He served four years with Company F, Second Regiment Minnesota National Guard.  Lieutenant HAMILTON has lived at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for six years, and gave up a large practice to volunteer his services to uphold the honor of the flag.  He has made a most popular officer."

First Lieutenant and Assistant Surgeon E. L. MARTINDALE:

"First Lieutenant and Assistant Surgeon E. L. MARTINDALE was born in 1868 in Whiteside County, Ill., and graduated at University of Michigan in 1894, taking up the practice of medicine at Clinton, Iowa, which he gave up to enter the service and Forty-Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry.  Lieutenant MARTINDALE was appointed Assistant Surgeon on April 26th, 1898, and has proven himself a most popular officer.  He served in the First Iowa National Guard as Assistant Surgeon for four years."

Captain and Chaplain O. H. L. MASON:

"Captain and Chaplain O. H. L. MASON was born June 27th, 1866, in Wapello County, Iowa, and is of English descent.  He graduated from the State University of Iowa and received a Master's degree at State University, taking up the study of law in 1894, and later, in 1895, entering the ministry in the Congregational Church in the State of Iowa.  On mustering in of the Forty-Ninth Iowa, Captain MASON was appointed Chaplain of the Regiment during its Governor [the book appears to be missing a sentence here.], in which position he has endeared himself to the entire Regiment by untiring efforts in the interest and welfare of the men. Captain MASON represented the State University in 1893 in the Northern Oratorical League, which was held at Oberlin, Ohio.  Captain MASON is well known as a prominent debator and public speaker, having taken considerable interest and an active part in local and State politics before entering the ministry."

Quartermaster, First Lieutenant Frank W. WOODRING:

"Quartermaster, First Lieutenant Frank W. WOODRING, of the Forty-Ninth Volunteer Infantry, was born at Waverly, Iowa, August 15th, 187, and received a thorough high school education, together with a thorough practical knowledge of mechanics in all its different branches having devoted his earlier years to that profession in the capacity of contractor, etc., and thoroughly understands mechanical engineering. Lieutenant WOODRING has been connected with the National Guard of his State for the last eight years, and as Quartermaster since 1895, which Regiment is now known as the 49th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was enlisted into the U.S. service in June 2d, 1898, having responded to the call which was made April 26th, 1898.  He was with the Regiment during the entire period of recruiting and equipping, when in August of this year he was called upon to act as Brigade Quartermaster of the Third Brigade, Second Division, Seventh Army Corps, being later detailed as Assistant Quartermaster to the Seventh Army Corps, in which capacity he is now serving. Lieutenant WOODRING's valuable experience as Quartermaster and the record he has made in these different positions of trust speaks for itself the efficient and valuable services he has rendered in the U.S. service, but is popular with all who know him, and has made many warm personal friends, both in the service and outside."

[TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:  At the end of the book is a supplement, which follows]:

While in press the rank of Captain and Assistant Quarter-Master, U.S. Volunteers," has been conferred on LIEUT. WOODRING, being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 19, 1898, and who is now acting as "Assistant Depot Quarter-Master" at Savannah, GA.

Battalion Adjutant, First Lieutenant E. E. REED:

"Battalion Adjutant, First Lieutenant E. E. REED, was born in Iowa in 1873.  He graduated from the High School of Monitcello, Iowa, and Iowa State College, also Drake University, taking up the study of law, which he has successfully followed.  Lieutenant REED was a member of the Cadet Regiment at the State College for four years, and graduated as Cadet Major, being appointed Battalion Adjutant of the First Iowa National Guard.  On being mustered into the United States service he was appointed Battalion Adjutant Forty-Ninth Iowa Infantry Volunteers, April 26th, 1898, and has served as Acting Quartermaster since August 9, 1898, fulfilling this position of trust with success."

Second Battalion Adjutant, First Lieutenant E.E. OLMSTED:

"Second Battalion Adjutant, First Lieutenant E.E. OLMSTED, is home on a leave of absence (Newark, N.J.), and on this account we were unable to get full particulars."

Third Battalion Adjutant, First Lieutenant Wm. A. SIDDLE:

"Third Battalion Adjutant, First Lieutenant Wm. A. SIDDLE, was born at Clinton, Iowa, and is 29 years of age.  He has followed the lumber business successfully for some years.  On mustering in of the Forty-ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry Lieutenant SIDDLE was appointed  Battalion Adjutant of the Third Battalion, which position he has successfully filled."


"Historical and Biographical Souvenir of the 49th Iowa U.S. Volnteer Infantry.  Illustrated with scenes of camp life." (Jacksonville, FL 1898).

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