Third Regiment Iowa Volunteer Cavalry
The Third Regiment of Iowa Cavalry was organized under the proclamation of
President Lincoln dated July 23, 1861. The preliminary organization of the
twelve companies, which were subsequently assigned to the regiment, had been
under the charge of Hon. Cyrus Bussey, acting as Aide-de-Camp to Governor Samuel
J. Kirkwood, and, under the direction of that energetic and capable officer,
several of these partially organized companies had performed very efficient
service in protecting the southern border
of the State of Iowa from invasion by rebel forces from the State of Missouri. Upon the completion of their organization, the twelve companies were ordered to rendezvous at Keokuk, Iowa, and arrived at that place on dates ranging from August 3 to September 13, 1861.They were there mustered into the service of the United States by Captain Charles C. Smith and Lieutenant Ira K. Knox, of the United States Army, between the dates August 30 and September 14, 1861.
When the muster was completed, the rolls showed an aggregate strength of 1,096 men, rank and file. Cyrus Bussey was appointed and commissioned Colonel of the regiment August 10, 1861. Among the files in the office of the Adjutant General of Iowa are several letters describing in detail the events connected with the attempted rebel invasion of the State in the summer of 1861.
These letters were addressed to Governor Kirkwood by Hon. Cyrus Bussey, then acting as Aide-de-Camp to the Governor, and show the methods adopted to meet the threatened invasion. Colonel Bussey had gone to St. Louis and asked General Fremont to give him an order for arms and ammunition with which to equip the militia companies in that part of the State. There seemed
to be a plentiful supply of ammunition, but arms could not at that time be procured as fast as they were needed. Colonel Bussey succeeded in getting 50,000 rounds of ammunition shipped to Keokuk, with the assurance that the guns would be shipped as soon as they could be procured. A day or two later a freight train arrived in Keokuk with 1,000 guns, consigned to Colonel G. M. Dodge, at
Council Bluffs. Colonel Dodge had gone to Washington and succeeded in procuring these arms for his regiment, the Fourth Iowa Infantry, then in rendezvous at Council Bluffs. Colonel Bussey, without waiting for instructions, took possession of the guns and distributed them to the troops at Keokuk, and they at once marched across the border, reinforced the small body of troops, under Colonel Moore, who were bravely resisting the advance of the invaders, and won a signal victory over them. In his letter
reporting his action to the Governor, Colonel Bussey says: "I am aware that I had no authority over United States arms, in transit to arm United States troops, but, without these guns and the ammunition I had procured, Green could have captured Keokuk and destroyed much property. It was fortunate that the ammunition I had procured at St. Louis was the right caliber to fit the guns." The bold, prompt and energetic action of Colonel Bussey, in that crisis, marked him for the successful leader of men and great
enterprises which he afterwards became, and made him worthy of the high honor which came to him at the close of the war, when he was promoted to the rank of Brevet Major General of Volunteers. The regiment was very fortunate in the selection of Colonel Bussey as its commander. While he had not received a military education, he was a very able man, possessing in a high degree the requisite
qualifications of a leader of men. He secured the confidence and respect of his officers and men from the day he took command of the regiment. The dates of appointment and commission of the other field,