|Department of Iowa - Civil War Monuments|
County - Rock Island
Rock Island National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery and Arsenal
Rock Island is located in the Mississippi River between Davenport, Iowa and the city of Rock Island, Illinois. While there is not a specific Iowa monument, there are several Iowa connections and many items of interest regarding the Civil War.
The Rock Island National Cemetery, established in 1863, has many Iowa Civil War soldiers buried here. See the photo below. The Iowa gravestones are located in the SE portion of the cemetery. The second photo shows the Original Union Army Grave Site. It lists the number of men from each unit who were buried there and later moved to the National Cemetery. Many of them were from Iowa regiments. This is located across the street from the National Cemetery, on the edge of the golf course. General Thomas J. Rodman, the inventor of the Rodman cannon, was the second commander of the Rock Island Arsenal and is buried in the National Cemetery. There are three Rodman cannons at his gravesite including the huge one shown below. It weighs 49,612 pounds with a 15" bore diameter and was cast at Seyfert, McManus & Co. of Reading, PA in 1864.
During the war, a prison for Confederate soldiers was located on the island. The 1964 prisoners who died there are buried here on the location of the prison. See the photo below. The prison became somewhat notorious as the "Andersonville of the North" but actually was no worse than other northern prisons and much better than Andersonville. There is an Iowa connection as the famous 37th Iowa Infantry Regiment "The Graybeard Regiment" guarded the prisoners from January to June of 1864. The regiment was composed of men age 45 and older and were assigned guard and garrison duty. Whether justified or not, the prison commander was critical of the lack of discipline and overall performance of the Graybeards.
The Arsenal was begun after the Civil War under the direction of General Rodman. It is the largest Federal facility for manufacture of arms, ammunition and military equipment. There is an excellent museum with a number of CW cannons and a great collection of small arms. It displays many of the items manufactured here over the years.
The home of Col. George Davenport (founder of Davenport, Iowa), a replica blockhouse of old Fort Armstrong (1816-1836) and the Mississippi River Visitor Center are also of interest. From I-74, take exit 2 in Illinois - turn west on 7th Avenue - then turn right on 14th Street to the Island. Photos taken 9/9/08. The GPS setting is on the location of Iowa CW Soldiers in the National Cemtery. Thank you to Dustin Oliver for information and the photo for the Original Union Army Grave Site.