The Civil War: Great-Grandfather Survives, Brother Doesn't

Brothers fought with new carbines for the Union during Battle of Vicksburg.

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My great-grandfather, Asahel Mann, served during the Civil War with the 15th Army Corps, Co. A, 4th Iowa Cavalry, Union Army, as did his brother, John. In a letter written to his father in Iowa, June 20, 1863, John says,

"This morning I seat myself under the shade of a beech tree to write you a few lines. We are all well and in good health. We are on picket about one mile from camp. We are camped 14 miles in the rear of Vicksburg. 

"There has been the heaviest firing going on this morning that I have heard since the fight commenced. There is a constant roaring of the cannons. 

"Day before yesterday, our company was ordered to charge. We raised the whoop and here we went. They turned the other way and broke for the brush. We had to run through a corn field over very rough ground and over ditches. In running one mile 12 horses fell. My horse fell twice with me. Out of that number of horses falling, there wasn't a man hurt. 

"We have just got our new arms, Sharpe carbines. We are armed now just as well as any regiment of cavalry, and I think can do just as good fighting." 

John Mann 

Two days later, in battle near Vicksburg, John Mann was killed. He was 27 years, 6 months old.

Carol Conner
Colorado Springs, Colorado


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first title – – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.