GEN. HIRAM SCOFIELD, attorney-at-law, Washington, Iowa, is a native of Saratoga County, N.Y., born July 1, 1830. He comes of good old Revolutionary stock, his grandfather, Neazer Scofield, serving in that war, and for his services for many years drew a pension from the General Government. Neazer Scofield was a native of Connecticut, and there married. His wife, Patience, was also a native of that State. They raised a large family, all of whom are now dead. Among the children born in Connecticut was William, his birth taking place in Stamford in 1793. In 1800 the family moved to Saratoga County, N.Y., where Neazer and Patience Scofield both died, the former at the age of ninety-three. William Scofield married, in Saratoga County, N.Y., Susan Bishop, by whom he had three sons and two daughters, all still livingHiram, Eunice B., Darius, William, and Rhoda E., all residing in this city. In politics, William Scofield was in the early days of anti-slavery proclivities, and while slavery existed in this country his house was one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. On the organization of the Republican party, he became one of its strong advocates, and continued to affiliate with the party till his death, which occurred in 1873. Mrs. Scofield died in 1862. They were both members of the Presbyterian Church.
Hiram Scofield was the eldest of the five children of William And Susan (Bishop) Scofield. He was reared on his father's farm, and his first instruction was received in the common schools of his native county, after which he entered an academy and finished his education in Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., at the time Dr. Nott was its President. In 1853 he went to Little Rock, Ark., where for two years he engaged in teaching school, and during his leisure months read law. He then attended the law school at Albany, N.Y., from which he graduated in 1856. Soon after he came to Washington County, Iowa, located in the city of Washington, and formed a partnership with A.H. Patterson. He continued in the practice of his profession until 1861, with increasing success. When the rebels fired upon Ft. Sumter, he was one of the first to respond to the call of the President. The company in which he enlisted being a little too late to form a part of the only regiment accepted from this State, under the call for 75,000 men, was sworn into the State service, and under the second call became Co. H. 2d Iowa Vol. Inf., the first regiment to leave the State. It first rendezvoused at Keokuk, where it was sworn into the United States service, May 22, 1861. Thence it was sent to St. Joseph, Mo., to guard the H. & St. J.R.R., and thence to Bird's Point, where it spent a good part of the summer of 1861. It was under Gen. Prentiss through Missouri, and finally sent to Cape Girardeau. Here the boys had their first sight of Gen. Grant, who was soon to assume command, and who, before the close of the war, had command of all the armies, becoming the most noted military man of modern times. At Bird's Point, while under Gen. Fremont, the 2d Iowa helped fortify the place. The next move was to Benton Barracks, Mo., where it remained until the expedition was formed that moved upon Ft. Donelson.
Mr. Scofield enlisted as a private, but was soon promoted Second and then First Lieutenant, and at Ft. Donelson was in command of his company as First Lieutenant. In the attack on Ft. Donelson, the 2d Iowa covered itself with glory, and won its greatest renown. As a forlorn hope, it made what was undoubtedly the most gallant, reckless and successful charge of the whole war. Before that charge the Union forces had been losing ground. The key to the rebel position lay on the crest of a steep hill, whose sides were obstructed by dense thicket. In front of the earthworks on the crest, about 100 yards distant, was a formidable abatis, to pass which the line of an assaulting column must become broken. The regiment moved in two divisions. Between the abatis and the breastworks were no obstructions. Unless those earthworks were taken success would be impossible. A tender of the "forlorn hope" was made to Col. J.M. Tuttle, of the Second. "Colonel, will you take those works?" asked Gen. Smith. "Support me promptly, and in twenty minutes I will go in," and he did. Dividing his regiment, he with the left wing, followed by the first, began to scale the hillside. The abatis was reached by slow and toilsome tread, and not a gun fired, but scarcely was the abatis passed, and the gallant men formed in line, when the concentrated fire of three rebel regiments burst upon them, and at the first fire 150 men fell of the 300. The fragment closed up its shattered ranks and passed on, and before them two rebel regiments quailed and fled. This charge made victory easy, and soon nearly all the rebel force made an "unconditional surrender."
Immediately after entering the fort, Lieut. Scofield was appointed Assistant Adjutant General, with the rank of Captain, and served on the staff of Gen. Lauman. From Ft. Donelson he accompanied Gen. Lauman to Pittsburg Landing, and in the first day's fight received a flesh wound in the thigh, which incapacitated him for active service. receiving a furlough, he came home and remained four weeks, and then again reported to Gen. Lauman, while the command was in advance on Corinth. After participating in the battles preceding the capture of Corinth, the brigade was sent out to guard the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, in which duty it was engaged for some months, after which it was sent to LaGrange and Holly Springs, and from there ordered to join in the movement with Gen. Sherman to the Tallahatchie River. The expedition proceeded as far as Oxford, Miss., and while there Capt. Scofield was transferred to the staff of Gen. John McArthur, and joined him on the Tallahatchie, when Gens. Price and Van Dorn came up their rear, and the command fell back to Memphis. In the meantime, Sherman had been repulsed at Chickasaw Bayou. The command of Gen. McArthur remained in Memphis some weeks, when it was ordered down the river to join McClernand at Vicksburg. As soon as it was ascertained that the scheme for digging a canal around Vicksurg was not feasible, the troops were ordered to Lake Providence, above Vicksburg.
This was in the spring of 1863. Soon afterward, Gen. Thomas came down with orders to organize colored regiments. There was much prejudice existing at this time toward the negro race, especially as to employing them in any work in which white men were engaged. A large number of officers had threatened to resign from the service if colored troops were employed. The command was brought out and drawn up in a line, when Gen. Thomas made a little speech, telling the men that he was sent there to organize colored regiments, and that any army officers who objected would at once be dismissed from the service. The first regiment organized at that point was known as the 8th Louisiana Regiment of Colored Troops, but afterward the 47th U.S. Colored Infantry, and Capt. Schofield was assigned to its command as Colonel. After its organizaiton the regiment was well drilled, and in the fall of 1863 sent to Vicksburg, in which place and vicinity it remained on garrison duty until the winter of 1865-65, when it was sent to New Orleans, and became part of the army under Gen. Canby, Col. Scofield being assigned to the command of a brigade. From New Orleans it was sent to Pensacola, Fla., and then sent out to operate against Mobile. In the assault on Ft. Blakesley, it was on the right, and making a gradual approach behind intrenchments, it continued to advance until a final charge was made. Col. Scofield, who was there in command of a brigade, from
a high elevation could see the whole length of the line. Just before the final assault, the troops were quite anxious to advance, and could scarcely be restrained. There being no general officer present, other officers advised with Col. Scofield as to the advance, and he finally told them to go, and in the assault which followed several hundred prisoners were captured. Soon after this Mobile surrendered, and his brigade was ordered to Selma and Montgomery. While lying before Mobile, news came of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The excitement was so intense that difficulty was experienced in keeping the men from doing injury to the prisoners and people, in revenge. From Montgomery the brigade returned to Mobile by steamer, and soon after to New Orleans, and in leaving Mobile by steamer, had to pass very carefully around the torpedoes which were placed in the harbor. From New Orleans it was sent up the Red River to Alexandria. While at the latter-named place, the Colonel crossed the river and visited the seminary taught by Gen. Sherman before the war. Peace having been declared, the regiment under Gen. Scofield was mustered out at Baton Rouge, Jan. 6, 1866.
After being mustered out, Col. Scofield returned to Washington, resumed the practice of his profession, and has here since remained. Shortly after his return he received a commission as Brevet Brigadier General for services before Mobile, an honor that certainly was worthily bestowed. Up to this time the General had been unmarried, but in the fall of 1866 he was united in marriage with Miss Amelia B. Wilson, who was born near Rochester, N.y>, in 1846. Two children have been born to them, Clara J. and Cora L., both of whom are now attending Vassar College. Gen. and Mrs. Scofield live in a beautiful home on West Main street, Washington, and enjoy life as those should do whose life has not been in vain.