Charles (Karl) Leopold Matthies

Charles (Karl) Leopold Matthies was born May 31, 1824, in Bromberg, Prussia (now Bydgoszcz, Poland). He was educated in the university at Halle, worked on his father's farm for a time, and served in the Prussian army. In 1849 he emigrated to the United States and settled in Burlington, Iowa, where he engaged in the liquor business. He is said to have been the first man in the United States to offer a military company to the government, making the tender through Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood of Iowa on January 9, 1861. On May 14, 1861, he was mustered in as a captain of the 1st Iowa Volunteers; he was made lieutenant colonel of the 5th Iowa on July 23, 1861, colonel on May 23, 1862, and brigadier general of volunteers on April 4, 1863, to rank from the preceding November 29. His war record was not undistinguished; he led his regiment in Missouri in the early months of the war, at Island No. 10, and in the siege of Corinth. At the battle of Iuka, his regiment, part of Sanborn's brigade of C. S. Hamilton's division, sustained 217 casualties out of 482 men engaged. During the offensive against Vicksburg under U. S. Grant, Matthies, who had received his promotion to brigadier, commanded a brigade of the 3rd Division of Sherman's XV Corps from Grand Gulf to Jackson and thence to the envelopment of the city itself. After the battle of Chickamauga, Matthies' brigade, along with the rest of the XV Corps now under James B. McPherson, was hurried to Chattanooga, where, in the celebrated attack on Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863, he "was struck by a bullet in the head, which felled [him] to the ground." By February, 1864, he was temporarily commanding a division of the XV Corps at Cleveland, Tennessee, and in the early stages of the Atlanta campaign was on field duty, but failing health compelled him to accept assignment to the post of Decatur, Alabama, in May, 1864. He resigned on May 16 and returned to his home in Burlington where he died on October 16, 1868. He was buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery. At the time of his death he was a member of the Iowa senate.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.