Samuel Allen Rice

Samuel Allen Rice, brother of General Elliott W. Rice, was born in Cattaraugus County, New York, on January 27, 1828; the family moved, however, to western Pennsylvania and then to Belmont County, Ohio. Rice was educated at what is now Ohio University at Athens, and at Union College, Schenectady, New York. During his youth he made a number of merchandising trips on his father's flatboat down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. After graduation from Union College in 1849 and a year of study at its law school, Rice went to Iowa, locating finally in 1851 in Oskaloosa where he established his law practice. His legal career in this pioneer state was outstanding: he was elected county attorney in 1853, attorney general of the state three years later, and reelected in 1858. During the summer of 1862 he organized the 33rd Iowa and was commissioned its colonel by Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood on August 10, though the regiment was not mustered into Federal service until October 1, 1862. Rice's entire military service took place in the states of Missouri and Arkansas—a theater of little note at the time, imperfectly understood since, and in general relegated to the background by historians. However, the peripheral operations undertaken in the area played an important part in the final outcome of the war. In the spring of 1863 Rice went to Helena, Arkansas, and with his command opened the Yazoo Pass for navigation. After this he took a gallant part in the battle of Helena, during which the Confederate T. H. Holmes unsuccessfully attempted to recapture the town while half of the Federal troops in the department were away sustaining U. S. Grant in his effort to take Vicksburg. On August 4, 1863, Rice was elevated to brigadier general of volunteers and was with General Frederick Steele when the latter captured the capital of Arkansas. In the spring of 1864 Banks and Steele were supposed to launch a two-pronged attack which would effectively clear the Rebels out of North Louisiana and Arkansas— Banks moving up Red River and Steele applying a pincer toward Camden. At the battle of Jenkins' Ferry, April 30, 1864, in what was essentially a rear-guard action, fragments of Rice's spur were carried by a bullet into his right ankle, shattering the bone. He was transported home to Oskaloosa where the primitive surgical procedures of the day virtually condemned him to death on July 6, 1864. He was buried in Forest Cemetery.

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