Col. Dyer, Abraham Lincoln and the town of “Diarrhea”

In early 1865 shortly before his death, President Abraham Lincoln received a visit from Missouri Senator John Brooks Henderson and Congressman Robert T. Van Horn.  Senator Henderson asked the President to promote the 49th’s commander, Col. David P. Dyer, to the rank of Brigadier General.  President Lincoln responded, as he often did, with a story:

“The name of Dyer reminds me of an incident that happened in the State of Illinois when the first railroads were being built.  One of these road ran through a tract of land owned by a man named Dyer.  It was decided to locate a depot on the land and to map out a town.  The first question that came up was to find a name for the town.  Various suggestions were made as name but none seemed to suit until it was finally with much unanimity, agreed to call the town “Diarrhea”.”

From David P. Dyer, Autobiography and Reminiscences .  The William Harvey Miner Company, St. Louis, Missouri.  1922.

The 49th Goes South for the Mobile Campaign

After a period of garrisoning towns across northern Missouri, in January and February the scattered companies of the 49th Missouri were brought together to be sent south to take part in the campaign to capture Mobile, Alabama.

From the St. Louis Dispatch, February 10, 1865:

This splendid regiment, Lieut. Col. Dyer, commanding, arrived at St Louis from Northeast Missouri last Saturday and marched out to Benton Barracks.  This morning, preceded by their brass band and with colors flying, the Forty-ninth Missouri regiment of infantry marched down Fourth Street to Chesnut, and then to the levee, where they embarked on board the steamer Ed. Walsh, bound for New Orleans, where they will join the command of Gen. Canby, and its expedition into the interior of the cotton states.  The regiment is over eight hundred strong, the men large and healthy.  Our Missouri regiments have a glorious record, and we predict that the Forty-ninth will keep up the reputation of Missouri for fighting men.  Success to them say we.

Captain William Colbert, Company A

From the “History of Lincoln County, Missouri” (1888):

Capt. William Colbert attained his growth in Lincoln County, and received a very limited education.  In 1848 he married Miss Margaret Brown, a native of North Carolina, who bore him seven children, three sons and four daughters.  Having farmed until the breaking out of the late war, he organized company B, of the Thirty-seventh Missouri Militia Cavalry, and was chosen captain of the same, serving in that capacity about a year.  He then organized Company C, of the Second Provisional Regiment Cavalry, and held the captaincy of this until 1864, when he was commissioned second lieutenant of Company A, Forty-ninth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, and was elected captain on organization of that company.  He was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Sixty-fourth Regiment of Missouri Militia, December 29, 1865.  In 1869 he was appointed circuit court clerk of Lincoln County, and ex-officio recorder.  Having filled that position two years by appointment, he was successfully elected four times to that office in the face of a strong Democratic majority, thus holding the office eighteen years, longer than any other man save one.  Mr. Colbert was a Democrat before the war, a strong Union man during that time and has been a staunch Republican since.  He began a poor boy and is now considered one of the wealthiest men of Lincoln County.  Besides being president, he is also one of the directors of the bank.  In 1866 his first wife died, and the following year he married Miss Mary Dregay, a native of St. Louis but of English extraction.  Four children were born to this union, two sons and two daughters.  Mr. Colbert is a member of the Christian Church, as were both of his wives.  He is a member of the G.A.R. and is also an Odd Fellow.

Welcome to the new site

Hello everybody, welcome to the new web site devoted to the history of the 49th Missouri Volunteer Infantry (US).  While I’m primarily interested in gathering more information about the 49th for inclusion in the book about the unit that I am working on I would also like to share some of what I’ve already learned about the regiment.

This site is new and I haven’t yet had a chance to add a lot of material, but over time I intend to include short biographical sketches of some of the men of the unit that may or not be appropriate for inclusion in the book and invite others to send in stories of their ancestors as well.  Just contact me and we’ll move on from there.