Karl Matthies

Brigadier General Charles (Karl) Leopold Matthies

Biographical Outline

  • Early Life
    • Born May 31, 1824 in Bromberg, Prussia (now Bydgoszcz, Poland)
    • Educated at the University of Halle
    • Worked on his fathers farm
    • Served in the Prussian Landwehr (militia)
  • Pre-Civil War Life in U.S.
    • Immigrated to the U.S. in 1849. Settled in Burlington, Iowa
    • Owned a liquor business
  • Civil War Career
    • Is said to be the first man to offer a military company to the government, and made the offer tender through Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood of Iowa on January 9, 1861
    • Mustered as captain of the 1st Iowa Volunteers on May 14, 1861
    • Made lieutenant colonel of the 5th Iowa on July 23, 1861
    • Led the regiment in Missouri in early months of the war
    • Led the regiment at Island No. 10, and the siege of Corinth
    • Made colonel of the same regiment on May 23, 1862
    • At the Battle of Iuka, he commanded a brigade of the XVII Corps
    • Made brigadier general of the volunteers on April 4, 1863, to rank from November 29, 1862
    • Commanded a brigade of the 3rd Division of Sherman's XV Corps under Grant during the campaign against Vicksburg
    • After the Battle of Chickamauga, Matthies' brigade was rushed to Chattanooga
    • The brigade participated in the attack on Missionary Ridge, Nov. 25th, 1863. Matthies was "struck by a bullet in the head, which felled [him] to the ground."
    • February 1864, temporarily commanded a division of the XV Corps at Cleveland, TN and started on the Atlanta Campaign
    • Ill health made him refuse an assignment to a post in Decatur, AL in May 1864
    • He resigned on May 16, 1864
  • Post-war career
    • Was elected to the Iowa Senate
    • Died on October 16, 1868 in Burlington, IA

Note: Some sources say that Matthies was colonel of the 2nd Iowa Infantry. This statement appears to be untrue. Matthies was colonel of the 5th Iowa. More information on that unit may be found at The Iowa Civil War Site.