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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Dwight Bannister Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1860-1999
Creator: Bannister, Dwight
Extent: 1.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: msc1005
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Mostly Civil War items from this resident of Ottumwa, Iowa.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: Given in honor of Amos Cleveland Pearsall and Virginia Bannister Pearsall by Mary Torgoman, Thomas P. Pearsall, and Catherine P. Parry in 2014.

Preferred Citation: Dwight Bannister Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Dwight Bannister was born in Ontario County, New York on February 3, 1833, the son of Asahel Bannister, a veteran of the War of 1812. As a young man, Dwight Bannister left New York for Columbus, Ohio,where he worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. He also met Salmon P. Chase and became his private secretary. They maintained a long correspondence. He accompanied Chase on tour when he was campaigning for Lincoln. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1858.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War he answered the first call for a draft and enlisted in a battery of the Ohio artillery. When Chase became Secretary of the Treasury, he had Bannister made a paymaster in the army. He held this position for duration of the war and in the regular army for many years afterwards on the western frontier, going as far west as Montana. He achieved the rank of Colonel.

On May 26, 1864 he was married to Lavinia Murdoch of Urbana, Ohio. He resigned from the Army after having a serious illness which prohibited him from the performance of his duties. After his resignation, he practiced law in Urbana, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, in June 1875, he moved to Ottumwa, Iowa. In Ottumwa he became a respected business man, serving as president of Ottumwa Gas Light, Heat & Power Company for twenty-four years. He served on the Ottumwa School Board for twelve years, a good part of that time as its president. The History of Wapello County has this to say of him: "Colonel Bannister was loved and respected by all who knew him. He was of a retiring disposition, averse to notoriety of any kind, and very reserved in manner, but no more honorable or upright man ever called Ottumwa his home."

Colonel Bannister died at his home on College Street on January 30, 1899.

This collection contains the family papers of the Bannister family of Ottumwa, Iowa. The heart of the collection is the Civil War letters of Dwight Bannister, including an original letter from acting Brigadier General Frederick Lander on February 14, 1862, before he led a successful charge against a confederate camp at Bloomery Gap. The collection also includes one of Dwight Bannister's paymaster's books and a copy book of his outgoing letters. Postcards and photographs round out the collection. There are artifacts from other wars, such as a land warrant from the War of 1812 and a ration book from World War II. A notable part of the collection is a silver goblet and pitcher which, a letter in the collection explains, were "intended as prizes for a competition in drill and procured in Boston through the Col's business partner, Joe Merrill. They were delivered to Little Rock by Lt. Col. F. M. Drake on his return from a successful recruiting mission. Most of the new recruits didn't join the regiment until it was away on the ill-famed Red River campaign and were lost at Marks Mills. The competition was not held.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical sketch of Dwight Bannister
  • Biographical sketch of Salmon P. Chase
    Written by Bannister
  • Bullets and small cannon ball
  • Card index for the correspondence
  • Cartes de visite of the Iowa 36th
    Including W. H. Clifton, T.B. Hale, Ed Joy, S. H. Sawyer, S.k. Mahon, J.B. Gedney, Ben Pearson, F.M. Drake (?), John Lambert, Augustus H. Hamilton, J.M. Hedrick
  • Correspondence - 1860-1987
  • Fort Jefferson, photographs
  • Inscribed silver goblet
  • Inscribed silver pitcher
  • Lee's General Order Number Nine
    Reproduced by Donnelley Deeptone Offset
  • Letter book of Dwight Bannister
  • Lt. Colonel Dwight Bannister and A.C. Leighton by Dr. Murdoch Bannister
  • Miscellaneous small items
    Including a World War II ration book
  • Miscellaneous
  • Newspaper clipping about the Great Seal of the Confederate States
  • Newspapers - 1861, 1862, 1881, 1988, 2011
  • Paymaster book of Dwight Bannister
  • Peninsular Campaign and its Antecedents as Developed by the Report of Maj. Gen.Geo. B. McClellan and Other Published Documents by J. G. Barnard - 1864
  • Photograph album with signatures of the people portrayed in the portaits
    Some of the portraits are unidentified, particularly the women. Laid in is a note reading: "This book belonged to Col. Dwight Bannister. The subjects were his friends and acquaintances when he was in the Paymaster division of the Union Army and stationed in Washington D.C." The first portrait is Winfield Scott. It is signed. Also laid in is a photograph labelled "Wilson Baker present By D. Signal camp, Morris Island, SC, July 1863."
  • Photographs, unidentified
  • Postcard, photographic, at the Portland, Oregon National Encampment of the GAR
  • Postcards of Chattanooga and environs - 1863
    1980 reproductions
  • Postcards of Civil War battefields
  • Slides (of Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga?)
  • Supporting documentation
  • Thirty-Sixth Iowa Volunteer Infantry at Marks Mills, Arkansas, April 25, 1864 by Burn Bannister - 1982
  • Two miniature flags; one Confederate and one union (with 54 stars)
  • Folder 1:
  • Oversized folder 1
    Photograph of President Lincoln with Tad, with a paper frame; a photographic reproduction of General Nathan B. Forrest; a land warrant for Elizabeth Ann Ogilvie, widow of John Ogilvie, from the War of 1812 for 40 acres of land at Fairfield, Iowa, dated 1844; Poster, a Call to Arms to Freemen of Tennessee, dated May 17, 1861; a photograph of George Cleveland

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.