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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Grenville M. Dodge

GRENVILLE M. DODGE was born in Putnamville, Danvers County, Massachusetts, on the 12th of April, 1831. He received a liberal education, having graduated as a civil engineer from Norwich University in 1850. He then entered a military school from which he graduated the following year. Mr. Dodge went to Illinois, locating at Peru, where he engaged in land surveying. In 1851 he secured a position with the Illinois Central Railroad Company and was employed in surveying the line from Dixon to Bloomington. Soon after he was employed in surveying the line of the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad from Davenport to Council Bluffs. In 1854 he removed to Council Bluffs and engaged in overland freighting across the plains to Colorado. He also became a member of the banking firm of Baldwin & Dodge. During the years from 1854 to 1860 he was engaged in surveying a line for the Union Pacific Railroad. At the beginning of the Rebellion he was appointed on the staff of Governor Kirkwood and, going to Washington, secured for Iowa 6,000 muskets to arm the regiments being organized. When the Fourth Iowa Infantry was organized Dodge was appointed colonel. His regiment was sent to Missouri and was actively engaged in the battles of Sugar Creek and Pea Ridge. He was severely wounded in the latter where he held the extreme right and lost one-third of his command. He was promoted to Brigadier-General and assigned by General Grant to the command of the Second Division of the Army of the Tennessee. In the campaigns which followed General Grant recognized General Dodge as one of his ablest officers. He said of the Iowa commander: “Besides being a most capable soldier General Dodge was an experienced railroad builder. At one time he constructed more than one hundred miles of railroad and built one hundred eighty-two bridges, many of them over wide chasms.” He was with Sherman's army in the march to the sea and was promoted to Major-General for gallant services. In November, 1864, General Dodge was placed in command of the Department of Missouri by order of General Grant. In January, 1865, the Departments of Kansas, Nebraska and Utah were added to his command, where he served to the end of the war. A history of his military services would fill a volume, and frequent mention of them will be found in the volume on the Civil War. In July, 1866, he was nominated for Representative in Congress for the Fifth District and elected. While a member of that body he was the recognized authority on all subjects relating to the army, and was prominent in promoting the act for putting the army on a peace footing. He was an active supporter of the legislation promoting internal improvements in the West, and was regarded as the sagacious leader who had accomplished difficult tasks in railway construction in that then wild country. He declined a reëlection, preferring to give his entire time and energies to the construction of the Union Pacific Railway, including the building of the great bridge across the Missouri River between Council Bluffs and Omaha. As an able military commander General Dodge had received the warmest indorsements of the three great chiefs of the War Department—Secretary Stanton, Generals Grant and Sherman; so also after his services in the construction of the Union Pacific Railway he received testimonials of his remarkable efficiency and ability from the highest officials of the company. During his busy life since the war and the construction of the first great line of railway across the continent, General Dodge has served as president, chief engineer or director in the construction companies of the following railway enterprises: American Railway Improvement Company of Colorado, 1880; International Railway Improvement Company of Colorado, 1880; Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company, 1880; Texas and Colorado Railway Construction Company, 1881; Oriental Construction Company, 1882; Fort Worth and Denver Railway Company, 1889; St. Louis, Des Moines and Northern Railway Company, 1884; Des Moines Union Railway Company, 1884; Colorado and Texas Construction Company, 1887; Iron Steamboat Company, 1888; Denver, Texas and Fort Worth Railway Company, 1889; Des Moines and Northern Railway Company, 1890; Western Industrial Company, 1891; Wichita Valley Railway Company, 1891; Union Pacific, Denver and Gulf Railway Company, 1891. Although for many years residing in New York to superintend his multitude of great business enterprises, General Dodge has retained his loyalty to his Iowa home and never ceased to keep intimate relations with his Iowa friends of pioneer years. He has been president of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, and vice-president of the Grant Monument Association of New York. He recently had the remains of General Kinsman exhumed from the battle-field of Black River Bridge and buried at his old home at Council Bluffs where he caused to be erected a fine monument to the memory of his gallant comrade of war times.