The 37th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers, Iowa's Graybeards was made up of the oldest average aged regiment.

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In late 1862 George Washington Kincaid convinced Iowa governor Samuel J. Kirkwood that a regiment of men all of whom were over the age of fourth-five would do good service as garrison troops and allow the younger men on garrison duty to serve in a more active areas. All the recruits were over the army's legal age limit. Most recruits were in their fifties or sixties, but some were as old as eighty. At first the regiment guarded St. Louis, Missouri, guarded Confederate prisoners, provided rail security along the tracks of the Pacific Railroad, and escorted troops to the front. The Graybeard then moved to Alton Illinois. In 1864 the Graybeards were on guard duty at Rock Island Prison. In June of 1864 the 37th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers was transferred to Memphis were they guarded military supply trains running along the tracks of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. In August the regiment was moved to Camp Morton where they guarded Confederate prisoners.

The regiment proved that older men could still serve in the army and although they did not participate in major battles they did good service to the nation. By replacing soldiers on garrison and security they allowed younger men to serve in other areas.
 
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In late 1862 George Washington Kincaid convinced Iowa governor Samuel J. Kirkwood that a regiment of men all of whom were over the age of fourth-five would do good service as garrison troops and allow the younger men on garrison duty to serve in a more active areas. All the recruits were over the army's legal age limit. Most recruits were in their fifties or sixties, but some were as old as eighty. At first the regiment guarded St. Louis, Missouri, guarded Confederate prisoners, provided rail security along the tracks of the Pacific Railroad, and escorted troops to the front. The Graybeard then moved to Alton Illinois. In 1864 the Graybeards were on guard duty at Rock Island Prison. In June of 1864 the 37th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers was transferred to Memphis were they guarded military supply trains running along the tracks of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. In August the regiment was moved to Camp Morton where they guarded Confederate prisoners.

The regiment proved that older men could still serve in the army and although they did not participate in major battles they did good service to the nation. By replacing soldiers on garrison and security they allowed younger men to serve in other areas.
There was a company here in North Carolina known as the "Silver Grays." It was organized in April and May 1864 in the greater Asheville area. There is one surviving muster roll sheet, but other information is lacking in regards to their service. There are probably other such organizations, both North and South.
 

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Many states had home guard type units of older men. These were often made up of older men or youths. In the South some of these were called up for emergency service. In the North a few home guard units also served during emergencies. Most of the home guard units that did serve, only served in the area where they lived or in state they were from. Home guard units usually only served short term. The 37th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers was a three year regiment that served out of their home state.

I do not believe that home guard units get much coverage and a good study of them, their weapons, and uniforms would make an interesting book.
 

FedericoFCavada

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As I've often bored folks a time or two when this subject comes up: I've got a maternal 5x great-grandfather, one Samuel Moore of Waterloo, IA who served from November 1862 through May 1865 in the 37th Regt. Iowa Vols. Company A.
Name:Samuel Moore
Enlistment Age:60
Birth Date:abt 1802
Birth Place:New York, USA
Enlistment Date:4 Oct 1862
Enlistment Rank:Private
Muster Date:6 Nov 1862
Muster Place:Iowa
Muster Company:A
Muster Regiment:37th Infantry
Muster Regiment Type:Infantry
Muster Information:Enlisted
Muster Out Date:24 May 1865
Muster Out Place:Davenport, Iowa
Muster Out Information:Mustered Out
Side of War:Union
Survived War?:Yes
Residence Place:Waterloo, Iowa
Title:Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of Rebellion
 

FedericoFCavada

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Since I'm getting too old to plausibly do re-enacting, I guess I should honor my ancestor and get all the gear and "kit" as the Brits say to do that as a re-enactment, no? I gather they mostly were armed with older Austrian and Prussian/ German state rifles and rifled muskets... The uniform might include a frock coat, I'd think.
 
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Many states had home guard type units of older men. These were often made up of older men or youths. In the South some of these were called up for emergency service. In the North a few home guard units also served during emergencies. Most of the home guard units that did serve, only served in the area where they lived or in state they were from. Home guard units usually only served short term. The 37th Regiment of Iowa Volunteers was a three year regiment that served out of their home state.

I do not believe that home guard units get much coverage and a good study of them, their weapons, and uniforms would make an interesting book.
The "Silver Grays" actually tendered their services to the Confederate government, so they were a little more than home guardsmen. Their captain was Stephen Lee, former colonel of the 16th North Carolina.
 

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FedericoFCavad I am also to old to reenact. When I was young I was way too busy to even think about reenacting. Although I am to old to reenact I am in good shape and I think I could fit into Civil War issued size uniform. I could probably physically handle reenacting as long as I did not have to march long distances wearing a pack, I could do blocks or a couple miles wearing a pack but more than a couple of miles might be too much.

I spent 32 years in the National Guard and served overseas more than once. When one goes for months without wearing civilian clothing, wearing a uniform for the fun of it does not sound like fun. I lived in a tent and went months without ever going in to a building so I have no desire to sleep in a tent ever again.
 

FedericoFCavada

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I hear ya.... I'm gravitating to "car camping" more often than in the rough like younger years.

I remember reading a harrowing WWI memoir by a British soldier on the western Front and he vowed to never walk more than a couple miles from his house if he survived the war. Apparently he held to that and did not, in fact, ever "march" in "kit" and "ammunition boots" ever again.

In my Texas re-enacting experience, there are guys whose ancestors did all sorts of incredible stuff, and so they've researched it very meticulously, and are ready to share all that with the public... Only to find that the public comes from all walks of life, and very often--perhaps even typically?--the kids and younger folks and quite a few adults and old-timers too--are far more interested in how things were done, like, say, load a musket, or clean it, or start a fire without matches, or cook over an open fire and all those sorts of miscellanea. I'm sure some of the history nerd re-enactors get frustrated a time or two by that?
 

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In North Carolina, there were several regiments of Senior Reserves who did many of the duites that the 37th Iowa was desiginated for. The Senior Reserves were mustered up later in the war to free up the younger soliders so they could serve in the major theaters of action. In North Carolina, eight Senior Reserve regiments were raised with a average age of over fourty for the men that served in them. The Senior Reserves pulled guard and garrison duty at important strategic locations, served as prison camp guards and served as home guards in some instances. One of my direct ancestors who is not listed in my signature due to lack of space joined the Eighth Senior Reserves in 1863 at the age of 45. William H.Thomas served until he was captured and paroled in 1865 during Sherman's March through the Carolinas.
 
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