Conflict Period:
Civil War (Union) 1
Army 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Luther F McNeal 1

Civil War (Union) 1

Army 1
C 1
Discharge Rank:
Capt 1
Enlistment Rank:
1 Sergt 1
Military Unit:
17th Infantry 1
Iowa 1

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  1. Civil War Service Index - Union - Iowa [See image]


R. D. Nabers R. Hough
Editors and Proprietors



Second Lieutenant, Luther F. McNeal

Sword Presentation — The members of Co. G. 17th Iowa Infantry Volunteers, on Thursday, the 19th instant, presented their second Lieutenant, L. F. McNeal with a fine sword, sash and belt. The presentation was made in behalf of the Company by Dr. Ealy, First Surgeon of the regiment, who made the following remarks: “Lieutenant McNeal, since the organization of Co. C you have been among its most efficient officers, constantly at your post and always ready for duty. Your kind attention to your command, your gallant conduct on the bloody battlefields of Luka and Corinth, have won the confidence of these brave boys who surround you, and as a token of their confidence and esteem I present you, in their behalf, this sword, sash and belt, trusting, Sir, that your future may be as brave as your past had been, honorable, and that this sword may glimmer in the sunlight of every battle field, till the last rebel bites the dust, and the emblem of our country’s glory shall wave in triumph over an undivided Union; and when you return in peace to the happiness of your home; may this serve to remind you of the brave boys who fought by your side in the hour of your country’s peril.”
The Lieutenant received the gift, and addressing the company in line, said: “I thank you, gentlemen, for this evidence of respect. I thank you, not for its intrinsic value merely, but for the testimony it affords of having acquitted myself honorably as a soldier. It matters not what influences may operate to deprive me of the merit i have won, while I sustain so fair a reputation with those who, above all others, are best capable of judging. I would rather have such evidence of having performed my duty toward you and our country, than held the highest position within the gift of the President of the United States. And in assurance that this beautiful sword shall never be dishonored, I can do no more than refer you to the past. And when it shall have done the part assigned it in humbling base autocrats who plot the destruction of our Republic, it shall, if need be, and in the extermination of those vile sympathizers at the North who are seeking to cripple the resources of the Government, and rob the soldier of his hard-earned laurels.”

Family of Luther

Luther F. McNeal was born 1830, the 4th child of Marcus and Almira Fairchild McNeal. He married Lucy B. Greenleaf on Aug 10th 1856 in Alexandia. They had 3 children, Nora, William, and Almira. All of the children died of cholera after visiting their father, Luther F. Mcneal, at camp. They were visiting Luther after he was injured in the Battle of Mission Ridge. Luther eventually died of complications from his injury in Dec. 1863. Lucy did apply for widows pension and went home to her parents. 

Luther McNeal's story

I have done extensive research on Luther F. McNeal. I have letters written by him to his parents in New York.

Nora and Almira died in 1862 shortly after Luther enlisted. Willie survived until he and Lucy visited Luther while at the occupation of Vicksburg, after the surrender of Vicksbug. In a letter dated Sept. 8, 1863, Luther states, "I hardly know how to tell you of the terrible act of providence that has befallen us. When I enlisted we had three beautiful intelligent, and healthy children, but now we have none. When Lucy and Will arrived here they felt well, and no one ever enjoyed themselves better than Willie among the soldiers. But I was not in condition to enjoy the visit. I had been fo some weeks, off duty and confined to my tent with that almost fatal disease diarrhea, and just been examined by the medical director who decided hat a change of climate was necessary to save my life. The day that the examination was made I felt a little better having taken a few mouthfuls of food. The next day after Lucy and Willie arrived and I continued to improve slowly. I intended to go home with them immediately, but my leave of absence would not help the division general, there being no officer to take command of the company in my absence. Two weeks after their arrival they both took sick with the same disease, but Lucy being in constant attention upon Willie night and day and laboring under considerable excitement which seemed to give her double strength overcame the disease, while little Willie sunk fast and died the third week of his stay."


Luther was injured at Missionary Ridge Nov. 25, 1863. He had taken a minie ball to the knee. His surgeon attempted to save the leg and did not amputate. He wrote his father Dec. 7th, very depressed...  "I am still living, but n a most wretched place. An entire stranger, helpless and no one with me that cares whether I live or die." His father, Marcus, traveled from Williamsville to Chattanooga to be with his son. A telegram was sent home on Dec.16 that it was doubtful he would live. He died on Dec. 19th. and is buried in Williamsville, NY (presumably his father transported the body home).

He Fought in the following battles: Iuka, MS (Sept. 19, 1862), Corinth MS (Oct. 3-4, 1862), Magnolia Hills (May 1, 1863), Forty Hills, MS (May 3, 1863), Raymond, MS (May 12, 1863), Jackson, MS (May 14, 1863) Champion Hills, MS (May 16, 1863) Black River Bridge (May 18, 1863) at the assault on Vicksburg (May 19-22), at the storming of Fort Hill, Vicksburg, MS and all the lesser battles and skirmished in and around Vicksburg during its whole seige from May 19-July 4, at its surrender and at the assault on Missionary Ridge, Georgia, (Nov. 25, 1863).

Anyone wishing more information about Luther and his family should contact me at

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