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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo Courtesy: Ellen Elliott

DUBUQUE CITY GUARDS. The Dubuque City Guards were organized in July, 1851 but they had no uniforms. They were finally uniformed and paraded in full dress for the first time March 17, 1854 under Captan M. M. Hayden.

The Guards offered their service in November 1858 to capture and punish renegade DAKOTA responsible for the Spirit Lake Massacre. When called there were only about twenty men in the company. This eventually reached sixty. They quit their businesses, drilled, and hired teams but were not required to leave the city. Later the men presented claims for payment which were scaled down by the Iowa Legislature and later paid.

By 1861 the City Guards were nearly defunct with those interested in enlisting for military duty in the CIVIL WAR increasingly joining the GOVERNOR'S GREYS. A writer for the Herald may have had the Guards in mind when on January 12, 1861 it was written, "A certain number of our companies should be broken up, for the reason that they are weak and inefficient for all military ends and purposes. Their members attend drills when it suits their convenience--act as best suits their convenience when they do attend, and disgrace themselves and everybody else when on parade."

Dubuque Herald, April 26, 1861. Image courtesy: Diane Harris
Dubuque Herald, April 26, 1861. Image courtesy: Diane Harris


Oldt, Franklin T. The History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association. p. 253-254