Alanson D. Gaston – Captain, United States Army

COMPANY “A” 26  IOWA Infantry:

Gaston, Alanson D. Age 24. Residence Lyons, nativity New York. Appointed Second Lieutenant July 27, 1862. Mustered September 30, 1862. Promoted Captain January 1, 1863. Wounded May 18, 1863, Walnut Hills, Mississippi. Resigned May 18, 1865. See Company M, First Cavalry.


Gaston, Alanson D. Age 22. Residence Lyons, nativity New York Enlisted Sept. 2, 1861, as Company Quartermaster Sergeant. Mustered September 12, 1861. Discharged for promotion as Second Lieutenant of Company A, Twenty-sixth Infantry, August 12, 1862.

What follows is an account of the 26’s role in the battle on Walnut Hills.It was a part of the Vicksburg campaign and was where Captain Gaston was wounded.

On May 1, 1863, General Steele’s Division left Milliken’s Bend, marched to Grand Gulf and thence to Jackson, Mississippi, where it arrived on the 14th. On the 16th the march was resumed, and,on the 18th, the command arrived in front of the enemy’s lines at Walnut Hills, in the rear of Vicksburg. During the march there had been several delays, and some skirmishes with the enemy had occurred, but the reports do not show that the Twenty-sixth Iowa was engaged with the enemy until May 18th, 19th and 22d, on which dates (particularly the latter) it sustained heavy losses.  The fighting began at Walnut Hills late in the afternoon of the 18th and heavy skirmishing was kept up until dark. On the 19th the skirmishing was resumed and an attempt was made to assault the enemy’s works, which was unsuccessful. On May 22nd the assault was renewed, with the same result. In these preliminary operations the Twenty-sixth Iowa bore a conspicuous part.

Adjutant J. D. Began states that the regiment had two officers and three privates wounded in the skirmish on May 18th. Colonel Smith makes the following statement, with reference to the part taken by the regiment on the 19th and 22d:

“My regiment was engaged in the assault of the 19th, 311 officers and men being present and actually engaged, losing 1 man killed, 4 officers and 8 men wounded. Had, on the 22nd, 290 officers and men present and actually engaged, losing 5 men killed, 4 officers and 25 men wounded. On account of the favorable formation of the ground myregiment did not suffer so badly as it otherwise would have done in a more exposed position.” Among those wounded were Colonel Milo Smith,Captain A. D. Gaston, and Lieutenants John W. Mason, Louis Rider, Noble W. Wood, John Quinn and William M. Magden. The failure to carry the enemy’s strong works by direct assault necessitated a series of regular siege operations which were continued until July 4, 1863, when the rebel stronghold surrendered. The Twenty-sixth Iowa performed its fullshare of duty during the siege. The regiment had sustained a loss of 6 killed and 46 wounded in its three engagements in the early days of the siege. On June 5th it had one man, Mathew Carraher, severely wounded, and, on June 15th, one man, William H. Wilcox, killed, making the number of casualties during the siege 54, (7 killed and 47 wounded, ) seventeen per cent of the maximum number of the regiment present for duty on May 18th, the day upon which the initial engagement of the siege of Vicksburg occurred.

Colonel Milo Smith, although suffering from his wounds,remained in command of the regiment and directed its movements during the siege. He was the only field officer on duty until May 24th, upon which date Lieutenant Colonel Ferreby returned and reported for duty. This gallant officer had been severely wounded at Arkansas Post and, as a reward for his meritorious conduct in that battle, had been promoted three grades above his former rank. He had only partially recovered from his wounds at the time of his return, but his patriotic devotion to duty and his anxiety to be with his regiment in the great struggle then in progress prevailed over the insistence of the surgeon that he should remain in hospital until he had fully recovered. Captain N. C. Roe had been detailed to act as a field officer to assist Colonel Smith, and continued to act in that capacity until relieved on June 2nd.

The Herald’s Lyons Office, 1928

Mrs. Caroline Buell Gaston aged 84, widow of the late Captain A.D. Gaston of Washington D.C. and daughter of the late Elijah Buell, founder of Lyons, Iowa, passed away suddenly Wednesday evening at six o’clock in Los Angeles, California, where she has been since last fall. The message was received this morning by her brother, Langworthy J. Buell, 2517 Third Street, North.

Following the funeral services in Los Angeles the body will be taken to Washington, D.C., where interment will be beside her husband in Arlington National Cemtery. Her daughter, Mrs. Mary Caroline Buell was the daughter of Elijah Buell and Mary Louise Pearce who was the second wife of Mr. Buell and was born in Lyons March 16, 1843 in the pioneer days when the old Buell homestead was located at the east end of Pearl Street near the river the property now the site of the Charles M. Pelton home. On January 21, 1864 she was united in marriage with A.D. Gaston by the Rev. Mr. Stanley, pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Four children were born to this union, a daughter, Mrs. Bell James passed away several years ago. Mr. Gaston preceded his wife in death a number of years ago. Of her immediate family she is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Jessie Harrison of New York City and Mrs. Mary King of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and one son, Buell Gaston of Los Angeles, California four grandchildren and one  great-grandchild. There is also a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Spencer of Seattle, Washington.

Elijah Buell, father of Mrs. Gaston was born in Utica, New York, April 1, 1801, and in 1811 he accompanied his parents from Utica to Sachetts Harbor, New York. In 1813 the grandfather died and Elijah accompanied his widow with her eight children to the site of the present location of Cleveland, Ohio Elijah Buell completed his education in that city and turned his attention to navigation by becoming a sailor on the lakes, following this life for ten years. then turned his attention to the south end of the Mississippi. He became well known in navigation circles in that section of the counry. He possesed remarkable ability and was a man of keen discernment so that during his long service there was no serious disaster under his command. While working as a pilot he made St. Louis, Missouri, his home and in 1835 he left his family in that city and came to the site of the present city of Lyons, Iowa, where he developed a farm and erected a small cabin on the Mississippi at what is now Pearl and Front Streets.

Sergeant A. D. Gaston, Enlisted September 2, 1861


Captain Alanson D. Gaston Lyons, Iowa
January 1, 1863
Wounded In The Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Captain Alanson D. Gaston, Commissioned Second Lieutenant, September 30, 1862, formerly Q. M. Sergeant Co. M, 1st Iowa Cavalry., promoted Captain, January 1, 1863, wd. at Walnut Hills,resd. Mustered out: May 18, 1865.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 11/25/1920

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