Colonel William Kinsman was born in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, Canada on July 11, 1832. In 1855, Kinsman took up residence in Council Bluffs and enlisted as a volunteer with the 4th Iowa after the outbreak of the Civil War.
Kinsman was the commander of the 23rd Iowa at Big Black River Bridge after serving under General Grenville Dodge for a number of years.
The Battle of Big Black River Bridge
"On the morning of May 16, 1863, the 23rd led the charge against the Confederate troops defending the Black River, the last natural barrier protecting the South's remaining vital city on the Mississippi River. Kinsmans was fatally wounded as he led the Iowans into a vollege of Confederate fire; he died the following morning and was buried at the battle site." (1)
Victory in this battle was key in the Vicksburg campaign, and ultimately "sealed Vicksburg's fate." (2)
Remembering the Colonel
In 1898, with Dodge's help, members of the Grand Army of the Republic located and brought Kinsman's remains back to Council Bluffs and had them interred at Fairview Cemetery.
Dodge, who had written extensively about Kinsman, helped raise funds to install a monument to his memory and had it dedicated on May 17, 1902. (3)