Chaplain Ziba Brown

The Regiment's Second Chaplain

Ziba (left) and Alpheus Brown

After the resignation of Chaplain Jerome Spillman on August 2, 1862, the regiment apparently went without the services of its own chaplain until a second clergyman from Nebraska volunteered to fill the gap. During this time, members of the regiment would still have access to religious services while in garrison. Likewise, when in the hospital or requiring special services, a minister could readily be sought out. Nevertheless, each regiment was authorized its own chaplain, and the Fifth Iowa Cavalry would eventually procure the dedicated services of Chaplain Ziba Brown.

The Reverend Brown was a pastor in the Disciples of Christ denomination. When he was commissioned, his home was Osceola, and his nativity was cited as Ohio. The war was well underway when he joined the regiment on February 26, 1864. He would serve with the men of the Fifth until its close, mustering out on August 11, 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.

Prior to the war, Brown's ministry would include successful revival preaching, notably at McComb, Nebraska in the 1840s. After the war, Pastor Brown would organize the Disciples of Christ Church of Fredonia, Kansas in 1872. It is unfortunate that we do not know more about Chaplain Brown's ministry as regimental chaplain, but it can be assumed with confidence that he discharged his duties with great conviction and devotion.

We do possess, however, an interesting account of his betrothal which is recorded in The History of Union County, Ohio which was published in 1883. Describing events at the Methodist Protestant Church in Claiborne Township during the winter of 1839-40, it says:

I have failed to obtain a consecutive list of the ministers who served this church in the early years--one of whom I remember but I cannot recall his name. He treated this congregation to a surprise which was rather pleasant. He was preaching in the old schoolhouse one Sunday morning, when very unexpectedly Rev. Ziba Brown, with Miss Jane B. Coffee on his arm, walked into the house. Mr. Brown stepped into the pulpit and sat down behind the minister who was preaching. Miss Coffee sat down in the congregation. When the sermon was ended the minister said: "There is a case of matrimony to be attended to The parties will please present themselves" Whereupon Mr. Brown stepped down to where Miss Coffee sat, and took her on his arm, they two presented themselves before the minister, and he, after requiring them to "plight their vows each to the other," pronounced them "husband and wife together." He then dismissed the congregation. All were pleased."

Return to the Fifth Iowa Cavalry Personnel
Return to the History of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry