Lieutenant Milton Summers
Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry
First Lieutenant Milton S. Summers was one of the young officers who optimistically rode off to lead their untrained recruits against the southern rebels. At thirty-two, he probably cut a dashing figure in the fall of 1861. However, the following summer would find him fighting for his very survival in the aftermath of one of the regiment's "victories." During the attack on the Cumberland Iron Works in Tennessee, he was seriously wounded on August 27, 1862. The following day, he succumbed to his wounds.
The 1901 History of Fremont and Mills Counties, Iowa notes Milton's death in a biographical entry about his father, James Newton Summers. In 1854 the family had moved to Mills County, "which was just being opened to civilization. The government offered its lands at a merely nominal price to those who would convert the raw prairie into cultivated fields…" The entry closes by saying of his father, "Mr. Summers was a man of strong purpose, honorable in all his dealings, and to his family left the priceless heritage of an untarnished name." Despite the fact that his own life was cut short, Milton Summers lived with the same integrity and honor.