Rod Library--Special Collections
William A. Dinwiddie
MAJOR WILLIAM A. DINWIDDIE
A "department" of military science and tactics was established in the Iowa State Normal School, on petition of a number of men students, in the fall of 1890. During the year of 1890-1891, the work was placed in charge of Professor Albert Loughridge, a veteran of the Civil War, until more permanent arrangements could be made. At the opening of the school year in September 1891, Lieutenant William A. Dinwiddie, U. S. A., Retired, was detailed as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Cedar Falls. He remained officially in charge of the military department at I. S. N. S. until the close of the school year, 1900-1901. Continued ill health had prevented him from active participation in the work during the latter part of this year.
The death of Major Dinwiddie occurred in November 1901 He was buried with full military honors from the college chapel. The department which he had organized in The Normal School outlasted him by less than two years.
As commandant of the I. S. N. S. cadet battalion, Dinwiddie held the honorary rank of Major, although the highest rank he had held in the army was that of First Lieutenant. He had been educated for the medical profession, having received the degree M. D. from Jefferson Medical College, St. Louis, in 1860. In 1862, he enlisted as a private in an Iowa volunteer regiment, was commissioned Assistant Surgeon in 1863, and served in this capacity until the end of the Civil War. In 1866, he was given a line commission as Second Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, in which he served actively for twenty years. He was retired, for injuries received in the line of duty, in 1886, with the rank of First Lieutenant. While still on active duty, he served for four years (l877-188l) as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Illinois. Following his retirement, he received a similar detail at Iowa Wesleyan University, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, where he remained until he was transferred to Cedar Falls,
At its height, the I. S. N. S. battalion consisted of four companies of infantry and a battery of artillery, all fully equipped by the U. S. War Department. Two years of military drill was required of all new students unless specifically excused for cause. All men enrolled for more than one term were required to provide themselves with the prescribed uniform. The maximum enrollment in the battalion was 358 in the winter term of 1900-1901.