Arriving to just a pile of lumber and an open meadow, the recruits had to build the camp themselves. The community providing the food and blankets for the soldiers.
Mt. Pleasant was probably selected for the camp because of the railroad access to the community while surrounding communities did not.
To honor those that were at Camp Harlan, the community has restored the historical marker on the original site of the camp. Located just across from the golf course in Mt. Pleasant, the site now hosts a new marker, replica flag of the time in history which will be displayed on holidays and special occasions.
Mt. Pleasant had 10 Medal of Honor recipients, Eight fought with the Fourth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, which trained at Camp Harlan. Three of those hailed from Henry County.
Iowa claims just 113 Medal of Honor recipients. Of note are Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to earn the medal, and William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
The new marker at Camp Harlan tells a straightforward story of the camp from its authorization by the War Department in October 1861 to its closing the following year. As for Camp Harlan’s final days; alas, the barracks burned to the ground.