Friday, September 28, 2007

Martin Biber

Martin Biber was born 1838 in Sweden.

Martin immigrated to the United States eventually settling in western Michigan and by 1860 he was working as a farm laborer probably living with and/or working for one John Orr in Lee Township, Allegan County. At some point before the war broke out Martin probably moved to Muskegon, Muskegon County.

He stood 5’10” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was 23 years old and probably living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

Martin had been promoted to Sergeant by the time he was wounded in the right arm on May 2 or 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and for his participation in that engagement he was awarded the “Kearny Cross”. He soon recovered from his wounds and rejoined the Regiment and was apparently shot in the right wrist while the Regiment was engaged at the Peach Orchard, during the battle of Gettysburg, on July 2, 1863. He was subsequently admitted to Hammond general hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland on July 4, 1863, suffering from a gunshot wound. According to his medical records, “A minnie [sic] ball passed obliquely or rather above the right wrist, fracturing the radius and ulna. Patient came to [the hospital] with the fracture badly united [?] and the wound not healed. The wounds at this time (Aug. 26) are healed and the patient in the enjoyment of excellent health.” He soon recovered and returned to duty on September 10, 1863.

Martin was on duty with the regiment when he reenlisted on December 24 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Muskegon, Muskegon County, and was presumably absent on veterans’ furlough for thirty days during January of 1864. If so, he probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Martin was killed in action on May 6, 1864, during the battle of the Wilderness, Virginia and was presumably buried among the unknown soldiers in the Wilderness.

No pension seems to be available.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Conrad Beuter

Conrad Beuter, also known as “Benter”, was born 1828 in Prussia, Germany.

Conrad immigrated to the United States, probably in 1862 or 1863, eventually settling in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is possible that he had been married since his son Frank (1862-1897) was born in either Prussia or Austria.

He stood 5’2” with gray eyes, black hair and a dark complexion, and was a 35-year-old farmer possibly living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward when he enlisted in Company C on December 24, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids’ First Ward, and was mustered on January 6, 1864, at Grand Rapids. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

Conrad joined the Regiment on February 18 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was wounded severely, possibly in the foot, and was reported missing in action on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia. Conrad was transferred as missing in action to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was in fact absent sick from May through December. He was eventually transferred to Harper hospital in Detroit, from whence he was returned to duty on December 18, 1864, and was mustered out July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Conrad returned to western Michigan.

Conrad was married (possibily a seocnd time) to Prussian-born wife Theresa Kraut (1834-1899), on November 7th, 1867 at St. Mary’s church in Grand Rapids.

By 1870 Conrad was working as a laborer (although he reportedly owned some $1000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and son Frank in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.

By 1880 Conrad was living with his wife and son Frank and working in a sawmill in Walker, Kent County; and he was living in Walker in 1890. He might have been working as a farmer in the vicinity of Alpine road in 1889. He was probably living in Walker, Kent County in 1891.

Conrad was living in Michigan when he applied for and received pension (no 565,213, dated 1889), for his service in the Fifth Michigan. He was probably a Roman Catholic.

While the record is unclear Conrad presumably died in Grand Rapids and may likely be buried in Mt. Calvary cemetery in Grand Rapids. In any case, his wife and son (?) are buried in Mt. Calvary.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nicholas Berry

Nicholas Berry was born in 1823 in France.

Nicholas may have been the same Nicholas Berry who by 1860 was working as a mill hand in White River, Muskegon County and married to Sophia (born c. 1837 in Mecklinburg, Germany); they had one child, a daughter Mary E.

He stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 41 years old and working as a sawyer and living in White River when he enlisted (apparently) in Company F on January 19, 1864, at Pittsfield, Washtenaw County for 3 years, crediting Pittsfield, and was mustered the same day. (According to a statement he made to a notary public in Muskegon on August 16, 1864, and forwarded to the provost marshal in Grand Rapids, Berry was enrolled in White River sometime in 1863, sworn into U.S. service on January 16, 1864, in Muskegon, then sent to Detroit and credited to Owosso Township, Shiawassee County.)

In any case, Nicholas reportedly joined the Regiment on February 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, and was shot in his right knee and in the head and face at the battle of Spotsylvania, Virginia, on May 12. On May 22 he was admitted as "a single man" to Emory general hospital in Washington, DC, with a “gunshot wound of the right leg, lower third external aspect” caused by a minie ball. (On his hospital admission card he listed his residence as White River and his nearest relative as one “L. Collman” living in Forest City, Muskegon County.) The ball entered his right leg at the “outer aspect of femur three inches above outer condyle, passed outwards and backwards and escaped on posterior aspect of thigh same distance above condyle, leaving a cicatrix 2 in x 3 in.” (Regarding his head wounds it was noted in 1887 that Berry had a “scar above right orbit 1 1/2 in long -- linear -- not adherent or tender. Scar on right frontal eminence 1 1/2 in long, linear, not adherent or tender.”)

Nicholas was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported absent wounded since May 22. He had in fact been sent home on furlough to White River, Muskegon County to recover from his wounds, and in mid-July he sought an extension of his furlough. On July 14, Dr. J. Wheeler, of White River, examined Berry and certified that “he is laboring under a wound of one of the lower limbs, received as he affirms sometime in May. He has been under my care I think between two and three weeks. The wound was in a very bad condition when I first saw it, and in consequence thereof he is in my opinion not only unfit for duty, but unable to travel to rejoin his station, or to report to the U.S. Military Commander at Detroit.”

At the same time that he was seeking to extend his furlough, Nicholas was also trying to get all the bounty money due him. In mid-August of 1864 an assistant provost marshal in Detroit had written to Captain Norman Bailey, the provost marshal in Grand Rapids, asking if he knew that Berry claimed he had been promised $100.00 bounty money, but had never received payment from Owosso. On August 25, Bailey replied to Lieutenant Colonel Hill, acting Assistant Provost Marshal General in Detroit, that he had “no knowledge with regard to the matter” as described by Berry. “If Owosso refuses to pay him,” Bailey wrote, “the bounty agreed upon they ought not to have his credit. If the man’s credit be changed to this cong. district there are an abundance of towns that will be glad to take him and pay the $300 bounty promised by Owosso, but which he failed to get.” Colonel Hill replied on September 8, that Berry “appears to have enlisted and mustered into the U.S. service on” January 19, 1864, “credited on the muster in rolls to Pittsfield, Washtenaw County and reported and the credit cannot be changed except by order of the Adjutant Genls Dept. at Washington.”

According to Berry’s hospital records, by January 7, 1865, his wound had healed, and he was discharged from the hospital on March 8. In fact, Berry remained at home in Michigan until he was discharged from Emory hospital in Washington, DC on March 9, 1865, for “partial anchylosis of right knee caused by a gunshot wound.”

Sometime after the war Nicholas moved to Lilley Junction, Newaygo County, and was probably living in Whitehall or White River, Muskegon County when he married Elizabeth Gilbert in White River on October 12, 1866; they eventually divorced.

He lived in Whitehall until 1868 when he moved to Stony Creek (probably Missaukee County), then to Ludington, Mason County in 1869 where he lived until 1870. From Mason County he moved across Lake Michigan to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and sometime in the fall of 1871 settled in Menominee, Wisconsin where he remained until the Spring of 1873 when he moved to Arkansas. From 1873 to 1874 he resided in Little Rock, Arkansas, then in Missouri, on to Leavenworth, Kansas by late 1876, and to Colorado, working most of his life as a laborer. In October of 1883 he was living in Sante Fe (or perhaps Wallace), New Mexico, and in June of 1886 in Denver, Colorado drawing $6.00 in 1886, increased to $8.00 a month in 1887 (pension, no. 143,528).

By January of 1887 Nicholas was living in Castle Rock, Fremont (probably Douglas) County, Colorado when he was again examined for an increase to his pension and the physician noted that the “soldier presents an unhealthy appearance,” and it was the opinion of the examining board that he was entitled to total disability rating.

He soon returned to Michigan and was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 1062) as a widower on July 24, 1889, discharged on June 17, 1890. He apparently returned to Wisconsin and was residing in the National Military Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in December of 1891.
Nicholas was readmitted to the Michigan Home on October 13, 1892, and soon after transferred to the Kalamazoo Insane Asylum where he died on January 13, 1895. Nicholas was reportedly buried in Kalamazoo at the asylum.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Christopher Berringer

Christopher Berringer was born August 13, 1834, in W├╝rttemberg, Germany.

Christopher immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Michigan and by 1860 was possibly residing in Detroit’s Seventh Ward. In any case, he apparently soon afterwards moved to the western side of the state and by the time the war broke out was living in Eaton County.

Christopher stood 5’4” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion, and was 25 years old and working as a carpenter probably living in Charlotte, Eaton County when he enlisted as a Corporal in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was shot in the right leg (or right breast) on August 29, 1862, at the battle of Second Bull Run, and on September 5 it was reported in Charlotte that he had been killed “while fighting again on the old Bull Run battlefield. Eaton County has sent no braver spirit to the war. His courage amounted almost to recklessness; he was several times wounded; and the wonder has been that he should so long escape the fate he so boldly met. Though he occupied no prominent position here, his example and quaint but always cheerful letters have exerted a most salutary influence. The remaining young men of Charlotte would do well to imitate his active patriotism and erect a monument to his memory.”

A week later, however, the Eaton County Republican wrote that Christopher, although “reported as among the killed, writes that he still lives. He was struck senseless while fighting, and taken prisoner, but has been paroled, is now in Washington, and will be fit for service in a few days. Our eulogium is just as true as if he was dead, and it gives us great pleasure to learn that ‘Chris’ still lives to serve his country and win additional laurels.”

He quickly recovered from his wound and soon returned to duty. According to Dr. James Grove, however, who was then surgeon for the Third Michigan, he was called to treat Christopher

in the fall of 1862 in camp near Falmouth Va for some chronic disease of the lung the particular nature of which and the treatment I do not now remember. He was reported unfit for duty nearly all the time while I was with the regiment until about the middle of June 1863. After the battle of Gettysburg and until the battle of the Wilderness (at which time I was assigned to duty with division hospital) he was much of the time under treatment and excused from duty for the same disease.

He was listed as a Sergeant in October of 1863, and he reenlisted on December 23 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Hamburg, Livingston County.

Christopher returned to his home in Eaton County on a veteran’s furlough for 30 days, when he married New York native Josephine Parker (1840-1920), on January 17, 1864, at Vermontville, and they had at least two children: a daughter Anna (b. 1870) and a son Edwin (1879-1929).

He probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February, 1864. In any case, he was on duty with the regiment when he was wounded on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. According to Christopher he was struck by a spent ball just below his knee. “The skin was not broken” although “it left a bruised spot and it caused me to be some lame for a few days but I remained with my company & did duty.”

He was wounded a third time in the head and neck by pieces of lead on May 12 at Spotsylvania, Virginia. It was also reported that he served as acting Second Lieutenant of Company I from May through June.

Christopher who recovered from both wounds was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry as First Sergeant upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was apparently wounded a fourth time by a gunshot to the right leg on June 16 near Petersburg. According to Christopher, at about six o’clock in the evening he was shot in the

right leg about half way between knee & ankle just to right of shin bone & was sent to division hospital near Petersburg. Stayed there about two days but not treated there 7 was then sent to Cit Point Hospital Va & had my wound dressed there and was sent next morning to Willard’s Point Hospital, New York harbor. Stayed there about three weeks [and] then came home on furlough 30 days & at the expiration of furlough returned to the hospital at Willard’s Point, N.Y. and was sent to the regiment at my request. I arrived at camp of my regiment near Petersburg Va in August 1864 and was mustered as 2nd Lieut of Co “A” 5th Regt Mich Vet Vol Infantry and was on duty one week when the said gunshot wound broke out again. I was treated by regimental surgeon for two or three days and was then sent to the division hospital near Petersburg. Stayed there a day or so and was sent to General Hospital City Point, Va. Stayed there about six weeks & got a leave of absence & come home about 10th october & got leave of absence extended twice on surgeon’s certificate. I returned to my regiment 1st January 1865 and then served till the close of the war.

In July of 1864 he was acting as Second Lieutenant, and then commissioned as such on September 16, replacing Lieutenant Augur.

On October 3, 1864, he applied for a furlough of 20 days, and on the same day Dr. Burmeister, surgeon for the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania in charge of the Second Corps hospital at City Point, certified that after examining Barrenger found that “he is suffering from [a] gunshot wound of the right leg, involving the Tibia, received in action June 16, 1864, in front of Petersburg, Va. The wound has resulted in a very unhealthy ulcer, which unfits him for performing military duty.” The doctor recommended a leave of 20 days, and it was approved and Barrenger went home to Michigan on furlough.

It is not known when or if Chris rejoined the Regiment, although it seems likely that he recovered (again) from his wounds and returned to Virginia. In January of 1865 he was promoted to First Lieutenant, commissioned October 25, and transferred to Company E, where he replaced Lieutenant McGinley. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Following his discharge he returned to (or remained in) Michigan and by 1869 he was living in Eaton County. By 1870 Christopher was working as a farmer (he owned some $1800 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and one child in Carmel, Eaton County. By 1880 Christopher was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Carmel, Eaton County. He was living in Scranton (?), near Charlotte in 1883 when he was reported to be suffering from a gunshot wound to the right leg, for which he received $9.50 per month from the government (pension no. 101,337). He was living in Charlotte in 1884 when he attended the Sixth Annual Reunion of the Soldiers and Sailors, at Battle Creek, Calhoun County. Interestingly he is listed with the Fifth Michigan infantry rather than those in the Third.

He was living in Charlotte’s Second Ward in 1890 and 1894, and for many years he worked as a farmer.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, as well as Grand Army of the Republic Williams Post No. 40 in Charlotte.

Christopher was working as a farmer when he died of “paralysis” on December 24, 1909, in Charlotte, and was buried in Maple Hill cemetery, Charlotte, section H, lot 215.

In 1910 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 695684). By 1920 she was living at 2532 Regent Street in Berkeley, California (probably with her son Edwin who died in California in 1929).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Noel George Bernier

Noel George Bernier, also known as “George Barnier”, “Beamier”, “Bearnier” or “Beaumier”, was born on December 8, 1835, in Cap-St.-Ignace, Montmagny County, Quebec, Canada, the son of Francis M. and Marie Elizabeth.

Noel, or George as he was generally known, left Cap-St.-Ignace, and immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan by 1857. Three years later he was working as a mill hand in the city and living at the David Cable boarding house at Sebastopol, on the north side of Muskegon Lake.

He stood 5’10” with gray eyes and brown hair and was 26 years old and living on the north side of Muskegon Lake when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

George was a wagoner in December of 1862, and serving with the Brigade wagon train in March of 1863, but was absent sick in May, and remained absent sick through August, reportedly detached as a nurse in the division hospital. In fact, George was apparently treated for “intermittent fever” on January 30 and 31 and again from March 11 to 13, 1863. He was subsequently treated for chronic diarrhea from the end of April through May.

However, according to a report written by Captain Thomas Waters of Company H, on August 10, 1863, at camp near from Sulphur Springs, Virginia, George, was a nurse at the First Division hospital, of the Third Corps, located “near Potomac Creek station was on or about the 14th day of June last sent to Alexandria with the sick and wounded. He was then relieved from duty and ordered to report to his Regiment for duty. He was last seen by a member of the Company in the streets of Frederick, Maryland, drunk. This on or about the 7th of July, 1863.” This apparently occurred as the Regiment was returning to Virginia from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The provost marshal’s office in Washington reported on August 22, 1863, that one Captain James Smith from the provost marshal’s office in the Forty-fourth district, Frederick, (Maryland presumably) “is directed to take measures for the arrest of the [Barnier who was a] deserter, and report action to their office.”

It is not known whatever became of this particular incident, but George was treated for gonorrhea from September 19-22, 28 to October 2, October 7-10, 25, 26, November 1 to 6 and to the 14th, from the 15th to 23. He was again suffering from intermittent fever and gonorrhea in late November. In March of 1864 George was reported as a teamster detached as of January 8, 1864, serving with the Brigade wagon train.

According to Ben Tracy, who was formerly in the Third Michigan and by the spring of 1864 was acting assistant quartermaster for the Second Brigade, to which the Third was then attached, George was thrown from a horse and injured sometime around April 19, 1864. George reportedly broke his right arm just above the wrist. He was reportedly being treated for syphillis from April 22-30, 1864, and was also undergoing treatment for his fractured radius. In May he was sick in the hospital in Washington, DC, and was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

After his discharge from the army George returned to Muskegon where he lived for many years and worked variously as a carpenter and shipbuilder. He married Sophia Roslie DeGraff (her maiden name may have been Boolinstes) on July 2, 1872, in either Zeeland or Holland, Ottawa County. George was living in Muskegon in May of 1880 when he joined Grand Army of the Republic Kearny Post No. 7 in Muskegon. That same year he was reported as working as a carpenter and living in Lakeside, Muskegon County, with his wife

He was living in Muskegon in 1883, 1890 and 1899 and probably still residing in Muskegon when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 4105) on September 19, 1903, listing his occupation as a laborer. When George was admitted to the Home he also claimed that he was married, however he listed his nearest relative as one Charles Miller of Muskegon (probably the same Charles Miller who had also served in Company H during the war).

George lived in the Home off and on splitting his time between the Home and Muskegon. He was honorably discharged from the Home on March 10, 1904, and was living in Muskegon from 1905 through 1911, probably at 730 or 750 Lake Street. He was readmitted to the Home on March 9, 1915, and was discharged on August 16, 1916, at his own request.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and he may have been a witness for Jackson Bennett’s pension application. In 1864 George applied for and received a pension (no. 86,538), drawing $6.00 per month by 1883, and he suffered from a fractured his right forearm which he claimed he received during the war (see Tracy’s statement above).

At some point after his discharge from the Home in 1916 George went to live with his nephew, Zephirin Bartet in Quebec.

George died of “old age” on January 27 or 28, 1918, at his nephew’s home in Cap-St.-Ignace, Montmagny County, Quebec, Canada and was buried in the parish cemetery there.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Peter Paul Bergevin Jr.

Peter Paul Bergevin Jr., also known as “Begervin” or “Bergervin”, was born May 20, 1840, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the son of Peter Sr. (b. 1804) and Calista (b. 1794).

Canadian natives Peter Sr. and Calista were presumably married in Canada, possibly in Quebec. In any case, Peter was proficient in speaking French, and at one point claimed to be fluent in the French language. While Peter Jr. was still a small boy his family left Canada and moved westward, eventually settling in western Michigan. By 1850 Peter Jr. was working as a laborer along with his older brother Joseph and living with his family in Oceana County where his father worked as a laborer for a wealthy lumberman named Charles Mears.

By 1860 Peter’s older Joseph was working as a laborer in Muskegon, Muskegon County. Presumably Peter joined him shortly before the war broke out.

Peter Jr. was 21 years old and living in Muskegon, Muskegon County, when he joined the Muskegon Rangers in April of 1861 as Third Sergeant. (In 1860 one Joseph Bergevin, a 23-year old Canadian, was working as a sawyer and living in Muskegon.) The “Rangers” were a local militia company formed in Muskegon soon after the fall of Fort Sumter in April of 1861, and were reorganized into Company H of the Third Michigan infantry which was then forming at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids. And as a result, Peter subsequently enlisted as Third Sergeant in Company H on May 13, 1861 (according to his pension records as of May 28; in fact it was probably April 28). According to another member of Company H, Charles Brittain, “Peet was a first rate fellow.”

Peter was shot by a musket ball in one of his shoulders on May 30 or 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and hospitalized briefly in Washington. He eventually returned to duty and struck by a shell shot in his right leg on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. Peter was sent to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC, where he suffered the amputation of his right leg above the knee.

On July 18, while recovering from his wounds near Alexandria, he took the time to write to the sister of William McKernan who had also been wounded at Fair oaks but who died of his wounds. “Madam,” Peter wrote,

I am under the painful responsibility of informing you that your dear beloved brother died in Washington Hospital Judiciary Square July 6th. The cause of this long delay on my part for not writing sooner, is on account of your address not having it with me. The last letter I sent you before you got the money [?] I was then nearly certain that he would not live for he was very bad & was getting worse & worse all the time. As concerning his death I have little to say. He died very easy, was well taken care of until the last moment & was decently buried. I will now bring this to a close by endeavoring to explain to you what few effects he has got here coming to him. He has here one shoulder strap coat one pair of pants one pair of shoes one cap & he has paid up to May 1st, 1862 so he has pay coming from that date up to July 6th/1862 & there is his bounty money & Land Warrant if such can be got. About that you can tell as well as I can where you are by applying to some Now then to get these things, as I understand his father is dead [so his] mother is next legal person to get it & no [other] person can so long [as] she is living. More than this. Mrs. McKernan has to prove herself by proper authority in the town or country where she lives that she is the identical mother of this said deceased William McKernan. For this she can apply [to a justice of the peace or mayor of the city after she has forwarded sufficient papers to prove this she then has to make an application stating all concerning his death, what battle he was wounded [in], the state & where he died & when & also stating the names of all his effects & up to what date he was paid & stating about his bounty money & land warrant. I suppose you know when he was wounded & where it was. [It was at] the battle of Fair Oaks on the 31st of May. [He was] shot through the foot. Now I think that the rest you can see for your self on this letter. More I think the surest way for you to get this is to apply to some member of Congres or a Senator if I was going to remain here I could get it for you & it would not cost a centy but I was wounded at the same battle William was & have now got well & in a day or 2 I am going back [to] join the Regiment again. This [is] all I can think of. Any further information needed on my part will be rendered with pleasure. Direct to P. P. Bergevin, Co. H, 3rd Regt Mich Vol. Washington D. C.

Peter was promoted to Second Lieutenant on September 1 replacing Lieutenant Benjamin Tracy, and in November was absent wounded and then AWOL, but by December he was reported wounded in a hospital in Washington, DC.

On December 23 William Drake of Company A was passing through Washington on his back to rejoin the regiment and stopped in to see Peter who was reportedly staying at a private home on C Street. “He has lost his right leg above the knee,” Drake wrote to a friend in Michigan, “(carried away by a shell at Bull Run/62) he can’t go out & is waiting for Govt to furnish him with a Patent limb – poor fellow – he complains of being lonely – While I was there he looked out of the window – at some school children at play and turned sharply, ‘Drake, I tell you that sight makes me almost cry sometimes.’” Drake also reported that the Third Michigan’s former Colonel, now General Stephen Champlin had stopped by to see “the other day – Don called on him also.”

He remained hospitalized from January of 1863 through September, and resigned his commission on October 18, 1863, in order to accept an appointment as Second Lieutenant in the Veterans’ Reserve Corps (the “Invalid Corps”). According a hospital chaplain, Peter was on duty with the Seventy-fifth VRC and along with his company of men were doing guard duty and any other services which might be required of them at the U.S. hospital located at Fourteenth and Massachusetts avenues in Washington, sometime between late 1863 and early 1865.

In August of 1865 he was assigned to the the medical director for the Department of Ohio, at Detroit, but those orders were revoked and he was instead ordered to report to the assistant commissioner, District of Columbia, for assignment in the Freedman’s Bureau. He worked at the Freedman’s (Campbell) Hospital in Washington and was reported “in charge of public property”.

In January of 1867 he was assigned to the Freedman’s Village in Virginia, and he remained in that post until October of 1867 when he was ordered to report to the commissioner for the bureau. At one point he reportedly served in Seventy-fifth company, Second Battalion VRC. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) In any case, Peter was mustered out of the VRC on January 1, 1868, possibly at Washington, DC.

After his release from the army Peter went to work as a civil agent for the Freedman’s Bureau, and was working in that capacity and probably living in Washington in February of 1869 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 95,999.

Peter lived in Washington for the remainder of his life. From 1881-83, he was living at 742 Tenth Street northwest in Washington working in the U.S. General Land Office.

He divorced his first wife Martha A. in December of 1881, and was awarded custody of their infant son.

Peter was working as a clerk and still residing on Tenth Street when he married Lydia Alcorn (1847-1916) of Philadelphia, on July 8, 1886, in Washington, DC.

He was reported in Lincoln Post No. 3, Washington, DC, in 1890. Peter was apparently living alone in rented rooms in the Frost household in Washington in 1892.

Peter had been sick for about three weeks when he died of congestion of the lungs on August 6, 1896, at his home at 618 Third Street northwest in Washington. According to Dr. George Lattimer, who attended Bergervin, his death was the result of valvular heart disease itself a consequence of his having contracted rheumatism several years prior to his death. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

His widow eventually returned to Philadelphia where she lived out the rest of her life (although her body was returned to Washington for burial at Arlington). She was living in Philadelphia when she applied for and received a pension (no. 436,031).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Daniel Benton

Daniel Benton was born February 16, 1840, in Madison County, New York, probably near Rome or Lenox, the son of Melanchton (1799-1852) and Ruah (Benedict, 1802-1850).

Daniel’s father, who had been named for a German Protestant reformer who lived at the same time as Martin Luther, was living in Lenox, New York in 1824 when he married Ruah or Ruth Benedict. Sometime between 1848 and 1850, Melanchton and his wife and five sons joined his younger brother Eli in Michigan -- Eli had settled moved to Michigan around 1827 -- and staked out a claim in Otisco townsip, Ionia County, twelve miles northwest of Ionia village and three miles south of Belding. By 1850 Daniel was attending school with his two older siblings and living with his family in Otisco.

Although Daniel may have worked away from Ionia County for a time, as far as is known he farmed near his brothers in the Otisco area until the war broke out. According to the recollection of John Cooper, a neighbor in Ionia County, he and Daniel grew up together in Otisco Township, in Ionia.

Cooper also recalled that Dan was the first “boy” in the Township to enlist in 1861. And indeed Daniel was a 21-year-old farmer possibly living in Smyrna or Saranac, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on April 27, 1861, at Saranac, for three years. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

In fact, all five Benton brothers eventually enlisted in the army: the oldest, Charles M. died of typhoid fever in Louisville, Kentucky while serving in the Twenty-fifth Michigan infantry, Eli died of wounds in 1864 while serving with the Sixteenth Michigan, Alfred was serving with the Eighth Michigan infantry when he was killed during the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in May of 1864; only George who served with the Twenty-fifth Michigan and Daniel survived the war.

Daniel was shot in the right shoulder on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and according to his descriptive list written on September 22, 1862 by Captain Moses Houghton of Company D, Benton had in fact been wounded and taken prisoner at Second Bull Run on August 29 and subsequently paroled. “He has always proved,” added Houghton, “an efficient soldier.” By mid-September Daniel was in fact in E Street Baptist Church hospital in Washington, DC, and he remained hospitalized, probably at Detroit Barracks in Michigan until he was discharged for disability as a result of his gunshot wound at Detroit on December 19, 1862.

After his discharge from the army Daniel returned to Ionia County, probably to Saranac, and was living in Smyrna when he reentered the service in Company E, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics on August 22, 1864, at Grand Rapids for one year, crediting Otisco Township, Ionia County. He probably joined the regiment near Stevenson, Alabama where part of the unit was engaged in building blockhouses along the rail line from Decatur to Stevenson.

In any case, Daniel probably spent very little time with the regiment. He was absent sick on October 14 in Alabama, and from December of 1864 through January of 1865 he was sick in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is quite possible that he rejoined the regiment sometime after the first of the year. It participated in the Carolina Campaign from January to April, 1865; in the advance on Raleigh April 10-14, and occupation of Raleigh April 14; in the surrender of Johnston and his army. The regiment then marched to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Virginia, April 29-May 20, and was in the Grand Review on May 24. The regiment was ordered to Louisville, Ky. on June 6 (and would eventually be moved to Nashville where it would muster out in September), but Daniel remained in Washington, possibly still recovering his health. He was honorably discharged on June 6, 1865, at Washington, DC.

After his discharge from the army Daniel again returned to Ionia County, and in January of 1866 married Michigan native Ellen Hanks (b. 1849), presumably in Ionia County. They had at least two children: Ernest (b. 1866) and Frederick E. (b. 1870); Dan and Ellen were divorced in 1880.

By 1870 Daniel was working as a farmer (he owned some $2000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and one child in Otisco, Ionia County; next door lived his brother George and his family. And just a few houses away lived Elam Moe and his family; Elam too had served in the Old Third. By 1880 Daniel was still working as a farmer and still living in Otisco with his wife and two sons, and he was living in Otisco in 1890. In fact, Daniel probably spent the remainder of his life on his old homestead near Belding, working as a farmer; he was living in Otisco in 1894.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and of Grand Army of the Republic Root Post No. 126, and reportedly attended the 1910 and 1920 reunions of the First Michigan Engineers & Mechanics Association.

In 1883 he was drawing $6.00 per month (pension no. 28,277), which had been increased to $65.00 per month by the end of 1928.

By 1897 Daniel had been diagnosed as “insane” and sometime before 1894 had been placed under the guardianship of his son Frederick, who, along with his own family, came to live on his father’s farm. Daniel was still under the care of his son in 1900 and 1912, and probably remained so until his death in 1928. Although curiously Daniel is not listed as living with either son in 1920.

Daniel died at his son’s (?) home in Otisco on December 28, 1928, and the funeral services were held at his home, the Rev. H. S. Ellis officiating. He was reportedly buried in River Ridge cemetery in Otisco Township.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Joshua R. Benson

Joshua R. Benson was born February 1, 1843, in Ontario, New York, possibly the son of James (b. 1809) and the son of Anna.

In 1840 there was a James Benson residing in Canadaigua, Ontario County, New York. New York native James was living in Buffalo’s Fifth Ward, Erie County, New York in 1850 (as was one Allice Benson, b. c. 1790 in New York). By 1860 James H. Benson was working as a laborer, and living with his wife Usiella (?, b. c. 1816) and one Alice Benson, b. c. 1790, in Bingham, Clinton County, Michigan. Also living in Bingham, Clinton County was Joshua’s future wife, Frances Brown.

In any case, Joshua eventually settled in Riley, Clinton County, Michigan where by 1860 he was a farm laborer working for and/or living with John Apthorpe, a farmer in Riley.

Joshua stood 6’0” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 18 years old and probably still living in Riley when he enlisted on May 10, 1861, with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company G. (Interestingly, a JP gave the consent to enlist and not, as one might have expected, his father and/or mother, assuming they were living in Clinton County.)

According to Frank Siverd of Company G, during the first battle of Bull Run, Virginia, on Sunday, July 21, Joshua was taken prisoner, along with one of the Shaft brothers (he does not mention which one) and Oscar Van Wormer, all of Company G. They were captured, wrote Siverd, “by four rebel scouts; they discovered the boys, and they showing too much pluck to be marched into the rebel camp, let them go. It is presumed they made pretty good double quick time from that to camp.”

Indeed, Joshua returned to the Regiment and was present for duty when he was wounded slightly on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. According to Homer Thayer of Company G, Benson had been wounded but it must have been rather slight since Thayer reports him as already back in camp by June 8.

He was present for duty through most of 1862, and in September and October of 1862, he was reported as on detached duty with the color guard, but had returned to the company by the end of the year.

Joshua remained present for duty and had been promoted to Sergeant by the time he reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Courtland, Kent County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

He was slightly wounded in the left arm on May 12 or 13, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia, and subsequently absent sick in the hospital. He soon rejoined his Regiment and was transferred as First Sergeant to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on November 2, commissioned September 18, replacing Lieutenant Daniel Kennicutt, and in February of 1865 promoted to First Lieutenant, commissioned November 29, 1864, replacing Lieutenant Murray. Joshua was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Joshua returned to Michigan and probably settled back in Clinton County where he married New York native Frances M. Brown (b. 1848) on November 19, 1865, in Dewitt, Clinton County, and they at least one child: Alice (b. 1866. (Frances was probably living with her grandparents, Benjamin and Phebe in Bingham, Clinton County in 1860.) They were living in Dewitt, Clinton County in 1866 when their daughter was born.

Around 1867 Joshua moved his family to northern Michigan settling in or near Inland, Benzie County. By 1870 Joshua was working as a farmer (he owned some $1000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and daughter in Blair, Grand Traverse County. (In 1870 there were two young teachers named Sophy and Mary Benson, both born in Michigan living with the William Roberts family in Dewitt, Clinton County.)

Joshua was living in Blair when he died of typhoid fever on June 25, 1871, and he was presumably buried in Blair.

When Joshua died his father’s residence was listed as Clinton County.

His widow had remarried one Mr. Morrell or Murrell by 1880 when she applied for a pension (no. 280268) on behalf of her child, but the certificate was apparently never granted.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

John Benson

John Benson was born on October 22, 1831, in Michigan.

John’s parents were both born in Vermont, but eventually settled in Michigan. (His parents may have been Arba and Adaline Benson, who settled in Ionia County before 1850 and were still living in Ionia County in 1880.)

He was married and they had at least one child, Alice (b. 1859).

In 1860 Alice, listed as “Allie” was living with Catharine Niles, a school teacher in Portland, Ionia County, and her son Gay. That same year John may have been the same “John Benson” living at the Douglas Hotel in Bingham, Clinton County, Michigan, and working as a telegraph superintendent. (Also living in Bingham was a day laborer named James Benson, b. 1809 in New York, and his wife.)

John was 29 years old and probably living in Portland, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He is not found in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history, but he is in the 1905 Regimental history for the Twenty-seventh Michigan (see below).

He was absent sick in the hospital in August of 1862, and from September 11, 1862, through February of 1863 was on recruiting service in Michigan. While in Michigan he was seeking a commission in one of the Regiments then forming in that state, and on November 14, 1862, Major Moses Houghton of the Third Michigan and the former captain of Company D, wrote to Michigan Governor Austin Blair. “Permit me,” he wrote, “to call your attention to John Benson a Sergeant of Company D. . . . He has been in the service from the first organization of the Regt filling various positions in the company, with credit to himself and to his Company. We therefore commend him to your consideration for commission in one of the Regiments formed or to be formed in Michigan.” Colonel Stephen Champlin commanding the Third Michigan and Lieutenant Colonel Byron Pierce both approved Houghton’s recommendation.

On January 15, 1863, Colonel D. M. Fox, commanding the Twenty-seventh Michigan infantry wrote to Colonel Smith at Detroit that “Sergeant John Benson has been recommended . . . for a lieutenancy. The governor has referred the matter to me. I can give him the position of Sergeant Major now, which will soon place him in a position to obtain a commission as the governor and his superior officers desire.”

In fact, John was transferred to the Twenty-seventh Michigan infantry on January 24 or 25, 1863, at Grand Ledge, Eaton County where he enlisted for 3 years, and was mustered on February 24 at Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County. Thje regiment was organized at Port Huron, Ovid and Ypsilanti and mustered into service on April 10, 1863. The Twenty-seventh left Michigan for Kentucky on April 12.

John was soon promoted to Sergeant Major of Company G, then Second Lieutenant of Company B in May, commissioned April 30. The regiment participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi in June and July of 1863. John was transferred to Company E and was “commanding the camp” in August. The regiment participated in numerous actions throughout eastern Tennessee during the second half of 1863, including the pursuit of Longstreet and the Knoxville campaign. In late March of 1864 it was transferred to the Army of the Potomac and arrived just in time to participate in the battles of the Wildnerness, Spotsyvlania and North Anna in May of 1864.

By May of 1864 John was First Lieutenant of Company I, commissioned March 1, and then commissioned Regimental Quartermaster on April 20, 1864. He was serving with the supply train of the Third Division, Ninth army Corps, from June through August of 1864, and was mustered out with the regiment at the Delaney House, DC, on July 21, 1865.

After the war John returned home to Michigan.

He married his second wife Michigan native Ellen Newman (b. 1838) in Clinton County on November 11, 1866, and they had at least two children: Mary (b. 1867) and Blanche (b. 1871).

By 1870 John was working as a carpenter and living with his wife Ellen and two daughters in Portland, Ionia County. By 1880 he had settled in Mason County and was a widower working as a farmer and living with his three daughters in Eden. He was living in Eden in 1890 and 1894 -- nearby lived John Marsh, Sr. who had served in Company E.

John was living in Michigan in 1890 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 567565).

John died at his home on section 7 in Eden on Saturday morning, June 27, 1903, of
arteriosclerosis. He was buried in Lakeside cemetery, Eden Township.

Monday, September 10, 2007

William W. Bennett

William W. Bennett was born August 14, 1839, in Washington County, New York, the son of Morris (b. 1812) and Mary (Winnie, b. 1808).

New York natives Morris and Mary were married presumably in New York where they resided for many years. The family moved from New York to Michigan sometime after 1854 and by 1860 William was living with his family and working as a farm laborer in Wyoming, Kent County.

William W. stood 5’8” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 21 years old and probably living in Wyoming when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (Company B was made up largely of men from the Grand Rapids area, many of whom had served in various local militia units before the war, in particular the Grand Rapids Artillery, under Captain Baker Borden, who would also command Company B.) He may have been related to James D. Bennett, who lived on the west side of the Grand River and who also enlisted in Company B. Also, James had served in the GRA before the war.

William was present for duty from January of 1862 through June of 1863, and awarded the Kearny Cross for his service during the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863.

William was treated for a headache on May 16 and 17, 1863, and returned to duty. He was quite possibly a Corporal when, while en route to New York City with the regiment, he was struck down with dysentery and was admitted to Grace Church (Second Division General) hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 16, 1863, suffering from chronic diarrhea.

He apparently remained hospitalized until, after being examined by a Medical Board, he was transferred to an unassigned (possibly the Second Batallion) detachment of the Veterans’ Reserve Corps with chronic diarrhea on March 4, 1864. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) He later claimed that he was discharged on June 9, 1864 (which would have coincided with the end of his term of service of three years), at Washington, DC.

In any case, William was apparently been discharged from the army for dysentery, eventually returned to his home in Grand Rapids where he reentered the service in Company A, Tenth Michigan cavalry on February 11, 1865, for one year, crediting Walker and was mustered on February 15.

He joined the Regiment on March 16 at Knoxville, Tennessee, and possibly participated in Stoneman’s expedition into east Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and west North Carolina from March 21-April 25; the regiment was on duty at Lenoir and Sweetwater, Tennessee from about May until August and in west Tennessee until November. William was mustered out with the regiment on November 11, 1865, at Memphis,Tennessee.

After the war William returned to Michigan. His parents had settled in Alpine Township, Kent County sometime before 1870 and by 1880 William had returned to his family and was working as a laborer and living with his parents in Alpine. William was living in Alpine in 1890 and in 1907 and at RFD no. 7, Box 33, Grand Rapids in 1909 and in Alpine in 1912.

William apparently never married.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1891 he applied for and received pension no. 881,777, drawing $30.00 per month by 1917.

William was living at RFD No. 1, Comstock Park, just outside of Grand Rapids when he died of arteriosclerosis on August 15, 1917, in Alpine and was buried in Pine Grove cemetery, Alpine Township.

Friday, September 07, 2007

William Bennett

William Bennett was born 1833 in England.

William eventually immigrated to the United States, settling in western Michigan.

He stood 5’10” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was a 37-year-old farmer possibly living in Ronald, Ionia County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company E on January 27, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day, crediting Ronald. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.)

He joined the Regiment on February 10, and was present for duty through April. He was reportedly wounded in the back of the neck by a shell fragment during action at the North Anna River, Virginia, on or about May 27, 1864. In any case, he was apparently serving with the regiment and was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported absent sick from June 12, 1864, and then again through October and indeed through the spring of 1865.

In fact, William was admitted to Lincoln General Hospital in Washington, DC, on June 15, and was treated for a contusion of the lumbar region, reportedly as a result of being wounded on June 1 at Cold Harbor, Virginia. He was transferred on July 28, to the general hospital in York, Pennsylvania, where he arrived the following day. He stated at the time that “he was injured by a tree falling upon him before Petersburg, Va., the beginning of June”. However, the examining physician noted that William “pretends to be unable to maintain the erect position, [yet there is] no evidence of any injury.” William was subsqeuently furloughed from the hospital on November 1, readmitted on November 22, and then returned to duty on November 28.

He was listed as present at the end of April of 1865, and was mustered out July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war William returned to Michigan and lived for for two or three years in Lowell, Kent County and may have spent some time in Gratiot County as well.

In the early 1880s, possibly around 1883, he moved west, eventually settling in Shelton, Buffalo County, Nebraska, where he worked as a farmer and laborer. By 1885 he was living in Shelton, Nebraska.

He was living in Shelton in 1886 when he applied for a pension (claim no. 564,777) but the certificate was never granted.

William was living in Grand Island (possibly at the State Soldier’s Home), Hall County, Nebraska, when he married his second wife, Mrs. Catharine Hare (b. 1835, widow of Sylvester Hare) on June 2, 1888, in Grand Island.

On July 21, 1891, William was admitted to the Nebraska Hospital for the Insane in Lincoln. On November 30, 1891, George Spencer, a Justice of the peace in Grand island wrote to the pension bureau responding to their inquiry about William Bennett’s pension application. “Sometime ago Mr. Bennett became so feeble that he was wholly past all work & became a public charge & was supported a few days at our Co. poor house & then admitted to our Soldiers Home [in Grand Island]. He became violently insane & was sent to” Lincoln, Nebraska “and is still there with no prospect of recovery. He has a wife something over 50 years of age.”

Indeed, William remained a patient in Lincoln until he died of consumption on February 20, 1892, and was reportedly buried at Grand Island.

His widow applied for a pension (no. 545278), but the certificate was never granted.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

James D. Bennett

James D. Bennett was born March 4, 1841, in Michigan, the son of John Delivan (1811-1887) and Mary Ann (Borden, 1811-1866).

New Yorkers John D. and Mary were presumably married in New York where they were living by 1832 when their oldest son Joseph was born. John brought his family to Michigan and had settled in Lodi, Washtenaw County by 1838 when his son William was born and was probably living in Salem Township, Washtenaw County by 1840. By 1850 James was attending school with four of his older siblings, including his brother William and they were all living on the family farm in Lodi. John D. eventually moved his family to the western side of the state, settling in Grand Rapids, Kent County.

In December of 1859 James was living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Grand Rapids Artillery, a Grand Rapids militia company made up mostly of men from the west side of the Grand River and commanded by Captain Baker Borden, who would become the first captain of Company B, Third Michigan infantry. (Baker was probably related to James’ mother Mary. In fact, Baker first settled his family in Lodi, Washtenaw County in the late 1830s before moving to the western side of the state.) In addition, James’ older brother William B. may have been the same “William D. Bennett” who joined the Grand Rapids Artillery on June 16, 1860. (In turn, this may have been the same "William W. Bennett" who also served in the GRA and subsequently in Company B, Third Michigan Infantry.)

In 1859-60 James’ father was manufacturing vinegar on the west side of Turner Street between Second and Third Streets on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, and in 1860 James was living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward and possibly working as a tinsmith. Next door lived Elisha O. Stevens who would also join the Third Michigan.

James was 21 years old and still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Fourth Sergeant in Company B on May 13, 1861. James was promoted to Second Lieutenant, commissioned on October 27, 1862, replacing Lieutenant George Remington.

He was probably present for duty with the regiment from the time it arrived in Washington in June of 1861 until May of 1863 when he was court-martialled shortly after the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.

At 10:00 a.m. on May 25, 1863, James was court martialled at Second Brigade headquarters, First Division, Third Corps, near Falmouth, Virginia, for being AWOL during the battle of Chancellorsville, on May 2, 3 & 4 of 1863.

Specifically, he was charged with, first, “Conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline” in that he “did leave his company and Regiment on the night of the 2nd day day of May, while said company and Regiment were engaged with the enemy [at Chancellorsville] and did not return until the morning of the 4th day of May 1863.” Second, he was charged with being “Absent without leave,” that he “did leave his company and Regiment without the consent or knowledge of his company commander (First Lieutenant Alfred Pew) or Regimental commander (Colonel Byron R. Pierce), and did remain absent about two days. All this while the Regiment was engaged with the enemy at or near Chancellorsville, Va., on or about the 2nd, 3rd & 4th days of May 1863.”

Brigadier General J. H. Ward presided over the court which consisted of Colonels Samuel Hayman of the Thirty-seventh New York, Thomas Egan of the Fortieth New York, A. S. Leidy (?) of the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, Peter Sides of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, Byron Pierce of the Third Michigan and Lieutenant Col. E. Burt of the Third Maine; Major W. C. Taylor of the Twentieth (?) Indiana was the Judge Advocate. The accused was asked if he had any objection to any member of the court and replied no. First Lieutenant Alfred Pew, First Sergeant William Coughtry and Sergeant David Northrup (all of Company B) were called as witnesses for the prosecution. Bennett pled guilty to both charges and specifications, was found guilty on both and sentenced to “forfeit all pay and allowances that are or may become due him and that he be cashiered.”

On June 7, while the regiment was at Belle Plain, Virginia, David Northrup of Company B wrote to a former Company B soldier, Fred Stow discussing this incident.

You mention the report of the arrest of James [Bennett] and Almon Borden. It is too true. Their sentence is as you hear. Capt. Borden dismissed with pay [and] James cashiered, dismissed without pay. It is the opinion of all that it is unjustly hard on James. It ought to be reversed the two. Borden ought to go without pay. The charge against James was deserting his company before the enemy. He went in with us the night of the charge and was not seen till Monday morning. We all supposed him killed or taken prisoners. But Monday morning he made his appearance. He is with Al[mon Borden] in Washington at present. I do not know what they intend to do. Now do not tell anyone that I have written anything about it. It must be a severe blow to his father. I presume he will take it hard. James has been anxious, very, to get out of the service but I think at too great a sacrifice. I am very sorry and do not know hardly how to express my thoughts. I should rather have sacrificed my life than to have to have such a thing to think of. I would not let this be public even to his friends if they do not know it. You will see it in the Herald of June second or third. I do not remember which. I have not got through but must close for the want of more room.

Interestingly, on October 31, 1864, the War Department informed Michigan Governor Austin Blair that the sentence of Bennett’s court martial “is hereby removed, and he can be recommissioned an officer of Volunteers”, presumably to serve in the colored troops. And in fact James served as First Lieutenant in Company C, Thirteenth United States Colored Heavy Artillery. The Thirteenth had been organized at Camp Nelson, Kentucky on June 23, 1864 and was attached to the District of Kentucky (Dept. of Ohio) until February of 1865 and then to the Dept. of Kentucky until November. It was in garrison duty at Camp Nelson, Smithland, Lexington and a variety of other points in Kentucky. The regiment was mustered out of service on November 18, 1865.

After the war James eventually returned to his home in western Michigan and by 1865-66 was working as a clerk and living at 34 Fourth Street on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, next door to one J. H. Bennett.

No pension seems to be available.

James apparently never married and was probably working as a tinsmith when he died of consumption in Grand Rapids on November 24, 1867. His funeral service was held at the West Side Presbyterian Church (where the funeral of Francis Barlow of Company I had been held in 1864), and he was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section C lot 1. (David Northrup would also die of consumption in Grand Rapids in 1876 and he too was buried in Greenwood cemetery after a funeral at the Presbyterian Church on the West Side.)

James’ headstone describes Bennett as “A sacrifice in the slaveholder rebellion.”

His father John remarried one Emma, who died in 1878.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Jackson J. Bennett

Jackson J. Bennett was born 1828 in Ellery, Chautauqua County, New York.

Jackson left New York and was probably living in Pennsylvania when he married his first wife, Abigail Rue in Rome, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, on October 21, 1849, they had one son, Omer or Osmer (b. 1856).

Jackson and his wife may have been living in Spring Creek, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania in 1856 (when Omer was born). In any case, they probably moved from Erie County, Pennsylvania to Michigan in the late 1850s, and by 1860 Jackson was working as a laborer and living at the Pemberton boarding house in Muskegon, Muskegon County. (Also living at the same boarding house was Charles Althouse, who would enlist in Company H as well, and one William Jackson, who may have been the same William Jackson who would enlist in Company A.

(It should also be noted that in 1860 there was a 25-year-old domestic named Abby Bennett, living in Union, Erie County, Pennsylvania; also living in Erie County, in Franklin, were John, William and Margaret Rue, b. c. 1807, 1802, and 1806, respectively, all in New York.)

Jackson stood 5’8’ with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was 33 years old and probably still working as a laborer in Norton, Muskegon County when he joined the Muskegon Rangers in April as Fifth Sergeant. The “Rangers” were a local militia company formed in Muskegon soon after the fall of Fort Sumter in April of 1861, and upon their arrival in Grand Rapids were reorganized into Company H of the Third Michigan infantry then forming at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids. Jackson subsequently enlisted as Fifth Sergeant in Company H on May 13, 1861.

Jackson was reported sick in the regimental hospital sometime during the months of November and December of 1861 while the regiment was in winter quarters at Camp Michigan, Virginia, near Alexandria. He was discharged on March 4, 1862 at Camp Michigan for chronic spinitis, “the result of chronic inflammation of the lumbar vertebra of the spine and extending down the illiac . . . to the thighs disenabling [sic] him from walking or standing.” It was also reported that he had been “in poor health when he first joined the regt.”

Following his discharge Jackson returned to Michigan, and was residing in Grand Rapids in 1862 and 1864.

In 1862 Jackson applied for and received a pension (no. 45,204), dated March 1862, drawing $4.00 per month.

He was married a second time (apparently he had divorced Abigail), to Sarah Anne.

Jackson died on January 1 or 17, 1865, in Grand Rapids, possibly of kidney failure or of chronic diarrhea. Although no burial record is available, it is possible that he may have been one of the several “unknown” soldiers buried in either Greenwood or Oak Hill cemeteries.

His first wife, Abigail (“Abby”) remarried one Alex McGinty in 1867, and in 1868 she was living in Winnebago County, Wisconsin, seeking to gain a minor’s pension, as guardian, for Omer Bennett (minor’s pension application no. 164,967), Jackson’s son, but the certificate was never granted.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

George W. and Jonas M. Bennett

George W. Bennett was born October 8, 1839, in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, the son of Cyrus (b. 1809) and Dianna (Larnes, b. 1813).

Massachusetts native Cyrus married New York-born Dianna in Washtenaw County, Michigan in 1834 and by 1839 had settled in Kent County; he was still living in Grand Rapids in 1840. By 1850 Cyrus was working as a carpenter and the family was still living in Grand Rapids where George was attending school with three of his siblings, including a younger brother Jonas who would also join the Third Michigan. By 1860 Cyrus had moved his family to Brooks, Newaygo County where George and Jonas were both living with the family and where Cyrus continued to work as a carpenter. Also living with Cyrus and his family was George’s brother-in-law Charles Mills, and his wife Laura (Bennett) and their son Frederick.

George stood 5’8” with gray eyes, black hair and a fair complexion, and was a 22-year-old mechanic living in Muskegon County or Newaygo County when he enlisted as Second Corporal in Company H on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brother Jonas; his brother-in-law Charles enlisted in Company E. George W. was quite probably related to George A. Bennett, who enlisted at the same time as Second Sergeant of Company H. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

George W. reportedly deserted on November 26, 1861 (so did George A. Bennett of the Third Michigan) at a camp near Fort Lyon, Virginia and returned under President Lincoln’s proclamation of amnesty on April 7, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia (so did George A.). He was treated for boils from May 21 to 28, and returned to duty. He was diagnosed with syphilis and sent to a hospital on September 16, 1863, and he remained hospitalized until he was furloughed on January 16, 1864. He was apparently back in the hospital by the middle of March, suffering from gonorrhea, and he remained hospitalized, possibly at the regimental hospital, until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge from the army George returned to Michigan and may have spent a short time in Newaygo County in late 1864, but by 1865 he was living in Jackson, Jackson County, when he married Alice Burch (d. 1894 or 1889) on December 20, 1864, in Jackson. They had at least two children, Clarence (b. 1866) and Arthur (b. 1867).

In 1865 George moved to Muskegon, Muskegon County where he operated a restaurant on Western avenue.

He joined the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in 1872 and was probably a member of the Episcopal church.

In 1878 George quit the restaurant business in Muskegon and moved his family to Anthony, Kansas where he engaged in the hotel business, and by 1880 he was running a hotel in Anthony and living with his wife and children. By 1889 or 1893 he was living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where his sons operated the Bennett Investment co. He was apparently back in Anthony, Kansas, in 1898 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 775,092), drawing $21.50 per month by 1914. (His brother Jonas, who also served in the Old Third lived his last years in Oklahoma City as well.)

George was a widower and reportedly deaf in both ears when he died in Oklahoma City of lung disease on September 7, 1914; he was presumably buried in Oklahoma City.

Jonas M. Bennett was born February 23, 1844, in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, the son of Cyrus (b. 1809) and Dianna (Larnes, b. 1813).

Massachusetts native Cyrus married New York-born Deanna in Washtenaw County, Michigan in 1834 and by 1839 had settled in Kent County; he was still living in Grand Rapids in 1840. By 1850 Cyrus was working as a carpenter and the family was still livingin Grand Rapids where Jonas was attending school with three of his older siblings, including a brother George who would also join the Third Michigan. Jonas was living in Grand Rapids when he reportedly fell from a building in 1855 and dislocated his elbow.

Jonas eventually moved to Muskegon, Muskegon County probably to work in the growing lumber industry there and by 1860 he was working as a day laborer residing at the Chubb boarding house in Muskegon; he was also listed as living with his family, including his brother George, in Brooks, Newaygo County, where his father worked as a carpenter. Also living with Cyrus and his family was Jonas’ brother-in-law Charles Mills, and his wife Laura (Bennett) and their son Frederick.

Jonas stood 5’7” with blue eyes, black hair and a fair complexion, and was 18 years old and probably still living in Muskegon when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company H on April 5, 1861, along with his older brother George W.; his brother-in-law Charles enlisted in Company E. Jonas was quite probably related to George A. Bennett, who also enlisted in Company H. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

Jonas was discharged on July 31, 1861, probably at Hunter’s Farm, Virginia, near Alexandria, for a deformed right elbow, injured some six years prior to enlistment. Jonas recalled in 1904 that in the spring of 1855 he fell from a building in Grand Rapids and dislocated his elbow. (In the winter of 1867, he jumped out of a burning building in Newaygo, Newaygo County, and broke his ankle.)

He returned home to Muskegon where, reportedly as “Joseph W. Bennett”, he reentered the service as Sergeant in Company C, Twenty-sixth Michigan infantry on August 5, 1862, for 3 years, crediting Muskegon, and was mustered on September 15, 1862, at Jackson, Jackson County. (Jonas claimed in 1904 that he changed his name so he would be allowed to go back into the army, believing he would not be accepted because he had been previously discharged for a disability.)

The Twenty-sixth infantry was organized at Jackson between September 10 and December 12, 1862, and mustered into service on December 12. The regiment left Michigan for Washington on December 13 and was on provost duty at Alexandria, Virginia until April 20, 1863. It was moved to Fort Richmond, New York City harbor on July 14 where it remained until mid-October when it rejoined the army of the Potomac. It participated in the Mine Run campaign of November -December and various actions around the Rapidan River in February of 1864.

It is unclear if, however, Jonas (or Joseph) ever left Michigan with the Twenty-sixth infantry. If so, he apparently was taken ill or for other medical reasons was eventually transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, or VRC. (The VRC, or Invalid Corps, was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

It is possible that Jonas was transferred to the VRC while still in Michigan. In any case, he had returned to Michigan, possibly as a consequence of being transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps and was on detached service from February of 1864 through April at the draft rendezvous in Grand Rapids (Camp Lee). When the Grand Rapids draft depot was closed down in the summer of 1864, he was sent to the draft rendezvous at Jackson in July where he remained until he was mustered out on May 31, 1865.

After the war Jonas remained in western Michigan and by 1867 was living in Newyago, Newaygo County when he broke his ankle jumping from a building to escape a fire. For a time lived in Greenville, Montcalm County.

He was possibly still living in Grand Rapids when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association sometime around 1872 (shortly after the Association was organized).

He married Julia Tubbs in Grand Rapids, in 1866, and they had one child; they were divorced in 1879.

He eventually moved out west, and married his second wife, one Julia or Juliette Cervier (or Cenvier), in Denver in 1886; they had one child, Leila Grace (b. 1888).

Jonas eventually moved to Leadville, Colorado and engaged in mining. He was living at the rear of 133 W. 9th in Leadville from 1888 to 1890. By the late 1890s he was living in Cripple Creek and in Victor, El Paso County, Colorado when he applied for and received pension no. 1,100,153, dated 1897, drawing $6.00 per month by mid-1905. He lived for a time in Texas and Montana, and by 1903-4 he was living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (possibly with his brother George W.).

Jonas died on October 21, 1905, possibly in Oklahoma City and may be buried there.