Eli Hamblin was born in 1834 in New York, the son of Samuel Bela (1799-1871) and Drusilla (Collins or Weed, b. 1809).
Vermonter Samuel married New York native Drusilla and settled in New York where they resided for some years. The family moved to Michigan probably sometime between 1842 and 1846, and by 1860 Eli was a farm laborer working for Erastus Norton, a Free Will Baptist minister in Sparta, Kent County, and living with his family in Algoma, Kent County, where his father was a blacksmith.
Eli was 27 years old and still living in Sparta when he enlisted along with his younger brother William, in Company F on May 13, 1861 (another brother Samuel would enlist in the Third Michigan in 1864). According to Colonel Daniel McConnell’s official report of killed and wounded during the actions at Bull Run from July 18-21, 1861, Hamblin was wounded at Bull Run on or about July 21, 1861.
He eventually recovered and rejoined the regiment. He was with the regiment in its winter quarters at Camp Michigan when he wrote home to his father on January 14, 1862.
We received your letter dated Jan 2 and was glad to hear from you and hear you was well and glad you have bought those steers of Shipman. I send you ten dollars of this time of pay and will send you some more the next pay day. We was paid last night. William thinks he will not send any this time. I am well and doing first rate. William is well. The boys are all well here that you are acquainted with. This is a stormy day; it snows two inches deep. That is the most snow we have had yet here this winter. If I have good luck I will send you twenty dollars next time so no more this time.
On January 25 he wrote to his brother Albert from Camp Michigan:
I received your letter today and was glad to hear from you and hear you received my likeness and hear that father received that letter with the money. Tell Leib [?] that I wrote a letter to her and Luman [?] the 18th of this month and send her my likeness. I think hers is better than the one that I sent you. The one that I sent Lib was taken in Alexandria but the one I sent you was taken her in Camp. They can’t take as good one here as in Alexandria. The man that took mine took William’s that I sent you. I think the one I sent to Lib is a good one.
Tell father I will send him twenty dollars as soon as I draw pay again. It will be two months from the thirteenth of this month. I would send him more this time but I wanted to get my likeness taken and wanted to keep some on hand. We have got some new guns. They are called the Austrian gun. They are first rate guns to shoot. We have had the old muskets ever since we left the Rapids. Our guns will shot a good eighty rods first rate. William is well and the boys are all well here. There is not a sick man in our company. It has been rather stormy for the last week. There is no snow here to speak of here and I guess there will be any this year.
We have got a new captain now; he is a good one. Our old captain [Fred Worden] has gone to Kalamazoo to join the Thirteenth Michigan Regiment; he is Lieutenant Colonel of that regiment. He was a good captain. His name is Frederick Worden. The captain’s name we have now is Israel Smith. Our old captain left New Year’s [day].
We have good times now. The weather is so bad that we can’t drill only practice shooting at a mark. There is fair prospects of the war not lasting too long. I don’t know that I can write any more news this time so I will close. Write as soon as you get this.
By June 7 he was with the regiment on their approach to Richmond during the Peninsular Campaign, when he wrote home to his father:
I seat myself to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am still alive and William alive and well. I am not very well at present. I have been sick for a week or more. I was excused by the doctor for three days before the battle of last Saturday [Fair Oaks] and shot only forty rounds of cartridges and I got so tied I sent back to Camp.
Father, William and I sent you $40.00 dollars. You will get it the same place you did the other. We sent it by express. There is a package for Ed. Bradford; in the package there is sixty-five dollars in the whole [and] twenty-five is Edwin Bradford’s. I did not have the charges [fee for sending express mail]. Mother you need not worry about William any more about his getting drunk for there is no truth in it. We have liquor doled [?] out to us twice a day when it is bad stormy weather. It is an order from General McClellan but it is not clear liquor. There is quinine put in it for bitters [?] to keep them from having the ague. Father I want you to write as soon as you get the money and tell me how much the charges are on it. William and I want you to let Eber and Albert [their brothers] have enough of the money to have a good time the fourth of July and let them have ten dollars. Father I want you to buy sheep with the rest of what you think is best.
On June 15 he was with the regiment at Camp Lincoln, near Richmond when he wrote home to his “dear father, mother and brothers”:
It is with pleasure that I write a few lines to you to let you know that I am well and William also is well. I have been sick some but am better now. William is driving an ambulance. That is a one-horse thing for carrying the sick and wounded. We have been in one hard battle [Fair Oaks May 31st] and . . . our company lost two killed six wounded and one missing. The regiment lost 29 killed. The whole killed and wounded amounts to one hundred and sixty-nine.
Today is Sunday. We had had our meeting and have had a good one. It is the first one we had had this spring. Our old chaplain [Francis Cuming] went home when we left Washington and we have a new one now [Joseph Anderson]. It is the first time he has preached to us. We like him first rate. He is a good man. We like him better than we did the other. He is an old man but he is a clever old scotchman. He is around with the men and talking with them and but the other one was not so he talked well to us.
Today we are seven miles of Richmond. The rebels came out and attacked us the thirty-first day of May with a large force. They thought to drive us back but failed. In doing so it was a hard battle but we whipped them and drove them back. We have more ground now than before the battle. I cannot write the whole particulars. You will get more in the papers than I can write.
Father William and I sent you forty dollars by express. It is about time you received it. I think it was the seventh of June that I sent it.
Mother we received your letter dated May 30th and was glad to hear from you all once more. There was a letter in the package for Edwin Bradford containing twenty-five dollars which makes out the sixty-five dollars Arlo Bracket sent that to Bradford. He is a young fellow that lived to Edwin Bradford’s father. I want you [write?] as soon as you get this. This from your affectionate son, Eli Hamblin
[PS] Direct your letters Fortress Monroe, VA or Washington. I think you had better direct them to Washington.
Father I wrote one letter when I sent the money. I was afraid you would not get the letter so I send this to let you know that I sent the money.
And on June 24 Eli was still at a Camp near Richmond when he wrote home;
Dear Mother and Father,
I now take my pen in hand to pen a few lines to you to let you know that William and I are both well and doing well. Mother we received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear from you once more. I am sorry to hear father’s health is poor. Tell father he must not work so hard this summer. Hiram [?] is well and doing well. He is a sergeant and is detailed to as a sergeant and some other men to guard the general’s quarters. Hiram does not have to go in battle at all. He is guarding General Kearney’s quarters. William is driving an ambulance. He is detailed from the company by the doctor of our regiment and will drive as long as he can. He does not have to work very hard. The ambulance is for carrying the sick and wounded from camp back to the hospitals or the wounded from the battlefield. I see him every day.
I have been sick some since the battle of Fair Oaks but am quite well now so that I am ready for duty again.
Harrison Soule was sick a long time. He was taken sick at Fortress Monroe with the dysentery but kept along with us until we got to Yorktown some twenty miles from Fortress Monroe and stayed with us there until we left there but when we got to Yorktown he was very sick with the dysentery and I think he had some fever too but when we left Yorktown he was some better so that he started with us from there and came to Cumberland Landing some forty miles form Yorktown. I think he had not ought to of left Yorktown. If he had been left there until he was well and tough he would have been well now but he was one of that kind of boys that if he could get one foot before the other he would. Harrison was a good soldier. There was no hang back to him. I do not know what was the disease that he died with; he was sent back to Annapolis in Maryland from Cumberland Landing so that I did not hear from him until I heard he was dead. I believe he died the twenty-ninth of May.
Father I sent you some money but have not heard from you yet. I sent forty dollars the eighth of May for you and there was twenty-five in the package for Edwin Bradford. I would like to have you write as soon as you can and let me know whether you got it or not. I have wrote two letters to you since I sent the money thinking you might not get the first one to let you know that I sent it. You will get it the same place you did the other, I think we will get our pay again the first of July. If I do I will send you some more then.
Mother I let Hiram read your letters and he said he would write to you . . . at home. I do not know when we will have another battle. I guess we will not have one until we get ready for I think the rebels got enough at Fair Oaks to satisfy them not to attack again very soon. I have not written to [since we] have been on the march so long. . . .
Mother send me some more postage stamps for it is rather hard getting them here. I do not think of any more this time. Write as soon as you can.
This from Eli to his father and mother, Samuel Hamblin, Drusilla Hamblin.
Eli eventually rejoined the Regiment and was reported missing in action and wounded by gunfire on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. He was subsequently hospitalized at Columbian College hospital in Washington, DC. On September 9 Joseph Driver (?), the Chaplain at Columbian Hospital wrote home to Samuel Hamblin.
Your son Eli was brought to this hospital on the 6th inst. Having been badly wounded in the left knee on the 29th ult. The ball entering front, a little below the point of greatest elevation [?] and passing through. The knee is quite inflamed. He also has some fever & diarrhea. His appetite is quite good.
This is one of the best of hospitals and you may rely upon his having good care. Allow me also to remind you how grateful prayer waits with God and may you soon be permitted to know that your son is well again.
Eli died of his wounds on September 13, 1862, at the hospital and was buried at 4:00 p.m. the same day in the Military Asylum cemetery (Soldier's Home National cemetery), section B no. 730.
That same day the hospital chaplain wrote home to Samuel Hamblin,
It is become my sad duty to inform you that your son Eli Hamblin Co. F 3 Mich died in this hospital at 2 o’clock this morning. He was brought here on the 7th inst. Having been wounded in the knee on the 30th ult. Had been a prisoner several days and when brought here was continued to be delirious. His suffering had been great of which, however, he was scarcely conscious the latter part of his continence. He was buried on the day and now sleeps, as to his body with about 23 other memorial sacrifices laid on the altar of Liberty whose surviving relatives join you and many thousand others whose dear sons have been surrendered, yet the altar calls for more. May the Sovereign Lord in whose name we set up our banners, minister to you and yours ample consolation and the grace to sing “it is the Lord; Let him do what seemeth him good.” It is indeed a bitter bereavement to lay mature sons in the grave. I, who have personally known the bitterness, can and do deeply sympathize with you all. I do devoutly pray for your consolation & comfort in Christ. . . .
Yours with very sincere condolences, Jos. M. Driver, Chaplain Columbian Hospital
Drusilla was residing in Sparta in 1883 drawing $8.00 per month (dependent mother’s pension, no. 168,823, dated April 187 and May of 1875).
Samuel Albert Hamblin was born in 1846 in Michigan, the son of Samuel Bela (1799-1871) and Drusilla (Collins or Weed, b. 1809).
Vermonter Samuel married New York native Drusilla and settled in New York where they resided for some years. The family Michigan, probably from New York, sometime between 1842 and 1846, and by 1860 Samuel was living with his family and attending school in Algoma, where his father was a blacksmith.
Samuel (younger) stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was 18 years old and, although he listed his place of residence as Grand Rapids, he was probably working as a farmer in Muskegon, Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company F, joining his older brother William, on February 8, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Muskegon, and was mustered the same day. (Their older brother Eli, who had also served in the Old Third, had died of wounds in 1862.) Samuel joined the Regiment on March 27, and was killed in action on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and presumably buried among the unknown soldiers at the Wilderness.
William Henry Harrison Hamblin was born in 1841 in Livingston County, New York, son of Samuel Bela (1799-1871) and Drusilla (Collins or Weed, b. 1809).
Vermonter Samuel married New York native Drusilla and settled in New York where they resided for some years. The family moved to Michigan probably sometime between 1842 and 1846, and by 1860 William was a farm laborer living with his family in Algoma, Kent County, where his father was a blacksmith.
William stood 5’8” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old and possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted along with his older brother Eli, in Company F on May 13, 1861; he would be joined by another brother Samuel in 1864. (Their older brother Eli, who had also served in the Old Third, had died of wounds in 1862.)
William was reported as an ambulance driver from July of 1862 through July of 1863, but in fact according to his brother Eli William was driving an ambulance by at least mid-June. On June 15, Eli wrote home to their parents informing them that, among other things, “William is driving an ambulance. That is a one-horse thing for carrying the sick and wounded.” And on June 24 Eli wrote home “William is driving an ambulance. He is detailed from the company by the doctor of our regiment and will drive as long as he can. He does not have to work very hard. The ambulance is for carrying the sick and wounded from camp back to the hospitals or the wounded from the battlefield.”
He was reported as a provost guard at First Division from September through November, and he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Oakfield, Kent County.
William was absent on veteran’s furlough in Michigan when he married Mary C. Rosenkrantz (or Rosenkrans) on January 28, 1864, in Grand Rapids. He returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February, and was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. William was a Corporal when he was killed in action on June 10, 15 or 18, 1864, at Petersburg, Virginia. He was presumably among the unknown soldiers buried at Petersburg.
In August of 1864 Mary applied for and received a pension (no. 32757). In December of 1865 Mary was married to Benjamin Gilden who had served in Company A, Third Michigan infantry.
His father Samuel died in Sand Lake, Kent County in 1871 (he was reportedly buried in Crandall cemetery). Drusilla was residing in Sparta in 1883 drawing $8.00 per month (dependent mother’s pension, no. 168,823, dated May of 1875). All three of her sons who served in the Old Third Michigan, Eli, Samuel and William, died in the war.