Thursday, July 31, 2008

Albert Durfee

Albert Durfee, also known as “Durfey”, was born 1841 in Bloomfield, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of Nathan (b. 1795 in Vermont) ) and Louisa (b. 1810 in Canada).

Albert’s parents were possibly married in Canada sometime before 1834 but by 1840 had settled in Michigan. By 1850 Albert was attending school with his sister Alice and living with his family in Cascade, Kent County; they lived near John Laraway, who would also enlist in Company A. By 1860 Albert was a farm laborer living with his family in Cascade, Kent County where his father had a substantial farm.

Albert stood 5’6” with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was 20 years old and probably still living with his family in Cascade when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company A on May 13, 1861. On November 9, 1861, he was discharged at Fort Lyon, Virginia, for “asthma of several years standing but the attacks have been more frequent since he entered the service, occasioned by exposure to the night air and heavy rains.”

Albert eventually returned to Michigan and reentered the service as a Musician in Company G, Fourth Michigan infantry (reorganized) on October 1, 1864, at either Lapeer, Lapeer County or Burlington, Calhoun County for 3 years, crediting Marathon, Lapeer County, and was mustered the same day at Pontiac, Oakland County. The reorganized Fourth was formed at Adrian and Hudson, Michigan and mustered into service on October 14. It left Michigan for Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22 and moved to Decatur, Alabama, on October 28. From mid-December of 1864 until January 15, 1865, the regiment was on picket duty and guarding supply trains; it was subsequently moved to Huntsville, Alabama where it remained on duty until late March.

Although the regiment was reportedly on duty in Tennessee until June when it was moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, in February of 1865 Albert was reported absent sick in the post hospital at San Antonio, Texas. Yet the regiment did not get to San Antonio until September 24, 1865, where it remained on provost duty until May of 1866. By February of 1866 Albert was listed on detached service. He was mustered out of service with the regiment on May 26, 1866, at Houston, Texas, and the regiment was discharged at Detroit on June 10.

Albert probably returned to Michigan after the war.

He was probably married.

By 1880 he was working in a mill in Ferris, Montcalm County. He was apparently living in Wisconsin by 1889 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 890865).

He became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in 1895, and may have temporarily been a patient of the hospital at the Michigan Soldiers’ Home, although he is not found in the Home records. At some point he was reported to be living in Denver, Colorado.

Albert died on July 10, 1921, in South Denver, Colorado, and was presumably buried there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Aaron E. Durfee

Aaron E. Durfee was born in January of 1829 in Orleans, New York, the son of Edward (1790-1846) and Mary (Fuller, b. 1792).

Edward and Mary were married in 1811 in Marion, Wayne County, New York and lived for many years in New York State. In late 1831 Edward, who had served as an officer during the war of 1812, was granted 80 acres of land in Washtenaw County, Michigan and shortly afterwards moved his family to Michigan. Edward then moved the family to Brighton, Livingston County, where they were living in 1840. By 1850 Aaron was working as a laborer living with Porter Kenwood in Maple Grove, Barry County.

On New year’s Day, 1855, Aaron married New York native Amanda Macomber (1834-1905), in Maple Grove, Barry County, and they had at least four children: Lois (d. 1871), Elizabeth (b. 1856, Mrs. Bryant) and Henry (b. 1861) and Harriet (b. 1866, Mrs. Bagg).

By 1856 they were living in in Barry County.

Aaron stood 6’3” with hazel eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was 34 years old and working as a farmer possibly in Baltimore, Barry County when he enlisted as a substitute for Pliny Macomber (his brother-in-law), who had been drafted from Maple Grove on February 10, 1863, for 9 months, crediting Maple Grove, Barry County.

Aaron joined Company H on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia. According to Thomas Waters also of Company H, "while we were on the march from Falmouth [Virginia] to Gettysburg, on or about the 15th day of June, a.d. 1863, the weather became intensely hot and [Aaron] was completely overcome by the heat, [and] he was obliged to fall out of the ranks, and was a very sick man for a few hours.” Aaron was discharged on November 10 at Brandy Station, Virginia, at the expiration of his term of service.

Aaron returned to western Michigan, presumably to his home in Barry County. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and three children in Baltimore, Barry County; also living with them was Amanda’s father Charles (?). By 1880 Aaron was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Baltimore. In fact Aaron lived in Baltimore for many years: they were still living in Baltimore in 1882 when their son Henry died and again in 1887. He was reported living in Hastings, Barry County in 1888, 1889, 1890, 1894, back in Baltimore in 1900 and in Hastings in 1911.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 952410), drawing $22.50 per month by 1912.

Aaron was probably a widower when he died on August 7, 1913, probably in Barry County and was buried in Dowling cemetery, Baltimore Township, Barry County.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Henry Durett

Henry Durett was born January 3, 1835, in Peru, Clinton County, New York, the son of Antoine ( b. 1814 in Canada) and Alice (b. 1811).

Antoine (or Anthony), who was born in Quebec, Canada, married New York native Alice, sometime before 1828, either in Canada or in New York. In any case, by 1830 Antoine was living in Beekmantown, Clinton County, New York. The family was living in Keeseville, Essex County, New York in 1833 in Perus, Clinton County, New York in 1835 and in Plattsburgh Village, Clinton County, New York, in 1840 but eventually moved westward. By 1860 Antoine was reportedly living in Centerville Township, Leelanau County, Michigan.

Henry was probably living in western Michigan when he married Sarah or Polly H. Esget (b. 1843 in Pennsylvania), on March 3, 1860, in Crockery, Ottawa County, Michigan, and they had at least seven children: Margaret Polly (b. December 1860), Laurie Henrietta (b. 1864), Harry Anthony (b. 1866) and Catherine or “Corianna” (b. 1868), and infant in 1870 and another infant in 1873, and Gertrude E. (b. 1876).

In 1860 they were both living with Polly’s father Daniel in Nunica, Crockery Township where Henry was reportedly working as a mason or plasterer (a trade both he and his brother Lewis followed for many years).

Henry was 26 years old, stood 5’6” with hazel eyes and brown hair, and probably living in Crockery, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He was reported sick in the hospital in August of 1862, and hospitalized from December of 1862 through September 1863. He appears to have returned to Nunica, Ottawa County sometime in mid-summer and was reported in Nunica in early July, possibly to recover his health.

It appears that Henry was discharged for disability on October 1, 1863, at Washington, DC, although according to one source, he was discharged in order to be transferred to the Company D, Second Michigan cavalry on December 28, 1863 at Washington, DC. However, no record of such an enlistment is found in the Regimental descriptive rolls or 1905 Regimental history for the Second Michigan cavalry.

Nevertheless, according to Henry’s pension records he did in fact enlist in Company D, Second Michigan cavalry in late December of 1863 and was reportedly hospitalized in Franklin, Tennessee from the end of August to the end of December 1864. He was reportedly discharged at Macon, Georgia, in September of 1865.

It is not known if Henry returned to Michigan after the war although this seems likely. By 1870 Henry had settled his family in Louisville, Cass County, Nebraska, where he was working as a farm laborer along with his brother Lewis. He was also a member -- along with his brother Lewis -- of GAR Post No. 32 in York, Nebraska. By 1880 he was working as a bricklayer in Ogden, Weber County, Utah. Sometime between 1883 and 1886 he may have moved for a time to Burleigh County, Dakota Territory where he was reportedly widowed.

He eventually settled in California by 1888 and was residing at 337 Commercial Street in 1898. By 1900 he was reported as a single man living at the National Military Home, Pacific Branch, in Los Angeles (Santa Monica), California.

He received pension no. 363,524.

Henry died on March 31, 1912, probably at the National Home, and was buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery: plot 21 D/12.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Samuel Tolford Duram

Samuel Tolford Duram, also known as “Durham”, was born May 9, 1840, in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York, possibly the son of Philander (b. 1805) and Eliza (b. 1815).

Vermont or New York native Philander married Pennsylvania born Eliza and they settled in New York by 1828. By 1850 Philander had settled his family in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York, where he worked as a boatbuilder (he was possibly a brother or cousin of Tolford Duram who was also a boatbuilder in Waterloo, New York). By 1850 Samuel may have been the same “S.T. or J.” listed as attending school and living with his parents in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York. By 1860 Philander had moved his family to Polkton, Ottawa County Michigan (as had Tolford Duram).

In any case, Samuel left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan, where by 1860 he may have been working for and/or living with one John Mathews, a farmer in Martin, Allegan County.

Samuel stood 5’10” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 22 years old, possibly living in Polkton, Ottawa County and had been variously employed as lumberman and hostler when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861 -- he was possibly related to brothers Amasa amd Andrew Duram, both of Company F, and both of whom had lived in Ottawa County before the war. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) Samuel was suffering from consumption on May 28, 1862, and he remained absent sick until he was discharged for consumption on March 28, 1863, at Camp Convalescent, near Alexandria, Virginia.

Following his discharge Samuel returned to Ottawa County and was living in Eastmanville when he married his first wife, New York native Sarah T. Newton, on December 26, 1863, in Grand Rapids.

He then reentered the service as a Private in Battery L, First Michigan Light Artillery on January 4, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Holland, Ottawa County and was mustered that same day. He probably joined the battery at the Cumberland Gap where it remained on duty until June 27 when it was moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where it remained until August of 1865. On August 15 the battery was ordered to Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. Samuel was mustered out with the battery on August 22, 1865, at Jackson.

After the war Samuel returned to western Michigan.

He married his second wife, New York native Clara L. (1840-1907) -- it is not known what became of his first wife -- and they had at least two children: Cora L. (1870-1951) and Roy S. (1874-1948).

By 1870 Samuel and his wife were living on a farm in Allendale, Ottawa County. Samuel was living in Muskegon in December of 1887 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and was living in Muskegon in 1888, and 1890 and probably through 1911, and at some point he was residing at no. 20 and no. 28 Giddings Street in Muskegon. Indeed he probably lived most of his postwar life in Muskegon. He was living in Michigan in 1890 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 628729).

Samuel died January 29, 1913, in Muskegon and was buried in Allendale cemetery.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Amasa Tolford and Andrew Tolford Duram

Amasa Tolford Duram was born October 14, 1829, in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York or 1833 in Port Byron, Cayuga County, New York, the son of Tolford (1806-1878) and Sylvia (Collins, b. 1805).

New York natives Tolford and Sylvia were probably married in New York sometime before 1829. In 1840 there was one Tolford Duram Jr. living in Mentz, Cayuga County, New York. By 1840 there was a Tolford Duram living in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York.

By 1850 the family had settled in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York, where Tolford worked as a boatbuilder and his son Amasa was employed as a boatman with an older brother, W. B.; another brother Andrew was attending school (Andrew would also join the Third Michigan infantry). Tolford eventually moved his family to western Michigan and by 1860 he was farming in Polkton, Ottawa County.

Amasa stood 5’6” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was either 32 or 28 years old and perhaps still living in Polkton, Ottawa County or Oakfield, Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on November 9, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered December 23 at Detroit, crediting Oakfield. (He was an older brother of Andrew Duram and probably the cousin of Samuel Duram of Company I.)

Amasa was on detached service driving an ammunition wagon from at least October of 1862 through February of 1863, and from March through July he was with the Brigade wagon trains. In September or October of 1863, he was tried by a Regimental court martial and fined $13.00, although the offense(s) remains unknown. He was an ambulance driver for the Third Brigade in October and November, and reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, possibly in Michigan, and returned to duty in late January. By March of 1864 was on detached service in the Division hospital, probably as ambulance driver.

Amasa was still on detached service, at Brigade headquarters serving with the supply train, when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained detached as wagoner through May of 1865. Indeed he probably remained on detached service until he was mustered out as a wagoner on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Amasa returned to Michigan after the war and settled in Coopersville Ottawa County.
He was living in Michigan in 1876 when he applied for a pension (no. 2190854) but the certificate was never granted.

He probably died in Coopersville on January 4 or 14, 1879, and was buried in Coopersville cemetery.

Andrew Tolford Duram, also known as “Doram” or “Doran, was born January 18, 1842 in Molineux, Niagara County, New York, the son of Tolford (1806-1878) and Sylvia (Collins, b. 1805).

New York natives Tolford and Sylvia were probably married in New York sometime before 1829. In 1840 there was one Tolford Duram Jr. living in Mentz, Cayuga County, New York. By 1840 there was a Tolford Duram living in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York.

By 1850 the family had settled in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York, where Tolford worked as a boatbuilder, and two of his sons were working as boatmen, one of whom Amasa would also join the Third Michigan infantry, and Andrew (“A.T.”) attended school with three of his older siblings. Tolford eventually moved his family to western Michigan and by 1860 he was farming in Polkton, Ottawa County, where Andrew continued to attend school with his siblings.

Andrew stood 5’11” with blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion, and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Polkton, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. (He was a younger brother of Amasa Duram, also of Company F, and probably the cousin of Samuel Duram of Company I; all three men had lived in Ottawa County before the war.)

Andrew was shot in the right shoulder on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and subsequently sent to Columbian College Hospital where by early September he was reported to be “doing well”. Nevertheless, he remained absent sick in the hospital and had probably been transferred to the hospital in Detroit -- indeed he may in fact have returned to his home in Ottawa County -- when he was discharged on January 14, 1863, at Detroit for a gunshot to the right shoulder.

Andrew listed Polkton, Ottawa County as his mailing address on his discharge paper, and was probably living in western Michigan when he reentered the service in Company D, Tenth Michigan cavalry on September 23, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Pokagon, Kent County, and was mustered on October 14 at Grand Rapids.

For reasons that remain unclear, Andrew did not join the Regiment, however, and remained in Grand Rapids, reportedly sick, but apparently malingering and running afoul of the local authorities. On October 13, 1863, the Eagle reported that one “Andrew (‘Dick’) Duram, who has been on a drunk during the greater part of the time for the last two weeks, was taken before Justice Harlan today, upon that old and common charge, ‘drunk and disorderly’, and being found guilty of the offence charged, he was fined $3 and the costs in the case, amounting to $5.67, and in default of payment he was ordered to jail some 20 days.”

He was still reported sick in western Michigan from February of 1864 through April, but in fact the story was somewhat different. On March 8, 1864, the Grand Rapids Eagle reported that “Three men, ‘Dick’ Duram, Tom Berry and another, whose name we have not got, were arrested by Sheriff Bailey and his officers, yesterday, and lodged in jail, charged with burglary and theft in breaking open the stores of Cappon & Bertsch, A. Preusser and others, and stealing goods therefrom.”

Drinking, stealing, Duram was involved with virtually every vice available in Grand Rapids in the 1860s, and on September 4, 1864, the Eagle wrote that “Andrew Duram and Hattie Johnson, arrested a few days since, by officer Parkman, for disorderly conduct, had an examination before Justice Harlan today. Duram was found guilty of keeping company with disreputable females, and fined $3 and costs, $7, and in default of payment he was ordered to be imprisoned 15 days. He was committed. On examination, Hattie Johnson was found guilty of disorderly conduct, and fined $1, and costs, $7.55. In default of payment, she was ordered to jail 10 days.”

By November of 1864, Duram had at last joined the Regiment and he was reported on detached service in Kentucky, promoted to Corporal on September 2, 1865, and mustered out November 11, 1865, at Memphis, Tennessee.

After the war Andrew returned to Michigan.

Andrew married New York native Alice Josephine Washburn on April 1, 1868 in Ravenna, Muskegon County, and they had at least two children: a daughter Sylvia (b. 1869) and Vivette (b. 1888).

By 1870 Andrew was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and child with his parents in Coopersville, Polkton Township, Ottawa County; also living with them was his brother Charles and his family. Andrew was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife in Polkton in 1880 and in Coopersville in 1883 drawing $4.00 per month for a wounded right shoulder (pension no. 21,626) and by 1890 in Muskegon, Muskegon County.

Andrew died in Muskegon on November 15, 1893, and was buried in Coopersville cemetery.

His widow was living in Coopersville, Ottawa County in 1894 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 398051). Alice was living at 96 apple Street in Muskegon when she died of pneumonia, and was buried in Oakwood cemetery, Muskegon. Shortly afterwards one Henry S. Duram, then living in Muskegon was listed as guardian in the pension application (432478) for Andrew’s daughter Vivette M.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Joseph Dunn

Joseph Dunn was born 1843 Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, probably the son of Thomas (b. 1800) and Mary F. (b. 1802).

Joseph’s parents were both born in Ireland and presumably married there before immigrating to America sometime between 1831 and 1833 when they settled in New York. Between 1835 and 1838 they moved to Connecticut then on to Pennsylvania by 1843. The family remained in Pennsylvania for just a few years before emigrating westward and settling in Wisconsin between 1845 and 1848. By 1850 Joseph was attending school with two of his older siblings and living with his family in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, where his father worked as a laborer. By 1860 his parents and several siblings were living in Richfield, Washington County, Wisconsin. Before the war Joseph apparently worked in the lumber industry across the lake in Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan.

At some point before 1864 Joseph may have enlisted in the Fifth Wisconsin infantry, although this is by no means certain.

In any case, Joseph stood 5’7” with dark eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 21-year-old lumberman working in Manistee, Manistee County, when he enlisted at the age of 21 in Company I on February 6, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Manistee, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was wounded in the left side of his face probably on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was admitted to Emory general hospital in Washington, DC, on May 11, and was probably a provost guard at Division headquarters when he was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It is not known if Joseph ever returned to Michigan. He did return to Wisconsin, and by 1890 he was living in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Sometime around 1900 was a resident in the Northwestern Branch National Military Home in Milwaukee.

In 1880 Joseph applied for and received a pension (no. 458834). He was also a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

Joseph was probably a resident of the National Home in Milwaukee when he died on September 26, 1906, at the National Home and was buried in Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee, section 16, grave no. 87.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Royal S. Dunham

Royal S. Dunham was born March 10, 1830, in Russell, St. Lawrence County, New York, the son of Braddock (b. 1788) and Charity (b. 1793).

Royal’s parents were both born in Vermont and possibly married there. In any case by 1836 they had settled in New York and by 1850 Royal was working as a farmer along with his older brothers and father in Russell, St. Lawrence County, New York.

At some point before the war broke out Royal left New York and moved west, eventually settling in Ionia County, Michigan, where he worked as a farm laborer for one Stephen Kimball in Lyons, Ionia County, probably as early as 1856 or perhaps 1858 or 1859.

He married Mary Mortimer (d. 1862) on September 4, 1859, and they had at least one child, a daughter Mary L. (b. 1860).

Royal stood 5’6” with gray eyes, sandy hair and a sandy complexion, and was a 30-year-old mechanic possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted as Eighth Corporal in Company E on May 13, 1861. According to Royal, while in camp at Grand Rapids, Michigan, he was stricken with a “billious attack” and he was unable to leave with the regiment when it departed for Washington, DC, on June 13, 1861. On June 25 he and several other members of the Third Michigan left Michigan with the Fourth regiment and joined the Third, which was then camped near Georgetown, along the Potomac at Chain Bridge.

Although he was present for duty through the early summer, he apparently never fully recovered his health and sometime around the end of July he was taken sick and by early fall was reported absent sick in a hospital in Annapolis, Maryland; indeed he may in fact have been admitted to the hospital in Annapolis as early as July 28, 1861. In any case, he was discharged for chronic rheumatism on November 2, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia.

Royal probably returned to his wife in Lyons after leaving the army (he listed Lyons as his mailing address on his discharge papers). He was probably still living in Ionia County when he discovered that the Regiment had never received word that Dunham had been discharged and he was reported as a deserter.

On January 26, 1862, Captain Charles Lyon, in Grand Rapids as recruiting agent for the Third Michigan infantry, wrote to Colonel Stephen Champlin, then commanding the Regiment in Virginia. “According to orders received from you,” Lyon wrote,

I have found Royal S. Dunham -- at some cost -- he being reported to me as a deserter. Dunham on hearing I was looking for him delivered himself here at Grand Rapids, and produced the enclosed papers and says he considered himself honorably discharged from service. His account is as follows. His disability papers were made out by Dr. Randall at Annapolis & handed to him -- he then carried them to F. W. Knapp at Washington -- ‘Knapp’ being special relief agent of the sanitary commission. Knapp then told him the proper officers had signed them at Washington & he would send them to the Regt. & that Dunham could go home then or wait until the papers returned from Camp. Dunham concluding not to wait he, Knapp, obtained the passes over the different railroads for him & also furnished Dunham with money for subsistence on the road -- Dunham giving Knapp an order for his pay -- the subsistence to be taken out & balance sent to Dunham. This is Dunham’s report to me to account for his being home. He claims he is regularly discharged & is not a deserter. Please have this matter looked up and write me what to do in the case of discharge send on papers.

On March 1, Champlin sent Lyon’s letter along with Dunham’s papers on to the assistant Adjutant General in Washington.

On March 4, Knapp himself wrote to Colonel Hardie, ADC to General McClellan, explaining what had happened. “Dunham came to Washington from Annapolis hospital last November bringing with him a ‘certificate of disability for discharge’ from Dr. Randall, surgeon in charge of Annapolis hospital. His certificate” was approved by Dr. Tripler, and Dunham was ordered to be discharged on November 2, 1861.

“When Dunham returned to Washington from Annapolis he came to the house on North Capitol Street”, provided by the sanitary commission for soldiers coming to Washington or needing assistance. Dunham

was suffering much from the consequences and continuance of the disease which had placed in Annapolis hospital and which was the ground for his discharge. The surgeon in attendance thought it advisable for Dunham to visit his home as son as possible, therefore his case, with that of some other sick men, was represented at Head Quarters Army of Potomac, and a special order given for passes to be furnished to them to the several homes, the same to be considered equivalents of ‘pay for traveling’ and ‘subsistence for traveling’ (this fact being endorsed upon the discharge papers).

By some mistake the discharge paper of Dunham was placed on file with the discharge papers of the other sick men who had received passes to their homes”, men from other Regiments and whose “papers waited the arrival of descriptive lists which had been applied for to the officers of the Regiments.” Thus, “the papers of Dunham were not forwarded to his Regiment at once as should have been done. Dunham left with the blank receipts signed with the name (with witness) to be filled in by the paymaster; so that I might receive and transmit to him his pay."

The army took a dim view of Knapp’s handling of the Dunham affair. Colonel Hardie, in a notation on a memorandum in Dunham’s service record stated that Dunham had been discharged “in an irregular manner” and that he was not entitled to “’pay for traveling’ or for ‘subsistence for traveling’.”

Nevertheless, the charge of desertion was expunged from his record and in fact Royal was awarded a pension no. 336452, dated 1886 (by 1917 he was drawing $40 per month).

Royal’s wife Mary died in Lyons in December of 1862, and soon afterwards he left Ionia County, and moved to Branch County, Michigan. In fact he may have been living in Coldwater when he married Martha Jane Jeckett or Juckett (1836-1916) on December 23, 1863, in Coldwater, Branch County. They had at least three children: Frank E. (b. 1864), Fred E. (b. 1868) and R. Ella (b. 1880).

Royal worked off and on in a mill in Coldwater, and, according to one John Gamby of Coldwater, they worked together for some six years in the mill, and he often noticed how as a consequence of his suffering from “rheumatism” Royal was unable to perform much of the necessary labor required to work the mill machinery.

Royal was working as an engineer and living with his wife and three children in Coldwater in 1880. He was still living in Coldwater in 1888, in Coldwater’s Seventh Ward in 1890 and in the Fourth Ward in 1894; by 1917 he was residing at 97 Clay Street in Coldwater. Indeed he probably lived out the rest of his life in Coldwater. He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Butterworth Post No. 109 in Coldwater.

Sometime around 1907 Royal suffered a stroke, resulting in the need for constant care and supervision.

Royal was a widower (for the second time) and was living his daughter Ella Downes in Coldwater when he died of heart failure (apparently he suffered another stroke) on October 8, 1917. He was buried next to Martha in Oak Grove cemetery in Coldwater.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Marvin H. Dunham

Marvin H. Dunham was born 1839 in Crawford County, Pennsylvania.

Marvin left Pennsylvania and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan.

He stood 5’6” with brown hair and light hair and a light complexion, and was a 22-year-old shoemaker possibly living in Muskegon County when he enlisted on May 10, 1861, in Company H. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He was taken ill on March 10, 1862, and in July of 1862 was absent sick in a hospital, probably in Master Street (also known as Sixth Street) hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he told an agent for the Michigan Soldiers’ Aid Association that he was suffering from kidney disease. Marvin was discharged for “heart disease and affection of the kidneys” on July 26, 1862, at Master Street hospital.

Marvin probably returned to Michigan after he left the army, although this remains uncertain. It does seem that he was livingin Michigan in 1876 when his daughter Nellie was born. He may have been the same Melvin H. or Marvin H. Dunham who in 1880 was a widower, working as a shoemaker and living in the hotel run by Frank Davis in Cadillac, Wexford County, and who was probably working as a shoemaker in Mackinaw City (?), Mecosta County in 1884.

At some point Marvin and his family moved east, settling in Baltimore, Maryland, and it is fairly certain that by 1910 Marvin was living in Baltimore’s Ninth District, Maryland.

In 1879 he applied for and received a pension (no. 252981).

He married his second (?) wife, New York native Emily E. (b. 1844), possibly in Michigan, and probably had at least one child: Michigan native Dr. Nellie D. (Mrs. Lynn, b. 1876).

Marvin died on October 15, 1918, in Maryland, probably in Baltimore and is presumably buried there.

In any case his widow was living in Maryland in October of 1918 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 862046). By 1920 Emily was living with her daughter (she was the head of the household) and grandson in Baltimore, Maryland.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

William P. Draper

William P. Draper was born 1832 in Bayham, Ontario, Canada.

William was married to Ontario native Sarah C. (b. 1838), presumably in Canada, and they had at least four children: Mary (b. 1855), Eliza (b. 1856), Isaac (b. 1858) and Amelia or Louisa (b. 1860) and Helen (b. 1864). The family left Canada sometime after 1858 and by 1860 William had settled on a farm Courtland, Kent County, Michigan.

William stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 31-year-old farmer probably living in Courtland when he enlisted in Company A on August 14, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on September 18 at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia, and was reported absent sick in the hospital from June of 1863 through July. He eventually returned to duty and was first reported as missing in action May 8, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and in fact had been taken prisoner on May 7 and confined at Andersonville, Georgia. William was transferred as missing-in-action to Company C, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

On June 29 William was admitted to the prison hospital suffering from consumption and returned to his quarters on November 14. The following day, November 15, he was transferred to Savannah, Georgia where he was paroled on November 20, 1864, and admitted to the Naval School hospital in Annapolis, Maryland on December 4. He was on furlough from the hospital in January of 1865, and on January 18, 1865, Dr. D. B. Sturgeon of Toledo wrote a certification that Draper was suffering from chronic dysentery and unable to leave the city, thus requiring an extension of his furlough. (It is unclear why William was in Toledo.)

He never recovered. On February 5, 1865, Dr. Sturgeon wrote to the War Department that William had in fact died on February 4, 1865, in Toledo of chronic dysentery.

In 1865 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 71075). Sarah subsequently remarried one Gideon Squiers and filed for a pension on behalf of a minor child (no. 106728). By 1870 Sarah was living with her second husband, his children, as well as three of her children from her marriage to William Draper (the children were still listed as Drapers).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Charles Stewart Draper

Charles Stewart Draper was born August 26, 1841, in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of Charles (b. 1815) and Mary (b. 1819).

Massachusetts native Charles (elder) married Michigan or Canadian native Mary sometime before 1841, probably in Michigan, and had settled in Pontiac, Oakland County by the time Charles was born. They were still living in Pontiac in 1850. In 1860 Charles was a student attending school with his younger siblings and living with his family in Pontiac village where his father worked as an attorney and “agent.”

Charles (younger) was 19 years old and a student living with his family in Pontiac, Oakland County or possibly Kalamazoo County when he enlisted, probably as Quartermaster or Commissary Sergeant, in the Field & Staff, Fifth Michigan infantry on August 28, 1861, at Fort Wayne or Pontiac, Oakland County for 3 years and was mustered the same day at Detroit, giving Pontiac as his residence.

On October 21 he was transferred to Company I, Third Michigan infantry at Fort Lyon, Virginia, and in the spring of 1862 detailed as Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to General Israel Richardson, Brigade commander. Indeed, Charles was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on October 28, 1861, promoted from Quartermaster Sergeant, Fifth Michigan infantry, and he was formally transferred to General Richardson’s Division staff on April 1, 1862.

Charles was one of only two men (the other was Peter Steele) who was transferred into the Third Michigan infantry from other units, and the only man to be commissioned in the Third Michigan who had not been in the original June 13, 1861 group. Furthermore, because he was not actually a member of the original Regiment per se, and because promotions to officer were always limited, even in wartime, Draper’s promotion deprived the company of one of its “own” officers.

Naturally this did not sit well with some of the other officers in the Third Michigan.

On March 27, 1862, Captain Stephen Lowing of Company I wrote home that “We have some cause of complaints for on the 28th of October last, the office of Second Lieutenant became vacant and a man from the Fifth Regiment [Charles Draper] was transferred to our company, commissioned and then placed on the General's staff without our knowledge or consent.”

It remains uncertain, however, whether Charles ever physically served with the Third Michigan (and he is not listed in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history). In fact, we may assume that he remained ADC to General Richardson. According to a letter written from Lieutenant Colonel Byron R. Pierce to the Michigan Adjutant General on February 22, 1863, Draper was “restored to the rolls . . . by an order from the War Department. He was dropped from the rolls by Brig. General Champlin (late Colonel of this Regiment) through a mistake supposing him to have been commissioned in another Regiment. He has always acted as Aid-de-Camp to the late General Richardson and was wounded at the battle of Antietam. I have forwarded his resignation.”

Charles had indeed been wounded at Antietam on September 17, 1862, and he resigned March 19, 1863, on account of his wounds; his resignation being accepted on May 19. Shortly afterwards Charles was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Veteran’s Reserve Corps (“Invalid Corps”), and promoted to First Lieutenant in the fall of 1863. He resigned from the army in January of 1865.

Charles eventually returned to Michigan. (His parents were living in Pontiac’s First Ward, Oakland County in 1870.)

He was married to Sarah T. and they had at least one child.

He received a pension (no. 60456) for service in both the Third and Fifth Michigan infantry regiments as well as the Veterans Reserve Corps.

Charles died at sea on August 6, 1892.

In any case, his widow was living in Michigan in 1898 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 659569).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

William Henry Drake

William Henry Drake was born February 15, 1836 in Halifax, England.

William immigrated to the United States, possibly with his family sometime before 1857. In the three years or so before the war he reportedly split his time between Cook County, Illinois and Ottawa County, Michigan.

William was residing in Jefferson, probably Cook County, Illinois, in March of 1860 when he wrote to one Agnes Middlemist, daughter of Henry Middlemist, who owned and operated a boarding house in Spring Lake, Ottawa County, Michigan.

Dear Sister Agnes, Don’t think me a “bore” for writing when I’ve nothing of importance to communicate. I write merely for the sake of a little chit chat. I came up here (home) yesterday after waiting in Chicago for that vessel of Mason’s to sail as Mr. Bell wished me to wait & bear him company . . . but on waking yesterday morning & seeing an inch of snow on the streets & an inch of ice on the river with a keen wind whistling from the North . . . I came to the sage conclusions that a trip over the lake (if I could get passage) would be decidedly uncomfortable . . . consequently I came up here to stay over Sunday.

This is a real spring day, peaceful and beautiful in the extreme more like Indian summer than anything else . . . had a three years residence in Michigan weaned me from the glorious prairies, such a day as this would be apt to bring me back to my first love of them . . . Father has spent the morning breaking a colt & as we are going up to Brickton this afternoon I embrace this opportunity etc. Between you and I, I don’t know what to think of Wm B . . . whether he has the “gumption” to do much . . . he may be over before I am . . . but anyhow I expect to turn up in Mill Point by the middle of next week . . . Father wishes me to stay home & take hold with him, but owing to many little “busts & ifs” the thing aint feasible at present. There is considerable interest felt in Chicago with regard to the National difficulties altho the business of the city is not much influenced thereby. Altho’ the winter has been pretty severe there has not been much suffering . . . in fact . . . from what I hear . . . there has been no necessity for it, farmers came into the city in the depths of winter & tried to hire men, offering one half of their outstanding corn to anyone who would house it and husk it. Amongst the trades there has been & is yet but little doing but there’s a good time coming and people seemed determined to keep a stiff upper lip.

If Mr. Ranney should call & inquire . . . will you please let him be informed that I will be over soon & oblige & etc. I had a number of notes of his which . . . if he didn’t think I was a pretty clever sort of fellow . . . he might be uneasy about. . . . I understand there is a steamboat building at Manitowoc to run to the Grand River. The Lady Franklin built for the St. Joseph’s trade is a splendid model . . . some say she has the best model of any boat that comes to Chicago . . . there is a Tug building on the North Branch the owner of which has put up $500.00 to run her against any on the lake. You must excuse the style of this letter & remember I’m in the country at present. Remember me to all the folks.

By the summer of 1860 William was working as an architect in Spring Lake (known also as Mill Point), Ottawa County, Michigan, and living at the boarding house of Henry Middlemist. (In fact after the war William would marry Sarah Middlemist, one of Henry’s daughters and sister to Agnes.)

William returned to the western side of Lake Michigan and by March 16, 1861 was back in Chicago, possibly staying with his family, when he wrote to Agnes Middlemist.

Sister Agnes, By this time I had expected to be home [but] a quandary is met here & it begins to be a matter of doubt where my home is. . . By home I meant Mill Point . . . ‘Sic transit etc,’ ‘all the word brings changes.’ You must bear with my passion for quoting but a change has taken place in regard to the Barber Estate & your humble servant is no longer in the employ of Lind & Slater, onions have risen in consequence boo-hoo, don’t you sympathize with me?

As you will doubtless have heard the news by this time I will not give you the particulars . . . but C. Bell has taken the mill . . . rented it & he & I will be over next week. I saw him yesterday & he wishes to secure my valuable (!) services. I have an appointment with him on Monday morning when we shall talk the matter over more fully. I am glad (as regards myself) that he has got as far as he has in the matter. . . I know but little of him, but if we agree I shall be glad to work – work – work. . . But no more droning . . . the USA first . . . NB. The above is “sub rosa”.

Of course you have received my letter by this time. . . The one that I wrote on my arrival here. I have since then been up to Father’s. He looks as bright & rugged as ever, sisters are well, & Mother’s attacks are not so violent as formerly. . . since I was up in Jefferson before there has been quite an epidemic. . . The girls are getting married off . . . never saw the like in all my life . . . both here and among my Chicago friends there have been many changes. I have been astonished to meet again with friends of (apparently) but yesterday . . . who are turning grey fast, time flies & my three years sojourn in Michigan seems but as a sleep.

I have been to McVickers & seen Sothern in “Our American Cousin at home” it was a rich treat & Sothern is an actor of great talent. At the close of the play the band struck up & Sothern etc. sung the great song of the day “Dixie Land”. . . a tune that has never been sung without being encored at least once. Etty is getting finely at school. She expects to be teaching in a year & a half in a school in the city. I think I have said about all that I can think of, but as you might not have heard the news I thought best to keep you posted. Mr. Ranney wants me to work for him this season but as I have not committed myself fully to either party I shall feel round a little before I do . . .

The Architectural business is flat as a pancake and there is no telling when it will be better. Remember me kindly to all, to your Father, Mother, & Willie & John. The Lumber trade does not look very flattering at present: Illinois & Wisconsin is daily in receipt of an additional population from the South Western states in consequence of the troubles there. You will have noticed the recent Gov. appointments that have been made. Dr. Evans (Evanston is named after him) who is now Gov. of Nebraska is a Chicago man & a member of the Clark St. M.E. Church; Norman Judd, US Minister to the Court of Berlin is also a Chicago man . . . in fact the Glorious State of Illinois has her share (at least) of the glory & the gain. I was somewhat astonished at the amt of traffic on some of the RRs centering in this city . . . it is on the increase, on the North Western road for instance their freight trains average from twenty-five to thirty-five cars in a train; & I should judge they average ten or twelve trains per diem. . .

The business has hardly set in yet but business men expect a steady passable sort of a season. I can just imagine how the news of the evacuation of Fort Sumter will be received by the fire eaters of Mill Point, the republicans of Chicago chafe at the idea of the thing, but say ‘Old Abe’s got a long beard & knows what he’s about’ & then they let the matter rest in the hands of the Father of the Faithful. . . Having spun out my epistle just one page more than I had intended etc. so good bye Agnes.

Soon after he wrote this letter to Agnes William returned to Ottawa County, Michigan.

William stood 5’4” with blue eyes, light hair and light complexion, and was 25 years old and possibly living in Kent County or in Spring Lake, Ottawa County when he enlisted as Eighth Corporal in Company A on May 13, 1861. (Company A was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, and many of whom had served in various local militia units before the war, specifically the Valley City Guards, or VCG, under the command of Captain Samuel Judd, who would also command Company A.)

Throughout late April and all of May the creation and organization of the Third Michigan took place at the old agricultural fairgrounds, about two miles south of the city, now called “Cantonment Anderson.” On May 17, William wrote to Agnes Middlemist to bring her up to date on all the latest news.

You must excuse my not answering your letter more promptly. I am in receipt of your last of May (no date) about the 14th I guess. As to what my kith & kin think of the course that I have taken . . . hear what Etty says (the letter you forwarded) “Knowing your patriotic feelings in regard to the country of your adoption we expected hourly to hear that you had enlisted in the cause of God & Liberty etc” again she says “I feel proud that I have a brother in the cause. I only wish that I could go with you to take care of you.” Etty says with regard to the Desplaines St. M. E. S. School . . . “five of our best teachers have left and are now in Cairo” [Illinois]. “The little township of Jefferson (Cook Co.) has raised 80 men. I recd a letter from Father this morning he says ‘your letter has produced mingled feelings on the one hand of pride at your patriotism & sense of duty, and on the other some little fear for your health & safety’.” Rhoda says “it shall be my prayer that you may never turn your back on a traitor.” She says Van talks of joining & Alex will join the Home Guards . . . he feels awful sore because he can’t leave his wife. One week today was a glorious day for us, the whole of the companies were paraded on the parade ground & formed a hollow square. Major Champlin stood up in the centre of the cannon carriage . . . he explained the new call of the President for 3 years volunteering, he made a frank statement of facts and a most eloquent appeal to all that is manly in man. . . .

After this he stated that the Captains of Cos. should each call upon the 3 years volunteers to fall back beginning at Co. A. Our Captn (Samuel Judd] called upon us to decide . . . when there was a perfect rush back, backed up by a lusty shout from 77 throats (some of our Co. were on Guard duty) only three backed water! What do you think now of Co. A? We had been put to a severe test . . . nothing was known as to what pay we should have . . . but after the stifling process had been gone through with (for the other Cos followed our example) we were informed of many little items to our advantage & comfort. Our uniforms will be cadet grey . . . pants with black stripe . . . a jacket, and hat somewhat larger than a fatigue cap also an overcoat . . . our army minie musket & bayonet (we have them now) also we expect the people of G. Rapids will furnish Co. A with revolvers. . . It’s talked of in a whisper families will be provided for, and then comes the . . . last but not least we expect to leave for Washington as soon as we get fairly in trim.

We had a fuss last night on a/c of that grub that Charley Roberts [gave] us. Co. A marched down at Supper time for as we were ordered by our Officers to do but the old maxim was illustrated. “You may drive a horse to the fountain but you can’t make him drink.” We rose up from the table & left his dirty hog meat untouched. . . . Last night the gentleman left camp with what duds he could not dispose of . . . together with his nigger & Irish cooks & with indignation enough on his shoulders to reach to the top of Bunker Hill monument.

Aaron Courtwright cooks for us now and we have things neat, wholesome & clean. . . At first I lost weight but now I weigh two pounds more than I ever did. We had a hard frost this morning & were on drill at 5:30 AM without overcoats. We went round the Camp grounds on double quick time . . . got warmed up & felt like . . . soldiers. Mr. Perkins was here yesterday & day before. . . night before last he stayed with us in our shanty! For 6 of us have put up a shanty rather than be put up in the barracks which barracks is 16 feet wide by 120 feet long and at night it contains over 600 men. It is two stories high and four bunks high on each story. At night the smell is awful. Our shanty cost us about six dollars! Remember me kindly to all inquiring friends. Please tell Mr. Smith that I recd his letter but have been so much engaged as to find but little time to myself. I will write soon. I am orderly of the day today, and have not to drill, but am detailed for writing the rolls of the different Companies.

The Regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13 for Washington, DC, where it arrived on June 16. The week following the Bull Run debacle on July 21, Drake wrote from Arlington Heights, Virginia, to Mordecai L. Hopkins, living in Mill Point (Spring Lake), Michigan, discussing the war and why it was being fought.

I have just had the pleasure [William wrote on July 26, 1861] of reading your 4th of July oration in which I find a bold expression of my own deep convictions -- Fanaticism and a morbid sympathy on the one hand and a wicked devotion and tenacity . . . on the other -- has wrought all this havoc in the land; alienating friends and sundering the holy ties of union between states. With you would I mourn the darkness and desolation that is spread as a pall over our poor bleeding country, mourn for the sins of the nation -- for the heinous wickedness of those amis des noires whose stock in trade of crocodile tears have produced a rich and gory harvest of the best blood of the land. I am more convinced than ever that all this results from a gross misunderstanding - Can the mercy of Infinity - even - reach the case of our Demagogues - our Lying Prophets! The press - South and North has much to answer for; when Justice shall make requisition for blood.

On Monday night after our defeat of Sunday I stayed in Fort Corcoran - and while in conversation with an officer, a sergeant, of the 69th he said that on the battle field he was attracted by the groans of a wounded Louisiana Zouave, who cried “For the love of heaven give me water!” at first he cursed him - then his conscience smote him, and he returned & gave him the last drop, & eased him to a comfortable position, doing all that could be done under the circumstances the Louisiana Zouave turned up his haggard - bloody face (what a scene for an artist) & exclaimed in the greater agony of soul “Oh! it is hard! - hard!! - hard!!! - to fight against the Stars & stripes”- on whose head will rest that man’s blood & the thousands that fell with him on Sunday? Not the men that fight the battles - God knows; - with us it is the Union - with the men we meet upon the battle field the idea of self protection that is the incentive to action - But the hungry spawn of the father of lies - whose only subterfuge is a lie - yes & they too who endorse them - the Press.

Strike at the root! let this one fact be practically sent home to the Southern heart & hearth stone, that we -- the North - are loyal to the Constitution & make no war upon their peculiar institutions,- in a word let us forgo pride for love, - Sympathy (?) for Justice - hatred for brotherly kindness reproaches for pity - and the power of Secession will be broken - the ambitious leaders of this mad scheme will be crushed beneath the heel of a misguided people. During the heat of the battle, Northern & Southern lay in heeps [sic] together -- One Alabama Regiment was badly cut up - almost annihilated one of our men asked an Alabamian as they lay together on the field ‘What makes you Southern fight us?’ he replied “My father has a large plantation & many slaves in Alabama & my duty to my state as well as my own interest demand that they be not emancipated” - “Emancipated! we are not fighting for that. We fight only for country & a flag” -- The Alabamian turned to his comrades & said “Boys, we are fighting our best friends.”

I could give you many such incidents of the two last battles at Bull's Run - however the enemy (whose ranks swarm with Union loving men who have been impressed) elevates the muzzles of their guns & fired over our heads! Very few of their canister & grape exploded - but then there was much treachery on their part; for instance two secession Regiments marching under the Stars & Stripes & poured a deadly volley into Union troops -- who thought they were friends instead of foes -- I shall not attempt a description of the battle -- for we were through the whole conflict the first in on Thursday & the last out on Monday after Sunday’s fight.

The coolness of our skirmishers was highly commended -- you are not aware perhaps that they are composed of twenty men two Corporals -- one sergeant & one lieutenant from each flank company of each Regiment of our Brigade -- then composed of the Mich. 2nd & 3rd - Mass: 1st & N.Y. 12th - the whole of these skirmishers are commanded by Birschneider & are termed in the papers . . . [as] “Birschneider's sharpshooters”. . . . It was regular bush fighting & against a masked battery -- [Chancey] lost his hat in the engagement & he'll have wonderful stories to tell when he gets back to old Ottawa -- during the hottest of the fight when musket-balls & cannon balls were flying thick around them, -- his comrade, affected a serio-comic [look] and asked him “[Chancey] are you happy?” “Quite so, but I'm afraid I'll cut in a __ & no whiskey on hand” said [Chancey] -- there's nothing in the words or the mere expression [‘the mere expression’ is crossed out] -- but those who were on hand say that his expression phisionomically was droll in the extreme -- I saw him after the fight -- met him in the woods -- nary cap on his head -- & his hair like a Dutch mop -- his eyes & nose too very prominent -- I declare I hardly knew him. -- You have undoubtedly heard that one of our boys [Ed. Morse] had his knee cap partly shot off -- [Hank Morse] eased him up while he fired again & [Ed.] was then carried out of the Hell Hole by Yankee of our Co. [Hank Morse] retreated sideways or backwards loading & firing as he went -- one of the boys asked why he did so -- “oh” said [Hank] “my mother told me never to be shot in the back.” The loss of the enemy must have vastly exceed ours -- they outnumbered us in force almost three to our one -- Could we have held our position a little longer the enemy would have been in full retreat I can't see to this day why we could not have held Centreville or at least Fairfax but treason did its work somewhere & the artillery were out of ammunition!

The retreat was most inglorious & speaks poorly for our officers, the Mich 3rd brought up the rear & covered the retreat[.] Col. Miles was drunk during the fight -- I find that there is quite an effort being made to exonerate him from the responsibility & disgrace & the confusion, etc., etc. -- but drunk he was -- so that he could not give an intelligible order -- Zack Chandler was in our camp day before yesterday. He was in liquor (so our boys aver) -- somehow or other politicians are not much welcome in a camp. I wish I could describe the enrapturing beauty of Saturday night just before the battle -- the stars seemed to shine doubly bright as we lay upon our backs looking up at the sublime beauties of the heavens nature seemed breathlessly awaiting the havoc & confusion of the morrow -- not even a whisper stirred among the trees . . . how different the din, the havoc & confusion of Sunday -- and (mention it or not) -- the retreat at night.

On August 18, 1861, William, on duty with the Third Michigan, wrote to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, from Hunter’s Farm, Virginia. He enclosed a poem he wrote the day before the First Battle of Bull Run.

Please accept the enclosed lines from a Chicago boy, and do what you like with them. They were suggested by the beautiful night preceding the late disastrous battle at Bull Run. It’s no credit to have been there, I know; but we were there, and are going again, to try it over and wipe out the disgrace. Very respectfully, W. H. Drake, Company A, Mich. 3d. Silently the shadows fall, Soft it brooding over all, Peacefully the sun goes down, Decking with a golden crown Yonder mountain’s regal crest, Purpling in the glowing West; Flinging shadows broad and deep Over woodland, brake and glen; Where the lurking foemen sleep, Hidden in their leafy den. Now the light has dreamed away, Leaving shadows long and grey, Where the golden rays have spread Hues of Heaven, rosy-red; Now the winds are sweetly sighing For another daylight -- dying, ‘Till the last faint zephyrs play On the skirts of parting day. Soon the moon her light unveiling, O’er the starry sea is sailing; Through the leafy branches peeping, On the ground, in silence creeping, Gleams her silver light. With silvery woof she deftly weaves, On warp of glimmering forest leaves, The gauzy canopy that veils the sky; As surging on, in heaving waves -- Wave on wave, of marshaled braves, Wave on wave, of frosted sheen, Noiseless as a summer dream -- IS swelling to the van, to do or die. Up to Heaven in fondness gazing, All its clustering glories tracing; Up to Heaven our souls are turning, Where the starry lamps are burning Round the throne of God; -- Thinking of the coming morrow, Of its unreaped yield of sorrow; Who will see these bright lights burning At another night’s returning -- Who will strew the sod? Some shall, bravely fighting, fall In the fiery strife; Their knell shall be yon bugle call -- You starry flag shall be their pall; Their last bequest, yon battle brand Shall write with swift and gory hand, In heavy strokes, to save the land And give the nation life. Patriots! rest ye for the fray, Nerve you for the coming day; Fret not for the loved ones dear, Look to Heaven -- then cease to fear. Some must for the country die; -- See your bright home in the sky, Mark its glories on our flag -- Let not then your courage lag; But heart -- be strong! and hand -- be steady! Life or death will find you ready! Centreville, Va., July 20, 1861.

In early 1862 William was on duty with the regiment near Washington, DC, when he wrote to a friend in Ottawa County, Michigan, discussing various aspects of the war. In January he wrote

Of course you are fully posted as to our operations here -- or rather lack of operations. When any skirmish of any account takes place it gets into the papers; but there are daily encounters, on a small scale, which receive no notice; and, although we are not moving “forward to Richmond”, there is no cessation of work for the soldier. We are under another Chief and a new military regime. Although the army is longing for a grand rush, and ready to pour out their blood like water to redeem the Union and terminate the war, yet we have faith in McClellan’s policy, as humane and thorough. Since the Bull Run affair [of July 21, 1861], the war department have performed prodigies, especially in ordinance. Some critics, sitting by their firesides, may ask the question, “How is it, that with a vast army around Washington the Government does not break up that blockade, and take the rebel batteries along the Potomac, at Occuquan, Shipping Point, Acuai [Acquia] Creek, Matthias Point, etc.?” Let me ask, what does the blockade of the Potomac by the rebel shore batteries amount to? It reminds one of the story of a large man whose little better half made a practice of spanking him. “Why do you allow it?” said a friend. “Oh, it pleases her, and don’t hurt me.”

And so it is; we hear the roar of their cannon every day, and the only prize I remember of their taking was one old cord-wood scow, that drifted loose right under their guns. (N. B. Prisoners, none!) Besides, as to our inactivity, look at the forts that environ the capital, on every hill, that stand, and will stand for ages, like giant watchers, lasting monuments raised by the strong and willing hands of patriots to free labor. I just wish you could see the clearing that has been done by Michigan along Arlington heights to Fort Ellsworth, etc. Take a look at Fort Scott, and Fort Richardson, back of the Long Bridge, and Fort Lyon, near Alexandria, and you’ll be proud of the Michigan boys. On Thursday a company of our Cavalry had a little scrub with the rebels, just this side of Pohick Church. Our cavalry, 2nd N. J., had with them a Lieutenant and a few men of the Michigan Fifth Infantry -- while passing through a deep cut road, with thick pines on both sides, the rebels, who were a party of skirmishers, fired into our men, who returned the fire and fell back to a clearing, as the Cavalry wasn’t worth a fig in such a fix. The Lieut. of the Michigan fifth was shot twice -- not mortally -- once in the mouth, and in the neck, slightly; however, the rebels were driven back with a loss of five killed.

It rained sleet last night and is now snowing. The weather is quite cold, especially when out on picket -- for we can’t have any fires there unless we hide them. We build a hut of pine and cedar boughs, and have a fire inside, and manage to keep as comfortable as we can. There’s one offset, though, in picketing. We can buy pies, milk, butter and chickens, from the farmers. I have been several times over the lines, some four miles once, and everywhere is desolation -- people driven from their homes, the Union folks taken to Manassas, stock and produce stolen by the rebels, and, in fact, the country is alive with desperate bands of ragamuffins, who plunder all they can. A free colored man told me the other day, at Accotink, that four of these nondescripts came to his house, near Pohick Church, a few days ago, and took dinner at his house, for which they paid him one dollar in Secesh script, then carried off his horse and hogs, and two cows, not even condescending to give a note for the same. I think Mill Point has done nobly, and don’t wonder that it is dull there.

There’s one good lively time ahead, when the war shall be terminated, and the soldiers get home -- just one grand break down. What are your ideas on the war? Don’t you think that the Confederate States of America are pretty near played out? It seems to me that the thinking, feeling, paying portion of their people must see the fallacy, as well as the injustice of secession -- unjust to the North and to themselves, and a libel on democratic institutions. I like the firm, manly course the President has taken, through more than one crisis -- even in the removal of Fremont, after his (Fremont’s) proclamation. Has he not most unmistakably said, by word and deed, that he wars not against an institution, but for the very vitality of the Government? Then, there is another thing for which we should feel grateful, the policy of McClellan -- so averse to a shedding of blood. He don’t seem to think that to kill out the rebellion he need to kill out the rebels, but simply cause them, like Jonah’s gourd, to “dry up”.

Of course, we expect hard fighting; but not a blow until every man shall know his work, with a degree of certainty of performing it thoroughly. Then the blows will fall hot and heavy, thick and fast, no more Bull Runs, but victory or death. That Bull run affair has sunk deep into the hearts of the Third Michigan boys -- although we did all our work, and even covered the retreat of McDowell’s army, yet the stigma sticks! and must be wiped out some day or other. I suppose the troops who have left for Kentucky will see service soon. We hear a rumor of an engagement in Kentucky, near Paducah. I am very anxious to hear all the particulars, as there is an old office-mate of mine there, in the Chicago Light Artillery.

I hold to the belief that nearly all wars are the result of ignorance. Is it not by the most damnable lies that the ranks of the rebel army is filled up? They think that the Government is bent on freeing their slaves -- that we are abolitionists of the darkest hue. Hence they wish us in hell, and do their best to send us there -- which is all very correct if what they think be true. We may thank abolition sermons, resolutions, gas, and personal (insults), liberty laws for all the South than abolition is that of the North, and a misunderstanding in this respect has aided Jeff Davis & Co. in their nefarious Aaron Burr scheme of disunion and secession. When I returned from the Battle of Bull Run, I stopped over night at Fort Corcoran, with the New York sixty-ninth Regiment. The poor fellows spun yarns about the battle until midnight -- enough to fill a book; but one narrative struck me in particular.

One fellow, a Sergeant, told of how they took a rebel battery, and were charging after the rebels. On their return to reform their line, the ground around was strewn with the dead and wounded. He heard one poor fellow crying piteously for water -- “having a little left in my canteen, I stooped to give him a drop, and what the devil should I find but a d___d Louisiana zouave. Ah! sure, now, by the holy Moses, I’ve a strong notion to spade yer flight!” The dying man replied imploringly, “For the love of Jesus, give me just one drop!””And what could I do but give the poor fellow the very last. He was badly wounded, and all cut up with splinters of shell. Troth, says I, and what could induce ye to take up arms against the Government?” “And sure,” he said, “ye were a set of black abolitionists, coming to free the nagers and to give them arms to fight them with!” “Now, said I, sure and the d___d spalpeen that told ye that same lies like h___l, and the holy truth’s not in him!. He seemed as though he didn’t understand me, and while I raise his head, so he might rest easy-like, he said never a word for some time. Then, poor lad, he heaved a sigh, and said he, ‘I tell ye what, it’s hard, hard, to fight against the stars and stripes!’” Now, it seems tome that about the best prayers that preachers could offer up to Heaven (they most generally pray to their congregations) is for the good Lord to open the eyes of the people of the North and South to what is just between man and man, State and State. * * * *

And on January 29, he wrote again to the same friend in Mill Point.

Dear Friend: your letter was duly received, and duly read to Mill Point delegation, at “Dixie” (when I say Mill Point, I mean the vicinity, Spring Lake, and Crockery) and the sentiment thereof heartily responded to. In fact, it is the sentiment of the army: Union first and foremost, the constitution inviolate, and the supremacy of the law, North and South. The army of the Union is not an army of abolitionists, nor is the administration, with Honest Old Abe at the head, the instrument o that fanatical crew, who would sooner hail the speedy destruction of the peculiar institution and the Union than see the latter survive the shock, and the former linger slowly to a certain death.

I have faith, with you, that as long as Uncle Abraham is sailing-master of the good ship Constitution, “he will be enabled to shake off the rats”, and that the good work of purgation shall go on until the last one shall have followed [Secretary of War Simon] Cameron -- overboard. The course he has taken is the only safe one, the only honest one, and it is constitutional. Maryland had faith in it, and secession became treason in her borders. Kentucky had faith in it and poured out her legions, and the dark and bloody ground echoes with the tread of our victorious army, and by that faith only are we saved. To doubt now of ultimate success is criminal, to bicker and fault-find is idle; and, above all, to dictate to a commander, who only ought to know the line of action he should adopt, is unworthy of the Governor of any State. (vide Gov. Blair’s last message.)

The “onward to Richmond” policy is “played out”. Rome was not built in one day -- neither can military enterprises of such magnitude, and on such a vast scale as those McClellan has in project, be carried out by a simple turn of the hand. That we are gaining ground daily, and that the rebels are losing by the delay, they themselves admit. Their great hope has rested upon the aid of England and France; but is it not frustrated by the very thing that was likely to lead us into a foreign war? And thanks be to the shrewdness of [Secretary of State William] Seward, the cup of bitterness that was to be pressed to the nation’s lips, has proved the very nectar of the Gods, and out of an apparent blunder we have gained a grand diplomatic triumph -- not only the recognition of an American principle, but in seeing it universalized and Russia now calls upon the cabinet of St. James to give to the world solemn guarantees that she, eschewing her own precedents, will be bound by the principle she so stiffly enforced in the Trent affair.

The term of enlistment of Virginia troops, in the rebel army, has nearly expired, and it is a known fact that they relish it poorly -- nor will they, to a great extent, reenter the service. The Richmond papers are in dilemma on the subject -- said dilemma (they admit) has but two horns -- the soldiers will be satisfied to be plain citizens, of they must be compelled to reenlist, and, of course, they seize the latter horn, apparently fearful that they may find it sharp to their own sorrow. We have no news of importance. Our time is occupied in the various duties attendant on camp life, picket, drill, etc., but of late it has been almost impossible to drill -- now rain, then sleet or snow, and all the time mud.

A rebel spy was brought to our encampment a couple of days ago. He was taken by a scouting party of cavalry -- in fact, trapped. Mr. Secesh asked the cavalry, whom he suddenly met, “What regiment they belonged to?” And they, Yankee like, answered him by asking him a question, “Where the d__d Yankee pickets were?” “Oh,” he said, “over there; I was inside their lines last night, and visited one of their camps, and have just come from near their pickets.” “Very good; then you are our prisoner!” and took him. This morning, about 1 o’clock, musketry was heard, apparently by our picket lines. Soon the news came in to our camp, as we were the furthest out, that a scouting party of the 37th N. Y. of our brigade [Richardson’s] who are on picket, had surprised a party of the Texan Rangers (so they called themselves) in a house, three miles beyond our picket line, and in the fuss killed nine, and took one prisoner, not leaving one Secesh to tell the tale. The prisoner is in our guard house. The 37th lost one man killed, and two wounded. The 37th is an Irish regiment. You must know that our brigade have all got new Austrian rifles, beauties, and during the fuss one Irishman sung out, “Arrah, bedad! it isn’t the muskets ‘ats arter yez, this time!” The battalion down below, are keeping up a continual cannonade, but I guess it don’t amount to much. The rebels are strengthening their position in the vicinity of Occoquan. They’re great for “cat holes”. If we ever attack them down there, we’ll have a warm time; but we’ll beat them -- that is, if they don’t crawl in and pull the hole in after them.

In mid-February of 1862 William was with the regiment in its winter quarters at Camp Michigan, Virginia, when he wrote home to a friend, presumably in Ottawa County, decrying the “perfidy” of Abolitionism and discussing the recent developments in the war.

My Dear Friend: While you are enjoying such fine sleighing, sociables, etc., we are having quite a succession of rainy days; but we are in glorious spirits at the late series of successes that have attended our arms under Burnside, in North Carolina, and under Grant, etc., in Tennessee, and under Lander, in Western Virginia, and now we hear of the fall of Savannah. Is not General McClellan verifying his prediction that “the struggle should be short, but desperate?” Fort Donelson, the key of the South-West, is in the hands of General Halleck. It was a daring victory, but a desperate and bloody struggle. With what sterling heroism did the brave Illinoisans, especially the Eighth and Eighteenth Regiments, stand their ground against fearful odds, until the last bullet had sped on its mission, and then, when those two batteries had been taken by the enemy, how well was the ground re-gained, and the batteries re-taken with clubbed muskets! Hurrah for Illinois. I was gratified to hear of the gallant part that Company A, of the Chicago Light Artillery, took in the action.

I have an old friend in that company. Have we not much to be glad for – not only for the success of our arms, but for the certainty of being understood by the people of the South. The time for the North and South to reason together is not far distant. And the question arises, should there be any distinction made between the traitor North, and the traitor South? That the plan of secession was a deep laid plot, long in maturing, I have no doubt, and that slavery was but a miserable pretext. Does it then follow that the pretext should be removed to prevent the return of the malady? For my part, I cannot see how those nullificationists, the Abolitionists, have the brazen-faced assurance to dictate to the Union Administration. It is recorded that Lucifer once appeared in the court of Heaven, but even his satanic majesty understood his position well enough not to dictate the decrees of heaven. These disturbers of the nation’s peace – these covenant breakers are not to be tolerated. Let them know their “posish”. Put them alongside their friends, the “secesh”. Let them simmer in the same pot. Let them not curse the blood-sought liberties of the American Union, in open daylight. Fort Warren is too good for them. I can see no difference in an Abolitionist, who stigmatizes the Union as a “League with Hell”, and who declares a wish to see the Union shattered and broken, and the Rebel in arms, who does the same thing – only the one is a coward, while the other had the manliness to back up his dogma.

Capt. L[owing] is an exception to the general rule. It is refreshing to find one of them that will fight. He is a brave officer, and wide-awake to his business. But I doubt if he finds many in this Regiment who are such a loss to give a reason for the hope that inspires us in this contest, or who feel so dreadfully anxious for the intelligence of generations yet unborn. Although the Personal Liberty Laws of Michigan amount to nothing, only as a standing insult to the South, is it not the duty of the people of Michigan to wipe it off the statute books of the State? Vermont is said to have done so; and is Michigan so wretchedly poor, and mean-souled as to keep it there in defiance of the constitution of the State and the constitution of the United States, while she has her thousands on southern soil striving to put down secession? I thank you for the [Detroit?] Free Press.

That speech of Cox’s is pointed and in good season. How refreshing to see these Greeleys, Gurleys, and all of that stamp, just put in their proper light. Congressmen, and reporters, artists, etc., were in the way everywhere at Bull Run – but out of danger, I mean. You would have laughed to see them parading, with all the dignity and bravery of veterans, and then when a round shot or two came crashing over from the rebel batteries, a sudden change came o’er them. It would be wrong to say they lost their dignity – but the wind wasn’t blowing, yet you might play marbles on their coat tails. The boys had lots of fun with them, and were inventing scares for these amateur warriors all the time. They’ll always be remembered as a nuisance. Yet, forsooth, they “who never placed a squadron in the field” know more than General McClellan himself. All we owe to such wiseacres is the scene of Bull Run.

Have you seen Beauregard’s report of the battle of Manassas? If so, you’ll see how very near we came to being “bagged”. Now I think the catechism of the Union is very simple. What do we live for? The union of hearts and the union of hands, and the flag of our union forever. What do you believe in? I believe in the constitution, States’ rights and national Union. Whom do you swear by? Gen. McClellan, Fighting Dick [Richardson] and our little Colonel [Champlin] – by thunder!

On March 25, 1862, William wrote to the editor of the Grand Haven News in Ottawa County from Hampton, Virginia.

Dear Sir: since I received your last letter we have been continually on the move. On the 14th Richardson’s Brigade took their last farewell of Camp Michigan, its tents and log huts, and took up their line of march for some point then to us unknown. We halted at Eagle Hill, near Fort Lyon – a bald, bleak hill – and bivouacked in the mud; and on Monday we marched to Alexandria and took the boats. On Tuesday, at 2 o’clock P.M., the expedition started down the {Potomac] River, and we had the gratification of seeing the evacuated blockading batteries of the rebels. The rebels are yet up Acquia Creek, which place as we passed was on fire – not the creek, exactly, but the buildings, etc. At 3 o’clock P.m., of Wednesday, we arrived safe and sound at Fortress Monroe, where we had the pleasure of seeing the little Monitor – the most comical looking contrivance that ever pertained to old Neptune’s dominions. The rebels just hit the nail on the head when they dubbed her “A Black Yankee Cheese Box, on a Raft.”

On Thursday morning we left the boat and marched to Camp Hamilton, where we remained until yesterday, when we again pulled up stakes and crossed the River and [passed] through Hamilton to this place, about a mile from the ruined village. It would make your heart ache to see the desolate picture that this once beautiful village now presents. Piles of rubbish and ashes are all that indicate what once was the homes of some three thousand souls. Beautiful shade trees, now sapless and dead, remain mute monuments to the madness of man. The soldier who bivouacs near searches among the rubbish for a few charred fragments with which to cook his cup of coffee. It is one of he most ancient villages in the country. The church was very old – but that, together with the Odd Fellows’ Hall, are now but a mass of ruins. The residence of ex-President Tyler is over the river, and in good condition, considering that it is domiciled by niggers. And here I must mention an incident that approaches the serio-comic: When we arrived at Camp Hamilton it rained and blew fiercely, to the discomfiture of the troops who had no other bed but the wet ground, and no covering but a shelter tent, about the size of a dog-kennel, which we carry in our knapsacks (they are just the thing for a march, nevertheless) but the Line Officers are not provided with any shelter, whatever, and they, thinking that a white man is a leetle better than a contraband, took possession of three or four large brick houses, among which was Ex-President Tyler’s house, and turned all contraband occupants out of doors; but General Wool, hearing of it, soon sent the Provost Guard, who in turn caused said officers to evacuate, and threw their traps, etc., out of doors in a hurry, much to the disgust and chagrin of the officers, and much to the gratification of the wooly race. One ebony lady, having thus been reinstated, by the Provost Guard, with the front door wide open, and the knob in her hand, was viewing the scatteration of oil-skins, blankets, and overcoats, thus addressed an officer who was standing by, an interested spectatory of the scene, “Yah, yah! He, he! I tole you so! Gen’l Wool make dese white folks know dare place!” and then slammed the door, fully satisfied that “de white folks are jest as good as de color’d pop’lation, when dey know dare place!” Wasn’t that a pretty good dose for an extremist! If Horace Greeley, or any other man, wants to command a regiment of blacks, he must calculate on “knowing his place”.

We have lost our Brigadier General J. [I.] B. Richardson, he having been promoted to the command of Sumner’s Division. We feel bad about it, and so does he. He tried hard to get his old Brigade transferred to his new command, and went to Washington, but it could not be done. He was promoted while we were on Eagle Hill, awaiting shipment. Col. Terry, of the 5th Michigan, is now, by seniority of rank, our Brigadier General, and the Division is commanded by General Hamilton. But for this “grand schemell” we should have been in the advance. Instead of that we are the Third Brigade of the Second Division of this army, and Heintzelman is in command of the three divisions.

We have heard from eye-witnesses full accounts of the late naval fight, the most singular and one of the most terrific on record; but it takes a darkey to put on the flourishes. When the magazine of the Congress blew up the buildings near Hampton were jarred as by the shock of an earthquake. I believe that God Almighty cares for the nation now as He did in the great struggle for independence, and it seems as though the invention of the Monitor is a mark of His providence. We hear that another boat, sister to the Monitor, the Mystic, has arrived. She is said to be swifter and stronger. This morning Porter’s division passed us, and are marching on in advance. We expect every moment to hear the boom of cannon. Tomorrow we march. Rest assured that we will not retrograde, and none will do and dare more cheerfully than the Michigan Third. Our colonel is at present under the care of surgeons, but we trust he will be well in a day or two.

Three deserters from an Alabama Regiment came in on Sunday. They say they were compelled to enlist, and that over two hundred of the Regiment would desert of they could. The officers are so strict and suspicious of their men that they will not give a “pass” even to Yorktown, not two miles from their camp. These men found a skiff, and, taking advantage of the night, which was dark and stormy, and having no oars, paddled their craft down the river to our lines with their hands. A dozen contrabands came into our camp this morning, Nearly twice that number started from Secessia, but these twelve were all that succeeded in running the gauntlet, and one of them died since arriving. They were very hungry when they came in, and the boys will have it that “deceased came to his death by eating too many hard crackers.”

Michigan is well represented in Heintzelman’s army. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and Stockton’s Independent Regiments are here – although there is but the 2nd, 3rd and 5th in this Division. Michigan will compare well with the Regiments from any [of the] other States. Berdan’s Sharpshooters were bivouacked near us last night, but have marched on today in advance with Fitz Porter’s division. They have been furnished with Colt’s Revolving Rifles, but the men don’t seem to like them. They prefer Sharp’s rifles, or their own rifles. But it seems to me that they are but half armed without the bayonet, which Colt’s rifles have. Some of them have rifles weighing over thirty pounds. Uncle Abe tried his hand with one and made a first class shot, hitting the mark.

On Saturday Don [Lovell?] and I went down to the Fortress, and through it. We saw the Big Union Gun, and the Lincoln Gun, which carries a ball weighing over four hundred and thirty pounds! The Union Gun is rifled and weighs forty-nine thousand and odd pounds. The Union gun is mounted, and the Lincoln Gun is being mounted, on the beach, and bearing on Sewall’s Point. Within the Fortress are houses with gardens to them, used as officers’ quarters, and lonf rows of buildings, for commissary stores and soldiers’ quarters. There are rows of beautiful live oak shading the carriage ways, which are graveled nice and smooth, the sidewalks are paved with brick, and the unoccupied space between the drives is covered with greensward. Everything is kept neat and clean, and looks more like a snug little village, but for the piles of “Union pills” and artillery laying around, and the big guns frowning outward that rest upon the summit of the green slopes. The boys are now luxuriating in the good things of this life – oysters and other shell fish, such as muscles [sic] and clams. The oysters are the largest and finest that I ever saw – and we know they are fresh. When we get them ourselves, it is presumed they’re private property, but the owners being over the line, and the oysters being plenty, the boys see fit to confiscate them. The contrabands monopolize the trade, and you can get a superb dish, enough to make a hearty meal, for twelve and a half cents. I believe with you, that abolitionism is dying out.

It is high time that political mountebanks should give place to honest men. We have no politics in the army. It is the Union, right or wrong. The people of the North and of the South have no great issue at stake between them. The misrepresentation of the sentiment of the people of the North, backed by bad whiskey, has fired the southern heart so that the weaker brother hung his Union harp upon the willow of maudlin, mock philanthropy, and went to rattling “Dixie” with al his might on the drum. Now, that abolition willow – that weeping willow – did not represent the North. Her symbol is the pine, and truly the emblem of freedom – as the free winds of Heaven strikes her she seems to echo the South, the soil . . . is free soil, and you’d be better off if yours was. But every one to his notion – only don’t circulate any of your basswood arrangements off this way. “The troubles of the country”, says Benton, “come from uneasy politicians – her safety from the tranquil masses.” The boys are all well except Charley Van Dusen, who is in the hospital. Peach trees are in full blossom here.

William was taken prisoner during the Seven Days Campaign in May of 1862, probably at Fair Oaks, Virginia on May 31, 1862, and was paroled sometime late in 1862.

He described a portion of ordeal, particularly after being paroled, in a letter to a friend back in Ottawa County, written from Alexandria, Virginia, in mid-December of 1862.

My Dear Friend: Yours of the 7th was very gladly received. It is so unusual for me to receive a letter that I mark a letter day with a white mark. Perhaps all this comes from my writing so little – for, since I have been here, my health has been very poor. If I was to tell you all you would not be astonished: How we were ordered from here (unofficially) on the 3d of November, to go to our regiment, on the supposition that we were exchanged – how we took the cars for Harper’s Ferry, and slept on the cold, hard rocks of Loudon heights, on the night of the 4th (my sister’s birthday), marched to near Smith’s Gap, on the 5th, passed there after the rear guard of the army, on the 6th – and how some four hundred of our number were recaptued by the enemy (and some hung), as we chased the army of the Potomac, which, you will remember, was then moving southward, toward the Rappahannock, and then snow storm in the mountains on the 7th – yes! How we went six days, continually on the move, and had only one day’s rations dealt out to us (we filled up the vacuum within by eating raw corn), and then after all this useless and I trust unauthorized suffering we found that we were not yet exchanged! Just think of it. Rushing thousands of men through an enemy’s country who are not yet released from their parole! This kind of usage to us veterans may be all right, but I can’t see it. It certainly has the tendency to break many a man down – myself for one. To fetch a pail of water from the well is the most that I accomplish in a day’s time. All that were fit for duty were sent to their regiments, but the M.D. classed me unfit, so I remain here and make the best of it.

If I was able to be with my Regiment you can bet I’d be there. I furnished a list of the Michigan, forty-one in number, in this camp, to Judge Edmunds, President of the Michigan Soldiers’ Relief Association, of which Z. Moses, formerly of Grand Haven, is Treasurer, and urging some action on their part with our representatives toward relieving the Michigan men in this camp. And for these reasons: Because many wounded and sick are here who are forever disabled from military service and would be discharged by a Medical Board if favored with an examination – some who have been sent out of Hospitals with their wounds unhealed and running.

Again, because most have not received a cent from Uncle Sam for six, eight, and some ten months and more, and whose families are suffering in consequence. Now, all who remain here are pronounced by the M.D.s “Excused on account of disability.” To remain here is but an aggravation, and making a bad thing worse. This is not the place that I should select to recruit my health in, by no means. To go to my Regiment I’m not able. To get out here honorably as a soldier I don’t see the way at present. To ask for a furlough is presumption. So the blasted thing goes. The honorable gentlemen now assembled in Washington have something else to do than attend to the wants of those who have on Jeff Davis’ bounty. They’ve got a nigger in hand, and the wool so thoroughly drawn over their optics that they can’t see a soldier – a white soldier! He may suffer and be --- but the “Nigger”, he’s political capital and can’t be “drapped”. Let them hug him. I’m for the Union first, last and forever., and by all or any means to show to the world that a democratic form of government is a government of broad and deep foundation, and lasting as the hills – that factions can not rend it, or parties shake it from the throne in the hearts of the people.

I have an idea about this war. I kept my eyes and ears open when in Rebeldom, and am satisfied that this war will never be ended by fighting alone – never! I would like to chat with you an hour or two, about a conversation I had with the Captain of Company I, Georgia Regiment, and the Captain of the 4th North Carolina, after I was made prisoner.

Are the interests of the North and South so conflicting that we should be disunited? Why is it that the extremes in each section should rule in each section to the destruction of both? A deification of the “Nigger”, by one section, and a degeneration of State rights into secession by the other. It is the every-day curse of nine-tenths of the soldiers in the army, “The devil take the nigger!” Not that they curse him, as an individual, but as a “causus belli”, and as a ruse for political humbugs, to wool it into office. Where do you think I first heard of the results of the fall elections? In a lonely Irish cabin, in Thoroughfare Gap, Bull Run Mountains, on the night of the 7th of November, where (four of us) sought shelter from the snow-storm. We remained over night, as we could find no other shelter. The house had been used as a picket post by the rebels, a little while previous, and the walls were charcoaled with “Death to the Yankees”, and the names of diveres members of a Louisiana Regiment. The old lady gave us shelter and a hoecake, and I paid her my share, to wit: a shirt and a fine tooth comb – both came handy to her. We chatted a couple of hours, and she said that she’d heard that “Five Northern States had gone agin the North!” I told her I thought that they were just as strong for the Union as they “had gone for the North”, instead of “agin” it; but it might have a tendency to shorten the war, or bring both sections to an understanding. She “hoped to the Lord it would.” We were the first [Union] soldiers who had stayed there – for the cabin was “over the lines and beyond our vidette posts. Besides she couldn’t read. How did she get the news?

If only I had a furlough of thirty days I might recruit up and be good for something again. I’ve not heard from Don [Lovell?] since October. [Don Lovell was promoted to Second Lieutenant and transferred to the Sixth Michigan cavalry in October of 1862.] If I was in Michigan I might possibly do something toward getting into the cavalry. You say I could get an appointment as Lieutenant. How? Please write me, and if you can speak a word for a poor old paroled prisoner I would feel under everlasting obligations. Remember me to all inquiring friends.

From Camp Parole, at Alexandria, Virginia, he wrote to George Miller’s mother. Miller, also of Company A, had been a comrade of Drake’s, and he too had gone missing at Fair Oaks.

You will not think me forward in adding a word to that already written by friend [Jessie] Coon. I belong to company A of the Third and have stood picket a great many times with George and I say it not for display, there was not one in the Company for whom I felt a higher regard. After the terrible battle of Fair Oaks 3 of Company A were found to be missing, J. V. Smith, George and myself. We had to fight Indian fashion such was the nature of the ground, thickets, fallen timber and swampy. I think with others that he might have been carried off by the enemy (wounded) and since died or that his body was not found after we moved from Salisbury prison], North Carolina to Belle Isle [prison] near Richmond, Virginia some of our Regiment held prisoners there inquired of us if we knew anything about George and we made all inquiries if he was yet in the hospitals at Richmond. We should have known it by this time, hence we are driven to conclude that he has met a soldier's death.

Our wounded received the best treatment the enemy could give and to my knowledge were not abused as some represent. You will pardon me for expressing my opinion as to his fate, all who knew him mourn for him and with you -- he was truthful, honorable and upright and a true-hearted soldier for such a one's sorrow is not unmixed for the dark cloud has a bright border guided by a sanctifying hope.”

On Christmas Day William wrote his friend Agnes from the convalescent camp near Alexandria, Virginia. He referred to “Camp Parole”, also known as “Camp Banks”, as “Camp Purgatory.”

Here’s a Merry Xmas & a Happy New Year. I lately recd a letter from Sarah [his future wife?] & learned that you had just arrived from Canada. Of course you had a pleasant time. How does her Majesty’s dominions look when compared to Uncle Sam’s big farm? And how many Americans (to the manor born) did you see over there – I understand a few step over the line ‘to get out of the draft’ – My chum here (of Cap Ed Pierce’s Co [E]) tells me that he has a relative in Michn who had just plead exemption on the ground of being a foreigner! The poor boy feels wrathy about it, the more so as he has a bro (his only) a Lt in the Rebel service. So the Govt has resolved to draft if the quota is not filled by the 30th. I do hope that Michn will never be disgraced by any forced means as Pa had been & other states – Drafted men do not fight – unless under the strictest discipline & Big Bounty men are worse than the Hessians of the Revolution. Agnes! A man who will not fight for his country without bribe or compulsion – either does not love country or has no pluck – Mercenaries will never vindicate the Union on the battle field. Day before yesterday I vamped up a ‘pass’ & crossed the Long Bridge & after much inquiry found Don [Lovell] and was mighty glad to see the boy – he makes a fine officer.

I met my old friend Pete Weber (Capt of Co B of the 6th Mich Cavy) & had a very pleasant time with him. He introduced me to Capt. Drew (late of the Express Co.) & other officers. My reception was quite flattering – Pete said he envied me my red badge on the cap (Kearney’s badge) & when I told him that my last order was recd from that Old War Dog – he allowed that it was an honor – especially as I obeyed that order. I remained with Don over night & then returned via Washington where I met some of the Old Third – wounded etc. – it does my heart good to see them – but then it seems painful too – I called on Lt. Bergman at a private house on ‘C’ St. – he has lost his right leg above the knee (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.’

Our Col now Genl [Stephen] Champlin called to see him the other day – Don called on him also – By the bye Cap. [Peter] Weber was telling me that when the officers of the 6th congratulated Col Champlin on his promotion – he put on his good serious-pleasant look & rejoined ‘Ah! Peter I think more of my old weather beaten Eagle than of the Star.’ The Col cried when he had to leave the Regt. Since he came to Washington he recd a letter from Genl [Hiram] Berry who says that in the future he will spare the Old Third as much as is possible. Hah!

Christmas Day – how are you spending it? Any sleighing? This morning I went in to Alexandria & (we three) had a dish of oysters apiece, glass Lager (oh no three) & a pint of cider apiece and then left the dirty town – full of drunken soldiers & quarrelsome civilians! That Alexandria is a plague spot – the cullion [?] population are troubled with the Small Pox a good deal. Our Christmas dinner was Port – head & sour krout – to day the President’s lady favors the Hospitals of the District with some 3 tons of Chickens and Chicken fixings – We too have a divinity – A Knickerbocker lady from Albany, who donates sour krout to the ‘Nation’s Pets’ as she terms us – rather hard pets, Aye? Rather a strange streak of generosity (I think) that leads her to condole us the neglected, forgotten played outs – with sour krout – but I think she is a philosopher & on the principle that ‘two negatives are equivalent to an affirmative,’ takes this means to correct the journey of the ‘Nation’s Pets’ -- by the bye – this ‘Pets’ is intended – I suppose – as Artemus Ward says – ‘ironically,’ in consideration of the high debt of obligation that we are under to that synonym of ingratitude the Republic – Thank God I owe nothing to my country, but to love her – I begged for a privilege to test my devotion in the field – I am satisfied that I have done my duty – so far – as far as in me lay – I have suffered too (a little) not excepting ‘The instance of office,’ & the pangs etc. etc. – and above all that I have not begged for a discharge; but have dropped off the tree of Military Ability – ripened into disability – by hardships, suffering & neglect – All this has made me love my country the more & hate the disturbers of her peace (North & South) the more intensely Pshaw!

I’m making a real confession & writing too much I think, without even saying ‘by your favor’ Agnes, if I was to make a full confession of my poor opinion of this war, & it’s results – you would condemn me – but has it not occurred to you that the whole management of the war has been a regular avalanche of blunders? And that tens of thousands who have fallen have fallen ‘almost in vain?’ That the war has been turned to other purposes than that for which it was inaugurated on our part. – There is within sight of the Capitol in Washington, more than 60,000 sick, wounded & convalescent soldiers! Can you realize it? It seems impossible but – it is only too true, and you cannot form any idea of the manner in which they live – It has got to be – that a soldier is no better than a dog – but that dog is Diogenes, & his nature be it coarse or fine – is warped into a sort of surly independence, that is apt to be repulsive, in proportion to the degree of coarseness or fineness of temperament – Well I’m going right into the ‘morale’ of soldiering – but I cannot notice the effects without inquiring the cause. It does seem a strange thing that we do not whip down the Rebellion – if we cannot it’s a pity – We must, or find some other means to save the union, for that’s the point. Doubtless you are anxious to hear how the Proclamation will be recd by the Rebels – look anxiously to the 1st Jany 1863 – I’ll risk an opinion that they will not accept & that no State within their lines will respond to the President’s call while the Rebel capital is out of our hands – Well now I’ll stop this talk – but I don’t & can’t think of anything else. I’m coming home, & that before long – I expect my discharge papers her everyday – Oh if! I could go North by New Years. There is nothing stirring down the river – I cam near seeing John yesterday – but he had just gone down to the Army with some sutler [?] stores – they keep bringing up the wounded everyday – quite a lot arrived yesterday.— Well Agnes, good bye for the present & remember me to all enquiring friends – Chaplain [Joseph] Anderson tells me that Cap Akeley informed Havens has poor success recruiting – how can that be if he has the assistance of the puissant Rod? I have not heard from Chicago for quite a while – I don’t know what’s up – Remember me to Sarah Louise, Nellie Kate etc – Happy New Year to all.

William never rejoined the Third Michigan. He was discharged for organic heart disease on December 28, 1862, probably at Camp Banks, Alexandria, Virginia.

William returned to Michigan, and on January 6, was back in his former home in Grand Haven, Ottawa County.

He married Michigan native Sarah Middlemist (1842-1898) on November 8, 1865, and they had at least four children: George (b. 1868), Charley (b. 1873), Cornelius (b. 1876) and Florence (b. 1880).

William settled his family in Chicago, Illinois, possibly as early as 1866 but certainly by 1868. By 1880 he was working in Chicago as an architect and living with his wife and children as well as two servants. He was still living and working as an architect in Chicago in 1892, when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

In 1902 (?) he was living in Illinois when he applied for and received a pension (no. 1,049,447).

William died on January 19, 1905, possibly in Chicago and if so was presumably buried there. (See photo P-342.)