Thursday, March 19, 2009

Moses Barrett Houghton

Moses Barrett Houghton was born on December 7, 1834, in Orangeville, Wyoming County, New York, the son of Hiram (1804-1857) and Amelia or Aurelia (1806-1892).

As a young man Moses helped his father operate a large dairy farm. He remained at home and attended school as well as working the farm; he finished his education at Middlebury Academy in Middlebury, Wyoming County, New York. In 1854 Moses’ father moved to Ionia County, Michigan where he purchased two farms, giving one to his son to operate.

Moses married Middlebury native Mary Elizabeth Keith (1836-1911) on November 8, 1854, in Orangeville, Wyoming County, New York, and they had at least three children: Judson Edward (b. 1857), Louise Aurelia (b. 1859) and John Clancy (b. 1870). They eventually settled in Boston, Ionia County.

Soon after his arrival in western Michigan, Moses took an active interest in the growing movement to establish local militia companies and on January 31, 1857, was elected First Second Lieutenant of the new local western Ionia Company, the “Boston Light Guard” under the command of Captain Ambrose A. Stevens. On April 7, 1858, Moses was elected First Lieutenant, replacing Harrison Powers who resigned, and he was one of the Ionia delegates to the State Military Convention held in Detroit in August of 1858.

In August of 1860 Moses was promoted to Captain of the company, replacing Captain Stevens who had been promoted to the staff of the Fifty-first (soon to be renumbered Third) Regiment. That same year he was working as a farmer living with his wife and children in Boston.

Moses was 26 years and still Captain of the “Boston Light Guards,” which would serve as the nucleus of Company D, and probably still living in Boston when he enlisted as Captain of Company D on May 13, 1861. He apparently returned home to Michigan sometime in late 1861, but by late December had returned to the Regiment bringing 28 recruits with him.

Moses was wounded in the thigh, probably at Fair Oaks on May 31, 1862, and was absent with leave for 30 days from July 8, 1862. However, he had probably returned to the Regiment by the time he was promoted Major on September 24, commissioned September 1, and was on a leave of absence from Third Corps headquarters on March 14, 1863.

He eventually returned to duty and was serving with the regiment in early May of 1863. According to James Taylor, a member of Company I, on May 3 the Third Corps “had been thrown out nearly five miles in the advance of the main army, following, as we then supposed, Lee’s retreating army; but, as we soon learned, it was one of Jackson’s ruses to draw us out while he made his flank attack upon Gen. [O.O.] Howard’s (Eleventh) Corps. In the afternoon we fell back nearly three and a half miles to within about one and a half miles of our main army, where we found ourselves cut off, with Early’s and Jackson’s troops between us and our army.”

About 11:00 p.m. “Birney’s whole division moved forward to that famous night charge, Ward’s brigade leading, ours following, and Graham’s following us, with orders to make as little noise as possible until we came upon the enemy; then make all the noise possible, both with our guns and throats, which we did to the best of our ability. In this charge we got separated, part swinging to the right and part toward the left.” The regiment reformed the next morning, “at the point or curve of our line, about a half mile to the right of the Chancellor House, where we made another charge, led by Maj. Houghton in his short-sleeves, a revolver in each hand, and we took in about 500 prisoners in short order. We remained at this point until the close of that battle.”

Moses was absent sick on July 28, but eventually rejoined the Regiment and was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on January 20, 1864, replacing Edwin S. Pierce. Moses was mustered out on June 20, 1864.

Shortly after returned to Michigan Moses began soliciting for a Regiment of his own. And indeed on Saturday, July 23, Colonel Moses B. Houghton was charged with reorganizing and raising a “new” Third Michigan. On July 26 Michigan Governor Austin Blair published an open letter in the Grand Rapids Eagle, which said, “Colonel Moses B. Houghton is hereby appointed Commandant of Camp for the Third Michigan Infantry, which will be recruited and organized in the 4th congressional district of this state. He will immediately enter upon the business of organizing the regiment actively and will, as he may find convenient and for the interest of the regiment, nominate such officers to the Executive as he may think proper for the service.” (Moses was commissioned as such on July 29.) The paper went on to publish a notice of a “Public Meeting.”

Colonel Houghton, of the Mich Third, having received orders to reorganize said regiment, from Gov. Blair, would be pleased to meet all of the citizens at the Rathbun house, at half past 8 o'clock tomorrow morning, to consult as to the best means of raising a sufficient number of men to fill up the regiment. This is a most important and desirable move, and one that should be met with promptness and liberality on the part of our people. Let the business men turn out, and the object will be attained, and our County and district saved from a draft. Eight and a half o'clock is the hour, as time is very important. [list of names follows]

It will be seen by the above appointment, that Governor Blair has made M. H. Houghton, late Lieutenant Colonel of the glorious Old Third, Colonel, with the authority to raise a new regiment of infantry for the U. S. service, in the 4th congressional district, to be called the Third; and, also, by a call, published below it, for a military meeting at the Rathbun house at 8 1/2 o'clock tomorrow morning, signed by many of our leading citizens, that the work is to be commenced immediately and in earnest. let there be a good turn out, at this meeting of our influential men, to welcome Colonel Houghton and assist him in his glorious work.

Regarding the “war meeting,” W. S. Walton wrote the editor of the Eagle,

In your report of the proceedings of the meeting of our citizens, held at the Rathbun House, yesterday morning, to consult together, and compare opinions as to the best method of filling our quota under the last call of the President, your reporter forgot to state that the Central Committee whose duty it is to raise two companies, if possible, for Col. Houghton, to be called after the gallant old Third, and thereby fill our quota throughout the city and County, were also requested and instructed to suggest to the various towns in the County, their cooperation or similar action, for a like purpose.

The name of this new military organization under Col. Houghton, officered as it will be, in part, by the veterans of the gallant old Third, must give an impetus to enlistments in it. The Old Third has already furnished two [four] Brigadier Generals, who have won their honors in many a hard fought battle for the Union, and I believe the Grand River valley has the timber for half a dozen more.

Now let us give three loud cheers for Brig. Gen. Byron R. Pierce, the hero of many battles; and then let us all drop a tear to the memory of Brig. Gen. Stephen G. Champlin, who, in the social circle, ranked high with all who knew him, in his profession as a lawyer, he was high toned and above reproach; an in his military career a soldier brave to a fault, and one who voluntarily gave his life a sacrifice upon the altar of his country. Alas, that death should choose so shining a mark.

On Friday, July 29, a recruiting committee for the “new” Third Michigan, consisting of C. C. Comstock, George Gray, George W. Gay; L. Covell and T. D. Gilbert, announced in the Eagle that “All those discharged officers and enlisted men of the old Mich. 3rd who wish to assist in the reorganization of the regiment, are requested to report at the office of Gilbert & Co., in Luce's block, where the Recruiting Committee meet every morning at 8 o'clock.” The same day Colonel Houghton wrote to Governor Blair informing him that

I have visited Grand Rapids and have decided to locate the camp of the 3rd Regt. at that place. I find the barracks in very good condition, and at very small expense could be made comfortable for the summer. I trust this will meet with your approval. I would also respectfully request that Abraham Alderman, John H. Sumner*, Elijah Fuller and Charles H. Van Dusen* be appointed recruiting officers for the 4th district. These men will recruit companies for my regt. and will make efficient officers some of them having served three years with the [old] 3rd. As soon as the authority for these men to recruit is given by you they will come to Detroit to be mustered.

I have selected Dr. James F. Grove formerly of the [old] 3rd for Surgeon, Edwin M. Marble for Adjutant, and George K. Nairn for Quarter Master. Nairn is now in the army. He was Q.M. Sergt of the 3rd and reenlisted and is now in the 5th Inftry. As soon as he can get out of the service I shall need him. Many of the old officers and men will enter the new regt.

Blair telegraphed back giving his permission to locate the new Regiment in Grand Rapids. On August 9 the Eagle reported that Captain Alfred B. Turner was recruiting in Grand Rapids

for the new regiment to be called the ‘Third’, and though having but just commenced the work, he has already upon his muster roll 24 names of good, stalwart soldier boys. He has opened a recruiting office in Post Office block, and hopes and expects, ere two weeks pass, to have a full company of men. Everything looks encouraging now. The news from the Union army in every direction is good. General Grant is making it warm and interesting for the rebels in and about Richmond; General Sherman has got the traitors by the nape of the neck at Atlanta; General Sheridan is laying the Rogue's March for the rebel raiders about the Potomac, and Rear Admiral Farragut, the naval hero, with his fleet of iron clads and wooden vessels, is thundering away at the gates of Mobile. The skies are bright and Heaven's breath smiles sweet and wooingly all around.

Let us stand by the flag; let all loyal men put their shoulders to the wheel, and the "good time coming" will ere long come, so sure as time asks, when the stars and stripes will again wave in triumph over a land of united freemen, in which slave-driving traitors and hissing Copperheads will be as few and scattering as angel's visits in Pandemonium, of latter-day Democrats in the land of the blest.”

On August 15 the Eagle noted that “Captain Alfred B. Turner, who is recruiting a company of men for the new 3rd regt. of Mich Inf., now being raised ion his Congressional district under command of Colonel Houghton, of the “old Third,” and which is to be rendezvoused in this city, has already 42 men enlisted. According to the present rate of enlisting this command will soon be filled, and we would advise all who are about to enlist under the large bounties, city, state, and national, to join this regiment, which will be under the command of able and experienced officers. Now is the time.”

By the middle of September the Regiment was nearly full. On September 13, the Eagle reported that “The new 3rd regiment Mich. Inf., is now fully organized, officers and its ranks pretty well filled. Seven companies have been organized and reported here, containing 500 men. Three of the companies are full, and the other four soon will be, as their ranks are rapidly filling up. The remaining three companies to complete the organization of the regiment are, we understand, to be taken from the old Third.”

On Thursday, September 29, “S. Huntley, Jr., Sutler of the New Third Mich. Infantry, gave an elegant supper to the officers of that regiment, last evening, at the Rathbun House.” According to the report in the Eagle, “The banquet was all that the most fastidious appetite could desire, and the proceedings, after the viands had been disposed of, were of an interesting and jovial character, consisting of toasts, sentiments, wit, poetry and eloquence.

Toasts and sentiments were volunteered by the various officers and guests present, and lively conversation indulged in until a late hour, when the company dispersed, well pleased with their evening entertainment.

A finer appearing body of officers has never been convened in this city than those of the new Third. From the gallant and battle-tried Colonel [Moses B. Houghton] down, they are generally of stalwart proportions and fine physical conformation, and we have no doubt they will acquit themselves as strong men in the hour of battle, and preserve, and, if possible, increase the illustrious reputation of the noble old Third, whose backs were never seen by the foe.

During the day yesterday, Col. Houghton was presented with a beautiful sword; manufactured for the purpose, at the order of the officers and privates of the regiment. Col. H. served three years with the old Third, and was its commanding officer when he received his appointment to the new Third. He has been tried in battle and in camp, and deserves the admiration and respect of his officers and men.

By mid-October this “new” (or “reorganized”) Third Michigan infantry was, wrote the Eagle, “full, mustered, armed and equipped throughout, and awaiting orders to march. there are six companies, numbering 600 men, in Camp Lee [in Grand Rapids], and four companies, numbering 400 men, in camp at Pontiac. The field and staff officers were all mustered into the service on Saturday last, in Camp Lee. The companies in Pontiac were in command of Lieutenant Colonel Atkins, who receives his orders from Colonel M. B. Houghton, who is now in this city.”

The same day the paper also noted that “The members of Company A, in the new 3rd Michigan Infantry, purchased and presented, through their Orderly Sergeant, Chas. Kusterer, a few days ago, a sword, sash and belt, each to the commissioned officers in their company -- Captain J. H. Sumner, Lieuts A. W. Peck and K. P. Moore.”

On Wednesday, October 19, the Eagle reported “The following list of names compose the colonel and staff officers of the new Third regiment of Michigan Infantry, and all the comm. offs. in the 6 companies, just left Camp Lee. [former Third Michigan men denoted by an asterisk after their name]

The names of the officers in the other four companies, completing the organization of the command, stationed at Pontiac, we have not been able to obtain: Colonel M. B. Houghton*, veteran; Lieutenant Colonel John Atkinson, veteran; Major Philo D. Cutler, veteran; Surgeon H. H. Powers, veteran; 1ST Asst. Surg. Ira Winegar; 2ND Asst. Surg. Philo A. Drake; Adjutant E. M. Marble; Q. M. Geo. K. [Nairn]*, veteran; Chaplain M. Ingersoll Smith
Co. A - John H. Sumner* Captain, veteran, Abijah W. Peck, 1st Lieutenant, veteran, Emery P. Moon* 2nd Lieutenant, veteran
Co. B - Seth K. Moon, Captain, T. J. Dickinson, 1st Lieutenant, Thomas Kerrey, 2nd Lieutenant
Co. C - Carlos B. King Captain, Elijah Fuller 1st Lieutenant, Alesir V. Gilbert, 2nd Lieutenant
Co. D - Wash. K. Ferris*, Captain, veteran, Silas P. Larabee, 1st Lieutenant, Obed W. Califf, 2nd Lieutenant
Co. E - Reuben P. Lamb, Captain, veteran, Albert H. Ellis 1st Lieutenant, W. Boydon, 2nd Lieutenant
Co. F - Michael P. Long*, Captain, veteran, Charles H. Wickham, 1st Lieutenant, Gerrot Smith, 2nd Lieutenant
Non-commissioned Staff: Sergeant Major Erastus T. Yeomans; Q.M. Sergeant S. E. Faxon; Comm. Sergeant F. C. Randall; Hosp. Steward S. C. Slawson.

The paper also reported that the “new” Third Michigan had left that morning “for the front.” “The force going from this city numbered about 600 men, and it is ordered to report at Nashville, Tenn. The gallant boys made a splendid appearance, all draped in blue, armed and equipped and with flags flying, as they marched in columns through our Streets for the depot. -- May the reputation of this ‘New Third’ be in the future as good and glorious as that of the ‘Old Third’ is now, without the bloody sacrifice of life, necessarily made by the latter. Success to these Union heroes, and may God protect and enable them ere long to return to their homes again, covered with glory, when victory shall prevail everywhere perch upon the old flag, and peace reign triumphant in all the land.”

Albert Baxter wrote in his History of Grand Rapids that “under Houghton's command the regiment proceeded to Nashville, thence to Decatur, Alabama. Between that time and the close of the war it was engaged at many points in the South; moving in the latter part of 1865 into Western Texas, where it was engaged for a time on provost guard duty. Early in the spring of 1866, the regiment was ordered to Victoria Texas.” The Reorganized Third, as it was officially called, would remain in the western theater of operations until it was mustered out of U.S. service in late May of 1866 at Victoria, Texas.

On September 30, 1864, the Eagle reported that the sutler of the New Third Michigan infantry, S. Huntley, Jr.,

gave an elegant supper to the officers of that regiment, last evening, at the Rathbun House. The banquet was all that the most fastidious appetite could desire, and the proceedings, after the viands had been disposed of, were of an interesting and jovial character, consisting of toasts, sentiments, wit, poetry and eloquence. -- Toasts and sentiments were volunteered by the various officers and guests present, and lively conversation indulged in until a late hour, when the company dispersed, well pleased with their evening entertainment. A finer appearing body of officers has never been convened in this city than those of the new Third. From the gallant and battle-tried Colonel [Moses B. Houghton] down, they are generally of stalwart proportions and fine physical conformation, and we have no doubt they will acquit themselves as strong men in the hour of battle, and preserve, and, if possible, increase the illustrious reputation of the noble old Third, whose backs were never seen by the foe.

During the day yesterday, Col. Houghton was presented with a beautiful sword; manufactured for the purpose, at the order of the officers and privates of the regiment. Col. H. served three years with the old Third, and was its commanding officer when he received his appointment to the new Third. He has been tried in battle and in camp, and deserves the admiration and respect of his officers and men.

Moses was mustered in as Colonel of the “new” Third Michigan infantry on October 15, 1864, and on October 20 the Regiment departed from Grand Rapids and arrived in Decatur, Alabama on October 31 (or perhaps a day or two earlier) where the regiment was quickly deployed to reinforce the defense of the city.

The regiment remained at Decatur until November 25 when the Regiment was ordered to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where it arrived on November 27 and took over the guard duty at Fort Rosecrans. On January 16, 1865, the Regiment moved to Huntsville, Alabama, and on January 31 to Eastport, Mississippi, but by February 6 it was back in Huntsville. On March 13, Houghton was brevetted a Brigadier General of United States Volunteers, and on March 16 the Regiment marched through East Tennessee reaching New Market on March 18. It left New Market on March 29, heading toward Bull’s Gap and proceeded on to Jonesboro where it went into camp on April 7.

After the fall of Richmond, the New Third’s eastward movements were halted and the Regiment fell back to Nashville, Tennessee on April 28. Houghton was absent with leave from June 1, 1865, and the Regiment remained in Nashville until June 15 when it left by rail and steamer for New Orleans, Louisiana arriving there on July 5. The Regiment crossed the Gulf of Mexico at Indianola, Texas and then marched to Green Lake where it arrived on July 11. It remained at Green Lake until September 12 and headed for western Texas.

Houghton was on detached service as president of a general court martial from October 26, 1865 through March of 1866, and he was relieved from court martial duty on April 18, 1866.

On August 1, 1865, a member of the Reorganized Third, perhaps in an attempt to remind the people back home that they were still in the service of the country, wrote from Green Lake, Texas to the editor of the Eagle, “Thinking, perhaps, that your readers would like to hear something about the 3d Michigan Infantry, which left Grand Rapids, Mich., last October, for the purpose of participating in the last act of the tragedy of the Southern rebellion.” Therefore,

I thought I would sit down and write you a few lines of its history. This regiment, perhaps, has not participated in as many battles and skirmishes as some others which the good old State of Michigan has sent out, yet it has done all that has been required of it, and that, too, cheerfully. Although this regiment has been in the service but ten months, yet during that period, it has gone through some as severe marches as stand on record -- marches which have caused more than one old veteran soldier to drop out, and commit one of the meanest of all crimes, "straggling.” It has been a matter of public notice several times among the 4th corps generals, of the way in which the 3d Michigan goes through its marches, as, in many instances, it will have but a few stragglers, while other regiments, and old ones too, will be strung along the road for miles. So far as fighting is concerned, that portion which has fallen to the lost of the 3d Michigan has been done well and with the same cheerfulness as they go through their marches. Of one thing the people of Michigan can be assured, and that is that nothing which has been gained by the “Old Third,” or whatever name they may have earned for themselves in their brilliant maneuvers in the Potomac army, has been, and will continue to be guarded by the new Third.

We have quite a number of both officers and men in this regiment whose names are fresh, and will continue to be for time immemorial, in the minds of a grateful people. The commanding officer of the 3d Michigan, Colonel M. B. Houghton, was formerly a member of the old 3d regiment, and, for a kind and gentlemanly bearing towards the men and subordinate officers in his command he is unequaled in the corps. Among the line officers of his command stand conspicuous by the names of Captain Michael P. Long, commanding company F, Captain I. N. Lerich, co. I, Captain John Sumner, Co. A, and many others, old veteran soldiers, who have, on more than one field of battle, exposed their lives for the purpose of upholding the constitution and laws of the United States.

There have been some few promotions in the 3rd during the past few months, among which I may mention Geo. Sheldon, formerly Sergeant of Co. H, and promoted from Sergeant Major; also J. W. Bigalow, formerly 1st Sergeant of Co. F, and a resident of Ionia, son of Com. Bigalow, of that place. There have been several other promotions of the 2nd Lieutenants from Sergeants, but, as I am unacquainted with them, I shall have to pass them by.

The regiment, however, had quite a pleasing surprise, a few days since, in the appointment of Captain J. H. Lerich, of Co. I, (by the officers of the regiment) to Major, to fill the place made vacant by the resignation of Major Hall. Captain Lerich is a fine officer, and well filled for the position which his fellow officers have conferred upon him. May he live to enjoy it until the regiment is called home and honorably mustered out, is the wish of both officers and men in this command.

We have had quite a number of resignations in the regiment since the war closed, among which will always be remembered with regret that of our Regimental Adjutant, E. M. Marble. he was beloved by every man in the regiment, and his resignation has been looked upon as a heavy loss to the Third.

I must bring this letter to a conclusion, with the hope that our good old Colonel M. B. Houghton, will soon be marching us home, to those friends and dear ones who have been longing and expecting us for many a month. [signed] Young Third.

Another member of the Regiment, who signed himself “Jaun Dice,” viewed the entire move to Texas and particularly to Green Lake, from a somewhat different perspective. He wrote to the Detroit Free Press from Victoria, Texas, in mid September, ostensibly to report on the state of rebellion in the Southwest and the situation of the New Third Michigan.

This gigantic rebellion is still tottering to its fall, and I think we shall soon send it groveling to the dust, if we can only find it. In all that extent of territory which recently bristled with hostile bayonets, now not an enemy exists to oppose the supremacy of our laws. They are gone --

“Gone like the truants, that gait without warning,
Down the back entry of time.”

The war being over, we were daily expecting the order to muster us out of the service, and anticipating the happiness which we confidently hoped was soon to be ours of meeting our wives, children and friends, when a little official “hocus-pocus” lands us in Texas; but the object of our coming here is being rapidly consummated, and we are again indulging hopes of being sent home. Twenty-five miles from Indianola there is a small mud-hole, which is dignified in this country with the name of “Green Lake.” On the border of this hole three farmers eat their corn bread and watch their cattle. Of course no good loyal man would live in such a place, which could only have been intended for alligators, moccasins, tarantulas, etc., yet such was the temerity of these men that they had actually erected houses here, evidently with the design of vegetating for an indefinite period. Such was the vigilance of our scouts, however, that our Generals learned these facts immediately on our arrival at Indianola, and as no time could be safely lost, we at once started on a force march for the aforesaid “Green Mudhole.” Only one man of our regiment died on this march, though many were obliged to fall out. After a few days the troops arrived, and we squatter-sovereignted [sic] around the mudhole, established a strong brigade guard, and made ready for action. Such was the consummate skill and ability of our Generals that in less than three months these three farmers were completely subdued. “Nobody killed on our side,” though hundreds of men fled rather than remain longer in this climate, and drink the filthy water of Green Lake, which twenty regiments of soldiers bathing in daily, did not seem to purify, though it greatly improved it. With our new laurels we are now on our way to San Antonio. I think it is not apprehended that we shall meet any important enemy there. Probably we are going there on account of the convenience of wood and water, it being only about five miles to good water, and only about ten miles to wood. A “Grape Vine” in camp today says that the corps is to be mustered out soon. I understand that an order is already out for the muster out of all negro troops in this district. If this be true, as soon as some satisfactory arrangement can be made for the mules, undoubtedly white men will be looked after. We await our time.

The Regiment arrived in San Antonio, Texas on November 6, 1865, when it entered the town and went into provost guard duty after erecting a post hospital. Houghton commanded the post at San Antonio from December 28, 1865, to January 28, 1866, and in early spring the Regiment moved to Victoria, Texas. Houghton was mustered out with the Regiment on May 26, 1866 at Victoria, marched to Indianola, took a steamer to New Orleans, and then up the Mississippi to Cairo, Illinois, and thence by rail to Detroit, where the Regiment arrived on June 10, 1866, and was disbanded.

Houghton’s performance as a soldier in general and officer in particular during his term of service in both Third Regiments was an open question for some members of the “old” Third Michigan.

Hiel P. Clark of Company D, wrote home to his sister on August 1, 1862, “By the way, sis, don’t never send anything to me by Capt. Houghton for I should hate to refuse anything you sent me and I would not take it from him.” And Charles Wright, a sergeant of Company A, old Third, too thought little of Houghton. He wrote in a letter dated December 5, 1864, that the new Third infantry had only two officers who weren’t cowards: Seth Moon and John Sumner, and that the commanding officer of the Regiment, Colonel Houghton, “used to always be taken with the shell fever when near the battle field.”

Moses was also criticized by some of the officers as well. On January 4, 1863, Colonel Byron Pierce, then commanding the Third Michigan, wrote to the former commander of the Third Michigan, Brigadier General Stephen G. Champlin, informing him of certain developments in the Regiment since Champlin left. Pierce wrote that “Something must be done in regard to Capt. Ed. [Pierce]. General Berry . . . does not mention Major [Moses] Houghton’s name. He only speaks of relying on Capt. Pierce and Captain [Israel] Smith. The officers here all speak of him [Houghton] with contempt but what they will do about it is more than I can tell.” However, one member of the reorganized Third infantry wrote from Green River, Texas on August 1, 1865 that, in his estimation, Colonel Houghton possessed “a kind and gentlemanly bearing towards the men and subordinate officers in his command he is unequaled in the corps.”

Others, of course, believed differently.

According to the postwar testimony of one of his captains, Roger Sprague, Houghton was wounded in the left hand on or about October 15, 1865, while in camp near San Antonio, Texas “by the accidental discharge of a pistol, the ball entering the fourth finger at the joint and lodging in the palm of the hand.” Sprague further testified, in his affidavit given on June 21, 1890, for Houghton’s pension application, that he was present when the Regimental surgeon, C. M. Clawson, tried “to extract the ball and that he got his forceps hold of a cord in the colonel’s hand thinking he had the ball and pulled and tugged with all his strength; that said Clawson was a strong and powerful man, and the affiant believed then and still believes that the injury done to his hand and arm by the straining of said cord was serious and permanent, that the pain was so intense, while straining said cord that the colonel turned very pale and almost fainted, although he was at that time a strong powerful man.”

Frank Huntley, a friend of Houghton’s, testified on July 24, 1882, that in 1866 “the ball was still in the hand and was not extracted until nearly a year after he had arrived home when it was taken out by Dr. Powers of Saranac, [Ionia County] where [Huntley] and Houghton then resided. Until the ball had been extracted from [Houghton’s] hand it was perfectly useless and ever thereafter to the present time [1882] it ha been almost entirely so. The index finger is so bent toward the center of the hand as to greatly interfere with the use of the other fingers. The index finger on said hand is worse than useless the nerves thereof having been cut.”

After he was released from the army in 1866, Moses returned to Ionia County, Michigan, and lived for some years in Saranac, Ionia County. In 1870 he was working as a stone and brick mason and living with his wife and children in Saranac. He soon moved north and by 1871 had moved to Osceola County where he took a soldier’s homestead.

In the spring of 1872 he was elected supervisor and in the fall of that year was made Sheriff of the County was reelected in 1874. By 1874 was living in Hersey, Osceola County, and was farming and living with his wife and children in Burdell, Osceola County in 1880, in Hersey in 1881. In 1877 he was appointed Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms for the Michigan Senate. By 1885 and 1888 he was residing in Tustin, Osceola County but was living in Easton, Ionia County in 1890 and 1894. He and his wife Mary were living in Tustin village in 1900. At some point he may also have lived in Nashville, Barry County.

Moses was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1879 he applied for and received pension no. 238,007. He was a staunch Republican and an Episcopalian.

Moses was apparently living in Tustin when he died of Bright’s disease on June 1, 1903, and was interred in the Burdell cemetery, Tustin.

His widow applied for and received pension no. 562,491.

2 comments:

Kaaatie said...

According to Dan S Root's journal, Houghton returned from his leave of absence on August 9th:

Am feeling pretty well today. Took a short walk. Stood it better than yesterday. Capt’s Houghton and Whiting called on me today on the way home on leave of absence. – July 8, 1862 (Dan in hospital in Washington DC)

We were sent on picket this morning. Went to our usual place, the redant and lay in the shade all day without incident worthy of mention. Capt’s Pierce and Houghton returned today. It has been intensely hot. – August 9, 1862

Steve Soper said...

Hey thanks! Haven't heard from you in some time -- hope you are well and of course to see more of Dan's journal!