Arad Ellis Lindsay Sr. was born on December 30, 1830, in the vicinity of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, the son of William and Abigail.
Arad eventually left New York and settled in Michigan. He was probably the same Arad Lindsay who in 1855 was reported working as a schoolteacher in New Haven Township’s first school built on section 33 in New Haven, Gratiot County (located just across the County line from Bloomer, Montcalm County).
Arad married Ohio native Harriet Herrick (1836-1919), on March 27, 1858, in LaPaye, Lorain County, Ohio, and they had at least three children, Jay (b. 1859), May or Mae (b. 1861), and Arad Ellis Jr. (1864-1930).
By 1860 Arad was working as a farmer and living with his wife and son in Bloomer, Montcalm County; also living with them was one John Lindsay, b. 1822 in New York, who was working as a mechanic. (There is one William Lindsay, b. c. 1818, buried in Bloomer cemetery, Montcalm County; he died in 1903. Also buried with him is one Berthia or Bertha Lindsay, his wife, who was 65 years old when she died in 1883. She too is buried in Bloomer.)
Arad stood 5’9,” with light complexion, grey eyes and auburn hair, was 30 years old, working as a farmer, carpenter and painter and residing in either Bloomer, Montcalm County, or Ionia, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. (His daughter May was born in Ionia in 1861 and in early 1864 he listed his residence as Ionia, Ionia County.) Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.
Arad was a Corporal and a provost guard on “extra duty” at Brigade headquarters from May through August of 1862. he was present with the regiment from September through December and as of January 20, 1863 he was on detached service as a Provost guard. From February of 1863 through April he was a guard at Division headquarters, and on April 23, 1863, he was a Sergeant when he allegedly deserted while on furlough from headquarters First Division, Third Corps.
It is unclear what became of the charge of desertion. (It is possible that he was in his quarters sick or, more likely, in a hospital being treated for illness.) In any case, Arad returned to the regiment and was reportedly treated for influenza from May 20 to July 3, 1863 and furloughed for ten days and returned on July 12.
According to his service record, sometime in mid-1863 Arad was apparently assigned to the Veterans Reserve Corps (also known as the Invalid Corps), and by June 30, he was apparently in Detroit when it was reported that he had been in the hospital for some three months suffering from diarrhea. His character while in the hospital was listed as “good.” He was given a furlough on July 2, 1863.
First Lieutenant D. C. Crawford, who was then temporarily commanding Company E., however saw Arad’s situation somewhat differently. In fact, he had little good to say about Arad in a note he wrote from Warrenton, Virginia, on August 9, 1863, to Lieutenant Colonel Smith, who was commanding the rendezvous barracks in Detroit.
I have the honor to ask you for information of Sergeant Arad E. Lindsay of my Co. He obtained a furlough of fifteen days from the Provost Marshall of this Division where he was at the time on detached service. When he went away he told some of the men in my Co. that he should not come back if he could help it at the expiration of fifteen days. I recd orders from the Provost Marshall to report him a deserter which I did and have not heard from him since. He was never in an engagement & always was a good camp soldier but a poor fighter . . . . He is no doubt playing off somewhere in Michigan. I have heard that he reported to you. If he is within your reach I wish you would send him on to his regiment as he is no better to stand the hardships of a soldier’s life than the brave & tried veterans who have borne the brunt of war.
And on October 29, Captain Stephen Lowing, who had taken over command of Company E. wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Smith maintaining Arad’s desertion status, adding “that his reputation is not good as a soldier that he obtained a furlough and went home and has since failed to report.”
It was during this same period, however, that Arad sought a commission in the U.S. Colored Troops. In fact on December 8, 1863, Arad was transferred to the First Michigan Colored Infantry, and on January 8, 1864, commissioned as Captain. The regiment was organized at Detroit between August of 1863 and February of 1864, and was mustered into service on February 17, 1864.
The regiment was moved to Annapolis, Maryland, on March 29 where it joined the Ninth Corps; it remained at Annapolis until April 15 when it was ordered to Hilton Head, South Carolina. It was employed on picket and outpost duty on Hilton Head and St. Helena islands and in garrison at Port Royal until June 15. According to one source,
The First left the state March 28, 1864, for Annapolis, Md., where it joined the Ninth corps. It was soon detached and sent by transports to Hilton Head, S. C., where it arrived on the 19th of April. During the next two months the different companies were on picket duty at St. Helena and Jenkins [or Jekyl?] Islands, and on Hilton Head Island. The regiment then occupied Port Royal and assisted in constructing fortifications and other fatigue duty.
In August the First was sent to Jacksonville, Fla., and then marched to Baldwin, where it did picket duty and destroyed railroad tracks. It was attacked by the enemy, and during the engagement the regiment convinced its officers that the men could be relied upon when serious service was demanded.
After a long march through eastern Florida the First embarked on transports at Magnolia for Beaufort, S. C., and arrived the 31st. In September the First was sent to different points on Coosa and Port Royal Islands, and in October the enemy attempted to surprise and capture the regiment, but was repulsed and driven off.
November 30, 1864, a detachment of 300 of the First joined the forces under General Foster, at Boyd's Landing, and engaged the enemy at Honey Hill, S. C., Tillifinny, and at Deveaux Neck.
At Grahamsville the detachment of the First fought a sanguinary battle with the enemy and received the highest commendation of the officers in command for the determination the regiment displayed in holding its ground under a severe fire and in repulsing a charge and charging in turn. The artillery of the expedition suffered severely from the enemy's fire, and so many horses had been killed that two guns had to be abandoned, but were hauled off the field by hand by the First and saved. Many of the men, though wounded and bleeding, refused to go to the rear and fought until the battle was concluded.
The regiment was reunited at Pocatalligo in February, 1865, and made several expeditions in the enemy's country, driving off his cavalry and destroying railroads and building breastworks. It was then sent to Charleston, where it built defenses and then embarked for Savannah, Ga., and returned to Charleston again on the 9th of April. Here the regiment was divided, each wing making daring incursions to the interior of the state, meeting the enemy in several severe skirmishes, but beating him in each engagement.
The 29th of May, General Lee and General Johnson having surrendered, the regiment proceeded to Charleston, and for the next few months occupied Summerville, Branchville, Orangeburg, Winnsboro, and returned to Charleston, where it was mustered out Sept. 30, and arrived at Detroit, Mich., where it was paid and disbanded Oct. 17, 1865.
It was in engagements during its term of service at Baldwin, Fla., August 8, 1864; Honey Hill, S. C., November 30, 1864; Tullifinny, S. C., December 7, 1864; Deveaux Neck, S. C., December 9, 1864; Cuckwold's Creek Bridge, February 8, 1865; Sumterville, S. C., April 8, 1865; Spring Hill, S. C., April 15, 1865; Swift Creek, S. C., April 17, 1865; Boykin's, S. C., April 18, 1865; Singleton's Plantation, S. C., April 19, 1865.
On May 23, 1864, the First Michigan Colored Infantry was reorganized as the One Hundred and second U.S. Colored Infantry and attached to the District of Hilton Head, South Carolina (Dept. of the South) and District of Beaufort, South Carolina (Dept. of the South). The One Hundred and second was garrisoned first at Port Royal, South Carolina from the time it was organized until June 15 when it moved to Beaufort and remained in garrison there until August 1. It was then moved to Jacksonville, Florida from August 1-3, on picket duty at Baldwin until August 15 and participated in the attack on Baldwin August 11-12 as well as in the raid on the Florida Central Railroad August 15-19. It was at Magnolia until August 29, moved to Beaufort August 29-31 and remained on duty there until after the first of the year, engaged in outpost and picket duty on Port Royal, Lady and Coosa Islands until January of 1865.
On November 30, 1864, a detachment under the command of Captain Lindsay, was engaged at Honey Hill, South Carolina, when Arad was reportedly killed in action. According to the official report of Colonel Chipman. Then commanding the One Hundred and second USCT,
Three hundred men of the One hundred and second U.S. Colored Troops were all of that regiment who were engaged on the 30th. This portion of the One hundred and second U.S. Colored Troops under my command reached the landing at Boyd's Point at about 11 a.m. of the 30th and started immediately for the front, which it reached at I p.m. The two left companies were at once deployed across the road as guards, to stop and return to their regiments all stragglers from the front. Lieutenant-Colonel Ames, chief of artillery, having called for a detail to haul off some guns belonging to Battery B, Third New York Artillery, which had been stripped of both men and horses, Capt. A. E. Lindsay was sent with his company to do this work, but before he reached the pieces he was killed, and his only officer, Lieut. H. H. Alvord, severely wounded in two places. The command now devolved upon the first sergeant, who, knowing nothing of the object for which his company had been advanced, filed it right into the woods and formed line toward the enemy. Afterward, when the rest of the regiment was formed in line of battle, Sergeant Madry brought his company and formed it in its proper place in the battalion. The first attempt having thus failed a second was made, and First Lieut. O. W. Bennett was sent with his company to endeavor, if possible, to save the guns. Lieutenant Bennett, with thirty men, went forward fully 100 yards in advance of our first line, and succeeded in bringing away the three guns. Too high praise cannot be awarded to Lieutenant Bennett for the gallant manner in which he led his men in that perilous enterprise, nor to his men who so faithfully followed their leader. At this time the regiment left the road and was posted in line of battle on the road, its left resting on the road, supporting the battery then in action at that point. At 3 p.m. I was informed of the wounding of Colonel Hartwell, and that I was in command of the brigade. From that time the command of the regiment devolved upon Capt. C. S. Montague. The regiment remained in line till 7.30 p.m., when it withdrew. After reaching the church it was also employed in carrying wounded to the rear.
Brigadier General John P. Hatch, commanding the Coast Division, wrote in his official report:
Between 1 and 2 p.m. the One hundred and second U.S. Colored Troops reached the field, having arrived at the landing at 11 a.m.
The ammunition of the troops engaged being nearly expended, and none arriving from the rear, this regiment was necessarily held in reserve, as I received information from deserters and prisoners that large re-enforcements were being received by the enemy by railroad. One section of Mesereau's artillery, having been placed in battery in a position completely commanded by the artillery and sharpshooters of the enemy, lost two of its officers wounded, and most of its horses and cannoneers; two of the ammunition-chests on the limbers were blown up. A detail of a company from the One hundred and second U.S. Colored Troops was ordered to bring off the guns. Capt. A. E. Lindsay, commanding the company, was killed, and Lieut. H. H. Alvord was severely wounded. The command of the company devolved upon a sergeant, who did not understand the object of the advance, and failed to accomplish it. First Lieut. O. W. Bennett, One hundred and second U.S. Colored Troops, with thirty men was detached for the same purpose, and executed it in the coolest and most gallant manner. Mesereau's artillery was then sent to the rear, and Titus' battery brought into action. The artillery fire was directed to be continued slowly, as the ammunition was being expended and none received from the rear. The caissons as fast as emptied were ordered to the landing to refill. About 3 p.m. 6,000 rounds of musket ammunition was received and issued to those regiments entirely out. It was, however, now certain that the enemy's position could not be carried; and whilst a moderate fire was kept up, arrangements were commenced for retiring as soon as it became dark. The ammunition of Titus' battery, except twenty rounds each for two guns, being expended, the naval guns under Lieutenant Commander Matthews were brought into action, one section at a time. The ambulances having been lauded commenced reaching the front. One section of Titus' battery, supported by two regiments of infantry, took post half a mile in the rear. Two regiments of infantry were then drawn from the flanks and posted one mile farther to the rear, where the road crossed a ravine. Two regiments of infantry were detailed to carry the wounded. At dusk the retreat commenced. The Naval Brigade, with the exception of its two pieces of artillery, then engaged, was ordered to occupy the cross-roads; the One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers and One hundred and second U. S. Colored Troops, with one section naval artillery, remained at the front, keeping up a slow fire with artillery until 7.30 p.m., when, the main body of the command being well on its march, they withdrew, and were in their turn covered by the Fifty-sixth and One hundred and forty-fourth Regiments New York Volunteers; these were again covered by the Twenty-fifth Ohio and One hundred and fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, posted as before mentioned. The whole retrograde movement was executed without loss or confusion; there was no pursuit by the enemy or alarm of any kind; not a wounded man was left on the field, except those who fell at the foot of the enemy's works in the charges in which we were repulsed; no stores or equipments fell into the hands of the enemy, except some thrown away by the men on the advance, to enable them the better to follow the enemy in his retreat.
Arad was presumably buried at or near Honey Hill and may have been reinterred in Beaufort National Cemetery.
In January of 1865 Harriet applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 68599). She eventually remarried Daniel Sinkey. (Daniel was probably the older brother of Othaniel Sinkey, who was also from Montcalm County and who, like Arad Sr., had served in Company E.) In 1869 Harriet was living in Bloomer, Montcalm County when she applied for and received (no. 13211) for her minor children. They were still living in Bloomer in 1870.
Curiously, in 1898 one “Eddie” Lindsay or Lindsey, then living in Beaufort, South Carolina, the son of Hattie Williams, who, he claimed had married Arad E. Lindsay, and who further claimed that he was born in 1865, applied on behalf of himself for a minor child’s pension, (no. 680611). The claim was rejected on absence of any substantiation in relationship to Arad E. Lindsay The government further noted that in a note written on November 1, 1901, to Mr. Lindsay’s attorney that since “the claimant in this case is a colored person, it would seem that he is not the legitimate child of the solider.” In 1880 there was a 48-year-old widow named Hattie Williams (listed as a “mulatto”) working as a washer and living with her three children (one of whom is a son born around 1865) in Beaufort Township, Beaufort County, South Carolina
In November of 1915 Harriet was judged to be “mentally incompetent” and was placed under the guardianship of one Walter Yeomans of Ionia, Michigan. Harriet is buried in Middle Branch cemetery, Osceola County, next to her son Arad Jr.