John Le Clair was born in 1838 in Erie County, Pennsylvania.
John left Pennsylvania and came to western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.
He stood 5’10” with light eyes, sandy hair and a light complexion and was a 23-year-old farmer possibly living in Cascade, Kent County when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. By late July of 1861 he was sick with consumption, and it was rumored in the company that he would soon be discharged. In fact he was discharged for consumption on July 29, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia.
By early August John had returned to Michigan and was quite likely residing in Cascade where he reentered the service as a Corporal in Company H, Fourth Michigan cavalry on July 31, 1862, for 3 years, crediting Cascade, and was mustered on August 28 at Detroit where the regiment was being organized. The regiment left Michigan on September 26 for Louisville, Kentucky and participated in numerous actions throughout Tennessee during the fall of 1862.
John was sick in a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, from December 26, 1862, through March of 1863, and he probably remained hospitalized until he died a Private on October 20, 1863, at Chattanooga, Tennessee, of disease. He was buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery.
There was one John Le Clair, living in Illinois in 1915 when he applied for a civil war pension (no. 1523131) based on service in Company A, Thirty-fifth Michigan infantry. There were in fact only thirty infantry regiments (plus an additional three reorganized) of infantry from the state of Michigan. There was also one John Le Clere living in Michigan in the early twentieth century when he applied for and received a pension (no. 698551) based on his service as Sergeant Major and/or in Company F, Eighth U.S. infantry.