Monday, November 30, 2009

Homer H. Morgan

Homer H. Morgan was born in 1832 in Ohio.

In 1850 there was a 16-year-old Homer Morgan living with the Bradford family in Perrysburg, Wood County, Ohio.

In any case Homer left Ohio and had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was either an apprentice engineer living with and/or working for an engineer by the name of John Davis, in Oakfield, Kent County; or he may have been a farm laborer working for and/or living with William Erdly, a farmer in Cascade, Kent County.

He was possibly married to a woman by the name of Anna (b. 1843), probably in Michigan and they had at least two children: John (b. 1857?) and James (b. 1859?).

In either case, Homer was 26 years old and possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (Company B was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, and many of whom had served in various local militia units before the war, in particular the Grand Rapids Artillery, under Captain Baker Borden, who would also command Company B.)

Homer allegedly shot and killed himself at about 3:00 a.m., Saturday morning, July 20, 1861.

Frank Siverd of Company G described finding Morgan’s body while on a routine night patrol. “While we were out,” Siverd wrote, “on one of these expeditions early in the morning [Saturday], we discovered the body of a member of company B. We immediately took refuge behind a tree, and made a survey of the vicinity, to make sure that no skulking rebel was near whose dastard cowardice would lead him to shoot us as soon as our backs were turned. On examination of the body it was found to be still warm, but life entirely extinct. There were some circumstances to indicate that he committed suicide. I hope, however, that it was not the case as there was ample opportunity to die honorably, if he was particularly anxious to shake off the mortal coil.”

Charles Church of Company G accompanied the patrol along with Siverd. He wrote to his parents that a “man belonging to our Regiment shot himself Sunday [Saturday] morning about 3 o'clock in the morning [and] he was found about 6 o'clock a.m. about 40 rods from where we slept. That night I fetched him in.” George Miller of Company A wrote home that during the battle of Bull Run only one man was killed and he “shot himself the morning of the battle” and “it is not known whether it was done accidentally or on purpose.”

Homer was the only man in the Regiment known to have committed (allegedly) suicide during the war, and he was the first man in the Regiment to die violently in the war. He was presumably buried on the battlefield. Many years after the war Adolphe Campau of Company B, told a reporter for the Grand Rapids Herald a curious story concerning the first battle of Bull Run and a man he believed was named Hendershot but who might have been Morgan.

A strange coincidence, [said Campau] if such it may be called, . . . occurred only a few days before the first battle of Bull Run, while the army was in the field. A soldier named Hendershot harbored a remarkable premonition that he should fall in the battle that was inevitable, and which was fought July 21, 1861, resulting in the overwhelming defeat of the Union forces. The day before the battle, he wrote a letter, placing it in the hands of his captain, stating that he certainly expected to fall in the forthcoming battle, and giving directions as to where his body would be found, and asking that his family be notified of his death. The letter remained unopened in possession of the captain until after the battle. At role [sic] call the private did not appear. The letter was then opened when it was found that he had stated that his body would be found beside a log by the roadside, on a certain highway. Investigation followed, and the poor fellow's body was found, pierced through with a musket ball, precisely where he had stated.

(No other sources mention any of the same specifics and Campau is a less than credible witness to events which happened more than forty years earlier. Darwin Hendershot was the only Hendershot who served in the Old Third, and he was a member of Company G; he eventually deserted.)

Homer was probably among the unknown soldiers buried near Bull Run whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.

No pension seems to be available.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Charles A. Morgan

Charles A. Morgan was born in in 1838.

Charles was married and had at least one child.

Charles was 23 years old and living in Holland, Ottawa County, Michigan, 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 as a Corporal on August 29, 1862, when he was first listed as missing in action, but in fact he was killed in action on August 29 at Second Bull Run.

He was presumably among the unknown soldiers whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery, although there is a memorial for him in Pilgrim Home cemetery, in Holland, which notes that he was buried somewhere “in the South.”

Soon after he died one James Pearsall was reported as a guardian for a minor child’s pension application which was submitted in 1866 and approved (no. 89338).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

William Henry Harrison Moore

William Henry Harrison Moore was born in 1841 in Michigan.

William stood 5’5” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 21-year-old laborer possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company E on March 29, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, and was mustered on April 12, 1862. He was reported absent sick or wounded in a general hospital from August through January of 1863. In fact, William was discharged for “spinal irritation” at West’s building hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 22, 1863.

William eventually returned to Michigan and apparently died in Detroit. He was reportedly buried in Elmwood cemetery in Detroit.

No pension seems to be available.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wesley Moore

Wesley Moore was born in 1840 in Chateaugay County, New York, the son of James.

Wesley left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan by the time war had broken out.

He stood 5’7” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old wagon-maker probably living in Polkton, 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 shot in the left thigh on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and, according to one observer, by mid-July was in Chesapeake hospital at Fortress Monroe, having been “wounded in thigh, has had fever since, [is] thin and feeble, [and he] spoke earnestly, almost wildly of home.” However, Wesley remained hospitalized until he was discharged on March 25. 1863, at Washington, DC, as a result of his wound which rendered him “permanently lame.”

In 1865 he applied for and received a pension (no. 86438).

It is not known if Wesley returned to Michigan after his discharge from the army.

In 1898 (?) one Nellie M. Whitney was living in Pennsylvania and listed as either the guardian of or a minor child of Wesley’s (pension application no. 677142).

And in 1890 Wesley’s father was residing in Kansas when he applied for a pension (application no. 480981). (There is one Wesley Moore who served in Company M of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry and who is buried in Forest Lawn cemetery, in Saginaw, Michigan.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Alonzo E. Moore

Alonzo E. Moore was born in 1842.

(He may have been born in New York and possibly related to William A. and Lucy Moore of keene, Ionia County, Michigan.)

Alonzo was 19 years old and possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He allegedly deserted on July 5, 1862, at Washington, DC. On August 11 Alonzo was reported as having arrived in Detroit Barracks, and he returned to the Regiment on September 8 at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia. He was subsequently employed as a water carrier. He deserted a second time at Leesburg, Virginia while the Regiment was on the march, either on October 7 or November 2, 1862.

There is no further record.

(He was probably not one of the three civil war veterans living in Michigan named Alonzo L. Moore and Alonzo S. Moore, living in Quincy, Branch County and Marengo, Calhoun County, respectively, and Alonzo Moore, living in Benton Harbor, Berrien County, in 1890.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Emery P. and Wilbur Moon

Emery P. Moon was born on November 1, 1840, in Ogden, Monroe County, New York, the son of Tracy (1807-1889) and Abigail (Beadle, 1811-1876).

New York natives Tracy and Abigail were presumably married in New york where they resided for some years before moving west. By 1843 the family had moved to Michigan and by 1846 had settled in Otisco, Ionia County. By 1850 Emery was living on the family farm in Otisco and attended school with four of his siblings, including his older brother Wilber who would also join the Third Michigan. By 1860 Emery (or Emory) was still living with his family and attending school with three of his younger siblings in Otisco. Sometime in early 1861 Emery, who may have moved into Grand Rapids, Kent County, probably joined the Valley City Guard, the prewar Grand Rapids militia company whose members would form the nucleus of Company A .

Emery stood 5’8” with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 20 years old and possibly residing n Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861, along with his older brother Wilbur.

Emery claimed after the war that he had been wounded in the back of the left hand at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, on May 31, 1862, and again in the right side at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 1 or 2, 1863. He further claimed that in July of 1863, during the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, while on duty in a skirmish line directly in fornt of a Union artillery battery, he became partially deaf from the heavy cannonading resulting in his inability to “understand or hear common conversation.”

He reenlisted as a Sergeant on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids, was subsequently absent on veteran’s furlough, probably at home in Ionia County, in January of 1864, and he returned from furlough, probably by the first of February.

On April 28, 1864, Emery was recommended for admission into the “Free Military School” designed to produce officers for “Colored” Regiments. However he was shot in the right hand on May 5, 1864, at the Wilderness, and on May 26 was admitted to Campbell general hospital in Washington, DC, with a flesh wound of the fourth finger of the right hand. On June 5 he was transferred to Lovell general hospital in Portsmought Grove, Rhode Island, suffering from a dislocated right shoulder.

He was still absent wounded in the hospital when he was transferred as a Sergeant to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported absent sick July through September. In fact, Emery was furloughed form the hospital in Rhode Island on August 15, 1864, presumably for 30 days, but this remains uncertain.

Emery returned to western Michigan to recover from his wounds and on October 27, 1864, while at home, he was transferred as a Second Lieutenant to Company A, Reorganized Third infantry at Grand Rapids, which was then forming in Grand Rapids under the command of Colonel Moses B. Houghton, formerly Lieutenant Colonel of the Old Third Michigan. Emery was commissioned as of July 29.

In November he was promoted to First Lieutenant of Company B, replacing Lieutenant Dickerson, commissioned November 15. On December 5, 1864, Charles Wright, formerly of Company A, wrote home to his family from the Fifth Michigan infantry that he had “heard from the new Third the other day. They were down in Georgia and had been in a four day fight, and lost five men out of the Regiment in killed and wounded. With two exceptions that Regiment has a lot of cowards for officers, Lieut. Moon, formerly sergeant of my company is not one of them nor is John Sumner captain of that Regiment.” In January of 1865 Emery was promoted to Captain of Company G, replacing Captain Hall. He was mustered out on May 25, 1866 at Victoria, Texas, brevetted Major of United States Volunteers as of March 13, 1865.

After the war Emery traveled in Texas, Mexico, New Mexico, California and Colorado before returning to Michigan. (His parents were living in Otisco, Ionia County in 1870.) Emery settled in Otisco in 1876 and was living in Otisco when he married Matilda M. Randall on April 4, 1877, in Grand Rapids. He was still living in Otisco in February of 1880, and by the summer of 1880 Emery was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Otisco; also living with them was his father Tract. He worked as a farmer most of his life. In 1881 he returned to Colorado and settled in Colorado Springs where he lived for many years.

He was still living in Colorado Springs in 1911, and was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

In 1880 he applied for and and received a pension (no. 233,491), drawing $25.00 a month in 1915, and his widow received no. 797108.

He was residing at 223 Cedar in Colorado Springs in the spring of 1915.

Emery died of a cerebral hemorrhage on August 6, 1915, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and was buried in Evergreen cemetery, Colorado Springs.

In 1915 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 797108).

Wilbur Moon was born on January 1, 1839, in Monroe County, New York, the son of Tracy(1807-1889) and Abigail (Beadle, 1811-1876).

New York natives Tracy and Abigail were presumably married in New york where they resided for some years before moving west. By 1843 the family had moved to Michigan and by 1846 had settled in Otisco, Ionia County. In 1850 Tracy had settled his family on a farm in Otisco where Wilber was attending school with four of his siblings, one of whom was his younger brother emery who would also join the Third Michigan. By 1860 Wilber’s family was still living in Otisco.

One description of Wilbur’s early life noted that “Amid the primitive surroundings of the early home in Ionia County Wilbur Moon grew to manhood. He pursued his studies in the district school of Otisco Township and first taught in Ada Township, Kent County. There he was engaged for three successive winters, building up a reputation for tact and mental ability.”

Wilbur was 22 years old and still teaching in Ada when he enlisted with his younger brother Emery in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was reported as an Adjutant’s clerk in November of 1862 and in January of 1863 he was detached in order to return to Michigan and bring conscripts forward to the Regiment. In early August he arrived in Grand Rapids on recruiting service for the Regiment, and he remained recruiting in Michigan through March of 1864.

While at home Wilbur was married to New York native Satira R. Fallass (1839-1920) on November 8, 1863, in Fallassburg, Kent County, and they had at least four children: Myrtle A. (b. 1866), Frank C. (b. 1867), Cora A. (b. 1869), and Elenora (b. 1871).

Wilbur probably never rejoined the Regiment, and was mustered out as a Sergeant on June 20, 1864.

After he was discharged from the army Wilbur returned to his home in Keene Township where he taught school for ten years. (His parents were living in Otisco, Ionia County in 1870.) In 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned some $4000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and children in Keene, Ionia County. (Next door lived Satira’s younger brother John and his family.) By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Keene.

Wilbur was elected Ionia County Superintendent of Schools in 1872. According to a postwar biography, the name of Wilbur Moon

is familiar to the residents of Ionia County and will be recognized by other readers, as he who bears it has been intimately connected with educational affairs and was at one time County superintendent of Schools of Ionia County. He came hither in his boyhood and has not only seen the County improved but has himself aided in bringing about the present state of affairs, material and social. Reared upon a farm he had a share in the improvement of [property, and in his later years he has tilled the soil and now is carrying on a farm on section 19, Keene Township. For several years he was engaged in teaching and he has from that time kept up his interest in the cause of education and done what he could to promote the efficiency of the schools.

A staunch Republican, Wilbur “filled the office of Township clerk two years, and was for a long time Inspector of Schools of Keene Township. He became a resident of that Township in 1866 and has given more or less time to the cultivation of an 80-acre tract of land.” He continued to take a serious interest in education, while his wife “was a teacher in her youth and has always been interested in school work and mental growth. She and her husband have endeavored to keep up their own discipline of mind by extensive reading, supplementing in this way the education of their earlier years so as to enjoy an interchange of thought with their children and friends. Mr. and Mrs. Moon have four children, in whose education they have taken much interest, and all except the eldest were graduated from Ionia High School.”

As to his character, it was said that Wilbur took “a lively interest in the political and social questions agitating the minds of the people and has a decided influence by reason of his mental ability, good judgment and pleasing personal qualities. He ranks as a successful educator and honorable business man and a skillful farmer. Personally he is genial and entertaining, his hospitality is well known, while the members of his family circle aid him to the best of their ability in making their residence the center of true culture of mind and heart. They draw around them a pleasant circle of friends that is constantly reaching out and adding to its numbers and influence.”

Wilbur was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Wilson Post No. 87 in Lowell and a strong supporter of the Methodist Church. He lived virtually his entire postwar life along the border between Ionia and Kent counties, and he was living in Fallassburg in December of 1882 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. By 1885 he was residing in Saranac, Ionia County and Fallassburg in 1888, in Lowell, Kent County in 1889, in Keene, in 1890 and 1894. He returned to Lowell probably in 1906.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 956783).

Wilbur resided in Lowell until he died of organic heart disease on April 17, 1912, and was buried in Fallassburg cemetery.

The week after Wilbur died his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 744309).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Charles Montague

Charles Montague was born on July 5, 1846, in Vermont, the son of Thomas (1795-1860) and Harriet (Rice, 1803-1850).

By 1850 Charles was living with his family in Milton, Chittenden County, Vermont where his father worked as a farmer. Sometime probably in the late 1850s at least two of Charles’ older brothers, Ira and Edwin left Vermont and moved westward, eventually settling in western Michigan.

By 1860 Ira had settled in Georgetown, Ottawa County where he was living when he enlisted as a Sergeant on September 16, 1861, in Company D, First Michigan Engineers & Mechanics on 1861; his younger brother Edwin was possibly living in Grand Rapids, Kent County, when he too enlisted in Company D, First Michigan E & M on September 15, 1861.

Charles stood 5’4” with brown eyes, light hair and a light complexion and may have been an 18-year-old farmer living in Georgetown, Ottawa County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Unassigned on February 8, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Georgetown, and was mustered the same day. It is not known to which Third Michigan company he was eventually assigned but he did remain on the books of the regiment until it was consolidated with the Fifth Michigan in June.

In any case, Charles was sick in the hospital in May and was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. Charles remained absent sick until September when he was returned to duty, and was wounded and taken prisoner on October 27, 1864, at Boydton Plank road (or Hatcher’s Run), near Petersburg, Virginia.

He died either in Richmond, Virginia or in Detroit on April 20, 1865, and was presumably buried in either Richmond or Detroit.

No pension seems to be available.

Monday, November 23, 2009

William Monroe (2)

William Monroe (2) was born in 1841.

William stood 5’11” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and may have been a 23-year-old cabinet maker living in Adrian’s Second Ward, Lenawee County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Unassigned on March 5, 1864, at Adrian for 3 years, crediting Adrian’s Second Ward, and was mustered the same day at Detroit.

There is no further record.

In fact William probably never joined the Third Michigan but was probably the same William Monroe who enlisted in Company H, Third Michigan cavalry on March 5, 1864, at Detroit (age 22 years), and was mustered the same day. If so he survived the war and was discharged along with his regiment on December 12, 1866, at Detroit.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

William Monroe (1)

William Monroe (1) was born in 1843 in Roslin, Scotland, the son of Hugh and Janet (b. 1810).

Sometime after 1853 William’s family left Scotland and immigrated to America. By 1860 William was working as an apprentice blacksmith for George Frost in Grand Rapids’ First Ward, just two doors away from his family’s residence.

William was 18 years old and probably still residing in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with the consent of his mother in Company K on May 13, 1861. He was reported missing in action on July 1, 1862, at Malvern Hill, Virginia, and in fact had been captured at White Oak Swamp.

He was imprisoned in Richmond, Virginia on July 1 and subsequently paroled at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia on August 5. On August 6 the Richmond Dispatch reported that at

About 1 o’clock yesterday three thousand of the Federal prisoners on Belle Island left the city for “Varina,” (the farm of Albert Aiken, Esq., twelve miles from Richmond,) a guide having been procured from Capt. Alexander’s detective force to pilot them thither. They went under flag of truce to be exchanged, and were to be met by officers of the United States Army, empowered to effect that object. The party consisted wholly of soldiers, no commissioned officers being in the party. The guard attending the party was composed of a portion of the 42d Mississippi regiment, under Col. Miller. The prisoners were permitted to go by the C. S. Military Prison, and while in front of the building they cheered their imprisoned compatriots, (Generals and other officers,) and otherwise testified their respect for them. They appeared elated at the prospect of going home. The day was intensely hot, and it was intimated, after they had been gone for some hours, that many of them broke down, and had to be left on the way-side, while two or three died. There are 1,700 Yankees yet to go.

William was quite probably with that very detachment. In any case, he was returned to the Regiment as of August 8, 1862, at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia.

He was wounded seriously on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and died on May 8 while en route to a hospital in Washington, DC, cause unknown, but presumably from his wounds. He was buried in the Military Asylum cemetery (Soldier's Home National cemetery), either in section G no. 4304 (the more likely of the two) or section D no. 5291.

In 1863 his mother applied for and received a pension (no. 15687). By 1870 William’s mother, probably widowed, was living in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward; her son James (b. 1853) was also living with her.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Moses F. Monroe

Moses F. Monroe was born in 1825 in Ontario County, New York.

Moses left New York and eventually settled in Michigan. He was married and had at least one child.

Moses stood 5’6” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 39-year-old farmer possibly living in Holland, Ottawa County or in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company E on January 4, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward, and was mustered on January 6. He joined the Regiment on February 10 and was sick in a hospital from April 4 through May of 1864.

He was still absent in the hospital when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained absent sick through January of 1865. He eventually returned to duty and was probably wounded on April 6, 1865, at Sayler’s Creek, Virginia.

Moses was either killed in action on April 6, 1865, or he died of wounds on April 28, and was presumably buried on or near the battlefield.

In 1865 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 53600), and the following year a pension application was filed on behalf of and approved for a minor child (no. 104032).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ira W. Monroe

Ira W. Monroe was born in 1839, possibly in New York.

Ira left New York and moved west and by 1860 he was probably working as a laborer and living at Cayler’s German boarding house in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan.

Ira was 22 years old and may have been living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was reported absent sick in the hospital in July of 1862, but eventually returned to duty. He was wounded on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and hospitalized soon afterwards where he remained until November of 1863 when he was transferred to the One hundred thirty-seventh company, Second Battalion, Veterans’ Reserve Corps, at Detroit. He was reported on detached service with the VRC in Michigan through May of 1864. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

He was reportedly mustered out on June 11, 1864.

No pension seems to be available.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cornelius Moll

Cornelius Moll was born in 1843 in the Netherlands, the son of Magiel (?).

Cornelius’ family immigrated to America and eventually settled in western Michigan.

In any case Cornelius stood 5’8’ with blue eyes, red hair and a light complexion and was a 19-year-old farmer possibly living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County or in Saranac, Ionia County when he enlisted with his father’s consent on February 22 or 28, 1862, in Company I at Saranac for 3 years, and was mustered the same day.

He was reported sick in the hospital (probably Chesapeake) at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, in March and April of 1862, until he was discharged for disease on June 18, 1862.

No pension seems to be available.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Joseph H. Moe

Joseph H. Moe was born in 1843, in New York, probably the son of Cerayan (b. 1805) and Elizabeth (b. 1808).

New York native Cerayan married Pennsylvania-born Elizabeth sometime before 1838 when their daughter Elizabeth was born. The family resided in New York for many years, but eventually moved west, settling in Michigan.

(In 1850 there was a Joseph F. Moe, age 37, born in Vermont and married to Sally also born in Vermont, residing in Sandstown, Jackson County; Michigan; he was still there in 1860.)

Joseph, also known as "Zeph," was 18 years old and probably living in Newaygo County, Michigan, when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company K on May 13, 1861. By September of 1862 he was on detached duty as a teamster, probably serving with the Brigade wagon trains, and taken prisoner May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and was confined at Andersonville. He was released in February of 1865 at Goldsboro, North Carolina, and discharged on April 19, 1865, at Detroit.

After the war Joseph apparently returned to western Michigan. He was married to Michigan native Clara E. (b. 1854), and they had at least five children: Erdine (b. 1871), Charles (b. 1873), Cora (b. 1875), Sidney (b. 1876) and Claude (b. 1878).

Joseph and Clara settled in Greenwood, Oceana County, and by 1870 he was working as a farmer living with his wife, near his parents and his older sister Elizabeth and her husband, Hiram Place. Joseph lived in Oceana County throughout the 1870s and n 1880 was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Greenwood. He eventually settled in Newaygo County.

Joseph probably died in Fremont, Newaygo County, sometime before 1891, and was buried in Maple Grove cemetery, Fremont: section A, row 14, grave 5 (see photo G-492).

In February of 1897 a pension application (no. 648054) was submitted in Michigan on behalf of one Charles Moe, a minor child of one Josephine or Josephima.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Elam and sons Daniel and Robert

Elam Moe was born in 1807 in Saratoga County, New York, the son of John Moe Sr. (1770-1855) and Mary (Tyler, 1774-1841).

Elam’s parents were born in Connecticut or in New York and were married in about 1791 possibly in Saratoga, New York. They eventually left New York sometime after 1814 and eventually settled in Washtenaw County, Michigan, where Mary died in about 1841 in Webster. John Sr. died in 1855 also in Webster.

Elam was married to Jane A. (1808-1855), presumably in New York where they both had been born, and they had at least 13 children: Eugene, Charlotte (b. 1828), Mary M. (b. 1830), William (b. 1832), Dennis (b. 1834), Sarah J. (b. 1835), Daniel (b. 1835), Lovina or Louisa (b. 1839), Robert (b. 1840), Irving Washington (b. 1844) and Matilda (b. 1846) and Adell Anna (b. 1851).

In any case, they left New York and moved westward, possibly with Elam’s father John Sr., settling in Michigan by 1828, the year their daughter Charlotte was born. In fact Elam was probably living in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County in 1830 (his father John was living in Ann Arbor in 1827, and by 1835 they had settled in Washtenaw County, where John Sr. died in the mid-1850s and in 1837 were reportedly residing in East Saginaw or in Livingston County. By 1843 they had moved to Otisco, Ionia County and by 1850 Elam and his family were living on a farm in Keene, Ionia County next door to his brother Alvin and his family.

In 1855 Jane died and Elam remarried New York native Catharine Wiggins (1815-1894) on October 1, 1859, in Otisco. They reportedly had one child, a daughter Rosetta (b. 1861). In 1860 Elam was living with his wife and family on a large farm in Otisco.

Elam stood 6’0” with gray eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 55-year-old farmer living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company C on February 22, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, listing Ionia County as his place of residence, and was mustered the same day. (His son Daniel enlisted in Company C on February 24, while Elam’s youngest son Robert had joined Company E the previous year.) Elam was discharged for disability on June 17, 1862.

After he was discharged from the army Elam eventually returned to Michigan, and by 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned some $4500 worth of real estate and more than $3000 worth of personal effects) and living with his wife and several children in Otisco, Ionia County. (Also living with them was one Russell Wiggins, probably Catharine’s father.) By 1880 Elam was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Otisco.

In 1877 he applied for a pension (no. 316168), but the certificate was never granted.

Elam died on December 2, 1886, in Ionia County and was buried in Smyrna cemetery, Ionia County; see photo G-268.

In September of 1890 his widow Catharine applied for a pension (no. 474197) but the certificate was never granted.

Daniel S. Moe was born on May 15, 1835 in Washtenaw County, Michigan, the son of Elam (1806-1886) and Jane Ann (1808-1855).

Elam and Jane were both born in New York and were presumably married there sometime before 1828. In any case, they left New York and moved westward, possibly with Elam’s father John Sr., settling in Michigan by 1828, the year their daughter Charlotte was born. By 1835 they had settled in Washtenaw County, where John Sr. died in the mid-1850s and in 1837 were reportedly residing in East Saginaw or in Livingston County. By 1843 they had moved to Otisco, Ionia County and by 1850 Daniel was living with his father and family in Keene, Ionia County, where Elam worked as a farmer.

In 1855 Jane died and Elam remarried one Catharine Wiggins (b. 1815 in New York) on October 1, 1859, in Otisco. They reportedly had one child, a daughter Rosetta (b. 1861).

In 1860 Daniel was working as a farm laborer and living at the Spencer boarding house in Otisco.

Daniel stood 5’10” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 26 years old and probably still living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company C on February 24, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, and was mustered the same day (his brother Robert enlisted in Company E in 1861, while his father Elam enlisted in Company C on February 22, 1864). Daniel was shot in the left arm on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and reported AWOL in September of 1862. He was subsequently reported hospitalized from June of 1863 until he was discharged on July 23, 1863, at Detroit, for asthma and general debility.

Daniel returned to Michigan and settled back into Ionia County.

He was married to Michigan native Mary J. (b. 1847) and they had at least four children: Freddie L. (b. 1867), Clara (b. 1869), Nora (b. 1872) and Lester (b. 1874).

By 1870 he was working as a farm laborer and lviing with his wife and two children in Saranac, Boston Township. Ionia County. Daniel eventually moved to Otsego County and by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Livingston, Otsego County. He was living in Vanderbilt in 1886 and 1888, and in Cornwith, Otsego County in 1890 and 1894.

He applied for and received a pension (no. 356112). He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

Daniel died on March 4, 1915, in Vanderbilt and was buried in Evergreen Hills (also called Corwith or Cornwith) cemetery in Vanderbilt.

Robert B. Moe was born in 1840 in Ionia County, probably Otisco, Ionia County, Michigan, the son of Elam (1806-1886) and Jane Ann (1808-1855).

Elam and Jane were both born in New York and were presumably married there sometime before 1828. In any case, they left New York and moved westward, possibly with Elam’s father John Sr., settling in Michigan by 1828, the year their daughter Charlotte was born. By 1835 they had settled in Washtenaw County, where John Sr. died in the mid-1850s and in 1837 were reportedly residing in East Saginaw or in Livingston County. By 1843 they had moved to Otisco, Ionia County and by 1850 Robert was living with his father and family in Keene, Ionia County, where Elam worked as a farmer.

In 1855 Jane died and Elam remarried one Catharine Wiggins (b. 1815 in New York) on October 1, 1859, in Otisco. Robert was still living with his family in 1860.

Robert stood 5’9” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861 -- Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County. (His father Elam and brother Daniel would both join Company C in late February of 1862). He was discharged for consumption on July 29, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia.

After he left the army Robert returned to western Michigan and was living in Lowell, Kent County, when he married Michigan native Clara M. Fairchild (1846-1916), on October 10, 1866, in Lowell, and they had at least one child, a son Guy (b. 1870). Oscar Robinson and his wife Lucinda were witnesses; Oscar served in Company D, Third Michigan infantry.

By 1870 Robert was working as a harness-maker and living with his wife and child in Lowell. And by 1880 he was working as a harness maker and living with his wife and son in Portland, Ionia County.

Robert eventually settled in Portland, Ionia County where he was living in 1888, 1890 and 1894.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 777148).

Robert died on October 6, 1910, probably in Portland, and was buried in Portland cemetery: section W lot 577; see photo G-268.

In 1910 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 730574).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daniel Mizner

Daniel Mizner was born in 1839.

In 1859-60 Daniel was probably working for H. P. Yale in Grand Rapids, Kent County.

In any case, he was 22 years old when he enlisted as Third Sergeant in Company F. However, Daniel was never mustered into United States service with the Regiment on June 10, 1861. On June 4, Mizner was arrested and tried for rape. According to the Grand Rapids Eagle,

We regret to announce, that the good reputation which the Third Regiment has heretofore enjoyed, has been sullied by an unworthy member thereof. Dan Mizner, a Third Sergeant of Company F was taken before Justice Sinclair yesterday charged with committing an assault and battery with intent to commit a rape, on the person of Martha Dole, a sister-in-law of Mr. Chase, blacksmith. There appears to be but little, if any, doubt of his guilt; and the circumstances of the case, as sworn to by Miss Dole are as follows:

On Wednesday afternoon last, Mizner and Martha Dole, the complainant, proceeded in carriage (in company with other persons) to Kelloggsville. There one of the persons got out; and the carriage then was driven to Camp Anderson, where another person got out, leaving Mizner and Miss Dole in the carriage. This was about ten o’clock at night. He then pretended to drive towards Grand Rapids, but really proceeded quite rapidly in a different direction, at length stopping at a lonely place about seven miles from the city. -- Mizner then took her out of the carriage, and made a number of violent and indecent assaults upon her person, with intent to commit a rape accompanying his brutal acts with most revolting language. This conduct was continued for some time, the young lady being considerably injured about the neck and body, and her dress and other garments much torn. At length he ordered her into the carriage again, he having failed to accomplish his design. But he used insulting words and actions towards her until she arrived at home, in this city, near one o’clock on Thursday morning. She was confined to her bed, from the injuries received, all of Thursday. Yesterday, however, she made complaint, and Mizner was arrested by Undersheriff Covell. A partial examination was had before Justice Sinclair, and the case was adjourned until Monday next; and the criminal remanded to jail, in default of obtaining bail in the sum of $1500. T. B. Church and T. Foote, Esq., for the prosecution. Geo. Gray for respondent.

On July 3, 1861, John Champlin, brother of Major Stephen Champlin of the Third Michigan, wrote his brother from Grand Rapids informing him “You doubtless have heard that Dan Misner was convicted and now ‘doing the State some service’ for 5 years.”

Mizner was indeed found guilty and sentenced on June 24, 1861, to 5 years in the state prison at Ionia.

There is no further record.

In fact he may have been the same Daniel Mizner, age 25, who enlisted in Company F, Twenty-eight Michigan infantry on September 29, 1864 in Jackson, Jackson County, and was mustered the same day. He allegedly deserted on October 10, 1864 at Marshall, Michigan.

In 1870 there was a Daniel Misner (b. 1839) keeping a saloon along with his brother William in Lowell, Kent County.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Robert Misner

Robert Misner was born on March 18, 1837, in Delaware County, New York.

In 1860 there was one Abraham Misner, b. 1810 in New York, working as a farmer and living with his wife Delilha (b. 1813 in New York), and children in Catharine, Schuyler County, New York. This may have been the same Abraham Misner who was living in Middletown, Delaware County in 1820. In any case, Robert left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan by the time the war broke out.

He stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 24 years old and probably working as a boatman in Mecosta County when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brother James who had also moved to Mecosta County. Robert was present for duty with the regiment through the end of the year but listed as sick in his quarters in January and February of 1862. He was soon promoted to Corporal, and wounded on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. George French of Company K wrote home to Mecosta County that during the action at Second Bull Run “Bob Misner got a charge of buckshot in the hand, but it did not hurt him much.” Wallace W. Dickinson, also of Company K, also wrote to Mecosta County that “Misner had several hair breadth escapes, having bullets pass so near him as to draw blood, but inflicting no serious injury.” Robert was absent sick in the hospital from October 10, 1862, possibly as a consequence of his wounds, until he was discharged as a Corporal on January 29, 1863, from St. Joseph hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, suffering from chronic rheumatism.

After he was discharged from the army Robert returned to Michigan and was living in Wayland, Barry County, when he married Michigan native Frances Abbott (1844-1925) in Leighton, Allegan County, on January 1, 1866.

They eventually settled in Bowens Mills, Barry County where he was working as a farmer and living with his wife in 1870. By 1880 Robert was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Yankee Springs, Barry County. He was living in Bowens Mills in 1888, in December of 1889 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1890 when he was reported to be suffering from rheumatism.

He was a member of G.A.R. Whitney Post No. 99 in Bowens Mills.

In 1878 Robert applied for and received a pension (no. 164,335).

Robert was living in Bowens Mills when he died on May 4, 1892, and was buried at Hill cemetery in Wayland, Allegan County.

His widow was still residing in Bowens Mills in July of 1892 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 369435).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

James H. Misner

James H. Misner was born on September 30, 1839, in Schuyler County, New York.

In 1860 there was one Abraham Misner (b. 1810 in New York) working as a farmer and living with his wife Delilha (b. 1813 in New York), and children in Catharine, Schuyler County, New York. This may have been the same Abraham Misner who was living in Middletown, Delaware County in 1820. In any case, James left New York and moved west, eventually settling in Michigan by 1860 when he was probably working as a farmer in Leonard, Mecosta County.

He stood 5’7” with dark hair and a dark complexion, and was 21 years old and probably still living in Mecosta County when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861, along with his older brother Robert, who had also moved to Mecosta County. James was admited to the Union Hotel in Georgetown, DC, on July 31, 1861, suffering from debilitas and was returned to duty on August 27. He was serving with the ambulance corps from October of 1862 through February of 1863, in March he was with the Third Brigade wagon train, and with the ambulance corps from April through July, He was taken ill on September 18, 1863, reportedly suffering from gonorrhea, and returned to duty on September 21.

James was again sick at the regimental hospital on November 17 with an incised wound and returned to duty on December 7. James reenlisted as a Musician on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Walker, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment (but still on detached service) on or about the first of February.

James was reported with the ambulance corps from March of 1864 through May, and, although he was listed as transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, in fact he remained detached with the ambulance corps through May of 1865. He was mustered out of service on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war James eventually returned to western Michigan. He married Michigan native Mary Ann (1841-1908) on January 5, 1866, in Big Rapids, Mecosta County; they had at least two children: Orval (b. 1868) and Fred (b. 1872).

By 1870 he was working as a lumberman and living with his wife and one son in Dayton, Newaygo County. He was living in Newaygo County by 1877, and by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and two sons in Dayton, Newaygo County. He was living in Fremont, Newaygo County in 1890, in Dayton, Newaygo County 1894, and in Fremont in 1900. By 1915 he was living in Big Prairie, Newaygo County.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and of Grand Army of the Republic Dobson Post No. 182 in Fremont. In 1879 he applied for and received a pension (no. 225,596), drawing $30.00 per month by 1914 and $72.00 per month by 1923.

James was eventually admitted to the Michigan Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids, and by 1921 he was nearly totally blind.

He was a widower when he died at the Home on December 15, 1924, , and was buried in Lincoln cemetery, Newaygo County.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

James Minie

James Minie was born in 1835 in Montreal, Quebec.

James left Canada and came to the United States sometime before the war broke out, eventually settling in western Michigan.

He stood 5’9” with blue eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion and was 24 years old and probably working as an engineer in Muskegon, Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He was absent sick in the hospital in September of 1862, and on detached service in October when he was discharged on October 28, 1862, at Fairfax Seminary hospital, Virginia, for chronic diarrhea of 4 months’ standing.

There is no further record.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

William Milne

William Milne was born in 1833 in Scotland.

William immigrated to America and had settled in western Michigan by the time the war had broken out.

He was 28 years old and a single man probably living in Muskegon, Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He was reported as a Corporal when he was shot in the right thigh on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and subsequently absent sick in the hospital probably at Washington, DC.

He remained hospitalized until he died on November 7, 1862, from wounds received in action. William was buried in the Military Asylum cemetery (Soldier's Home National cemetery).

Monday, November 09, 2009

George W. Mills

George W. Mills was born in 1845 in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan, the son of Major D. (1806-1886) and Julia (d. 1849).

His parents moved to Michigan, probably from Massachusetts, sometime before 1832, and by 1850 his fahter had remarried to a woman named Lucina and George was living with his family in North Plains, Ionia County, where his father was a farmer. In 1860 George was attending school and living with his family in North Plains.

George stood 5’11” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 16 years old and probably still living with his family in North Plains when he enlisted (presumably with his parents’ consent) in Company E on May 13, 1861. He was left sick in Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, when the Regiment left for Washington, DC, and, although he was reported to have died soon afterwards, in fact, he soon rejoined the Regiment. (According to David Crawford, former officer of Company E, George was sick with measles in 1861 but even after he rejoined the regiment was never very well.)

He was absent sick from August of 1862 through November, rejoined the Regiment in December and was present for duty through April of 1862. George was reported sick in a hospital near Yorktown, Virginia, as of June 30, 1862, and listed as absent sick from August 14 quite probably through October. He returned to duty, possibly in December, and remained with the regiment through April. He was wounded severely in the left arm on May 3, 1863. at Chancellorsville, Virginia, after which he was hospitalized through August. On June 9 George left for home on sick furlough.

George returned to the regiment by the end of October, and reenlisted on December 23, 1863, crediting Wyoming, Kent County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, probably at his family home in Ionia County, in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was shot in the left arm on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, or perhaps on August 18, 1864, at Deep Bottom, Virginia, after which he was hospitalized, probably in Washington, DC, eventually suffering the loss of his arm. He was still absent wounded in the hospital when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry in June, and he remained absent wounded until he was discharged on December 4, 1864, at Emory hospital, Washington, DC for “loss of left arm caused by a gunshot wound.

George listed North Plains as his mailing address on his discharge paper and indeed he was residing in North Plains in January of 1865 when he applied for a pension. By 1870 he was listed as a “pensioner” and living with his family in North Plains. He was listed as single, working as a farmer and still living with his parents in North Plains in 1880. He worked as a farmer for many years.

By December of 1883 he was living in Muir, Ionia County when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. he was also a member of GAR Dresser Post No. 100 in Lyons, Ionia County. By 1883 George was drawing $18.00 per month for loss of his left arm (pension no. 43,517, dated September of 1866). On December 25, 1884 he married one Lucy Nickusen, in Clinton County.

In October of 1885 Dr. David Kelley examined George and found him to be suffering from the effects of his wounds. Dr. Kelley noted that “the ball enter[ed] between the second and third ribs [moving] from below up on the left side of the front chest passing down[wards] and lodging at or near the lower [end] of the stomach and from irritating effects on that organ a tumor which closed the passage almost or entirely of the contents of the stomach to the intestines which together with chronic diarrhea producing general debility and emaciation to a very great [extent] and death from the effects of the above-named causes which took place on or about Jan. 11, 1866.”

George was probably still living in Ionia County when he died on January 16, 1886. He was buried in Ionia County, North Plains cemetery: section 7 grave no. 135.

Lucy applied for a pension (no. 336417). In 1887 she reportedly remarried to one William Leclear in Clinton County.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Charles C. Mills

Charles C. Mills was born in 1837 in New York.

Charles left New York and headed westward, eventually settling in western Michigan. He was married to Michigan native Laura or Lucy Bennett (b. 1841), on January 2, 1858, in Michigan, and they had at least two children: Frederick (b. 1859) and Charles H. (b. 1862). (Laura was the sister of George W. and Jonas Bennett who would also enlist in the Third Michigan.) By 1860 Charles was working as a clerk and he and his family were living with his in-laws, Cyrus Bennett and his family, in Brooks, Newaygo County; and he may also have worked as a day laborer at the Chubb Hotel in Muskegon, Muskegon County in 1860 -- as did Jonas Bennett.

Charles was 24 years old and living in Newaygo or Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. He was probably wounded in the shoulder at Fair Oaks, Virginia on May 31, 1862, and by June of 1862 was in the hospital at Bottom’s Bridge, Virginia, suffering from rheumatism. He was listed as a pioneer absent sick in the hospital in July of 1862 through August, from September of 1862 to March of 1863 he was serving with the Third Brigade wagon and ambulance trains, and in May he was attached to the Third Brigade Quartermaster, probably employed in the trains.

By July Charles was in Mower hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and he remained absent sick from July of 1863 through February of 1864. He was transferred to either the Fifty-third company, Second Battalion Veterans’ Reserve Corps or the One hundred sixty-fourth company, Second battalion, VRC, on March 31, 1864, at Philadelphia, possibly suffering from chronic hemorrhoids, and was mustered out on June 9, 1864, at Philadelphia.

After his discharge from the army Charles eventually returned to western Michigan. By 1880 he was working as the city marshal and living with his wife and children in Evart, Osceola County. By 1888 and 1894 he was living in Evart, Osceola County, and may very well have lived out the remainder of his life in Evart.

In 1879 he applied for and received a pension (no. 415553).

Charles died in Evart of pneumonia on March 17, 1902 and was buried in Forest Hill cemetery in Osceola Township.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Lewis W. Miller

Lewis W. Miller was born in 1825 in Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

Lewis left Massachusetts and headed west, eventually settling in Michigan. He may have been the same Lewis W. Miller living in Coldwater, Branch County in 1860.

In any case, Lewis stood 5’9” with hazel eyes, brown hair and florid complexion and was a 36-year-old mechanic probably living in Ingham County when he enlisted as a Drummer in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) He was probably injured on May 31, 1862, at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia. Apparently he injured his back while carrying a wounded man from the battlefield. In any case, he was probably hospitalized from early June until he was discharged on January 26, 1863, at the Third Corps hospital at Fort Lyon near Alexandria, Virginia, for “chronic nephritis & irritation of spine caused by a strain while carrying a wounded man at the battle of Fair Oaks” on May 31, 1862.

He reportedly also served in Company H, First United States Veteran Volunteers.

Lewis was apparently living in Nebraska in 1884 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 743551).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Joseph Miller (2)

Joseph Miller (2) was born in 1832 in Baden, Germany.

Joseph immigrated to America and eventually settled in Michigan by 1860 when he was probably a farm laborer living with and/or working for John Myers, a farmer also from Baden, in Hinton, Mecosta County.

In any case, Joseph was 29 years old and possibly living in Newaygo County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was sick in the hospital in July of 1862, returned to the Regiment and was taken prisoner on November 30, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia.

He was confined in Andersonville prison where he died of disease on June 7, 1864, and was buried in Andersonville National Cemetery: grave no. 1710.

In 1880 his brother applied for a pension (no. 264432) but the certificate was never granted.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Joseph Miller (1)

Joseph Miller (1) was born in 1839 in Coblenz, Prussia.

Joseph immigrated to America and eventually settled in Michigan by the time the war broke out.

He stood 5’5” with brown eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was 22 years old and probably a farmer in Clinton County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

He was reported as “off-duty” beginning on April 25, 1862, and he may very well have remained “off-duty” through September when he was listed sick in the hospital. He allegedly deserted on October 23 at Edward’s Ferry, Maryland, when in fact, he was still in the hospital. He was discharged on December 9, 1862, at Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island, for “spinal irritation, attacks of quickened respiration sometimes as often as 140/minute.”

Joseph returned to Clinton County where he reentered the service in L company, First Michigan Light Artillery on February 4, 1864, at Westphalia for 3 years, crediting Westphalia, and was mustered on February 5 at Corunna, Shiawassee County. 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. He was absent sick in Knoxville, Tennessee on October 25, and allegedly deserted from the hospital on November 15, 1864. He surrendered himself to authorities on April 18, 1865, under the President’s proclamation of amnesty and was discharged on May 15, 1865, at Madison, Wisconsin.

There is no further record.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1042774).

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

John H. Miller

John H. Miller was born on July 15, 1837 in Milo, Yates County, New York.

John left New York and had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was probably working as a mechanic working for and/or living with John E. Mann, a farmer in Montcalm, Montcalm County.

He stood 5’6” with hazel eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 24 years old and residing in Newaygo County when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. He was reported sick in the hospital from August through September of 1862, but eventually recovered. He reenlisted as a Corporal on December 24, 1863, crediting Muskegon, Muskegon County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred as a Sergeant to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

John was taken prisoner along with Perry Crandall and William Wood, all of Company H, on June 22, 1864. John was confined for a time at Andersonville prison, and returned to the Regiment on May 16, 1865, near Washington, DC. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Following the war John returned to Michigan. He was married to New York native Mary (b. 1849). By 1870 he was working as a raftsman andliving with his wife in Newaygo, Newaygo County. He eventually settled in White Cloud, Newaygo County, where he worked for many years as a farmer and blacksmith.

At some point John’s wife either divorced him or, more likely, died. By 1880 and 1890 he was living in Chase, Lake County (next door lived Harvey Briggs, formerly of Company F), and in 1908 he was drawing $12.00 for pension no. 1,059,222. That same year he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 5369) on December 24, from White Cloud, but he was dropped on September 2, 1909.

John probably returned to his home in White Cloud where he died a widower of chronic nephritis and paralysis on July 5, 1910, and was buried in Prospect Hill cemetery, in White Cloud.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

John Miller (2)

John Miller (2) was born around 1835.

John was 28 years old and had probably just moved to Michigan from either New York City or Montreal, Quebec, when he became a substitute for George Hesslehulm or Hesloon, who had been drafted on February 17, 1863, for 9 months from Erin, Macomb County. John enlisted in Unassigned on March 3, 1863, at Erin for 3 years, crediting Erin, and was allegedly sent to the Regiment on March 6, 1863.

There is no further record nor is there a military service found in the Third Michigan records at the National Archives.

Apparently John also became a substitute for Chris Rotha who was drafted from Warren, Macomb County on March 3, 1863, and it is quite probable that Miller enlisted in Company K, Fourth Michigan infantry at Warren for 3 years. If so, he deserted en route to Washington from Detroit. Again, there is no further record.

Monday, November 02, 2009

John Miller (1)

John Miller (1) was born in 1841.

John was 20 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861.

He was described by George Harris, also of Company F, as “the man who swore to stand by me through thick and thin before we left Grand Rapids and has always kept that pledge inviolate, he has stood by me in danger and we have fought side by side; we tented together and slept together and are as firm friends as ever.” Harris, who had been captured and spent a brief sojourn in a southern prison, had apparently requested Miller to write to Harris’ girlfriend since Miller “of course knew your address having seen me direct my letters many a time and when he was sure that I was either killed or captured he considered it his duty and in fact it was my request that if I fell in action he should in case he survived to acquaint my friends with the facts. He answered yours of about the 19th of July which I thanked hastily for doing when he told me what he had done for I naturally supposed my love that it relieved your mind of a great deal of anxiety.”

John was attached to the ambulance corps from September of 1862 through January of 1863, and reported as an ambulance driver for either Bramhall’s New Jersey battery or Company K, Sixth New York Artillery from February of 1863 until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864.

He may have been a member of the Sixth Independent battery of an unknown New York artillery Regiment, and it is quite likely that he was the same John Miller who enlisted in the Sixth New York artillery on August 21, 1862, at Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York, and was mustered out at Washington, DC on August 24, 1865.

It is unknown whether John ever returned to Michigan. He was living in Santa Rosa, California in December of 1886 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

In 1903 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1077924).

John died on May 18, 1906, probably in Santa Rosa, California, and was possibly buried in Old Rural cemetery, in Santa Rosa.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

George Washington Miller - updated 7/9/2011


George Washington Miller was born in September 2, 1843, in Wheatland, Monroe County, New York, the son of Jared (b. 1817) and Jennet or Janet McPherson (b. 1823).

New York natives Jared and Jennet were married on August 9, 1842, in Caledonia, Livingston County (or Middlebury, Wyoming County), New York. His family moved from Wheatland, Monroe County, New York to Michigan in 1846 and eventually settled in Bowne, Kent County. By 1850 George was living with his family in Bowne, where his father owned and operated a substantial farm, and in 1860 he was a farm laborer and attending school in Bowne.

Shortly after the fall of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, many men in western Michigan answered president Lincoln’s first and second call for volunteers to aid the federal government in putting down the rebellion, and George was among the first to leave his home and walk to Grand Rapids where a regiment was slowly taking form. (According to family historian Mary Lane, George wrote his brother Arthur in August of 1861 that he had “run away” to join the army. Arthur, too, would “”run away” from home in 1863 and join the US Navy, serving on a gunboat  on the Mississippi.)


George wrote regularly and frequently to his family in Michigan and his letters were later transcribed by his sister Delia. On April 28, 1861, George wrote his parents from Grand Rapids that “Today is the quiet and peaceful Sabbath, the usual din of the city is subsided while here and there the citizens are flocking to church.

We have orders from the Captain to met [sic] at the armory at 1:00 and proceed to St. Mark’s church in a body. We had a great mass meeting here yesterday. All the people took an oath of allegiance, [and] our company marched down Canal Street and joined the Rifle Company [Grand Rapids Rifles, soon to become Company C] from over the river and marched back to the square [probably Fulton park], stayed a little while and then marched back to quarters, and there dismissed.” He added that they expected to receive their “uniforms and guns this week. We are going to camp out after this, it is going to be down the flank [Kalamazoo plank] road [present Division Street] somewhere in a field. I believe some of the officers have just been in, they say we will not leave town under three weeks. We drill on the square every day when it is fair; we shall commence practicing with muskets tomorrow I expect.

He was 17 years old and probably still living at the family home in Bowne when he enlisted (presumably with his parents’ consent) in Company A on May 13, 1861.

The Regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, and arrived in Washington on June 16, setting up camp near the Chain Bridge on the Potomac River above Georgetown Heights. The following day, George wrote home to describe the trip out east.

We arrived here without any accident of any account, we got into Detroit about 6:00 that day [June 13], we marched about the streets of Detroit an hour or so then went to the depot and took refreshments and then took steamboat for Cleveland. At every Station along the line through Michigan there was a little crowd, they would greet us with cheers and sometimes with cannon or an anville [?], at Pontiac they brought us refreshments of cake and cheese. We got into Cleveland a little after sunrise [June 14], we took cars from there to Pittsburg, the[n] through the northern part of Ohio is level and nice but towards the southern part it grows mountainous and rocky, it is a great coal region here. There is lots of places along the line where the hills are pierced for coal. This is the great oil region; I saw wells all along, we struck the Ohio River opposite Virginia at a little place called Wellsville, the railroad from there follows the Ohio all the way to Pittsburg, the Ohio here is a little stream about as wide as the Grand River at Lowell, we arrived in Pittsburg about dark on Friday, we changed cars there for Harrisburg, at almost every station along the line through Ohio there was crowds of men and women who cheered and waved their handkerchiefs or brought us refreshments, the girls showering flowers onto us. At Pittsburg we were warmly greeted with cheers, the citizens came and shook hands with us, in going from Pittsburg to Harrisburg we crossed the Allegany Mountains; although there are some pretty big hills they don’t come up to my idea of mountains, there is some big rocks though, the railroad mostly follow [the] course of small streams, we passed through four tunnels, the hills have been dug down through about forty feet through solid rock. We arrived at Harrisburg a little after noon on Saturday, took refreshment, then changed cars for Baltimore; we passed the Massachusetts Six[th] Regiment about daylight, before we got into Baltimore. When we arrived at Baltimore we formed into platoons and marched through the city without the least sign of fight, we saw some houses there marked with bullets. We took another train for Washington, on the way we passed the relay house where the secession troops were stationed [and] arrived at Washington about noon we formed in marching order and marched through Washington across the Potomac (a little stream about thirty or forty feet wide at this place) and up through Georgetown and about three miles beyond, we are encamped between the Michigan Second and the District of Columbia troops, it is a nice healthy spot and no warmer than in Michigan.

On July 14 he added the observation that “When we got through to Washington we were all of us nearly fagged out. The day that we arrived was exceedingly warm, and marching four or five miles after so long a journey being kept up night and day was pretty hard on us. Some of our men gave out -- before we got to cam we have heard since that no other Regiment had come in without stopping at least a day to rest in Washington. That day’s march was the cause of a great deal of sickness to some of our men. A little railroad ride is fun but four days and nights of it begins to be hard work.”

On June 28 George wrote to his parents in Michigan that they had not been in a fight yet but were continually on the alert for the rebels. “Down at the bridge there was what appeared to be a finely dressed lady with a horse and buggy, came up to the bridge to cross, she was stopped to be be examined according to orders, they found under some grass in the buggy about a bushel of percussion caps. This led to closer examination of the lady which ended in the discovery that the supposed lady was a man and a rank secessionist at that, they have got him prisoner.” He added that there was considerable sickness in camp due to weather and climate, and that he had had the measles and was “now enjoying the mumps, they are getting better now, they keep me in the tent pretty much all the time.”

George wrote on July 7 that he “spent my 4th [of July] by standing guard two hours out of six all day and all night. There was no celebration whatever except firing a few guns from the battery. The boys had spent all their money before so there was no getting drunk. Taking it all together it was a very quiet 4th.” He said that they had at last received their new uniforms, at least the pants, which were “blue, the old grays are worn out. We understand that most of the secessionists wear gray. The pants are not particularly noted for fit . . . but by considerable ingenuity, patience and tailoring I have managed to make a passable fit. Some of the boys wear the pants up under their arms. Reading is rather scarce here and I would be much obliged if you would send me a paper now and then; we are allowed one franked envelope a week to write to our friends.”

On July 14 he wrote home that he had not been to Washington “since I had the measles. I intend to go down some of these days though. The Colonel [McConnell] is very strict about giving passes now, some of the soldiers would go out and trespass on the people’s property who would come and make complaints to the Colonel, [and] ever since he has been very particular about giving passes. The Dutch Company [Company C] have moved across the river to guard that end of the [chain] bridge.”

George wrote home on July 20 of the action at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18, that although he had not “been in a fight, I have been pretty close proximity to one.” One thing he did learn from this first engagement in combat was that “I used to think it foolishness to dodge a cannon ball but I think the other way now. You can hear a cannon ball quite a while before it gets to you and sometimes you can see them. I saw several that were coming pretty straight for us in time to dodge them.” And on July 27 he wrote of the great fiasco at Bull Run on July 21. He was on skirmish duty and participated only from a distance.

On August 3 he wrote that the Regiment was presently encamped down the Potomac opposite the Navy Yard. “The river here is about half a mile wide, most of it is shallow and grown up with grass, [and] the tide rises here about two feet. I remember in writing you one of my first Letters to have described the Potomac as a narrow river but I was mistaken in the stream. The stream that divides Washington from Georgetown is only a creek. The river at Chain Bridge is not very wide but down by the Navy Yard the eastern branch [Anacostia?] connects itself and the river immediately grows wider.” He added that as regards the retreat to Washington from Bull Run,

I stood that retreat very well. I had all the crackers I wanted to eat while some of them had nothing to eat since the day before. On the retreating that I saw everything was done in good order till we got to Fairfax when some of them were so tired that they fell out and came along behind. Between Centreville and Fairfax we passed several baggage wagons, some overturned that looked as though they had been left in a panic. As for our boys they were mad because they had to run without a chance to fight the Rebels. After passing Fairfax it commenced a drenching rain which grew harder as the day advanced. The greatest need on a march is probably for water, [and] at every spring, creek or pool there would be a run to get a little water t wet the mouth. I have seen ordinary men drink water that I would not wash my hands in on ordinary occasions. By the time our Regiment had reached Arlington Heights we had lost all order and every man came in on his own.

On August 6, he wrote his parents that he had “just returned from chopping. There is several hundred acres of woods in the hills back from here that is to be all cut down to prevent the enemy cavalry from charging on the troops camped here I suppose. A great deal of timber is slashed down and spoiled, [and] we take turns at it and chop three hours after which whiskey is dealt out to those that choose to drink it. There is no Sunday in a soldier’s life. We have to chop Sundays as well as other days. We had some potatoes today for dinner, the first I have tasted since we left Michigan; they tasted better than new fruit. Some of the boys have had the symptoms of scurvy but the doctor has cured all such cases. It gives a fellow a good appetite for vegetables to live on salt beef and bread. We have pea soup and bean soup once in a while and fresh beef once a week. We are allowed [?] meat or bread a day which is not enough for a health man but the boys made a row about it and we have all we want to eat now.”

On August 11 George wrote that he had again “just returned from chopping where I have been keeping the Sabbath. . . . We have got a large piece of woods down and partly cleared up. We cut and trim trees and the niggers burn it. They intend to build a battery on top of the hill.” For the first time George seemed homesick. “I should like to be at home a while to help eat them harvest apples and watermelons. There is plenty of fruit here, such as it is. The apples are all little scrawny things not fit to eat. . . .” On August 18 he wrote home that “I have to chop about four days in a week, they detail about twenty men out of each company every day. We march up to a house on the top of the hill to get our axes and a gill of whiskey for them that want it -- I give mine to the other boys who drink; we work about three hours and then march back to the house, get another gill and leave our axes; the rest of the week I either do nothing or stand guard.”

“They are very strict here about liquor now,” George wrote on August 25, “ although the choppers still get it. They have a provost guard stationed all along the roads who arrest all persons who are found with liquor in their possession; there have been a good many barrels of whiskey and beer poured out in the road. I wish I had a taste of them harvest apples; the apples around here don’t amount to much but they have noble peaches, but they are guarded so that we soldiers don’t get many. There are a good many pears here but they are not ripe yet. The leisure hours of a soldier, [and] especially of us, hangs heavily sometimes. When not on duty we either read if we have any thing to read or write letters or wander around through the country when we can get out. Some of the boys pitch quails, or play cards and some will lay down and sleep all day, these generally are the sick ones and the ones who eat the most. Camp life is the laziest life I ever saw. It is like a continuation of Sundays; the men get so lazy that the smallest duty is an effort to some of them, but when we get to chopping we are all right again.” George added that “I intend to go to school if I live through this but I am afraid there is but a slim chance for me at West Point. I hate to lose this winter’s schooling the worst way but I don’t see as it can be helped. Probably I shall learn all the better if I go to school again.”

He wrote his parents on September 4 that as regards their cooking arrangements “when we are in the Regiment we have two cooks to cook for us and divide our rations, but when we are out on picket every man looks out for himself, and with [the] exception [of] chickens and corn and fruit that we confiscate, we manage to live very well.” He added that ”As I look over this fair country I think what a sad thing this war is, here is fine forests of timber leveled to the ground. Orchards are cut down, peaceable citizens are obliged to leave their property and his fences are demolished, their houses are disfigured and if anything movable is left it is destroyed. I hope Michigan will never be cursed with an invading foe. I hope this war will soon end but you must not flatter yourselves about seeing me home by Spring, for I am afraid you will be disappointed.”

On September 10 George again raised the possibility of study, but was less enthusiastic about being able to spend much time with books. “I expect I might study some times but a soldier has no control over his time and is often changing places so that his course of study would be rather irregular.” On October 13 he wrote of his elation in receiving a package from home. “That long looked-for box of provisions has at last come to hand. The cheese is delicious, and is exactly the old homemade cheese. There were several more cheeses in the box but mine is the best among them. There was 60 pounds of butter in the box, some maple sugar and lots of cookies and crackers. We concluded to use the things together in common as the best way of dividing it, so we can all have plenty of butter and cheese as long as it lasts.”

On October 24 George wrote home and described a recent trip he and Norman White took to Mount Vernon.

It is a splendid place, no engravings can give you an exact picture of the appearance of the place. It did not look at all as I expected to be sure. The mansion looks natural but there is a great deal more shrubbery around the house than is put in the picture. The tomb looks like the picture. It is built of red brick, [and] there is an iron grate in front of the vault. Inside of it is [sic] two marble coffins in which rest the mortal remains of George and Martha Washington. On the right of Washington’s coffin is engraved an American eagle with the United States coat of arms. I plucked an ivy leaf from over the tomb and I will enclose it to you for the curiosity of it and with it an orange leaf from a tree that Washington planted with his own hands; the smooth green one is the orange leaf. There is a splendid flower garden at the mansion and a great many tropical plants. They have two sage palms, planted in large tubes so they can house them in winter. They were short stumps four and a half foot high with long leaves branching out of the top that looks a good deal like the long swamp breaks only smoother leaves. Another most curious plant is . . . a native of Mexico. The plant consists of long thick leaves three or four feet long and having thorns on the ridges and two or three inches thick at the bottom and about the color of [the] cabbage plant. I saw a young Palmetto there. It is kind of an odd looking tree, but I don’t see where the virtue is in it that would make it the symbol of a nation. There is some curious trees here. There is a kind of oak here that has leaves full like a willow tree; it is a kind of water oak. I got my daguerreotype taken yesterday and I enclose it to you in this letter. The boys say it is a good picture so I leave it between them and you to decide whether it is or not. The artist took kind of a queer notion and pulled my knife out of its sheath and stuck it in my belt as you will see in the picture. The knife is not so blunt a the picture represents it to be, but has a long sharp point. I saw Safford W. a week or two ago. He never said anything about wanting to join our Regiment. I guess it must [be] a mistake about his wanting to be transferred. I will send you a few specimens of Virginia flowers as soon as I can get them.

He added “That cheese of mine is getting pretty well broken up as well as ate.”

George wrote to his mother on November 14, that “There has nothing of any consequence happened more than common to stir up our blood, except one report of the rebels advancing. I was on picket at the time, [and] a cavalry man came along the line of pickets on a gallop telling us to hurry into headquarters. When we got in we found that a large body of Rebel cavalry had been seen in Accotink. One of Company K’s men who happened to be down there at the time, came near being taken prisoner. He had to throw his overcoat and gun away. He went back afterwards, however, and found them. Three or four of us went down to the village toward night and learned that there were about 500 of this cavalry and they had gone towards Pohick church. Next morning two or three of us went down to the village and found our Regiment and the 37th New York had passed through there. We followed after and found the whole division at Pohick church but the Secesh had fled.”

On November 21 George wrote home that they were still working on building various fortifications around Washington, but that they “do not have to work very hard or steady. We are detailed so that each man has to go on about once in three days; the rest of the time we have nothing to do unless we are detailed to stand guard or picket. We drill most everyday.”

The day before they participated in “a grand review by General McClellan and Old Abe” at Bailey’s Crossroads. “There were over 50,000 men there; more men that I ever saw before, or ever expect to see again. When our division marched around in front of McClellan our band struck up Hail Columbia and our Regiment marched in beautiful order, Division front. General McClellan turned to Old Abe and remarked that the Regiment marched well, after we had marched around. We could see all over the field; there was about forty acres of ground all covered with soldiers marching in divisions, batteries of cannon and Regiments of cavalry. Long bridge was left free for citizens to cross to see the review. Munson’s Hill was covered with spectators and there was what would be called a large crowd on ordinary occasions on the ground where McClellan’s staff was stationed. I do not know what the object of the review is exactly, but I have heard it was partly for the purpose of selecting troops to send to South Carolina.”

“The weather is somewhat cold but very pleasant,” George wrote his mother on December 12. “We had one little snow but it did not last two hours after the sun came out. The folks around here say it never snows of any account until after Christmas. I hope war will end by spring but I doubt it ending until it dies out itself. There isn’t fighting enough going on to do it. As a general thing there is a good deal of swearing prevalent in camp but the boys in our tent are pretty moral sort of of fellows.”

On Christmas night he wrote home that “We have nothing to do but stand guard about once in five or six days. A good many of the boys are building log shanties; they make comfortable little places to live in as well as thinning out the tents, so that we shall have more room. We spent our Christmas hunting after Secesh” and “went out on a reconnaissance in the vicinity of Pohick church. We discovered nothing but some Rebel pickets. A squad of rebels was seen on a hill about a mile away. The artillerymen fired a cannon shell at them and that was the last we saw of them. We received orders then from headquarters to return to camp. We about-faced and returned to camp hungry and tired. This is the day we spent our Christmas.”

On December 28 George wrote home and complained heartily about the Regimental chaplain, Rev. Dr. Francis H. Cuming. “Old Doc Cuming disperses the gospel to us on the Sabbath unless it is too cold, but the principal parts of his discourse consists in telling us how awful wicked we soldiers are and agitating the subject of a big tent for the Sabbath exercises, which he wants the soldiers to buy, and take it all around. He is the biggest nuisance of the Regiment. If he was like the Chaplains in some of the other Regiments, the boys would take some interest in him, but as it is, it’s like smoking saw dust to hear him. There was all of 9 out of our company to church last Sabbath and part of them came back before the services were over.”

George wrote home on January 27, 1862, that “the times are awful dull here. . . . We have nothing to do but lay around in the tent and get our ration three times a day. Our turn standing guard comes around about once a week, and it is rough business now, though the weather is not very cold but most disagreeably damp. The boys have spent most of their money. . . .” He added in a letter to his mother that to reduce the boredom “We go target shooting occasionally and we have reading of some kind most of the time. We have got our new [Austrian] rifles. They shoot pretty well but they do not suit me as well as our [minie] rifles did.” On February 18 he wrote to his sister that “There are bets out to the amount of $50 between the boys that peace will be declared in three months from now. I should not wonder if this great army of the Potomac would be moving as soon as the roads get passable and then for another big Bull Run scramble. I guess if they keep on as they have for a while back you may expect to see me at home by next fall if I don’t get pegged out by some unlucky bullet.”

On March 20 he wrote home and described the recent departure of the Third Michigan from their winter quarters to the Virginia peninsula, to participate in the opening of the spring campaign of 1862.

One week ago today [he wrote] we packed our knapsacks and marched from Camp Michigan. Our destination was unknown but was the general impression that we were to go on a fleet. Our Brigade marched down to Fort Lyon, [w]here we stacked arms and pitched our little portable tents. They are in sections and button together. Three men hitch together, making two sides and one and making a very comfortable little tent. It commenced to rain soon after we pitched our tents and some of the boys were blowed [?] out. We lay there until Monday, when we picked up and marched through Alexandria and shipped out on board the steamer John Brooks. Our Regiment was the first one shipped. Troops were shipping all that day. General McClellan came down to see that those were going on all right, [and] by sundown our division had been shipped. We moved out into the stream and anchored. We started down the river about noon. Tuesday we passed Fort Washington, Mount Vernon and all the other familiar places soon after. We passed the rebel battery at cockpit Point about three o’clock; there is a large camp of union troop opposite this place. The gunboat Yankee had been shelling the battery at Aquia Creek in the forenoon; we passed this place soon after; . . . The land all the way down the Potomac looks very much the same as it does around Alexandria, mostly tempered with little scrub pines, looking dreary and desolate with only here and there an old mansion and half-over grown plantation. We entered into Chesapeake Bay early in the morning of Wednesday. Some of the boys soon began to feel the influence of the long swells of the bay. Some of them were a little sick but not so far as to heave up more than their breakfast. I never felt better in my life. We arrived at Fortress Monroe about four o’clock in the afternoon. . . . It is a fort they are building almost in the center of the harbor. The land line of the stone fortification of Fort Monroe appears on shore, the big Union gun is in front of the main fortification behind a little sand fortification of its own. The harbor is full of vessels, one French and one English man-of-war, among them is the little iron-clad Monitor, which probably lately saved us Fortress Monroe. Her fight with the Merrimac [C.S.S. Virginia] was seen from here. she look a good deal as the Rebels said she would, like a Yankee cheese box on a raft. We could see several dents in her side where the balls of the Merrimac struck her. Our band played “Bully for you” when we lay along side of her. We did not land till next morning when we marched off from Old Point Comfort and are now camped about two miles from the fort. Norfolk is about eighteen miles from here and the smoke of burning timber is visible on Cran Island. Big Bethel is not a great ways from here. The rebels picket line is about nine miles from us. A short way from here are the ruins of Hampton which the rebels burned last summer. The old brick wells and chimneys look desolate.

From Fortress Monroe George wrote to his mother on March 24 that “We have moved out about a mile beyond the ruins of Hampton. We are encamped in a large field covered with troops in every direction. I should think about 12,000 men in sight from this position, besides, large numbers camped around that are not in sight.” On April 2 he wrote from camp near the fortress that “The Merrimac showed herself once or twice but has gone back again. Occasionally our me at the Fortress [?] and the Rebs at Jewell’s Point exchange a few shots. Contrabands come in every few days. They are generally a hard looking set. Two of them came in one day, One of them died from fatigue and disease. They having lived in the woods three weeks getting nothing to eat excepting what they could steal.”

We left our camp at Hampton last Friday [April 4, he wrote on Thursday, April 10] and took up our line of march on the Yorktown and Richmond turnpike. We marched the first day on the best roads I ever saw. The country is level and well cultivated. We passed three fortifications at Great Bethel about sundown; their fortifications are mere rifle pits, but it lays behind a swamp and makes it a hard place to charge on. They had more fortifications at a place called Mill Hill. But our advance guard shelled them out. It rained a little Friday night and made the roads very muddy. The boys throwed away everything they could possibly get along without. I keeped [sic] all of mine taking lesson from my Bull Run experience. We arrived here [near Yorktown] Saturday night -- our battery and the secesh had a few rounds. It has rained almost every since we camped here, [and] a great many of the boys have been taken sick and gone to the Hospital, . . . We have moved from our camp in the field into the woods in a good dry place out of the wind. I suppose all we are waiting for now is for the siege guns to come up and shell them out. As the roads are very bad we get no mail sent out, [and] hardly sufficient rations. One hard cracker and a half and a cup of coffee was all he had for breakfast and we have not had anything since though it’s past noon. But the boys do not grumble about their rations; they have got[ten] used to it. This is the regular bone and muscle of soldiering; no play in this.

On May 1 George wrote home “We are doing nothing at present” but “guard our trenches and go on picket. Our Regiment guarded trenches night before last. We were posted along two on a post with order to keep awake all night and keep a watch over the rifle pit. It is pretty tough business to keep awake all night. A fellow has to walk much to keep awake sometimes. The rebels keep up a scattering fire all night on the picket lines. I can think of no other reason than to draw the fire from our lines to see where we lay. They fire an occasional cannon or two and now and then a shell but they do no damage.” He wrote his mother on May 6 from Williamsburg, Virginia, that the rebels made a stand at Williamsburg following their retreat from Yorktown “and we fought them all day. The Michigan boys had a chance to show our good breeding but I am sorry to say the Third did not have a hand in it. We were detailed to support a battery and we did not go down to the battlefield till just about dusk when the fighting ceased and we marched back to where we left our knapsacks and camped. The rebels retreated during the night and we are now camped beyond their fortifications. We are all well and in good spirits.”

In his May 7 letter to his mother Miller described the recent movements of the Regiment from May 4 to May 6.

Last Sunday [May 4] after we got up the cannons had all ceased firing and everything appeared to be quiet. Pretty soon the report came that the Rebels had evacuated their works at Yorktown and our troops were in possession. They first received their information from a deserter who said the last Regiment had left not fifteen minutes before. About noon we received orders to pack up and at three o’clock we took up our line of march toward Richmond. We soon after passed the rebel fortifications which were stronger than we supposed. They had a fort on the bank of the [York?] river that was larger than any we built around Washington last summer. They left a quantity of arms in their fort among which was some lances for their infantry that they could not arm otherwise. I had heard of the secesh being dirty but had no idea of their being so shiftless as they were here. We could smell rebel camps before we got to them. The decaying [offal] of their fresh beef was just thrown outside of camp which filled the air with a perfume more fragment than agreeable. We camped for the night some or three miles beyond Yorktown. Our company was detailed for picket. We have got a new species of artillery along with us. It fires a common musket bullet and fires at the rate of sixty times a minute. [Gatling gun?] I believe the bullets are shoveled into a hopper and the machine is worked by a level. It commenced a drizzling rain Monday morning [May 5] which continued all day making it extremely disagreeable. We took up our line of march about eight o’clock. The roads are very slippery and muddy which keep getting deeper as we advance. There was pretty brisk cannonading going on away in the advance. The roads were getting decidedly horrible and the rain coming down wetting us through. I wore my overcoat so I managed to keep pretty dry. After we had marched about eight miles our Brigade had orders to unsling their knapsacks and make a forced march for the battlefield, which was about two miles ahead. The [Michigan] 2nd, 5th and [New York] 37th went in and won the day for us all and glory for themselves.

General [Phil] Kearny came to General Berry before we got in and requested his best Regiment t support a battery of artillery that had been taken and retaken six times. General Berry told him to take the Michigan 3rd says he, they will do you. So we filed up across a field toward a house that our men were using as a hospital. The wounded was being brought in on stretchers and occasionally some prisoners. It was only about half a mile to the battlefield and we could distinctly hear the rattle of their rifles and the booming of the cannon. The battery soon came up with two Maine Regiments. We had orders then to charge a rebel battery on the left. So we marched away down through a succession of fields, formed in line of battle in front of a woods when the order was countermanded and we marched back to the hospital and then filed into the woods, where to where [?] our boys were fighting. We now supposed we were going to have our turn at them. The boys were laughing and cracking jokes at one another as indifferent as if going on Brigade drill. By the time we got to the battlefield, it was getting dark and the firing had ceased. We had the satisfaction to hear that our boys had behaved nobly, [and] gained the day for us and won the highest praise from the generals. The 5th made a terrific charge on their rifle pits, drove them out and then charged them through our slashing. I must describe the position so you can understand the advantage the secesh had over us.

Before we got to the battleground the road leads down into a low place heavily wooded. [and] just beyond this and behind a swampy place the rebels had their rifle pits extending along that whole line. Just behind their pit they had about forty acres of heavy timber slashing, through which men could retreat and fight an advancing force with a very great advantage. Our boys drove them out of all this and then our artillery began to play upon them. They retreated to their forts, of which they had a chain of them stretching across the whole peninsula. We marched back to our knapsacks in the dark and of all the horrible of horrible roads, this was the most horrible; mud knee-deep and of the consistency of paste. We had no other alternative than to paddle through it. After we got to our knapsacks we pitched our tents and had a splendid sleep.

The morning [Tuesday, May 6] broke clear and bright to the great delight of us all; after we cooked our breakfast which exhausted our provisions we had orders to pack up our duds. Shortly after the news came into camp that the rebels had retreated during the night. We immediately marched through the battlefield which was strewn with dead secesh, pale and ghostly, most of them were hit in the head and shoulder, which plainly showed the advantage they had, the rest of their bodies being behind shelter. There was [sic] no mangled corpses, so the fighting was done mostly by infantry.

It looks rough to see so many dead men but a soldier soon learns to look on such things as a matter of course. We marched on most to the village of Williamsburg and camped to wait for provision and for our men to bury the dead. There must be a large number of killed as they have not got them all buried yet. We found several dead secesh lying around this morning, most of them had a brutal and ignorant expression and countenance. A secesh general was killed in the battle and his body left on the field. Colonel Terry of the 5th was slightly wounded and the Lieutenant Colonel also. It is said that when our men first charged on them and began to fire, the rebs hallowed, “There comes the western blue devils” and they began to break. A wounded secesh told some of our boys that our men could not have whipped them if it had not been for our western troops that we had there. He told they were too much for them. Hamilton doesn’t command us any more, he has been ordered to Washington for some misconduct I hear. We are now commanded by [General Phil] Kearny of Mexican [War] fame and after whom one of our forts in the Indian Territory is named.

On May 14 George wrote to his parents “We are in the neighborhood of a place called New Kent Courthouse, [and] we are not a great many miles from West Point, where our provisions and stores are all brought by water. We are now the rear guard bringing up the provisions and ammunition trains. We do not have very hard marches to perform. Some days we do not march at all. Yesterday we packed up and marched a mile and a half, then camped again. Today we marched about seven miles, [and] we are not more than twenty-five miles from Williamsburg. Hear [sic] the rebels are at Chickahominy Swamp where they intend to make another stand. The country through here looks very well. The inhabitants seemed to have followed Jeff Davis’ advice and plowed up every field and planted sowed, [as] the corn is about three inches high. Oats are up and look quite green.”

He wrote his mother on May 18 that “We are now camped at a place called Cumberland, a landing for boats on the Pamunkey River. We are ten miles from New Kent Courthouse, and five miles to the White House [landing] which I believe is our advance position. We have been here two days now, [and] I suppose we will be marching again before long.” And on May 21 George wrote to his sister that “We have moved from our camp at Cumberland and are now on the Richmond road some five or six miles from New Kent Courthouse, which is the County seat. So you see I am at present in Kent County if it has not the Michigan attached to it. This is a splendid country around here and well cultivated. The timber is principally pine, as it is all over Virginia. I think that I would be satisfied to live on some of the farms that we pass. . . . Corn is large enough to hoe, and oat are thick and green; peaches and apples are formed and everything looks like summer. Wonder what will turn up next?”

In what would be his final letter, written to his mother on May 28, just twelve miles from Richmond, George announced that

Things are fast coming to a focus around here I guess. Our division is on the left wing of the army, [and] we crossed Bottom’s Bridge Sunday and are now camped about 12 miles from the rebel capitol. The Chickahominy River that has been so much said about is but an insignificant stream and would be called a creek in Michigan. . . . There is some pretty nice country through here especially on the other side of the Chickahominy. I would be willing to own some farms I saw there. Wheat and oats are headed out, [and] the crops look as tho[ugh] it would be rather thin. Strawberries are ripe though they are rather a scarce article. . . . McClellan has ordered two rations of whiskey and quinine a day, but owing to the bad state of the roads and the distance of the landing whiskey has played out. Our knapsacks and other heavy dunnage have been sent back across the Chickahominy so that in case we should be forced to fall back as far as the river, we should not lose anything or be encumbered. We have rifle pits and masked batteries in store for them should they drive us. . . . We are having easy times now laying around in the shade doing nothing while you at home are hard at work sweating in the hot sun, but we do not know what minute we will be ordered to pack up and march and maybe fight. That is the difference.

George was reported missing in action following the engagement at Fair Oaks, Virginia on May 31, 1862. Henry Pool, also of Company A and who would himself be dead of disease in less than three weeks, wrote to Mrs. Miller on June 5 that because he was

a particular friend of your son George I took the liberty to open this [a letter to George from his mother, dated May 28, 1862] and answer it, as George is undoubtedly taken prisoner. We had a terrible battle Saturday 20,000 of us against about 60,000 of the rebels. After a terrible conflict we drove them back although our losses were heavy. Our Captain [Samuel Judd] was killed, First Lieutenant [George Judd] badly wounded through the shoulder. First, Second, third and Fifth Sergeants wounded. We have made a thorough search for George but as his body could not be found, he is undoubtedly taken prisoner. He was a good boy, a faithful soldier, we all deeply regret his loss, yet pray that it may be but for a short time. Our company killed, wounded and missing [numbered] 30; among the killed was William Daniels, Norman G. White, Samuel Dodge, Jared Harrison, Henry Ward, Ansel [Anson] Lewis, C. D. Smith, The rest wounded, most of them slightly. William Morse wounded in the knee.

And Henry Morse, also of Company A, wrote to Miller’s parents on June 7, 1862, that he was

grieved to write such news to a father that has lost his son. Your son was a dear friend of mine, but since the last battle [Fair Oaks] we can’t find anything of him. The last was seen of him, he and a boy in our company was seen to go toward the rebels. That was the last seen of either of them until after the battle. The boy that was with him was found dead, but G.W. could not be found, he probably was taken prisoner, and I pray that he is for then he will be restored to you again.

I have got his likeness and if you have not got one I will send it to you although it was a present to me while we were at Camp Michigan.

From Chickahominy creek, Virginia, Henry Morse wrote Miller’s father on June 7, 1862, that he was “grieved to write such news to a father that has lost his son. Your son was a dear friend of mine, but since the last battle we can't find anything of him. The last was seen of him, he and a boy in our company was seen to go toward the Rebels. That was the last seen of either of them until after the battle. The boy that was with him was found dead, but G.W. could not be found, he probably was taken prisoner, and I pray that he is for then he will be restored to you again. I have got his likeness and if you have not got one I will send it to you although it was a present to me while we were at Camp Michigan."

On June 22, Corporal Peter Lawyer of Company A explained to Jared Miller that George had been

selected out of our Regiment as one of the sharpshooters together with about fifty more, and they were commanded by our worthy Captain, S. A. Judd, and they went into the battle about one hundred yards in advance of the balance of the Regiment, but as the battle raged we were soon all mixed up together and we had all we could do for every man to look out for himself. Many of our brave skirmishers fell for the last time. G. W. Miller, James V. Smith and Corporal Wm. H. Drake are among the missing. The battlefield was all looked over for the wounded, [and] dead [but] [and] we found all but the above-mentioned. It is my candid opinion that these three were taken prisoners. They all belong to Company A, the same company that I do myself and G. W. Miller was a favorite of the company and very highly esteemed by all who knew him. We are all flattering ourselves that he will yet be returned to us. The last that was seen of George he was as far in the advance as any that was seen in the company. We were engaging the enemy on our left and we drove them back although they greatly outnumbered us, [and] after some time had elapsed and we were all the time facing a perfect shower of bullets and grapeshot, the enemy overpowered our right wing which fell back. The enemy followed them up and so we were holding them on our left. They came near flanking us, [and] it was with the utmost exertion that any of us escaped and there is where we think our three men was [sic] taken prisoner, G. W. among the rest. Our Captain [Judd] was killed and our company badly cut to pieces. Four of our Sergeants were wounded, the highest officer we have left in our company is a Sergeant.

I hope it will be as we expect if so we shall all see George again. You must hope for the best. It is my sincere wish that your son will be speedily returned to you again.

On August 8, the Millers’ hopes were lifted briefly when Henry Morse wrote from Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. Morse apologized for neglecting to write sooner for he “had given up all hope of his being alive until this morning. I saw and talked with a prisoner that [sic] belonged to our Regiment. He was taken to the hospital after our evacuation of Fair Oaks. From there he was taken to Richmond, [after which] he has been released and returned yesterday, [and] he told me that George was in North Carolina and the same soldier that guarded him guarded George. As there is a general exchange of prisoners, he will return” home soon “or to his Regiment. If he returns home give him my best wishes.”

For months the family worried over George’s whereabouts. On December 8, 1862, another of Miller’s friends, Jessie Coon, replied to a letter he had apparently received from Miller’s mother soliciting information as to his whereabouts. “Madam,” wrote Coon from the convalescent camp,

you are excusable in addressing a stranger under the circumstances, for there is no soldier I trust in the army so dead to the feelings of humanity as to refuse to give all the information possible in such a case. Your son was certainly not taken to Salisbury [prison in North Carolina], for I knew all of the Regiment that was there but 8 of us. I also think that all of the prisoners taken in that battle [Fair Oaks] that were not too severely wounded to prevent it were taken to Salisbury. Your son was highly esteemed in his company and no doubt they made a careful search for him as the nature of the ground would admit of. The battle was fought for the most part in dense thicket of scrub oaks and pines and in some places the timber had been slashed down and a person falling in those slashes might easily escape the notice of those searching for him. It is the opinion of his friends that he fell in one of those thickets, and so escaped their search. Deeply sympathizing with a mother for the loss of a dear son, you will pleaser accept the sincere condolence of a soldier in your great affliction.

Sometime late in the year, William Drake of Company A and who had been taken prisoner at Fair Oaks, wrote to Mrs. Miller from the camp for paroled prisoners. Drake hoped that

You will not think me forward in adding a word to that already written by friend [Jesse] 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, North Carolina to Belle Isle 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.

He closed by quoting “a poem delivered on the Fourth of July last at Salisbury prison:

“And yet amid the battles storm
Might have been an angels form
That hovered near us in the fight,
Our sun by day, our shield by night.
She soothed the dying, blessed the dead,
Thy child shall live as one of those
Who dropping, driving back the foes,
Though dead on earth, he lives to fame
And hath a never dying name.”

It was becoming apparent that George was not going to be found alive. On December 11, 1862, Henry Morse wrote again to the Millers from Washington. He was replying to an inquiry from the family regarding anything whether George had anything on his person that might identify his body.

You wanted to know what he carried in his pocket. I do not know what had had in his pocket, but this I do know, that last winter he used to save his letters till he got tired. Then he would burn them up. I think he must had something about [his] person they could have identified him by. You asked me if he ever read his bible. He always read a great deal, but I don’t know whether he read his bible or not for I did not read my own. Then he always seemed to be unconcerned about death; he appeared fearless, in fact -- he was as good a soldier as we had in our Regiment.

There was a great many so black when they were buried that they could not be recognized. They lay three days before they were buried and it was very warm weather at the time. I suppose I have done wrong in picturing to you the horrors of a battlefield for you will imagine everything about him. But what does it matter what becomes of the body when the spirit has gone to its heavenly Father and left this world of sin and sorrow? All I ask in this world is that when this body of mine is cold, my soul will be prepared to meet the being who gave it [life]. This is my mother’s prayer.


George Miller was eventually listed as killed in action on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, but his body never was found. There is a memorial to him in Bowne Township cemetery.