Oliver Richards was born in December of 1825 in Canada or 1831 in France.
Oliver left Canada and had settled in central Michigan by 1860 when he was a mason living in Lansing’s Second Ward with a carpenter by the name of C. P. Moore, who was born in Canada.
By the time the war broke out Oliver had become a member of the Lansing company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.
Oliver stood 5’8” with blue eyes, gray hair and a light complexion and was 35 or 30 years old and probably still living in Lansing when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. In early September he was reported sick in the Regimental hospital suffering from a bad cold.
Oliver eventually recovered and returned to duty. He was slightly wounded during the battle of Second Bull Run, on August 29, 1862. Oliver returned to duty, was again slightly wounded, this time in the foot, on May 2 or 3, 1863, during the battle of Chancellorsville. He was soon returned to duty and reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Dayton, Tuscola County. He 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 shot in the right arm on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia, and subsequently absent sick in the hospital.
He was still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and on July 29, 1864, he was admitted to the general hospital in York, Pennsylvania, suffering from “Impaired use of right arm, forearm and hand, in consequence of flesh wound of lower part of upper third of right arm, also incomplete fracture of inferior angle of right scapula, resulting in loss of power from nervous lesion of brachial plexus.”
Oliver remained absent wounded until he was discharged on May 12, 1865, at York for a “gunshot flesh wound of lower part upper third of right arm, also incomplete fracture of inferior angle of right scapula, resulting in loss of power from injury to nerve.”
After he was discharged from the army Oliver eventually returned to Michigan, and quite probably settled back in Lansing.
In June of 1865 he applied for and received a pension (no. 47404).
He married Canadian-born Catharine (b. 1835) and they had at least one child: Ida (b. 1869).
By 1870 he was working as a stonemason and living with his wife and daughter in Owosso’s Fourth Ward, Shiawassee County. For some years Oliver worked as a mason.
Oliver was listed as a single man when he died of inflammation of the lungs on or about February 1, 1878, in Lansing (in fact he was till married apparently). He was buried on February 2 in block E grave no. 19, “Potter’s field,” Mt. Hope cemetery, and was reburied on August 19, 1902, in the Soldiers Monument Lot.
His widow applied for a pension (application no. 245296), but she eventually remarried (possibly to one Mr. Sackrider) and a pension was applied for and received on behalf of at least one minor child (no. 344593).