Based on a review of pension records:
James Albert Taber was born around 1843 in New York, possibly the son of Louisa M. (born 1810 in Massachusetts, died in 1879).
Massachusetts native Louisa was married sometime before 1840, probably in New York, and eventually settled in western Michigan. By 1850 “Albert” was living with his mother in Hastings, Barry County and by 1860 “James” was working as a clerk and living with his mother in Hastings, Barry County.
He stood 5’8” with black eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 18 years old and possibly still living in Barry County when he enlisted with his mother’s consent in Company E on May 13, 1861.
Shortly after the Third Michigan arrived at Camp Blair along the banks of the Potomac, on June 16, 1861, Tabor along with several other hastings soldiers wrote to the editor of the Hastings Banner.
We are all here in Camp in good spirits, occupying an elevated position on the Potomac, six miles north of the city of Washington, and going through the usual performances of Camp life. The days are occupied in drill, and the nights are more or less used for scouting, but we see none of the enemy. There are several regiments encamped close by us, and more coming in every day. The District of Columbia is so occupied by troops that there is, seemingly, scarcely room for another Regiment. Our Fourth of July was very curt [?].
We have about made up our minds that we have left no friends in Hastings; we have written from five to eight letters each, and have received no answers. A few lines from home would do us much good, especially from our friends, if we have any. If money is scarce out that way and our friends are out of postage stamps and envelopes, let them draw on us and they can be accommodated.
“James” was reported absent sick in the hospital, possibly in Philadelphia in mid-July, and from August of 1862 through February of 1863; Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, reported that “Alembert” was present for duty with the regiment in late May of 1863. He was absent sick from July 6 and possibly through October of 1863. He suffred from chronic diarrhea.
James had returned by the time he reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Gaines, Kent County, and was absent on veteran’s furlough, possibly in Barry County, in January of 1864 and probably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February.
James was shot in the left hip on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and admitted as “James A.” on June 6 to Patterson Park general hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company E, 5th Michigan Infantry in June of 1864, and he remained absent sick through March of 1865.
James was a Sergeant when he was furloughed on October 24, 1864, and while he might have gone home briefly to Hastings, we do know that he went to Philadelphia in late October or early November. He married Massachusetts-born Mary K. Miller (1845-1934), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 1864, in Philadelphia. James returned from furlough on November 15.
He rejoined his Regiment in early spring of 1865 and was wounded by a musket-ball in his right leg on March 31, 1865, at Hatcher’s Run, Virginia. He was transferred to Lincoln Hospital in Washington, DC, where he died of his wounds on April 18, 1865.According to the War Department: “the ball entering inside and exit outside, at middle of leg. Secondary hemorrhage.” On April 12 “a vertical incision three inches long was made along the outer boarder [sic] of the semi-membrane muscle and the popliteal artery legated. Died April 18, of secondary hemorrhage.”
James was reportedly buried on April 19, presumably in Washington, although it was also reported that his personal effects were taken by one William D. Miller of Philadelphia (possibly a brother- or father-in-law), and his body was sent “home” for burial, perhaps to Philadelphia.
In May of 1865 his widow was living in Philadelphia when she applied for and received a pension (no. 60502). In 1868 she remarried to Alpheus Norman (d. 1879).
James’ mother died in 1879, probably in Hastings and is buried in Riverside cemetery, Hastings. Mary was living at 125 Harrison Street in East Orange, New Jersey, when she died in 1934.