Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Austin V. Swayze

Austin V. Swayze was born in 1838, in New Jersey, the son of William (b. 1816) and Anne.

New Jersey native William married Anne and they eventually settled in New Jersey. William brought his family to Michigan, eventually settling in Oakland County, probably Avon Township. In any case Austin may have lived in Avon at some point before the war.

Austin was 23 years old and possibly living in Muskegon County, Michigan, 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 apparently absent sick by early fall of 1861, when George Lemon of Company H, wrote home on September 30 that Swayze was “on the sick list and hasn't been able to do any duty since we came from Bull Run” on July 21, 1861. In fact, Austin allegedly deserted on September 10 or October 10, 1861, at Fort Richardson, Virginia, or on January 9, 1862, at Alexandria, Virginia.

There is no further record, and no pension seems to be available.

It appears, however that Austin returned to his home in Michigan and by 1870 he was described as “at home” living with his father and stepmother (?) Eliza in Avon, Oakland County.

He may have been the same Austin Swayze who by 1880 was working as a stone mason and living with his wife and children in Commerce, Oakland County. This would mean that he was living with his wife Ellen and their daughter in Avon, Oakland County in 1870 as well.

He was apparently living in Disco, Macomb County in 1888. (And there was a civil war veteran named Austin Swayze reportedly living in Midland’s First ward, Midland County in 1894.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Charles W. Swartman

Charles W. Swartman was born in 1833 in Utica, Oneida County, New York.

Charles left New York and eventually settled in western Michigan by the time war broke out.

He stood 5’10” with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was a 28-year-old farmer probably living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. (He may have been related to Martin and Robert Swart who also enlisted in Company E.) Charles was discharged for chronic rheumatism on May 30, 1862, at a general hospital in Washington, DC.

Charles was married to Emma R. and living in Kansas in 1890 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 819299).

He was probably living in Kansas when he died around 1902. He is reportedly buried in Elmwood cemetery, Chanute, Neosho County, Kansas.

In July of 1902 his widow was living in Kansas when applied for and received a pension (no. 564215).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Robert R. Swart

Robert R. Swart was born in 1840 in Montgomery County, New York.

Robert left New York and had settled in western Michigan by the time war had broken out. (In 1860 there was one Nathan Swart living in Sebawa, Ionia County.)

He stood 6’”6 with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer probably living in Ionia County when he enlisted as First Corporal in Company E on May 13, 1861. (He was probably related to Martin Swart who also enlisted in Company E.) Robert was reported as a Sergeant absent sick in the hospital from July of 1862 through November, and was discharged at the general hospital in York, Pennsylvania on December 2, 1862, for varicocele and dilatation of the heart.

It is unknown if Robert returned to Michigan after his discharge from the arm. He was in Avoca, New York where he reentered the service as a private on September 2, 1864, in Company G, One hundred eighty-ninth New York infantry, and was mustered in on October 1. He was mustered out on May 30, 1865 in Washington, DC.

After the war Robert returned once again to New York where he was living in 1889 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 531473) for his service in both Michigan and New York regiments.

In 1880 there was one Robert R. Swart, listed as a bridge-builder living with his wife Rachel and their son Elmer (b. 1867) in Elmira, Chemung County, New York. Curiously Rachel is reported as head of the household and her husband Robert is listed last after the son.

Robert died on July 15, 1918, in Bath, Steuben County, New York, and was presumably buried there.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Martin M. Swart

Martin M. Swart was born in 1841, probably in New York.

In 1850 Martin was probably living with the Thomas Bell family in Gorham, Ontario County, New York where Martin attended school; a 10-year-old boy named Charles Swart lived nearby with the William Robson family. In any case, Martin eventually left New York and settled in western Michigan by the time the war broke out. (In 1860 there was one Abram Swart living in Orangeville, Barry County.)

He was 20 years old and possibly living in Barry County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. (He may have been related to Robert Swart who also enlisted in Company E.) Martin was reported sick in the hospital from July of 1862 through October, on detached service in November and December, serving with the Brigade wagon train in January of 1863 and with the ambulance train from February through July. He was in the Division provost guard from September through December of 1863, on detached service in January of 1864, and at Brigade headquarters in February and at Division headquarters in March.

Martin was taken prisoner at Gaines’s Mill, Virginia on either June 1 or June 2, 1864, confined at Richmond June 3, and sent to Andersonville on June 8. He was admitted to the prison hospital on September 22 where he died on October 18 or 19, 1864, of scorbutus (scurvy). He was buried in Andersonville National Cemetery: grave 11,138.

No pension seems to be available.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Charles R. Swain

Charles R. Swain was born in 1844 in Tioga County, New York, probably the son of Robert (b. 1821) and Catharine (b. 1824).

Charles’s parents were both born in New York and eventually settled in Tioga County. By 1850 Charles was attending school with one Julia Lamonte and living with his family in Barton, Tioga County, New York where his father worked as a carpenter. Charles left New York with his family, and came to western Michigan. By 1860 Charles was attending school with three of his younger siblings, living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward, Kent County, and probably working as a farm laborer for a wealthy farmer by the name of Conrad Phillips in Walker, Kent County.

Charles stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 17 years old and residing in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. During the Old Third Michigan Infantry association’s annual reunion in December of 1882, Charles “told how in climbing out, by command, with the rest of the boys upon that festive occasion, [First] Bull Run, he left behind his jacket containing his first month's salary, 11 gold dollars.”

Charles was detached as a pioneer from July of 1862 through November, in the Regimental commissary department from January of 1863 through August, at First Division headquarters in October, and a First Division teamster in November. He reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids, Third Ward, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. In April of 1864 he was reported with the Brigade wagon train through May (probably as a teamster), and he was on detached service in the ammunition train when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He remained on detached service through May of 1865, and probably until he was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Charles returned to Grand Rapids where he worked as a fireman. (By 1870 Robert and Catharine were living in Grand Rapids’ Fourth ward, Kent County.) “Charley Swain,” wrote the Grand Rapids Democrat on August 2, 1874, “jumped into a creek at Muskegon yesterday morning and rescued an inhabitant from drowning. He formerly resided in Milwaukee, and upon investigation his body was found enclosed in iron bands.”

Charles was married to New York native Clarinda (b. 1848).

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids and an active Democrat.

In January of 1875 it was reported that Swain, “one of the most efficient Democratic workers of the 7th Ward, a brave fireman and worthy citizen, is soon to leave the city and take up residence on a farm near Toledo, Ohio. While we regret his leaving the Valley city, we are glad to know he will emigrate to a thoroughly Democratic State, where the ‘fog horn’ of Governor Allen rallied the faithful to victory. The ‘boys’ of the ‘machine’ propose to supply Charley with an outfit of agricultural implements.”

By 1878, however, he had returned to Grand Rapids where he had resumed his trade of fireman. “Mr. Charles Swain,” wrote the Democrat, “the gentlemanly foreman, says the rooms [for a new engine house] will be open for the reception of the public generally today, and he, with his brother firemen, desire especially that those who aided them in procuring means to furnish their rooms should look in and see how the money has been expended.”

By 1880 Charles was still working as a fireman and living with his wife on Bronson Street in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward. He was still in Grand Rapids in 1882 but by 1892 was living in Lucas County, Ohio, when he provided an affidavit in the pension application for Rolandus Freet who had also served in the Old Third during the war. By1895 Charles had moved back to Toledo. Swain apparently never returned to Grand Rapids.

He was living in Ohio in 1892 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 830060).

Charles probably died in 1905, probably in Ohio.

In 1905 his widow was living in Ohio when she applied for and received a pension (no. 604678).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Joseph Clark Sutton

Joseph Clark Sutton was born in 1836 in Ontario County, New York.

Joseph left New York and by 1863 had settled in western Michigan.

He stood 5’9” with hazel eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was a 27-year-old painter possibly living in Hastings, Barry County when he became a substitute for David R. Cook who had been drafted on February 10, 1863, for 9 months from Prairieville, Barry County. He was assigned to Company E, and joined the Regiment on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia. According to Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, Joseph was a Private present for duty in late May of 1863.

He was reported as “not wounded” and working as a nurse in a Philadelphia hospital in mid-July, but was also listed as absent wounded from July through October, and was mustered out either in the field on November 14, 1863, or in Detroit on November 18, 1863.

After his discharge Joseph returned to Hastings.

He was married to New York native Elizabeth (b. 1843) and they had at least three children: William (b. 1864), Ellsworth (b. 1867) and Mary (b. 1869).

By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $2000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and children in Hastings. He also worked as a painter and farmer, and was living in Woodland, Barry County in 1888 and 1890.

Joseph was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1886 he applied for and received pension no. 933,343. He was a member of the GAR Steadman post no. 198 in Reed City, Osceola County, and at one time had probably been a member of the Mauch post no. 241 in Hastings, Barry County.

Joseph was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 2187) as a widower on July 25, 1894, and was in and out of the Home some 10 times. By 1895 he was residing in Holton, Muskegon County and in Tustin, Osceola County around 1900 and at the Home in 1906. By 1920 he was living alone in Reed City, Osceola County.

Joseph was discharged from the Home for the final time on April 16, 1921, and was possibly living in the vicinity of Reed City when he died on April 28, 1927. He was buried in Burdell cemetery, near Tustin in Osceola County.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

John H. Sumner

John H. Sumner was born in 1840 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Robert (b. 1803) and Jerusha (b. 1806).

Massachusetts native Samuel married Maine-born Jerusha in 1831, possibly in Maine where they lived for some years. By 1850 Samuel was working as a carpenter and John (listed as “J. H.” ) was attending school with two of his older siblings in Somerville, Massachusetts. John left Massachusetts and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan where by 1859-60 he was living with one Samuel Sumner (probably his father) on the north side of Lyon east of Prospect Street in Grand Rapids, Kent County. In 1860 Samuel R. was reportedly living in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward.

John stood 5’6” with blue eyes, auburn hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old dentist possibly living in Grand Rapids or Zeeland, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was reported in the Brigade commissary department in July of 1862, and promoted to Commissary Sergeant on August 1 or 17, 1862, at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. In early March of 1863 John returned to his home in Grand Rapids on a 20-day furlough, “to visit his parents and friends in this city.”

John soon returned to the Regiment and was awarded the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863. He was still Quartermaster Sergeant when he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Cannon, Kent County, and presumably returned to his home in Michigan on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and if so he probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was discharged per special order no. 42 (dated February 19, 1864) in order to be promoted and commissioned as of December 31, 1863.

He was subsequently promoted to Regimental Quartermaster on January 1, 1864, at Camp Bullock, Virginia, commissioned November 25, 1863, replacing Captain Robert M. Collins, who had been promoted to the U.S. Army regulars. John was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After leaving the army John returned to Michigan where he reentered the service as Captain of Company A, Reorganized Third Michigan infantry on July 29, 1864, at the organization of that unit. Charles Wright, formerly Company A, wrote home on December 5, 1864, from Petersburg, Virginia, that “I 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.”

On January 21, 1865, Sumner requested a leave of absence. “I have the honour,” he wrote to Brigadier General W. D. Whipple,

to make application for a leave of absence for (20) twenty days, to visit my home in Michigan.

I have now entered upon my second term of service for three years. On being mustered out of the United States service, I held the position of R.Q.M. Third Michigan Veterans Infantry; my Regiment was consolidated with the 5th Michigan Veteran Infantry, and my business was left in an unsettled condition, which must have serious injury to the officers of the Regiment so consolidated, unless I can properly settle my business connected with the Regiment to which I formerly belonged. I have made stringent efforts through the Mail to do so, but have thus far failed. I know now of no way in which it can be done without my personal presence and attention. At the evacuation of Decatur, Ala., November 25th, 1864, I lost my valise, containing my uniform and other clothing. I wish to purchase another Uniform and outfit, which I am unable to procure here.

John’s request was granted and he was absent with leave from February 6. By the second week of February was back home in Grand Rapids. “Capt. John Sumner,” wrote the Grand Rapids Eagle on February 9, “of the new Third Michigan infantry, has just returned from the front, on a short furlough, to visit his parents and friends in this city. He reports the ‘boys’ in his command and Regiment generally well and in good spirits.”

He eventually rejoined the Regiment and was tried by a general court martial at New Orleans, Louisiana on July 4, 1865, for disobedience of orders: he reportedly spent the night in the city. The surgeon t4estified that he was too sick to return form the city for the night. But since he had a pass to spend the day only the courts found him guilty and fined forfeiture of one month pay. He was Acting Commissary and Subsistence at Victoria, Texas from November 28, 1865, through April of 1866, and was mustered out with the Regiment on May 25, 1866 at Victoria, Texas.

After the war John returned to Grand Rapids and was probably living at 137 Lyon Street in 1865-66. By 1870 John was living with his parents in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward in 1870, working as an insurance agent and he worked in the bookkeeping department of the Grand Rapids Democrat from 1870 until 1872 when he became engaged in selling real estate in Grand Rapids.

On December 13 the Democrat wrote that Sumner along with E. L. Somers “opened a real estate office and collection agency, with Alfred Putnam, Justice of the Peace. These gentlemen are young, active, experienced in business, and are sure to succeed. For two years past, Mr. Sumner has been employed in the counting room of the Democrat, and during that time has acquitted himself to the satisfaction of his employers, proving faithful to every tract and energetic in the discharge of his duties. His associate, Mr. Somers, is widely known and generally respected, as a man of integrity, and sound judgment, who never allows pleasure to stand in the way of business. We wish the firm the greatest success.”

He married Pennsylvania native Susan (1854-1928) and had at least one child: Mary R. (b. 1876).

By 1880 John was working as a book-keeper and living with his wife and daughter on Lyon Street in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.

John was a staunch Democrat, and a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1902 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1086398).

John resided in Grand Rapids for many years but by 1890 he had moved to Washington, DC, where he was working as Second Assistant Postmaster in the U.S. post office and either working or living at 915 I Street northwest. He lived the rest of his life in Washington.

He died at his home in Washington on May 2, 1905, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery: section 3, grave 1515.

The same month John died his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 599906). Susan was still living in Washington, DC in 1920; and her daughter Mary was living with her.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Franz Sumner

Franz Sumner was born in 1836.

In 1860 there was a 22-year-old day laborer named Frank Summer, born in Germany, working in Winona, Minnesota.

Franz was 27 years old and possibly living in Warren, Macomb County, Michigan, when he became a substitute for Gottlieb Raume who had been drafted on February 17, 1863, from Warren for 9 months. He subsequently enlisted in Unassigned and was sent to the Regiment on March 6, 1863.

There is no further record.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jerry Sullivan

Jerry Sullivan was born in 1833 in Berry, Ireland.

Jerry, who was unable to read or write, left Ireland and came to America, eventually settling in western Michigan where by 1860 he was a lumberman and mill laborer working for the Richard Roberts’ mill in Allendale, Ottawa County, along with Henry Dykema (who would also enlist in Company C), and living with another mill laborer, John Boon. The following year Jerry was reported to own property in section 26, or about 1 1/2 miles south of Charleston, Ottawa County.

In any case, he stood 5’6” with black eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was 28 years old and residing in Allendale when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was sick in his quarters during the winter of 1861-62, but was probably present for duty when he was wounded by gunfire on November 30, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia.

Jerry died the same day from his wounds, and was presumably buried among the unknown soldiers at Mine Run.

No pension seems to be available.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Robert Strong

Robert Strong was born in 1808 in Ireland.

Robert married Irish-born Elizabeth (1823-1907), possibly in Ireland, and they had at least eight children: Robert (b. 1845), James (b. 1847), Mary A. (b. 1850), William (b. 1853), Henry (b. 1855), Abram (1856-1860), Richard (b. 1859), and Amy A. (1864-65).

Robert and his wife both immigrated to America and had settled in Canada by 1845 when their oldest son Robert was born. Sometime between 1847 and 1850 they moved to New York, and moving westward they eventually settled in Michigan by 1856. By 1860 Robert was working a farm (he owned some $6000 worth of real estate) and he was living with his wife and children in Hastings, Barry County.

Robert stood 5’8” with gray eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was a 56-year-old farmer possibly living in Assyria, Barry County when he enlisted in Company B on February 8, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on March 10 at Culpeper, Virginia, and was slightly wounded in the leg in early May. He was probably absent sick when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was subsequently reported absent sick from June 5, 1864 through April of 1865. He was discharged on May 19, 1865, at Annapolis, Maryland.

After the war Robert returned to Barry County.

In 1872 (?) he applied for a pension (no. 177294).

Robert died on March 20, 1878, possibly in Barry County, but in any case was buried in Barryville cemetery.

His widow was living in Castleton, Barry County in 1880 and in 1890.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

John T. Strong

John T. Strong was born on June 17, 1842 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of George Furzer (1813-1885) and Mary (Pulsifier Shea, 1816-1893).

George left England and immigrated to the United States where he met and married Maine native Mary and settled in Massachusetts sometime before their oldest child Sarah was born in 1838. By 1850 John was attending school with his older sister Sarah and living with his family in Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts where his father worked as a book-binder. His family moved from Massachusetts sometime after 1850, settling in Lansing and the Delta Center area in about 1855.

By 1860 John was a grocery clerk living with his family in Lansing’s Second Ward, where his father and one “E. H.” Strong worked as book-binders. When the war broke out John became a member of the Lansing company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.

John stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 19 years old and probably still living in Lansing when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company G on May 10, 1861. (He is not found in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history.)

Frank Siverd of Company G wrote on July 20, 1861, that following the July 18 action at Blackburn’s Ford (a prelude to Bull Run), John was “exhausted and sent to the rear” However, John was apparently on duty with the regiment three days later, during the battle of First Bull Run, on July 21, 1861. According to a story he related in 1883, he and several other soldiers had become separated from their regiments following the Union debacle at Manassas.

During the “masterly advance on Washington” (vide Artemus Ward), made by our boys are the reverse at the first Bull Run, five Union soldiers -- or perhaps “stragglers” would be the more appropriate term -- belonging to as many different regiments, might have been slowly wending their way toward the heights near Washington, which had been taken possession of by our troops. Skulking by day, and bunking by night in the shadow of a rail, set endwise on the ground, the upper end resting on any convenient object, affording ample hiding room for the poor shrinking forms made doubly small by fear of capture by the “Johnnies,” they discussed the chances of war which in so short a time had shorn them of the glory fondly anticipated in letters to dear ones left behind, and numberless communications to the loyal papers of their homes.

Probably by reason of its more secluded situation the route by way of Vienna was chose by this “forlorn hope” in bringing up the rear guard. In entering the outskirts of the village, in the edge of evening, their eyes were greeted by the sight of a barn containing hay -- a glorious vision, giving hopes of rest sweeter than had been realized in the two nights already spent in the toilsome journey, and a feeling of security on account of the near proximity of the Union picket line.

This feeling of safety was, however, rudely overthrown, shortly after they had laid down for a rest, by the sound of voices. On peering through an aperture in the side of the venerable structure, the guard (it will be observed that this point in military discipline was strictly adhered to) reported a squad of well-armed “Johnnies” approaching, evidently bent on their capture/ Here was a good-sized dilemma for our brave boys, after the toilsome dangers through which they had passed -- to be taken prisoners when almost in sight of their comrades. What was to be done must be done quickly, so under the hay they popped, and none too soon, for hardly had the last 7x9 army shoe disappeared when the army entered.

Nothing in the conversation of the new comers led the trembling forms recumbent underneath the hay to think that their presence was mistrusted. But judge of the consternation of our friends when they discovered that their visitors, after detailing a portion of their number to prepare the evening meal (oh, how good that coffee smelled to those poor involuntary prisoners) seated themselves on the fragrant mow of hay, directly above the aforesaid “five,” and deliberately proceeded to a game of euchre, each one, unnecessarily, it seemed to those below, enforcing each trick he captured by an emphatic half leap that would have done credit to a thoroughbred kangaroo.

Well, to cut this narrative short, the “five” understood stood, or more correctly speaking, “laid” it as long as they could, when, preferring captivity to a death by suffocation, one by one they emerged from beneath the astonished rebels (?) to find that they were members of a New Jersey regiment on picket duty. Imagine our, -- no, their feelings; well both. Congratulations in order, followed by their imparting the (to us) disgusting information that they had seen us enter the barn, which was their relief headquarters. and had counted on having some fun; in which they certainly succeeded. The gray uniform worn by the New Jersey regiment caused them to be mistaken for rebels, as were many other regiments during the first three months of the war. The Third Michigan uniformed in the same manner, and it proved quite an aid to the “boys” on their private foraging expeditions. . . .

John was discharged for tuberculosis on July 29, 1861.

John returned home to Lansing following his discharge from the Third Michigan. “Private Strong,” wrote the Lansing State Republican on August 7, “brings back the compliments of the rebels in the shape of a minie ball fired at him while he was in the woods in search of water. The ball struck a musket, upon which he was leaning at the time, and glanced, striking the ground just behind him.”

He reentered the service in Company G, Twelfth Michigan infantry as Corporal on December 19, 1861. He was discharged for disability at Detroit on August 2, 1863. He may have also served in the Veterans’ Reserve Corps sometime in 1864 was discharged on April 6, 1865. (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.)

John soon returned to Lansing (if in fact he had not already done so) where he married Salona or Lona B. Ostrander (1845-1919) on August 7, 1863. They had at least four children: George S. (b. 1865) and Marion L (b. 1868), Olive A. (b. 1872), and William H. (b. 1874).

By 1880 John was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Delta, Eaton County. John was probably living in Lansing in December of 1883 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and served during that year as secretary of the Association. John was living in Lansing in 1884 when he attended the Sixth Annual Reunion of the Soldiers and Sailors, at Battle Creek, Calhoun County. In 1884 he was still living in Lansing and was probably a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Foster Post in Lansing. (One source referred to John by what was probably a nickname, “Jack Weak.”)

And in fact it was under that nickname that John wrote an article to the short-lived Soldier Mercury in May of 1884.

A little incident comes to mind, which, at present thinking, causes considerable amusement, though at the time it occurred it came very near causing – well – a big disturbance. It happened while the old 3d Michigan Infantry was rendezvousing at Grand Rapids, Mich., over the rations issued to the boys in the similitude of bean soup, when the – well we suppose the part of the nutritious element of the historical army bean that turns into a sprout would separate, and floating in the liquid consistency, assume the appearance of the larvae from a fly or some other bug. Well, all of us were boiling over (worse than the soup) with wrath, held an indignation meeting, and the writer hereof was appointed chairman on public safety, to bring the matter before the colonel [Dan McConnell], and insist on having fresh beans used for soup; as some of the committee remarked, they would go better baked, and do away with the necessity of putting in a chunk of S. B. alias pork. Well, of course, every one imagine the scene at headquarters when we presented our grievance and demanded redress. We knew beans after that interview if we did not before; but the memory of those days still clings to us, and we heave a sigh of rejoicing at the vast amount of knowledge acquired under difficulties.

In 1884 he applied for and received a pension (no. 331041).

John died on January 28, 1885, possibly in Lansing and was buried in Delta Center, Michigan.

In March of 1887 his widow applied for a pension (no. 351182). She apparently remarried to one Henry Woodworth in 1889 and was living in Lansing in 1890.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chauncey Strickland Jr.

Chauncey Strickland Jr. was born in 1842 in New York, the son of Chauncey Sr. (b. 1798) and Mary Ann (1802-1852).

Massachusetts native Chancy Sr. married New York-born Mary sometime before 1831 by which time they had settled in New York. By 1850 Chauncey Jr. was attending school with his five older siblings and living on the family farm in Royalton, Steuben County, New York. Mary Ann died at their home in Wayland, Steuben County, New York, in 1852. Chauncey Sr. eventually moved his family to Michigan and by 1860 he was living with the John Stone family in Sebawa, Ionia County (Chauncey Jr.'s obituary noted he was from Portland, Ionia County, before the war). In the summer of 1860 one Chauncey Strickland was working as a farm laborer in Dewitt, Clinton County lodged in the Clinton County jail (offense unknown).

Chauncey was 19 years old and possibly living in Clinton or Ionia County when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.)

According to Frank Siverd of Company G, Chauncey was in the “measles infirmary” shortly before the regiment left Michigan in June of 1861. According to Siverd, Third Michigan Regimental Surgeon D. W. Bliss, in order “to prevent the disease spreading, as soon as the first symptoms appear,” had all the measle cases “removed to the house of a physician, some three miles from camp.”

Chauncey was one of perhaps three dozen soldiers left behind sick in Grand Rapids when the Regiment departed for Washington, DC, on June 13, 1861.

Chauncey never rejoined the regiment. He died of “congestion of the lungs” in Grand Rapids on June 18, 1861, and his body was reportedly sent to Lansing for burial. There appears to be no record of his burial in Lansing, however. It is of course possible that he was buried in Clinton County, although one reliable source reported that his body was in fact brought to Portland, Ionia County where it was interred.

His father was living in St. Johns, Clinton County, in 1866. In 1869 Chauncey Sr. applied for a dependent’s pension (143603).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

John J. Stribbling

John J. Stribbling was born on March 15, 1842 in England, probably the son of William (1818-1899) and Mary Ann (b. 1818).

Sometime between 1841 and 1849 William and his family immigrated to the United States and by 1850 John was living with his family in Royalton, Niagara County, New York, where his father was working as a laborer. The family eventually settled in Michigan. Widower or divorced, William apparently remarried to one Alvira (1816-1898).

John stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was a 19-year-old farmer possibly living in Delta, Eaton County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company G on August 27, 1862, at Detroit or Lansing for 3 years, crediting Delta, and was mustered the same day at Detroit. He joined the Regiment on September 8 at Upton's Hill, Virginia, and was wounded slightly on July 2 or 3, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was discharged “by order” on either May 31 or June 2, 1865, near Washington, DC.

John returned to Michigan, probably to Delta, after his discharge from the army.

He married to New York native Adell (b. 1847) and they had at least two children: George (b. 1868), Eugene (b. 1870) and an unnamed infant which died the day it was born in 1871.

By 1870 John was working as a farmer (he owned some $2000 worth of real estate) and was living with his wife and two children in Delta, Delta Township, Eaton County. John’s parents lived near by with the family of Joseph Woolf.

John was struck by lightning and killed in Delta, Eaton County, on July 15, 1872, and was buried in Delta center cemetery.

His widow was living in Delta in 1890. She eventually remarried a Mr. Randolph. In 1917 Adella applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 871175).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Calvin H. Strain

Calvin H. Strain was born in 1836 in Jefferson County, New York.

There was a Calvin Strain living in Wayne, Marion County, Indiana in 1860. In any event, Calvin left New York and came to Michigan sometime before 1864.

He stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 28-year-old farmer, possibly living in Corunna, Shiawassee County when he enlisted in Unassigned on January 22, 1864, at Corunna, for 3 years, and was mustered the same day.

There is no further record.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Frederick A. Stow

Frederick A. Stow was born on April 13, 1832, in Seneca County, New York.

Fred’s father was born in Massachusetts and his mother in New York. In any case, by 1835 the family had left New York and settled in Washtenaw County, Michigan. After Fred’s parents died he moved to the western side of the state eventually settling in Grand Rapids.

In any case, Frederick was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in September of 1855 when he enlisted in the Grand Rapids Artillery, which would serve as the nucleus of Company B, Third Michigan infantry in the spring of 1861, and Fred would remain a member of the company until war broke out. (The GRA was first commanded by Lucius Patterson, and he would be replaced by Captain Baker Borden who would also command Company B of the Third Michigan infantry in 1861). On August 10, 1859, Fred was promoted to Third Lieutenant of the company, and was still serving as Third Lieutenant of the company by the end of 1860.

By 1859-60 Fred was working as a grocer and living on the north side of Bridge Street, east of Front Street on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

Frederick was 24 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted (according to the muster-in roll) as First Sergeant of Company B on May 13, 1861, when the Regiment was mustered into Michigan state service, but was recorded as Second Lieutenant of Company B on June 10, 1861, when the Regiment was mustered into federal service, just three days before the Third Michigan left for Washington, DC. In the wake of the battle of Bull Run, Fred’s brother wrote him to say that

It relieved me of much anxiety, for I was very solicitous to hear from you, for I knew not what circumstances you might be placed in. And I was right glad that the only loss you sustained was the loss of your coat, -- blanket & knapsack. By the way, Ellen, Mahlon's sister wished me to tell you that you were scared and threw them away, but however I trust this was not the case, for I have more confidence in your bravery than that, and . . . you might have received a much more serious loss and one which could not be repaired. But I will not dwell upon such a point lest by so doing I should cast a gloom over your spirits.

But here I often feel quite brave and all most wish to shoulder a musket, and engage in the same glorious cause which you are engaged in. It seems as though I would like to get a chance to shoot at that scoundrel who may have appropriated your lost articles to his use.

But you need not look for me down there at present. If I go I shall go from a sense of duty, duty to God and my country, with the deliberate determination to shoot as many as I can. It may surprise you to hear me talk so, it surprises me to think that I can so indifferently talk so, for I am what some would call “chicken hearted,” at least I am possess of a very sympathetic nature and can not bare [sic] to see the most insignificant creature suffer, much less a human being, and at any other time my soul would revolt at the idea of the sufferings and death occurring from war. But instead of feeling so now, I feel more like being engaged in the present difficulties. Although I may not take up the sword, from having duties to perform here, yet I make it a matter of earnest prayer to god. I make mention of you nearly every day to our heavenly Father, that you may have grace to keep you from evil and that you may overcome all your enemies. Our boys of the 1st Reg. returned here on Friday, and seem to be in good spirits, some of them are missing and their fate is yet unknown, whether they are killed or taken prisoner is not yet ascertained. I wrote you a letter on the Monday evening after the battle and had just closed when I heard of the defeat of our troops, but whether you have yet received it or not I do not know. I requested in that, that you would send me your likeness taken with your uniform on, if it is so you can. There is another thing Fred, which I wish to mention, yet I feel somewhat delicate about mentioning it and would not did I not feel so much the importance of my having a good education. What I wish to ask is, can you help me to the means so that I can attend school one year at a theological institute out west; if so I shall try and teach this winter and commence next spring attending school. If not, I shall try probably try to join the conference this fall, which I feel unprepared to do, but if I do I shall want some books and clothes, and I also owe a little, but I shall be near able to pay that with what I earn this summer, and if you cannot assist me in going to school, can you let me have enough to get some books . . . as Methodist Minister does not get very large salaries. You will find a letter enclosed to E. McMillan which I wish you would give him.

On October 21, 1861, Fred wrote to Henrietta Chubb, his future wife, from Arlington Heights, Virginia.

I am well. It has been extremely warm today. It is very quiet here in camp. Yesterday we had battalion drill, but not parade. Today we had both. We have not yet received orders to move, but our General has been heard to say that we have been transferred to another division below Alexandria & the talk is that we shall go tomorrow, but it is not certain yet. I hate to leave here it is healthy & pleasant. We have been here so long it seems like home. We have got everything comfortable here & everything we want is brought to us. We can live as well here as in the city. When we we leave we shall be deprived of all these things & the many privileges we have here enjoyed. It will take a long time to have our quarters arranged as comfortable as we have them here if at all, but we did not come here on a pleasure excursion by any means. We came here as soldiers, but would like to be as comfortable as well as any body. While on dress parade a balloon passed over us. It must [have] went up at Fall's Church & landed over in Maryland. I have not seem any of the eighth reg. yet. Some of the cavalry of my acquaintance have been over. If we do not go tomorrow I will try & go over & see them at Fort Albany (just across the road from us). They have been firing heavy guns for practice. The ball is now opened, the music has struck up & the dancers have taken their places. It is now near time for our school & I will adjourn till morning. I may then have some news to write. Saturday morning [October 22]. I have just returned from roll call, & will now finish my letter although I have not heard any news. There is not much prospect of our leaving today. I caught cold last night & am half sick this morning. I will try to get a pass & go to the city after breakfast & to the eighth reg. Our cook is setting the table for breakfast & I must get out of the way.

Fred was commissioned First Lieutenant on January 1, 1862, and promoted to Captain of Company B on October 27, 1862, commissioned October 25, replacing Captain Fred Schriver (not Charles Lyon, as listed in the 1905 Regimental history).

He was absent with leave in January of 1863 when he married Michigan native and school teacher Henrietta Chubb (1839-1924) on January 26, 1863, at her parent’s home in Lyons, Ionia County, and they had at least two children: George F. (b. 1867) and Arthur F. (b. 1869).

It is possible that Fred returned to the Regiment briefly, but in any case he resigned on March 27, 1863, probably on account of a gunshot wound in the chest and a wounded ankle.

After his discharge Fred returned to (or remained in) western Michigan and on April 22, 1863, the Eagle reported that Stowe, “owing to poor health, has been compelled to resign his command. He has been just returned to his home in this city.”

Fred resumed his trade of grocer, working on Canal Street in the Collins block but eventually he moved to West Bridge Street and from 1867 to 1869 was living on the southeast corner of Bridge and Water Streets on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. By 1870 he had moved to Clinton County and was working as a farmer (he owned $4800 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and children in Dallas, Dallas Township; he was still farming in Dallas in 1880. By December of 1884, when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, Fred was living in Fowler, Clinton County and resided in Fowler for many years. In 1897 he left the farm in Dallas and settled in Pewamo, Ionia County. By 1906 he was residing in Pewamo, Ionia County where he was living in 1909 through 1912, and was working in the insurance business in Pewamo in 1913 when he and wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Fred was still living in Pewamo in 1917.

Fred was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Hutchinson post no. 129 in Fowler. In 1866 he applied for and received a pension (no. 63077).

Fred died on March 13, 1924, in Pewamo, Ionia County or perhaps in St. Johns, Clinton County, and was buried in Mt. Rest cemetery in St. Johns.

Monday, November 15, 2010

John Stotts

John Stotts was born in 1841 in Germany.

John came to America and settled in Michigan sometime before 1863.

He stood 5’7’ with black eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was a 20-year-old baker possibly living in Westphalia, Clinton County when he became a substitute for Larow R. Ploughman who had been drafted on February 11, 1863, for 9 months from Westphalia. John subsequently enlisted in Company B, joined the Regiment on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, however his enlistment bounty was recorded as forfeited for “attempting desertion.”

He was reported missing in action on May 3 at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and in fact had been taken prisoner on May 3, paroled on May 15 at United States Ford, Virginia, and returned to the Regiment at Sulphur Springs, Virginia. He allegedly deserted on September 3, 1863 at Troy, New York.

There is no further record. No pension seems to be available.

There was one John Stotts who was 19 years old when he enlisted as a private on June 7, 1864 in Company E, One hundred twenty-second Ohio infantry and was mustered the same day. He was taken prisoner on July 9, 1864 and paroled on march 20, 1865.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Urias Story

Urias Story was born in 1839 or 1841 in Michigan or New York, the son of Lyman (b. 1810) and Emily (b. 1812).

Connecticut-born Lyman married Vermonter Emily and eventually settled in New York where they resided for some years. By 1840 they had left New York and moved to Michigan, probably settling in the vicinity of Dexter, Washtenaw County. The family was still living on a farm in Dexter in 1850 where Urias attended school with his siblings. Emily died sometime before 1852, possibly in Michigan, and Lyman remarried in 1852 to one Mary Stapish, an immigrant from Wurtemberg, Germany, in Lyndon, Michigan. Lyman eventually moved the family to the western part of the state. By 1860 Urias was a farm laborer working with his older brother Oliver and living on his father’s farm in Boston, Ionia County. Next door lived Calvin Wilsey and his family; Wilsey too would join the Third Michigan.

He was 20 years old and probably still 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.) At some point Urias was detailed as a “waiter” (probably for a group of officers). He was absent sick at Annapolis, Maryland from May through August of 1862, and allegedly deserted on September 21, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia.

There is no further record, and no pension seems to be available.

In 1870 Lyman and his family were still farming in Boston, Ionia County; Lyman was still living in Ionia County in 1880.

There was one Urias Storey (b. 1840 in Michigan) who was married to Irish native Hannah (b. 1842) and they had at least children: Horace (b. 1867), Louis (b. 1869) and George (b. 1879) – all born in New York. He was working as a railroad conductor and living with his wife and their children on South division Street in Buffalo, Erie County, New York, in 1880. This same Urias E. Story was still working as a railroad conductor for the Buffalo R & P. R. R. in 1890.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Warren Solomon Stone

Warren Solomon Stone was born on January 4, 1846, probably in Painsville, Lake County, Ohio, the son of Solomon B. (b. 1822) and Henrietta (b. 1817).

Ohio natives Solomon and Henrietta were married probably in Ohio sometime before 1846 and by 1850 were living in Mentor, Lake County, Ohio where “Solomon W.” attended school. By 1860 “Solomon w.’ was attending shcool with his younger siblings and living with his family in Mentor, Lake County, Ohio. Warren probably moved to Michigan, probably from Ohio, along with his parents, shortly before the war broke out, settling in Riley, Clinton County.

Warren stood 5’8” with gray eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Westphalia, Clinton County when he enlisted in Company F on January 20, 1864, at Westphalia for 3 years, crediting Westphalia, and was mustered February 1 at Grand Rapid. He joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. Warren was taken prisoner on October 27 at Boydton Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia, and spent five months in Libby prison in Richmond, Virginia. He returned to the Regiment on April 26, 1865, at Burkville, Virginia, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Warren returned to Riley where he married Wurtemberg, Germany native Mary E. Metzgar (b. 1849), on November 25, 1866, and they had at least five children: Byron (b. 1868), Lydia (b. 1869), William (b. 1872), Frank (b. 1874) and George (b. 1877).

By 1870 Warren was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Riley. (His parents were also living in riley in 1870). By 1880 warren was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in westphalia, Clinton County. Shortly afterwards he moved to Newaygo County, settling on a farm in Garfield Township.

Warren lived in Newaygo County for many years and about 1905 or 1906 he had to quit farming for health reasons, and moved into Newaygo or Fremont where he was living when he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1916. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and the Methodist church, and for many years worked as a farmer.

In 1888 he applied for and eventually received a pension (no. 920319).

Warren died of paralysis at his home in Newaygo on September 26, 1918, and was buried in Newaygo Cemetery.

The very next month Mary applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 863235). Mary was living in Garfield, Newaygo County in 1920.

Friday, November 12, 2010

David Stone

David Stone was born in 1835.

David was 26 years old and possibly living in Muskegon County, Michigan, 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 reportedly killed in action on May 5, 1862, at Williamsburg, Virginia, but there is no mention of his being killed during the conflict in any reports by men of the Old Third after the battle. Indeed, George Vanderpool, of Company H who kept a diary makes no mention of David’s death and given that he would have been the first man to die in action from that company it would undoubtedly have been worth noting at the time. Moreover, none of the other frequent correspondents mention this either. Furthermore, it does appear that David probably died of typhoid fever, probably the at the regimental hospital near Yorktown. According to Surgeon Zenas Bliss of the Third Michigan, in his official report of that period, he noted six deaths by typhoid fever occuring during the period of about four to five weeks that the regiment was in camp near Yorktown.

In any case, David was presumably buried among the unknown soldiers either at Williamsburg or Yorktown.

No pension seems to be available.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Amos Stockwell

Amos Stockwell was born in 1843 in Ohio, possibly the son of Jonas (b. 1810) and Adaline (b. 1815).

New York natives Jonas and Adaline were married and settled in Ohio where they resided for some years. By 1839 the family was living in Ohio but sometime between 1843 and 1845 they settled in Indiana. By 1850 Amos was attending school with two of his older brothers and living with his family in Richland, DeKalb County, Indiana. Amos was still living with his family in Richland in 1860.

Amos stood 5’9” with dark eyes and hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Ionia County when he enlisted as Musician in Company E on May 13, 1861. Amos reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Wyoming, Kent 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 presumably transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

Amos was tried by a general court martial on September 15, 1864, for disobedience of orders and conduct prejudicial to good order. He pled guilty to the first charge and not guilty to the second. He was found guilty on both counts and sentenced to forfeit $10.00 per month for 6 consecutive months and do fatigue duty for 30 days. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Amos returned to Michigan.

He was married to Ohio native Jennie (b. 1849), and they had at least four children: Edith (b. 1868), Minnie (b. 1869) Jessie (b. 1876) and Orland (b. 1879).

By 1870 Amos was working as a farmer and living in Danby, Ionia County with his wife and two daughters. He eventually settled in Clare County and by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Frost, Clare County. He was residing in Harrison, Clare County in 1887 and 1888 and probably also in 1890. In 1892 Amos was living in Portage, Ohio, when he provided an affidavit in the pension claim of Rolandus Freet, also of the Old Third.

He was apparently married a second time to a woman named Jane.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 914565).

He may have been a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and he was a member of the GAR Bradley post no. 221 in Harrison.

Amos died on February 10, 1910, probably in Harrison and was presumably buried in Clare County.

In March of 1910 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 701734).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daniel Merrett Stocking

Daniel Merrett Stocking was born in June of 1834, in New York, probably the son of Alvin (1798-1863) and Ann (1805-1878).

In 1840 Alvin was living in Genesee County, New York. In any case New York natives Alvin and Ann moved their family west and settled in sometime between 1841 and 1847. By 1850 “Merrett D.” was working as a farm laborer and attending school with two of his younger siblings and living with his family on a farm in Grattan, Kent County. Daniel was also known as Merrett D. who was

In late 1859 or early 1860 “Merrett” married Michigan-born Lucy A. Howard (b. 1841); and they had at least two children: Alice (b. 1863) and Mary (b. 1868).

By 1860 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife Lucy in Grattan, next door to his older brother Palmer and his family. (By 1860 Alvin was living in Grattan, Kent County.) On July 20, 1860, Daniel joined the Grand Rapids Artillery (located on the west side of the Grand River), commanded by Captain Baker Borden. (The GRA would serve as the nucleus of Company B, also commanded by Borden, of the Third Michigan infantry.)

Daniel was 26 years old and probably still living in Kent County when he enlisted as Fifth Sergeant in Company B on May 13, 1861. In July of 1862 Daniel was on detached service as an orderly for General Israel B. Richardson, and then as orderly for General Heintzelman from August of 1862 through November of 1863. He was still on detached service in December of 1863 when he was transferred to Company A, Sixth (?) Veterans’ Reserve Corps on either December 1, 1863, or January 15, 1864. Daniel was eventually discharged.

"Merrett D." was 30 years old when he either enlisted in or was drafted into Company G, Sixteenth Michigan infantry, on March 30, 1865, and was mustered on March 27. He was mustered out on July 8, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After he was discharged from the army Merrett,” now calling himself Daniel returned to western Michigan, probably to his home in Kent County. By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $4000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife Lucy and two daughters in Grattan, Kent County.

No pension seems to be available for his service in the Third Michigan (but see below).

Daniel died on February 1, 1873, probably in Kent County, and was buried in Grattan cemetery where there is a headstone and GAR marker for a Daniel Stocking. There is also a record of his being buried in Wells cemetery, Ottawa County. And in fact his family eventually settled in Ottawa County.

By 1880 Lucy was living as a widow along with her two daughters with her parents in Grattan. In 1890 (?) Lucy applied for and received a pension (no. 474343) for her husband’s service in the Sixteenth Michigan.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ezra Stewart

Ezra Stewart was born in 1836, the son of Joseph and Johanna (Beach).

In 1860 there was a 35-year-old carpenter & joiner named Ezra Stewart, born in New York, living with his wife New York native Mary (b. 1820) and their three children Myron (b. 1846), Martin (b. 1852) and Leroy (b. 1858) in Algoma, kent County,Michigan.

In any case, Ezra was 25 years old and possibly living in Montcalm County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. He was reported serving with the ambulance corps from October of 1862 through July of 1863, and in October of 1863 was absent wounded, probably from a gunshot to the foot, and possibly received at Gettysburg. In any case, he was in the hospital in Washington, DC, from October 16, 1863, through May of 1864, and was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After he left the army Ezra returned to Michigan and may have settled for a time in Solon, Kent County. He married Mary Chase in 1866, and may have been the same Ezra Stewart who married Lucinda Thomas, also in Montcalm County, on April 29, 1868. He was possibly living in Algoma in 1870.

Ezra a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and living in Crystal, Montcalm County in 1883 when he was drawing $1.00 per month for a wounded left foot (pension no. 192,635, dated July of 1881), increased to $2.00 and then to $12.00 per month. (His older brother Ira was living in Crystal in 1880.)

In 1888 he was living in Muskegon County in 1888, and for some years worked as a sailor and as a laborer.

He was a single man when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 1264) on March 11, 1890 and he listed his nearest relative as his brother Ira (1826-1901) who was living in Montcalm County (and is buried in Crystal cemetery).

Ezra was discharged at his own request on June 25, 1890, readmitted on August 2, 1890, and discharged July 7, 1891; readmitted on December 18, 1891 and discharged January 30, 1892; admitted on September 16, 1892 and discharged on November 21, 1892; admitted on July 20, 1893 and discharged on September 13, 1893; admitted on December 15, 1894 and discharged on February 16, 1895; admitted on October 1, 1895 and discharged December 16, 1895; admitted on March 4, 1896 and discharged on June 15, 1896; admitted on September 22, 1896 and discharged on December 15, 1896; admitted on March 27, 1897 and discharged on June 15, 1897; admitted September 11, 1897 and discharged December 10, 1897; admitted on August 20, 1898 and discharged May 21, 1899; admitted on July 7, 1899 and discharged December 11, 1899; admitted July 11, 1900 and discharged on January 2, 1901.

He was admitted for the final time on February 2, 1901, and he died of neuritis at the Home hospital at 3:15 a.m. on February 10, 1907. The funeral was held in the Home chapel and he was buried in the Home cemetery: section 4 row 21 grave 33.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Daniel A. Stewart

Daniel A. Stewart was born in 1822 in New York.

Daniel’s parents were both born in New York. In 1830 there was a Daniel Stewart living in Hadley, Saratoga County, New York and one in Galway, Saratoga County, New York, as well as one in Warren County, New York. By 1840 there was a Daniel Stewart living in Hadley, Saratoga County, New York. (Hadley was where the Old Third Daniel Stewart was living in 1880 and 1890.) In 1850 there was one Daniel Stewart (b. 1791 in New York) living with his wife Sarah (b. 1792 in New York) living on a farm in Luzerne, Warren County, New York; they were still living in Luzerne in 1860.

Daniel eventually left New York and had settled in western Michigan by the time the war broke out.

He stood 5’6” with gray eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was reportedly 27 years old when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. (In fact he was much older.) He was discharged for hemorrhoids on November 6, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia.

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

He did return to New York state and was listed as 40 years old and possibly living in Albany, New York when he enlisted as a private on January 3, 1862 in Albany in Company F, Ninety-third New York infantry and was mustered in on January 27. He was mustered out on July 22, 1865 in Albany.

It is not known if Daniel ever returned to Michigan.

Daniel married New York native Phebe Anne (b. 1852) and they had at least four children: Willie (b. 1870), George (b. 1872), Lottie W. (b. 1875) and Mary S. (b. 1880).

By 1870 Daniel was working as farmhand and living with his wife and son Willie in Luzerne, Warren County, New York. (He owned some $150 worth of real estate.) By 1880 Daniel was working as a laborer and living with his wife and children in Hadley, Saratoga County, New York. 1890 he was living in Hadley, Saratoga County, New York.

In 1879 he applied for and received a pension (no. 269159) for his service in both the Third Michigan and the Ninety-third New York.

Daniel may have been living in New York when he died sometime around 1893.

In any case his widow was living in New York in December of 1893 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 422179).

In 1897 one Myron Riddle also living in New York was listed as guardian in minor child’s pension application (no. 459867).

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Alonzo B. Stevenson

Alonzo B. Stevenson was born in 1816 or 1820 in Ontario County, New York, or in Vermont.

Alonzo moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan. He was probably living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County when he married New York or Canadian native Mrs. Mary Williamson (b. 1811) on August 8, 1853, Spring Lake.

By 1860 he was working as a carpenter and living in Spring Lake with his wife Mary and two of her children: Henry (b. 1839) and Mary (b. 1842). Alonzo may have been living in Grand Haven, Ottawa County in the summer of 1861 when he moved to Illinois, but after some four months moved to Muskegon County.

Alonzo stood 5’9” with gray eyes, gray hair and a light complexion and was a 44-year-old farmer possibly living in Dalton, Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on January 16, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Dalton, and was mustered on January 19. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was absent sick from March through May. He 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, and he remained absent sick until he entered Harper hospital in Detroit on May 2, 1865. He was mustered out June 16 at Detroit.

Alonzo may also have served in Company G, Fifty-sixth Illinois infantry.

Alonzo eventually returned to western Michigan. His wife reportedly sued for divorce sometime after 1866, but it is not known what became of the suit. In fact, by 1870 Alonzo was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife in Pleasanton, Manistee County; also living with them were Henry Williamson (b. 1832) and Harry Williamson (b. 1864). By 1880 Alonzo was listed as “retired’ and living with his wife Mary in Vermontville, Eaton County; also living with them was Mary’s son Henry Williamson and two of his children.

Alonzo received a pension dated 1876.

According to one source he died on December 14, 1880 and was buried in Riverside cemetery, Hastings, Barry County.

His widow also applied for a pension (no. 280919) but the certificate was never granted.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Joseph Edward Stevens

Joseph Edward Stevens was born on July 4, 1836, in Campbell, Steuben County, New York, the son of Ralph (1811-1901) and Jane (Miller, b. 1812).

Joseph’s parents were married in 1834, possibly in New York. In any case by 1836 they were living in Steuben County, New York. Joseph eventually left New York and moved west, settlingin Michigan by the time he Michigan native Jane Eliza Bartlett (1840-1903), on March 24, 1858; they had at least five children: Edward Corwin (b. 1859), Brainard Wyman (b. 1863), Rufus W. (b. 1865), John Bartlett (b. 1874) and Estelle Phylora (b. 1877). By 1859 they wre living in Plymouth, Wayne County, and by 1860 Joseph was living with his wife and son in Canton, Wayne County, Michigan. He may have been living in Lansing by the time the war broke out when he became a member of the Lansing company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.

In any case, he was 23 years old and probably living in Lansing when he enlisted as Fourth Corporal (or promoted as such on May 31, 1862) in Company G on May 10, 1861.

Joseph was nearly shot accidentally in early August. Frank Siverd of Company G wrote on August 7 that “An accident occurred this p.m. which came near proving fatal to Gaskill, of our company. A musket charged with ball and buckshot was carelessly fired by a member of Co. B. The charge riddled two tents. The ball struck Gaskill on the back part of the head and made a flesh wound several inches long. One of the shot took effect in the elbow of Corey, formerly of our company, but now of B. Corporal Stevens and a number of others were sitting in the same group with G. and C. and their escape is miraculous.”

By the first week of September Stevens, who had been sick with the fever, was convalescing in Columbian College hospital in Washington, DC. He eventually recovered, returned to duty and by the end of June 1862 Stevens had been promoted to Sergeant. According to Homer Thayer of Company G, by early August “Sergt. Stevens from company G, will soon be in Lansing and give any who want it an opportunity to enlist in the 3d. He was selected for this duty as a recognition of his uniform good conduct and bravery, and we would all be pleased to hear of his appointment to a position of higher rank in one of the new Regiments.” Indeed, he was on detached service recruiting in Michigan from September 15, 1862 through April of 1863 (he was reported as a Sergeant on February 27, 1863).

Joseph eventually returned to the Regiment and was wounded in his side on July 2 or 3, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. According to Edgar Clark, also of Company G, “A shell tore off his knapsack which wounded him so bad that he left the field.” By late July Joseph was reported in a hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and he remained hospitalized until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge Joseph returned to Michigan and by 1865 he was probably living in Plymouth, Wayne County. He eventually moved his family to the western side of the state and by 1865 they were living in Greenwood, Oceana County. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Greenwood; nearby lived Rufus Skeels, another former member of the Old Third Michigan, and possibly the namesake of Joseph’s son Rufus. (Joseph’s father was living in Joseph was still living in Greenwood in 1880. He was living in Holton, Muskegon County by 1882 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1883 he joined Grand Army of the Republic Holton post no. 149 in Holton. By 1886 he was possibly living in Holland, Ottawa County, but by 1889 was residing in Ashland, Wisconsin. He was probably living in Ashland County in 1890 and was probably working as a talleyman for L. Shores co. in Ashland and boarding at 1001 W. Second st. in 1891-92; in 1893 he was working as a trimmer for Shores co and living at 1422 9th Avenue west in Ashland.

In 1873 Joseph applied for and received a pension (no. 139,542), dated January of 1878, drawing $6.00 per month in 1883 for atrophy of the right thigh.

By 1920 Joseph was living in Washburn, Bayfield County, Wisconsin.

Joseph died on November 22, 1922, in Ashland or Washburn, Bayfield County, Wisconsin, and was buried in Mount Hope cemetery in Ashland.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Elisha O. Stevens

Elisha O. Stevens was born on March 23, 1828, in Vermont, the son of Truman and Lucy (Bryant).

In 1840 Truman was living in Pawlet, Rutland County, Vermont, and by 1850 Lucy was recorded as living in Pittsford, Rutland County, Vermont (it is unclear what became of Truman). In 1850 there was a farmer by the name of Elisha Stevens, age 23, born in Vermont, living in Montgomery, Franklin County Vermont, and living with him were two small children, Sarah, 2 years old (and born in New Hampshire), and Alva, 5 months old.

Elisha was married to New York native Joanna L. (1825-1887), possibly in New York, but by 1855 he had settled in Grand Rapids, where he was employed as a carpenter. In 1859-60 he was working as a carpenter and living on the southwest corner of Fourth and Scribner Streets in Grand Rapids. By the spring of 1860 Elisha was working as a carpenter living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward and had established his own sash-and-blind business. Next door lived the family of James D.Bennett who would also join the Third Michigan.

On the morning of May 3, 1860, Elisha was seriously injured in an accident in his shop. According to the Grand Rapids Enquirer, “A serious accident happened this morning to E. O. Stevens, proprietor of the sash and blind factory hitherto known as Harrington's, by which his left hand, thumb and two fingers were shockingly cut and mangled. When the casualty occurred Mr. S. was at work with a sticking machine, arranging stuff for the knives, his fingers slipped and his hand being caught by them was terribly cut to pieces. He was taken to the Bronson House and Drs. Saunders and Ellis called to dress the wounds. Several pieces of bone were taken out of the hand and one finger being deemed beyond surgical aid, was amputated.”

In addition to his work as a carpenter in Grand Rapids, Stevens also became actively involved with the growing militia movement in western Michigan during the mid-1850s. He joined the Grand Rapids (Light) Artillery on December 1, 1855, under the command of Captain Lucius Patterson and then Captain Baker Borden, and which would become the nucleus for Company B in the Third Michigan (Borden would also command Company B). Stevens was promoted from the ranks to Third Lieutenant on April 8, 1858, and then to Second Lieutenant on August 10, 1859. By late 1859 he was Adjutant of the Second Battalion, Sixteenth Brigade (which would become the Fifty-first Regiment and then, ultimately, the Third Michigan infantry) and a member of the State Military Board.

By 1860 Elisha was working as a carpenter and living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward. He lived next door to James Bennett who would also join Company B in 1861.

Elisha was 33 years old when he enlisted as First Lieutenant in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was promoted to Adjutant on January 1, 1862, commissioned the same day. By the first of July he was suffering from intermittent fever, and reported among a group of sick and wounded soldiers who arrived at the hospital at Fortress Monroe on July 5 aboard the S. R. Spaulding. He was on leave for 20 days from July 9, 1862, but eventually rejoined the Regiment and during the battle of Second Bull Run on August 29-30, 1862, his “horse was struck by a shell and killed, and in the fall the Adjutant was somewhat injured inwardly.”

In November he was “promoted” to Company D (presumably promoted to “captain” of the company), but resigned shortly afterwards (probably in late November or early December). Although Colonel Stephen Champlin, who commanded the Third Michigan in 1862, approved Elisha’s resignation on December 4, it was subsequently disapproved (for reasons unknown) at General Birney’s headquarters. (Birney then commanded the division in which the Third served). In any event, the resignation was eventually approved (apparently) and Elisha was reported as officially resigned on December 31, 1862 on account of disability. In subsequent years he was always referred to as Major E. O. Stevens, presumably out of respect for his role as Adjutant.

By late January of 1863 Elisha was home in Grand Rapids when he was severely injured during a brawl involving several soldiers of the Seventh Michigan cavalry. According to one account, on January 24 three of the Seventh cavalrymen “ran the guard with their sabres, got somewhat tipsy, attempted to force their way into several houses where respectable ladies reside, and broke the doors and windows. The citizens gathered, and a fracas ensued, in which several men were cut and and bruised, one of the rowdy soldiers receiving a blow on his head which made him crazy. Three of them were finally lodged in jail. In the affray, a Mr. Brookser [?] was considerably injured by a sabre cut upon his arm, and Adjutant Stevens of the 3rd Michigan Infantry, who had recently returned, by a severe cut on the head.

After his resignation he returned to Grand Rapids, where he was working as a laborer and living at 41 Turner in 1867-68, and from 1868-69 was employed as a cabinet maker for Nelson, Comstock & Co. By 1870 he was living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward and working as a cabinet-maker, and by 1880 he was still working as a cabinet-maker and living with his wife in the Seventh Ward. In fact he lived in Grand Rapids for many years, and was living at 79 Turner Street in July of 1887 when his wife Joanna died, and in 1890 when he gave an affidavit in the pension application of Capt. Baker Borden (formerly of Company B).

Elisha was a widower probably still living on Turner Street in 1888 when he married his second wife Massachusetts native Mary E. Kingsbury Rice (she too had been married once before) on September 25, 1888 in Sparta, Kent County.

He was residing in Grand Rapids Seventh Ward in 1894, at 79 Turner Street in 1898, and at 29 Turner Street around 1900. Apparently sometime before the end of the century, Elisha became an attorney -- or so it would appear. He was appointed lawyer by and for one William W. Bennett of Alpine, Township, in Kent County, in 1899, for Bennett’s application to increase his pension; Bennett had served in Company B, Third Michigan infantry.

There was some doubt, however, as to his competence of pension law, at least according to one observer. F. Sims, a Special Commissioner for Pensions, investigating the case of Capt. Baker Borden’s widow pension application, noted in his report on Mrs. Borden’s case that Elisha had gotten involved with a disbarred attorney in pension law, one J. O. Bellaire. Bellaire, who had

an office on West Bridge Street where he executes pensionaffidavits and vouchers. Elisha O. Stevens is a very nice old man; he was an officer in the late war and is well respected. He knows very little about pensions for I examined his own claims and found him densely ignorant of pension law. I have found him in Bellaire’s office so often that I suspected that Bellaire was using his namer and I questioend ─▒ellaire about it but he said he did not do it. This is the first case I have had where Stevens is the attorney, and all of the testimony is written by Bellaire. I have seen Bellaire today and told him that I would investigate this matter at an early date and in Nov. I will submit a report with a view to testing the right of Mr. Stevens to practice pension law.

Elisha appeared to have been somewhat of a theatrical character. The Democrat reported on May 14, 1876 that he portrayed George Washington at a centennial tea party given in Middleville, Barry County, the Eagle noted on July 5, 1881, that Stevens gave the Fourth of July oration in Tustin, Osceola County, and the Eagle remarked on May 26, 1883, that Stevens was named the Marshal for the Decoration Day procession.

He was a witness for Francis Barlow’s pension, a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids. In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 707418).

Elisha died a widower in Grand Rapids on June 3, 1904, of valvular heart disease, and was presumably buried in Kent County.

Curiously, however, there seems to be no record of his interment in the County cemetery system. Although his death certificate is on file in Kent County noting that he died at his home in Grand Rapids. Also of interest is that his first Joanna died at their home on Turner street in Grand Rapids and the funeral was reported as in the home and yet there is not record of her burial in Grand Rapids nor for Mary Stevens.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Edward Stevens

Edward Stevens was born in 1846, in England.

In 1850 there was a 43-year-old Edward Stevens living in Leroy, Calhoun County, Michigan, and one Edward Stevens living in China, St. Clair County.

Edward stood 5’2” with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer possibly living in Rutland, Barry County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company E on February 8, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Rutland, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on March 23, was on detached service in May, and probably still on detached service when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was absent sick from September through November, and mustered out presumably on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Edward returned to Michigan, probably to Barry County.

He married Michigan native Harriet (1851-1927), and they had at least one child: Albert (b. 1869).

By 1870 Edward was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and son in Hope, Barry County. He eventually moved to the northern part of the state was was living in Chase, Lake County in 1890 and 1894.

In 1887 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1112104).

He presumably died in Chase where he was buried in Chase Township cemetery.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ambrose A. Stevens

Ambrose A. Stevens was born on September 20, 1829, in Rutland, Jefferson County, New York, the son of Alexander (b. 1799) and Lydia (Peck).

Ambrose’s parents were married in 1820 in Jefferson County, New York.

Ambrose may have served in the army during the Mexican War. In any case, he eventually settled in Watertown, Jefferson County, New York where he married New York native Marion C. Frazell (1833-1900) on November 10, 1853, in Watertown, and they had at least one son, William (or Wallace F., b. 1873). Ambrose was reportedly “educated for a mercantile profession in New York City,” and moved from New York to Michigan in 1856.

He was, wrote the Detroit Daily Advertiser, “full ‘six feet high and well proportioned’,” and settled in Saranac, Ionia County, in 1856 where he engaged in the mercantile trade. Soon after his arrival in Saranac he took an active part in the statewide movement to organize local militias, and on January 31, 1857, Stevens was elected Captain of the “Boston Light Guard,” a company formed in western Ionia County. According to the Advertiser, “He organized and equipped,” wrote the newspaper, “mainly at his own expense, the Boston Light Guard, now company D” of the Third Michigan. The paper added that for “many years the science of war has been his study, and he is spoken of as a gentleman of decided merit and ability.”

By the time of the state military convention held in Detroit in October of 1859, the Boston Light Guard had evolved into a unit consisting of 56 men carrying musketoons and reportedly one cannon (size unknown). The company was rated second class but was first in order of merit, attesting to Stevens’ close supervision.

In January of 1860 Ambrose was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the newly formed Second (or Grand River) battalion, Fifty-first Regiment, and was replaced as captain of the Boston Guard by Moses D. Houghton (who would eventually command Company D).

The Fifty-first Regiment consisted of four western Michigan companies, under the command of Colonel Daniel McConnell of Grand Rapids. (McConnell would be the first Colonel of the Third Michigan.) These four companies, the Valley city Guard, the Grand Rapids Artillery, the Grand Rapids “German” Rifles and the Boston Light Guard would constitute the first four (A, B, C, and D respectively) companies of the Third Michigan infantry. In late October of 1860 Stevens was appointed acting Colonel of the Fifty-first Regiment following Colonel McConnell’s conviction at the general court martial for disobeying orders and his temporary suspension from command. That same year he was working as a “general dealer” (merchant) and living with his wife in Boston, Ionia County. “For many years,” wrote one observer in June of 1861, “the science of war has been his study, and he is spoken of as a gentleman of decided merit and ability.”

Ambrose was 31 years old when he enlisted as Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment. He was with the Regiment at Blackburn’s Ford, Virginia on July 18 and when the Regiment covered the federal retreat from Bull Run on July 21, 1861. In his official report on the action at Bull Run on July 21, dated July 25, Brigade commander Colonel Israel B. Richardson wrote that “The officer in command of the Regiment at that time, Lieutenant Colonel [Ambrose A.] Stevens (McConnell being unwell, but on the ground), immediately executed [Richardson’s] order, and put his Regiment on close column. I went to some other part of the field, and on returning found this Regiment deployed in line of battle, and in another position. I immediately inquired of Colonel Stevens the reason for their position being altered. He told me Colonel Miles had directed this movement. I asked him why. Colonel Stevens replied, ‘I do not know, but we have no confidence in Colonel Miles.’ I inquired the reason and Colonel Stevens replied ‘because Colonel Miles is drunk’. That closed the conversation. I sent Colonel Stevens back with his Regiment to form close column by division, as at first.”

According to postwar statements made by the participants, Stevens was not in fact in command of the Regiment, but, according to Colonel McConnell was merely relaying instructions between McConnell and Richardson. It was while en route from Colonel McConnell to report to Colonel Richardson, that “he had to pass through a barn; as he entered the barn a cannon ball struck its side causing his horse to give a sudden plunge and jump through the rear door to the ground below a distance of some feet. As his horse truck the ground he fell . . . and caused the back of claimant’s saddle to trike claimant . . . in the back. Said injury has caused disease of kidneys. . . .”

Shortly after the battle of First Bull Run, Virginia, on July 21, 1861, Frank Siverd of Company G wrote to the Republican that “The praise of Lieutenant Colonel Stevens is on the lips of every member of the Regiment. His commands are ever obeyed with alacrity and zeal. He is a thorough gentleman, and treats his mean as if they were at least slightly related to the family of bipeds called human. I saw him several times on our late fatiguing march and retreat, dismount and insist that some sick or worn out soldiers should take his place; at other times he might be seen caring [sic] the gun or baggage of one of the discouraged or weak member of the Regiment.”

Others were not so kind, however. Ezra Ransom of Company B wrote many years after the war that in his estimation Stevens was a “slacker.” In the aftermath of the Bull Run debacle in July of 1861, Ransom and a comrade, Aaron Harrington, got separated from the Regiment and, like so many others were making their own way back to Washington, DC, the best they could. They arrived in Alexandria, Virginia “hoping to get some bed and rest. In the suburbs we found the Lieutenant Colonel of our Regt. sitting on the porch of a house holding his horse by the bridle rein. He asked us if we knew where the 3d Michigan was!!!!! Slacker? Yes.”

By early September the Regiment was engaged in the construction of several forts around Washington, DC, and Frank Siverd continued to sing the praises of Lieutenant Colonel Stevens, suggesting that he would be the perfect successor to Colonel McConnell, whom it was rumored was planning to resign. “Lieutenant Colonel Stevens,” wrote Siverd, “with companies C, D, G, H and I has charge of Fort Richardson. I have before spoken of the popularity of this officer and since he has had exclusive charge of this post, he has, if possible, more endeared himself to the men. -- There is scarcely a man in the detachment that would not, if necessary, risk his life to serve his Commander.”

But it was not to be and when Colonel McConnell resigned in late October of 1861, Stevens was not promoted in his place. Instead, the former prosecuting attorney for Kent County, Major Stephen Champlin was promoted over Stevens to the Colonecy of the Third Michigan. , Siverd wrote the Republican that although there had been an attempt to “Grand Rapidize” the entire Regimental officer corps, “Lieutenant Colonel Stevens, to the great joy of the ranks and file, spoiled it for them by persisting in retaining his position after having been ‘jumped’ by Major Champlin,” who was promoted over Stevens to the Colonecy of the Regiment. “Of course,” Siverd added, “his conduct was very disgusting to would-be Colonels and Majors, but pleasing to the boys who have ever found in him a firm friend.”

During the winter of 1861-62, Stevens was treated frequently for rheumatic fever. However, his illnesses were apparently never serious and he was fit for duty by the time the Regiment joined the remainder of the Army of the Potomac for the spring campaign of 1861. During the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, on May 31, 1862, Colonel Champlin was seriously wounded in one of his hips, and , according to “Josephus,” the correspondent for the Detroit Free Press, “The command then devolved upon Lieutenant Colonel Stevens, who again rallied his brave and resolute, but fatigued men, and pressing forward, attacked the enemy in his new position.” And Dan Crotty of Company F wrote some years after the war that he believed Stevens had shown himself to be a superb leader during the battle of Fair Oaks. “After the firing ceases,” Crotty wrote, “what is left of our Regiment get back to camp under our gallant Lieutenant Colonel Stevens.”

In his official capacity as acting commander of the Third Michigan, Stevens submitted the official reports for the actions undertaken by the Regiment in June of 1862. In his report on the battle of Fair Oaks, Stevens wrote on May 31 that

At about 2 o'clock p.m. your order was received to take our position in rear of the redoubt on our right, which was at once complied with. We remained in this position but a short time, when we took up the line of march across the fields and parallel with the Williamsburg road, hastening as fast as possible towards the front, where our troops had for sometime been actively engaged. The distance, being about one mile and a half from the redoubt to the scene of action was soon passed over, where Colonel Champlin received your instructions to lead his Regiment at once into action deploying at the same time in line of battle upon the left of the road, our right resting upon an abatis, while the left was thrown forward at a double quick into a thicket of pines.

The engagement now became general, and it was with greatest difficulty that our corps of sharpshooters under command of Capt. [Samuel] Judd, and the five right companies of our Regiment, could penetrate the mass of fallen timber and dislodge the enemy from their strong position; but the steady and cool behavior of our men, and with the telling effect of their rifles, soon compelled them to fall back, while our Regiment pressed forward, charging through the fallen timber, and driving the enemy beyond the fence in the rear of the camp of General Palmer's Brigade, some 80 rods distant, where they again formed and made another stand. It was at this time that Col. Champlin received a severe wound in the hip, which prevented him from taking further part in the action, and with his orders I now proceeded to rally the different companies of the Regiment together in line for the purpose of again pressing forward and dislodging the enemy from his new position.

While thus engaged the 5th Michigan came up, and at the same time the order that they were to relieve us. Accordingly our Regiment was ordered to remain at a halt, while the 5th Michigan pushed forward and engaged the enemy. With your instruction we now advanced in support of this Regiment, and during the remainder of the action the two Regiments fought side by side. It was now about 4 o'clock p.m. and while the contest was as determined as ever it was discovered our ammunition was nearly expended, when Major Pierce of our Regiment volunteered to undertake the task of procuring ammunition and further orders, which had become hazardous, as there seemed to be a disposition of the enemy to turn both our right and left flanks. It was now about 5:30 o'clock p.m. The enemy crowding the forces back who were engaged upon our right, we found ourselves together with the remnants of the 5th Michigan and 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers isolated from our forces upon either flank. It was deemed proper by the senior officers present of the different Regiments to withdraw to the rear, and I, being the senior officer present upon the ground, gave the order to fall back slowly from the field which now became hopeless for us to attempt to hold for the night, owing to the lack of ammunition, which was done in good order returning to camp about 9 p.m.

In closing this hasty report I have not time to particularize, as it would be impossible; as all, both officers and men did their duty nobly. I cannot close this report, however, without mentioning the coolness and good conduct of Majors Pierce and Fairbanks -- the former for gallant services rendered while in command of the left wing of our Regiment. . . . I also beg leave to call your attention to the gallant Captain Judd [A Co.], who fell while leading our sharpshooters in the early part of the action. He was one of the bravest of the brave. His loss will be deeply regretted by the Regiment and all who knew him.

On June 3 Stevens wrote that as a result of instructions received from General Kearny

on the 2d instant I took 200 men, with the proper officers, and left our camp near the rifle pits at 2 o'clock p.m. for the purpose of uniting with a detachment of the 2nd Michigan Volunteers, under command of Major Dillman, then on outpost duty near the saw-mill, and making a thorough reconnaissance to the front, to ascertain if possible the true position of the enemy. At about 3 o'clock p.m. we united with Major Dillman's command, and proceeded to skirmish forward between the Williamsburg and Charles City roads, reaching the first line of the enemy's pickets, which was found deserted, but with strong indications of having but recently been occupied. At about 4.30 o'clock p.m., the 2nd Michigan Volunteers being short of rations, Major Dillman was directed to return to your headquarters to report and for further instructions.

We were now about 1 mile in advance of the battle-field of Saturday last. The main body of my command, which now numbered about 350 men, was directed to halt, while a detachment was thrown forward to scout up on two roads, one of which diverged to the right in the direction of the Williamsburg road and the other to the left and toward the White Oak Swamp. As our scouts advanced along the different roads the indications that the enemy were not far distant became more apparent. We now proceeded cautiously for the distance of about three-quarters of a mile, when we again halted and formed in line of battle.

It was now about 5.30 p.m., and we proceeded to make a more thorough reconnaissance to the front, and for this purpose I detached 65 trusty scouts, under command of the proper officers of the different companies, with orders to proceed, if possible, 100 rods to the front. This was performed successfully, and resulted in discovering the second line of pickets of the enemy, who fled without firing upon our approach.

After entering several of their bough houses and securing a few articles left behind by the rebels they returned to our reserve. It was nearly sunset, and Major Dillman returning at this moment with your order for our return to camp, we at once took up the line of march, returning to the rifle pits about 8 o'clock in the evening. Major Dillman's command here halted for the night, while ours of the Michigan Third Volunteers came forward and reached this camp after a long and weary march at 10 o'clock in the evening.

Stevens wrote the Brigade commander on June 27, describing the actions taken by the Third Michigan on June 25.

At 7:30 a.m. orders were received from your headquarters to move the Regiment from its camp to a position outside the rifle pits and on the right of the 5th Michigan. This order had scarcely been complied with when we were again ordered to move forward about 100 rods, when we halted in line of battle between the forks of two roads, being then in a convenient position to throw forward a force on either road as a support to the troops already sent forward, for the purpose of advancing the picket lines of our front.

We remained but a short time at this place, when we were ordered forward by yourself about half a mile distant to the picket line of the 3rd Maine Volunteers, who were now by your orders about toe advance their pickets to the front, the 3rd Michigan Regiment following closely as a support to the reserves of the pickets of the 3rd Maine for the distance of nearly 1 mile, when we were halted by your order and formed as a reserve line, connecting on our right with the 5th Michigan and the 37th N.Y. Volunteers on our left. We remained in this position during the engagement upon our right and until evening, when the Regiment was placed as pickets for the night.

Stevens was apparently exhausted by the movements of June 1862 and reported absent sick in the hospital without proper authority in July of 1862, although he later claimed that he was sent from Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, on July 4 to Douglas hospital in Washington, DC where he remained until late July when he went home to Saranac to recover his strength.

However, while at home in Michigan Ambrose was transferred to the newly-formed Twenty-first Michigan infantry as Colonel at the organization of that Regiment on July 25, 1862, in Ionia County, and was mustered in on August 16 at Grand Rapids. (It is possible that he never recovered from the humiliation of having a junior officer promoted over his head.) The Twenty-first was organized at Ionia and Grand Rapids and mustered into service on September 9, and left Michigan for Louisville, Kentucky, on September 12.

According to the Detroit newspapers,

The Twenty-first regiment arrived in town about half-past three o’clock on Friday afternoon, en route to Cincinnati. On alighting from the cars they formed in line, and, headed by the Germania Band, marched through some of the principal streets. Their passage through the city attracted large crowds, and their fine, soldierly appearance, and the order with which they marched was the subject of universal commendation. The crowds upon the sidewalks cheered them lustily as they passed, and ladies waved their handkerchiefs from windows and balconies. They bore with them the magnificent flag which was presented by the ladies of Ionia, and also the regimental colors.

After marching through the city, they returned to the Milwaukee dock, where, through the liberality of our citizens, an ample collation had been spread for them. Sandwiches, cakes, coffee and fruit, in generous abundance, constituted the bill of fare. After fully supplying the wants of the inner man, and resting an hour, they marched on board the steamer Morning Star which was to convey them to Cleveland.

The regiment certainly made a fine appearance, and is deserving of all that may be said in its favor. It is well-equipped and its rank and file is composed of the sturdy yeomanry of central and Western Michigan, who will give a good account of themselves wherever they may be. The reputation of the old Michigan Third regiment is sufficient proof of what kind of men Ionia, Kent, Barry and the northern counties produce. We have no fears that this reputation will suffer at the hands of the Twenty-first.

It is believed that the appointment of the officers has been made on the score of merit alone. Col. Stevens was Lieutenant Colonel of the old Third, and a more brave and efficient officer does not exist. His appointment to the command of this regiment was well deserved, as is shown by his already valuable services in the field. In the recent battles in Virginia he distinguished himself as a brave soldier and skillful officer, having command of the regiment for a time, the colonel [Stephen Champlin] being severely wounded and carried from the field. He was highly esteemed by both officers and men, who bear testimony to his sterling qualities as a gentleman and soldier. Under his leadership there can be no doubt that the Twenty-first will do credit to themselves and the State, when an opportunity shall occur for a display of their fighting qualities.

Shortly after arriving in Kentucky the Twenty-first was engaged in the pursuit of General Bragg to Crab Orchard, Kentucky from October 1-16, and participated in battle for Perryville on October 8. Stevens was wounded slightly on October 5, 1862, (reportedly at Perryville). Indeed, According to Theodore Allsbury, chaplain of the Twenty-first, while the regiment was engaged in action on October 8, 1862, along the Dansville road in Lincoln County, Kentucky, Colonel Stevens “was wounded slightly in the leg by a spent ball while leading his regiment into action. He was, however, quite lame for some time.

He was sick on December 27 at Nashville, Tennessee through January of 1863, and according to John Dye, formerly Quartermaster of the Twenty-first Michigan, Stevens was sick with rheumatism “so bad that when the Regiment reached Nolansville, Tennessee in December 1862 . . . the col. was obliged to give up and return to Nashville, Tennessee.” Dye added that in his capacity as Quartermaster he frequently had to speak with Stevens every day and that while he “was in charge of a supply train running from Nashville to Murfreesboro” he frequently “called upon the col. at his rooms in Nashville and found him suffering from rheumatism.” Stevens resigned from his command on February 3, 1863 on account of disability.

There were some men in the Twenty-first infantry who shared Ezra Ransom’s belief that Stevens’ was less of soldier than was widely claimed. After the war rumors circulated in Michigan regarding General Stevens’ war record, and on August 8, 1866, the Lansing State Republican reprinted a story from the Eagle which said that although Stevens

figured largely for the command of a Brigade at Louisville, [he] was flanked by Colonel Dick Greusel, of the 56th Illinois Infantry, a man who new [sic] how to handle a Brigade in a fight as well as upon a parade ground. The said Colonel then shared with the Regiment the fatigues of long marches over Kentucky pike roads, riding leisurely along, either on horseback or in an ambulance, partaking of his regular rations of ‘commissary’ and soft bread and butter. He arrived safely at Nashville, Tennessee, and after laying there sometime [sic], was ordered to lead his Regiment (one of the best and bravest of the Western Army) into the fight of Stone['s] River. He struck out bodily, but on the first or second day's skirmish, he was suddenly taken sick with the diarrhea, etc., and thus forced, to relinquish his command in favor of Lieutenant Colonel Wm. B. McCreery (a brave and able soldier) and returned to Nashville.

He resigned soon after the Stone['s] River battle, visited the Regiment at Murfreesboro, delivered a parting address to the soldiers, which was received in silence, and promised to take their colors, tattered by shot and shell, and which he had never led except into camp back to Michigan, and deposit them among the archives of the State. He took leave of the Regiment without hearing one expression of regret from them at losing him. The Regiment next heard of him as a member of the Invalid Corps, having been appointed a brevet brigadier General for “gallant and meritorious conduct on the field.” As a reward for all of the above items of service, which are familiar to every member of the Twenty-first Michigan Infantry, and for his endorsement of “my policy,” he is named as Registrar of the Land Office at Ionia. As a general rule, General, it is such soldiers as you were that are now endorsing A. J. [Andrew Johnson] and receive for their reward full rations of “bread and butter.”

Following his resignation from the Twenty-first infantry, Stevens was transferred as Major to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps on July 20, 1863, and promoted to Colonel on September 25, 1863. On October 22, Colonel Stevens officially relieved Captain Guthridge as commandant of the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp at Camp Morton in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Eight days later, Stevens was informed by Colonel W. Hoffman, commissary-General of Prisoners, exactly what his responsibilities as prison commandant would be, warning him to pay particular attention to the prison fund, since “for the disbursement of this fund you will be held accountable, as no purchases can be made except by your order.” He was also instructed how and when to send his reports to Hoffman’s office.

In 1891 New York physician John Wyeth, a biographer of Nathan Bedford Forrest and a former member of Company I, Fourth Alabama who had been taken prisoner and confined at Camp Morton, wrote an article in the April issue of Century magazine, entitled “Cold Cheer at Camp Morton.” In the article he charged the camp authorities with a variety of offenses against humanity, such as perpetuating hunger among the inmates and he claimed that “from personal observation . . . many of my comrades died of starvation. Day after day it was easy to observe the progress of emaciation, until they became so weak that when attacked with an illness which a well-nourished man would easily have resisted and rapidly recovered from they succumbed.” He also claimed that men were summarily shot and that arbitrary cruelty was frequent.

In the September issue of Century magazine, the Grand Army of the Republic Department of Indiana published a reply to Wyeth’s charges, and among the men signing the article was former Union general Lew Wallace. This response was an attempt to put the confederate prison experience in perspective, and sought to justify some of the actions taken by prison authorities while refuting others. In the same issue, Wyeth rejoined with testimony of other former inmates.

Indignant at what he believed to be a scurrilous attack on his honor and humanity, General Ambrose A. Stevens gave a lengthy interview to a reporter from the Grand Rapids Democrat, which was printed on April 19, 1891, along with a discussion of the charges made against Stevens. The Democrat quoted Wyeth as saying “that the southern side of prison life has not yet fully been written and that he has waited 25 years before publishing his unhappy tale. Almost all the atrocities that were practiced upon Union prisoners in Libby and Andersonville were enacted with more cruelty in Camp Morton than were ever experienced in Confederate prisons. Starvation was his great cry, and according to his statement thousands of his fellow men died from lack of food. he says that not enough rations were given out during the day to constitute one meal and from that cause alone most of the deaths occurred. Cruelties of all kinds and inhuman treatment embraces the rest of his charges, and all of them General Stevens denies. The northern spirit has been aroused by this fierce attack and from all sides come denials and refutations that any cruelty was practiced in Camp Morton.”

The newspaper then went on to make the case for General Stevens. “No man has received greater praise for the humane treatment of prisoners than has General Stevens. The Indianapolis papers in 1863 to 1865, when he was in command, kept a close watch on Camp Morton, but in all their chroniclings they never had occasion to find a word of fault. In fact, if there were any fault found it was because he treated the prisoners too well. Malicious persons who would not be satisfied anywhere, now and then would turn up with sensational charges against the prison and claim all manner of atrocities, but no attention was paid them by intelligent persons, who knew they were false.” In the lengthy interview given the Democrat Stevens not only defended his actions but pointed out again and again that contrary to Wyeth’s assertions, “there was no starvation in the prison and the stories of cruelty were exaggerated.”

“I don’t want to enter into any controversy,” said Stevens, “as it is not worth the while. Any Confederate pensioner who was there knows the charges are not true, and those which have some foundation are exaggerated and fixed up to suit the purpose. It is very evident that Dr. Wyeth was put up to writing the article by some one else, for a particular reason. he makes a little apology about waiting 25 years so that the war feeling can blow over, and it was very considerate of him. He ought to have waited another 25 years before telling such a story as that. I don't like to get mixed up in this matter as it will undoubtedly make a lot of talk. You get some of those southern fellows warmed up and there is no knowing where it will end. I dislike to say that any of them will tell falsehoods but they used to at Camp Morton. They would come up to me and tell the most outrageous lies you ever heard of, and after they got out they cut their feelings loose and occasionally a tale of woe would reach our ears.

“If I make any denial I want to do so in a gentlemanly way, not to be too rabid or too positive. If any statements are made now which would be correct according to the best of my recollection, and some man would come up who would try and catch me up, a great deal of talk would follow and I don't want to get into it.

“In general I can say that there never was an attempt made by any of our officers to do anything inhuman or to treat them in any way except as [prisoner-of-wars] should be treated, and just as our orders from Washington said they should be treated. They always had enough to eat served them, they had blankets enough except in one unusually cold spell when I didn’t have enough myself to keep warm; their barracks were as clean as they made them themselves, and if they suffered it was their own fault.

“This criticism by Wyeth is a surprise to me, as I never had any difficulty with the poor fellows. I cannot recollect any particular trouble with them except the usual grounds from the toughs who were always trying to make a disturbance. Of course, in 2 or 3 years things would come up, the men would refuse to obey orders and discipline had to be used. We didn't treat them as guest by a good deal and there is no doubt in my mind that a good many deserved worse than they got. Our prisoners were treated so badly in southern prisons that the government gave orders to have the supplies at Camp Morton cut down -- a matter of retaliation, I presume. That left things rather short, but what there was on hand was fairly distributed. No 15 course dinner was served to them and they didn't get gout from pie or cake. Some of the prisoners were nice fellows, rich planters who had to give up their homes and plantations and families and live in the old barracks at Camp Morton. It wasn't a very pleasant life, and of course they `kicked'. The daily rations were enough to keep them alive and a great deal more. Every morning each man got a loaf of bread, and they shouldn't object to that. Pork or bacon, and sometimes almost a pound of fresh beef were given out every day, and they could do what they wanted to with it, as Mr. Wyeth says. To every 100 men there were 12 and a half pounds of beans or peas, 8 pounds of hominy, 15 pounds of potatoes, besides vinegar, salt and soap. The sick had sugar and coffee every other day and all the medicine they wanted. If any of them didn't have enough to satisfy their hunger they could easily have obtained it, if the officers said they really were in want. There was a time when potatoes were out, as the governor thought we were feeding them too high; I think it was some time in ‘64. I presume Wyeth's account of the rations were correct but then I don't see how he could say that men were starved to death. We never had any complaint of the people being starved to death unless they did it of their own free will. There was no reason for it as nobody wanted them to starve. We had the rations there and they were given out as fairly as was possible, but as I said before, they were not all elaborate.

“Wyeth tells about a man who used to eat out of the swill barrel. I remember something about him but he was a low lived fellow, a tramp I presume, who would have done it anyway. The boys laughed at him and cured him of it by dousing him in it one day. All sorts of refuge [sic] was thrown in those barrels and if anybody ate out of them it wasn't because he had to, as there was plenty to eat. There is no denying the fact that there was more or less misery in the camp. It couldn't be otherwise, considering how crowded we were and the class of men we had to deal with. Some weren't used to it and couldn't stand the society of those dirty, filthy wretches who were the scum of the earth.

“He speaks of one cold spell where 18 men were frozen to death. That is not so and I know it. I think five men were frozen once on a frightfully cold night but it was unusual. Indianapolis is warmer than it is up here, but for 48 hours the thermometer was way down and everybody suffered. I remember how worried I was about them as I had not enough means to keep them warm. Fires were kept going but the barracks were alight affairs and five stoves couldn't do the work. One night without any authority I made a requisition on the quartermaster for 4,500 blankets. I was liable to be hauled over the coals for doing it, but something had to be done. 18 men were not frozen to death that is sure. Indianapolis never had such weather before or since and we were not prepared for it. I was so worried about the condition of the prisoners that I couldn't sleep and almost froze myself. They suffered no more than the rest of us after the new order of blankets was given out. We did everything we could for them, but many undoubtedly suffered. The stoves were kept red hot and the guards were changed every half hour to keep them from freezing.

“About the rat-eating. I never heard but one instance of it, and we had that stopped. Of course, Wyeth knew more what they did inside the barracks than I did, as he was there, but to say they had to eat rats is all nonsense. This fellow who ate rats was the ridicule of the boys, and they laughed about it, and said he did it for effect. They told me it was an old habit, and he probably did it because he was used to it. Eating dog stew is another Wyeth told about, and is like the rest of his stories. It might have been done, but there was no reason for it, unless the men were depraved.

“I knew Wyeth by name, and remember him only indistinctly. He seems to be hurt by our system of handling the mails. We had lots of letters come in and go out every day, but it was a rule that every one had to be read. If we didn't do so, plans for escape might have been made, and then we would be blamed. I never heard of anything wrong being done in the post office. My Adjutant read the letters himself as one man had to do it, to have the responsibility fixed. It is easy for people to say anything they want to about it, but their stories are not worth while denying. prisoners were not allowed to send anything out and they knew it well. If articles in letters were confiscated it was an army regulation and had to be done. Wyeth speaks about a ring of his being taken. He could easily have got it back by speaking to me about it, but I never heard of it. Most of the prisoners could have had the post office clerk they wanted to wait on them and most of them were very obliging. The letter affair was unimportant as it was done on a plan that was absolutely necessary.

“I went to Camp Morton about Nov. 1, 1863, from St. Louis, where I was stationed, and took command immediately. Things were not in first class order, I must admit. It had been warm and there had been little suffering so far. The accommodations for the prisoners consisted of large tents, and a few small buildings, but not many, so we went to work and built three or four structures for hospitals. They were large enough, on an average, to accommodate 250 sick men. The hospitals were run on the best possible plan and they had the reputation of being the cleanest and best in the country. I went through them every day myself, and gave the sick my personal attention. We had some terrific cases, too; small pox broke out, being brought in by some of the prisoners. The patients were all taken off to the pest-house, and a great many cases were cured. We didn't lose very many lives from that disease, and the pest did not spread. There was an ambulance for that class of patients, in which they were taken to the pest-house and had the best of case. The hospital was nice and was as good as I ever saw in the army, except at Washington. It was kept perfectly clean, well aired and heated and under the care of the finest surgeon in the regular army -- Dr. Chas. J. Kipp. Other regular surgeons would come occasionally and inspect it, so that the government could know just how things were going. The sanitary conditions was as good as possible, nice cots, warm blankets, clean sheets, pillows and mattresses and a fine dispensary. The prisoners fixed it up themselves in marble until it was very comfortable. We had the finest hospital supplies possible, as Dr. Kipp could get anything he asked for. There was no hesitation in giving them medicine, as far as the rules of the government would permit.

“Yes, there were some holes in the barracks, but they had been made by the prisoners themselves. The battens were torn off in places, but when we could fix it and do anything for the prisoners we were always ready to do it. Each barracks had four stoves, which were enough to heat the buildings. They were such buildings as are on any fair grounds, like our Pomological Hall, one story affairs. Wood in plenty was supplied for the stoves and everything was done to keep it warm. Except in those extremely cold spells it was comfortable, too.

“We had the greatest difficulty in making the prisoners keep themselves clean. They appointed squads and had the privilege of taking care of the health of those inside. The squads did more work than the Union soldiers inside the barracks as they were in a position to do it better. I didn't dare send a Union soldier in among the prisoners unless he had a musket in his hand, as the men were apt to kill him. But they had to be driven every day to keep themselves clean. They seemed to have lost their ambition and all sense of decency and cleanliness, but now and then the squads would be taken down to the ‘Potomac’, that was the name of the little creek that went through the place -- and made to wash themselves. Soap was given to them in large quantities -- but even then some of them wouldn't wash, and they got to wasting the soap. The men would take off their clothing and scrub themselves as best they could. In the winter time they could warm the water over a bonfire and use that. In spite of all these sanitary precautions the men were dirty and some even filthy. Vermin was everywhere and it was not confined to the prisoner's barracks, either. It was impossible to keep it out and the camp swarmed with it.

“The bunks were not particularly comfortable. Each one had a heavy army blanket but the rest of it was composed mostly of boards. I don't remember whether they had any straw or not. It was a rule that the bunks should be swept and cleaned out every morning and the best of the prisoners did so. Others were careless and had to be made to do it.

“There was no disposition on the part of the officers to misuse the prisoners. What they did was in the way of discipline, and it had to be enforced as it was anywhere in the army. If any of them suffered, it was either their own fault or the fault of their fellow prisoners. There were a great many cases where the stronger ones would rush at the weaker ones and grab away the food, unless the Union guards interfered. A bad faction was in camp, made up of some of the most hardened toughs I ever saw. I guess they numbered 4,000, while there was on average 7,000 to 8,000 in camp. As many as 35,000 prisoners passed through our hands while I was there. The officers as a rule were sent to Sandusky, Ohio, to the officers' prison so that left us a pretty bad lot. Take any crowd of men picked up from all over the south, or, in fact, from anywhere, and you are likely to get a great many that don't belong to the best society. All sorts of men were there, and the society was bad. It made a small town by itself, and they acted as any body of men would under those conditions. The lower classes made it uncomfortable for those who had known better times, and they had to be disciplined.

“Some men died in prison -- there's no question about that but it wasn't from starvation. They were emaciated from a long stay in prison that was necessarily in a filthy condition; but some were just as well as the people on our streets. So much so that if they ever got over the fence it was hard work to catch them. They seemed strong and healthy and could run like -- well they were good sprinters. It doesn't look much like starvation to have a man run, jump over a fence and get away, does it? I never heard of them wetting their blankets as Mr. Wyeth tells about, but it might have been done. That was their own business. As I have said before, they didn't have any pie and cake given to them, and if the confederates had treated our men a little differently they might have fared better, but they did just what the government ordered. I never saw any better discipline than at Burnside Barracks. Orders were carefully promulgated to the prisoners and they what to expect and if they disobeyed it was their own fault. I don't know of a single instance where there was any unnecessary meanness on the part of our own command.

“It is only right that I should deny Mr. Wyeth's statements, as in the main they are wrong. As an example of how the people who were in prison now feel towards me, I can say, with all die modesty, that every place I go down there, men who were in prison and fathers who had sons in captivity have thanked me for their treatment while at Camp Morton. I never was thanked for anything more in my life. If I had known of a man starving I would have given him my personal attention and I would have tried to have stopped the stealing of ration[s] from their companions by men who had lost all sense of honor.

“Camp Morton was supposed to have been one of the best conducted prisons in the United States, and it was under the supervision of Governor Morton, one of the best men that ever lived, and he would not have allowed such things [to] take place as Dr. Wyeth claims. You may be sure they got enough to eat, and if they didn't I was not aware of it.

“There was a time when some of the prisoners escaped, it happened in this way. Word came from Camp Douglass up in Chicago that there was an insurrection, so I had to send up some of my troops and the guard was weakened. Some traitors told the prisoners about it and they got ready to make a break. New men were put on who didn't know how to act. They were all armed with muskets and revolvers. The prisoners united one dark night, supplied themselves with stones, bottles and clubs and made a rush together for the fence. Some got away, and a number were killed. The ‘poor, starved and emaciated’ wretches ran like deers [sic] and got over to Canada. You have no idea of the tunneling that went on. We found over 300 tunnels while I was there and caught the men. They were very clever about digging as they were closely watched. John Morgan's brother started one and got it nicely going. I knew about it, and after I thought they had time to make a good-sized one I sent an Adjutant around to look into matters. He took a long sword, punched it in the ground and had no difficulty in finding the hole. Then he went to the Morgan tent and pointing to the bed, asked them what they had there. ‘That's where we slept, said one. ‘Let me see’, said the Adjutant, and he pulled away the blankets and boards and found a tunnel 30 feet long.

“If the prisoners had such an antipathy for me, as it is claimed, why didn't they kill me? I am sure they had plenty of chances. I always went in among them, but they never made an attempt to injure me, nor did I have any trouble with them. In my rounds once in a great while I found some prisoners being punished by being tied up, but I promptly cut them down and reprimanded the officer who did it. They probably had been doing something against orders, or they would talk back to the officers in a way they never did to me. Some men were so stubborn that they would keep on doing things they shouldn't and they had to be disciplined. One German officer in particular they used to hate. He was very strict and used to make them stand around and obey and if they didn't he would punish them. I always counseled moderation as I didn't want anything low or underhanded practiced. The prisoners were treated just as well as possible under the circumstance and a great many things were done for them that weren't done for our soldiers in southern prisons. Dr. Wyeth claims that we had more means to do it with and perhaps he is right. Some of my officers had been wounded in battle by the rebels and so they didn't feel as genial towards the prisoners as might be. Take a man with 3 or 4 bullets in him and he is not always in good spirits.

“I recollect the man Baker he speaks about; he was a sort of sergeant, but I never heard of his shooting a man. I would have heard of it, too, so I am not inclined to believe that he did. Baker had to be pretty severe with them at times. There are isolated cases of what might be looked upon as cruelty, but I don't see how they could have happened, as Dr. Wyeth claims, without an investigation.

“We used to try and separate the prisoners as far as possible into nationalities. For instance, we had a lot of French planters who were really nice fellows. They wouldn't do anything wrong and acted nicely so that when they got out of prison they could go back to their plantations in good health. Then there were some aristocrats who trained together, then the toughs had their quarters, as we didn't want to throw the nice fellows with the tramps. I don't think that anybody ever had to sleep out of doors without covering. Some times big batches would arrive late at night when we were crowded and they might have to spend one night out of doors, well wrapped up, but it was not often.”

To underscore his humanity as camp commandant, Stevens produced a clipping dated sometime in 1864, from the Indianapolis Gazette which reported a story concerning the camp.

It speaks of a trip of inspection, made by Lieutenant Colonel James A. Ekin, chief quartermaster of the Cavalry Bureau at Washington, D.C., on which he was accompanied by one of the Gazette's staff. The Gazette says:

“We were conducted by Captain Shurtleff, the quartermaster of the camp, to the prison in which are confined the turbulent and vicious of our men, who, forgetting they are soldiers, have disgraced themselves by crime or misdemeanor, and thus incurred the penalty of court martial. Entering the camp of the prisoners we found many improvements of a sanitary nature had been introduced since our last visit by the efficient and laborious Colonel Stevens.

“The hospitals are models of the kind -- large, roomy, airy, comfortable and well supplied with all the necessaries and delicacies the sick can desire, and the very best medical care and attention -- warm and comfortable clothing on the beds, while hospital pants and dressing gowns are in store, supplied by a munificent government to those who have raised the red hand of rebellion to strike down the best and kindest government on God's green earth. And this, too, when thousands of our best and bravest ones are dying by the scores from starvation and abuse in Libby and on Belle Isle. In our hatred of rebellion and punishment of rebels we have not forgotten our humanity, and that these, our enemies, are men. We know that scarce one in a hundred of the miserable wretches who are fed and ministered to by our country ever had half the care and comforts in their own homes in the sunny south that are given them by those whom they have tried to murder and rob. More -- the whole southern Con-Cottonocracy had not a single hospital for its own sick and wounded ones that is at all the equal of this at Camp Morton. If Colonel Stevens had done nothing more to evince his capacity for the post he so perfectly fills, than the care and attention he bestows on the sick, it would be enough to entitle him to the meed of praise he so eminently deserves.

“In all the different hospitals and hospital tents not a single speck of dirt was to be seen seen, or the least thing that would have shocked the most delicate sense that ever grew beneath the magnolias of the South. Outside the hospitals the same scrupulous care and neatness everywhere abounded. There was a place for everything and everything was in its place.

“The entire camp, inside and out, has been whitewashed, thus guarding against disease while adding to its appearance. Returning to Camp Burnside we found it had grown to a village of 2,000 souls. Comfort and taste saluted one on every hand, while improvements, yet unfinished, showed that the commandant had not yet rested from his labors. Upon our entering each barrack the men inside came promptly to ‘attention’ and so remained until we had all passed out, and this, too, not with a sullen doggedness at having been disturbed, but with a cheerfulness and pride that show the true soldier.”

Another newspaper clipping in speaking about the promotion of Colonel Stevens to Brevet Brigadier General says: “No man has better deserved this promotion, we believe, than Colonel A. A. Stevens of the 5th Regiment V.R.C., who has been appointed and confirmed Brevet Brigadier General. His records on the field was such as nay one might be proud of, and since his appointment to the charge of rebel prisons here, he has had one of the most arduous positions in the service. It certainly required as much, if not more, labor of him than that of a commander of a division in the field. He has been quite successful in keeping his prisoners from breaking out, without neglecting their sanitary condition. We know that he has labored incessantly and so far as we can see, most judiciously. Camp Burnside, where his Regiment is encamped, is a model camp, and is always neat and in order, and Camp Morton is under strict regulations by which the prisoners are kept in separate communities and not allowed to mix together promiscuously.

“One act of the general's deserves special mention. In accordance with an agreement between the government and Jeff Davis, by which commissioners of each were allowed to take supplies to their prisoners, a deputation of southerners came here to distribute clothing among the needy in Camp Morton. Finding that many of the boys were not anxious for an exchange, they proposed to supply only those who were going to be exchanged. The Colonel promptly interfered and stated that the confederacy owed them all new clothes, that all who needed them should have them or else none should -- and they all got their trousers, those who remained behind to be mustered out as well as those who have been sent off for exchange.”

Another paper says: “Colonel A. A. Stevens, of the 5th Veteran Reserve Corps, has been promoted to brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, and the promotion has been confirmed by the senate. General Stevens is an accomplished officer, a brave and gallant soldier, a genial gentleman, and is in every way worthy of the distinction which has been conferred upon him. He has been in command of Camp Morton for the past 18 months, and all who are acquainted with his administration of that responsible and embarrassing position will bear testimony to the strict discipline and the urbanity which has characterized the discharge of his duties. There are no better disciplined soldiers than the Regiments of the [Veterans' Reserve Corps] which have been stationed at this post, and most faithfully and courteously have they discharged the often unpleasant duties confided to them. The promotion of General Stevens is appreciated by his command as a high compliment, and when the facts were ascertained on Saturday, the officers and privates of his Regiment manifested their regard for their commanding officer by a most enthusiastic and hearty demonstration.”

On October 22, 1863, the day Colonel Stevens relieved Captain Guthridge as post commandant, Dr. A. M. Clark, acting medical inspector of prisoners of war, reported to Colonel W. Hoffman, commissary-General of Prisoners, that Camp Morton was

a disgrace to the name of military prison. It is filthy in every respect. The vicinity of the sinks is obvious for many yards around, they being perfectly open; no attempt made to disinfect them. They are, moreover, insufficient in number. The seven rebel officers confined here are crowded into a small room about ten by twelve and eight feet high.. In this they sleep, live, and cook. There are good natural facilities for drainage, but the drains are choked with rubbish, and the large central ditch is a grand receptacle for the refuse of the whole camp. The main hospital ward is in so dilapidated a condition that the patients are obliged to fasten their blankets along the wall for partial protection from wind and weather, and are thus deprived of the necessary covering. In fact, every patient whom I examined had more or less of pulmonary trouble accompanying his disease, whatever it might be. The hospital cookhouse was in filthy condition, and the food which had just been prepared for dinner at the time of my visit was most miserably cooked.

On November 9, Stevens sent in his first report to Colonel Hoffman. In it he echoed much of what was reported by Dr. Clark. “I found,” Ambrose wrote, “the barracks in a bad condition” and that “The buildings used for hospitals, not having been built for that purpose, were insufficient in extent and appointments for the purposes for which they were used.” Thus, he added, “New and commodious hospitals are at present being erected for the accommodation of the sick.” Furthermore, extensive repairs were also underway on the barracks and he added more men to guard duty and patrolling the camp. Indeed, by the time Dr. Clark made his inspection of the camp on January 26, 1864, he reported that “The present commandant of Camp Morton is rapidly improving the condition of the camp” although he also noted that “The barracks are much overcrowded and very much in need of repair.” Still, he concluded that “Both men and camps are a credit to the commanding officer and his subordinates.”

On January 16, 1864, one of the guards at Camp Morton shot and killed a confederate prisoner by the name of Goacin Arcemant (?). On January 27, Colonel Stevens informed colonel Hoffman

The report of the officer of the guard, Lieut. T. H. Tyndale, received through Captain Pingree, officer of the day, show that the occurrence took place at 1.30 a.m. on the 16th instant at post no. 20 on the guard line. The sentinel on duty at said post, being examined, states that he had been annoyed repeatedly during his tour of duty by prisoners leaving their barracks and approaching the fence, contrary to orders; that the deceased had quitted his quarters and was approaching the fence in the same manner, when, in compliance with instructions, he ordered him to halt and return to his quarters; that the prisoner, on received the order, stopped and made answer, but did not return to his quarters. The order being repeated, and the prisoner still refusing obedience, the guard states that he fired on him, and immediately called the number of his post, following strictly the instructions he had received. Post No. 21, contiguous, states that the order was given distinctly each time, and that the prisoner must have heard and understood it. As several attempts have been made by prisoners to escape at that point during the present month, it is probable that the deceased approached the fence with a similar intention. The deceased himself, at a short time before his death, stated that he left his quarters to go to the sinks. As there are no sinks in the quarter to which he was going he must have had other intentions.

Although Hoffman supported Steven’s initial report in his endorsement sent on February 3 to the Secretary of War, he nevertheless noted that “great care should be observed by the commanding officer that excesses are not committed under the plea of enforcing orders, and Colonel Stevens will be cautioned to this effect.” Indeed, the very same day he wrote to Colonel Stevens a lengthy telegram informing him that while the action of the guard seemed justified “the life of a prisoner must not be wantonly taken, and when there is a necessity for it, it must be clearly shown.” He then instructed that Sevens be more thorough in his investigation and reporting. “We must strive,” he concluded, “to avoid giving the rebels an opportunity to charge us with following their barbarous example in shooting down unoffending prisoners on trifling pretexts.” Stevens sent in his final report on the shooting incident on February 9.

On February 12, just three days after he sent in his final report on the shooting of Arcemant, Stevens was informed by Captain Robert Littler, officer of the day, that on the night of February 11, between 10:00 and midnight, “a rebel prisoner named James Barnhart was fired upon and killed by the guard while attempt to escape through a tunnel excavated by the prisoners, running from the east end of Barracks No. 5 (G) to the outer side of the fence. Two shots were fired by the guard, both of which took effect, causing almost instant death.” On February 15, Colonel Stevens in turn informed colonel Hoffman that, following his personal investigation,

Having become aware from information received that a conspiracy existed among the prisoners, having for its object their escape on the night of the 11th instant (which in all probability was originated by the confederate officers lately transferred to Camp Chase, Ohio), I gave special instructions to the lieutenant of the guard to make such disposition of the supernumeries on duty a would, with the regular guard, most effectively secure those points on the line where it was apprehended an attempt would be made. The guard on post 10, opposite the east end of Barracks G (see plat of Camp Morton), was strengthened, as several prisoners had escaped at that point on the preceding night, two of whom were recaptured. The deceased, when first discovered by the guard . . . had reached the outside of the fence and was issuing from the tunnel referred to , closely followed by other prisoners, when they were fired on by two of the guard, the shots taking effect as stated. At the same time an attempt was made at another point by prisoners to break over the fence, but they were promptly repulsed by the guard, several shots being fired at them, which in consequence of the extreme darkness of the night, did not take effect. The facts which I have gathered in the investigation prove that a general attempt to escape was to have been made by the prisoners on the night in question. On a rigid inspection of the barracks, made since the above occurrence, another tunnel, partially completed, was discovered leading from the north end of Barracks A, which, had the outbreak not been anticipated and proved against, would undoubtedly also have been used as a means of escape. I have the honor to state, additionally, that I am having a trench dug between the respective ends of Barracks G and F and the fence, and also that I have caused twenty feet to be taken off from each end of said barracks approaching the fence, which, I true, will present any further attempt at tunneling in that quarter.

On March 10, General E. R. S. Canby, assistant adjutant-general, wrote for the Secretary of War, to Colonel Hoffman that “The shooting [of February 11] was justifiable; but in all cases an investigation should be made by a board of officers.”

By the summer of 1864 Colonel Stevens was still struggling in his effort to rehabilitate and revitalize the prison.

By late summer, Hoffman was still finding fault with Stevens’ handling of Camp Morton. On August 12, Colonel Hoffman wrote to Stevens informing him that he had just received a report from Dr. C. J. Kipp, surgeon in charge of the hospital at Camp Morton.

It appears [Hoffman wrote] that a variety of diseases are prevailing there of a more or less malignant character, owing to the crowded condition of the camp, which caused an unusually large fatality during the week ending July 24. Much of this is attributed to the want of antiscorbutics, none of which have been issued since last fall. As the regulations provide for obtaining these articles by purchase with the hospital and prison fund, there seems to be no sufficient reason why a supply has not been procured to prevent diseases which are induced by their absence. All proper means should be used to guard against unusual sickness by attention to diet or good state of police, and by not overcrowding the camp. If there is unoccupied ground in the camp, pitch additional tents to relieve the barracks and tents now occupied. It is possible to enlarge the camp by removing the fence on either side; and what would it cost, including the rent of ground? Call on the surgeon for a report as to the most practicable mode of remedying the evils which he reports, and forward it to this office.

Four days later Hoffman telegraphed Stevens informing him that his office had just received the report of a Dr. Alexander who was inspecting prisons and “his inspection of Camp Morton shows the camp to be in a much less satisfactory condition than I have been led to suspect. You will immediately take measures to make the improvements suggested by Surgeon Alexander.” Hoffman closed by saying “I wish you to give this matter your immediate and personal attention and report not only on the result, but the steps taken to arrive at it.”

On August 21 Colonel Stevens forwarded to Hoffman’s office the report of Dr. Kipp, written on August 16, outlining his recommendations for upgrading the prison hospital. Stevens wrote again on August 28, attaching the report of Lieutenant J. W. Davidson, inspector of the camp, and noted that “The work of enlarging the camp is progressing rapidly and will, I trust, prove of great benefit as a sanitary measure.” Davidson noted throughout his report that quarters, medical treatment and food were “in as good as can be” under the circumstances. On September 4, Lieutenant Davidson again reported on reconstruction progress in the camp and noted that “the sanitary condition of the camp is being improved,” that “the kitchens and barracks were kept clean” and that “the rations issued . . . have been in compliance with the circular issued by the Commissary General.” He also noted that antiscorbutics, “such as potatoes and onions, have been issued three times during the week.” The camp continued to improve through September and October, at least according to Davidson who was inspecting the camp regularly for Stevens.

Still, Hoffman remained unhappy with Stevens’ weekly reports which, is his estimation, “do not cover the case.” Hoffman wrote on October 3 that “Many improvements are spoken of as necessary, but nothing is said of any steps taken to meet these necessities. If you can make improvements without reference to this office, why is it not done? Or, if it is requisite to submit plans and estimates, let it be done without delay.” Among other things Hoffman noted that although he instructed Stevens on September 14 to extend the hospital, “your report makes no allusion to the work.”

Stevens replied four days later. He noted that, among other things, two new wards were recently completed for extending the hospital, although by December Dr. Kipp would be demanding two additional wards be constructed to house the contagious and infectious patients. Stevens also added in his report of October 7 several recommendations for enlarging and repairing the camp facilities. He closed by defending his previous reports. “I trust,” he wrote, “that, although my reports have not been sufficient in their detail, nothing has been neglected in the camp, either in its police or discipline, and that your inspector may have the satisfaction of noting a very great improvement since his last visit.” Davidson’s reports continued to reflect growing improvement, enhanced living conditions in the camp and very few attempts to escape through the remainder of the year. According to Davidson’s reports, the prison conditions continued to improve in early 1865.

When Stevens took command of Camp Morton there were 2, 362 prisoners in camp; by December 7 that number had increased to 2,881 and to 3,207 by January 26, 1864. As of July 16, 1864 Camp Morton held 4,965 prisoners and Colonel Stevens reported he could take another 500 more.

On July 13, 1865 Lieutenant Colonel O. E. Babcock submitted his report on the remaining prison camps held by the Federal troops. At Camp Morton he found eight prisoners still in custody. “The prison grounds, barracks, and particularly the hospital show great care on the part of the commanding officer, Brevet brigadier-General Stevens, Veteran Reserve Corps. The prison fund amounts to $100,000.” (The fund had less than a thousand dollars when Stevens took command in the fall of 1863.)

Whatever the truth of Wyeth’s charges and of Stevens’ defense, one can conclude that the attitude among many northern officials was perhaps best summed up by General Hoffman, responsible for all the Union prisons, who had little inclination toward coddling the prisoners. In his study of Civil War prisons, William Hesseltine quoted the following exchange between a citizen of Indianapolis and Hoffman: “’I am a loyal man and love my country and her free institutions and cannot consent to see such favors [as visitors allowed to talk with prisoners] extended to rebels as are constantly done at Camp Morton and remain silent. . . .’”

History’s final word perhaps lies in the words inscribed on the bronze bust of Colonel Richard Owen, “commander of Camp Morton during the Civil War,” according to one guide to Indiana history, and which “occupies a niche in the rotunda” of the State Capitol. “Former Confederate prisoners commemorated Owen for his courtesy and kindness by commissioning the bust sculpted by Miss Belle Kinney.” No mention is made of Colonel Ambrose A. Stevens of Michigan.

Ambrose was promoted to brevet Brigadier General of United States Volunteers on March 7, 1865. Ambrose was discharged on September 30, 1865.

Stevens returned to his home in Saranac, and by 1870 he was working as a produce dealer (he owned $15500 worth of real estate but only $500 in personal property) and living with his wife in Saranac. Sometime around 1872 he moved to Grand Rapids where he resided until he died in 1915.

In April of 1872 Stevens visited Texas, reported the Houston Daily Herald, “for the benefit of his health, and on a tour of investigation. He informs us that he has long had a desire to visit our state, having formed a high opinion of its climate and resources. We commend the General to the kind attention of our friends wherever he may go in the State.”

By late in the year he had returned to Grand Rapids where, according to the Democrat of October 1, he became associated with the publishing of the Democrat. He had recently “purchased an interest in the establishment, who will hereafter assume joint control in the management and conduct of the paper and business of the concern. With this accession of capital, we hope to render this paper still better and more acceptable to our 2,500 readers, and as a Newspaper second to none in Michigan. This arrangement necessitates a settlement of all accounts on the books of M H. Clark & Co. The name of the firm will be hereafter known as Clark, Stevens & Co.”

By 1880 Ambrose was still publishing the Grand Rapids Democrat newspaper and living with his wife and son on Clinton Street in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.

In 1881 he sold his interest in that paper to his partner, Colonel I. E. Messmore for $6,000. “Gen. Stevens will carry with him,” wrote the Democrat on May 30, “where ever he goes, the best wishes of a host of warm friends who admire him for his fine qualities of head and heart, and his always genial and gentlemanly bearing.”

Stevens then turned his financial attention to the engraving and printing business, Stevens, Cornell & Dean. The Eagle reported on June 15, 1881, that Stevens had just “purchased an interest in the extensive engraving and printing establishment of Cornell & Dean, the style of the new firm being Stevens, Cornell & Dean. The reputation of this house for fine work is second to none in the State. as the large business already built up amply testifies. the facilities for turning out work, however, will soon be largely increased, and a complete poster office added, show printing of all kinds being one of their specialties. With Gen. Stevens at the head, success will be sure to follow.” And on August 18 the Eagle observed that

The firm of Stevens, Cornell & Dean, Engravers and general job printers, 51 and 53 Lyon Street, are coming to the front with rapid strides. Their steadily increasing business calls for almost constant enlargement of their facilities. They have recently added to their establishment a complete and first class poster and show printing department, and can execute on short notice, any size or style of plain, engraved, or colored poster called for.

They have the largest and most complete Engraving establishment in the State, and are turning out work equal to that done in Chicago or New York, and at lower prices. They make a specialty of illustrating Furniture and other catalogues, and furnish estimates promptly. An inspection of their samples of work will convince the most skeptical that there is no further need of sending outside Grand Rapids or the State for first-class Engraving.

They also make a specialty of cigar label, and every variety of colored work, either plain or engraved. Estimates and samples promptly furnished.

Special attention is given to Bank and Commercial Printing. They are constantly adding to the latest styles of type to their office, and aim to keep fully up to the times in all that pertains to fine printing.

Stevens was actively involved with the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, and maintained an interest in the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. At the conclusion of the banquet held during the association’s annual reunion on Friday evening, December 13, 1878, Stevens, serving as president of the association for the year, stood and told his old comrades

“After a year's separation we are again assembled together, to participate and enjoy the sociabilities of the regular annual reunion of the Old Third. At our last meeting you were pleased to elect me to the office of President of our Association -- an office which I am proud to fill, and an honor, for which I shall always feel grateful. The duties of the position, it is true, are not of the most arduous kind. The principal duty, and I assure you it is a very pleasant one, consists in presiding over this reunion, and at this banquet. In behalf of the citizens of Grand Rapids I bid you a cordial welcome. Your heroic deeds while serving in the cause of liberty and patriotism, are not forgotten, although many years have passed since they were first recorded. A generation has grown nearly to manhood and womanhood, since we, already of mature years, marched beneath the folds of that glorious old flag, that precious heirloom of the gallant survivors of the noble Regiment who bore it to the front -- and if I then may be permitted to add their descendants -- the battered remnant of which you see here this night before you. It is not my purpose to make any extended remarks on this occasion, as there are others present who can perform that duty more ably than myself -- although to one who daily witnessed the efforts of these gallant veterans, the uncomplaining patience and untiring energy and heroism, these recollections are impressed with an ineffaceable stamp. In the weary watches of the night they did their work on the picket line faithfully and well. On the tiresome march, on roads soft with mud, they patiently marched for days and weeks, and at their evening bivouac they were content with the scanty meal which their haversacks afforded, and among all the perplexing trials of a soldier's life were not forgetful of their duty to their country. History, however, cannot fail to do justice to the self-sacrificing devotion and noble deeds of valor of the citizen soldiery of the Union, and we may be sure that the heroic deeds of those who fell on the battle field, as well as the more fortunate ones who at the close of the war returned to civil life, will receive due justice in the future. I thank you for your kind attention, and again bid you hearty welcome.”

Ambrose served as United States Land Commissioner in Grand Rapids, and Inspector of the Board of Health in the city of Grand Rapids in 1891 where he was living in 1888. By 1890 he was residing in East Grand Rapids, in 1891 he was living at 77 Clinton Street in 1891 (in East Grand Rapids), and in East Grand Rapids in 1894, at 13 Clinton Street in 1895 and at 229 Woodmore (or Woodmere) court, Grand Rapids in 1907 and 1909.

He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids, a Freemason, a staunch Democrat, and a member of the Mexican War Veterans’ association of the State of Michigan. In 1893 (?) he applied for and received pension no. 898,524, drawing $50.00 per month in 1914.

Ambrose died a widower of “senility,” on May 23, 1915, at his son’s home, 353 Woodmere in Grand Rapids and was buried in Saranac cemetery: no. 108.