Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leonard Travis

Leonard Travis was born on December 14, 1837, in Niagara County, New York, the son of John (b. 1798) and Charity (b. 1803).

New York natives John and Charity were married in New York and resided there for some years. sometime after 1845 the family left New York and eventually settled in Michigan. By 1860 leonard was working as a “common school teacher” and living with his family on afarm near St. Johns, Bengal Township, Clinton County.

In any case, Leonard stood 5’6” with hazel eyes, dark hair and a ruddy complexion and was a 23-year-old farmer probably still living in Clinton County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. By September of 1861 was sick in the hospital in Georgetown, DC. Leonard eventually returned to duty and was a company cook in February and March of 1862. Although he was initially reported as having been killed in action on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, he fact he had been shot in the right arm and only missing in action. He soon returned to the Regiment on September 7 at Washington, DC, and was absent sick until he was discharged on February 4, 1863, at Lincoln hospital in Washington, DC, for “partial anchylosis of right elbow with loss of use and atrophy of forearm.”

Leonard listed St. Johns, Clinton County as his mailing address on his discharge paper, and indeed he reportedly lived in Bengal, Clinton County for some years.

He married New York native Harriet (1841-1909).

By 1870 Leonard was working as a farmer (he owned $2800 worth of real estate) and was living with his wife in Bengal, Clinton County; Harriet’s father (?) lived with them. John’s parents lived next door and his brother Charles lived near by. However, Leonard eventually returned to New York state and by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with Harriet in Stafford, Genesee County, New York. He probably lived in New York until he became ill around 1903. He then moved back to Michigan, settling in the home of his brother Charles in St. Johns, Clinton County.

He applied for and received a pension (no. 61295).

After a long illness, Leonard died at his brother’s home on February 11, 1904. The funeral was held on Sunday following, with the Rev. R. S. McGregor officiating, and he was buried in Mt. Rest cemetery in St. Johns.

His widow was apparently living in New York in late February of 1904 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 594130). In any case she was buried alongside him in 1909.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hosea H. and Nathan O. Tracy

Hosea H. Tracy was born in 1823 in Ontario County, New York.

Hosea was married to Connecticut native Jane A. (b. 1826), and they had at least five children: Nathan (b. 1845), David (b. 1846), Sarah (b. 1849), Austin E. (b. 1853) and Betsey J. They moved to either Pennsylvania or Ohio before 1845, then probably from Ohio or Pennsylvania to Illinois between 1846 and 1849. By 1850 Hosea and his family were living on a farm in Northville, LaSalle County, Illinois. Hosea then took his family and settled in Michigan where by 1860 he was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in Crockery, Ottawa County.

He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 38 years old and probably still living in Chester (in section 10) when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his son Nathan. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) On May 3, 1862, one of his company officers, Captain Stephen Lowing, wrote that during an engagement with the enemy, a “shell struck within four feet of Mr. Tracy of Nunica who was moving logs in the yard, but did not explode and he was unhurt.” Hosea was on detached service in General Heintzelman’s headquarters in July of 1862, and absent sick in the hospital from August until he was discharged on November 4, 1862, at Arlington, Virginia for “an injury to the left elbow joint caused by the passage of a wagon over him while intoxicated.” It was also noted on his discharge paper that “He is totally unfit for duty. No case for a pension.”

Apparently Hosea returned to his home in Ottawa County after his discharge from the army. In March of 1863 he applied for a pension (no. 658334), but the certificate was never granted.

Hosea probably died at his home in Ottawa County, in 1867, and was buried in Crockery cemetery, Ottawa County, next to his son, Nathan.

His widow was living in Crockery in 1890.

Nathan O. Tracy was born in 1845 in Portage County, Ohio or in Pennsylvania, the son of Hosea and Jane (see Hosea’s biography above).

His parents moved to either Pennsylvania or Ohio before 1845, then probably to Illinois between 1846 and 1849. By 1850 Nathan was living with his family on a farm in Northville, LaSalle County, Illinois. The family eventually moved to Michigan and by 1860 Nathan was attending school and living with his family in Crockery, Ottawa County.

Nathan stood 5’11” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 16 years old and probably still living with his family in Crockery (possibly section 10) when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his father Hosea. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) Nathan was sick in the hospital in April of 1863, again in June, and in November and December, and was discharged for consumption on January 5, 1864, at Douglas hospital in Washington, DC.

After his discharge he returned home to Nunica, Ottawa County. In August of 1864 he applied for and received a pension (no. 34057.

He was probably living at his home in Ottawa County where he died, probably of consumption, on December 12, 1864, and was buried in Crockery cemetery; his father Hosea was buried next to him in 1867.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Benjamin Carl Tracy

Benjamin Carl Tracy was born in 1832 in New York, the son of Philander (1801-1873) and Anne (Rusell).

New York natives Philander and Anne ir Annie were married in January of 1827, probably in New York.

According to the Grand Rapids Eagle, in 1820 Philander left Cayuga County, New York, and took up sailing on the the “Upper Lakes.” He reportedly owned and sailed “the schooner Ainsworth, between Buffalo and Chicago for several years, with headquarters in Buffalo. With this schooner he visited Grand Haven [Ottawa County] as early as 1824,” and

came to Grand Rapids in the winter of 1835-6, starting from Chicago by stage; from White Pigeon [St. Joseph County] hiring a team to Kalamazoo [Kalamazoo County]; from there he could get no conveyance till he agreed to bring the mail, when a horse was furnished him and he started on horseback. The horse tired out, on the way, leaving the nag he proceeded on foot, carrying the mail bag and a heavy valise. Coming to the mouth of the Thornapple, he had a good exercise with his powerful lungs, hallooing to Hon. Rix Robinson across the river, a mile or more distant. He succeeded in making himself heard, was ferried across and then made his way down to ‘the Rapids’. . . . In 1838 he removed to Flat river, now Lowell, where he resided some seven years. While there he buried his [first] wife and subsequently married Julia Ann [Smith of Ada, Kent County]. Removing again to Grand Rapids about 1845 he has since resided here [and] his principal occupation has been that of lumberman, in which he was moderately successful.

(Indeed, there appears to be no record of a Philander Tracy in Cayuga County, New York in 1820 or in 1810. In fact Philander Tracy doesn’t appear listed in New York census records, with the exception of one Philander Tracey who was living in Troy, New York in 1860.)

By 1860 Philander was living in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward and also in the Third Ward in 1870. (In 1889 and 1890 one Elvira Tracy, the widow of Philander, was living at 163 Lake Avenue in Grand Rapids.) By 1859-60 Benjamin was living on the west side of LaGrave Street between Island and Oakes Streets, and in 1860 he was a lumber dealer working for George Nelson in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward.

According to his niece Georgie Yale, Benjamin had been married to one “Trazey Tracy.” Benjamin filed divorce proceedings against her in early 1861, charging several counts of adultery and he was granted a divorce in April of 1861 in Newaygo County.

Sometime in early 1861 Benjamin became actively involved in the Valley City Guard, the prewar Grand Rapids militia company whose members would form the nucleus of Company A, although he was 29 years old and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Second Sergeant in Company F on May 13, 1861. Before the Third Michigan left Grand Rapids for Washington, DC, on June 13 1861, Tracy testified in the Kingin murder trial on June 10. Kingin was accused of killing Dan Barber, treasurer for Algoma Township, in late February, and Tracy was the one who found the body near Laphamville in Kent County.

Benjamin was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on January 1, 1862, and in May was absent sick in the general hospital in Yorktown, Virginia. According to Isaac Reed, formerly of Company K and who was detached to serve as a wagoner for much of the war, sometime in 1861 or early 1862 Benjamin “had been detached from the regiment to serve as asst. quartermaster 3rd brig 3rd div 3 army corps afterwards consolidated with 2nd corps. He thus became my immediate superior officer and our duties brought us together constantly. I well remember that about May 1862 Capt. Tracy became unable to mount his horse because of piles and at the same time he complained of diarrhea or dysentery. He was so bad that I had to run the wagon train alone for three or four days.” He was in the general hospital in Yorktown, Virginia in May.

According to Dan Crotty of Company F, Tracy was the Regimental Quartermaster during the battle of Second Bull Run on August 29, 1862, when he was “severely wounded in the hip.” He was promoted to First Lieutenant on October 25, 1862, commissioned September 1, replacing Lieutenant Simon Brennan, and was Acting Brigade Quartermaster from October 27, 1862, and chief of the ambulances for Third Brigade from December 5 through March of 1863. He was acting Third Brigade Quartermaster from April through May of 1864, and was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After the war Benjamin returned to Grand Rapids and was a witness at the marriage of Miles Adams and Anna Reed in Muskegon in September of 1864.

He married his second wife, Vermont-born widow named Harriet Louisa Withey Devendorf (1834-1910) on May 31, 1865, in Grand Rapids (her first husband died in 1863) and they had at least three children: Minne Anne (b. 1866, Mrs. A. Johnson), Mrs. Caroline or Carrie E. Lindquist (b. 1868) and Estelle Louise (Mrs. F. C. Stevens). (She also had a daughter Harriet, b. 1855, by her previous marriage.)

For a while he worked as a teamster and lived at 250 South Division Street from 1867-69, and he was working in that capacity and living with his wife Harriet and three children in Grand Rapids’ First Ward in 1870. He eventually resumed his work in the lumber industry, and by the spring of 1878 Tracy was “in charge of Parson's lumbering camp, on the south branch of the Pere Marquette river, [and] after passing a couple of days with his family, left for his work again yesterday. He says there is in connection with Mr. Parsons logging operations a pole railroad, so-called, and that it works admirably.” He also served as a deputy U.S. marshall.

Ben eventually returned to Grand Rapids where he took up building and contracting, and by 1880 he was working as a contractor and living with his wife and three daughters in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward.

In fact, he was living in Grand Rapids in 1881-82, 1884-5, 1895-97 and was most likely a resident of Grand Rapids the remainder of his life.

He was living in the Second Ward in 1880, in the city in 1888, at 108 Monroe in 1889, and in the Third Ward in 1890 (at 52 Coit Avenue) and 1894.

He was an active member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, serving three terms as president from 1898-1900. He was also a member of Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 5 in Grand Rapids, the Old Settlers’ Association, and he was a witness for Charles Houbel’s pension. In 1885 he applied for and received a pension (no. 681262).

Benjamin died of valvular heart disease on November 3, 1902 at his home on 123 Paris Avenue in Grand Rapids.

During the funeral service General Byron R. Pierce, another former member of the Old Third, and “who was close to Captain Tracy during his war career,” spoke “in the highest terms of praise of the deceased. ‘Captain Tracy served with distinction all through the war,’ said the general, ‘and was promoted to the position of master of transportation of the division. He was a man who always loved his friends and he has probably helped bury as many of the Old Third boys as anyone. He was always on duty on these occasions.’”

He was buried in Oak Hill cemetery: section 1 lot 34.

In 1903 Louisa applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 658334).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moses William “Bill” Townsend

Moses William “Bill” Townsend was born in 1835 in Mendon, Monroe County New York.

There was a Moses Townsend living in Mendon, New York in 1840. In 1850 there was a shoemaker named Moses Townsend (b. 1810 in New York) and his wife Fanny (b. 1817 in New York) living in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan, and by 1860 he was working as a shoemaker and living with hsi wife in Elbridge, Oceana County.

In 1860 there was a 24-year-old laborer named William Townsend, born in New York, living with and/or working for a saloon-keeper named Bradley Salter and his wife in Muskegon, Muskegon County.

Moses W. stood 5’11” with hazel eyes, black hair and a fair complexion and was a 26-year-old shoemaker probably living in Muskegon, Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

Moses, known as “Bill” was not highly thought of by at least one of his comrades. Charles Brittain, also of Company H, wrote home to his family on October 9, that “Bill Townsend is going to get his discharge. He has not done anything since he came here and says he won’t if he stays a year and I believe him for he is the greatest shirk [?] that I ever saw.” Moses was discharged for consumption on October 14, 1861, at Fort Richardson, Virginia.

It is possible that Moses returned to New York and was the same Moses Townsend, age 29, who enlisted as a private on April 15, 1864, in Company E, One hundred and eighth New York Infantry at Rochester, Monroe County, New York.

No pension for either service seems to be available.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Albert Burton Towne

Albert Burton Towne was born in 1840 in Clinton County, New York or in Michigan.

Albert, who stood 6’1” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, was discharged (for reasons unknown) from a military unit called “Duboises” Artillery on September 20, 1861. This unit may also have been part of the Kane County Independent Illinois Company of Cavalry. Furthermore, he also appears to have served in Company H, Eleventh Illinois cavalry.

In any case Albert was 21 years old when he reentered the service in Company I, Third Michigan infantry on February 24, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. It does not appear that Albert left to join the regiment, since he apparently married one Clara M. Bush (b. 1844) of Walker, Kent County, on March 9, 1862, probably in Grand Rapids. And they had at least two children: Alva B. (b. 1863) and Edward or Edmund (b. 1867). In any case, Albert did eventually join the regiment in Virginia and was sick in the hospital from May 3, 1862, until he was discharged on July 25, 1862, at Columbian College hospital in Washington, DC, for chronic asthma.

He returned to Michigan where he reentered the service on March 10, 1863 in Company H, Ninth Michigan cavalry, probably at Coldwater, Michigan, where the regiment was being formed between January and May of 1863; and was promoted to Corporal on April 11, 1863. If so, Albert probably never joined the Ninth but was instead transferred on May 1, 1863 to L battery, First Michigan Light Artillery. The battery was organized in Coldwater and mustered into service on April 11, 1863, and left the state for Covington, Kentucky on May 20. It remained on duty at Covington until June 4 when it moved to Camp Nelson and then on to Mt. Sterling on June 12. It participated in numerous operations through the east Tennessee area during the second half of 1863. Albert was promoted to Sergeant on September 13, 1863.

The regiment was at the Cumberland Gap by the end of 1863 and remained on duty there until June of 1864 when it moved to Knoxville where it remained until August 15, 1865 when it was ordered to Jackson, Michigan.

Albert was mustered out as Sergeant with the regiment on August 22, 1865, at Jackson, Jackson County. (Austin Dibble, who had also served in the Third Michigan infantry would also reenter the service in the Ninth Michigan cavalry and he too would be transferred to L battery.)

After the war Albert returned to Michigan. By 1880 Albert was working as a farmer and living with his wife Clara and their two children in Monterey, Allegan County, and was probably living in Hillside, Monterey Township, Allegan County in 1883 and 1885, and 1890. (There was a civil war veteran named Alberton Towne living in Whitehall, Muskegon County in 1894.)

He was a member of the First Michigan Light Artillery Association, and may have been a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

He was living in Michigan when he applied for and received a pension (no. 490670).

Albert eventually moved to Washington state.

Albert died on April 15, 1914, in Washington state.

In 1914 his widow was residing in Washington state when she applied for and received a pension (no. 779498).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reuben Tower

Reuben Tower was born in 1834 in Michigan, the son of Joseph (b. 1814) and Philena (b. 1815).

Vermonter Joseph married New York native Philena, probably in New York or perhaps in Michigan. In any case they quickly settled in Michigan and by 1850 Reuben was working as a farmer with his father in Oakfield, Kent County. By 1860 Reuben was working as a school-teacher and living at Cook’s Hotel in Otisco, Ionia County. (His father would find work as a carpenter in Otisco in 1863.)

He was 27 years old and still residing in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. Reuben was a Sergeant when he was awarded the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863.

He was a Sergeant when he was shot in the head and killed on July 2, 1863, while the regiment was engaged in the Peach Orchard, during the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. He was buried in the Michigan plot, Gettysburg National Cemetery: section B, grave 19. (He is erroneously listed as “Reuben Power” on his headstone in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.)

In 1870 His mother was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a dependent mother’s pension (no. 486190).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Buel, Duane and Dwight Tousley - 4/7/2014

Buel Tousley was born in 1844 in Trumbull County, Ohio, the son of Nelson (b. 1810) and Sally (b. 1813).

(Nelson may have been the same Nelson Tousley who married one Rachel C. Harvey on April 11, 1883 in Cass County, Indiana .)

Massachusetts native Nelson married New York-born Sally possibly in New York. (Nelson may have been the same Nelson Tousley who married one Rachel C. Harvey on April 11, 1883 in Cass County, Indiana.) In any case they eventually moved to Ohio where they were living in 1836 when their son Duane was born, and they remained in Ohio until at least after 1845. The family moved to Michigan sometime after 1847, and by 1850 Nelson was farming in Fair Plain, Montcalm County, and Buel was attending school with his siblings (including his brothers Dwight and Duane who would also enlist in the Third Michigan). By 1860 Buel was a laborer living with his family in Sidney, Montcalm County, where his father worked as a farmer.

Buell stood 5’7” with brown eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 17 years old and probably still living in Montcalm County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861, along with his older brothers Duane and Dwight, and discharged for consumption on August 9, 1861, at Hunter’s Farm, Virginia.

After his discharge from the army Buel returned to Montcalm County where he reentered the service in Company F, Twenty-first Michigan infantry on July 28, 1862, at Greenville for 3 years, crediting Sidney, and was mustered on August 3 at Ionia, Ionia County. The regiment was organized at Ionia and Grand Rapids and mustered into service on September 9, and left Michigan for Louisville, Kentucky, on September 12. The regiment participated in the battle for Perryville, Kentucky, on October 8, and Buel was sick at Lebanon, Kentucky from October 21 through November. Buel was discharged for disability on December 29, 1862, at Bowling Green, Kentucky.

He returned to western Michigan where he reentered the service a second time in Company G, Tenth Michigan cavalry on January 30, 1865, at Grand Rapids for 1 years, crediting Fairplains, Montcalm County, and was mustered on February 3. He joined the Regiment on March 16 at the dismounted camp in Knoxville, Tennessee, and reportedly remained in Knoxville through May, of 1865. (Meanwhile the regiment participated in Stoneman’s expedition into east Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and west North Carolina from March 21-April 25, and the regiment was on duty at Lenoir and Sweetwater, Tennessee from about May until August and in west Tennessee until November.

It is unclear if Buel ever did in fact join the regiment until it returned to western Tennessee. In any case he was mustered out with the regiment on November 11, 1865, at Memphis, Tennessee.

Buel eventually returned to his home in Montcalm County and by 1870 he was working as a joiner and living with his older brother Loren (?) in Sidney, Montcalm County; next door lived George Butterworth and his mother Elizabeth; George too had served in the Third Michigan infantry. That same year Buel was also listed as working as a carpenter and living with or working for a sawyer named Van Kirk in Greenville, Montcalm County.

By 1880 Buel was probably working as a carpenter and living with Robert Winn in Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming.

No pension seems to be available.

Duane Tousley was born in 1836 in Portage County, Ohio, the son of Nelson (b. 1810) and Sally (b. 1813).

Massachusetts native Nelson married New York-born Sally possibly in New York. In any case they eventually moved to Ohio where they were living in 1836 and they remained in Ohio until at least after 1845. The family moved to Michigan sometime after 1847, and by 1850 Nelson was farming in Fair Plain, Montcalm County, and several of the Tousley children were attending school (including Buel and Dwight who would also enlist in the Third Michigan). By 1860 Duane was a farm laborer (possibly living with his sister Ruth, age 13) working for a farmer by the name of William Lampman in Sidney, Montcalm County.

Duane stood 6’1” with dark eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 25 years old and possibly still living in Montcalm or perhaps in Ionia County when he enlisted as Third Corporal in Company E on May 13, 1861, along with his brothers Buel and Dwight. By mid-November of 1861 he may have been sick in a general hospital in Washington, DC. (Either Duane or his brother Dwight.)

Duane was absent sick in the hospital in August of 1862 through October (so was his brother Dwight), and discharged for consumption on November 27, 1862, at Convalescent Camp, Virginia.


Duane may have been living with and/or working for William Piper in Montana by 1870.

He applied for and received a pension (no. 131512).

According to a family historian, Duane died on April 14, 1876 in Menasha, WI and is presumably buried there. 


Dwight Tousley
was born in 1842 in Trumbull County, Ohio, the son of Nelson (b. 1810) and Sally (b. 1813).

Massachusetts native Nelson married New York-born Sally possibly in New York. In any case they eventually moved to Ohio where they were living in 1836 when their son Duane was born, and they remained in Ohio until at least after 1845. The family moved to Michigan sometime after 1847, and by 1850 Nelson was farming in Fair Plain, Montcalm County, and Dwight was attending school with his siblings (including his brothers Buel and Duane who would also enlist in the Third Michigan). By 1860 Dwight was a laborer living with his family in Sidney, Montcalm County, where his father worked as a farmer.

Dwight stood 5’6” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 19 years old and probably still living in Montcalm County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company E on May 13, 1861, along with his two brothers Buel and Duane. By mid-November of 1861 he may have been sick in a general hospital in Washington, DC. Dwight was sick in the hospital in August of 1862 (so was his brother Duane), but eventually returned to duty and by October was the company washerman. According to Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, Dwight was a Corporal present for duty with the regiment in late May of 1863.

In September of 1863 Dwight was reported as under arrest, for offense(s) unknown, but these were apparently not serious since he reenlisted as a Corporal on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Paris, Kent County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, possibly in Michigan, in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Dwight was a good friend of another man in Company E, Edwin Van Wert. On March 19, 1864, while the regiment was still in camp near Brandy Station, Virginia, Edwin wrote home to Amanda, one of his younger sisters to tell her about Dwight. “In regard to Phylancy’s beau she found on the cars I hope he’s a smasher [?]. But I have got one for you. He is a bully little fellow and I know you would like him.[He] belongs to the same company that I do. He is going to write to you. But I would not answer it this time. He talks some come home with me and then you can see him. He took care of me when I was sick. He stays in the same tent with me. But I am afraid the love that my little sister has got for her brother will be another’s when she sees the soldier I picked out for her. His name is Dwight Tousley.”

Dwight was wounded, probably on May 23, 1864, at North Anna, Virginia, and he was still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

He died from his wounds in the Division field hospital on June 20 or July 1, 1864, and may have been buried at North Anna or possibly near Petersburg, Virginia.

No pension seems to be available.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Archiving the 3rd Michigan Infantry Research Project

Over the more than 23 years since I first started collecting and collating the stories and memories of the men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry, I've accumulated some 50 linear feet of paper: pension files, military service records, census records, etc. This primary source material serves as the basis for both my growing database as well as my biographical sketches of all the men, and of course for the history of the regiment as well.

Digitizing the entire research project is something I've thought about for years but only recently felt the technology and lowered cost allowed me to actually do it. However, growing concern about degradation of the materials -- paper doesn't last forever -- as well as security for the archives itself, led me to began a focused search for a digital solution and I found it in the Fujitsu Scansnap S1500M.

In November of 2010 I purchased the Scansnap S1500M, especially designed to work with the Mac. Unfortunately I've since forgotten where I first learned about this particular model but I remember researching it thoroughly online and eventually took the plunge, buying my unit on Amazon.

Since then, I have scanned in more than 5,000 pages of paper, and am barely a little more than half way through the biographies. The unit does require some attention -- you can't just load it with 50 or 60 pages and walk away. Even though it does occasionally jam or stop feeding, it always alerts you to any problem, and is quick to point out any overlapped document. It also scans in both sides (if you so choose) and generally works wonderfully, allowing me to scan documents in a variety of formats, including Word and Acrobat, and to switch back and forth with ease. (The software is intuitive and very easy to use.)

My goal is to complete the archiving process by the spring of 2011.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Levi E. Totten

Levi E. Totten was born in 1833.

In 1850 there was a 25-year-old carpenter named Levi Totten, Jr. living with his wife Ann (b. 1824) and their infant daughter Matilda in Fulton, Schoharie County, New York.

In 1860 there was one Levi Totten living in Canisteo, Steuben County, New York. In 1860 there was a washerwoman named Hannah Totten (b. 1830 in New York), living with her young son (?) George H. (b. 1846 in New York), living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward, Kent County, Michigan. (Also living with them was a stage driver named George Brace.)

In any case, Levi was 28 years old and possibly living in Kent County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was reported as an orderly for Third Brigade commander General Israel Richardson from July of 1862 through October, but shortly afterwards he apparently deserted and was dropped from the company rolls on November 27, 1862, at Falmouth, Virginia, in compliance with G.O. no. 92 (by reason of being AWOL).

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

There was a Levi Totten working as a tailor and merchant at 27 Main Street in Canisteo, New York in 1891.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

John A. Tompkins

John A. Tompkins was born in 1839 in Grove, Allegany County, New York

John may have been living in Ionia County, Michigan when the war broke out, or he may have been the same John Tompkins living in Plainfield, Kent County in 1860.

(John was possibly related to John (b. 1808 in New York) and Sally A. (b. 1793 in Pennsylvania). They moved from New York to Michigan before 1840 when they settled in Ionia, Ionia County. By 1850 John (elder) was running a hotel in Ionia and in 1860 operated the Exchange Hotel.)

John stood 5’11”’ with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 22-year-old laborer probably living in Ionia County or possibly in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was wounded on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and subsequently hospitalized from July of 1862 through April of 1863 at Washington, DC. He eventually recovered, returned to duty and was again wounded on November 27, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia, although apparently not severely.

John reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Boston, Ionia County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, possibly at his family home in Michigan, in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

He was reported absent sick in May of 1864, but in fact he was apparently captured during the Wilderness and Spotsylvania movements in the first half of May. John was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and reportedly interned for a time in Andersonville prison. Although he was listed as missing in action through June of 1865, in fact he died of disease on October 7, 1864, in the prison at Florence, South Carolina, and was presumably buried among the unknown soldiers interred there.

No pension seems to be available.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Caleb Tompkins

Caleb Tompkins was born in 1833 in Greene, Chenango County, New York.

His family moved from New York probably to Ohio, then on to Wisconsin before settling in Michigan, and by 1860 Caleb was a laborer who could not read or write living with his younger brother Ambrose (or Ambrosial) and his family in Brooks, Newaygo County.

He stood 5’11” with blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion and was 28 years old and living in Newaygo County or in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company H on April 28, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He was reported as a provost guard from July of 1862 through September, on detached service in October (probably as a provost guard), and a provost guard from November of 1862 through January of 1863. He was with the provost guard at Brigade headquarters in March, with a wagon train in June, and was back at Brigade headquarters in July.

Caleb reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Muskegon, Muskegon County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, possibly in Michigan, in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

By March he was serving with the ambulance corps, and was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was possibly wounded in the left leg sometime in June near Petersburg, Virginia, was absent sick in July and on detached service in September and October. He was again reported absent sick in November, promoted to Corporal on April 1, 1865, and mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Caleb returned to Michigan and was possibly working as a laborer in Lake City, Missaukee County, for one John Armstrong in 1880. He probably also worked in Lansing as a laborer. He was living in Lansing in 1890, and in Jackson’s Eighth Ward, Jackson County in 1894.

He was married to Ella, and they may have had at least one child, a son.

He was possibly a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. Caleb applied for and received a pension (no. 310204).

Caleb was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 2264) on November 7, 1894, and discharged at his own request on November 19.

Caleb reportedly died in 1895, possibly in Lansing or possibly at his son’s (?) home in Newaygo.

( “Caleb O. Tompkins” was buried on June 3, 1925 in Mt. Hope cemetery, Lansing: section C, lot 131 grave 1.)

His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 448,228).

In 1920 there was a widow named Ella Tompkins, b. 1861 in Michigan, living in Lansing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ira Spear Todd

Ira Spear Todd was born on January 28, 1842, in Rome, Lenawee County, Michigan, the son of Alanson (1822-1875) and Hester Maria (Frary, 1822-1860).

According to one source Ira’s parents were married in Rome, Michigan, on July 2, 1840, and by 1843 the family had moved to Van Buren County and were residing in Bengal, Clinton County in 1850 and in Gratiot County by 1858. (The census records for this period do not substantiate this however.)

Ira (who was possibly named after his maternal grandfather, Ira Spear Frary) was 19 years old and probably living in Portland, Ionia County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

He died of typhoid fever on August 29 or September 1, 1861, at either Union Hotel hospital or Columbian College hospital in Washington, DC, and was buried in the Military Asylum cemetery (Soldier's Home National cemetery).

No pension seems to be available.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

William H. Tillotson

William H. Tillotson was born in 1835, in New York.

By 1860 William had moved to Michigan and was working as a farm laborer and/or living with the Pease family in Otisco, Ionia County. (There was one Charles Tillotson or Tillitson, born c. 1832 in New York, living with his wife and child in Easton, Ionia County in 1860.)

William stood 5’9” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 26-year-old farmer possibly living in Otisco, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company H on February 28, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, crediting Muskegon County. He was reported AWOL in March and April, and was discharged for disability on May 30, 1862.

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

There was a William Kellogg Tillotson, born November 13, 1835, in Wayne County, New York, the son of Matthew Norton (1800-1851) and Wealthy Ann (Annable, 1808-1885). He married Michigan or Connecticut native Helen Beach (b. 1840), possibly in Michigan, on September 8, 1861, and they had at least four children: Norton Beach (b. 1864), Addie (b. 1866), Lucy Beach (b. 1867) and John Beach (b. 1873). William K. served as lieutenant in the Fifth Michigan infantry during the war. He was living in Owosso, Shiawassee County in 1867, but by 1870 he was working as a hardware merchant and living with his wife and children in Detroit’s Fifth Ward; his mother was also living with them as well. By 1873 he was back in Owosso. By 1880 his mother was living with her son Dan Tillotson in East Saginaw, Saginaw County. In 1866 he applied for and received a pension (no. 73809). He eventually moved back to New York. William died on June 30, 1914, in New York City.In August of 1914 his widow was living in New York when she applied for and received a pension (no. 797731).

There is a civil war veteran named W. C. Tillotson reportedly buried in Lafayette cemetery, Gratiot County, Michigan.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Silas E. Thurston

Silas E. Thurston was born in 1840 in New York, the son of Susan (b. 1816).

New York native Susan Thurston and her 9-year-old son Silas were living with the family of Lyman Church, a grocer in Genesee Falls, Wyoming County, New York in 1850. (Susan was still listed as Thurston and she and Silas were reported at the end of the Church family listing int he census records for that year.) By 1860 Susan had married Mr. Church and Silas was working as a day laborer and living with his family in Genesee Falls. According to Susan the family left New York and in August of 1860 settled in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. Silas was possibly living in Lansing, Michigan, in the Spring of 1861 when he became a member of the Lansing company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.

Silas was 21 years old and probably living in Ingham County when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. According to Frank Siverd of Company G, by the end of the year he had been detailed as a hostler. He was reported as hostler for the Regimental surgeon in September of 1862. (His stepfather Lyman died of insanity in Flint in 1862.)

Silas was wounded in the lungs on July 2, 1863, while the regiment was engaged in the Peach Orchard, during the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. Silas was originally buried in George Rose’s field but subsequently reinterred in the Michigan plot, Gettysburg National Cemetery: section A, grave 4.

Sometime around 1868 Silas’ mother moved to Lynden, Illinois, where she resided for about seven months, then ten months in Delavan, Wisconsin, in Pavillion, Michigan for seven months and back in Delavan where she was residing in 1869 when she applied for and received a dependent mother’s pension (no. 301207).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Samuel B. Thurston

Samuel B. Thurston was born in 1843 in Michigan, probably the son of Daniel (b. 1807) and Eliza (b. 1805).

Daniel (elder) was born in New York and married New York native Eliza sometime before 1832 probably in New York where they resided before moving west. Daniel and Eliza moved from New England to Michigan sometime between 1833 and 1835 and by 1850 Daniel was a farmer in Chester, Ottawa County. Eliza apparently died and Daniel remarried a woman named Nancy (b. 1812 in Massachussetts). By 1860 Samuel was a farmer living with his older brother Daniel and his wife in Chester, Ottawa County; their parents lived next door. And two doors from the older Daniel was his oldest son Stephen and his family.

Samuel stood 5’4” with blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was 18 years old and probably still living in Chester when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. Samuel was absent sick in a hospital in Washington, DC from October 11, 1862, through February of 1863. He reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids, and while home in Ottawa County on veteran’s furlough he married Ellen H. Boyd on February 1, 1864, and they had at least one child, Lulu. He soon returned to the Regiment and was serving at Division headquarters from April of 1864 through May.

Samuel was transferred (as “Samuel Thorsten”) to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was shot in the left thigh on June 22 near Petersburg, Virginia. He was admitted to the Second Division, Second Corps field hospital on June 27, then sent to Harewood hospital in Washington, DC on June 28, where he was furloughed for 45 days on July 18. He applied for an extension of his furlough on August 22, and was absent on medical leave from September 18. He was readmitted to the hospital on September 18, furloughed from October 25 to November 13, and absent on medical leave until December 3 when he returned to the hospital. He returned to duty on December 20, 1864, was promoted to Corporal on January 1, 1865 and mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Following his discharge from the army Samuel returned to western Michigan and settled on a farm in Walker, Kent County where he lived for many years. (In 1870 his parents were living on a farm in Sparta, Kent County.) He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 2014) for the first time on October 7, 1893, discharged on April 16, 1895 and was in and out of the Home several times before he was readmitted for the last time on July 25, 1896. In 1866 he applied for and received a pension (no. 68442).

He died a widower of “stomach trouble, and lung difficulty” on February 8, 1897 at the Home hospital.

In fact, Thurston may have been the last man of the Third Michigan to die “from the war.” According to Samuel’s obituary in the Herald, “After carrying a rebel bullet in his right lung for over thirty years” Thurston “has given up the fight. The bullet had for over thirty years been ploughing its way downward through the tissues of the lungs, and yesterday afternoon dropped out, death being almost instantaneous. The ball was covered with a linen patch, just as it had left the rifle of some rebel soldier, the patch and bullet being firmly connected. At 2 o'clock yesterday morning Thurston was taken to the hospital, having been in usual good health up to a short time before that. In the afternoon he complained to his nurse that his heart pained him, and while she was gone to secure a hot water application Thurston died.”

Samuel’s funeral was held on February 10 at the Home Chapel and, according to one eyewitness,

was full of pathetic interest. The chapel was overflowing with veteran comrades dressed in their suits of army blue, gathered to pay the last tribute of homage to the memory of a brave soldier of the civil war. The coffin rested in the front of the platform, half concealed by a drapery of the stars and stripes and bunches of odorous flowers, gifts of friends. One corner of the chapel was reserved for the relatives of the dead man, several pews being filled. The chaplain of the home, Mrs. Alice M. M. Phillips, being sick, the Rev. Dan F. Bradley, D.D. officiated in her stead. The hymns, “Jesus, lover of my soul,” “Rock of ages,” and “Shall we meet beyond the river” were sung by the veterans. The singing was from the heart and although the voices did not blend in the most perfect harmony, the effect was tender and sympathetic.

Dr. Bradley read the following records of the dead soldier: “Samuel Thurston entered the service in company C, 3rd Mich Inf., March 17, 1961 Mustered out Aug. 10, 1865, at the close of the war; admitted to the home on Oct. 7, 1893. Age 56 years, a widower, leaves a daughter 2 sisters and 2 brothers in the near vicinity, also 2 half sisters and a stepmother living in the city of Grand Rapids.

“A brief record,” said Dr. Bradley, “but when this nation shall have become the greatest on earth the generations of that day will turn back to this record and the descendants of this man will be proud to claim kindred with him who threw his life between his country and her enemies in time of peril.”

The old soldiers bowed their heads and wept as Dr. Bradley recalled to their memory the days of danger and lonely nights of watching in those distant times. Dr. Bradley said that the record said nothing of the years of suffering caused from the wound received in battle and of which the soldier died, nor of the heroic fight to gain a livelihood after the war had closed. As he continued his remarks the comrades turned their toward the coffin where their friend and comrade lay still and cold, unconscious of the eulogies being offered to his memory.

Six of the veterans carried the coffin to the hearse, but as they tottered down the steps with their burden, stronger hands than theirs steadied the casket to its place. A drum, bugle and fife corps marched ahead of the hearse playing a funeral dirge on the way to the grave in the Soldier's Home cemetery. The north wind drifted snow on the coffin, the sobbing relatives and the long procession of veterans. The hearse was the only carriage in the line, everyone walking to the grave through the winding road leading through the lonesome valley to the burial spot. A squad of soldiers fired a salute of 3 volleys over the grave when the comrade was lowered, and then the taps of the last call were sounded and the procession returned to the home in military order, the band playing quickstep.

Comrade Thurston was 56 years old. He was wounded in the battle of Petersburg on June 26, 1865. He received a bullet shot in his left lung, the ball remaining there until after his death. The wound has caused him great suffering through all these years, for the reason that a portion of the gun wadding was carried with the bullet.

He bore the affliction with fortitude and made a brave struggle to hold a place of independence in the business world. He has been much interested of late in the revival services held at the home and he died in the Christian faith.

Samuel was buried in the Home cemetery: section 1 row 2 grave no. 21.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thomas Thompson

Thomas Thompson was born in April 4, 1836, in Norway or at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Thomas was 28 years old and probably living in Ionia County, Michigan, when he enlisted as a wagoner in Company D on May 13, 1861. He was possibly related to Sylvester Thompson also from Ionia County and who would also enlist in Company D. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) In any case, Thomas was reported as a wagoner from July of 1862 through October, as a Brigade wagoner from May of 1863 through May of 1864, and was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge from the army Thomas returned to Michigan.

He was married to Michigan native Mindwell (1847-1909) and they had at least ten children: Thomas J. (1868-1868), Franklin B. (1870-1887), Albert J. (1871-1974), Harrison (b. 1873), Rosa C. (b. 1874), Henry (b. 1876), Thomas (b. 1878), Warren (b. 1879), Arthur C. (1883-1888) and a daughter (1886-1899).

By August of 1870 he was reportedly living in Saranac, Ionia County when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. By September he was reported as working as a stage driver (he owned $1000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and son in Hubbardston village, Ionia County. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in North Shade, Gratiot County. By the mid-1880s he was residing in Hubbardston, Ionia County, in Brice, Gratiot County in 1888 and Carson City, Gratiot County in 1890, North Shade, Gratiot County in 1894 and Carson City in 1911.

In 1890 Thomas applied for and received a pension (no. 650204).

Thomas was a widower when he died on June 6, 1917, in Gratiot County, and was buried alongside his wife and numerous children in the East Side (Hubbardston East) cemetery, North Plains Township, Ionia County.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sylvester Thompson

Sylvester Thompson was born on October 21, 1814, in Bennington, Bennington County, Vermont, the son of Wealthy (b. 1778 in Connecticut).

Sylvester (or Sylvanus) left Vermont and by 1840 had settled in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan.

He married New York native Cynthia M. Whipple Hardenburg (1826-1907) on September 15, 1854, in Ionia County, and they probably had at least two children: Eva (b. 1856) and Carrie (b. 1866). It is also possible that Sylvester had been married before and had a child from a previous marriage: a son Eugene (b. 1845 in Michigan). And in fact, Cynthia had been married to one Aaron Hardenburg and they had at least three children: a daughter Eleanor (b. 1845 in Ionia), Louisa (b. 1847 in Michigan) and Henry (b. 1850 in Michigan). By 1860 Sylvester and his family were living on a farm in Easton, Ionia County.

Sylvester stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was a 48-year-old farmer possibly living in Easton, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on March 4, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. He was possibly related to Thomas Thompson, who would also enlist in Company D and who was probably also from Ionia County. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) Sylvester was reported employed as a Quartermaster’s (“officer’s”) waiter in July, and absent sick in the hospital from August until he was discharged on December 20, 1862, at York, Pennsylvania, for “chronic sinovitis of knee joint and old age.”

After his discharge from the army Sylvester eventually returned to Ionia County, probably to his home in Easton. By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $5000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and two daughters in Easton. By 1880 he was farming and living with his wife and daughter Carrie in Easton. He eventually settled in Otisco where he was living in 1890.

He applied for a pension (no. 786216), but the certificate was never granted.

Sylvester died in Otisco on December 7, 1893, and was buried in River Ridge cemetery in Belding, Ionia County: section 1, lot no. 8.

In 1895 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 475310).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stephen Decatur Thompson

Stephen Decatur Thompson was born on December 27, 1839, in Madison County, Indiana, the son of Leonard (b. 1810) and Amy (Ferguson).

Both New York natives Stephen’s parents were married around 1835, possibly in New York, but may have soon settled in Ohio and were possibly living in Warren, Ohio by 1836. They moved to Indiana sometime before 1838 and resided there for some years. Between 1844 and 1846 they moved from Indiana back to Ohio and by 1849 had moved to Michigan, probably Grand Rapids, Kent County. In 1850 Leonard was working as a blacksmith in Grand Rapids where Stephen attended school with his siblings.

According to one source, around 1850 Leonard left Grand Rapids and went west to look for gold in California, but found cholera instead and perished somewhere in the Rocky Mountains; Stephen’s mother died about the same time. Stephen went to live with the George Jenny family and in 1852 Jenny moved to Newaygo County looking for work, which he found with the Brooks construction company. Stephen also took a job with Brooks, but after a short time he went to work at the Big Red Mill.

Stephen stood 5’4” with gray eyes and a dark complexion and was 21 years old and working as a laborer and butcher, probably in Newaygo County, when he enlisted as Fourth Corporal in Company F on May 13, 1861.

He was shot in the left forearm on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. In his pension affidavit for General Israel C. Smith, who had been Captain of Company F at the time, Thompson testified that he saw Smith get hit in the back of his right shoulder, and he remembered this distinctly because he was standing by Smith’s side and was himself “wounded at almost the same instant, and these words passed between us: On receiving my wound ‘I said Captain I am shot’. [Smith] turned practically around towards me, and exclaimed ‘My God I am shot too.’’”

According to Wallace W. Dickinson of Company K, Thompson was promoted to Sergeant for his “gallant conduct” during the action at Second Bull Run. As of early October of 1862 Stephen was a patient in the Presbyterian church hospital in Georgetown, DC, and he remained hospitalized until discharged for disability on December 13, 1862, at New York or Newark, New Jersey.

Stephen returned to Newaygo following his discharge from the army and in 1863 entered into a partnership with his former army comrade, Wallace Dickinson in Newaygo, and they engaged in the business of mining marl in Pennoyer Creek and burning it in a kiln to recover the lime and thus manufacture builder’s lime. However, Dickinson reentered the army in July of 1863, and it is not known what became of their business partnership.

Stephen married his first wife New York native Adelia L. Bennett (1848-1904) on August 30, 1866 in Newaygo, and they had four children: Maud (1869-1932), Louis I. (1867-1936), William G. (1872-1950) and Howard S. (1877-1916).

Shortly after they were married they moved to Big Rapids, Mecosta County, where Stephen opened a restaurant. By 1870 Stephen was working as a saloon keeper (he owned $1000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and children in Big Rapids’ First Ward, Mecosta County.

Apparently Stephen found the restaurant business unsuitable and returned to Newaygo by 1874 where he was employed by the Simmons grocery store in Newaygo as a “silent partner.” In 1877 he purchased the grocery store outright, and engaged in this business until 1898 when he turned the store over to two of his sons, Lou and Will, so that he could devote more time to a wood product business, and in 1900 he became involved in the Newaygo Portland Cement company. In fact, Stephen lived in Newaygo most of his postwar life.

Soon after returning to Newaygo Thompson became sheriff of Newaygo County in 1876, and on October 26, and according to the Democrat, he “arrested one Ezra Wright and William Mapes last evening, whom suspicion rests upon having burned the new church building in Ashland [Newaygo County] the 23rd inst.”

Stephen and Adelia resided in Newaygo for many years. In 1904 Adelia died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. B. McGregor, in Michigan City, Indiana. According to her obituary,

Three weeks ago today Mrs. Thompson left home for a visit with her daughter in Michigan City, and her friends, knowing her physical condition, advised her not to go. Thinking that she would have rest while there, she decided to go. She was in her usual health, even better than that, until on Thursday last, she was seized with a relapse, or rather a second attack of la grippe, and while no fears were felt by her friends, her husband was sent for and joined her on Saturday. The physician attending her assured her friends that she was in no danger whatever, even as late as two o’clock p.m. of the day of her death, which occurred at seven o’clock last Monday evening; so suddenly that there was no time to summon a physician.

[She] was the daughter of William and Clarinda Bennett, and was born in Mt. Morris, N.Y., Sept. 7, 1848. In 1862 with her parents she came to Grand Rapids and the year following moved to Newaygo, where was married to Stephen D. Thompson in 1866. With the exception of a few years spent in Big Rapids, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have resided in Newaygo since their marriage. Four children, three sons and a daughter, were the fruits of their marriage, all of whom, together with her husband, survive her. Mrs. Thompson was a noble Christian woman, a leader in society, church and social affairs, and to her ambition to aid in every good cause and to her devotion to duty may, perhaps, be partially attributed to her fatal illness. Many times when nature called for rest she has persisted in discharging her duties to her church and the Chapter of the O.E.S., of which she was the Worthy Matron. No charity, no public or private enterprise that needed her assistance was ever refused. Her wonderful energy and executive ability were ever at the command of those in need, and many times she responded to the demands made upon her when her friends warned her that she could not endure the expenditure of health and strength. She was a devoted wife, a loving mother, a Christian in the broadest sense of the word, and not alone her family, but the entire community, is stricken with grief at the taking away of one whom all loved and respected. The funeral will be held at the home at 2 o’clock p.m. today, Rev. Sidney Beck, of Grand Rapids, officiating.

Stephen married his second wife Jennie Lapham on August 18, 1908. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, as well as the Grand Army of the Republic Samuel Judd Post No. 133 in Newaygo, and he attended the 1889 reunion at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

In 1863 Stephen applied for and received a pension (no. 11,170), drawing $12.00 per month in 1883 for wounded arm and shoulder.

He died of chronic nephritis at his home in Newaygo on April 17, 1914, and was buried in Newaygo cemetery: lots 17 & 18.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Samuel E. Thompson

Samuel E. Thompson was born on August 11, 1831, in New Brunswick, Canada.

Samuel was married to New York native Salinda or Calinda (1843-1935), and they had at least four children: Nancy (b. 1860), Hattie B. (1862-1906) and Myrtie E. (1869-1885) and Willard E. (b. 1874).

Samuel left Canada and came to the United States where he met and married Salinda, possibly in New York. In any case he and his wife had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was working as a carpenter and living with his wife in Blendon, Ottawa County.

Samuel stood 5’8” with black eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 29-year-old carpenter probably living in Blendon or Holland, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

Samuel was discharged for consumption on August 27, 1861, at Fort Albany, Virginia.

After he was discharged Samuel eventually returned to Michigan settling back in Blendon. He was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in Blendon in 1870, but by 1880 he was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Sixth Ward, Kent County. He was back in Blendon in 1888, 1890 and 1894.

Samuel applied for and received a pension (no. 581071).

Samuel died on November 14, 1905, presumably in Blendon, and was buried in Blendon cemetery.

In December of 1905 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 616322).

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bartlett Thompson

Bartlett Thompson was born in 1846.

Bartlett stood 5’5” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old laborer possibly living in Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company I on February 6, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Manistee, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was slightly wounded in one of his shoulders in early May during the Wilderness-Spotsylvania movements.

He was reported absent sick in May, and was probably still absent sick when he was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. On September 21 Thompson entered a general hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a wound in the shoulder, and he remained absent sick in Philadelphia until he was discharged for disability on June 2, 1865, at Mower hospital in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

In late June of 1865 he applied for and received a pension (no. 85670).

It is not known if Bartlett ever returned to Michigan. He may have been the same “Barthel” Thompson, born about 1845 in Norway, who was married to Illinois native Anna (b. 1845), and they had at least six children: Esther (b. 1867), Thomas (b. 1869), Minnie (b. 1871), George (b. 1873), Nellie (b. 1875) and Bertie (b. 1878). In 1870 this same Barthel Thompson was working as a farmer and living with his wife and two children in Greencastle, Marshall County, Iowa, and by 1880 they were living on a farm in Le Grand, Marshall County, Iowa.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

Barthel of the Old Third was living at 704 Massachusetts Avenue in Chicago sometime around 1900.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Peter Thome

Peter Thome was born in 1846 in Clinton County, Michigan, the son of August (1817-1901) and Eva (1822-1880).

Peter’s parents immigrated to the United States from Prussia, Germany and were married in Westphalia, Clinton County, Michigan in 1842. By 1850 the family was living in Westphalia where Peter attended school. (It is possible that his grandparents were Michael and Anna Mary Thome and that they were living next door in Westphalia in 1850.) By 1860 Peter was attending school with three of his younger siblings (his mother could not read or write) and living on the family farm in Westphalia (his father owned some $4000 in real estate). Next door lived the family of Nicholas "Thorne," probably August’s younger brother.

Peter stood 5’6’ with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer possibly living in Clinton County or in Grand Rapids, Kent County, when he enlisted in Company E in January 13, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids, and was mustered the same day.

(He is most likely also the same man listed as “Peter Horn, who reportedly enlisted in the Third Michigan infantry -- company unrecorded -- on January 13, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day, and of whom there is no further record. Nor is Peter Horn found in the Regimental descriptive rolls, the 1905 history of the Third Michigan infantry or in the Michigan Regimental history index, although he does have a military service record in the Third Michigan infantry regimental records at the National Archives. Curiously, the Old Third Association records also list his name as Peter Horn.)

He joined the Regiment on February 10, and 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 June 23 through September of 1864, promoted to Corporal on June 1, 1865, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Peter eventually returned to Michigan after the war.

He was married to Michigan native Rosetta (b. 1849) in November of 1869.

By 1870 he was working as a merchant’s clerk (he owned $3000 worth of real estate) and was living with his wife in Wacoustra, Westphalia Township, Clinton County. (August was living in Westphalia in 1880.)

Peter was married a second time to Michigan native Elizabeth (1850-1911). Peter had at least seven children: Anna Maria (1870-1889), Lenora (b. 1871), Edward (b. 1874), Mary (b. 1877), Augusta (b. 1879), Frank L. (1883-1942) and Theresa (1889-1945).

By 1880 Peter (listed as “Piter Thomy”) was living with his second wife and five children in Westphalia. According to Old Third Michigan Infantry association records Old Third Peter “Horn” was reportedly living in Westphalia, Clinton County in 1888. He was living in Watertown, Clinton County in 1890. Peter may have been living in Westphalia, Clinton County by 1894. In fact he probably lived the rest of his life in Clinton County.

In 1889 he applied for and received a pension (no. 836484).

Peter was probably still living in Westphalia when he died as a widower on August 24, 1925, and was buried in St. Mary’s cemetery, Westphalia.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Casper Thenner

Casper Thenner was born in 1831 in Germany.

Casper immigrated to America and settled in western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.

He stood 5’4” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 30-year-old laborer possibly living in Shiawassee or Kent County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.) He was taken prisoner on July 1 or 2, 1862, at White Oak Swamp, Virginia, confined at Richmond, Virginia, and possibly paroled in mid-September. According to the Richmond Dispatch of September 15, 1862,

Three thousand three hundred of the Yankee prisoners left Richmond on Saturday for Varina to be exchanged. – Such as could not walk were conveyed away in wagons. The officers, of which there were 61, went in carriages, provided for the purpose. As the long line filed past the C. S. Prison, on Cary Street, they greeted their less lucky compeers with a feeble cheer. A small cavalry escort accompanied them down. Another large gang were started for Aiken’s landing, on James river, yesterday morning. During Saturday and Sunday five thousand two hundred and twenty-eight were sent away. This leaves on hand only about seven hundred, a good many of whom are in the hospital under treatment for wounds or disease, who were unable to bear removal. Three Yankee women and eight Yankee deserters, or rather men who came over to us and professed to be such, were sent from Castle Thunder. Though these deserters professed to have left their brethren in great disgust, they were very willing to be sent back to the North. The departure of the prisoners will save the Confederate Government an expense of about $4,000 per day, which was the average that their food as soldiers cost.

Casper returned to the Regiment on either November 15 at Alexandria, Virginia, or December 20, 1862, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia.

He reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids’ Fourth 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. He was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and again taken prisoner on December 6, 1864, at Jerusalem Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia. Thenner was sent from Petersburg to Richmond on December 10, 1864, and paroled at Cox’s Wharf, Virginia on February 5, 1865.

Casper was subsequently furloughed as a paroled prisoner of war, and soon afterwards returned to Grand Rapids, where he was examined by Dr. Charles Hempel. Dr. Hempel certified on March 20, 1865, that Thenner was “suffering from chronic diarrhea and general debility and is not able to travel and I further certify that in my opinion he will not be fit for duty in less than twenty days.”

In fact, Casper died in Grand Rapids of chronic diarrhea on May 27, 1865, and was reportedly buried in the “city cemetery” (presumably in what is now Oak Hill South), although all traces of his grave have disappeared.

“Casper Thener,” wrote the Eagle on May 31, “a veteran number of company C, Captain Theodore Hetz, in the old Third Mich. Inf., was buried in the city cemetery on the 29th inst. Young Thener went out with the glorious Regiment and remained in its ranks through all the terrible battles it passed, reenlisted, and was, with the comparatively few left at the time, merged into the 5th Mich Inf. While in that command and in an engagement before Petersburg, he was taken by the rebels and remained a prisoner until paroled, when he came home a few months since, a victim of a disease which terminated his life. His funeral was attended and the remains followed to the grave by a company, under command of Captain [Theodore] Hetz, of heroes, once members of the the old Third. In the funeral procession were carried two battered and torn battle flags -- sacred relics of that once proud command.”

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Porter Dennis Thayer

Porter Dennis Thayer was born in 1830 in Washtenaw County, Michigan, the son of John (b. 1791) and Hannah (Pangborn, b. 1796).

Massachussetts native John married New York-born Hannah in about 1811. Porter came to western Michigan with his family in the 1830s, living variously in Kent and Ottawa counties. By 1850 he was living with his parents on their farm in Tallmadge, Ottawa County.

Porter married New York or Michigan native Sarah Randall (1835-1921) on February 13, 1855, in Grand Rapids, and they had at least eight children: Martin A. (b. 1856), John G. (b. 1857), Richard R. (b. 1859), Mary (b. 1860), Porter (b. 1865), Cora (b. 1867), Robert (b. 1869) and Elmer (b. 1873). By 1860 Porter was working as a lumberman and living with his wife and three children in Alpine, Kent County, next to his mother and three brothers, both of whom were also lumbermen.

He stood 6’1’ with blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion and was a 31-year-old lumberman probably living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County or possibly in Indian Creek, Alpine Township, Kent County when he enlisted in Company H on November 18, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered December 23 at Detroit. He was absent sick from August of 1862 through July of 1863, reported wounded in the leg on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg and subsequently hospitalized in Philadelphia.

Porter returned to duty and was wounded in the left leg on November 27, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia. Porter was subsequently hospitalized at Chesapeake hospital in Fortress Monroe, Virginia, and then transferred to Annapolis, Maryland. His wife and several children were on relief in Zeeland, Ottawa County in late 1863, and he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Muskegon, Muskegon County, but listing Ottawa County as his place of residence.

Porter was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, probably at home in Ottawa County, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was slightly wounded in the right arm in early May, subsequently hospitalized and was possibly still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Porter returned to western Michigan, probably to Ottawa County. By 1870 he was working as a sawyer and living with his wife and children in Spring Lake, Ottawa County and by 1880 he was “keeping boarders” and living with his wife and children in Spring Lake.

In 1882 he applied for and received a pension (no. 333704).

Porter was killed when struck by a train on September 11, 1886, in Ashland, Newaygo County, and was buried in Ashland cemetery.

In 1890 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 340407).

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Homer L. Thayer

Homer L. Thayer was born in 1838 in Green Oak, Livingston County, Michigan, possibly the son of Lucy.

In 1840 one Lucy Thayer and a male child less than 2 years old were living in Green Oak, Livingston County.

Homer eventually settled in Lansing, Ingham County, and was married to New yok native Julia P. Greene (1837-1905; she was noted for her fine singing voice.) By 1860 he was working as a merchant living with his wife who was a music teacher in Lansing’s First Ward. Also living in the First Ward, at Horace Angel’s hotel, in 1860 was a wealthy lumber merchant by the name of Charles Thayer (b. 1805 in Pennsylvania).

He was 23 years old and probably still living in Lansing when he enlisted as Second Sergeant in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.)

Early on the morning of July 18, 1861, as the Regiment moved westward from Fairfax, Virginia towards Centreville, “a small village in Fairfax County, and about eight miles west of Fairfax Court House,” wrote Frank Siverd of Company G, it was discovered that “a large body of rebels had just left their entrenchments. We made a halt for dinner in a beautiful grove. In the meantime scouts were scouring the whole country, some for rebels and others for dinner. One of the latter expeditions under command of Sergeant Thayer, took in charge a very intelligent young man, who represented himself a strong Union man. He has a good knowledge of the country and of the position of the enemy. He was considered of some importance to the army by the General, and placed under charge of Thayer for future use; from the young man we learned the position of a large body of troops strongly entrenched at a point called Bull's Run.” Siverd added in his note to the Lansing Republican on July 24 that Thayer was one of the men in the company ready for action on Sunday, July 21 at Bull Run, Virginia.

Shortly after the federal retreat from Bull Run, Lieutenant James B. Ten Eyck of Company G resigned his commission and returned to his home in Lansing where he reported to the Republican that in the recent engagement at Bull Run, he “gives the boys great praise for their bravery, and especially commends the conduct of Sergeant Homer L. Thayer, . . .”

By the first of December, 1861, Homer had been detached from the company and sent back to Michigan to recruit for the Regiment. Charles Church of Company G, wrote home to his parents in Williamston, Ingham County, on January 1, 1862, that Thayer will probably “be at Williamston and there father can see him and he can tell him all about us, etc.” Homer remained absent on recruiting service until March of 1862, and by the end of April was back in Virginia but on the staff of either General Hiram Berry or General Samuel Heintzelman. Frank Siverd wrote May 2 that Thayer had recently arrived back in camp from Michigan, and added that he “has received a position in the office of the Assistant Adjutant General of the Brigade thus placing him on Berry’s staff).”

Following Frank Siverd's death at Fair Oaks, Virginia, on May 31, 1862, the editor of the Lansing Republican announced on June 18 that “In pursuance of Mr. Siverd's request before the battle, Homer L. Thayer will continue the correspondence with this paper.”

At midnight, Saturday, May 31, Homer Thayer wrote his wife from the “Hospital Building, 100 rods to the left of our redoubt, near battlefield.”

We advanced about 3 miles this forenoon towards Richmond, and by 2 p.m., heard musketry 2 miles ahead of us, which gradually drew nearer.

Finally, Gen. Berry and Capt. Smith rode out to the rifle pits, and soon ordered the brigade under arms, and moved the 3d, 5th, and 37th across the field 3/4ths of a mile into the woods directly towards the engagement which was going on between Generals Couch and Casey’s men, and in a short time the [regiment] which was in front of us, broke and ran, thus leaving us suddenly exposed, and our regiments then commenced firing and advancing as the ground was cleared of those engaged before us.

In a short time every one was looking out for his man, and when volleys were fired by the enemy our men laid down. At last they were so near (in some places not 3 rods) both sides laid down and continued firing -- this nearly all in the woods, and in some places swampy.

Our 3d fought like tigers, and many noble men fell. I give the names as far as I am certain, and many more are missing.

E. F. Siverd, Chas. T. Foster (color sergeant), Samuel Dowell, N. T. Atkinson and Case B. Wickham, Co. G, are dead.

The following, of Co. G, are wounded, and brought into this hospital:

Lieut. Mason, in the groin; John Broad, in the face and arm; A. Billings, L. Croy, Wm. Clark, Jackson, Ingersoll, Benson, Trimmer and N. Johnson.

Our Adjt. General, Capt. E. M. Smith, is dead. I have just returned from taking his body to the station, about 2 miles from here. He said to me today noon, “Homer, I am going to be shot in this engagement,” but I told him I thought it was only his imagination. Poor fellow, he was too bold.

Capt. Quackenbush has just been brought in dead. You recollect he and his wife were with us at Pontiac last winter.

Our dear Colonel was wounded, but we hope not mortally.

Our regiment, what there are who have come in and able to bear arms, are bivouacked at the rifle pits above referred to, and number not far from 250.

Some more will come in, we hope, to be able to go on to the field in the morning and take care of our dead.

Large reinforcements have come to his point since dark, and we shall hold our position without doubt. We learn, tonight, that McClellan has pushed forward troops on our extreme right, nearly in Richmond, and that this engagement was brought on by their trying to outflank us on our left.

Gen. Berry said to me tonight: “Your Mich. 3d regiment was worth oceans of money, if money could be of any use in describing their value in holding our positions.”

The Mich. 2d was on picket since the morning of the 29th, and did not get on to the field in time to participate much in the engagement.

I can form no idea of our loss, but know it to be large. We are making all preparations to resist or attack tomorrow, as soon as it is light.

I am writing on the floor of a room where there are perhaps 15 wounded men lying, waiting for their turns from the surgeon. I have been assisting here now since 4 o’clock, except one hour that I was gone to the station. Poor fellows! they stand it better than anyone would expect, but many are suffering for want of prompt attendance from the surgeon. There are three here, Drs. Gunn, Bliss and ______, and there ought to be fifty, besides as many attendants to give the patients water and assist in putting on splints and bandages.

This has been a terrible battle, and we are not yet through, but our brigade will be relieved before morning, to give us time to organize anew where officers are dead or wounded.

This is the third time that I have assisted to care for the unfortunate wounded and dead.

Sunday morning, June 1st

I am at Gen. Heintzelman’s headquarters, and find that the cars are soon to leave with a load of wounded men, and by one of them I will send this.

It has been a sorry night indeed. This morning it is raining. What may be done in the way of engaging the enemy today is uncertain. I shall, as soon as is possible, get to the field where we left so many of our best men, and, when it is possible, assist in their burial.

Siverd often asked me if I would continue “Stray Leaves” if he should be killed, and I promised him I would, though I fell unable to attempt the task.

I forgot to mention of the officers wounded, Capt. Loring [Lowing] , and Lieutenants Dodge, Pelton and Judd.

Siverd was hit three times, and after he was hit the second time he cheered the boys on nobly.

Foster was a good boy, and beloved by all.

It looks lonesome enough this morning, to go along by the 3d and see the decimated ranks.

Write to me often. This, we nearly all believe will settle the business for the secesh when we have finished. Our boys will not flinch but will stand up to the enemy’s fire as long as their ammunition holds out, and then, if they are in an open field, charge bayonet.

We have a large number of prisoners, some of them sulky, and some rather seem to be glad that they are released.

No remains can be sent home until all the wounded are sent off, according to order from the War Department last night.

Gen. Berry, as well as our entire brigade, are feeling deeply the loss of Capt. Smith. The General is liked by all, and while he will try to do his whole duty, he will avoid taking his men into unnecessary danger.

Your affectionate husband, H. L. Thayer.

From Brigade headquatrers near the Fair Oaks battlefield, Homer wrote to George Parsons of the Republican, on June 3, his first letter to the Lansing paper. “I will try to keep your readers informed,” he declared, “of our whereabouts and doings, but I am well aware that they will miss ‘Stray Leaves from Camp’ [Siverd’s byline], and with us, mourn the loss of their author.” In fact he did continue to provide frequent reports to the paper on the movements of the Regiment and the status of the Lansing boys, although his letters lacked the breadth and depth of Siverd’s analyses.

Dear Sir: -- I wrote on the evening of the battle to my wife, giving a hasty description of the part which our Brigade took in the act of that day; also, a particular list of the killed and wounded of our company.

The reports were not completed until late last night, and I now enclose an abstract from them of the loss of the three Michigan Regiments of our Brigade:


Michigan 2d Killed Wounded Missing

Officers none 2 none
Enlisted men 10 40 2

Michigan 3d

Officers 1 8 none
Men 25 104 27

Michigan 5th

Officers 1 4 none
Men 57 115 14

Making an aggregate of 378 -- some of the missing will undoubtedly be found.

The loss of our Lansing company is severe, and comprises some of the best men of the company.

Sergt. Chas. T. Foster, the Color Sergt. of the Regiment was the first to fall. He was bravely holding the colors, and by his coolness and courage, doing much to encourage the boys to press on. Orderly E. F. Siverd was soon after wounded, but still did his duty and urged his comrades on. Soon after this Corporals Case B. Wickam, John Blanchard and Nathaniel T. Atkinson, and privates Samuel Dowell and Charles T. Gaskill received fatal shots. Atkinson and Dowell were brought from the field before they died. All have been buried, and their resting places marked with aboard giving the name, company and regiment.

Jackson, Clays, Benson, Trimmer and Crane are in camp, and the balance of the wounded have been sent on the cars to White House Landing to be forwarded to their homes, and where they are not able to stand the journey will be taken to hospitals at Fortress Monroe, Washington, and Baltimore, but I think it is the intention top send them home when they are able to go, and can be better cared for. There is an order from the War Department commuting the rations of the sick and wounded soldiers at 25 cents per day while away from the charge of the Department. Gen. Berry's Assistant Adjutant General Capt. E. M. Smith was killed during the engagement. he was a most gallant and brave officer, and beloved by all who knew him. He distinguished himself at the battle of Williamsburg for his bravery, as will be seen by the official report of both Generals kearney and Berry. Four of my comrades, with myself, carried him back to the station and buried him in a pleasant orchard where many more have been buried since.

Capt. Judd, of Co. "A,” 3d Regiment, was killed while in charge of the Sharpshooters in the advance of our Brigade.

Captain Quackenbush, of the 5th, as also killed.

Col. Champlin was wounded severely though it is not considered dangerous. He walked some distance after he was wounded, and by his presence and energy did much to encourage his men.

I would gladly speak of the merits of each of our company who are dead, had I the ability of doing so as they deserve; they were beloved by all, and their many mourning friends may be assured they have the heartfelt sympathy of every one of us.

Our knapsacks are all back with the wagon train across the river and may not soon be up. . . .

Our Division moved last evening farther to the front and across the railroad, to the right, and in the rear of Generals Sedgwick and Richardson's Divisions.

Gen. Richardson's division was engaged last Sunday and he lost about 900 men. He came to our camp today, and was immediately surrounded by the Brigade who greeted him with the wildest enthusiasm.

The weather is very warm, with frequent showers, which keeps the roads in a horrible condition.

Our boys are feeling quite tired out, but stand it as a general thing well. Corporal Shattuck and private W. F. Hogan, arrived in camp yesterday from the Hospital at Yorktown; they report Sergt. J. B. Ten Eyck as getting better, but not yet able to return to duty.

The rebels are holding their position here better than at any other place in Virginia, still we have no doubt of our final success.

The official reports of the engagement of the 31st of May,I suppose, will soon be published, so that you can have a better idea of the part our regiment performed. They were in the advance of the balance of the Brigade, and fought with a determination seldom equaled. General's Kearney and Berry both gave us great praise.

The loss of the 37th N.Y. Regiment was 81 killed, wounded and missing.


I earnestly hope it may not be my duty to again report losses such as these to our brigade. Our numbers are small, but each feel that we still have a duty to perform, and while there is a man left to do duty, I trust you will hear of it being done well.

I will try to keep your readers informed of our whereabouts and doings, but I am well aware that they will miss "Stray Leaves from Camp,” and with us, mourn the loss of their author.

Capt. Jefferds has been obliged to forward his resignation on account of continuing ill health, and will probably soon be at home so that our many friends can hear more particularly from each.

Homer was promoted to Second Lieutenant on June 9 at Camp Lincoln, Virginia.

On June 20-27, from the Third Michigan camp near Richmond, Homer wrote to Lansing describing the recent developments in the Regiment.

Since writing my last, giving you the loss of our company, etc., we have again moved to the front. Our position is well to the left, while the main force of the rebels is supposed to be further to the right, though we have sufficient indication of their presence near us, to keep all well on the look out.

The preparations which are being made for future operations I have no right to describe, but of this much you may be certain, we feel certain of success, Richmond is doomed. It is only a question of a few days time.

Lieut. Baker, of the Sharpshooters, came in to see us today, his company having just come from Mechanicsville to this part of the lines, and attached to Gen. Franklin's division.

The following is an abstract from this morning's report of our company, present and absent:

Present for duty -- 1 Captain, 1 2d Lieut., 10 non-commissioned officers, and 33 privates.

On daily duty -- 6

Present sick -- 6

Total present -- 2 officers and 55 men

Absent on detached service -- 1 1st Lieut. and 1 private

Sick -- 16

Total absent -- 1 officer and 17 men

Aggregate in company -- 74

The following are the names of the officers of Co. G:

Captain -- Abraham J. Whitney

1st Lieut. -- Joseph Mason

2nd Lieut. -- Homer L. Thayer

Orderly Sergeant -- George Ellis

Sergeants -- Jerome B. Ten Eyck, Joseph Stevens, Artemus G. Newman, and George M. Cook

Corporals -- Chas. H. Church, Chas. A. Price, Allen Shattuck, William F. Hogan, Benajamin Hammond, John Bissell, Joshua Bensen and Peter Clays
Lieut. Mason is now in Michigan on the recruiting service.

Sergt. Ten Eyck, Corporal Church and private Samuel Smith were last heard from (some 2 days ago) in the hospital at Yorktown.

John Broad is in hospital on Davis Island, East River,New York. Peter Canally, Okemos, Mich. Wm. Clark, DeWitt, Mich. Lawrence Croy, State Hospital, New Haven, Conn.

O. C. Ingersoll, Norman L. Johnson and John Trimmer, General Hospital, Judiciary Square, Washington, D. C.; Francis Lackey and John Sayles, Annapolis, Md. Alex. Ross, Portsmouth, Va. Chas. H. Rose, Watertown, Mich.

John Shaft left at hospital near the Chickahominy. William R. Stall and Chas. H. Adams have just gone to regimental hospital. Arthur Watkins has returned from the hospital at Washington, recovered from the wound received on the 31st [of May], which proved not so bad as was first supposed. Charles H. Adams has just returned from the hospital at Annapolis, where he has been since sometime last January.

By notice received from Douglas Hospital at Washington, we learn that Augustus Billings died on the 17th from the effect of his wounds.

Several of the regimental officers are away, either wounded or on sick leave. We have only 4 captains and 8 lieutenants in the regiment.

Saturday, June 21st

Last evening our regiment was ordered to prepare for 48 hours picket duty, to be ready at 3 o'clock this morning, and we are posted in the woods on a line running from the rifle pits in front of the camp towards the James river, the farthest post -- probably 1 1/2 miles from the camp. Videttes are placed 100 yards in front of each post, and in position to signal from one to another and back to the main post in case of danger.

There are generally 4 men a non-commissioned officer at each post, each man standing in front of the vidette for two hours at a time, and with instructions to fire on any thing coming from outside the line, unless it is plain that they are scouts or persons desirous to give themselves up as prisoners, but woe be to the unlucky rebel who attempts to come up with arms for any purpose.

Yesterday, some 40 or 50 shot and shell were thrown towards our camps from over in `Dixie', but without doing any harm. Our guns make no reply by which they could learn our position, and today the same pranks here have been repeated with no better success.

The cook has just brought down to us two kettles of bean soup and our mail for today, all of which is very acceptable.

Word has just been sent down the lines to look well to the front, as large numbers of rebel troops have been seen moving to the front of us, but no one seems in th least scared. The men take such things cool, and will hold the picket line against a pretty good number of the enemy, and in case of being overpowered will fall back gradually towards the grand guard and reserves, giving the grey coats first a sample of Michigan sharp shooting practice, which they so much dread.

Our Michigan troops are beginning to get some of the credit which they deserve. Our brigade has twice taken the brunt of the fire when the division was ordered into battle, and by doing their duty each time, saved the day to our forces. Very few regiments were in better places, nor was there any part of the battle fields here where so many of the enemy's dead could be counted the next day, as where Berry's brigade had been engaged.

The New York 1st regiment, numbering nearly 1,000 men for duty, has been added to our brigade.

Sunday, 22d

Today has been unusually quiet along the lines. Last night, about 9 o'clock, a volley of 90 or 100 guns was fired a few hundred yards from our lines, when commands to cease firing were plainly heard, which indicated some mistake among the rebels, as their shots certainly did not affect any of us.

Monday, 23d

Still quiet to the right, which is unaccountable, as hardly a 6 hours has passed since the battle, that there has not been cannonading at some point. But here comes the . . . welcome "next relief,” and we are hastily preparing to return to camp, where we shall be farther away from the rebel guns and Virginia snakes and musquitos, the last of which are too plenty here in the woods for pleasure.

Tuesday, 24th

Today all were startled by a sudden and unaccountable succession of volleys of musketry, in our rear, and for a time all was excitement as we were partly prepared to expect danger from that way by the recent raid of Stewart's [IS] cavalry near the White House landing, but an orderly from headquarters soon came with word that Couch's division had permission to fire their pieces, which had been loaded for some time.

Wednesday, 25th

This afternoon, Mr. Phelps, of Detroit, the Allotment Commissioner, came to see us to get the names of those who wished to send their pay home, and within half an hour 38 of Co. G signed the roll, sending an average of $11 per month for the enlisted men, and with $250, officer's pay, making the snug little sum of $1,075 to send to Michigan next pay day.

If all of Michigan men now in the army would do the same, $200,000 could be sent to Michigan every two months. I think, however, few companies will make up so large an amount from the same number of men.

This afternoon the enemy in considerable force attempted to drive in the pickets which were stationed in front of Gen. Hooker's command, next on our right, but one of our field pieces was soon got in position to reach them and reinforcements going quickly to their support, the enemy made retreat a military necessity, and all was soon quiet.

This morning orders were received to fall in under arms at 1/2 past 7. The nature of the duties expected we could only surmise, but from the frequent heavy guns in the direction of Gen. Porter's division we surmised that it might mean work.

We were told that we were only to go into the rifle pits, but we had hardly got there before we were ordered out to the front on the picket lines. We had hardly reached there before heavy firing at our right showed that our troops were engaging. Gen. Hooker's pickets had been posted in an irregular line, which gave the rebels more ground than was thought proper . . . .

The 5th Mich. were posted next to our right, and the 37th N. Y. at our left, and we advanced through the thick underbrush so as to keep our line perfect until the required ground was in our possession, without coming in collision with the enemy.

But Gen. Robinson's brigade, (formerly Jameson's,) in our division, was less fortunate. They came upon the enemy and had a severe encounter, the results of which we have not yet learned. The rebels we could plainly hear as they came up to the field, giving orders to "close up,” "now give it to them,” etc., and finally, to our surprise, a "charge" was ordered, and then a sort of yell; but as our boys said, it sounded as though they had only eaten half rations. Soon a terrible volley was poured in, which made them go back in quicker time and making more noise by considerable than when they came up. This was repeated 3 times, but our men each time met them with such showers of lead that they gladly gave up the business.

There was but little attempt made after this to get back the ground which they had lost, and night coming on, we all stayed where we were, ready to hold our position if there was any further demonstration the next morning. We could hear the officers and men swearing as they retreated, and after dark the cries of their wounded could be plainly heard by our pickets. The bells in Richmond could be heard in the evening, and also their drums in some of the camps. Possibly they call it a victory, but we could not see it in that light.

Thursday, 26th

Early this morning we heard a few volleys fired, and as a prisoner taken yesterday said, they were prepared to have made an attack if we had not, it was thought best to watch them closely.

Our regiment stayed on reserve until night, and then went to the front and were stationed as pickets, with reserves from our other regiments. Towards night terrific cannonading commenced some 8 or 10 miles to our right, and continued until about 10 o'clock, when we could hear coming along the lines cheers, which were taken up by regiment after regiment, gradually coming nearer, until it reached our camp; and such expressions of joy I think were hardly ever heard on this peninsula before. Soon the bands of commenced playing, and as all had been kept quiet in our camps ever since we have been here, we were satisfied that there must be a victory to our side, if, indeed, the right was not in Richmond.

Friday, 27th

The cannonading commenced again this morning, and kept up until afternoon. We have heard any number of reports regarding it, as to who were the parties engaged and the results, hardly any two corresponding, but it is generally understood that the enemy, under Gen. Lee, crossed the Chickahominy and engaged our troops attempting to turn our right, and that they have been driven back by the division of Gens. McCall and Morrill.

We came in from picket this forenoon, and since we came away the lines were nearly broken by the rebels appearing in force and one of the regiments giving way. But Gen. Kearney quickly got it back by sending out 3 guns and a small number of reliable Michigan men. There was 10 from each company of the 3d, and I think the same number from the 2d and 3d [5th?].

When they were coming back, Gen. Kearney rode up to our 3d boys, and said in response to the three cheers given him, "I have always found you in a fight. Ours' is the fighting division of the army. One more fight and we will be in Richmond," and with some remarks not very flattering to the credit of some of the Eastern troops who had cause the trouble today, he rode on.

We have, this afternoon, instructions to put two days' rations in our haversacks and keep our canteens filled, ready for a march.

Before this reaches you the telegraph may announce we are in Richmond.

From the Regiment’s camp near Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, Homer wrote to the editor of the Republican on July 3,

When I closed my last we were preparing for an attack, as it was evident that the attack on our right was not terminating in our favor. We prepared Saturday for the field in earnest, by giving each man 90 additional rounds of ammunition, and filling canteens and haversacks, ready for quick work, whatever it might be.

At dark the men were ordered to put up their best clothes and more valuable articles in their knapsacks, . . . and prepare to abandon the rest if necessary. This looked like retreat, but at the same time men were kept at work strengthening our rifle pits.

After dark the officers packed the most important company books and papers in two desks, and their own most valuable clothing in a small satchel, each limiting himself to as little as possible, and about 12 the two regimental wagons had taken the desks, some provisions and the best tents, while the sutler's wagon, under charge of Mr. Nelson, took the officers baggage, and started to join the train which was forming back in the woods.

We then laid down, waiting patiently for orders to move, but none came until after daylight, when the balance of the tents, desks and extra clothing were burned or thrown into the wells, and we fell in, looking, as a general thing, rather blue.

When the brigade was ready to move, the pickets were drawn in, and we moved back to the rifle pits from which we moved into the engagement at Fair Oaks, and then rested until afternoon. We could hear firing on our right which showed that the enemy were aware of the move.

The morning was foggy, which probably somewhat assisted our preparations. We crossed the ford at the swamp about 5 p.m., and camped for the night about 2 miles further on. Just before crossing the ford, our pickets were attacked by a large force and probably some of the stragglers were taken prisoners.

Monday morning we were up and under arms before sunrise, and went back a short distance and waited in the rear until afternoon, when the enemy came on in force and made an attack which they certainly found us ready to receive and repel, doing them great damage.

While the engagement was going on toward night, Gen. Berry rode up to our brigade and called out the 2d and 5th Mich., and next the 1st and 37th N.Y. to drive back the enemy, who were attempting to take a battery placed in the field near us. They went in with a shout of exultation which must have sounded unpleasant to the enemy, and I believe their rifles were dreaded still more.

The 3d expected to go next, but at this moment a regiment was directed to be sent to the right to support Gen. Birney, and we filed off through the woods until we came up to the 4th Maine regiment, lying behind the 20th Indiana, who were doing their duty nobly, while the enemy kept their position and returned the fire with a vengeance.

All laid flat on the ground to avoid the bullets and shell which came through the woods striking all around us. The Indianans held the ground, doing all the fighting until dark, when we marched off by the right flank through the woods, forming in a long line as a picket reserve to keep the enemy from pushing through.

In the night we threw out two pickets from each company along the whole line some 50 paces to give notice of any appearance of the rebels, and then laid down for some rest, which we very much needed.

Between 2 or 3 o'clock all were awakened and quietly ordered to fall in and follow the front of the column without orders, and to leave the pickets (who were strengthened to six on a post) without notifying them, and they would be brought in by the officers in the rear of the column.

All walked quietly as it was well understood that the safety of all depended on our success in reaching the balance of the troops on the Charles City road before the enemy knew that we were moving.

We reached there about daylight,and soon our pickets began to appear. They had, through some mistake, received no notice, and as soon as they found they were alone,made a move to find us, and I think at this time all have got in.

When we reached the road it was crowded, but there was generally good order observed. Many gave out and sat down when they could go no farther, and probably many such are prisoners, as the wagons and ambulances were mostly ahead, and many regiments were away from their brigades on picket, and marched directly from their posts to the road.

It was generally supposed by the men at this time, that we were to cross the river as soon as it was reached, but after marching a few miles we reached the open fields near the river, and found our troops forming as fast as they came in, and batteries placed to shell the woods as soon as our men were all in.

Kearney's division was rapidly formed and marched around to the right, taking a position facing the enemy. No sooner were we in position than firing commenced directly in front of us in the woods.

Our batteries commenced work near us, which soon brought a response in the shape of shell and solid shot that struck all around us, killing and wounding several in our brigade. These, with the hot sun pouring down as we lay in the wheat stubble, made it unpleasant, but some one must be there and we happened to be the unlucky ones, though when we witnessed the terrible slaughter which followed we thought that we had but little to complain of.

The musketry continued in terrible volleys from both sides, which indicated that the enemy were both in large force and in earnest. Towards night we were ordered to the front with the N.Y. 37th and crossed the field, taking a position to give the enemy a raking fire if they should drive our men back so as to come into the field. Soon a couple of batteries came up and commenced immediately throwing shell and grape among the enemy, which with the infantry that was pouring down towards them on the left and two or three batteries in another position, soon drove back the grey jackets, and as soon as they had begun to retreat the infantry withdrew, and all the batteries which were in position together with one or two of the gunboats, finished the job by filling the woods with the contents of their heavy caissons.

After dark the scene was the grandest imaginable. There was probably 50 cannon at a time throwing shot as fast as they could load and fire. Especially,the shell from the gunboats, looking like large comits [sic], was rather the most extensive exhibition of fireworks that I ever saw.

About this time a Minnie [sic] ball, (of which there we many still dropping around us although we could not hear a gun) struck one of our company, Charles W. LeRoy, who was lying near me at the right of our company, and inflicted a painful wound in his foot.

Another struck one Corporal Clapper of Co. I, killing him almost instantly. One or two others have been wounded slightly in our regiment, but I have not the names. Several in the brigade were killed and wounded during the day, but it is impossible yet to give a correct list.

. . . . The roads were bad, and the large number of troops, together with the long trains, made it slow work.

Large amounts of property were destroyed, many of the wagons getting fast and having to throw away their loads in order to move to let others get along, and as fast as the men began to give out they would throw away clothing, guns, provisions or anything to get along.

These military strategies are somewhat played out with all of us when we come to hard marching in retreat, and having to throw away so much that must be paid for and more got to replace it. And this is not the worst feature. Many of our friends were left to fall into the hands of the enemy, and especially does it seem hard in the case of the wounded.

But if this rebellion can be crushed out by this terrible loss of life and property, and men are still plenty who are willing to take the risks and lose their lives in any way that may seem necessary to carry out the purposes of the government, and we can have Statesmen and Generals who will conduct it that way which shall soon bring it to a certain close, we who are in the field will not complain.

Our division is now encamped in a pleasant place near the river, where we understand we are to stay for a time to recruit up and prepare for future operations.

Capt. Whitney is sick and at the hospital at Fortress Monroe, but writes me that he will soon be back to join his company.

No mails have been received since we started from the rifle pits until last night, when they commenced coming in by the bag full, until nearly all are supplied; that is, for a day or two, but we shall look as anxiously as ever tomorrow for something more from home.

Yesterday salutes were fired, bands played, and we had quite a celebration, though it lacked a good 4th of July celebration and dinner -- but we hope to be with you on the next.

On August 9, while still at Harrison’s Landing, Homer wrote to Mr. Parsons in Lansing,

We are now looking quite as anxiously for news from the North as you are from us, and the readiness with which the President's call for more troops is being obeyed, infuses new life into the army here.

There has been no demonstrations on the part of the rebels here since that of two of their batteries on the opposite side of the river a few nights ago, and we have plenty of troops now over there to prevent a repetition of that performance. I was at the Landing when some of the infantry went across the next day and destroyed the house and outbuildings which was used as a cover for the enemy the night before, and when I learned that it was the property of the man who fired the first gun at Fort Sumpter [sic; Edmund Ruffin?], I said, with hundreds of others who witnessed the conflagration, that it was but just. Houses, barns and trees were leveled, everything that would afford a shelter for the enemy's guns was laid low. There is great activity in all departments as to what move will be made next.

Gen. Berry has gone home to Maine, on a short leave of absence, recruit his health, and the Brigade is temporarily under command of Col. Dyckman, of the 1st N. Y. Within a few days past we have received reinforcements to this Brigade from Richmond (part of our men who were taken prisoners, having been exchanged), 94 in all, and there are several more yet to come. They complain of pretty severe treatment while in Richmond.

In compliance with a recent act of Congress, our regimental bands are to be immediately mustered out of service; this is regretted exceedingly, though it is partly made up by the allowance of brigade bands.

Two officers for each regiment and one man from each company are to be sent North immediately for recruits for their respective regiments. Sergt. Stevens from company G, will soon be n 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. And there are others in the company and many in the regiment who would do good service for our country in command of companies. Men who have had experience, if only as privates, in nine cases out of ten make better officers than can be found among the many aspirants for office who have seen no service.

Samuel Alexander has received the appointment of assistant engineer of this division. Ketchum is at the hospital at the Landing, though not dangerously sick. James Davis, Gardner and Stephenson have been recommended for a discharge. Large numbers of the sick have recently been sent North and there are many more yet sick at the hospitals here, though the general health of the troops is improving. This is, no doubt, partly due to the change of diet, consisting of onions, cabbage and turnips in place of whiskey and some other articles not needed.

Send us men to fill up the regiments in the field and the good work shall go on to a speedy termination. Yours, H.


Homer was on detached service as Brigade provost marshal in August of 1862 through October. On September 2 from Alexandria he wrote to Lansing,

The 3d Regiment has again been engaged with the enemy, and suffered severely. The lists of killed and wounded are not yet completed, but as near as I can learn the following is the loss of Co. G:

Corporal William F. Hogan and private Albert Lewis, killed.
Orderly Sergeant George Ellis, wounded in hip, probably mortal.
Sergeant A.G. Newman, wounded in right arm, amputated.
Corporal Peter Clays and private A. Miller, wounded and missing.

Corporals B. F. Hammond and Allen Shattuck, and privates Wm. Bryce, I. M. D. Crane, A. J. Hath, O. Richards, Alex. Ross, Alva Weller, and John A. Stanton, wounded, most of them slightly.

The entire loss of the regiment is about 130 in killed and wounded. The engagement was on last Sunday, near the battle field of the 21st July, 1861.

Last night Gen. Kearney was killed while venturing too close to the enemy's lines. His remains passed through the city today on the way home to New Jersey. Our division is in mourning for those who have fallen, and especially for our brave commander.

I hear this evening that the division is ordered back to our old camp ground of last year, near Fort Lyon.

I have been on duty in this city with the provost guard of our brigade since we came form the Peninsula, but shall probably join the brigade tomorrow.

The city is full of rumors of victories and defeats, and it is a hard matter to find out the positions of the two armies, but our troops are in good spirits and pushing on with a determination to conquer.

By early September his wife had joined him in Virginia.

In late October Homer wrote to Mr. Parsons from a camp near Edward’s Ferry, Maryland.

Our Brigade moved from Upton's Hill, Va., to this place, twelve days ago expecting to be in time to engage the enemy before their return to Virginia, but found ourselves a little too late, and are now doing picket for eight miles along the [C & O?] canal. Our Division is under Gen. Stoneman, and by a recent order, we belong to the Ninth Corps de Armee, commanded by General Burnside.

The weather has been pretty fine this fall, but the nights are beginning to be pretty cold, and if we are to make many more moves it is hoped they may be ordered soon. The health of the regiment is generally good. The boys of the 3d, as usual, are in good spirits, and Co. "G" especially, were much pleased yesterday by the return of Lieut. Mason, and also by a visit from Mr. Warner, of Lansing. It is a great pleasure to meet any one here that we have known at home.

I visited the 20th Mich. Regiment a few days since, and found them scattered along the canal on picket, 15 miles above here. They are beginning to appreciate some of the pleasures of a soldier's life; and while some admitted that their board and lodging was rather inferior to that furnished at the "Benton" and "Eagle,” they generally agreed that it would do for soldiers. Col. Williams was feeling well, and spending his time (as he always has done) for the benefit of his men.

There are rumors of the enemy making attempts to cross again into Maryland, but nothing to be relied upon. It may be that they will repeat this last act, for they certainly do some curious things, but we very much doubt their ability to get back with so little loss again.

I may possibly soon have something of importance to communicate, but the indications now are that we are about settling down for Winter quarters.

On November 1 from a camp near Leesburg, Virginia, Homer wrote to the Lansing Republican,

We have again invaded the sacred soil of Virginia, and encamped last night at this place, on the road between Leesburg and Winchester.

Orders came the 27th inst., to cross the Potomac. On the following day one division came over at White's Ford. It had rained for twelve hours previous to our crossing, but the river spreads out to 50 rods in width, and is only 2 1/2 or 3 feet deep at the deepest places, and all passed with but few accidents.

The inhabitants of this county (Loudon), war nearly all the strongest kind of secessionists, and most of the male population both black and white -- are in the rebel service. This is the richest portion of Virginia, but so poorly cultivated for the past twenty months that the appearance is quite desolate. The buildings are large and substantial, and built usually of stone.

Yesterday half a company of our cavalry were taken prisoners some miles out, and today, brisk cannonading can be heard in the same direction, so that we are making our calculations to see active service before going into winter quarters, but what the intentions of our Generals may be, can only be guessed at by us. Although it is unpleasant to be on the move during the fall rains, if we can assist in that way to bring the war to a speedy termination our efforts will not be regretted. So far this fall, the weather has been beautiful, and the roads are yet good.

There are very few sick, and all are in good spirits, and many are preparing to change to the Regular service, as they are allowed to do by a recent order from the War Department.

As fast as anything of interest occurs you will hear from us.

On December 17, from near Falmouth, Virginia, Homer wrote to Lansing,

As your readers are always anxious to know how the Michigan boys come out of battle, I will try to tell them something of the doings of the 3d at the taking of Fredericksburg. We moved from our camp on the morning of the 11th just as the cannonading commenced, but did not cross the river until about 10 a.m. on the 13th, when we were marched to a position ten miles below Fredericksburg and to the front, to support a battery which was about being charged upon by two regiments of the enemy. The 3rd and 5th Michigan, 37th N. Y. and 17th Maine are soon in line, and all but the 3rd commenced firing, which soon checked the enemies [sic] advance. It was pretty warm work for a time, as the rebel batteries were shelling us from the edge of the woods about 1000 yards away, but the field was soon clear of the enemies [sic] infantry, and comparative quiet restored until towards dark. Gen. Reynolds with some of his staff rode up in front of us, and directed a shot to be fired on some of the enemy in the edge of the woods, which was immediately answered by at least two batteries, which concentrated their fire on that point, causing the General to make a speedy exit, and every body else to lay low. Our brigade lost during the day about 150 in killed and wounded, including Lt. Col. Gillufy, of the 5th, who was killed while leading his regiment. There are five men of the 3rd wounded, but none seriously. At dark the 3rd was placed on picket along a ditch in the field in front of the position held during the day. It was a cold night and the ground wet and muddy, but each man felt that he was doing his duty, and it certainly was done well and without murmuring. The Pennsylvania reserves had fought off this ground just as our brigade came up, and their wounded still lay in the field beyond our picket line, and could be heard asking piteously for water, and to be brought in off the field, but it was not in our power to assist them. Our company brought in one poor fellow during the night, and did what they could for him, but he was mortally wounded, and died soon after. We were kept on picket during the day (Sunday) and frequently exchanged shots with the Grey Backs who were in another ditch about 40 rods from us, but with little damage to either side, unless we shot closer than they did. During the day a flag of truce was sent out to get permission to bring away the wounded and dead, and while the officers on each side were consulting, some of the pickets [crossed] the field each half way, shake hands, talk a few minutes, and then return. It was altogether a novel proceeding, and of course entirely wrong. In a short time the bearers of the white flags were seen separating, and each side took their old places, and firing soon commenced quite brisk. It was now dark and the relief shortly after made its appearance when we quietly moved back to our old place behind the cannon and tried to sleep, which you will judge was not a sound one, laying down as we did without a fire and only a cold supper.

Monday we had some artillery firing, and in the afternoon another flag of truce was sent over and arrangements made by which we had one hour to bring away our wounded and dead . when the time was up we had brought across the line 23 wounded and 75 dead of the dead, and the latter stripped of every thing valuable, and nearly all shoeless. Two officers had nothing left but their vests and underclothes. I hope I may never hear of our soldiers practicing such barbarity.

In the evening it became apparent that some grand move was to be made, and it was generally supposed that a night attack had been planned, and so there had as it turned out, but it was for the other side of the river, VIA the Pontoons instead of harm to the enemy, and we were soon marching in quick time on our back track, and when across in the woods were ordered to make ourselves comfortable for the balance of the night; and some did, if we except the dampening effects of a heavy shower, but the sun came out pleasant in the morning. and after breakfast we marched back and occupied our old camp where the boys had commenced log pens, and they are now completing them as though nothing had happened more than an ordinary drill or review. It has been one of the hardest undertakings on account of the weather, and what effect it may have to close the war, is the question; but as there are plenty with nothing else to do but discuss this point,I will leave it for them. Yours, H. L. Thayer

Homer was acting Regimental Quartermaster in January of 1863, effectively placing him outside of the mainstream of events occurring in Company G. It is possible that he returned home to Michigan briefly sometime in early 1863.

Apparently sometime in the middle of February, 1863, Thayer was court-martialed. According to a letter written on February 16 from an assistant Adjutant General to General David Birney who was commanding the First Division of the Third Corps,

The proceedings of the Board of Inquiry convened by Special Orders No. 7 for the Headquarters 1st Division, 3rd Corps, are approved. The conduct of Lieutenant Homer L. Thayer, 3rd Michigan Volunteers in remaining absent from his command after an extension of his leave was refused, was a gross breach of military discipline, unjustifiable under any circumstances, and consequently is deserving of severe censure. -- But in view of the recommendation of the Board, the Secretary of War, in this instance, directs that the bar to his receiving pay be removed and that he be continued in the service.

From camp near Falmouth, Virginia, Homer wrote to Lansing on March 27, 1863,

Since the battle of Fredericksburg, nothing of particular interest has occurred in our regiment. The time has been taken up in drilling, target practice, picket duty and reviews. Gen. Hooker has busied himself since he was placed in command, in becoming acquainted with the condition of his troops, and by his untiring exertions this army has been placed in better trim for service than it ever was before. Strict discipline is being enforced; incompetent officers have been disposed of without partiality; men unfit for service are being discharged and all the preparations are going on for an early campaign and active service.

Yesterday our division was reviewed by Gen. Sickles (the Corps commander,) accompanied by Gov. Curtin; and every day the troops are paraded for inspection, either by the Brigade or Regiment, and everything lacking in clothing or equipments is noted down and sent for immediately, so that when the order comes to march nothing will be lacking.

Transportation is cut down to the least possible amount, being from three to six wagons to a regiment, (according to the number of men,) and two pack mules to carry the officers shelter tents and extra rations, the wagons to carry the rations for the men, and an average of twenty-five pounds for each officer; so you see our summer outfits will not be cumbersome.

St. Patrick's day was duly celebrated on the grounds by the Irish Brigade, by hurdle racing, steeple chasing, etc., and today this Division has been engaged in the show business. A purse of $500 was distributed between the owners of the fastest horses, and the men who performed the greatest feats are running, jumping, climbing, or in any other way making the most fun. Gen. Hooker attends all the shows, and we suspect he is preparing one for us which will not be quite so funny.

This Regiment is commanded by Col. B. R. Pierce, and numbers about 350 men [ROUGHLY 1/3 OF THE ORIGINAL NUMBER] present for duty. Sergt. Cook, Corporal Clays, privates A. Miller and J. Ellsworth, have recently been discharged from Co. G, and Orderly Sergt. T. B. Ten Eyck has been appointed a 2d Lieutenant.

Our principal anxiety just now, is to see the Paymaster, as our last payments were for October [1862]. These delays come hard on those who need their wages for their families, and it is hoped that the evil may soon be corrected. Disappointments of this kind, mixed with the fault-finding and discouraging letters and papers which some at the North send to the army, have occasionally caused murmurings, but the soldiers are beginning to take a deeper interest in the work before them, since the people of the North are showing themselves in earnest, and the curses are loud and deep for that class of men to which our neighbor belongs who designates the patriots and liberty-loving army as "hellhounds,” and he may thank his state that he is at a safe distance from them, for he might find it expedient either to modify his strong language or else seek a home among his 'brethren.”

Put a stop to these drawbacks at home and the army is large enough.


We cannot move far without encountering the enemy, so you may soon expect exciting news from the Rappahannock.

From Camp Sickles, Virginia, Homer wrote on May 7, 1863,

As you will learn by other sources of the general doings of this army for the for the past eight days, I will only speak of this Brigade and Regiment.

The fighting was desperate and our losses large, but it is impossible yet to make accurate statements, as some of the missing will, no doubt, be found. This Brigade lost in killed, wounded and missing, about 550, of which 76 are from the 3d Regiment; of this number 5 were killed, 50 wounded and 21 missing.

Capt. Joseph Mason, of Co. G, was killed on Sunday, by a piece of shell while the Regiment were in line supporting a Battery. He was one of the best officers in the Regiment and his loss is felt deeply, especially by our Company to which he has belonged since its organization.

O. C. Ingersoll was wounded in [the] leg; J. M. D. Crane and Arthur Watkins, each in the shoulder; Oliver Richards slightly in the foot, and Wilson Shattuck lost a finger. Corporal Phil H. Wiers and private Abram Ketchum were lost in the attack made by our Division on Saturday night and are reported as missing. Col. Pierce was wounded slightly in the hand. Lieut. Smith of Co. D, lost a foot, and Lieut. Tate of Co. I received a slight wound in the face.

There are rumors this morning that the enemy are crossing the river to attack us on this side. If this be so, they will find us ready for them, as we had much rather select our ground than to have them do it for us.

As usual, after an engagement like this, all is excitement and confusion; and officers are praised or blamed by others, according to their own ideas of merit; but when the facts are all mad known through the proper channels, the public will see why were defeated.

His court martial notwithstanding, in May of 1863 he was transferred from Company G to Company I, and commissioned First Lieutenant as of March 25, 1863, replacing Lieutenants Thomas Waters and Lieutenant Thomas Tate, although in fact he remained acting Regimental Quartermaster from June 13, 1863. He was present in August and September, and was aide-de-camp on the Brigade staff in October and November.

In December he was on detached service at headquarters Third Corps through April of 1864. Charles Church wrote a rather curious note home on February 15, 1864, regarding, it seems, the recent crediting for the reenlistments of some of the men from the Third Michigan. “Lieutenant Thayer,” wrote Church, “was the cause of having company G credited to Lansing. Probably he made something out of the sell. I should like to know. But now we shall have to make the best of it.”

Homer was promoted Captain and Commissary Subsistence United States Volunteers, on May 2, 1864 at the Wilderness, Virginia, and promoted Captain as of April 30, 1864. “We see by the Washington Chronicle,” wrote the Republican on April 20, “that H. L. Thayer, of the 3rd Michigan infantry, has been appointed by the President, and confirmed by the Senate, as assistant Quartermaster with the rank of captain. Capt. Thayer is a resident of this city, and went out as a Sergeant in Co. G, 3rd Regiment, just 3 years since.”

In 1865 he applied for and received a pension (no. 755539).

Homer was promoted to brevet Major, United States Volunteers, on May 13, 1865, and he wrote the Republican from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, that “‘The Michigan Brigade of cavalry [consisting of the First, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Regiments] have arrived here en route for the plains towards Denver City, to look after the Indians. Most of the men are sadly disappointed, as they expected to be mustered out and allowed to go home, when their services were no longer required in fighting the rebels.’”

On February 1, 1866, he wrote the paper from Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory,

During the past month I made the trip from Michigan to this place with J. M. Case, of your city, coming the usual route by rail to the Missouri River, and thence by the Santa Fe stage, a distance of 525 miles, over the grand prairies of the great west. The weather was intensely cold, and we met several trains with half the men frozen, some very badly; and all told us the Indians would certainly interfere with out traveling, and when we reached Fort Dodge, about 300 miles out, found that there was some truth in the rumors of red skins, and saw some soldiers under command of Maj. Mills, of the 18th infantry, who had encountered several hundred the day before, who were on the War Path, with Paint and Feathers, but who declined to fight U.S. troops in large numbers, and declared they were only hunting buffalo; but as the stage could get no escort conveniently, we traveled on and had no serious trouble, except in trying to keep warm enough to take a few minutes sleep while changing mules at the stations.; and then at some of the creeks which were not frozen hard enough to hold the coach, we had to clamber out and lend a helping hand, lifting on the wheels, or unloading the baggage. Four nights out, we spread our Buffalo Robes and Blankets on the snow, and slept a little, but the Prarie [sic] wolves were too musical for ears; and especially one night when they awakened us, tugging away at one corner of our Blankets, we thought of more agreeable places to spend a winter's night, further down East.

There were herds of Buffalo continually in sight for three or four days, and plenty of antelope and chietas [sic] or prairie wolves, and though we were well armed there was little fun in getting out in the cold to kill game which we could not carry with us. Our troubles finally ended on the 13th day from Leavenworth, and we are now busying ourselves in receiving the transfer of the Qr. Master's duties and will tell your readers more of the plains, hereafter.

Homer and his wife Julia were living Fort Lyon in June of 1866 where Homer was Captain of the Commissary. At some point that summer he suffered a hernia which would continue to plague him for years to come.

He was mustered out of service on February 26, 1867, and remained out west working with a topographical survey where he also pursued an interest in mining. In 1870 he was listed as living in Denver, Arapahoe County, Colorado. In 1880 he was working as a map maker and living with his wife in Leadville’s Fourth Ward, Lake County, Colorado in and in 1882 was probably working as a map publisher at 104 Oak Street in Leadville and living at the rear of 100 S. Toledo Avenue.

Homer eventually returned to Michigan and was employed for several years by Secretary Baker of the state board of health. At one time he served as clerk of the commission in charge of Mackinac Island state park.

By 1888 he was living in Lansing’s Third Ward, and in the Fourth Ward in December of 1890 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

In March of 1900 he joined the Grand Army of the Republic Charles T. Foster Post No. 42 in Lansing. He probably lived the remainder of his life in Lansing, and from about 1899 until his death in 1904 he took care of his wife who was an invalid.

Homer was residing at 812 W. Lapeer Street when he died of dropsy in the Lansing city hospital at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, October 22, 1904, and funeral services were held at the home of Daniel Mevis, 515 Lapeer, at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. He was buried on October 23 in Mt. Hope cemetery, Lansing: section 5 lot 49-R.

In 1914 (?) Julia applied for and received a pension (no. 586243). At some point after Homer’s death Julia became a resident of the Soldiers’ Home in Grand Rapids.