Saturday, May 26, 2007

Burdge W. or U. Ballard

Burdge W. or U. Ballard was born September 3, 1838, in New York State, probably in Sterling, Cayuga County, the son of Edward (b. 1805) and Maria (b. 1819).

Native New Yorker Edward was probably married previous to his marriage to New Yorker Maria (he had a son Edward born in 1831); in any case, Edward eventually settled in Sterling, Cayuga County sometime before 1830 and was still living in Sterling in 1840. By 1850 Burdge was attending school with four of his siblings and living with his family in Sterling where his father worked as a clothier. His family resided in New York for many years.

Burdge married to Angelina L on September 15, 1856.

He eventually left New York and moved westward, settling in western Michigan, possibly just before the war broke out.

Burdge was 23 years old and possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted as a Corporal in Company F on May 13, 1861. Burdge (or “Burge”) was hospitalized around August 25, 1862, probably suffering from pneumonia. He was subsequently listed as absent sick or wounded in the general hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, and then admitted to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, DC, on October 14, suffering from pneumonia.

He remained absent sick in the hospital until February 9, 1863, when he was discharged to that date in order to be transferred (apparently as a private) to Company G, Sixth United States infantry at Falmouth, Virginia, on June 2 or 28, 1863. He was transferred to Company I on September 17

Burdge reenlisted on January 27, 1864, at Fort Hamilton, New York harbor. He was honorably discharged from the Sixth infantry on January 27, 1867, at Charleston, South Carolina

It is not known if Burdge ever returned to Michigan after the war.

He was probably residing in Boone County, Illinois when he and Angelina were divorced on February 12, 1869.

He subsequently married Ellen Campbell (b. 1844) on March 10, 1869, in Belvedere, Boone County, Illinois, and moved to Iowa around 1870

By 1870 Burdge and Ellen had moved to Iowa and he was working as a farmer and living in Clinton, Franklin County. By 1880 Burdge was working as a hotel-keeper and living with his wife in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

He was still living in Mason City when he died of scrofula (from which he had been suffering for five years) on November 8, 1881, and was buried the following day in the GAR section of Elmwood cemetery in Mason City.

In 1885 his widow applied for and eventually received a pension (no. 895,581). Ellen remarried one Martin Mason in 1886 or 1887 in Nebraska. She came to find out later his real name was Martin Maurer and that he was already married. However, Martin reportedly divorced his first wife and then legally obtained a marriage to Ellen. He died in 1895 and she returned to Mason City where she was residing in 1919.

Friday, May 25, 2007

History of the Third Michigan Infantry is now available!

That's right after more than eighteen years and thousands of pages of primary source materials the first version of The 'Glorious Old Third': A History of the Third Michigan Infantry, 1855-1927 is presently available in eBook format. Nearly 800 pages long with more than two dozen appendices, as well as an extensive bibliography and exhaustive surname index, this is the only known history of the regiment ever written.

The book is in PDF format and will be mailed on a CD-ROM. If you have high-speed internet connection the file can be sent as an email attachment. Please note that the PDF file is quite large: nearly six megabytes.

Cost is $40 plus an additional $5 shipping and handling for the CD.

For further information you can check out the Third Michigan website!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

George W. Ball - update 12/30/2016

George W. Ball was born August 8 or 18, 1842, in Chester, Orange County, New York.

George left New York before the war broke out and eventually settled in Michigan.

He stood about 5’6” with black eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farm laborer living in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was reported sick in the Regimental hospital in July of 1862 and listed as AWOL in August (possibly still hospitalized). In any case he was treated for laryngitis from January 1 to 9, 1863, and was a nurse in the Regimental hospital from January of 1863 through March. In April he was a cook in the hospital, and a nurse in the Division hospital from May through December of 1863. In fact, he was being treated for an unknown ailment from October 3 to 15, 1863, and from October 9 to December 15, he was reported as a convalescent. In January of 1864 he was on detached service at Alexandria, and was a nurse in the hospital in Alexandria from February through April.

George was probably transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps on May 15, 1864, or it may have been as early as December 15, 1863. Although he was later reported that as having been mustered out on April 20, 1864, , in 1909, the War Department claimed that George had in fact reenlisted on April 21, 1864, thus obligating him for three more years, and that he was mustered into service in the Seventy-fifth Company, Second Battalion, VRC. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

He was subsequently assigned to the Fourth Company, Second battalion, which subsequently became Company D, Eighteenth VRC and reportedly deserted on June 12, 1864.

In any case, after he left the army George returned to Michigan and lived in Grand Rapids for seven or eight years, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio where he lived for some 20 or 25 years.

In 1874 George married Michigan native Nellie Ward (1855-1915), in East Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, and they had at least two children: Guy Franklin (b. 1877) and Stanley W. (b. 1887).

By 1880 George was working making lightning rods and living in Cleveland, Ohio, along with his wife and son Guy. George was reported to be living in Cleveland, Ohio in 1884 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, but sometime in the mid-1890s, he moved to Saginaw, Saginaw County where he lived for two years, moving on to Chicago where he remained about three years. They were living in Chicago’s 26th Ward in 1900. He then lived in South Bend, Indiana for two years before moving back to Cleveland. By 1903 he was living at 3534 Detroit Street in Cleveland.

In 1902 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1,065,277, dated 1903), and was described has having scars on both legs from “fever sores”; by early 1903 it was reported that he had also suffered from a dislocation of his right shoulder.

By February of 1907 George was a resident of the Ohio State Soldiers’ Home in Erie County.

In 1909 the War Department informed George, still a resident of the Ohio Soldier’s Home that he had in fact deserted in the spring of 1864 (apparently from the VRC) and that the charge of desertion would not be removed. Furthermore, without the removal, he could no longer claim an honorable discharge and would thus forfeit his pension.

In 1910 Nellie was living on Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago’s 7th Ward with her son Guy (“Frank”). She died in Chicago in 1915.

George apparently remained at the Home in Ohio where he died on October 9, 1923, and was buried in the Home cemetery: section E, lot 2, grave no. 13.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Philetus Baker - update 4/26/2008

Philetus Baker was born 1830 in Onondaga, New York, possibly the son of Simon and Roxanna.

By 1850 Philetus was probably working as a blacksmith and living with the family of a butcher named Joseph Landen (?) in Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York. Philetus left New York sometime before the war and settled in Michigan.

He stood 5’8” with blue eyes, light hair and a dark complexion, and was 31 years old and possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was discharged for consumption on December 27, 1861, at either Camp Michigan, Virginia, or Annapolis, Maryland.

It is not known if Philetus returned to Ionia County after his discharge.

In fact, it appears that Philetus returned to his home in Onondaga County, New York. He is buried in Amber cemetery, Otisco, Onondaga County.

Monday, May 07, 2007

James Baker

James Baker, also known as “Baeker”, was born 1834 in the Netherlands.

James immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in Michigan and by 1860 he was a laborer living with and/or working for Genurus Bummstron in Bridgton, Newaygo County (John Kempf, also of Company C, lived in Bridgton as well).

James was 27 years old and probably living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company C on May 23, 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.)

By June of 1862 he was sick in a hospital at Bottom’s Bridge, Virginia, suffering from fever. By April of 1863 he had been assigned to “guarding baggage”, possibly as a consequence of his remaining in poor health. In any case, he was admitted to a general hospital on September 10, 14 or 19, 1863, probably in Washington, where he remained until he was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

No pension seems to be available.

In 1870 there was a 40-year-old James Baker, born in the Netherlands, living in Norton, Muskegon County, with a farm laborer named John Baker and his family, also born in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Alexandria National Cemetery

One of thirteen cemeteries located in a burial complex just off of Wilkes street in Alexandria, the national cemetery contained the remains of some 4,200 Union soliders who perished in nearby hospitals during the Civil War.

Note there is no regularly staffed office support and no map of the cemetery. However near the door of the office you can find a printed list of burials in a binder, arranged alphabetically. You can find a list of burials at Alexandria National Cemetery online at

The cemetery is in fact easy to get around.

With your back to the entrance on the right is section A and then to your far left is section B; graves are then numbered sequentially within each section and the number is printed on the top of the face of each headstone.