Thursday, December 20, 2007

John Broad

John Broad was born around 1833 in England.

John eventually immigrated to the United States and by the late 1850s had settled in Michigan.
He was living in Lansing, Ingham County, when he married New York native Charlotte Sherman (nee Baldwin?, 1830-1907) on October 27, 1859, in Lansing (she had been married one before, probably to a Mr. Sherman and had one daughter by her previous marriage).

By 1860 John was working as a farmer and his wife was working as a dressmaker and they were living in the Lansing's Second Ward; John's stepdaughter Mary, also called Minnie, was living with them as well. (Also living with them in 1860 was a 50-year-old New York "tailoress" named Bethany Baldwin.)

Shortly after the war broke out John became a member of the Lansing militia company called the “Williams’ Rifles”, whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G, Third Michigan infantry.

John was 28 years old and still living in Lansing when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. He was wounded severely in the left arm and face on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and eventually admitted to the hospital on David’s Island in the East River, New York harbor. On July 14, from David’s Island he was sent home on furlough to recover from his wounds, and by late July he was back home in Lansing where he was interviewed by the editor of the Lansing State Republican. John explained that during the battle of Fair Oaks he was left behind

in charge of some commissary stores, while the Regiment was ‘double quicked’ to the point to meet the enemy. When the Regiment had arrived at the point of attack, and were about to open fire on the enemy, the commissary guard [John] having taken a musket belonging to a wounded soldier in the hospital hard by came up puffing and blowing in an awful way, and after pausing a moment to recover breath, cried out to the officer in command: “Lieutenant, did you think I could stay guarding two barrels of pork, while the boys were fighting? No sir! I could not do any such thing. I want to pitch in along with the rest.” “Fall in”, was the reply, and he did fall in and fight bravely. He fired six times, and as he was loading for the seventh round, he received a ball in his left arm shattering it terribly, and at the same moment a buck shot entered his cheek, passed across under his nose, and lodged in his right temple, where it remains. For a time he was deprived of his sight entirely, but has now so far recovered as to be able to see with his left eye, but not much with his right. His arm is doing well and he expects to report himself for duty on the 15th of August.

A Detroit newspaper which printed the same story added that “the ball still remains in his face, but he says he feels no pain from it, but merely a great weight in his cheek.” According to later testimony, John was shot “in the left arm . . . splintering the bone badly also buckshot or piece of shell struck under the left eye and passed through and lodged under the right eye causing partial blindness.”

Although John was reported absent sick from June through November in the New York hospital, he was still home in Lansing in August, possibly on furlough from David’s Island hospital in New York. On August 5, 1862, Lieutenant Joseph Mason, then commanding Company G and detached on recruiting service in Michigan, wrote to Colonel Smith in Detroit that he had “been round the different towns adjacent to Lansing and find that the feeling among the people is, that they will go when ‘obliged to’. I have found two of my company here who have been wounded at Fair Oaks. They are not in condition to return to their company, as their wounds are not yet healed. They are men who could exert considerable influence here were they detailed. The names are John Broad and William Clark.” Nevertheless, on August 11 John reported for duty at Detroit Barracks. According to one source, John was sent to a hospital in Detroit (probably Harper hospital), where he remained through October.

By the end of 1862 John had still not fully recovered from his wounds, but had nevertheless apparently returned to the Regiment. He was reported in the Regimental hospital from December of 1862 through September of 1863, although one wonders if he ever did in fact rejoin the regiment. He was reported on detached service in late April of 1863, serving with a supply train. (Interestingly, he was a recipient of Kearny Cross, supposedly for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863.)

In any case, he was treated for congestive fever from February 12 until the 28th and returned to duty. He was then treated for syphilis from September 24 until the 27th, for gonorrheal orchitis from October 31 until November 18, for syphilis from November 23 until December 4 when he was apparently returned to duty. He was in the Regimental hospital in February when he was treated for influenza from the 28th until March 3, 1864, and returned to duty. He was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge from the army John returned to his home in Lansing. “We were glad to welcome back to his home,” the editor of the Republican wrote on June 29, 1864, “that well tried and brave veteran, John Broad, of this city, Company G.”

Three years later, in 1867, Broad took a job as janitor in the State Capitol building in Lansing, a position he held for more than twenty years. By 1870 he was working as porter at the state capitol and living with his wife, his stepdaughter “Minnie” Sherman and Bethany Baldwin in Lansing’s First Ward. And by 1880 he was working as a constable and living in Lansing with Charlotte and his stepdaughter Mary. Indeed, he lived in Lansing the rest of his life. In 1910 he was living in Lansing’s Fifth Ward.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and the Grand Army of the Republic Foster Post No. 42 in Lansing until he was suspended on December 16, 1884, and dropped on April 1, 1885. Apparently he was reinstated in May of 1894, but again suspended in June of 1897 and dropped in June of 1898.

In 1864 he applied for and received pension no. 57,667, drawing $14.00 per month in 1883, and $40 per month by 1906 and 1915.

John was probably living with his step-daughter, Minnie Sherman at her home at 424 N. Cedar Street, in Lansing, when he was taken seriously ill on September 2, 1915. He never recovered and was a widower when he died of apoplexy at his step-daughter’s home on September 4, 1915.

He was buried as an indigent soldier on September 8 in Mt. Hope cemetery in Lansing: section G, lot no. 16, grave no. 8.

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