Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hiram Dailey

Hiram Daily, also known as “Daily”, was born April 24, 1843, in Marshall, Calhoun County, Michigan, son of Hiram (b. 1811-1843) and Dutrina.

Hiram (elder) was married to Phebe Ann Hazard and eventually settled in Marshall, Calhoun County. Phebe died in 1839, and Hiram apparently remarried one Dutrina.

At some point before the war broke out Hiram (younger) moved to Ottawa County (probably with his family).

Hiram was 18 years old and probably living in Mill Point, Ottawa County, Michigan, when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company A on May 13, 1861. (Company A was made up of former members of the Valley City Guard, a prewar, local Grand Rapids militia company, as well as mostly young men from the Grand Rapids area.)

Sometime in early Spring Hiram was taken sick and subsequently died of typhus at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, probably in Chesapeake hospital at Fortress Monroe, Virginia on April 13, 1862. He was the first man in Company A to perish in the war. According to the Regimental Surgeon Dr. Zenas Bliss,

The regiment was attached to General Berry’s brigade of General Kearney’s division of the Third Corps, and arrived at Fort Monroe on March 26th, 1862, and shortly afterwards moved to Yorktown, and encamped in a thick woods, intermingled with patches of swamp and pools of water, the ground being covered with fragments of fallen trees and decaying vegetable matter. Water could be obtained only by digging holes from two and a half to three feet in depth, and the surface obtained form these was all that the men had. The regiment remained in this camp about five weeks, and was doing picket and fatigue duty on trenches and fortifications all that time. A few intermittents and remittents [fevers] occurred, as also about forty cases of typhoid fever, all very severe, marked by epistaxis tympanitis, and, after a few days, hemorrhage from the bowels, the blood being evidently impoverished. Several of these cases proved fatal. One case of typhus, marked by hemorrhage from the nose and bowels, and with petchiae and hemorrhagic spots on the surface, occurred in the regiment and proved fatal [Hiram Dailey of Company A]. All of these patients had active, supporting treatment throughout. The sick were cared for at a hospital, about a mile and a half to the rear, composed of log huts or barracks, built and formerly occupied by the 53d Virginia Volunteers (Confederate), upon a sandy soil, where we obtained an abundance of excellent well water. These barracks were well ventilated, and accommodated a large number of sick and wounded from both the regulars and volunteers. I saw all of the sick and what few wounded there were at this hospital and had immediate charge of very many sick who were members of various regiments; and nearly all of the cases were either low remittents or typhoid fever. I say remittents, because some of them might be easily classed as such; but I believed then, as now, that they were almost pure enteric fever. I held autopsies of all that died who were under my charge, six in number. No post mortem was held on the case of typhus [Dailey]. All the deaths from typhoid fever occurred late in the course of the disease, and the majority from hemorrhages from the bowels, one from coma, and the others apparently from pure exhaustion. The abdominal viscera were those principally examined. Peyer’s glands were found in each case in a state of ulceration; some very large ulcers; some healing while others were in an inflamed condition. Some of the ulcerations extended nearly through the coats of the intestines. I preserved the specimens in each case, but subsequently lost them during the campaign. The small intestines, through their entire length, gave evidence of previous inflammatory action; but all the other abdominal viscera gave no evidence of either organic or serious functional disease, and the soft parts and glands, when divided with the scalpel, seemed to be almost exsanguined. I wish the blood could have been analysed, because I feel confident that the primary trouble was there. In cases of epistaxis, the blood gave only a faint coloring to the spots on linen, and it did not give to the linen that stiffened feel that we get when it is saturated with ordinary blood, from both of which I infer that the blood was deficient in plasma and coloring matter, or defibrinated. In these cases, quinine, brandy, ammonia, and small doses of opium were given with a view to support the patient. Essence of beef and beef tea, of good quality, and in abundance, was furnished and given. The supply of medicines at this time was ample, but at times we were deficient in hospital stores.

Although Hiram was possibly buried in the hospital cemetery, his remains were eventually brought back to Michigan by his mother. Hiram’s “bereaved and widowed mother,” wrote the Marshall Statesman, “surmounting every obstacle, went to Fortress Monroe, procured the remains of her only child, brought to this city, and had him interred beside his father. She was consoled by the assurance of his Captain S. A. Judd, who since fell at Fair Oaks [May 31, 1862], that her son was ‘a good and faithful soldier, and true friend, a lover of his country, and sealed his love with his life’, and expressed the hope that ‘he had gone to receive the reward promised to the faithful’.”

Hiram was buried in Oakridge cemetery: section K, lot 321, in Marshall. Calhoun County.

In January of 1865 his mother Dutrina applied for and received a pension (no. 61329).

Marshall was among those communities who celebrated one of the very first Memorial, or Decoration Day services, a holiday established by the Grand Army of the Republic. “The Decoration Day,” reported the the GAR, “occurred in [Marshall] on Saturday, May 29th, with great success. The day was pleasant, and at a very early hour people from the country began to fill State Street, and their number constantly increased until the moving of the procession which was organized at 10:30 a.m., and passed up State Street to the Cemetery. . . .” Led by the Marshall Cornet Band, “The display was the finest ever seen in the city. The civic societies generously responded to the invitation -- over three hundred Masons being in the procession.” While the Band played “the Dirge, the graves of the Soldiers who sleep in the city cemetery were decorated. The number of mounds thus the objects of patriotic regard, are twenty-six” and Hiram Dailey’s was among those decorated.

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