Monday, July 21, 2008

Charles Stewart Draper

Charles Stewart Draper was born August 26, 1841, in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of Charles (b. 1815) and Mary (b. 1819).

Massachusetts native Charles (elder) married Michigan or Canadian native Mary sometime before 1841, probably in Michigan, and had settled in Pontiac, Oakland County by the time Charles was born. They were still living in Pontiac in 1850. In 1860 Charles was a student attending school with his younger siblings and living with his family in Pontiac village where his father worked as an attorney and “agent.”

Charles (younger) was 19 years old and a student living with his family in Pontiac, Oakland County or possibly Kalamazoo County when he enlisted, probably as Quartermaster or Commissary Sergeant, in the Field & Staff, Fifth Michigan infantry on August 28, 1861, at Fort Wayne or Pontiac, Oakland County for 3 years and was mustered the same day at Detroit, giving Pontiac as his residence.

On October 21 he was transferred to Company I, Third Michigan infantry at Fort Lyon, Virginia, and in the spring of 1862 detailed as Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to General Israel Richardson, Brigade commander. Indeed, Charles was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on October 28, 1861, promoted from Quartermaster Sergeant, Fifth Michigan infantry, and he was formally transferred to General Richardson’s Division staff on April 1, 1862.

Charles was one of only two men (the other was Peter Steele) who was transferred into the Third Michigan infantry from other units, and the only man to be commissioned in the Third Michigan who had not been in the original June 13, 1861 group. Furthermore, because he was not actually a member of the original Regiment per se, and because promotions to officer were always limited, even in wartime, Draper’s promotion deprived the company of one of its “own” officers.

Naturally this did not sit well with some of the other officers in the Third Michigan.

On March 27, 1862, Captain Stephen Lowing of Company I wrote home that “We have some cause of complaints for on the 28th of October last, the office of Second Lieutenant became vacant and a man from the Fifth Regiment [Charles Draper] was transferred to our company, commissioned and then placed on the General's staff without our knowledge or consent.”

It remains uncertain, however, whether Charles ever physically served with the Third Michigan (and he is not listed in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history). In fact, we may assume that he remained ADC to General Richardson. According to a letter written from Lieutenant Colonel Byron R. Pierce to the Michigan Adjutant General on February 22, 1863, Draper was “restored to the rolls . . . by an order from the War Department. He was dropped from the rolls by Brig. General Champlin (late Colonel of this Regiment) through a mistake supposing him to have been commissioned in another Regiment. He has always acted as Aid-de-Camp to the late General Richardson and was wounded at the battle of Antietam. I have forwarded his resignation.”

Charles had indeed been wounded at Antietam on September 17, 1862, and he resigned March 19, 1863, on account of his wounds; his resignation being accepted on May 19. Shortly afterwards Charles was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Veteran’s Reserve Corps (“Invalid Corps”), and promoted to First Lieutenant in the fall of 1863. He resigned from the army in January of 1865.

Charles eventually returned to Michigan. (His parents were living in Pontiac’s First Ward, Oakland County in 1870.)

He was married to Sarah T. and they had at least one child.

He received a pension (no. 60456) for service in both the Third and Fifth Michigan infantry regiments as well as the Veterans Reserve Corps.

Charles died at sea on August 6, 1892.

In any case, his widow was living in Michigan in 1898 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 659569).

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