Benjamin A. Austin

Benjamin A. Austin was born in 1834.

Benjamin A. was 27 years old and living in either Allegan or Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861.

On October 1, 1861, Benjamin wrote to a friend (possibly back in Michigan) to inform him of the latest developments in the regiment.
I am well at present. The rebels instead of [?] firing into Washington have not been within four miles of it, and was glad to get back still further. The other day our men are out several miles up beyond Munson’s hill now but I do not know how far as our brigade is not in advance now. We were though until day before yesterday. Our brigade is composed of the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Michigan regiments and the 37th N.Y. regiment, brigadier general [Israel] Richardson commanding. We expect to have another Michigan reg. Instead of the 37th N.Y. then we will have a regular northern brigade and I am proud to say that major general McClellan as well as [Brig. Gen.] Richardson have the most unbounded confidence in the Michigan boys and we have as much confidence in them as they have in us. General Richardson had his choice to stay in and protect the forts we have been building or take the field and it is supposed he will take the field in fact we have occupied the field so far as a part of us at least. I should be glad to see you and George too but cannot now of course. Give my respects to all. Write soon. . .
And on December 15, 1861, from the regiment’s winter quarters at Camp Michigan Benjamin wrote to the same friend.
I am well at present hoping this will find you the same. I should like to see you very much but suppose I shall not very soon. When the war is over unless I get busted I shall make you a visit for I want to see your wife of course. For you know I am quite a woman man. Well enough of this. We have advanced about three miles towards rebeldom since I wrote you. Our camp is in the woods surrounded on three sides by hills the front looking out upon a plain. We shall probably winter here but may not. We are doing picket duty yet suppose we shall all winter. We are building log shanties to live in instead of tents. Our camp is on the same ground that Washington camped on in 1812 [?]. We see no rebels only when we go out beyond our picket lines, . . . But we hear good news from our boys down south and in western regiments. We have plenty to eat such as it is and good clothes for the winter. [And we] Get out pay regular. But everything is high out here. Apples are three cents apiece for example so you can judge for yourself that the war is doing for this of the country. The weather has been very pleasant for several days. We have had no snow. The ground has not frozen much. I believe that is all at present. Write soon. Give my respects to your wife and all others who may inquire.
Benjamin was killed in action on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and presumably among the unknown soldiers buried at Seven Pines National Cemetery.