Joseph W. Bement

Joseph W. Bement was born 1844 in Lewiston, Niagara County, New York, the son of Leonard or Leonidas (b. 1804) and Mary (b. 1805).

Massachusetts native Leonard married New Yorker Mary probably in New York where they lived for some years. (Leonard may have originally been married to a woman named Sarah.)
By 1840 Leonard was living in Lewiston, New York. He eventually settled his family in western Michigan, and Joseph was probably living with his family in Grand Rapids in 1858 when he was reported as a member of William Barnhart’s Coronet Band, which had just enrolled as the band for the Fifty-first regiment of Michigan state millitia, headquartered in Grand Rapids By 1860 Joseph was living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward, and his father was working as an attorney in the city. (In 1863 Leonard had his office on Canal st.)

Joseph stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 17 years old and living in Kent County (possibly Grand Rapids) when he enlisted in the Regimental Band as a Musician Third Class, on June 10, 1861. He was discharged as member of the Band on February 28, 1862, at Camp Michigan, Virginia, reportedly per the general order abolishing the Regimental Bands in the Army of the Potomac.

After his discharge from the army Joseph returned home to Grand Rapids where he reentered the service, along with Theodore W. Bement (possibly an older brother), in Company H, Fourth Michigan cavalry on July 19, 1862, for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids, and was mustered on August 28 at Detroit where the regiment was being organized. The regiment left Michigan on September 26 for Louisville, Kentucky and participated in numerous actions throughout Tennessee during the fall of 1862.

He was detached to the Quartermaster department in December of 1862, and absent sick in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in May of 1863. By November of 1863 he was on detached service, in March of 1864 absent with leave, and in October of 1864 on detached service at Chattanooga, Tennessee. In January of 1865 he was serving with the Band, a position he held until he was mustered out on July 1, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee.

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

No pension seems to be available for his service in either the Third Michigan infantry or the Fourth cavalry.

His father Leonard was still living in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward in 1870, and had apparently remarried to New York native Hannah (b. 1804). Curiously, also living with them was a 6-year-old boy named Joseph (b. in Michigan). By 1880 Hannah was listed as head of the household and Joseph, her grandson was still living with her.