Homer H. Morgan

Homer H. Morgan was born in 1832 in Ohio.

In 1850 there was a 16-year-old Homer Morgan living with the Bradford family in Perrysburg, Wood County, Ohio.

In any case Homer left Ohio and had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was either an apprentice engineer living with and/or working for an engineer by the name of John Davis, in Oakfield, Kent County; or he may have been a farm laborer working for and/or living with William Erdly, a farmer in Cascade, Kent County.

He was possibly married to a woman by the name of Anna (b. 1843), probably in Michigan and they had at least two children: John (b. 1857?) and James (b. 1859?).

In either case, Homer was 26 years old and possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (Company B was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, and many of whom had served in various local militia units before the war, in particular the Grand Rapids Artillery, under Captain Baker Borden, who would also command Company B.)

Homer allegedly shot and killed himself at about 3:00 a.m., Saturday morning, July 20, 1861.

Frank Siverd of Company G described finding Morgan’s body while on a routine night patrol. “While we were out,” Siverd wrote, “on one of these expeditions early in the morning [Saturday], we discovered the body of a member of company B. We immediately took refuge behind a tree, and made a survey of the vicinity, to make sure that no skulking rebel was near whose dastard cowardice would lead him to shoot us as soon as our backs were turned. On examination of the body it was found to be still warm, but life entirely extinct. There were some circumstances to indicate that he committed suicide. I hope, however, that it was not the case as there was ample opportunity to die honorably, if he was particularly anxious to shake off the mortal coil.”

Charles Church of Company G accompanied the patrol along with Siverd. He wrote to his parents that a “man belonging to our Regiment shot himself Sunday [Saturday] morning about 3 o'clock in the morning [and] he was found about 6 o'clock a.m. about 40 rods from where we slept. That night I fetched him in.” George Miller of Company A wrote home that during the battle of Bull Run only one man was killed and he “shot himself the morning of the battle” and “it is not known whether it was done accidentally or on purpose.”

Homer was the only man in the Regiment known to have committed (allegedly) suicide during the war, and he was the first man in the Regiment to die violently in the war. He was presumably buried on the battlefield. Many years after the war Adolphe Campau of Company B, told a reporter for the Grand Rapids Herald a curious story concerning the first battle of Bull Run and a man he believed was named Hendershot but who might have been Morgan.

A strange coincidence, [said Campau] if such it may be called, . . . occurred only a few days before the first battle of Bull Run, while the army was in the field. A soldier named Hendershot harbored a remarkable premonition that he should fall in the battle that was inevitable, and which was fought July 21, 1861, resulting in the overwhelming defeat of the Union forces. The day before the battle, he wrote a letter, placing it in the hands of his captain, stating that he certainly expected to fall in the forthcoming battle, and giving directions as to where his body would be found, and asking that his family be notified of his death. The letter remained unopened in possession of the captain until after the battle. At role [sic] call the private did not appear. The letter was then opened when it was found that he had stated that his body would be found beside a log by the roadside, on a certain highway. Investigation followed, and the poor fellow's body was found, pierced through with a musket ball, precisely where he had stated.

(No other sources mention any of the same specifics and Campau is a less than credible witness to events which happened more than forty years earlier. Darwin Hendershot was the only Hendershot who served in the Old Third, and he was a member of Company G; he eventually deserted.)

Homer was probably among the unknown soldiers buried near Bull Run whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.

No pension seems to be available.