Archibald Washburn

Archibald Washburn was born on May 29, 1831, in Milton, Chittenden County, Vermont, possibly the son or grandson of Phineas (1788-1868) and Sylvia (Wright?).

New York native Phineas served the Fourth Regiment (Williams) of Vermont Militia in the War of 1812, probably along with his brother (?) Reuben. In any case, Phineas settled in Vermont and married Sylvia around 1810, possibly in Vermont where they resided for some years. In fact, Phineas was residing in Fairfax, Franklin County, Vermont in 1830, and in Milton, Vermont in 1840. Phineas reportedly married his second wife Vermonter Lucinda Godwin (b. 1804) in 1842 in Milton, Vermont, and they were still living in Milton in 1844. It appears that Phineas moved his family to Chateaugay County, New York sometime afterwards and by 1860 was still living in Chateaugay County (where he died in 1868 although his remains were sent for burial in Checkerberry cemetery, Milton, Vermont)

In any case, Archibald eventually left the family in New York and moved westward and by 1860 was a farm laborer living with a farmer by the name of Ephraim Rolf in Georgetown, Ottawa County.

He stood 5’7” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 29 years old and probably still living in Georgetown when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) Archibald was suffering from typhoid fever when he was admitted to the Union Hotel hospital in Georgetown, DC on August 16, 1861 (he may have been transferred to another hospital on September 13, 1861). In any case, Archibald returned to the Regiment in September or October of 1861, and was apparently charged with two counts of desertion: on December 22, 1861, and on February 22, 1862 (both were removed in 1887).

In fact, he had been furloughed on December 19, 1861, and Lieutenant Stephen Lowing of Company I, wrote home in the first week of January to his brother-in-law that “I sent Mr. Washburn to your place. I presume you have seen him before this and he has told you all the news.” Furthermore, Archibald remained absent sick, apparently in Michigan and probably in Detroit, from January 19, 1862, to July 2, 1862, when he was sent to his Regiment from the Detroit Barracks.

He never made it to Virginia, however. He was admitted to Emory hospital in Washington, DC, on August 25, 1862, suffering from gastritis, and was returned to duty on September 13, 1862. He eventually recovered, and returned to duty and was wounded on November 20, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia. He reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Solon, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Archibald was shot in the neck on June 2 during the action at Cold Harbor, Virginia, and was probably absent wounded when he was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. Indeed he remained absent sick through July. He eventually returned to duty and was taken prisoner on October 27, 1864, probably at Boydton Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia. He was initially confined at Richmond, Virginia on October 28, and sent to Salisbury, North Carolina on November 4. He was paroled on March 1, 1865, at N.E. Ferry, North Carolina, and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio on March 14, where he reported on March 18.

He apparently returned to western Michigan while awaiting his discharge, for he was examined by Dr. James Grove, former surgeon of the Old Third, on April 21, 1865, who certified that Washburn was suffering from pneumonia. Although Archibald probably remained in Michigan, he was mustered out (on paper) on June 19, 1865, at Camp Chase.

After the war Archibald remained in Michigan, and eventually settled in Ferris, Montcalm County. In fact, according to the History of Montcalm County, Archibald was one a a large group of men who in 1869 petitioned for a detachment of Ferris Township, in order to create Richland Township.

He married his first wife Ohio native Elizabeth Freeze or Evans Johnson (1826-1902) on August 18, 1873 or 1875, in Richland, Montcalm County, and for many years worked as a farmer. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Ferris, Montcalm County. He was living in Elm Hall, Gratiot County in 1883 when he was drawing $4.00 for a wounded neck (pension no. 154,744, dated August of 1878), and which was increased to $12.00 by 1905. He was still living in Elm Hall by 1888, but by 1890 was residing in Ferris (and 1894), in Grand Rapids from 1905-06 and in Moline, Allegan County from 1906-11.

Archibald was admitted as a widower to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 4511) on June 2, 1905, and was probably still a resident of the Home when he married his second wife, Dency Rochelle West Ayres Bisbee (1835-1926) on December 23, 1905, in Grand Rapids. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and a Protestant. For reasons unknown he was dropped from the Home on February 23, 1906.

He died of “senility” at 11:15 p.m. on February 27, 1915, in Moline, and was reportedly buried in Vestaburg, Montcalm County.

In March of 1915 his widow applied for a pension (no. 1043302), but the certificate was never granted.