Elijah Warner

Elijah Warner was born in 1840 in New York.

Elijah left New York and had settled in western Michigan by the time war had broken out.

He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old teamster possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was reported working in the Brigade bakery in May of 1863, and “absent in the hands of civil authorities” in August, apparently under arrest, possibly in New York City.

Third Corps, at 10:25 a.m. on August 7, charged with “misbehavior before the enemy.” Specifically, it was alleged by Captain Thomas Tate of the Third Michgian “that he . . . did while his Regiment was supporting a battery on the 3rd day of May 1863 [at Chancellorsville, Virginia] in the face of the enemy, disgracefully run away and remained absent until the evening of May 4th 1863.” Elijah pled not guilty.

The prosecution then called Sergeant James Van Dusen of Company F.

Judge Advocate: State what you know in reference to his running away from his regiment at the time specified.

Answer: We were laying in line of battle b y Brigade, supporting batteries. I saw the accused when we halted to lay down. I did not see him after we did lay down. We were ordered to make a charge and when we made the charge I am confident he was not there. The next time I saw him was about the middle of the next day. When he returned and reported to his regiment.

Judge Advocate: Is he a regularly enlisted and mustered man?

Answer: Yes sir.

Judge Advocate: Was your regiment engaged with the enemy during his absence?

Answer: Not after that charge.

Judge Advocate: Were you engaged with the enemy while the accused was with his company?

Answer: I do not think we were. . . .

Judge Advocate: How did he behave in the charge of Saturday night?

Answer: He behaved well as far as I know.

Court: Was the regiment in the same place when he returned as it was when he left?

Answer: No sir.

Court: Was the regiment under fire when he returned?

Answer: No, all was quiet at the time he returned.

Judge Advocate: Was the regiment under fire of artillery during the time he was absent?

Answer: yes sir, it was under heavy artillery fire.

Court: Have you ever known him to misbehave himself before the enemy?

Answer: No sir I have not.

Prisoner: What was my conduct before the enemy at Gettysburg and Wapping Heights?

Answer: It was very good, he behaved himself very well.

Court: Do you know whether the accused disgracefully ran away at the time specified.

Answer: I do not.

The witness was dismissed and Sergeant Harvey Briggs of Company F was then called by the prosecution.

Judge Advocate: Do you know, of your own knowledge, that the accused ran away from his Regiment when supporting a battery on the 3rd of May?

Answer: I know that he did run away.

Judge Advocate: state what you know in reference to his running away.

Answer: I know that he asked the Captain’s permission to leave the ranks to get some water. I do not think the Captain gave him permission, for I heard the Captain say that he could not let any man leave the ranks, but that some of the men would give him some water. In about ten minutes from that time I saw him get up and leave the Company, and was going back towards the rear. I spoke to him and told him not to leave the ranks but he made no reply. I think he must have heard me, for he was rising up and picking his gun up at the time I spoke. The next time I saw him was in the afternoon of the next day.

Judge Advocate: Have you seen the accused receive pay of the U.S. Goverment?

Answer: Yes I have.

Court: Was the Regiment under a heavey fire at the time the accused left the ranks?

Answer: Yes. We were under a heavy artillery fire.

Prisoner: What has been my conduct in battle at Gettysburg and Wapping Heights?

Answer: His conduct was noticed as being remarkably good at both engagements. I noticed it myself, he behaved well.

The witness was dismissed and Captain Thomas Tate commanding Company F was then called as a witness for the defense.

Prisoner: What has been my conduct at the battle of Gettsburg, Wapping Heights and since?

Answer: His conduct since the battle of Chancellorsville and in both the engagements named has been unexceptionable.

The witness was then dismissed. Elijah then submitted the following statement to the Court:

I had [had] no water since the afternoon of the day before. The men in the company had so little that they could not spare me any. When we halted and lay down, I asked the Captain to let me get some, and he replied he would pretty soon, or some such answer. We lay there some 15 minutes, and I was suffering for a drink of water, and supposing I should have time to get some from a creek not more than a half dozen rods, I went to get some, and the Regiment was gone when I returned. I was not gone more than 10 or 15 minutes. I looked for them, and could not find them, but later in the forenoon I found a squad of the Regiment (which I joined) with the Adjutant. And remained with them till we went to the river and stacked arms. (The Adjutant is now in Michigan.) I then went to the creek close by, washed my feet and stockings, and I looked nearly all night for my Regiment, and in the forenoon of the next day found it, and joined my company.

Elijah was found guilty to both the charge and specification and sentenced to forfeit two month’s pay and to do fatigue duty with a log and chain. However, on August 8 Major General David Birney, commanding the First division, ordered that “The accused having shown that since the alleged & proven misbehavior that he has endeavored to regain his character as a good soldier by gallantry at Gettysburg, the sentence is remitted and the accused be returned to duty.”

He was reported a deserter on September 19 in New York City, and returned to the Regiment on October 11, 1863.

Elijah reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Bowne, Kent County, was presumably absent on 30 days’ veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 but apparently failed to return to the Regiment and was reported AWOL in February. He soon rejoined the Regiment and was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Elijah may have returned to Michigan (or he may have been living in Dayton, Ohio) when he was admitted to the Central Branch National Military Home in Dayton, Ohio, on September 13, 1871.

No pension seems to be available.

Elijah died on November 22, 1871, at the Home in Dayton, and was buried in Dayton National Cemetery: section A, row 11, grave 41.