Joseph P. Bundy - update 8/29/2016

Joseph P. Bundy was born 1819 in New York, probably the son of Caleb (b. 1783) and Polly (b. 1792).

Connecticut native Caleb married New York-born Polly and they settled in New York for some years. By 1850 Caleb had moved his family west and settled in North Plains, Ionia County, where Joseph worked as a farmer along with his father. Also living with the Bundy family was 10-year-old Catherine Dalrymple. She was probably the sister of 12-year-old Sylvester Dalrymple, who was himself living nearby with the George Kellogg family; Sylvester too would join the Third Michigan and was in fact a good friend of the Bundy family (see below) . George Kellogg was apparently the brother-in-law of Caleb Bundy.

Joseph was probably still living in Michigan sometime when he married Sarah E. or C. Mills (1835-1905) on December 31, 1854, in Dallas, Clinton County; and they had at least one child: Ella (b. 1854).

By 1860 he was a farmer living with his wife in Bennington, Shiawassee County; also living with them in 1860 was one Martha Strickland, a domestic.

Joseph was 42 years old and possibly still living in Bennington when he enlisted in Company E on December 9 or 19, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered on December 23 at Detroit.

On January 13, 1862, from the Regiment’s winter quarters at Camp Michigan in northern Virginia, Joseph wrote to his “Dear and beloved wife,”

I will pen a few lines to you to let you know what we are about. We have just received our pay and I will send you five dollars enclosed in this and I would send you more if I could but I want a little to use and I have sent for some books which I will send to you in about ten days. I would like to send you more and will as soon as I can. Try to keep up good courage for all will be well yet. I received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you and Elly was well and hope you will remain so ‘til I return. May God’s blessing rest upon you both through life. I am well as usual and so is George. You will hear from me as often as possible. We are a going to Stockton’s Regiment tomorrow to see some boys and when we get back I will tell you who I find there. It is about eleven miles there and will be gone two days and then I will write again. I will not say much more now for it is a getting late and I must stop. So good night. This from your dear husband, Joseph P. Bundy. To S. E. Bundy.Yours truly

Their friend Sylvester Dalrymple added in the same letter, “Sarah I though I would say a word or two. I am well and hope you are. We got our pay today and the boys are all happy. It is very pleasant here. We have had a long rain and it is quite muddy. We have lots of fun, plenty to eat and drink and it is good enough.”

Two weeks later Joseph wrote again to Sarah, his “dear wife,”

I received your kind letter today and was glad to hear that you were all well. . . . This is a very pleasant country. We have not had over three inches of snow here this winter and what did come did not last long. Sometimes we do have one inch at night and the next day it is all gone. It is cold and warm days. I would like to be there and take one good ride with you. I would like to have send grandfather but there’s no use talking. . . . When I left I went about one mile from camp yesterday to a planter’s residence and it was a nice place. There was no men there but some women and a few slaves. They were very glad to see us and we had a nice visit with them. The most of the people here don’t know as much as a last year’s bird nest with the bottom knocked out. I can’t tell you much about them now but when I get home I will tell you all about them. I have sent you five dollars an as I can get some more I will send you some more. I have sent four books and will send a few more. . . . The boys have sent for over fifty dollars worth of books from the tent that I am in and we expect to get them tonight. We are all well and hearty and I hope we shall remain so. We don’t think that the war will last long and I hope it won’t. I can’t think of much more to write. . . . Give my love to all who inquire about me but keep the most for yourself and Elley. The boys send their respects to you all and wish they could see you. No more at present so good night. And now Jane a few words to you. I want you to kiss the baby and Elley for me. You wanted to pray for you and I will begin now, O God be merciful until all my friends. This from yours truly Bundy,

Sometime in early summer of 1862 (probably during the Peninsular campaign), Joseph was taken prisoner near Richmond, Virginia, and soon afterwards exchanged. However, it is quite likely that he never rejoined the Regiment but was hospitalized instead, and indeed by July was reported absent sick in a hospital. He was soon transferred to the Episcopal Hospital at 708 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, where he arrived on July 28 aboard the Daniel Webster, a recently released prisoner of war.

Joseph died of consumption on August 4, 1862, at the Episcopal hospital in Philadelphia, and was originally buried in Glenwood cemetery but reburied at Philadelphia National Cemetery: section B, grave no. 16.

One E. W. Biddle who was serving in a spiritual capacity at the Episcopal hospital wrote on August 8 to Sarah.

Mrs. Bundy, It is with sincere sympathy I write to let you know that your worst fears with regard to your husband are confirmed – he is no more. He died August the 3rd. He was extremely ill when he came to the hospital and the physicians had hardly any hope he would rally. He grew weaker day by day, and it was found impossible to subdue his disease, which was chronic diarrhea, ending in consumption. I do not think he suffered very much except from extreme debility. You may rest assured that he received the best possible care, and that all that medical skill and kindness could do was done to restore him to health and add to his comfort. His spiritual wants too were attended to. The chaplain led a prayer with him frequently. In speaking with him one day of God’s mercy in delivering him from the dangers to which he had been [exposed] he seemed to be greatly impressed by it and said the balls & bullets fell around him like hail. I tried to press home upon him his duty to God. He said he had always been a kind neighbor, . . and had never injured any one. “Well then”, said I, “if you have thus done your duty to your neighbor, how is it with your God – have you loved and served him as you should?” “Ah,” said he, “there’s the trouble. I know I have not.” After a little more conversation I asked if I should pray with him and as I prayed he joined very fervently. I read the Bible & some hymns to him. After this I had not another opportunity for religious conversation with him for though he lived a day or two longer he was too feeble to bear it. I once told him he might die and asked if he had any messages for you. He said he would have to collect his ideas but he was evidently too much wasted and too weak to think to say much. He passed away quickly at last. May God strengthen and support you under the fearful trial and give peace to say “Thy will be done,” and to live henceforth a life of devotion to the service of your God and Savior. Your husband was decently buried in Glenwood cemetery in this city. He left a few articles of clothing, etc., which will be forwarded to you, if you will send us an order for them to Dr. Thomas, Episcopal Hospital, 708 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Truly your friend, E. N. Biddle

His widow was living in Bennington when she applied for and received pension no. 9136, dated 1863.

Sarah was living with the Moss family and working as a housekeeper in 1870 (no mention of either her daughter Ella or the “baby” referred to by Joseph in his letter of January 27, 1862). In any case, she was possibly living near her family. She eventually remarried to Joseph Helmer in 1873 (he died in 1891) in North Plains.