City Point NaCem

Eli J. Wright - update 9/11/2016

Eli J. Wright was born in 1832 in Canada, possibly the son of English natives George (b. 1811) and Elizabeth (b. 1815).

1860 George was working as a day laborer and living with his wife in Yates, Orleans County, New York.

Eli was living in Niagara Falls, New York, when he married a widow Mrs. Mary Weston (b. 1821) on June 8, 1857, in Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York, and they had at least one child, a son Arthur D. (b. 1859).

In 1860 Arthur was living his mother Mary and two of her children from her first marriage in Niagara, Niagara County, New York. Arthur’s half-sister, Melinda Weston testified in 1887 that sometime after Eli enlisted in the army she left Arthur with a Mrs. Cleveland in Lockport, New York and went to Canada. After a few months with Mrs. Cleveland Arthur went to live with the Shaver family in Niagara, New York. They kept Arthur and moved to Michigan around 1865. (Melinda herself had gone to live with one Charles Weston in Niagara around this time.) At this distance it remains unclear why Mary abandoned Arthur and, apparently, her other children. Arthur testified in 1888 that he eventually tracked his mother down and sought to get the necessary information from her in order to submit his pension claim but that they had a quarrel and after that she refused.

In any case, Eli was probably divorced or separated when he enlisted in 1861. (Mary had apparently remarried to one Mr. Van Arman in 1862.)

Eli stood 5’11” with blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion, was 29 years old and employed as a carpenter possibly living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on April 28, 1861.

He was sick in the Division hospital in January of 1863, serving with the Brigade wagon train from February through May, and absent sick from October 10. He had probably returned to the regiment by the time he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Muskegon, Muskegon County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, possibly in Michigan, in January of 1864, and probably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February.

According to a statement given by Mary Shaver of Akron, Tuscola County, Michigan in 1881, Arthur was living with her and her husband in Niagara Falls, New York, when Eli passed by to see the boy on his way back to the regiment after his reenlistment furlough was expired and that Eli told her at the time that Arthur was indeed his only son. And his step-daughter Melinda Weston remembered him coming home on a furlough and stopping by where she was living with Charles Weston (possibly an uncle) and him telling everyone that he had been by to see his boy at the Shaver house.

Upon his return to Virginia Eli was on detached service as a teamster at Brigade headquarters in February probably through May; in March and until April he was in the ambulance corps. He was disqualified from serving with the ambulance train in a letter written on April 16, 1864, which requested that Private Wright be discharged” for his “general untidiness and unsoldier-like appearance.”

Eli was nevertheless serving with the Brigade wagon trains in May, and was still on detached service as a Brigade teamster when he was transferred to Company A, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He remained detached as a teamster until sometime in August when he was taken sick.

Eli never recovered and died of disease on September 2, 1864, at 2nd Division, 2nd Corps hospital in City Point, Virginia. He was originally interred in the Depot Field Hospital cemetery, but eventually reburied in City Point National Cemetery: section C grave 687.

Eli’s mother, Mrs. Robert England, was living in Lockport or Yates Center, Orleans County, New York in late 1864. In July of 1880 David E. Doyer was listed as guardian on behalf of a minor child (Arthur) when he applied for and received a pension (no. 249732); that same year Arthur Wright was living in Tuscola County, Michigan. He was living in in Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, by 1887.

Philo H. Wier - updated 3/22/2015

Based on a review of pension records: 

New York natives John and Maria were married, presumably in New york where they lived for some years. Between 1848 and 1850 they moved west eventually settling in Bennington, Shiawassee County, Michigan by 1850 when Phil was attending school with two of his younger siblings and living on the family farm. By 1860 Philo was probably working as a farm laborer for Hiram Whitaker in Salem, Washtenaw County, Michigan.

He was married to Amanda M. Sage (b. 1848) on January 17, 1864, at Scioto, Shiawassee County.

Philo stood 6’1” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old laborer possibly living in Bennington, Shiawassee County when he enlisted in Company G on May 13, 1861.

He was a Corporal when he was reported missing in action on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and in fact he had been captured and held briefly by the rebels. According to Homer Thayer of Company G, “Corporal Phil H. Wier and private Abram Ketchum were lost in the attack made by our Division on Saturday night and are reported as missing.” He was paroled at City Point, Virginia on May 15, and reported to Camp Parole, Maryland on May 18 where he allegedly deserted on June 23, but apparently soon returned to the regiment.

Philo reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Bennington, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February. He was wounded on June 10 near Cold Harbor, Virginia, was hospitalized soon afterwards and was still absent wounded when he was transferred as Sergeant to Company F, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

Philo died from his wounds on June 16 or July 1. Dan Crotty former color guard and member of Company F, wrote some years after the war that while he was visiting another 3rd Michigan comrade, Sergeant Dietrich, in a field hospital near Petersburg, Virginia, he learned “that Corporal Wier, who carried my colors, has been shot dead. . . .” He was originally buried on the Henry Bryan property near Meade Station, Virginia, then reinterred in City Point National Cemetery: section E, grave 2496.

In December of 1864 Amanda was living in Bennington, Shiawassee County, when she applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 44659). In May of 1865 Amanda married Alfred Doyen in Corunna, Shiawassee County; she would eventually divorce him for physical abuse and cruelty. Amanda was living at 1035 S. Main Street in ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, when she died in 1923.

Jacob B. Weaver

Jacob B. Weaver was born in 1822 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

Jacob left Pennsylvania and moved west, eventually settling in Michigan sometime before the war broke out.

He was a 39-year-old farmer possibly living in Montcalm County (or perhaps in Grand Rapids) when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. He was reported missing in action on June 1, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, but was returned to the Regiment on November 26, 1862, at Warrenton, Virginia. He was a nurse in the Division hospital in May of 1863 and a nurse at the hospital in Alexandria, Virginia from June through July.

Jacob had apparently returned to duty by the time he reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Boston, Ionia County. He was presumably on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Jacob was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was killed in action June 18 near Petersburg, Virginia. He was first buried on the Henry Bryan property near Meade Station, Virginia, but reinterred in City Point National Cemetery: grave 2483.

No pension seems to be available.

James R. Ayres

James R. Ayres, also known as “Ayers”, was born 1840 in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, the son of Jeremiah N. or Joseph (1813-1882) and Frances Louisa (Newman, b. 1818).

Connecticut-born Jeremiah married Frances in Stamford on March 12, 1837, and they had three children of which James was the youngest. Jeremiah married his second wife Sarah E (b. 1818) and then his third (?) wife, Connecticut native Sarah Mariah Leeds (1819-1904) on June 21, 1849, in Stamford, and they had six children. By 1850 James was attending school with his older sister Emily and living with his family in Stamford where his father worked as a bookkeeper. By 1860 John was living in Stamford, at home with his family, where his father (“Joseph”, born in New York) owned and operated a factory (he owned some $7500 worth of real estate). Before the war broke out John left Connecticut and headed westward, eventually settling in Michigan.

John stood 5’4” with brown eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was a 21-year-old farmer probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

During the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 2-3, 1863, James reportedly left the lines for 48 hours without permission. He was charged with deserting his company by Captain Israel Geer, then commanding Company C, and was court-martialled on August 1, 1863, at headquarters, First Division, Third Corps. Specifically, it was alleged that James did desert the company and regiment while it was engaged at the battle of Chancellorsville, and did not return to the regiment until May 3. he pled not guilty.

Lieutenant Theodore Hetz of Company C was called by the prosecution. Hetz swore that “On the 2nd of May, 1863, we were ordered to make a night charge. When we went in he was with the company while we were fighting, and acted very well. I did not again see him till the 4th day of May, when he reported to the regiment at the rifle pits.”
Judge Advocate: Was he in any other engagements, under fire, that day, previous to the charge?

Answer: Yes. We were engaged in the afternoon.

Judge Advocate: Was the accused with his company during the engagement of the afternoon?

Answer: Yes, he was there, and he behaved very well.

Prisoner: What has been my character as a soldier?

Answer: It has been very good. He has behaved well both in camp and in battle; he fought well at Gettysburg.
Lieutenant Hetz was then dismissed and the prosecution called First Sergeant Muhlberg. He testified that James

left the company after the charge was made, on or about the night of the 2nd of May, 1863. I saw him whenhe charged, he was in his place in the ranks. When we fell back, about 10 or 11 o’clock PM and took position in the rifle pits, I was ordered to call the roll, and I missed him, and reported him as missing in action. I did not see him again till the morning of the 4th of May 1863, when he returned, and reported himself to the regiment. For his absence, he gave, as an excuse, that he could not rejoin his regiment.
Judge Advocate: How did he behave in action?

Answer: He behaved well; he always does, he is a good soldier in camp also.

Judge Advocate: Has he been on duty since he has been a prisoner?

Answer: Yes, sir, and fought well at the battle of Gettysburg, Pa.

The defense then called George Shadduck of Company C.

Prisoner: What time did I return to my regiment after the charge made on the 2nd of May 1863?

Answer: He returned about dark, on the night of the 3rd.

James then called Mathias Greenwalt of Company C.

Prisoner: At what time did I report to my regiment aft the charge made the night of the 2nd of May?

Answer: I do not know whether he reported himself or not, but I saw him at the regiment on the night of the 3rd of May.

James then submitted the following statement to the court:

I got separated from my regiment in the charge on the night of 2nd of May, it was very dark, and I got into the 12th Army Corps; in the morning, at daybreak, I was with a large number of men, from different regiments (some from our brigade), put into the rifle pits on the left of the Chancellor House, and obliged to remain there till ordered to fall back, when, finding it a good opportunity to get to my regiment [did so].
James was found guilty and sentenced to forfeit one month’s pay. The officers of the court, however, signed a letter to the commanding general recommending that the sentence be remitted (which it was) due to his previous good character.

In any case, James reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Lowell, Kent County, returned home (to Michigan or perhaps Connecticut) on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

James was reportedly shot and killed by a rebel sharpshooter near Petersburg, Virginia on June 17, 1864. According to the treasurer of the Michigan Soldiers’ Relief Association, James, “while laboring on the breastworks, about fifty feet from brigade headquarters, fell, shot through the left breast by a rebel sharpshooter. He expired within two minutes, without uttering a word. He has been buried under a locust on the bank of a small stream, forty rods north of a road leading east of Petersburg, and a mile or two from that city. I understand he was a gallant soldier and much esteemed in his regiment.”

Originally buried on Henry Bryan’s property near Meade Station, Virginia, James was eventually reburied in City Point National Cemetery: section E, grave 2554.

No pension seems to be available.