Fredericksburg NaCem

Andrew Nickerson - update 8/29/2016

Andrew Nickerson was born in 1834 in Ontario, Canada, the son of Elisha or Elihu (1804-1888) and Mary (Winegarden, b. 1814).

New York native Elihu married Canadian-born Mary Winegarden in Windham, Ontario in December of 1831. The family moved from Canada to Cattaraugus County, New York in 1838, then headed westward settling about 1840 in Lake County, Indiana, where they remained until sometime around 1848 when the family moved to Michigan. By 1850 Elisha was running a hotel in Prairieville, Barry County, where Andrew attended school with seven of his younger siblings, including his brother Edwin who would also join the Third Michigan. By 1860 Elisha or Elihu had moved the family to a farm in Leighton, Allegan County where Andrew worked as a farm laborer (along with his younger brother Edwin) and was living with his family.

He was 27 years old and probably still living in Allegan County when he enlisted as Fourth Sergeant in Company E on May 13, 1861; his younger brother Edwin would join Company E the following year.

It is quite possible that Andrew enlisted in the Hastings Rifle Company in April of 1861. That company was disbanded shortly after it arrived in Grand Rapids to join the Third Michgian infantry then forming at Cantonment Anderson south of city and its members distributed to other companies of the Regiment.

Andrew was promoted to First Sergeant on July 19 or July 23, 1861, at Hunter’s Farm, Virginia. He was subsequently promoted to Second Lieutenant and transferred to Company H on August 12, 1862, at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, replacing Lieutenant Thomas Waters. On September 16, 1862, while the regiment was in camp near Alexandria, Virginia, Andrew wrote to the widow of John Call, formerly of Company E.

It becomes my painful duty to inform you that your husband is no more. He departed this life Sept. 8th, 1862, in the hospital at Alexandria. He died of wounds received in the battle of Groveton Aug. 29th, 1862. Early in the action he received a minie ball in the knee. He was borne from the field by his comrades. His wounds dressed and he was sent to the hospital. None suppose his wound would prove fatal, but it did. I deeply sympathize with you in your great loss. I have known your husband but little over a year yet he seemed as near to me as a brother. He was a favorite of the whole company, brave and generous to a fault. We all mourn his loss and yet almost envy him the proud death he died.

You will see by the note I enclose from the Surgeon in the Hospital that he left no effects of any value. His knapsack with his spare clothes was put aboard a vessel at Harrison’s Landing and when we received them after we returned form Manassas some of them we found to be rotted, having been exposed to the weather. Mr. Call’s was among this number. There was nothing in it except some blankets and a few clothes.

Any information that I can give you I will be most happy to impart. He had about 4 months pay due him at the time of his death.

With all respects, I remain yours truly, Andrew Nickerson, Lieut. Company E 3rd Mich Vol

In October Andrew was transferred to Company K and promoted to First Lieutenant on October 20, replacing Lieutenant Fred Stowe. He was home in Michigan during the winter of 1863, and rejoined the regiment in early March of that year. He was charged with neglect of duty, in that he reportedly forged discharge papers for a private, but nothing came of this apparently and he was never court-martialed.

Andrew was then appointed acting Regimental Quartermaster from July 13, 1863, through September, and in December he was on detached service in Michigan, probably recruiting for the Regiment.

Although he was still reported detached in Grand Rapids in January of 1864 (since December 28, 1863), he was promoted to Captain on January 18, 1864, and commissioned to date November 1, 1863. He eventually returned to the Regiment before the spring campaign of 1864, and was killed in action on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia.

According to Dan Crotty of Company F Nickerson was killed on May 7. Some years after the war Crotty wrote that during the engagement at the Wilderness, “The fearful butchery commences on the morning of the 7th, and charge after charge is made on both sides,” and at one point the Regiment had driven the rebels back inside their works. “They reform and drive us back. We take shelter in some temporary works thrown up by themselves, and here hold them in check for awhile. But they come down on us with superior numbers. We keep them on the other side for awhile, and a hand to hand fight takes place. Here is where Captain Nickerson, of company K, was killed by a bayonet thrust.”

Andrew was buried in Fredericksburg National Cemetery: grave 3550 (old 191).

In 1870 Elihu and Mary were living in Mason County where Elihu worked as a lawyer. (He owned some $6000 worth of real estate.)

Simeon D. Woodard - update 9/11/2016

Simeon D. Woodard was born in 1843 in Canada, the son of Vermonter Dexter (1812-1895) and Artemissia (Dutcher, 1812-1898).

Simeon’s parents were married in 1829 and by 1851 the family was living in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada. Sometime between 1855 and 1859 the family left Canada and by 1860 Simeon and his family had settled in Leoni, Jackson County.

Simeon stood 5’9” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer possibly living in Jackson County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861.

He was missing in action on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and returned to the regiment on September 19 at Baltimore, Maryland.

Simeon was killed in action on November 30, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia, although Dan Crotty of Company F wrote some years after the war that Woodard's’ death was the result of his own “carelessness.” It was at Mine Run, wrote Crotty in 1876, “that we lost one of our best soldiers by his own carelessness, Simeon Woodard. When about to relieve a man on the picket line, he commenced to walk out to the post upright. We caution him to creep out, like the other men, but he don't heed our admonitions, so he takes the consequences. He had only moved a few rods when he dropped his gun and put back to the reserve. Sitting down, he drops off a corpse. We soon learn that he received his death wound through the bowels.”

Simeon was buried in Fredericksburg National Cemetery: grave 3691 (old 178).

His parents eventually settled in New Haven, Gratiot County, where they were both living along with a number of their children in 1870 and 1880. In 1886 his mother, was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 336,264).

John T. Webster - updated 3/22/2015

Based on a review of pension records: 

John T. Webster was born in 1828 in Pennsylvania, probably the son of Francis (b. 1807) and Rachel (b. 1810).

John’s parents were both born in Pennsylvania and presumably married there. In any case they left Pennsylvania and by 1844 had settled in Ohio. The family eventually moved further west and eventually settled in Michigan.

John married New York native Emily C. Munger (b. 1838) on May 1, 1856, in Rutland, Barry County, and they had at least one child, a son: William Henry (b. 1858).

By 1860 John and his wife and child were living on a farm next to his parents’ in Rutland, Barry County. Several houses away lived Truman Wisner who would also join the 3rd Michigan Infantry.

John was a 34-year-old farmer and probably living in Rutland, Barry County when he was drafted on February 10, 1863, at Rutland for 9 months, crediting Rutland. John was assigned to Company E and joined the Regiment on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia.

He died of disease at Camp Sickles, Virginia on April 6, 1863, and may have been buried initially on the Bullard farm, but was eventually interred in Fredericksburg National Cemetery: grave no. 5030 (or 118).

In June of 1863 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 39172). In 1865 Emily was living in Hastings, Barry County, when she remarried to Henry Cook in Battle Creek, Calhoun County. Subsequently a pension application was filed by the William’s guardian, Israel Leighton, and approved (no. 94226) on behalf of a minor child.

Richard P. Johnson - update 8/29/2016

Richard P. Johnson was born in 1838 in New York, the son of Andrew (d. 1842) and Catherine A. (Penny).

Richard’s parents were married in December of 1834 in New York City. The family left New York State and eventually settling in western Michigan. By 1850 Richard was living with the Michael Cromiger or Croniger family in Cascade, Kent County and attending school with one of the Cromiger children (although curiously his place of birth is listed as unknown). By 1860 Richard was working as a farm laborer and living at the Western Exchange Hotel in Cascade, which was operated by Daniel Cromiger (who had lived next door to Michael Cromiger in 1850). Shortly before the war broke out Richard joined the Valley City Guard, a prewar Grand Rapids’ militia company many of whose members would form the nucleus for Company A.

Richard was 23 years old when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861.

He was killed in action on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, reportedly by an exploding shell, and was buried in Fredericksburg National Cemetery: grave no. 2965 (or old 2).

In June of 1863 his mother was living in Willoughby, Lake County, Ohio when she applied for and received a pension (no. 16873).

Nelson G. Grommond

Nelson G. Grommond, also known as “Drummond,” was born 1839 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the son of Jarls or Earls (b. 1807) and Nancy (b. 1815).

Both born in New York Nelson’s parents settled in Ohio by 1837 when their daughter Louisa was born. By 1850 Nelson was attending school with four of his siblings and living on the family farm in Bedford, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. By 1860 his family had moved to Michigan and were living in Boston, Ionia (Nelson is not living with them however).

Nelson was a 22-year-old a painter possibly living in Boston, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on February 10, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was reported in the hospital at Bottom’s Bridge, Virginia in late June suffering from “a lame back,” and remained hospitalized through September of 1862. Nelson eventually rejoined the Regiment and was promoted to Corporal.

He was killed accidentally on January 6, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia. The Detroit Advertiser and Tribune reported that he “was instantly killed by the springing back of a tree which he was felling. He was a young man of good character and a good soldier, and till now escaped the bullets of the enemy, and lost his life by an accident.”

Nelson may have been buried initially on the Primmer farm but was eventually interred in Fredericksburg National Cemetery: grave no. 2582 (or 124).

No pension seems to be available. (His brother Franklin received a pension for service in the Sixth Michigan cavalry.)

His father and younger brother Cyrenus were still living in Boston, Ionia County in 1870.