Fulton cemetery

Oscar Neal UPDATE 13 July 2018

Oscar Neal was born on January 24, 1844, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Carlton (1820-1896) and Anna M. (1823-1856). 

His father settled in Grand Rapids in 1841 (see Carlton’s biography above), and his parents were married, possibly in New York sometime before 1844. By 1850 Oscar was living with his family and attending school with his brother Orrin in Grand Rapids.

Oscar stood 5’6” with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (At the same time his father Carlton joined Company K, and he may have been related to Lucius Neal who also enlisted in Company B.) Oscar was discharged on August 7, 1862, at a camp near Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, for chronic diarrhea and a scrotal hernia. 

In 1863 he applied for and received a pension (no. 562602).

Following his discharge Oscar returned to his home in Grand Rapids. By 1880 he was reported a pauper in the Kent County Poor House where he lived until he was admitted to the hospital at the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 312) on May 11, 1886. He was discharged from the Home on July 10, 1886, in order to be transferred to the Kalamazoo Insane Asylum (no. 4345), where he was admitted on July 13 diagnosed as “dementia chronic,” cause unknown. 

It is said that he was at one time insane and confined in the County house. He was noticed to be insane shortly after his admission to the [Michigan] Soldiers’ Home, and very soon developed delusions of suspicion and apprehension. He thinks he is having a personal contest with Gov. Crapo [of Michigan], and is constantly watching for him; not infrequently he sees the governor coming in the person of some of his comrades, and attacks them. He says he is on guard duty all the time and is constantly carrying a heavy musket. He is in poor health, is rather pale and emaciated. His appetite is poor, his tongue coated and his bowels irregular. He is excitable, and irritable, and has delusions as before noted. He is brought to the Asylum by Sheriff John Platte and is received by Dr. Edwards on the directions of Dr. Palmer and sent to hall F.  

By January of 1893 Neal’s “chief symptoms remain unmodified. Although his health is never vigorous, it appears to be very well sustained. He does a little work at the farm but is inclined to indolence. He is easily managed and seems to be contented.” By the end of April Neal was reported “to be as ordinary both in mind and body,” and he was discharged into his father’s care on May 31, 1893. However, he was returned to the Asylum on November 14. According to his readmission notes, “It seems he became uncontrollable at home.” He disappeared on June 3, 1894, but was returned four days later on June 7. He had apparently walked to Grand Rapids (perhaps trying to return home).  

Oscar escaped from the Asylum again on April 22, 1896. He had been working the laundry and went outside for a pail of coal and did not return. According to his hospital record, “He was not missed, however, till dinner time and. . . .” He was found in Martin, Kalamazoo County, and was returned on April 24 (again possibly trying to get to Grand Rapids). His father died in July of the same year, and one Henry Mitchell (perhaps the brother of Virtue, Oscar’s stepmother) of Grand Rapids was appointed his guardian, at a date now unknown. Henry visited him quite regularly over the years, although it appears that Virtue came to see him but once.  

In April of 1899 Oscar was reported as feeling “well, is active, and never sick although he has the appearance of being a rather frail man and is anemic and thin. He is quite talkative, but is confused and rather incoherent with a general expression or feeling of being persecuted and frequently asks if he is not soon to be sent home.” By mid-1900 there was “no change” in his condition. “His mental action is maniacal and he asks over the same questions concerning his return home, makes incoherent inquiries concerning his property and moves about in an aimless fashion. . . . Patient works as actively as ever and seems to take a great interest in the management of livestock. He is always rather irritable and boyish toward his fellow patients and requires constant supervision to prevent him from interfering with the rights of other. He is impatient and peevish and very apt to think that everyone is trying to annoy him.”  

Oscar remained generally delusional and confused, and was often noisy in his conversation, although he worked well in the Asylum laundry for some years. On July 2, 1900 his guardian Henry Mitchell, with the consent of the hospital staff, took Oscar home to Grand Rapids. On September 12 Oscar was brought back to Kalamazoo by his guardian and readmitted “as an indigent patient.” He was removed again on June 8, 1901 by his guardian and returned on August 20.

In January of 1902 he became ill with pneumonia but was relatively healthy again by the end of March. On June 14, 1902, it was reported that Neal was “exceedingly delusional & talks a great deal in an incoherent manner about getting a good poor-master so that he may again go home.” By the middle of June 1903 his condition still had not changed. On June he was reported “as noisy and delusional as ever. He is almost constantly talking about returning to Kent County and about the need of going to the poor master. His language is always quite confused and very delusional. he still assists with the work at the laundry and is a very efficient helper.”  

In early February of 1904 he was sick again with pneumonia, and his conditioned worsened steadily. He died at the Asylum of pneumonia at 2:30 p.m. on February 11, 1904,  and his remains were sent to Grand Rapids where the funeral was held at D. & McInnes funeral home. He was buried alongside his parents in Fulton cemetery: section 5 lot 23.


Where is Casper Thenner?

Casper Thenner was born in 1831 in Germany. He stood 5’4” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 30-year-old laborer possibly living in Shiawassee or Kent County 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.)

Casper was taken prisoner on July 1 or 2, 1862, at White Oak Swamp, Virginia, confined at Richmond, Virginia, and paroled in mid-September. He was returned to the regiment on either November 15 at Alexandria, Virginia, or December 20, 1862, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia.

He reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids’ 4th Ward, and was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February.

Thenner was transferred to Company I, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

He  was  taken prisoner on December 6, 1864, at Jerusalem Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia and was sent from Petersburg to Richmond on December 10, 1864. Casper was paroled at Cox’s Wharf, Virginia on February 5, 1865, and furloughed as a paroled prisoner of war.

Casper returned to Grand Rapids, where he was examined by Dr. Charles Hempel. Dr. Hempel certified on March 20, 1865, that Thenner was “suffering from chronic diarrhea and general debility and is not able to travel and I further certify that in my opinion he will not be fit for duty in less than twenty days.”

Casper died of chronic diarrhea on May 27, 1865, in Grand Rapids and "his funeral was attended and the remains followed to the grave by a company, under command of Captain [Theodore] Hetz, of heroes, once members of the old Third. According to a local newspaper he was buried in the “city cemetery”.

This much we know. What we don't know is exactly where he is buried.

According to the online resource Findagrave.com, Casper was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery (Hall and Eastern streets). Certainly a number of men who died during the war are interred in the Watson GAR Post lot in Oak Hill but there was never any mention of Casper in the earliest records (newspaper or burial) and it seems unlikely he was interred there. Plus, the Grand Rapids Eagle reported that a procession of his former comrades "followed" the coffin to the grave, which lends credence to the theory that he was buried in Fulton since it was located right at the edge of town (Oak Hill was then out in the country). Finally, Fulton was the "city cemetery" during the war.

Since Casper was German- or Dutch-born it is, of course, possible that he was buried on the west side of the city but, again there is no reason to presume that to true beyond the simple fact that many European immigrants lived on that side of the river. Anyway, quite a few Dutch immigrants who died in the mid-nineteenth century are in fact buried in Fulton Cemetery. (For example, Martiena Van der Stolpe died in 1864 and Pieter Van der Stolpe died in 1866 and both and are buried in division 9 of Fulton.)

So, assuming Casper was buried in Fulton, where is his grave?

One starting place would be at what is today the back side of the cemetery but during the war a burial place of distinction. A number of other Old 3rd men who died during the war are interred at the top of the hill, in division 7: Lieutenants Peter Weber, Charles Cary, and Peter Bogardus and Captain Samuel Judd, while Brigadier General Stephen Champlin is buried in his own section right  next to division 7.

Along the same ridge is division 8 which then slops downward to division 9 and the western boundary of the cemetery. It is in division 9 that Margaret "Maggie" Ferguson was buried in 1861. She had sewn the regimental flag presented to the regiment by the ladies of the city shortly before the regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861. He grave remained unmarked until sometime after the war when the Old 3rd Association paid to have a marker erected on it.

While there is little evidence beyond "reasonable speculation" to assume he is buried in division 8 or 9, I believe that either would be, at this point, the "most likely" location. Barring the discovery of sexton's records dating back to the mid-1860s, we cannot confirm tCasper's burial location one way or the other.

So, the question remains: where is Casper Thenner?

Peter A. Weber UPDATE 13 July 2018

Peter A. Weber was born in 1841 in New York, the son of Rev. William Myers Weber (1803-1853) and Emeline Margaret Talman (1805-1879). 

In 1855 Peter was living with his mother and three siblings and his paternal grandmother in Friendship, Allegany County, New York (his father William is buried in Third Street Cemetery in Friendship). In 1857 Peter moved with his mother and family from Fairfield, Connecticut to Grand Rapids. 

He was, wrote the Grand Rapids Eagle in 1863,

a bright, interesting lad, of about 15 years of age. His gentlemanly bearing, correct deportment, and intelligent activity, commanded more than casual notice from all with whom he came in contact. When, from a praiseworthy ambition to be doing for himself, he sought a clerkship, a situation was offered him in one of our leading houses. Always prompt, attentive, and diligent, he won the high esteem and confidence of his employers. At length, impelled by a restlessness, almost universal among boys, he sought to satisfy an irresistible desire for adventure, by a season “before the mast.” A very short experience, however, sufficed to convince him that a life on the ocean wave was not all his fancy had painted it, and he returned to appreciate in a three-fold degree, the joys and comforts of home and friends. During the two succeeding years, he occupied several positions of honor and trust in our city, making to himself fast friends by the faithful discharge of his duties, and by his courteous address.

Around 1859 Peter was employed as a librarian for a local subscription library. (Peter was succeeded as librarian by Hobart Chipman, son of Dr. Oscar Chipman, who would join the 3rd Michigan Band.) He soon left that job to resume his work as a clerk for J. W. Pierce, and in 1860 he was a clerk living with his mother in Grand Rapids’ 3rd Ward; also living with them was his sister Ann, his maternal grandmother Margaret Talman (b. 1790) and two other elderly Talmans: Harriet (b. 1795) and Thomas (b. 1796).

“In April, 1860,” wrote the Eagle in 1863, Peter “girded himself for the warfare of life, by ratifying his baptismal vows in the solemn rite of confirmation. The five young men who that evening knelt together before the altar, afterwards entered their country's services. Two of them -- [Thomas] Mitchell and Weber -- have already found the ranks marshaled on the starry plains above.”

Peter was 20 years old and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with his mother’s consent as Second Corporal in Company A on May 13, 1861.

former cpl of the 3rd Michigan was serving as Major of the 6th Michigan cavalry when he was killed at Falling Waters, MD, on July 14, 1863; source: USAMHI

former cpl of the 3rd Michigan was serving as Major of the 6th Michigan cavalry when he was killed at Falling Waters, MD, on July 14, 1863; source: USAMHI

According to Rebecca Richmond, teenage daughter of William Richmond one of Grand Rapids’ leading citizens and a close friend of Peter’s sister “Lizzie,” Weber came to call on her and her family on June 2. He told Rebecca that he had just enlisted that day and expected to go into camp (Cantonment Anderson at the old fairgrounds south of the city) the following day, and join the Third Michigan then forming in Grand Rapids.

And on June 12, the night before the Regiment left for Washington, Rebecca wrote in her diary that “This evening Mr. [Daniel] Littlefield and friend, Peter Weber, Corporals in the Third, called to bid us good bye. Poor Peter seemed to feel badly enough and I am sure we did too. He will be very much missed from our circle of young people as well as from his home. Should any accident befall him it would be mourned by the whole city, for Peter was widely known.”

A month later Peter wrote to Rebecca, and on July 13 she noted in her diary that Littlefield and Weber “write cheerfully, but express a desire for more active service than the guarding of a bridge [Chain bridge] across the Potomac. It seems to us anxious and waiting ones at home a most insane desire which we hope may not be fulfilled.”

Peter was soon promoted to Sergeant, probably in late July or early August, but remained determined to see “more active service.” Consequently, on August 31 he requested from his commanding officer, Captain Samuel Judd, that he be “transferred from your command to the cavalry Regiment being raised in Michigan by. Colonel F. W. Kellogg. My reason for doing so is that I have had the offer of a commission as second lieutenant in a company of that Regiment; and I believe that in many respects I am better fitted to belong to a cavalry corps than Infantry.”

Captain Judd allowed the transfer, and Weber was discharged in the first week of September of 1861 in order to be transferred to Second Michigan cavalry as Regimental Adjutant, while the regiment was then forming at Detroit. Following his discharge he returned to Grand Rapids, arriving there on September 9. Rebecca noted in her diary on September 10 that “Peter Weber called to see us this evening. He returned from Washington yesterday, having obtained a discharge from the Third Regiment, with a view of entering Colonel Kellogg's cavalry Regiment here as 2nd Lieutenant in one of the companies.”

Peter was commissioned Battalion Adjutant as of September 2, 1861, and mustered on October 2 at Grand Rapids, when the Second cavalry was mustered into service. The regiment left Michigan for St. Louis, Missouri, on November 14, 1861 and was on duty at Benton Barracks in St. Louis through February of 1862. It participated in the siege of New Madrid, Missouri, the siege and capture of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River, in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, and was assigned to Louisville in September of 1862. It participated in the battle of Perryville on October 8 and numerous actions in eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia through the winter.

Peter served as aide-de-camp on the staff of Colonel Elliott, Second Brigade cavalry Division, from April of 1862 through May and was acting Assistant Adjutant General for the Second Brigade, cavalry Division, from June 21, 1862, on the staff of General Granger through July. Rebecca wrote on July 24, 1862, that “Peter Weber returned yesterday from his Regiment . . . on business, I presume, and has today gone into Detroit.”

Two days later Rebecca wrote that “Lizzie and Peter Weber called here this afternoon. Peter has just returned from Detroit and Kalamazoo, and is to return to the latter place next week to open a recruiting office for the 2nd Mich Cav. He is aid de camp to some general, and ranks as Lieut.” And on July 28, “Peter Weber spent the evening with Mary and me. We enjoyed his call exceedingly.”

On August 6, 1862, Peter was appointed Battalion Adjutant and was mustered out on August 13 in order to be transferred to the Sixth Michigan cavalry. He was promoted and transferred as Captain of Company B, Sixth Michigan cavalry on or about October 9, 1862, and commissioned October 13, at organization of that unit, and was mustered on October 11 at Grand Rapids, crediting Grand Rapids and listing Grand Rapids as his residence.

Peter was promoted Captain and Assistant Adjutant General on April 17, 1863. By the summer of 1863 Peter was (apparently) serving as Major for the Sixth Michigan cavalry, and he distinguished himself in that role during the cavalry’s various actions near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in early July. Peter was in fact serving in that capacity on June 30 when elements of the Michigan cavalry brigade, under the command of Brigadier General George A. Custer, went into action near Hanover, Pennsylvania against elements of General Fitz Lee’s Confederate brigade. The Fifth and Sixth Michigan had just reached Littlestown, Pennsylvania, south and west of Hanover,

shortly after daylight, spending much of the morning resting in town. The Fifth departed first, scouting on a back road near Hanover. When a local man reported Rebels toward Hanover, the Sixth marched on the Littlestown Road. About a mile from their destination, they struck Lee’s troopers, who were deploying to cover Stuart’s left flank.

The Southerners formed for an attack. Colonel Gray of the Sixth Michigan realized that his regiment had little chance against an entire brigade. Forming companies B and F, under Major Peter Weber, into a skirmish line to delay the Rebels, Gray detoured the remaining companies to the northwest, and in the words of a disgruntled sergeant, “was obliged to skedaddle not very creditably.” Twice Lee’s veterans attacked Weber’s squadron and were repulsed by the Northerners, who were armed with Spencer rifles. The Spencer was a .56-caliber weapon, with a seven-shot magazine, or cylindrical tube, that fit into the stock. A squadron of men could deliver firepower beyond their numbers, and the Michiganders raked the Southerners. A third assault settled it, however, as Weber retired, losing approximately 20 men as prisoners. Cut off from their comrades, the squadron did not rejoin the Sixth until the next morning [July 1].

On July 1, Union cavalry forces marched from Hanover to East Berlin where they bivouacked for the night. Early in the morning of July 2 Union General George Meade further concentrated his army (which had begun the day before) near the village of Gettysburg and consequently ordered General Pleasonton, commanding the Union cavalry forces, to bring his troopers to Gettysburg. Near Hunterstown the Sixth Michigan ran into elements of Confederate General Wade Hampton’s brigade. The Sixth chased the rebels into Hunterstown. During the day units of the Sixth clashed with the rebels near the John Felty farm. That night, Kilpatrick’s cavalry division was ordered to march to Two Taverns, just south of Gettysburg, where they arrived just before daybreak on July 3.

Following some skirmishing near Two Taverns, elements of the Michigan Brigade, including the Sixth cavalry, bivouacked for the night. The next day the Brigade headed toward the Gettysburg battlefield and by July 5 Confederates began retreating to Virginia, and the Union cavalry took up the pursuit. On July 10, Union infantry and artillery units found the rebels along the banks of the Potomac stretching from Williamsport to Falling Waters as they sought to cross the river. On July 13 General Meade ordered a reconnaissance for the following day.

As a part of Meade’s reconnaissance in force on July 14, Kilpatrick’s division closed on Williamsport, where it discovered abandoned works and a handful of rearguard troops. During the night, shielded by more heavy rain and the darkness, Lee evacuated his position, crossing the ford at Williamsport and the pontoon bridge at Falling Waters [Maryland]. Most of the Confederates had passed into Virginia by daylight, except for infantry at Falling Waters. Local residents alerted Kilpatrick to the presence of these troops, five miles downstream, and the Union general hurried his division to the location in what an officer described as “a wild ride.”

Custer halted the Michigan Brigade in a woodlot. Beyond the tree line, a large, cultivated field rose to a knoll, where “crescent-shaped” enemy works could be seen. Uncertain of the Rebel strength, Custer instructed Major Peter Weber to advance Companies B and F of the Sixth Michigan, dismounted, into the field as skirmishers. Kilpatrick, however, reined up, briefly studied the works, and countermanded the order, directing Weber to mount the companies and attack., “Gen. Kilpatrick don’t wait for infantry or orders when the rebels are in places as that, retreating across a river,” a staff officer boasted about the general on this day.

Regarded as “the best officer in the regiment,” Weber formed the two companies -- fifty-seven men -- in a column. Emerging from the trees, they crossed the muddy field at a trot. Fortune rode with them for a few minutes as the Southerners mistook them for their own cavalry. Before the alabamians and Tennesseans realized that they were Federals, Weber’s men had plunged into the works, sabers slashing and pistols firing. The surprised confederatesd belonged to Major General Henry Heth’s division and numbered in the hundred. They blasted the horsemen at point-blank range and swung muskets or fence rails. Weber pitched from the saddle, dead; Lieutenant Charles E. Bolza was killed and Lieutenant George Crawford’s leg was shattered, . . . Caught in a vise, the Michiganders never had a chance. Of the fifty-eight officers and men, fifteen were killed, twelve wounded and thirteen captured. “It cost us Some of our Bravest & Best men,” complained a surgeon in the brigade.”

In his official report of August 7, 1863, General Judson Killpatrick, commanding the cavalry division in which Weber served, wrote of the action at Falling Waters

that at 3 o'clock on the morning of the 14th ultimo I learned that the enemy's pickets were retiring to my front. Having been previously ordered to attack at 7 a.m., I was ready to move at once. At daylight I had reached the crest of the hills occupied by the enemy an hour before, and at a few moments before 6 o'clock General Custer drove the rear guard of the enemy into the river at Williamsport. Learning from citizens that a portion of the enemy had retreated in the direction of Falling Waters, I at once moved rapidly for that point, and came up with the rear guard of the enemy at 7.30 a.m., at a point 2 miles distant from Falling Waters. We pressed on, driving them before us, capturing many prisoners and one gun. When within a mile and a half of Falling Waters, the enemy was found in large force, drawn up in line of battle, on the crest of a hill, commanding the road on which I was advancing. His left was protected by earthworks, and his right extended to the woods far on my left. The enemy was, when first seen, in two lines of battle, with arms stacked. Within less than 1,000 yards of this large force, second piece of artillery with its support (consisting of infantry) was captured while attempting to get into position. The gun was taken to the rear.

A portion of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, seeing only that portion of the enemy behind the earthworks, charged. This charge, led by Major Weber, was the most gallant ever made. At a trot he passed up the hill, received the fire from the whole line, and the next moment rode through and over the earthworks; passed to the right, sabering rebels along the entire line, and returned with a loss of 30 killed, wounded, and missing, including the gallant Major Weber killed.

Shortly after the battle of Gettysburg, Peter had written to his family

in a very happy strain, rejoicing in the merciful Providence which had again preserved him through so many and great dangers. Only those who have near and dear ones within reach of the singing shot and shrieking shell, and enveloped ever and anon, in the ‘great white breaths of the cannon smoke’ -- only those can know of the emotions of joy and thankfulness that swelled the mother's heart, on the happy termination of her agonizing suspense. -- Through the cloud of apprehension which darkened his devoted sister's life, struggled a gleam of hope. That darling brother, her girlhood's constant companion, guardian and champion, would yet return to raise with them, under his own roof-tree, the glad song of deliverance --. Alas! delusive hope! The gleam was but a lightning flash, portending the approaching storm. -- The burden was raised from the mother's heart, only to sink back, a dead weight. Twelve short hours of happy musing over the letter which brought such good tidings -- and then came the telegram.

Were it all of life to live, we might indeed murmur at the decree according to which these most estimable characters, these cherished friends, have,

‘”to the grave gone down.”

The Eagle of July 27 printed a memorial to those men who had recently perished on the fields of battle, in which were given details of the battle at Falling Waters. “Another wave from the rapidly swelling tide of sorrow,” wrote the paper,

has just swept over our city. From a distant battle field came, a few days since, a telegram announcing the death of Major Peter A. Weber, and Lieutenant Charles E. Bolza. They were both members of the 6th Michigan Cavalry, which has gained for itself such an honorable name in the Army of the Potomac. On the 14th instant, this Regiment met, at Falling Waters, Virginia, four Brigades of the enemy, in line of battle, in a very strong position. “Two companies were deployed as skirmishers, while companies B and F, led by Major Weber, made the charge. So sudden and spirited was the dash, that the first Brigade surrendered without firing a shot. The charging squadron moved directly on, and engaged the second Brigade, when the Brigade that had surrender, seized their guns, and then commenced a fearful struggle. Of the 100 who made this charge, only 30 escaped uninjured.” There fell the gallant Weber -- then the gallant Bolza fell, pierced through the heart. Thus two more names are added to the list of Grand Rapids heroes -- a long list -- a glorious list -- but every word of it is the key to some widow's, some orphan's, mother's, or sister's grief. How strange that they should go hand-in-hand! How hard to be obliged to entwine cypress with the laurel wreath! The young men who are the subjects of this tribute, were widely and favorably known to our citizens, having been identified with our business and social circles for several years.

Many years after the war, J. H. Kidd, who served with Peter in the Michigan Brigade under general Custer and who knew Peter well, wrote that Custer had

ordered Weber to dismount his men, advance a line of skirmishers toward the hill and ascertain what he had to encounter. Kilpatrick, however, ordered Weber to remount and charge the hill. At that time no other portion of the regiment had arriverd so as to support the charge.

Weber, knowing no law for a soldier except implicit obedience to orders, first saw his men well closed up, then placed himself at their head and giving the order “Forward,” emerged from the woods into the open field, took the trot until near the top of the slope, close to the earthworks, and then with a shout the little band of less than a hundred men charged right into the midst of ten times their number of veteran troops. The first onset surprised and astonished the enemy, who had mistaken Weber’s force for a squadron of their own cavalry. The audacity of the thing amazed them for a minute, and for a minute only.

Weber, cutting right and left with his saber, and cheering on his men, pierced the first line, but there could be but one result. Recovering from their surprise, the confederate infantry rallied, and seizing their arms, made short work of their daring assailants. In a few minutes, of the three officers in the charge, two -- Weber and Bolza -- lay dead on the field, and the other -- Crawford -- had his leg shattered so it had to be amputated.

On July 18, Lieutenant Colonel Foote of the Sixth Michigan cavalry wrote to his wife, informing her of the recent developments in the Regiment and mentioned in detail the recent deaths of several of his officers.

I am so bewildered [he wrote] with the fatigue and hardships of marches, day and night, and the successive and severe fighting, and more than all, with the grief I suffer for the dead of our Regiment, that I cannot write. Captains Weber and Royce, and Lieutenant Bolza, were killed at Falling Waters -- Captain W., in leading the most brilliant charge on the enemy's works, that was ever performed in this or any other war. His last words to his men were worthy of him: “Follow me, my men. -- words worth the sacrifice of life. Oh! Weber, how can I part with you? the bravest of the brave! I brought the body of Captain Weber from the field, and made every effort to get it to Washington, to be embalmed. I tried to do the same for the body of Captain Royce; and they were brought as far as Harper's Ferry and there buried. Lieutenant Covell has been detailed to get them embalmed and sent home. Captain Weber was appointed Major July 12.

“When the ominous boom of Moultrie's cannon started our patriots to arms,” observed the Eagle on July 27, 1863, “young Weber was among the first to respond to the call for volunteers, enlisting in the glorious Third as private. A companion one day rallying him about his short jacket and lack of title -- ‘Ah, my friend,’ replied he, ‘I have commenced at the lowest round, and one step at a time, I am going up, up, up.’ His subsequent career shows how persevering he was, how true to his watchwords ‘upward and onward’.

Colonel Gray, commanding the Second Michigan cavalry, wrote on August 19 in his official report, that at Falling Waters Weber “was indefatigable in the discharge of every duty. Heroically, he had no fear of danger. Wherever duty called he was ever forward, and to him, more than any other person, am I indebted for aid in the conduct and management of the Regiment. A truer soldier, a more honorable, efficient and accomplished officer, I never knew; and these characteristics and qualities were so displayed during the battle of Gettysburg, as on all other occasions, as to render his name one that deserves particular mention in this report.” J. H. Kidd, who also served in the Custer Brigade with Peter, wrote some years after the war that in his opinion Peter “was a rare and natural soldier, the embodiment of courage and, had death not interrupted his career, must have come near the head of the list of cavalry officers.” Kidd noted elsewhere, that “Weber was a born soldier, fitted by nature and acquirements for much higher rank than any he held.”

Peter’s body was returned to Grand Rapids and his funeral was held at S. Mark’s church on Saturday July 25. At about 3:00 p.m.

the immediate friends, with the relatives, assembled at the residence of the mother of the deceased soldier, on Ransom Street, and escorted the remains to St. Mark's church, at the front entrance of which, they were received by Rev. Dr. Tustin, who preceded the funeral cortege up the center aisle, reciting the sentences of Scripture commencing with, “I am the resurrection and the life” -- the organ accompanying in a plaintive and solemn melody.

The body was enclosed in a rich metallic coffin -- over which the stars and stripes were thrown, and upon them was laid the dead hero's saber; and was placed in front of the Chancel rails, which had also been appropriately festooned with the American flag; and in the rear of the leading desk, were suspended the battle-rent colors of the ever to be remembered “3rd.” An elegant vase of flowers also appeared upon the communion table.

We noticed, in the front pews, and near this portion of the church, General Stephen G. Champlin, formerly of the 3rd; Colonel Byron R. Pierce, now its commander; Colonel A. A. Alger, of the 5th cavalry; Captain Thompson of the 6th cavalry, Captain I. C. Smith, of the 3rd, and Lieutenant S. B. Smith, of the 3rd -- with all of whom the deceased had served -- and Lieutenant Elliott F. Covell, of the 5th cavalry. -- With the exception of the last, all of these officers wounded in their country’s service; and under any other circumstances, than such as were then transpiring, it might have been thought almost presumptuous, in their present condition, to have been out of their rooms. Throughout the large audience, we noticed several other military men, and a number of discharged wounded soldiers.

After the usual services, which were interspersed with music, had been performed, Dr. Tustin preached from the text of Scripture, “I have fought the good fight,” a short but interesting discourse. The choir, consisting of Mrs. Wenham, Mr. N. I. Gallup, Messers R. Smith, Jr., and James H. Willson, then sang ‘The tribute to Ellsworth’, the words aptly improvised for the lamented Weber -- and thus closed the exercises at the church. A long train of carriages followed the body to Fulton Street cemetery, where the church services concluded. The Masonic Order, under the direction of Worthy Master A. J. Rogers, and in the interesting liturgy of that institution, completed the solemn services of the hour -- John W. Champlin, Esq., Senior Warden, pronouncing a beautiful, patriotic, and highly appropriate eulogy, replete with true sentiment, generous thoughts, and loyal references, over the receding remains.

Major Weber, entered the ranks of the Mich 3rd, as a private, in May 1861, as a 3-months volunteer, relinquishing a lucrative clerkship with J. W. Pierce, in order to enlist. When, a few weeks later, the Regiment was informed that no more three months' men would be taken, but that enlistments must be for “3 years, or the war,” he was one of the foremost to step ‘to the front.’ He continued with the 3rd until the then succeeding fall, when he joined the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, and acted in the capacity of Battalion Adjutant until mustered out by general orders, under the act of July 1862 -- having been with the Regiment constantly, and in several skirmishes -- in which he proved himself an able and proficient soldier. Returning to his home in this city, last fall, inducements to enter into the pursuits of private life were offered him, which he declined, and on it being announced that Colonel Kellogg was to get up another cavalry Regiment to be commanded by Colonel Gray, young Weber again entered the service, was appointed Captain of Company B, September 15, 1862, having for his Lieutenants, Warren C. Comstock (who subsequently resigned), and Charles E. Bolza, who also met his death at the same time and place with that of his warmly attached Captain. His subsequent promotion to Majorship, was due to his excellence as a soldier, his devotion to duty, and his ever watchfulness in the performance of detail in camp -- all of which is vouched for to this writer, by his late Lieutenant Colonel (now Colonel) Alger, who speaks of him as “a most brave, true, and reliable officer.”

His widowed mother, to whom he was ever a dutiful and warm-hearted son, and his amiable sister, who loved him as only sisters can love -- will have the poignancy of their grief somewhat assuaged by the knowledge that his young life -- like that of the equally to be lamented, and heroic Bolza -- was offered up at the call of the constituted authorities of the Government, and in defense of its preeminent nationality. In the multitude of remembrances which they will naturally call up from the past, it will be a sad, yet not unprecedented thought, that he died, with his face to the enemy, and on the battle field, shouting to his men the ever to be remembered words, ‘Follow me, my men!’ -- and that his patriotic life-blood, mingled with that of the 100s of others of like promise and hope, has baptized anew the flag of our country, and rededicated its stars and stripes to the saving of a noble and beneficent government.

The loss of such generous and determined spirits as those of Major Weber and Lieutenants Mitchell, Bolza, and Kellogg, Major Ferry, and Captains Church and Judd, are not family but national losses. The example of such lives and deaths, will shed a halo of light around the future pathway of the youth of our land, who will learn to emulate their energy of character, and zealous devotion, and grow wiser and better, in virtue thereof. Therefore it is, that this community does cordially sympathize with the relatives of the noble son who proved the “bravest among the brave,” and one who, with others, sent forth from our daily walks, we had hoped to see safely returned, with the wreath of laurel around a living brow, rather than the perfume of virgin flowers rising from over his lifeless remains.

During a regular meeting of the Grand River Lodge no. 42 (?) held on August 26, at the Masonic Hall in Grand Rapids, passed the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, it having pleased the Great Ruler of the universe to remove, by death, our beloved brother mason, Major Peter A. Weber, of the 6th Mich. Cav., who fell while defending the flag and integrity of our country, at the battle of Falling Waters, Va. [sic], on July 14, 1863, we fell it not only our duty but mournful pleasure to bear witness to his worth as a man and a Mason. Therefore,

Resolved, That by the death of Major Weber, the service has lost an able and accomplished officer; society one of its brightest ornaments and our fraternity a friend and brother whose memory will be cherished as one of the brightest pages in their recollections.

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with his bereaved mother and relatives in their irreparable loss and pray that “He who tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb” will fold His arms of love and protection around them and afford them that consolation which mortals cannot give.

Resolved, That a copy of the above resolutions be presented by the secretary under the seal of the lodge to the mother of our deceased brother, and also that he furnish a copy thereofto each of the city papers for publication. [signed] C. S. Allen, Secretary.

Peter was buried in Fulton cemetery: block 7 lot 8.

In September of 1863 his mother applied for and received a pension (no. 13480). By 1870 she was living in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward (she owned $4500 each of both real estate and personal property).


Byron Root Pierce UPDATE 13 July 2018

Byron Root Pierce was born on October 1, 1829, in East Bloomfield, Ontario County, New York, the son of Silas (b. 1801) and Mary (Root, b. 1801?).

Silas was born in New York and Mary in Massachusetts and they were probably married sometime before 1826, possibly in New York. In any case they lived in New York for some years, and by 1850 Byron was living with the family and working for his father in West Bloomfield where his father operated a woolen manufactory.

Byron was educated at Rochester, New York and began his business life in a woolen factory, a trade in which his father was engaged. It is quite likely that Byron served during the Mexican War. In any case, he decided not to pursue his work in the clothes industry but instead turned to dentistry, and in 1856 came to Grand Rapids, following his younger brother Edwin who had earlier moved to Grand Rapids where he was working in the clothing business. Byron soon joined in a practice of dentistry with Dr. K. R. E. Carpenter, “whose Dentistry skill,” wrote the Enquirer on May 24, “has been so well attested by the many specimens of perfect work in his business which he has left in this city, has concluded to close his office in Joliet [Illinois] and confine his labors exclusively to this [city], his future residence. He has refitted his office in Abel’s block; associated with him Dr. Pierce (who sustains a high reputation in Dental Practice;) and the two gentlemen propose to do the best of work, at the most reasonable rates, so that their praises may be in the mouths of all.”

It is possible that the two men separated their practice, but by mid-1859 they were together in practice in Lovett’s Block. Dr. Carpenter, wrote the Enquirer on July 19, “Takes pleasure in informing the citizens of Grand Rapids and vicinity, that his office is opened permanently, in the second story of Lovett’s Block, corner of Pearl an Canal Streets, and that he had secured the services of Dr. B. R. Pierce, Who will be constantly in attendance to perform all Dental Operation in the best possible manner. Entrance on Canal Street.” Their office was located on the northeast corner of Canal and Peal Streets in 1859-60 and Pierce was living on the north side of Washington between Lafayette and Jefferson Streets.


By 1860 Byron was working as a dentist and living with his parents in Grand Rapids' 3rd ward, and he continued to practice dentistry in Grand Rapids until late 1860.

Soon after moving to Grand Rapids, Byron became actively involved with the Valley City Guard, one of the local militia companies, and many of whose members would enlist in Company A in April of 1861. He probably enlisted in the VCG sometime in 1857, and was elected First Lieutenant on February 12, 1858, replacing Fred Worden. Pierce served as First Lieutenant until the spring of 1859, when, following the resignation of company Captain John Earle, Byron was elected Captain on March 25, 1859. He continually worked to improve the efficiency of the company, and had no sooner taken over command of the VCG than he began tightening discipline. He immediately set about establishing a program for drill and target practice. On Saturday May 9,

The Valley City Guards, numbering 25 guns under the command of Captain Byron R. Pierce*, and accompanied by the German Brass Band [Schikel’s band apparently], were out yesterday afternoon on their fourth target excursion. The company marched to a vacant lot near the old slaughter house, when the target was erected at a distance of 12 rods from the line. Major Champlin, Paymaster Collins and Captain Fay, were selected as judges.

After each member had fired three shots, the judges reported the best string shot to have been made by Color-Sargeant Thomas Greenly, whose average shot measured 7 and 3/16 inches; second best, Geo. Judd. The best single shot, and the only one in the ‘bull's eye’, was made by Samuel Judd.

And on Sunday, May 22, Pierce notified company members that they were “to attend at the Armory of the Company on next Wednesday evening, May 25 at 8 o'clock. Let every member be present, as there is business of importance to come before the Company.” Important business indeed. Another one of Pierce’s changes was that the company was to meet twice a month, every other Sunday, at their Armory, a space which the regimental officers apparently also used for their occasional meetings. Pierce also notified the VCG that they should plan on being called out for parade at 8:00 a.m. on July 4, probably to participate in the local festivities. The members were instructed to wear their white pants and white belts.”

On Saturday August 27, Captain Pierce instructed the VCG members “to attend at the Armory of the Company, on Monday August 29, at 1 o'clock p.m. for target practice,” and, according to the Enquirer of August 30, “The Valley City Guards were out yesterday afternoon, testing their new rifle muskets. They marched to a large field near the old slaughter house; where the target was erected 25 rods from the line. 25 men drew sight on the ‘bull's eye’, each being allowed three shots. 47 holes were made in the target. The best single shot was made by Fred. G. Dean; the best string shot by Alex[ander] McKenzie, being 24 and 1/4 inches. After trying at 25 rods, the guns were tested at a distance of 90 rods. At this distance Heman Moore made the best ‘string shot’, Charles Cary the best single.”

Byron also worked to raise the public awareness (and thus their interest in) the VCG through other means besides parades and target shoots. Perhaps recalling the success of the Detroit Light Guards in their 1858 excursion to Milwaukee, Pierce arranged for the VCG to be invited to the upcoming Wisconsin State Fair. On September 16, the Enquirer carried the following story from the Milwaukee News. “We are pleased to learn that the wide awake and gentlemanly Valley City Guard, a handsome military company of Grand Rapids, will visit Milwaukee during the State Fair, and will be the guests of the Milwaukee City corps, Captain Kimball. Our visiting friends will find some of the best boys in the State in the Citizen Corps, who will see that their guests understand all the military compliments and gentlemanly acts of courtesy, for which Milwaukeans are proverbial, and will see that nothing is left undone to make their visit pleasant.”

On Friday, September 23, the Enquirer reported that “We understand that the Valley City Guards will have an excursion to Milwaukee, leaving this city on Monday afternoon next [September 26], and return Wednesday evening [September 28]. The Guards will be accompanied by the City Band, under the leadership of a gentleman lately of Detroit. Tickets will be issued at greatly reduced rates, and any citizens wishing to go, can avail themselves of this opportunity, to see the ‘city of bricks’, and visit the State Fair, which will be held in Milwaukee.”

The VCG, reported the Milwaukee National, “will arrive in town via the D. & M. R. R. Line of Steamers on Tuesday, at 7 o'clock a.m., where they will be received by the citizens corps, Captain Geo. K. Kimball, whose guests they are to be, and march to quarters at the Armory, thence to the Newhall House to Breakfast at eight o'clock, a full dress street parade will come off at 10 o'clock a.m., when there no doubt will be some good walking -- we are informed there is to be a general turn out on Wednesday by the whole Regiment, accompanied by the visitors, when a fine display may be expected.”

The invitation was extended in large part to have the VCG participate in the Wisconsin State Fair, then underway. To allow Michiganders easy access to the other side of the lake, “The Detroit and Milwaukee Railway have determined to charge only half price between this city and Milwaukee -- $3.45 -- during the continuance of the Wisconsin State Fair. As the Kent County Agricultural Fair occurs in this city at the same time, we do not suppose that many of the people of this city or County will visit the ‘City of bricks’ during the present week. It is believed, however, that the Valley City Guards, Captain Pierce, will embrace the opportunity thus offered, to proceed to Milwaukee.”

“Captain Kimbal,” wrote the paper, “took pride in showing his visitors to the citizens yesterday [Wednesday], by passing through the principal streets, escorted by the citizens' corps, and well he may be proud of them, and well may they be proud of the citizen soldiery, for a better behaved, better appearing, or better looking company has not in a long time paraded out [sic] streets.”

That same afternoon, “the first regiment of Wisconsin State Militia had a grand parade . . . accompanied by the Valley city Guards of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who were here as the guests of the Citizens' Corps, and who returned home last evening. They were a fine body of men, and we hope enjoyed themselves to their satisfaction. It was a bad time during a State Fair, for them to receive the attention they deserved, but we trust they will come again some time when there is nothing extra going on, and we have no doubt they would then be better pleased with the city than they could have been in the midst of a State Fair crowd. Nearly all the companies turned out, together with the staff and the dragoons, besides some band, and the display was a brilliant one. They marched to the Fair grounds and back, and, were dismissed after a review in front of the Newhall.”

Soon after the VCG returned to Grand Rapids, on the morning of Thursday, September 29, “At a meeting of the Valley City Guards, held at their Armory . . . the following resolutions were unanimously adopted.

Resolved, That our united and heartfelt thanks are hereby tendered to the Milwaukee Citizens' Corps, Captain Kimball, for their honorable and soldierly reception, their unbounded hospitality and untiring efforts to render their guests happy and comfortable during their visit.

Resolved, That our thanks are also tendered to Colonel King and staff, for calling out the Regiment for our particular benefit and entertainment.

Resolved, also, that, to the Milwaukee Light Guard, Captain Starkweather, our sincere thanks be tendered, for their kind attention to our Officers and Members during our visit, and for their soldierly escort on our departure.

Resolved, That, to Commissaries Bingham and Elliot, our thanks be tendered, for their generous hospitality and personal attentions.

Resolved, That the impressions made at the parting scene can never be eradicated from the minds of the Valley City guards, while we are able to draw a sword or shoulder a musket.

Resolved, That our warmest expressions of gratitude be extended to Supt. Muir, of the D. & M. R. W., for his generous liberality in our behalf; and to Captains McBride, of the Detroit, and Cross, of the Milwaukee, their officers and men, for their efforts to render our excursion a pleasant one.

To one and all who in any way contributed to our pleasure and comfort, we would say that nothing would afford us greater pleasure than to reciprocate, should an opportunity offer.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be published in our daily papers. In behalf of the Corps, Edw'd. S. Earle*, W. L. Coffinberry, Jas. D. Lyon.”

By the end of 1859 the VCG was reported in the first class of militia companies in the state, and eighth in order of merit of all companies in Michigan.

But disaster struck the Guards in late Fall when thieves broke into their armory in November and stole all their arms. Things went from bad to worse for the VCG during the winter of 1859-1860. Having struggled to replace the stolen weapons, sometime in mid-winter a fire struck their armory destroying all of their equipment and supplies. The seriousness of the loss, coming so soon after the theft in November of 1859, resulted in the rumor that the VCG would have to disband. It was said being incapable of replacing all of the lost equipment and arms, there was considerable doubt as to whether the company would remain together. At 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening, February 8, the VCG met at Mills and Clancy's Hall, Captain Pierce informing the VCG that “Every member is expected to be present, as there is business of importance to come before the Company.”

Important business indeed; the topic to be discussed was whether the company would disband or remain together.

a large number of members being present, it was unanimously resolved, that the Company keep its present organization; and, that the necessary steps be immediately taken to procure arms and accoutrements to take the place of those lost in the late fire. A committee was chosen to solicit pecuniary aid from the citizens, to enable the Company to replace their fixtures, and procure articles of various kinds, indispensable in such an organization; also, to induce those persons of the right stamp, who take an interest in such matters, to join the Company. There are but twelve first class companies in the State; in this class the Valley City Guard are well up, and it is to be hoped they will receive such aid to continue on, a credit to the military force of the State, and an honor to the Valley City.

A letter was read at this meeting from Adjutant General Curtenius, in which the writer expressed much sympathy for the Company, and pledged himself to use his best efforts for the procuring of new arms and equipments at the earliest possible moment.

Another meeting was held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening, February 29, at Mills & Clancy’s Hall, at which time Pierce informed the community that “All that feel interested for the welfare of the Valley City Guard, are requested to be present.” The results of this meeting gave hope to those members of the VCG who wished to remain together. The Enquirer wrote on March 2,

“With pleasure we learn that the future prospects of this excellent company are of the most flattering character. Considerable accessions have been made to the corps of late, both active and honorary members. Adjutant General Curtenius, in a latter to Captain Pierce*, says that he has made requisition upon the General Government for 40 first class rifle muskets, which will be delivered in this city, about the middle of next month. This Company sustained a loss, by the late fire, of about $750, which seems enough to crash any such organization, in a place of this size, and during such times; but the gallant Guards never say die, they are not composed of that class of men who whine or find fault with the fortunes of war or fire, but toe the mark, stand firm, unyielding and invincible. Our citizen soldiery is a glorious institution, the Guards a prominent feature in the Army, and we say success to the gallant Guards.

The crisis passed, and by mid-March the VCG seemed to have rallied enough support to remain together, and on Monday March 19, they held an election for non-commissioned officers. “The meeting,” wrote the Enquirer, “was quite enthusiastic, and a general desire was manifested to keep up the old organization. The new arms for the Company have arrived, and a regular drill will be had on Wednesday evening, the 21st inst. Mills & Clancy's Hall has been engaged as an Armory.. And on March 27, the VCG attempted to reestablish their old routine of drill and exercise. The Enquirer reported that “Members of the Valley City Guard will please bear in mind the drill this evening. It is necessary that all who can attend should be on hand as possible.”

By the fall of 1860 the VCG had returned to its normal routine. On Sunday, September 23, Captain Pierce notified the members of the VCG that they should plan “to attend at the armory of the company, in Abel's Block, on Monday evening, Sept. 24 at 7 1/2 o'clock p.m. All are requested to be present.” Among other items discuss in the order of business was the plan for escorting ex-Governor Bingham to the fairgrounds for the upcoming County fair. On September 28, Captain Pierce informed company members that they were required “to attend at the armory of the company, in Abel’s block, at 1 o’clock, this afternoon, for parade”; they were to wear blue pants. The VCG, along with the Grand Rapids rifles and Barnhart’s Band “will escort ex-Gov. Bingham from the National Hotel to the Fair Grounds this afternoon. Barnhart's Cornet Band will lead the procession, and favor those who may attend with their usual sweet music. The programme for today is unusually attractive. Let there be a large attendance at the Fair today.”

Byron continued to serve as Captain throughout most of 1860. However, sometime in the fall of 1860, Pierce decided to move to Joliet, Illinois and open a dental practice there. On November 20, 1860, his resignation from command of the VCG was formally accepted, and Lieutenant Samuel Judd was placed in temporary command of the company.

That same day Lieutenant Colonel Ambrose Stevens, temporarily in command of the Fifty-first Regiment Colonel’s McConnell’s temporary suspension, ordered “an Election to be held in the ‘Valley City Guards’, to fill the office of Captain, in said Company, which has become vacant by the resignation of Captain Byron R. Pierce, which has this day been accepted, and to fill such other vacancies as may exist in the Commissioned officers of said Company, said Election will be held at the Armory of said Company, at the City of Grand Rapids, on Monday evening, Nov. 26th, 1860, at 3 o'clock, p.m. Captain B. Borden Commanding the ‘Grand Rapids Artillery’ will preside at, and conduct said Election, and make return thereof to Brigadier General William A. Richmond, Commanding 6th Brigade, M.V.M. On receiving this order Sam'l A. Judd, now Lieutenant Commanding of said Company, will promulgate the same to his Command without delay.”

Indeed, two days later, on Thursday, November 22, Acting Captain Samuel Judd notified the members of the VCG that “this Company will meet at their Armory, on Monday evening, Nov. 26th, at 7 o'clock p.m. for the purpose of Electing a captain, and fill such other vacancies as may exist among the Commissioned Officers of this Company. Every member is expected to be present.”

In fact, the election did not take place until Monday, December 3, when Samuel Judd was elected to replace Byron as Captain of the VCG. According to one source,

Everything passed off pleasantly. The members of the Valley City Guard are taking a great interest in military affairs. The Valley City Guard are an honor to the city, and have ever received the praised due them by military men at home and abroad.
To Byron R. Pierce, their late Commandant, much praise is due for having brought them to the proficiency in drill and soldierly bearing. On tented the field, at home and abroad, Captain Pierce* has ever been distinguished for his gentlemanly conduct to all. We regret that he is to remove so soon from our city.” On December 5, Captain Judd issued his “Special Order” in which he requested that “This Company will meet at the Armory in Abel's Block, on Wednesday evening, Dec. 5th, at 7 1/2 o'clock precisely. Every member is expected, as business of importance will be transacted.

In honor of the departure of Captain Pierce, the VCG held a complimentary supper on Tuesday, December 11, 1860, and according the local papers, “Tickets for the supper tonight, will be sold to honorary members only, at $1 each. Persons wishing tickets can procure them of Captain Judd*, C. B. Hindsill, or H. F. Williams, and at the National Hotel. All honorary members who expect to participate, must leave their names at the Hotel, or give them to the committee, by 3 o'clock this afternoon.” Many years later, this night was recalled by a writer for the Grand Rapid Democrat, who described the evening in great detail. The dinner was held “in the National hotel,” wrote the Democrat,

which stood on the site now occupied by the Morton house. A program retained by him is as follows: Committee on Arrangements -- Lieutenant C. D. Lyon, Private H. F. Williams, Private J. Cavanaugh; committee on invitations -- Lieutenant Shriver, Private C. B. Hindsill, Private H. F. Williams; committee on toasts -- Lieutenant Lyon, Privates H. A. Buck, H. F. Williams and C. B. Hindsill; committee on wines -- Sergeant Dennis, Corporal Bogardus and Private Ferris.

The bill of fare read: Soups - Oyster, Macaroni and Rice;
Fresh fish - Baked trout, Boiled white fish, Boiled trout, Baked white fish; Salt fish - White fish, Mackerel, Salmon trout;

Side dishes - Oyster pie, Fricaseed chicken, Cold tongue, Chicken pie, Boiled ham, Calf's head, a la cuisine; Roasts - Turkey stuffed with oysters, Chicken, Duck, Goose, Pork, Venison with cranberry sauce;

Game - Prairie chicken, Canvas-back duck, Partridge, Pheasant, Woodcock;
Relishes - Chicken salad, celery, Olives en vinaigre, Pickled onions, Pickled tomatoes, Pickled beans, Pickled peaches, Pickled plums;

Pastry - Cream cakes, Pumpkin pie, Mince pie, Apple pie, Cranberry pie, Custard pie, Oyster patties, Plum pudding, Tarts, cranberry and apple;

Vegetables - Sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, beets, Turnips, Onions, Cabbage, Squash, Cauliflower; Jellies - Calf's head, Pig's foot, Crab apple, Wine;

Confectionary - Kisses, Sugar almonds, Gum drops, Mottoes, Coconut drops, Lozenges, Prince Imperial,

Champagnes - De Vergenay, Heidsick, Green Seal, Cabinet, Mumm's, private, Widow Cliquot;

Desserts - Almonds, Filberts, Walnuts, Brazil-nuts, Raisins, Blanc mange, Ice cream, Meringues, President cake, Floating island, Charlotte russe;

Wines - Port, Madiera, Sherry, Malaga, Claret, Longworth's sparkling Catawba, Longworth's still Catawba;

Ales and Porter - Duncan's of Detroit, Morton's cream of Grand Rapids, Christ's XXX of Grand Rapids, Kusterer's IXL of Grand Rapids, Bass porter of London, Parkin's porter of London, Allsop's pale ale of London.

Waiters are provided with wine cards and pencils.

The toasts were: ‘The Union’, Judge Advocate Gray; ‘The Press’, A. B. Turner; Captain Byron R. Pierce*, Captain Samuel A. Judd*; ‘The Ladies’, Henry F. Williams, V.C.G; ‘Citizen soldiery’, Colonel A. T. McReynolds; ‘The United States Army and Navy’, Major S. G. Champlin*; ‘Our National Flag’, Captain John W. Pierce; ‘The Sovereign of Michigan’, B. N. Sexton; ‘The Grand Rapids rifles’, Captain Kusterer; ‘The Grand Rapids Artillery’, Captain Borden*; ‘The Regimental Staff,” Colonel Daniel McConnell*; ‘Our Honorary Members’, the Hon. T. B. Church; ‘Reminiscences of Camp Kent and ‘Old Guard”’, Captain B. R. Pierce.

This was one of the most interesting events of the city before the war and will be distinctly remembered by all those, now living, who participated in it.

As the United States began to dissolve during the winter of 1860-61, Pierce decided to return to Grand Rapids from Illinois in order to enlist with his former comrades of the Valley City Guard. However, as the officer positions in Company A were already taken by the former officers of the Valley City Guard (Samuel Judd being the new Captain), by the end of April Byron, who stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, was given the command of Company K.

(On April 30, the Enquirer reported that Pierce was Captain of “A New military company has just been organized in this city making five for Grand Rapids. It already has 38 men enlisted as privates, with new recruits constantly coming in. Byron R. Pierce is the Captain; Alfred B. Turner, 1st Lieutenant; Carlton Neal 2nd Lieutenant.” Turner would soon be replaced by Almon Borden as First Lieutenant and Carlton Neal would be replaced by Robert Collins, thus demoting Neal to the rank of First Sergeant. Before the Regiment left Grand Rapids, however, Collins would be appointed Regimental Quartermaster, and Neal would return to his original position of Second Lieutenant of Company K.

The Third Michigan left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, and arrived in Washington, DC on June 16. The Regiment immediately marched to Chain Bridge along the Potomac River just above Georgetown where they encamped. The Regiment would remain at Chain Bridge until the middle of July.

On June 27, several officers of the Third Michigan were given presentation swords by their men, and among the recipients was Byron Pierce. One observer wrote that “as Captain B. R. Pierce of Company K, was forming his company for dress parade, Sergeant [Wallace] Dickinson stepped forward, and in behalf of the company, presented to the Captain an elegant dress sword. It was a very agreeable surprise, as it was an expression of the high spirit which the company entertain for their gallant commander. The sword and belt cost 30 dollars.” The presentation was “accompanied by near speeches, and responded to in appropriate and feeling terms.” Pierce, it was noted, was “taken completely by surprise. . . .

In one of his regular letters to the Lansing State Republican, Frank Siverd of Company G described “An incident quite amusing to all save those directly interested” one of whom was Byron Pierce, and which occurred in the first week of July.

Lieutenant Dorr, of the U. S. Coast Survey, with a party, is engaged in making a Topographical Survey of the valley of the Potomac for military purposes. In order to measure some distances that were inaccessible it was necessary to locate signals. One of these was on an eminence overlooking our Camp, and in close proximity. Notwithstanding the signal was posted at midday and in view of our entire Regiment, a suggestion was made that it was a secession flag -- the suggestion soon assumed the proportions of a rumor and the rumor was soon changed to a well-authenticated fact. A portion of company K (Grand Rapids) under command of Captain Pierce, made a sally. Not a single man of that noble band shrunk from the perilous duty before them. -- Though it was their first sight of a secession standard -- the first time there was any probability of their meeting an enemy; they received the order ‘forward march’, as though it were an invitation to a feast of good things (the great desideratum in Camp life). On they moved across the ravine -- now they ascend the acclivity, watched by a thousand anxious eyes. They reach the position of the bunting. Halting his men at some distance, he proceeded alone and unattended, as did his exemplar Ellsworth, to haul down the rebel flag staff and all, and amid the cheers of his compatriots, carried it into camp and presented it to the Colonel to be by him laid up in the archives of the Regiment as one of the trophies that are to hand down to future generations the triumphs of the Michigan 3d, in the war of the Rebellion. The flag was composed of two pieces of cambrie, one white, the other black. The next day one of Dorr's assistants came along in no very pleasant mood I assure you. He stated that after placing those signals, they climbed some six miles over rocks and hills in order to make their observations, but when they got to the position were nonplussed at not finding their signals. He requested the officer of the day to protect his flags from the assaults of over-anxious seekers after secession bunting.

Notwithstanding his gaffe with the Coast Survey, Pierce soon demonstrated that he was a competent and efficient officer. His observations regarding the Regiment’s actions at Blackburn’s Ford, Virginia on July 18 and in the retreat from Bull Run on July 21 were reprinted in the Enquirer on Wednesday, August 7. “We left Camp Blair on Tuesday,” on July 16, he wrote in a letter home, and

traveled 2 miles and went into camp at Vienna, reaching there at 10 o'clock PM, very much fatigued, when we threw ourselves on the ground with our oil-cloths under us and blankets over us. We did not take our tents with us, and therefore we had the high canopy of heaven for our tents. I think I never enjoyed a sounder and sweeter sleep that I did that night. We were up at sunrise and off for the seat of war, and that day traveled about 10 miles, stopping on the other side of Fairfax Court House, where we found, several batteries that had been deserted that morning by the enemy. This night there were about 15,000 troops all in the camp. We were alarmed in the night by our pickets being driven in. The next morning we took up the line of march in the direction of the enemy, our Brigade taking the lead with a portion of Sherman's Battery in advance. About 12 o'clock we heard the booming of cannon which warned us that we were in close proximity to the enemy and they had made preparations to receive us. Our skirmishers had ran upon a masked battery, and, as it proved, their forces far outnumbered ours. We could not see them as they were in the woods. We therefore made preparations to drive them from their hiding place. Our skirmishers were in the woods when we arrived in sight, and such vollies of musketry I never heard before. We at once went to their relief, and made preparations to charge upon the woods. we were in an open field, and he stood for a length of time under a direct fire from their guns. As we were about ready to charge the 12th Regiment of NY, instead of charging broke and ran; upon this we ordered to retreat, which we did in good order. Too much cannot be said in praise of our Regiment, for to a man they stood up in the ranks all the time with bullets whistling all around them. We marched back about 2 miles that night and went into camp; the next morning we started again for Bull Run, this day we kept quiet in hopes of drawing out the enemy. Nothing of importance occurred today with the exception of exchanging shots with the pickets. At night we lay upon our arms in the line of battle, and were called out several times in the night by the fire of musketry, but no fighting yet. The next day was but a repetition of the last.

The next was Sunday, the day of the great battle, which happened about 3 miles above us. We were kept in this position in order to engage the enemy and keep them from out-flanking the main army. We opened our batteries in the morning, but most got no reply. Getting tired of this, Captain Judd's company [A] were sent to reconnoiter the woods. When [they] got within a short distance of them, they opened up on us such a furious fire that we were obliged to fall back into a ravine. This convinced us that they were not dead yet. At 5 o'clock we were ordered to fall back on Centreville, where upon our arrival everything was in confusion; the main army had been defeated and were retreating in broken order, some stopped at Centreville, while others rushed on to Washington. At 10 o'clock we had orders to retire back to Fairfax, and our Brigade was to cover the retreat, which we did, and our Regiment was the last, and company K, of course, the very last. So you see we the honor, if you would think it so, of covering the retreat of the Grand Army, although we do not get the credit of it through the press, we made a forced march 86 miles without stopping for food or rest, and arrived at Arlington in a drenching rain at 10 o'clock AM; and such a tired lot of soldiers I never saw before. We made out to get shelter for the night, and the next morning had our tents brought over from Camp Blair. Now we are here on a beautiful location, where I trust we may remain until the men get recruited, although we are expecting to be called out every moment.

In October of 1861 Colonel McConnell resigned from command of the Third Michigan, and was replaced by Major Stephen Champlin. Byron was promoted to Major on October 28, 1861, commissioned the same day, replacing Major Champlin and according to Siverd the choice of Pierce was a good one.

Pierce was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on September 24, 1862, commissioned July 25, and mustered on January 15, 1863, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Ambrose Stevens who had resigned. By late November Pierce had returned home on furlough. On November 25, 1862 the Advertiser and Tribune noted that Pierce “has returned to his home at Grand Rapids, on a brief furlough. He left the State with his gallant boys as a Captain, and has been promoted to the Lieutenant Colonecy for his skill, faithfulness and energy.” Pierce was soon promoted to Colonel and commissioned on January 1, 1863, and was replaced as Lieutenant Colonel by his brother Edwin who was also promoted at the same time.

On January 4, 1863, he wrote to Brigadier General Stephen Champlin, the former commanding officer of the Third Michigan.

I was right glad to hear from you and more so to hear that your health was improving. Why is it that letters directed to you at Washington come to the Regiment. I have sent back quite a number and added to the Care of Dr. Bliss so you will find them there.

General don’t accept of your of your appointment any sooner than your health will permit on my account. And be sure and draw your pay as colonel up to the time you accept as General. I mustered you on the rolls as absent sick with leave and I shall carry you along until you notify me than you have your commission as General. Does your appointment start before this session of Congress or have you got to wait to be confirmed? I cannot tell what we are to do here, there are all kinds of rumors in regard to our moving. The last one is that Hooker’s Grand Division is going into the defences of Washington and [Generals] Sumner and Franklin are going to embark here for Fortress Monroe or somewhere else, but of course there are camp stories and you know what they are. We are drilling every day. I as usual am on a court martial. I wish they would let me do my own courting. It would be much pleasanter [sic]. Last week Stoneman reviewed our division, [and] tomorrow Burnside reviews our corps, and the next day our Brigade is to drum a man out of camp for skulking at Fredericksburg. He is from the New York 1st and so it goes after the same old fashion. If reviews mean anything we are having enough of them.

General Berry think[s] you should write him. His health is poor. Calkins tells me that he has heard from the money which [Colonel E.] Backus gave him when we first came down, that they have thrown out part of his account and that he has more money to pay in. Am I to pay him the balance on that horse, or were there other obligations which you assumed that I am to pay. I think I paid him seventy-five dollars and Peter forty-two 30/100 dollars. I think I was to pay him about forty more. Please write me all about it. you will probably get a letter from him in a few days in regard to it.

Something must be done in regard to Capt. Ed. [Pierce] General Berry in speaking of the fight dies not mention Major [Moses] Houghton’s name. He only speaks of relying on Capt. Pierce and Captain [Israel] Smith. The officers here all speak of him with contempt but what they will do about it is more than I can tell. You have probably seen Captain Pierce ere this and learned all the news.”

Something had already been done. On March 5 the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune reported on the justified promotion of both Pierce brothers, and in commenting on the recent promotions in the Third Michigan the Eagle reported on April 9, 1863, that the Pierce brothers, “both able and efficient officers in the glorious 3rd Infantry from its organization to the present time, have just been promoted; [Byron] to Colonel and [Edwin] to Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment.

Byron was wounded slightly in the left hand and right arm on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and was mentioned by the Division commander General Birney in his report for having distinguished himself for gallantry during the battle. He was wounded severely in the left leg on July 2 at Gettysburg where the Regiment was engaged in the Peach Orchard and soon afterwards he returned to Michigan on furlough. Pierce had left Grand Rapids on Saturday, August 22, to rejoin his command.

On August 31, 1863, Pierce was in command of a detachment comprising the Third and Fifth Michigan infantry regiments and a battery from the Second Connecticut Artillery, which was sent to Troy, New York as a deterrent against any possible violence during the upcoming draft in that area.

According to the Troy Daily Press “Col. Pierce has established his headquarters at Capt. Frank Cooley’s office. He is ably seconded by his Adjutant, D. C. Crawford, Esq.” And the Troy Daily Times of September 1 reported that “Ten or twelve horses, belonging to the officers of the regiment, reached here by Vanderbilt this morning. Among them is ‘Charger’, owned by Col. Pierce, who shared with him the dangers of the Peninsular and Potomac campaigns. Together with his rider, ‘Charger’ received honorable scars at Gettysburg, but they have not damped his spirit. He does not allow the approach of any other man than his groom, besides his gallant owner. ‘Charger’ is an institution.”

By mid-September the detachment commanded by Pierce, and which included the Third Michigan, was heading back to Virginia where it would eventually go into winter quarters near Brandy Station. Shortly after the regiment returned to Virginia, Pierce added a note of thanks to the official general order promulgated by General Canby commanding the Department of the East.

“The Colonel commanding detachment desires to add to this the expression of his thanks to the State troops, the Police force, and to the local authorities of Troy, with whom he has been incidentally associated, for the kindness and courtesy shown to the officers and men of his command, and for the spirit of cooperation exhibited in everything that had for its object the advancement of our common wishes and labors; and by the request, and in the name of all the officers f the third and Fifth Michigan infantry, we thank the generous people of Troy for their kindness, their generosity and their hospitality to us all. Our fourteen days’ sojourn among the Trojans on the Hudson is an oases [sic] in our rough two years’ army life. Those fourteen happy days will soften and lead us to forget many of the hardships of the Peninsula campaign, and during the long marches, fatigues and exposures which are yet before us, we will date everything back to our visit to Troy, that and then will be the bright guiding star. We would not fail to make especial mention of the ladies of Troy, who, like the ladies in the chivalric days of old, welcome home the troubadours from the great conflict of human rights against human wrongs.”

In the wake of the terrible losses of the Wilderness campaign of early May, 1864, the Eagle wrote that “A dispatch from Col. B. R. Pierce, of the ‘Old 3rd’, to his father in this city, informs him that he is yet safe and unharmed, but that the Regiment has been considerably cut up again. The command was in Gen. Hancock's corps and as usual has been among the foremost in the recent battles under General Unconditional Surrender Grant.” However, he did not remain safe and was wounded in the left leg on May 12, 1864 at Spotsylvania, Virginia, and Pierce was assigned as temporary Brigade commander during the subsequent actions on or about May 24, 1864.

Indeed, Byron was promoted to Brigadier General on June 3, and on June 4 was assigned to command of the First Brigade in General Gibbon’s Second Division, Hancock’s Second Corps.

According to a story told many years after the war, Pierce’s promotion from Colonel to Brigadier General was “typical of his entire career in service. It was at the Battle of the Wilderness” when then Colonel Pierce “led a fierce charge and captured a bridge held by the enemy. The charge was witnessed by Gen. U. S. Grant, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock and Gen. Birney, who from an eminence watched the battle. Shortly after the success of Col. Pierce's charge and while the battle still raged, an Adjutant attached to Gen. Grant's staff approached Col. Pierce and told him he had been promoted to the rank of brig. gen. ‘Can you give me the oath of office here? I'd like to die a brig. gen.’, Col. Pierce said. Stepping behind a great tree which stood there, he took the oath as bullets whizzed about their heads, and then dashed back into battle.”

Pierce was appointed to command the First Brigade, which included the Fifth Michigan infantry, in June of 1864, and on June 18, his Brigade was part of an all-out assault on the confederate works at Petersburg, Virginia. According to Pierce’s dispatch to General Gibbon, “I have commenced a vigorous assault. My lines are now going forward. I find the enemy very strong in our front. Assault unsuccessful.”

He was wounded during that assault, but only slightly in the right shoulder on June 18, 1864 near Petersburg, Virginia, and on June 21, the Eagle reported that “A private dispatch just received in this city, from General B. R. Pierce, states that his recent wound was in his shoulder and that it was not so severe as to prevent him continuing upon his horse, and in the field. Everybody hereabouts will rejoice that our general, one of the bravest and best officers thus far, though always in the front, escaped serious injury and that he is still able to lend his valuable service to the glorious work in which he is engaged.”

Two days later the Eagle wrote that “When Col. B. R. Pierce received his commission as Brig. Gen., which promotion he had won in fields of bloody battle, he was mounted and about to lead his command in a charge on the enemy [on June 18]. Taking the paper he stuffed it into his pocket and dashed off to the front, and in some 15 minutes thereafter, returned wounded in the shoulder. His wound was no sooner dressed, than he was ready mounted and again on duty. Glorious General Pierce; he is the kind of officer for the times, such as 3rd boys make, and the sort the Valley City may well be proud of.” By June 30 Pierce was commanding the Second Brigade in Birney’s Third Division, Hancock’s Second Corps.

By late July Pierce was unable to return to duty with the Regiment in the field, either as a result of his wounds failing to heal properly or he may have been ill from some other cause. In any case, according to his official report on operations of July 26-30 he had to relinquish command of the Brigade to Colonel D. Chapin of the First Maine infantry. Pierce was soon afterward sent home on leave to recuperate, and arrived home on the morning of July 22. A little over a week later the Eagle observed, “Colonel B. R. Pierce, the Third, is also out, with a cane and his wound is healing finely. His Regiment may expect him to lead them once more in the next great battle, if Lee avoids an engagement until autumn.”

The paper made up for its incorrect rank assignment to Pierce when it wrote on August 5 that “Gen. B. R. Pierce is now at his home in this city having just arrived from the front, at Petersburg. The gen. is in feeble health and comes home on a 20 day furlough for a few days rest. The gen. has, by his bravery and mil. skill, won imperishable honors on many a hard fought battle-field, and he will be welcomed by a host of admiring friends and lovers of this country.”

Byron returned to command of his Brigade and served in that capacity until the end of the war. On April 6, 1865, he was promoted to brevet Major General of United States Volunteers for his service at Sayler’s Creek, Virginia. According to one postwar report, Pierce

was in command of one of the divisions which was following Lee's army just before surrender. At 6 o'clock on the evening of April 5, his command suddenly came up with a confederate division which was convoying the headquarters train of lee's army. So important was this train that it was escorted by the best division in the Confederate army.

Charges and countercharges were made, muskets rattled, sabres flashed, and overturned wagons, frantic mules and horses, the Blue and Grey mingled in the strife. The result was a victory for Gen. Pierce's troops and the rich supply train fell to the federal forces. The members of Gen. Pierce's staff divided the spoils, and to him fell a rich silk sash, the personal property of Gen. Robert E. Lee. This sash, which was of heavy yellow silk, the ends trimmed with cream-colored tassels, was long cherished by the general, but later given to the Kent Scientific Museum, where it is today [it is in fact still in the museum collections].

It was for this victory, which helped to seal the doom of the confederacy and hasten lee's surrender 4 days later, that Gen. Pierce received the rank of brevet major general from President Andrew Johnson. This commission, signed by President J., and his commission as brig. gen., which bore the signatures of Abraham Lincoln and of Edwin Stanton, were the general's most cherished possessions.

In describing the Sayler’s creek engagement, Dan Crotty of Company F, wrote some years after the war that Pierce

is as cool under fire as on parade and nothing daunted he leads his men in the midst of the battle and all are proud of our gallant general. The enemy now has fallen back and taken up a position near a brick house where they fight very wickedly as they are trying to get a large wagon train away from our reach. The rebels are posted at every window and keep up a vigorous fire on us. On the crest of a hill beyond they have a very wicked battery which they use right lively. Now we are exposed too much for nothing, and would much rather charge on them than stand their fire. So the order is given to forward and inside of two minutes the brick house is ours. The Johnnies who fired at us are pulled out of the windows and taken prisoners. The enemy's battery still holds its position and pours in shell thick and fast, but we have good shelter now and wait for the rest of our lines to come up, which they do in a few minutes. All is ready now to go for the train and the order ‘forward’ is given once more; the rebel battery makes a hasty retreat, leaving about 250 wagons in our hands.”

After the war Pierce returned home unexpectedly on the evening of July 27, 1865, and his arrival quickly became a cause for celebration.

Though the general's coming was wholly unknown to our citizens, save a very few, and to that few only half an hour or such a matter previous to the arrival of the cars from the East, quite a number of those informed of it repaired to the depot to receive and welcome him -- one of the many brave men -- who went from this city to the support of the ‘old flag’, and who has never turned his back upon the foe, however terrible the shock of battle or fearful the storm of iron hail. The general has won the stars ornamenting his shoulders, and he can wear them in the proud consciousness that they have a meaning and are emblematic of glorious work done in behalf of freedom and the Union. The general was welcomed at the depot by hearty cheers and warm greetings, and accompanied by a few gentlemen in a private carriage to his home. As the conveyance passed the Rathbun house its distinguished occupant was greeted by cheers from the few there who knew of his arrival. Our citizens will, doubtless, ere many days give the general a public demonstration, such as his merit and position deserves.

At about 8:30 p.m. on Friday evening, August 4, “A numerous audience of our best citizens -- ladies and gentlemen” of Grand Rapids gave the general a substantial “public demonstration” in the form of a reception held at Luce’s Hall.

On entering the hall, at about 8:30 o'clock, attended by Hon. S. L. Withey and other dignitaries, and his family and immediate friends, the general was received with enthusiastic and long-continued applause, which burst forth again and again at each mention of his name or his services during the entire proceedings.

An introductory speech was made by Hon. S. L. Withey, after which the reception address was delivered by Hon. T. B. Church, in an eloquent and graceful manner, which elicited repeated demonstrations of applause. Mr. Church happily alluded to the early relations of the distinguished guest with his fellow townsmen, to his early military efforts in time of peace, to his enlistment in the services of his country at the first call to arms, to his subsequent faithful services on so many bloody and well-fought fields, to his wonderful preservation in life and health amid death and carnage, in whose front he was ever to be found, to the pride and satisfaction with which his city and State had watched his steadily culminating military reputation, to the universal satisfaction felt at the honor so nobly won by him for himself and for us in his repeated promotions, and to the general joy for his safe return, bringing with him so many laurels fairly won and worthily worn.

At the close of the reception address, the general was presented to the audience; and, after the tumultuous applause had subsided, gracefully excused himself from speechmaking, declaring that his training had been fighting, not talking, and he found this the most embarrassing position he had yet been placed in. He thanked his fellow citizens most heartily for their approval of his [war record], and he would endeavor to merit a continuance of their kind regard in the future.

An opportunity was then afforded the people to shake hands with their honored guest, which was eagerly seized by the audience; after which those who remained participated in the ball which followed, and which sped the happy hours until after midnight, when the pleased assembly reluctantly dispersed.

Sylvester's full brass brand and orchestra was present, and furnished its choicest music for the occasion.

The whole affair was well managed, and was the most appropriate and enjoyable occasion of the kind ever participated in by our citizens, and one, no doubt, that will long be remembered with pride and pleasure by its worthy recipient, who takes his place among us as a citizen again, with the eagles of victory upon his shoulder and the civic wreath tendered him by a grateful people, among whose defenders and protectors in the lists of battle he has proved conspicuously brave and eminently skillful.

Pierce remained in Grand Rapids from 1865 to 1866 and was living at 168 South Division Street, but soon moved to the Mobile, Alabama area where he took up the role of planter in Wilcox County in early 1867. He also served as United States Postmaster of Mobile, and on March 14, the Eagle reprinted an interesting story which was originally published in the Mobile Times, regarding Pierce’s appointment:

“General Byron R. Pierce has been a Federal officer of distinction, and although he has done all in his power to put down what we considered, and still consider, a just and righteous cause, his sole aim was the full restoration of the Union which the past had given such bright promises of becoming a blessing to future generations. If the end which he and many others had in view is today ignored, the fault is not with them, but with the fanatical fury which is now obscuring the bright sun of our national existence.

“General Pierce, at the close of the war, determined to share the fate of the Southern people, and settled in the midst of us, after having resigned the insignia of his official rank, and went to work as a planter in Wilcox County, in this state, where his modest, conciliating and courteous manners soon endeared him to his neighbors, who ceased to look on him as a former antagonist, and accepted him as one of the honest artisans of a reconstructed country and reviving prosperity.

“His acceptance of his present office has been forced on him at the instant solicitations of his new friends, and we greet him as one of those whose fate, linked with us, will soon open the eyes of the sober, thinking population of the North and West to the real conditions of affairs.

“It is a just subject of pride for the people of Alabama that no truly honorable son of hers could be found able to take the required oath, and it is no cause of regret that, from amongst her former adversaries, one could be found who, with a record unstained by apostacy, was yet so completely free of the dangerous tendencies and disorganizing propensities of Radicalism.

“We never will object to a generous enemy, while we thoroughly despise a false friend.”

That the General possesses, in an eminent degree, that sutriter in modo which greatly tends to make a man popular among all classes of people, is evident from the tenor of this article. While we rejoice at his good fortune -- fairly earned in the work of putting down the late rebellion of his new found friends we must say that we can hardly recognize in it that great eye-opener clearly seen by the rebel editor. The spirit of his own editorials is the most reliable indication of the real condition of affairs in the South. That condition and spirit will,however, rapidly improve under the operation of an honest executive of the recent act of Congress.

Pierce lived in Alabama for several years, but in late November of 1870 he returned to Grand Rapids on a visit. “We are pleased to see on our streets,” wrote the Democrat on November 2, “the gallant General Byron R. Pierce, formerly of this city, but now of Alabama, who is here on a short visit to relations and friends. The general was one of the most brilliant soldiers the late war produced, and the people of this city will always learn of his prosperity with pleasure.”

Pierce eventually returned to Grand Rapids where he was living by 1874 when he went into the clothing business with his brothers, Edwin and Silas, working as bookkeeper. (Edwin, too, had served in the Third Michigan.) This lasted only a short time, although he continued to reside in Grand Rapids and was living in the city in 1878 when he went up north to Grand Traverse County on a shooting holiday with another former member of the Old Third, Brigadier General Israel. C. Smith.

In 1880 Byron was serving as commander of the local battalion of militia, the “Garfield and Arthur Guards,” when on October 19 he issued the following general order, in the form of a request made to acting Mayor John Perry. “I have the honor to report,” Pierce wrote, “that at the turnout of the battalion which I have the honor to command, malicious persons threw stones into the procession and seriously injured several members of the battalion. If continued it might result fatally to some. In order to avoid this result, I respectfully ask the protection of the police force, and that 50 extra men be sworn in as policemen to act in citizens' clothes on those occasions, who will serve without cost to the city, but for the interest of good order.” Perry, “After consulting with Chief [of Police] Moran, Mr. Perry decided to grant the protection requested, and 50 extra men, in citizens' clothes, will try and keep the little boys from stoning the procession tonight.”

By 1880 Byron working as a clothing merchant and boarding at the Pantlind Hotel in Grand Rapids. Also boarding at the hotel nearby was Rhode Island native Abbie Jarvis.

Byron married Abbie Evans Jarvis (1838-1917), on October 12, 1881, at St. Mark’s; the reception was probably at the Morton House in Grand Rapids. (The Eagle claimed the wedding occurred in “the parlors of the Morton House, by the Rev. Spruille Burford.”) She had been married previously, to Homer Jarvis of Grand Rapids, and was for many years secretary of St. Mark’s hospital, which later became Butterworth hospital. She was not only "one of the best known of the old residents" but "was especially interested in military affairs, her fine mind, remarkable memory and personal interest in the subject having made her a local authority on matters pertaining to the part taken by Grand Rapids in the great conflict.”

From 1880 to 1882 Pierce served as Grand Army of the Republic Commander for Department of Michigan, and one of his responsibilities as department commander was to officially install the various Grand Army of the Republic posts as they were organized and chartered. For example, on September 6, 1881, Pierce traveled to Big Rapids in Mecosta County to install the French post which had just recently been organized in that city, and on September 9 he mustered in the GAR Champlin Post on the west side in Grand Rapids.

In early 1884 Pierce became chairman of the local Republican committee, and he was actively involved in the movement to create a Soldier’s Home in the state of Michigan generally and to be located in Grand Rapids particularly. In 1885 he was appointed a member of the Board of Trustees for the newly planned Soldiers’ Home and he was instrumental in locating the home in Grand Rapids.

On the evening of August 5, 1885, Pierce replied to several inquiries by e reporter for the Weekly Democrat regarding the location of the new home. Pierce said that the board of trustees had so far “done nothing towards deciding on the location of the home. We arrived at Detroit last evening, after having visited three sites at Owosso, three at Saginaw, some at Port Huron, but there are none there nearer than four miles from the city, and several places along the St. Clair River. The spots are beautiful, but they want $20,000 or $30,000 for the sites. The board has adjourned to August 17. This week Gov. Alger has gone to New York to attend Gen. Grant’s funeral, accompanied by members of the board -- Capt. Remick and Col. Wells. Next week Judge Brown has an important case which he is obliged to try, and for these reasons the adjournment was made to the time set.”

Three weeks later the paper reported that the decision had at last been made, and that “Grand Rapids is indebted to General B. R. Pierce for his valiant and successful struggle to have the soldiers' home located here. The other members were apparently as anxious to have the home located in their various localities as he was to have it located here, and had he wavered a site would probably have been selected elsewhere. The superior advantages of Grand Rapids and the propriety of placing the home in the western instead of the eastern part of the state, finally carried the day.” In 1886 he was elected one of the directors of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.

The following year Pierce was appointed to be first Commandant of the new Michigan Soldiers’ Home, a position he held until 1891. Pierce took a “hands-on” approach to his responsibility as Commandant, as reported by the Eagle in May of 1888. “Commandant Pierce,” wrote the paper on May 19, “was in the city this forenoon and on his return he took back to the Soldiers’ Home nearly $1,200 in cash for the regular ‘pay roll’. He said in answer to an inquiry for news, ‘that they had just finished putting in the water pipes for the grounds and that they would now commence active work in beautifying the lawns and grounds. There is very little sickness among the “vets,” except of a chronic nature. There has been no fever or erysipolas to speak of. We shall observe Memorial Day’.”

Two years later, there were some questions raised in the community over Pierce’s treatment of several of the veterans at the Home.

A few weeks ago a letter was received by the Democrat from Thomas Smith, formerly an inmate of the Soldiers' Home. He is a man who was arrested in October for fighting with a comrade named William Newton. The men got drunk and, although the best of friends when sober, fought each other with all the hate of enemies. Smith took a knife and attempted to cut Newton's throat and succeeded in making several severe gashes, but fortunately not in a vital point. Newton retaliated by biting and scratching his opponent. It has been customary for the officials at the home to take care of their own refractory charges, but General Pierce thought it high time that these men should be treated to more severe punishment. He stated that he had endured their conduct as long as possible and as treating them kindly, instead of doing good, encouraged others in wrong doing, he was compelled to make an example of the men in order to maintain anything like discipline. When the men were arraigned before Justice Walsh, Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and battery and was sent to jail for 90 days. A few days afterward Newton changed his mind, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail for 100 days.

In the letter received from Smith he eulogized himself and denounced the managers of the home and Commandant Pierce in particular for favoritism. He stated that he had been turned from the home and although the managers had refused to take him back, they would not provide him with means to reach his friends at Detroit. The letter was shown to the members of the Soldiers' Home board, which was in session then, and they not only upheld General Pierce's action but thought he had been too lenient with the man. “There is no use in talking,” said Judge Brown of Big Rapids, who is a member of the board, “we have got to maintain discipline at the home and preserve order, and we can't do it by allowing everyone to do as he pleases. This man Smith was one of the worst characters we had. He was continually making trouble among the men and would not listen to anything the officers told him. It was time something was done and I think General Pierce did just right.”

General Pierce stated that the man's story about being discharged was true, but he had been furnished transportation to Detroit. Later it was learned that instead of using it he had disposed of it. Afterward he attempted to get a ticket from the poor superintendents, but, learning of his disposal of the other ticket, they refused him.

Yesterday another letter was received from Smith, who relates his “tale of woe,” and ascribes all his troubles to the managers of the home, who have turned him out into the cold “to get drunk,” “frequent saloon society” and become a bad man. “I sympathize with a man in destitute circumstances,” said Colonel Wells, when shown the letter, “but he has only himself to blame. He was provided with a good home, and did not know enough to appreciate it. A man who will deliberately attempt to cut another man's throat must be a bad character, and such this fellow was. We have got to have some means of keeping order, and I think the fellow got his deserts. Furthermore, I understand that General Pierce now has proof that the man was never a soldier at all, but that he gained admission to the home in the first place by means of forged or stolen papers.”

General Pierce admitted that he has such proof, and promises to make things lively for Smith.

Indeed, Pierce provided a most interesting story to this “tale of woe.” On January 23, the Democrat reported that Smith’s “name is Riley and he is wanted at Adrian for stealing a suit of clothes.

A man calling himself Thomas Smith, tall with mustache, somewhat grey, is wanted at Adrian for stealing a suit of clothes from a G.A.R. comrade. B. F. Graves of Adrian, one of the managers of the Soldiers' Home, noticing that the name and description fitted the man who was expelled from the home for attempting to cut the throat of William Newton, told the prosecuting attorney of his suspicions and wrote to General Pierce about it. General Pierce then received the following letter from the prosecuting attorney:

“B. R. Pierce, Dear Sir: -- Mr. Graves has shown me a letter from you in reference to Thomas Smith. I think there is no question but he stole a suit of clothes that belonged to a comrade here by the name of Joseph Nathan. He sold the top coat to a second-hand dealer here and that we have recovered, but the pants and vest are yet missing. We think he hid them some place here and was then frightened away before he could dispose of them. The value of the clothes was not enough so that we could punish him as he ought to be punished, and in view of the light punishment we could inflict and the expense it would be to bring him from there, if he will tell us where the pants and vest are so that I can save the comrade here from loss, I thought I would not send for him, but I do not know that you care to mention this to him. If not, any suggestion you may make will be duly appreciated.

“I am a member of the G.A.R. here and met Smith in company with the comrade he stole the clothes from.’ [signed D. B. Morgan]

General Pierce has also received letters showing that Smith is wanted by the pension authorities for obtaining a pension under false pretenses. They think his real name is Riley.

“When an old soldier in want comes here,” said General Pierce yesterday, “we do not shield him in any way from officers who may want him; neither do we play the part of detectives. We have over 500 men here, and it is a matter of surprise that out of that number we have less than a dozen who cause any trouble. Smith is one of the bad ones. He was continually making trouble. He would steal knives and other trinkets, which he was compelled to restore to the owners. We did not want to prosecute him, but when we heard that the pension officials were after him he was told that he better skip out of this part of the country. He was given a ticket to Detroit, but I don't know whether he sold it or destroyed it.”

After he left the Michigan Soldiers’ Home in 1891, Pierce leased the Warwick Hotel and remained its proprietor until 1909. (Originally built in 1886 by Darwin D. Cody, a cousin of Buffalo Bill Cody, , the Warwick was located on the southwestern corner of Fulton and Division Streets, and was eventually renamed the Cody Hotel. It was torn down in 1958.)

However, Pierce, who had served as Postmaster in Alabama, apparently sought to receive a postmastership in Grand Rapids, and on December 21, 1899, the Democrat wrote that “Congressman Smith has returned from Washington for the holidays. He says he has secured a position for Gen. B. R. Pierce in the post office here. He does not know the name or the position or what the work will be. If the position has no name a name will be found or a new position created to give a name to. Neither does he know what pay will attach to the office. He has accumulated this mass of ignorance about the matter after spending two weeks in Washington and interviewing Postmaster Bishop. Everybody is glad that Gen. Pierce has got a position, even if there are a good many things indefinite about it.” Pierce was appointed to the post office in 1900.

Byron had been actively involved in the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association since it was first organized in 1870, and he served as Toastmaster at virtually every reunion banquet until 1900 when ill health prevent him from attending. Henry Patterson of St. Johns and a former member of the Old Third, offered a resolution at the 1900 meeting. which was unanimously adopted, “It is with profound regret that we fail for the first time since the birth of our Regimental Reunions, to meet out old, tired and trusted commander, General Byron R. Pierce. We miss him in our social gathering, business meeting and more especially at the banquet. It is our sincere desire and earnest prayer that he may speedily be restored to health and be able to meet with us in the future, as in the past. Resolved, that a copy of this resolution be, by the president of this association, delivered to our beloved commander, signed by the president and countersigned by the secretary and spread at large on the records of this association.”

During the annual Old Third reunion in 1907, Pierce said, in part,

“Comrades - In the intervals of time years are measured, and in the completion of another of those cycles, it is again my pleasure to welcome you, the surviving remnant of Michigan's gallant “Old Third.” Well nigh half a century has passed (46 years the 13th of this month) since this Regiment left our city, 1040 strong, full of spirit and patriotism to engage in that memorable conflict. We, and those who recall that exodus of long ago, were forcible reminded a few evenings since when an adjacent street was ablaze with vari-colored lights and tri-colored bunting floated from every building, proudly observant of the extension to our town district of the first railroad to enter this city, that occasion should have been designated for the date of our departure, the first troops to leave the city, also the first this road transported.

“Another generation is now on the scene of action, and we are counted on the down grade, but while the memory performs its function, those days and the experiences that followed with many of us to Appomattox will ever continue green.

“In the renewal of our greetings there follows a tone of sadness, the increasing death roll registers so many who have been with us on similar occasions. They have fought their last battle, their conflict is over, ‘peace to their ashes’.”

Pierce closed by adding “‘Tears for the dead, cheers for the living.’”

Byron was also a member of Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids, and a member of the Mexican War Veterans’ association of the State of Michigan. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (through his mother’s lineage), was a senior vice commander of the Loyal Legion in the Department of Michigan, was a Master Mason, an Odd Fellow, a Republican, a charter member of the Peninsular Club in Grand Rapids and in religious matters he was a Universalist.

He received pension no. 219,956, dated October of 1882, drawing $7.50 per month in 1883 for a gunshot wound to the left leg, and at the rate of $72.00 per month by 1924.

On June 13, 1911, Byron was one of the guests of honor at the unveiling of the monument honoring the Regiments which mustered in Grand Rapids on the old fairgrounds in 1861 and 1862. Pierce, speaking for the Old Third infantry Regiment which left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, said

“We are met to commemorate an eventful anniversary and share in the fitting observance the patriotic ladies of our city have generously prepared. A century is a long time indeed to anticipate; what of the retrospect? Crowded with memories mingled with pleasure and sadness. As we stand here among the vast assembly, to the survivors of the Third Michigan Infantry we seem to tread upon hallowed ground -- it is indeed a sacred spot.

“Here in our young manhood, many of you had not attained that, with the spirit born of patriotism that roused us to avenge the nation's traitorous blow, we swore allegiance in that flag whose every star retains its lustre and place upon its azure field. On this site we were encamped many weeks drilling and making ready for the orders that should send us to the front.

“50 years ago this morning we responded to that call, each with knapsack and musket, we marched from here amid the waving of banners and plaudits of citizens, to the old D & M station, where the last farewells were spoken, and we left home and loved ones to share the dangers and horrors of war. Think you this day is not replete with memories to this little group of men, the remnant of the 1,040 who then formed this Regiment and went forth to do or die? Are they not a link between the past and the present? Ours was the second Regiment to leave the state and from the first was allied with the Army of the Potomac, sharing in every engagement that army participated in from Bull Run to Appomattox.

“The second Regiment claim theirs was the only one from first to last. The Third Michigan had been so decimated in losses, both killed and wounded, it was consolidated with the 5th, and ever afterward known as such, but,be it remembered, was on the spot at Lee's surrender. In truth, justice, and I am sure you will pardon me if I say pride, I look with reverence upon every veteran before me, for they have been tried and proven true, their valor tested on every battlefield, their loyalty to the cause they represented, as steadfast then as now.

“In fancy again, they seem under my fostering care. Two generations have come upon the scene of action since those stirring times, for them a brief review of this Regiment seemed necessitous. To the Sophie de Marsac Campau chapter of the D. A. R. and the city of Grand Rapids we gratefully acknowledge the gracious compliment for which this memorial stands. These loyal women whose patriotic zeal conceived and completed this tribute are indeed the recipients of our highest appreciation. May this memorial stand as long as time shall endure, telling present and future generations whence came the Regiments and companies that helped make a bright page in Michigan's record in the Civil war.”

In presenting the stone to Superintendent William A. Greeson representing the board of education, he said: “This Regiment is nearing its final muster. The site on which this memorial is placed is a part of property owned by the city of Grand Rapids, under the control of the board of education. That this boulder may be safe-guarded and perpetually retain the place it occupies we transfer our right and claim to the protection and care of this honorable board.”

The Herald described Pierce in old age as “A gentleman of the old school, fine mannered, courteous to a degree unknown to this generation, Gen. Pierce was a welcome figure in the best homes of old Grand Rapids.” The paper noted that during Pierce’s final years he was “Always perfectly groomed when he was able to take of himself,” and he “kept up his habits of neatness to the last. He became very deaf and his speech was slow, but his eyesight was keen and he looked forward to the visits of his old friend, Capt. Charles E. Belknap, who went out every week to visit him.”

Pierce was residing at 47 Jefferson Street in Grand Rapids when he was admitted on November 20, 1920, to the O’Keefe Sanitarium in East Grand Rapids. Dr. O’Keefe, in a sworn statement given in February of 1921 stated that Pierce was confined to his bed at all times and was “totally disabled by reason of old age and requires the constant help, aid and attendance of a nurse,” and that his condition existed at least three months prior to Pierce’s admission to the Sanitarium. In O’Keefe’s opinion Pierce’s condition would not improve, and he died a widower of myocarditis at O’Keefe’s at 1:00 p.m. on July 10, 1924.

Pierce’s funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon, July 14, and one obituary described Pierce as a “loyal soldier and citizen,” and that his was “a life which played its full part in keeping the nation one. The white-haired veteran’s body from 10 to 2 o'clock Tuesday lay in state at Grace Episcopal church. On either side were massed flowers from scores of friends. The flowers had been raised in gardens of the city, carefully picked and borne as family offerings to the bier of a great soldier. Over the casket was a silk flag, the soldier's only decoration except a modest badge which told of Civil war service.” “Massed on each side of the casket were flowers from the various veterans' organizations and from Gen. Pierce's many friends, but the casket bore only the flag for which the veteran had offered himself more than a half century ago. At its head was a wreath from the Soldiers' Home and the customary floral star of the G.A.R.”

“All was peaceful,” wrote the Press, “in the sun-flecked haze of Grace church, but soldiers and wives and daughters of soldiers, who gathered there, saw something more. It was the vision of great battlefields where men went to glory for their nation -- of battlefields where Gen. Pierce himself had been, and led and had come back victorious. Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and other never to be forgotten battlegrounds. During the morning and early afternoon two National Guardsmen in uniform guarded the general's body, the tribute of the new to the old.”

The body “lay in state from 10 to 2; and by noon worn veterans of ‘61 had begun to come for the funeral services which were held at 2 o'clock. Of Gen. Pierce's own Regiment, the Third Michigan Infantry, but four survivors were present. They acted as honorary pall-bearers, together with representatives of the Loyal Legion, Custer and Watson Posts, G.A.R.; Women's Relief Corps; officers of the Michigan Soldiers' Home; Sons of the American Revolution; and Byron R. Pierce and Eva Gray tents of the Daughters of Veterans. The two American Legion posts were represented unofficially. Boy Scouts acted as ushers.”

“At 2 o'clock,” reported one observer, “the church filled rapidly. The pallbearers took their places and in quietness uniformed men and white clad women of various military organizations took their places as honorary pallbearers. The family was represented by a nephew, Henry V. Pierce of Grand Rapids, and a niece, Mrs. Mary O'Connell of New York city. Boy Scouts ushered others to remaining pews.” The paper added that “Rev. G. P. T. Sargent, rector of Grace church, officiated. He drove 125 miles Tuesday from Hillsdale, where he is presiding at the Episcopal conference, to be at the funeral and he must return to the conference Tuesday night.” “With the conclusion of the organ prelude, Greig's ‘Ase's Death’, played by Verne R. Stilwell, and the singing of ‘Oh, What the Joy and Glory Must Be’, led by the Grace church quartet, Rev. Sargent began the Episcopalian burial service.” The Press wrote that

The grand old hymn, “O, What the Joy and the Glory Must Be,” opened the service, the singing led by a quartet. Mrs. Merton M. Lovelace, Miss Eleanor Bramble, E. O. Teng and Gerald Williams. At the organ was Verne R. Stilwell.

Then followed the Episcopal burial service, a lesson from the scripture and the hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee.”

Mr. Sargent's funeral sermon was not long, but it carried a wealth of sincerity in tribute to the dead and example to the living. “Loyalty” was his theme. “The great need in the world today,” he said, “is loyalty to God and to our country. Those are great who have been loyal to their God, their nation and one another.”

“Battle Hymn of the Republic,” stirring battle song of Sherman’s men, closed the service.

The funeral procession left from the church and went east on Cherry Street, then north on College Avenue and east on Fulton Street to Fulton Street cemetery, “where last rites were said.”

At the cemetery “a firing squad from the Michigan Soldiers’ home and a Boy Scout bugler took their places. At the conclusion of the prayer by Rev. Sargent, Col. Frank R. Chase, of Smyrna, past commander of the Department of Michigan, G.A.R., deposited at the grave the flag that marks a veteran's grave; flowers were laid on the casket by representatives of Byron R. Pierce tent of the Daughters of Veterans and other women's organizations. The customary salute was then fired by the veterans squad, and the youthful bugler sounded the soldier’s call to rest after labor [‘Taps’].”

Byron was buried in Fulton cemetery: section 11 lot 7 alongside his wife Abbie.


Esquire Chase Phillips UPDATE 13 July 2018

Esquire Chase Phillips was born on September 21, 1833, in Newfane, Niagara County, New York, the son of New York natives Abram Phillips (1796-1866) and Betsey Swarthout (1796-1846). 


According to  Grand Rapids historian Bowen, Esquire or “Chase”  came “from a warlike family, his grandfather having fought in the Revolution, and his father in the war of 1812.” By 1820 Abram had settled in Hartland, Niagara County, New York but eventually moved to Newfame, New York where the family was living in 1833 and in 1840. 

By 1850 “Chase” was working as a farmer and living with his family in Newfane, New York where his father, who had apparently remarried a woman named Sarah (b. 1810 in New York) owned and operated a very large farm in Newfane. Chase was still living with his family in Newfane in 1855. By Abram died in Newfane in 1866.

In 1850 “Chase”  went to Fort Wayne, Indiana and worked on the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific railroad in the run between Fort Wayne and Toledo. After working on the railroad for some three years, he returned home to Newfane in 1853 where  he spent one year, and in about 1854 he moved to Grand Rapids where he took up the carpenter’s trade.  “After working a reasonable time as a journeyman,” Kent County historian Bowen wrote, “he was employed 1 year as foreman at Saddlebag Swamp  by the D & M. Railroad company, and afterward returned to work in the city, where his ability and industry had previously been so generously recognized.”  

Esquire married Michigan native Mary Hall (1839-1911) on November 14, 1858, in Grand Rapids, and they had at least six children: Susan M. (b. 1859), George B. (1861-1943), Frank (b. 1867), Ella M. (b. 1871), Cora Dell (1874-1895) and (possibly) Edwin (1882).  

In early 1859 Esquire  went to Denver, Colorado, but soon returned to Grand Rapids. In October of 1859 he became a member of the Grand Rapids Light Artillery, under the command of Captain Baker Borden. (Many of men who were active in the GRLA would enlist in Company B, which was also under the command of Baker Borden.)  

By 1860 he was apparently living on the north side of Fourth Street between West Division (possibly present-day Fulton) and Stocking Streets on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. 

Chase stood 5’6” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 27 years old and probably working as a carpenter in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861.  He was apparently a sufferer of asthma, which, according to Captain Fred Shriver of Company B, had “troubled” him for some eight years. Shriver wrote in Chase’s discharge paper on October 23, 1861, that “during which time he has done but little work at his trade. He is unable to lie down at night to sleep [and] he is obliged to sleep in a sitting posture.” Phillips was discharged for asthma on November 6, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia.

He returned to Grand Rapids where he soon reentered the service in Company B, 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics (also under the command of Captain Baker Borden who had left the 3rd Michigan) on December 12, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered December 23 at Louisville, Kentucky, listing Grand Rapids as his residence. 

The regiment was organized at Marshall, Calhoun County on September 12, 1861 and left Michigan for Louisville, Kentucky on December 17 and was broken into at least three detachments almost immediately. Company B was probably on duty at Green River, Kentucky, building storehouses, fortifications, etc., until February of 1862 when it and the regiment advanced to Bowling Green, Kentucky and then advanced on to Nashville, Tennesse February 14-28. The regiment was Engaged in building railroad bridges at Franklin, Columbia, Murfreesboro, etc., till April. The regiment then Companies moved to Shiloh, Tennessee, April 3-15, and was engaged in building bridges and repairing roads. Regiment engaged in advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Skirmish near Corinth May 9. Buell’s Campaign on line of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad in Northern Alabama and Middle Tennessee June to August, building bridges, repairing railroad, etc. At Huntsville, Ala., and building bridges, repairing track and running trains on the Tennessee & Alabama Railroad and the Memphis & Charleston Railroad till August. 

Companies “A,” “B,” “D,” “G” and “H” moved to Nashville, Tenn., August 20-22, and building bridges on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad till September 16. March in advance of the Army to Louisville, KY., September 16-26. Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-22. Battle of Perryville October 8 (Cos. “A,” “C” and “H). March to Nashville, Tenn., October 22-November 7, and tg Mill, Creek, near Nashville, November 22. Duty there till December 31. Battle Of Stone River December 31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Lavergne January I, 1863. Repulse of Forest’s attack. Duty at Lavergne, Murfreesboro, etc., till June 29 building bridges, magazines, repairing railroad and other engineering work. Repairing line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad from Murfreesboro to Bridgeport, Ala., till September of 1863. The regiment was on engineering duty in the vicinity of Chattanooga through the winter of 1863-64.

Esquire was  a Sergeant, possibly Orderly Sergeant for the company, and discharged for disability (possibly asthma) on February 9, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tennessee.  


After his discharge Phillips remained for some time in Nashville, Tennessee working for the federal government, but soon returned to Grand Rapids and from 1865 to 1866 he was working as a carpenter for Wheeler, Borden & Co., in a sash, door and blind factory, and living at 104 Fourth Street on the west side of the Grand River. (The company was co-owned by Baker Borden.) 

In 1867 to 1868 he was a mechanic for Wheeler, Borden & Co., and living on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth Streets on the west side. Sometime around 1869 he bought 56 acres in Walker Township and engaged in fruit growing. In 1870 Esquire was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and three children (and Mary’s younger brother) in Grand Rapids’ 4th Ward. (Next door lived another carpenter who worked for Borden  and who had also served in Company B, 3rd Michigan and with Borden in the First E & M, John Lindsey and his family.) By 1880 Chase was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Walker, Kent County. 

Chase apparently took his fruit trees seriously. In fact,  according one story,  it was said that not only had “He furnished much of the Michigan fruit display displayed at the Pan-American exposition,” in 1898, but “at the time of his death had placed fruit for exhibition at St. Louis [“Louisiana Purchase”] in cold storage.”  

He was also actively involved with the Grand River Valley Horticultural Society, serving as treasurer for some 15 years, and also active in local educational affairs, serving as “moderator” of school district no. 7, on West Bridge Street. Chase was Justice of the Peace for four years and  also a vice-president of the Durfee Embalming fluid company on the west side. He became  a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association in 1885, was a member as well of the Grand Army of the Republic Champlin post no. 29 in Grand Rapids and also a Freemason, a Granger, a member of the Old Settlers Society.  In 1889 he applied for and received a pension (no. 834034).

In 1890 Chase was living at 183 Stocking in Walker where he was suffering from inflammation of the lungs, and, according to Bowen, “His residence [in Walker]  is on a commanding site at the west end of the city, and for this ‘West Side’ he has done more than anyone else, in spite of strenuous antagonism toward its improvement -- such as securing the extension of street sewers and the extension of grading, etc., and the consequent enhancement of the value of the property.”  

By 1900 he and Mary were living in Grand Rapids’ 7th Ward. 

He died at his home in Grand Rapids, 690 Fourth Street (west side),  at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday January 3, 1904, and the funeral was held at Durfee’s chapel. He was buried in Fulton cemetery: section 5 lot 7. 

In February of 1904 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 592460).


Silas M. Pelton UPDATE 13 July 2018

Silas M. Pelton was born on December 28, 1819, in Blenheim, Oxford County, Ontario, Canada, the son of Vermonter James Pelton (1791-1851) and Canadian Anna Doyle (1790-1848).

James left his home in Grand Isle County, Vermont and moved to Canada where in 1813 he married Anna at her home in Buford, Oxford County, Ontario. They lived in Buford for several years before moving to Batavia, New York residing there briefly before returning to Canada and settling in Blenheim, Oxford County, Ontario where they lived for many years.

Silas left Canada and moved to Michigan along with several other family members.

He married Canada native Elizabeth Anderson (1823-1904) on January 14, 1840, in Grand Rapids, and they had at least ten children: Albert C. (1843-1876), two daughters, S. A. (b. 1843) and E. E. (b. 1845) -- both of whom may have died young; Sylvia (b. 1846), Francis (b. 1847), William H. (b. 1850), Alice (b. 1852), Cora or Nora (b. 1854), Kitty (b. 1855), Amy W. (b. 1868), and Silas H. (b. 1859), Carrie May (b. 1861), Frederick H. (b. 1869).

Silas and his wife moved to Michigan, probably from Canada, sometime before 1843, and by 1850 (?) he and his family were living in Grand Rapids where he was working as a carpenter, a trade he followed for many years before the war.

He also worked as an architect, and in 1858 he designed the plans for the new engine house for Wolverine fire company no. 3. “Mr. Silas Pelton, architect,” wrote the Grand Rapids Enquirer on May 26, “has shown us a drawing and plan made by him, for an engine house for Wolverine Company No. 3, and, as we believe, accepted by the Company. The plan, it appears to us, could not be improved; and, if constructed according to design, the building will be an ornament to the city. It is to be of brick, with four tasteful plaster columns in front. The estimated cost of the building is $2,500, and the Common Council is asked to appropriate $1,200 of the amount -- the Company and other citizens of the West Side pledging themselves to make up the balance. The Company have a fine lot, and it is to be hoped that their present laudable design may be carried into effect.”

Silas was elected foreman of the Wolverine fire company in May of 1859, superintending some 47 men. In 1859-60 he was working as a carpenter and living on the north side of Bridge Street between Turner and Broadway Streets on the west side of the Grand River, and in 1860 he was listed as a carpenter and builder living with his family in Grand Rapids, Fourth Ward.

In September of 1859 he was elected constable for the Fourth Ward. As Constable, Pelton found himself working frequently with another local officer, George Dodge, who would enlist in Company B. On February 17, 1860, the two officers “arrested four persons who are supposed to be guilty of firing the dwelling house of J. Irwin. The ones arrested are now in jail awaiting examination.”

And on March 24, “Officers Dodge and Pelton brought into town . . . a number of the citizens of Courtland Centre, who are charged with assault and battery on one Chase, of that village. It appears that there is a dispute between said Chase and George W. Bush, in regard to a piece of land. Bush got possession last Fall, and kept it until a few days since, when, being absent for a short time, Chase entered the house, put Bush's furniture out doors, and took possession. The night thereafter, Bush, with three men, returned and broke the door open with an ax and put Mr. Chase and family out.”

In early November Silas suffered a riding accident, but was not seriously hurt. He was out riding on horseback in the country, “some six miles from this city. In crossing a bridge his horse broke through, thus precipitating him to the ground, and fracturing his shoulder to some extent. Dr. Bliss was called, and the fracture dressed. It was not so severe but that Mr. P. was out the next day, with his arm in a sling. He will probably lose the use of his arm for a couple of weeks.”

In 1860 Silas was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.

Silas was 41 years old and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted (possibly as Sergeant Major) in Company B on May 13, 1861.

His son Albert enlisted at the same time in Company A; he was probably related to Alfred and Andrew – the former born in Canada and both of whom enlisted in Company K. He was also the uncle of Samuel who would enlist in Company I.

He was promoted to Sergeant Major on October 30, 1861, and on January 1, 1862, he was promoted to First Lieutenant of Company C, commissioned January 2, replacing Lieutenant Felix Zoll who had resigned. Silas was wounded in the right side of his chest on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, the ball “lodging near the lower part of the right shoulder blade. . . .” Although he was reported absent on 30 days’ leave from July 5, in fact he was back home in Grand Rapids by the middle of June, probably recovering from his wounds.

Silas eventually recovered his health and returned to the Regiment. Although he was at first reported missing in action in December of 1862, in fact he was taken prisoner at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on December 13-14, 1862, and by December 20 he was confined in Libby prison in Richmond, Virginia.

It was first believed by his family that Silas died in prison. One of his comrades in Company A, Charles Wright, wrote home on February 11, 1863, that “Lieutenant Pelton, who was missing at the battle of Fredericksburg, is dead; he died at the Libby prison, Richmond.” And the day before, the Eagle wrote that Pelton’s wife had received a letter from their son Albert, “dated at Alexandria, Virginia, in which she is informed that her husband, Lieutenant S. M. Pelton, of the glorious 3rd, who was taken prisoner during the battle of Fredericksburg, is dead; that he died a few days since, in the Libby prison, at Richmond. Although this news comes from a source which cannot well be questioned, still we hope that there may be some mistake, and that it may prove untrue.”

In fact, Pelton was paroled on January 12 (or February 20), 1863, at City Point, Virginia, reported to Camp Parole, Maryland, on February 21 and hospitalized at Annapolis, Maryland along with other paroled prisoners-of-war. On February 27, the Eagle reported that “Mrs. Pelton has just received a letter from her husband that he still lives and that he has arrived among paroled prisoners at Annapolis.”

Silas was put under arrest on April 3, 1863, for disobeying orders, but released on April 8. He returned to the Regiment on May 20, 1863, and was wounded in the back and shoulder on July 2 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He was shot, he claimed, “between the left shoulder blade and backbone lodging on the right side near the collarbone and neck.” He was subsequently hospitalized at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was furloughed from the hospital in August.

From the thinned ranks of the battle-regt. Third [wrote the Eagle on August 7] Pelton “has returned to his home in this city, covered with scars, pale and feeble from the loss of blood and the severity of the wound received in the second days battle of Gettysburg. The Lt. received a terrible wound in the battle of Fair Oaks, from the effects of which it was supposed, for a time, that he could not recover, but contrary to the expectations of his friends, he regained his health and again returned to his command. At the battle of Fredericksburg he was taken prisoner and carried with other brave soldiers to the rebel capital, where he remained for a time and until exchanged; when he again took his command and was in the terribly bloody struggle at Gettysburg, where, in the 2nd day's contest, he received a ball in the soldier which was thought at the time and for some time thereafter to be a fatal wound, but, thanks to God, the Lt. is still alive with a fair prospect for recovery.

Less than four weeks later, the Eagle reported “We were pleased to meet Lt. S. M. Pelton, of the glorious ‘Third’, on the street this morning. The Lieutenant, it will be remembered, has twice been dangerously wounded in battle. The last time, in the terrible conflict at Gettysburg, he was so severely injured by a ball, which is yet in his body, that it was, for a considerable time after the battle, supposed he could not recover. He was, however, enabled to reach home, and through the best of medical care and nursing, he has now so far recovered as to be able to walk a short distance at a time; and the prospects are fair that he will, with due care and time, wholly recover and be himself again.”

Silas may have recovered from his ordeal but he nevertheless resigned on October 22, 1863, for disability -- although according to the Eagle, on December 24, Pelton, having “recovered sufficiently from his wounds, as he thinks,” left Grand Rapids “to rejoin his old command. Good for Lieutenant Pelton. He doubtless thinks himself bullet proof by this time, as most any man who has been shot so many times would.” It is not clear as to what transpired here. Pelton may have returned to Detroit where he was officially discharged from the army on account of his disability, or, less likely, he returned to the Regiment in Virginia, was discharged there and returned to Michigan.

Silas returned to Grand Rapids and on March 29, 1864, his four-year-old son died. That same year he applied for and received a pension (no. 39592).

By 1865 and 1866 he was working as a lumberman and living in 51 Bridge Street on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, and in 1867-68 he was still engaged in the lumber business and living on the southwest corner of Lincoln and Third Streets. He was a Deputy Marshal in 1871, and on July 24, 1871, the Democrat wrote

We owe Captain Pelton, our efficient Deputy Marshal, an apology for allowing the communication signed ‘Observer’ to appear in our columns on Sunday morning [July 23]. The communication written by an irresponsible person, and inserted in the absence of the managing editor, does the Captain great injustice, whose official career has been satisfactory to our citizens. The author complains that part of Monroe Street is obstructed with building materials, which is true, but then Messers Godfrey & Tracey obtained permission to make such obstruction, and the Marshal or his deputy have no power to remove said obstructions. The Captain has full power to arrest disorderly persons, and should he fail to do so, he would not discharge his duty. Let ‘Observer’, who is a Radical, bear in mind that Captain Pelton's nomination as Deputy Marshal was strongly endorsed by the oldest Republican Councilman on the Board, and that he was confirmed by a vote of 13 to 3, four Republicans voting for him. He has discharged his duties with fidelity, and no one has ever found fault with him except ‘Observer’, who probably has an axe to grind.

Silas was living in Grand Rapids in 1874, and was involved in the building of a large saw mill on Penoyer Creek near Newaygo, Newaygo County in 1876. By 1880 Silas was working as a millwright and living with his wife and two of their children on Scribner Street in Grand Rapids’ 7th Ward; also living with them was another millwright, a nephew named Charles Pelton, his wife and infant daughter. That same year he was also reported working as a millwright in Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota. He was back in Duluth in 1885 and in 1890; in 1890-91 he was living at 813 W. 4th Street working as an agent for the James Leffel Water Wheel Co. in Duluth. He was still in Duluth at 813 W. 4th Street in 1891-92.

Sometime in the late 1880s (probably 1888) Silas had moved to Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota. He was chronically ill through much of the early 1890s, and, according to one source, he was frequently confined to his home and often to his bed during this period.

He was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association and an active Democrat.

Silas was residing at 813 W. Fourth Street in Duluth, Minnesota when he died on February 4, 1899, in Duluth. His remains were brought back to Grand Rapids and interred in Fulton cemetery: section 3 lot 21.

His widow was living in Minnesota in 1899 when she applied for and received pension no. 478757. She was still living at 813 w. 4th Street in Duluth in 1899, 1902 and 1903.


Allen Ripley Foote UPDATE 13 July 2018

Allen Ripley Foote was born on January 26, 1842, in Olcott, Niagara County, New York, possibly the son of Elijah Foote (1810-1863) and Olivia Luce (b. 1801). 


In 1840 Elijah was living in Newfane, Niagara County, New York and in when Elijah was working as a harness-maker. They left New York State and moved west, eventually settling in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By 1860 Allen was working as a clerk for J. Kendall & co., and living in Grand Rapids’ 4th Ward with Wilson Jones and his family. (Jones would also enlist in Company B, as would Alfred Pew who was married to Lucy Foote, Allen’s sister.) Next door lived David Northrup and his family; David too would join Company B in 1861. And two doors from David lived Baker Borden who would command Company B when the 3rd Michigan was first organized in the spring of 1861.

Allen stood 5’4” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 19 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company B. on May 13, 1861. (He is not found in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history; but he is found in the 1905 21st Michigan Regimental history; see below.)

“We have met the enemy and were repulsed,” wrote Allen shortly after the Union debacle at Bull Run on July 21, 1861. In a letter to Wilson Jones which was reprinted in the Grand Rapids Eagle, Allen was quick to add

but we fear not another meeting. Our retreat did not demoralize us. There is not a man in the army but has some comrade to avenge, for we all regard a soldier as a friend, no matter who he is, or where he came from. Our soldiers have been treated with cruelty and barbarity, and we will avenge them on our enemies. I do not mean to say that we will stoop to their level, that we will treat their wounded as they did ours; but we will fight them as men have not fought before, when next we meet. Their only appeal must be to the sword and the bayonet, until they surrender. We have had our last repulse; we have made the last stampede. When next we go on the battle-field, we shall be well officered, well armed, and well provided for. The battle-ground will be, most likely, the same. The rebels must be cautious how they meet us there, where the blood of our butchered wounded shall cry to us for revenge. If on Sunday, the 21st of July, our troops could fight with courage, in the next battle they will fight with a desperateness and a courage, that hearts feeling their wrongs alone can give. Look forward with cheerfulness, for we will conquer. It is as plain as though it was written in burning letters on the walls of the batteries that surround Richmond. You may think that I am getting a little enthusiastic; but you must excuse me if I am. I do not think, if you were in my place, and could hear all that I do, that you would be less so; for the more we hear of the rebels, and of their actions -- the more we talk about and think what a peaceful and happy country they have plunged into a war -- the more determined we are.”

Allen was reportedly promoted to Corporal on January 23, 1862, although according to one source he was in fact a Corporal as early as August 1, 1861. Although he was subsequently reported as promoted to Sergeant on May 21, 1862, he never claimed that rank; and in fact Allen recalled years later that he was only a corporal when he wounded at Fair Oaks, Virginia, on May 31, 1862.

And indeed Allen was shot in the right lung on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks: a rifle or musket ball struck him in the center of the chest, passed through his right lung and out on the right side under his arm and between the 3rd and 4th ribs. Years later, Allen recalled that his company had possession of the regimental colors when they came onto the field at Fair Oaks. “I was,” he said, “not of this guard, but was a corporal then, on the left of my Company next to the color guard. Our line was hardly formed when we received the Confederate charge. Firing was at short range. Fourteen out of the sixteen corporals composing the color guard were shot almost simultaneously; some killed; some wounded, but the colors did not fall.” As for Allen,

I was on my knees in the front rank. The corporal on my left was shot in the head and fell across my legs. He spoke to me. I turned to look at him, and said “”I cannot stop work now to help you.” As I said this I was shot, the bullet entering squarely on my breast, cutting off the first shirt button below the collar. It passed through the bone, which turned is course to the right, and passed out between the ribs. I was in the act of loading my gun at its muzzle. I had the powder in. When hit my right arm fell. I tried three times to put the bullet in and finish loading, hoping to give the enemy one more shot. Finding I could not do it, I dropped my gun, unstrapped my cartridge box and crawled to the rear until I came to a cleared field where a battery was stationed firing over the heads of our men into the Confederate ranks. As I raised up to a walk, a gunner motioned to me to step aside out of range and then continued firing. I walked around back of the battery and stopped to see it work and listen to the music of its roar.

The Confederate charge was stopped. . . .

That night I lay on the ground under a large tree. Noting that every breath sent bubbles of air through my wound, I called a soldier who was trying to care for the wounded and told him I could not live long on half-rations of air. He looked at my wound, tore some square pieces off a bandage roll, placed them over the wound and punched them into it with his finger and poured some cold water on the cloth. This caused the blood to congeal about the cloth and enable me to get the benefit of the air I was breathing.

The following morning, Allen was taken to the division hospital at Savage Station, Virginia, to have his wounded treated. The physician in charge was Dr. D. W. Bliss, who had begun the war as Regimental Surgeon with the Third Michigan infantry. As Dr. Bliss cut off Allen’s shirt, “I looked up at him and said, laughingly, ‘Doctor here is a wound you cannot amputate.’ As soon as he had uncovered it, he said, ‘It would be much better for you, my boy, if I could.’” As soon as his shirt was removed, Allen “discovered another wound on my left arm about half way between the shoulder and elbow. The bullet had chipped off a spot as large as a silver dollar but had not buried itself in the flesh. The arm was black and much swollen.”

There was some confusion in Allen’s military records regarding his subsequent hospitalization: one source reported that he was hospitalized on July 13 at Brooklyn, New York, but another noted that as of July 17 he was in Chesapeake hospital near Fortress Monroe, having been wounded in the chest and “doing well.” According to Allen, his wounds were quickly bandaged at Savage Station and he was sent on to Chesapeake hospital. From there he was transferred to Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn for convalescence and by early August he was reportedly a patient in College Hospital in New York City.

Allen eventually recovered from his wounds and was returned to duty. From New York he was sent to the Convalescent Camp at Alexandria, Virginia.

In going through Washington we passed by the Armory Square Hospital, then in charge of Dr. Bliss. I “fell out” and went into his office. Fortunately I found him at his desk. When he looked at me he recognized me at once and said, “See here, young man, this will never do. You will ruin my reputation. I reported you mortally wounded at Fair Oaks and have had you dead and buried in the Chickahominy swamp for six months.” I said, “I will improve your reputation by giving you an opportunity to resurrect me.” I then told him I did not want to be a “condemned yankee” and wanted him to find a way to save me from going to the Invalid Camp. He immediately called the hospital steward, ordered him to put me in a bed and keep me there four days. I protested, saying I was perfectly able to be about. The Doctor said to me in an undertone, “You stay in bed four days; by that time I will have an order reassigning you to do duty in my office.”

Allen was in fact transferred to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC on October 1.

While there he was placed in charge of making out the necessary papers for patients discharged from the hospital. “I frequently urged the Doctor to order me to my regiment, but he refused, saying I could never serve as an enlisted man since receiving my wound. Being convinced there was no hope of ever being permitted to join my regiment, I made out my own discharge paper and placed it in a package I submitted to the Doctor for his signature. After he had signed all of the papers, I took mine out of the package and showed it to him. He endorsed it, “Able to serve as an officer, but not as an enlisted man.” Allen was discharged from the military on December 23, 1862, for a gunshot to the right lung.

Upon his discharge from the army Allen returned to his home in Grand Rapids, and resided briefly in the First Ward, where he resumed work as a clerk. Although he reportedly applied for a pension on January 31, 1863, in fact he reentered the service as Private in Company B, Twenty-first Michigan infantry at Grand Rapids on January 2, 1864, for 3 years, and received a $60.00 in bounty. He was “discharged” on March 12 to accept promotion to Second Lieutenant, commissioned as of January 26, crediting Grand Rapids, and replacing A. E. Barr who had been promoted.

Allen joined the Regiment on March 13 at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and by the summer of 1864 the Twenty-first Michigan was on detached service with the engineering troops.

Allen was present for duty in August, and in fact on August 23, 1864, the Eagle reported that Foote, along with Captain A. E. Barr and Lieutenant William Thornton, also of the Twenty-first “will please accept our thanks for a photographic card containing their likenesses and a romantic view of Lookout Mountain [Tennessee]. We are happy to have among our collections of the pictures of esteemed friends, the facsimile of such brave workers in the Union Army, and truly loyal men as those men represent. That they, one and all, may ere long return to their happy homes, covered with glory and bearing aloft in triumph over all, the starry old Flag of the free.”

According to William Trumper, who has studied the various movements of Foote during this period, on September 25, 1864, the Twenty-first Michigan was relieved of its engineering duties and assigned to the Second Brigade, First Division, Fourteenth Corps. On October 17 elements of the Twenty-first left Chattanooga to join the Brigade then at Rome, Georgia. By late October Allen was acting Commissary of Subsistence at Dalton, Georgia, and was consequently “responsible for large amount of stores issued to various Battalions and brigades passing through Dalton, and to the Garrison at Tilton, Georgia.” Apparently no replacement had been found for Allen who was consequently out of touch with his Regiment during this period.

On November 20 or 30, 1864, Allen requested a leave of absence for 30 days to remain within the Department of the Cumberland for the purpose of settling the business pertaining to the Department, before reporting for duty. He held the post of Commissary of Subsistence through January of 1865, and in February and March was Assistant Quartermaster at Dalton. Allen returned from detached service to his Regiment on April 22, when he assumed command of Company B on April 30. The regiment marched to Washington on April 29 and participated in the Grand Review on May 24. Allen was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865 at Washington, DC.

After the war Allen returned to Grand Rapids where he lived briefly, possibly at 175 Lincoln Avenue, on the west side of the River, working as a clerk. He took the opportunity to apply for a renewal of his pension on November 1, 1865. He was a member of the Twenty-First Michigan Infantry Association and in late 1866 was living in Grand Rapids, probably in the Fourth Ward, where he was also active in the burgeoning “Boys in Blue” veterans’ political movement. Shortly after the war Allen applied for and received a pension (no. 14046).

On October 2, 1866, the Grand Rapids Eagle reported the following communication received from Foote regarding the political role of the veteran. “My attention,” he wrote,

has been called to the following the Democrat of September 26th, to which I wish to make reply through the columns of your paper.

“Political Dodge to Capture Boys in Blue. -- A movement is on Foote in this city to inveigle the soldiers into a secret political organization under the captivating title of ‘Boys in Blue’. Let soldiers beware of this snare to entrap them into the radical camp, and by oath bound pledges commit them to the support of the radical schemes.”

Timely warning, from a friendly source. Soldiers beware; there has been an attempt to capture Boys in Blue. During thirty years of Democratic rule the plan was being perfected; it was proclaimed to the world in the thunder tone of the first gun fired at Fort Sumter in 1861. There were Boys in Blue in the fort there. Since then a million men have fallen into the ‘snare to entrap them into the radical camp, and by oath-bound pledges, have committed themselves to the support of the radical scheme’ of putting down the rebellion and punishing treason. Many desperate attempts were made to capture them, not by radicals, but by the Democratic rebels of the South. Thousands of them were captured. Comrades, those of you who enjoyed the hospitality of Libby Prison and Andersonville prison-pen, how did you like the fare? Not well. Then ask the sympathetic friend of ours, who so generously advises you of danger, what effort his party made to release you. His answer must be: “We voted not a man nor a dollar to assist in releasing you; we did what we could to discourage enlistments, and to dishearten your comrades in arms; we spent our time in consultation with the traitors ‘over the border’, in passing peace resolutions, and finally abandoned you entirely, by declaring the war a failure.”

Soldiers, from such a source comes this warning; can the same tree produce both good and evil fruit, can the same heart ask for us both a blessing and a curse? Ah, friend of ours, do you not know that the oath which made soldiers, made Boys in Blue also? That is the only oath we have taken, there is no more secrecy in the organization of our political army, than there was in the formation of our military forces, every oath of which was administered in public. Do you not remember the 10th day of June 1861, when the ‘glorious old Third’ a thousand strong, in the presence of the Almighty God, and as many of our citizens as chose to be present, swore to defend the Government against all it enemies? Do you not remember how at the same time your party was preaching ‘fire in the rear’? You opposed the formation of our military army, and for one and the same reason, our bullets and ballots are both fired against Democratic rebels.

Secret political organizations are bad; we endorse much that you say respecting them. But that is the first we ever saw of the secret oath of the Boys in Blue. You must recollect we are only boys; why do you take us back to the know-nothing organization, which dates back beyond our political memory? Are there none of a more recent nature? How is it with the Knights of the Golden Circle? That ‘smacks of conspiracy, of revolution, of plots, of secret designs against the Constitution and laws of the land.’ It was composed of members of your party. ‘It is an evil sign’ to ‘secretly bind each other in a political organization for political purposes’ as did the rebel agents, when they tried to burn the hotels of New York, and to liberate the rebel prisoners at Chicago; do not say that was not a political act, for they were all men of your party, they all support ‘my party’ now, and you known the rebellion was only a “political dodge to capture Boys in Blue.”

You have given us an instance of an outbreak of one organization, we remember of another, ‘which caused the gutters of the Streets of some of our cities to run with human blood.’ It is a fearful crime, it is a dark stain upon the page of our American history, and those who witnessed or remember their horrors, look upon these riots of the reconstructed Democratic rebels, in the cities of Memphis and New Orleans, ‘with a shudder that chills the blood and shames the pride of American citizenship’. You ask us to vote these men into power, you ask us to affiliate with them and trust them as we would honorable men who have never perjured themselves by breaking the most sacred oath of office. You pretend to be our friends now, and offer your ‘blandiloguent’ advice as though we knew nothing of your record for the last five years, and warn us against being ‘captured by the radicals’, as though we ever belonged to your party!

Soldiers, study well the questions of the day and the records of the past. Under the leadership of Grant and Sherman we have fought our way ‘round the circle’. By our own blood and that of our fallen comrades we have welded each link of the chain of thirty-six states in the Union; and now that the conflict has been carried back to the ballot box, our bullets having won the battles in the field, our ballots must do the work for us now. Let us form solid ranks, be on your guard, do not be ‘inveigled’ into any movement, but be careful to sustain that for which you fought; do not be captured by a Corporal’s guard of war failure Democrats. We defeated the Southern wing of this Democratic party at the point of the bayonet; we can defeat its Northern wing with our paper wads. Then rally once again, let each soldier feel the friendly touch of his neighbor’s elbow. Forward! On the sixth of next November we shall win another victory, of which the muster roll of the majority shall outnumber the surrenders of Johnston and Lee.

Sometime around 1867 Allen left Grand Rapids and moved to Missouri living briefly in St. Louis. He was living in Webster Grove, Missouri when he married Emily (or Emma) Louise Hayt (or Hoyt) on April 30, 1868, in Collinsville, Illinois and their only child, a daughter Isabella was born in Webster Grove in July of 1872. Allen and Emily separated sometime around 1875, although Allen apparently helped to finance his daughter’s education and he attended her wedding to Walter Pinkham in Quincy, Massachusetts in July of 1900. It appears Allen and Emily never divorced.

In any case, Allen remained in Webster Grove until 1878, and by 1879 he was living in New York City where he was in partnership with one A. Brymer, selling pianos and organs, located at 291 Broadway and at 40 Fourth Street in Brooklyn. He was residing at 315 West 45th Street in New York City (although it was “not a permanent address”), and in 1880 he was still selling pianos and living with his wife “Emma” and daughter “Bella” in Manhattan, and they were all living with Clara Eckert.

Allen eventually moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was living in 1889-92. He soon moved to the west coast, and from 1893 to 1894 he was residing in Tacoma Park, outside of Washington, DC, although apparently he returned briefly to New York City from 1895-96. He was back in Tacoma Park from 1897-99, at 315 Linwood Avenue in Columbus, Ohio from 1907-15 and by 1921 he was living in Fletcher, North Carolina; he may also have resided at various other times in Chicago and Philadelphia.

Allen was for many years an economist and writer on political and economic affairs, and was apparently something of an expert on the public utilities industry (all of which might account for his various and numerous travels). In 1889 he published several works on the new technology of electric light and its impact on society, and in early February was appointed Chairman of the National Electric Light Association committee to investigate state and municipal legislation on the utilities.

He was a member of the American Economic Association (1899?), the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences (1899?), a commissioner on the Ohio State Board of Commerce (1907?), was president of the National Tax Association in 1907 (1907?), and a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. In December of 1907 his address was listed as 417 Board of Trade Building, Columbus, Ohio, and he was still livingin Columbus in 1912.

In 1913 Allen, then living in Columbus, Ohio, read a paper before the Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion held in Cincinnati, in which he recounted some of his more interesting wartime experiences. He closed his remarks with a tribute to the “loyal volunteer.”

Ask him now how he values the memory of that day when, with his regiment, he first left home for the scenes of war. Can the picture ever fade? Streets thronged with the populace and decorated with the flag he was to defend! Can he ever forget the holy inspiration of the silent cheer from his speechless father, mother, sister or lover as he passed them?

Ask him how he values his memory of a thousand incidents of army life that are never recorded by a single line on the page of history, but which revealed comrade to comrade, knotted life to life, and gave opportunity for the expression of nobility by noble men.

Ask him how he values his memory of the hours of conflict when the magnetic touch of elbow to elbow, comrade to comrade, gave courage and the line grew firm as adamant; when the spirit of those who fell entered into those who remained, as the dying transformed their unwilling groans into cheers for the living. In the crucible of conflict men become molten. Their blood mingles. Their souls blend. Their lives are fused into the life of the Nation. Who that has felt the mystic power, the grand exaltation, the unutterable joy of that supreme moment when his heart’s blood leaped forth as he fell at his post, would call back one drop of it for all that can be given him in return?

Ask him now how he values the memory of that day, when, duty done, his mission accomplished, with tattered battle flags, clothes soiled and torn, bronzed face and hardened muscles -- it may be with scarred and disabled body -- he returned to his home with the survivors of his regiment. Again the Streets are thronged with the populace and decorated with the National colors. The storm cloud passed, all are wild with joy made solemn by thoughts of those who could not come, remembered by none more tenderly than by those by whose side they fell. The glory of flowers, mingled with the voices of music, enchant the eye, perfume the air, exalts the soul. Suddenly, from out the mass of eager faces there darts a father, a mother, a sister or a lover, as some looked-for-one is recognized. The heart can endure the strain no longer. He is snatched from the ranks and embraced amidst the cheers of all observers.

Words!! There are no words for such moments! But the entry written by the recording angel that day will forever read -- “Thank God! My boy, my brother, my lover has done his duty.”

The days of trial and victory are passed, but the memory causes them to live forever in the eternal NOW.

Such memories are the true reward of loyal duty courageously performed. They can be possessed only by those who have earned them. Find such a one, become acquainted with him, and you will find one who will exact least from the defended and is most generous to the vanquished.

These memories stir within old soldiers their best manhood, and thrill them with the noblest pride as they look into each other’s faces. They only are capable of appreciating at their true value the comrades of the campaign, the veterans of the battlefield. They, better than all others, know how to honor him that was loyal and performed the duties of loyalty when the Nation had need of his services.

All who seek to perpetuate the history of war for the preservation of the Union by pen or brush or chisel; all who speak about or ponder over the events of those days, must ever stand uncovered in the presence of him who cay of the first battle of Bull Run, of the last grand review, or of any of the battles between -- “I performed the duties of Loyalty -- I was there.”

Allen was editor of Public Policy for some years, and he published numerous articles on, among other things, the economic implications of military-service pensions in the American Journal of Politics (June 1893) and in the Forum. In fact, Stuart McConnell in his history of the “Grand Army of the Republic,” the Civil War veterans’ organization contends that Allen “attacked the service pension proponents as ‘mercenaries’ and announced a ‘Society of Loyal Volunteers,’ dedicated to the idea that military service was a duty and not a cash transaction.”

By 1920 he was boarding (?) with the Snyder family in Mills River, Henderson County, North Carolina.

Allen died a widower of a stomach ulcer on January 14, 1921, in Hendersonville, Henderson County, North Carolina and his remains were sent to Michigan where he was buried on January 18 in Fulton cemetery, Grand Rapids: block 16.


Francis Higgins Cuming

Francis Higgins Cuming was born October 28, 1799, in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, the son of Fortescue or Fortesque and Phebe (Harrison).

According to Grand Rapids historian Franklin Everett, Fortescue, a Scot, had at one time been a “seafaring man” and an officer in the British army during the American revolutionary war, but became disenchanted with his government’s policy toward the colonies and remained in America. According to Chapman’s History of Kent County, Fortescue became “appalled at the magnitude of the task” of subjugating the colonies and decided instead to settle in America.

By 1800 Francis’ father (“Fortune”) was listed as living in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut; and by 1820 only Phebe was listed as living in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut.

It is unclear what became of Francis’ parents, but, according to Jean Heibel, historian and archivist for St. Mark’s church in Grand Rapids, while still a young boy Francis was sent to the preparatory academy of Professor (Rev.) John C. Rudd at Elizabethtown, New Jersey. “His academy”, Ms. Heibel notes, “would attain a reputation as an outstanding institution for a classical education as well as ‘for the deportment and good manners which would stand young gentlemen in good stead in their adult lives’.”

It was a boarding school with some of the young men sheltered within Dr. Rudd’s home. They were required to bring their own bedding but were provided “good meals and laundry done at nominal cost.” During Cuming’s stay at the academy, he and Dr. Rudd developed a friendship which widened and deepened over the years. . . . When Cuming completed his course of study at the academy, he was licensed as a lay reader and, in 1817, was ordained to the deaconate at St. John’s church in Elizabethtown. In 1818, Dr. Rudd sent him forth with a letter to the bishop recommending him as “a gentleman of talents and respectability.”

Cuming was sent briefly to the west, and when he returned, took up diverse missionary duties within his own diocese, preaching occasionally at Paterson, Spotswood, Freehold and Woodbridge, [New Jersey]. In May,1819, he accepted a position in Morristown where he had 30-40 Episcopalians, “though the number of hearers is much greater”. Here he held services once, and sometimes twice, every Sunday. He said, in a report to his bishop: “there seems to be a prevailing wish that there should be an Episcopal church here.”

On 14 Nov., 1819, he began missionary duties at Christ Church in Binghamton, New York. The Journal of the Convention of the Diocese of New York in 1820 reported “He found the congregation by no means in a flourishing state.” Mr. Cuming retorted: “Your missionary is sorry to report that no inconsiderable effort had been made to prevent the prosperity of the church in this place. Her doctrines and usages had been misrepresented and ridiculed. Strong prejudice existed against her form of worship and her principles. These, in many cases, have been removed and your Missionary has some reason to believe that his labors here have not been altogether in vain. He would establish a Sunday school which would boast 165 scholars and a very good organ was set in the church. He was able to establish a mission church at Union, a very respectable farming town adjoining Binghamton. . . ."

Francis received his priest orders in the Episcopal Church from Bishop Hobart in Rochester, New York. He was also reported to be an ardent and prominent Mason.

By 1820 Rev. Cuming had settled into St. Luke’s church in Rochester, New York, where he superintended both the building of St. Luke’s church and its congregation for some nine years, during which time he traveled frequently to New York City, and reportedly laid the foundation for Calvary Church in that city.

It was while he was living in Rochester that he met and married Caroline Abigail Hulbert or Hurlburt (d. 1827) on January 31, 1822, at Auburn, New York. They had three children, Caroline, Frances L. (wife of Mr. Nourse of Allegan County) and a son Thomas (1827-1858).

Thomas was born on Christmas and the very next day his mother died. “As devastated as the young husband and father was, he stayed at St. Luke’s for two more years. Upon his retirement from this pastorate, the vestry wrote: ‘He had taken a very weak parish worshipping in a small frame building into a handsome stone edifice (already enlarged once) and made its congregation the largest outside of New York City.’”

Four years after Caroline’s death, on April 6, 1831, Francis married his second wife Charlotte Hart (1812-1883), and they had at least seven children: Henry Coleman (b. 1832), Elizabeth Jeanette (b. 1835), Mary E. or Hart (b. 1838), Charlotte Rochester (b. 1841, wife of Dr. Reed of Philadelphia), Frances Sinclair (b. 1845), Emily Jane (b. 1848) Ann Wadsworth (b. 1851).

The same year he remarried Rev. Cuming and his family left Rochester and he accepted the rectorate at St. Mark’s church in Leroy, New York, just south of Rochester. According to one report

“he found the parish in somewhat of a depressed state, in consequence of being, for a long time, destitute of regular ministerial services. The Sunday School had become almost entirely extinct. . . .” His first action was to reorganize the Sunday School. In this he was successful beyond the most sanguine expectations of the church [and by the following year had] 105 scholars and 22 teachers, . . .” He would also set up a Bible class which numbered 55 persons and established a Female Benevolent Society; the members beside paying an annual sum each, assembled once every two weeks for the manufacture of articles for sale. All this and more he accomplished during the first five months!

The family then moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, where Rev. Cuming served as Rector of the church there. Rev. Cuming reportedly spent much of his time traveling throughout the northern states acting as Secretary and General Agent for the school of the Episcopal Church. Eventually he accepted the rectorate of St. Andrew’s in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan. By 1840 Rev. Cuming was living in Washtenaw County.

On May 24, 1843, Francis was called by St. Mark’s Church in Grand Rapids, and, according to city historian Albert Baxter, was promised a salary of $400 “to be paid quarterly in advance, and the expense of transporting his goods from Jackson or Detroit to this place.” He was also informed that a “house had been rented, with five acres of land, for one dollar a week; and the Doctor was advised to bring with him everything he might need.” He began work on October 1, and “within the first year of the new rectorate it became necessary to increase the seating capacity of the church building.” As the congregation continued to grow and prosper, it was ultimately decided that a new church would have to be built. Construction on the new (and present) St. Mark’s was begun in 1846 and completed within two years.

Charlotte Cuming too was busy in helping the growth of Grand Rapids. According to one source,

The settlement of Grand Rapids, on the west side of the state, dates from 1837; the municipal incorporation from 1850. Here it was Protestant philanthropy that developed the earliest hospital foundations. The details are of liveliest interest to lovers of local chronicles, and to those that despise not the day of small things. For the purpose of devising ways to care for the poor and sick independently of the town poor masters, a meeting was held in the fall of 1847, at Prospect Hills schoolhouse, on the site of the Ledyard Block. Thus began a Benevolent Association under the presidency of Mrs. Francis F. Cumming, wife of the rector of St. Mark's Church, which operated a house-to-house relief work through district visitors. On January 16, 1857, a charter was taken out under the name Grand Rapids Orphan Asylum, by a group bearing a close personal identity with the unincorporated workers of the ten years preceding. A double function was herein authorized, namely, to provide for orphans and destitute children, and to extend relief to sick and indigent persons.

Many years later a former student in St. Mark’s Sunday School remember Rev. Cuming well.

No timid little one could peep in at the door of St. Mark’s on a Sunday morning or linger in the vestibule, and escape the watchful eye of the active pastor and superintendent. With an attractive force, he compelled the faint-hearted and the careless to come in; their names were enrolled and they were, at once, made to feel that they were objects of special personal regard. During the teachers’ exercises, Mr. Cuming would pass rapidly through the aisles, giving cheerful words to the children, addressing them by name or as my son or my daughter, in a manner that would cause the childish cheek to glow with pleasure. Thenceforward the young heart was bound to him, and it did not require the promise of new coats or new shoes, to bring to the church on every recurring Sunday morning, that unfortunate class of juveniles who often have catechisms and coats very much mixed up in their minds, setting the coats against the catechism, balancing accounts and quitting when the coat deteriorates in value, but ever ready to negotiate for the rendering of more catechism on the receipt of more coat.
In conducting the general exercises of the school, Mr. Cuming excelled. He was brilliant where many are only endurable. He fixed the attention and sent away crowds of young ones happy in being compelled to carry a new thought. There were no drones in his schoolteachers and pupils were all enthusiastic. Sunday School was watched for and prepared for with a zest which can hardly be realized by those who dread the spiritless wearing away of the dull Sabbath day.

The Bible was made interesting, geographically and historically. Mr. Cuming prepared a little historical geography, running from Genesis to the new dispensation, using in connection, maps which were suspended before the school. Thus the historical bible which had become fossilized in the minds of many by being constantly before them from babyhood, without producing definite impressions, was illuminated by a flame from the altar.
Never did children go through the wonderful tales of the Arabian Nights with greater zest than we did through the Bible histories and biographies when thus abbreviated and linked in a continuous chain, illustrated and explained by maps and biblical dictionaries.
The sermons which were occasionally addressed to the children, holding them in rapt attention, showed that Mr. Cuming possessed the rare gift of applying learning to the presentation of great truths with childish simplicity.

Francis did not confine himself to the spiritual welfare of the congregation, however. Early in 1850 he obtained a charter from the State Legislature that authorized “the establishment of an institution for academic, collegiate, and theological learning, to be located in Grand Rapids, and known as St. Mark's College.”

According to Canton Smith, a leading member of both the church and Grand Rapids business community, “Rev. Cuming’s wide vision conceived the plan of a seminary of learning to embrace at first an academical course of instruction, and as its means were amplified, to expand into a collegiate foundation. The plan envisioned for the institution of learning was of sufficient extent and merit to meet the educational wants of the diocese.” Unfortunately the plan never found enough support among the community -- or within the church -- and the seminary was never built In 1855 he was presented with an honorary D. D. from Columbia college in the east.

Rev. Cuming also devoted himself to the establishment of other churches in the area, and was instrumental in organizing a church in Plainfield. On January 13, 1857, the Eagle wrote that the Christ Church in Plainfield, Kent County, “was organized some seven years ago [1850], under the immediate auspices of Rev. Dr. Cuming, (Who, although a poor judge of music, is a most persevering and energetic clergyman of ‘the church’).” Furthermore, “Dr. Cuming, from the commencement of the enterprise down to the present day, has contributed not a little of his time, means and labors, in order to keep the congregation together.”

He was also instrumental in establishing the “Mercantile Library Association” in Grand Rapids. in early 1858, and in March of that year Cuming published “the fourth edition of a pamphlet entitled, ‘The Spiritual Character of the Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church. By the Rev. F. H. Cuming, D.D.’ -- We have carefully perused the work and find it to be very fair and candid in its treatment of the subject. Not only Episcopalians, but the members of other denominations, ought to peruse the book.”

However, Rev. Cuming’s drive and willfulness often clashed with other strong men in the congregation.

In 1859 a controversy arose within St. Mark’s ostensibly over salary, and there was some speculation that Cuming would resign. In late March of 1859, the Grand Rapids Enquirer wrote, “We stated in yesterday's issue, in report of the Parish Meeting of St. Mark's Church, that Dr. Cuming had relinquished his salary to the Church. In this, we are informed, we were in error -- the Doctor has only relinquished $500 of old arrearages, and received therefore old outstanding claims of the Church to the amount of $300. It is to be hoped, now that these old claims have been taken from the parish books, so as to leave a clear balance-sheet, that they will not be permitted to lie a dead loss upon the doctor's hands, but will be promptly met by the respective debtors therefor. The donation of the Rector amounts to a clear $200. Even if he lose nothing of these debts, his debtors should see to it that their names contribute nothing to a further drain upon his generosity.”

The Enquirer of July 24, 1859 reported that it was the newspaper’s intention

to say nothing whatever relative to the recent action of the congregation of St. Mark's Church in regard to their Rector. And even now we regret that circumstances should have occurred to change such an intention. But a communication and an editorial allusion in the Grand Rapids Eagle, and the article of Mr. [P. R. L.] Peirce in this paper renders the matter anything else but private. Mr. Henry Martin inserts two letters in today's paper, and we also copy the Grand Rapids correspondent of the Detroit Tribune, which alludes to the subject. Thus, it cannot be considered altogether out of place, if we should say a few words in explanation of the matter, as briefly as possible. Tuesday evening, July 12, a meeting of the pew owners of St. Mark's Church was held at the Lecture Room. It was to decide whether they would or would not consent to remit the 10 per cent to which they were entitled, from rent of their pews. And here we may state, that without further formal action, it has been decided, by general consent, not to remit. At this meeting a few others, besides the pew owners, were present, and other matters, than the one for which the meeting was called, were referred to. An adjournment was carried to Tuesday evening, July 19, at the same place. On this occasion there was the largest meeting ever yet held at a business meeting of the male members of the congregation -- for all had been invited to attend.

After the discussion of certain financial matters, a question was raised relative to Rev. Dr. Cuming resigning. He and his friends were desirous of a vote on the subject, at once. He stated that he would resign without delay if convinced that a majority of his flock desired it. A rising vote was taken, and a decision made in favor of the Doctor remaining, by a very large majority. There were no negative votes -- although some present -- how many we are unable to state -- refused to vote at all.

In fact, however, the issue was only superficially about money. The real question was over who would control the temporal as well as the spiritual affairs of the congregation, and the issue was now fully out in the open.

One of Cuming’s parishioners, Henry Martin, sent two open letters, one to the editor of the Enquirer and the other to Cuming himself. In the latter Martin said frankly that the issue was not opposition to Cuming per se but “Opposition to tyrannical laws, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil.” He further argued for the right of the Vestry to transact business, as it deemed fit and necessary without any outside interference.

Rev. Cuming, however, refused to concede that his authority stopped with the spiritual realm, and the problems between Cuming and certain influential members of his congregation simmered just below the surface. He at last tendered his resignation shortly after the first of the year, and he was asked to withdraw it, pending the search for an Assistant Rector to help in the various administrative tasks involved in the care for such a large congregation. Cuming eventually withdrew his resignation, at least for the moment.

In 1859-60 Francis was residing on the northeast corner of Bronson (now Michigan) and Bostwick. As the Union slowly became unraveled in the winter of 1860-61 Rev. Cuming, like so many of his contemporaries, were sorely perplexed at the state of affairs and struggled with what they should do during this most profound crisis. His sermon for the day of National Fasting and Prayer, delivered on January 4, 1861, at St. Mark’s was published in the local newspapers.

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye ever to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2, 12.

Only a few weeks have passed and from almost every State in the Union persons were seen going into “the gates” of the Lord’s house “with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise”. From North and south, and East and West, up rose the jubilant strains. And well they might. For almost everywhere the labors of the husbandmen had been crowned with success equal to if not beyond their largest expectation, and peace and prosperity prevailed throughout our country. But even then though we rejoiced, we rejoiced with trembling. And now, today, the whole nation is summoned to “sanctify a fast, to call solemn assembly”, and in deepest humiliation of soul to send up to God the voice of prayer and supplication.

Why is this? Why, in the midst of the most joyous occasion of the year, and when our temples and houses are hung with festal wreaths and when in accordance with a time honored custom we are exchanging the most delightful greetings, at the commencement of a New Year are we called upon to bend thus in sorrow before God? Alas, beloved, sounds come up from over the land, such as never before, since we became an independent people, were heard in it. The secession of States is spoken of a a measure not only not dreaded but by some desired; disunion is threatened, seemingly without remorse; from the citadel of our much eulogized Republic one of the foundation stones has already been removed, others in it are loosened; and the whole goodly edifice is tottering to it fall.

The possibility of such a calamity is no more, as it once was laughed to scorn, its probability is admitted by those who hitherto were most incredulous of it. The evil stares us fully in the face. The harsh notes of discord, mingled with the glad tidings of our Christmas morn. The song of the angel, peace on earth and good will towards men is all but lost in preparations for war. And instead of the cheerful salutations, which hitherto at this season were heard all over the land, going from mouth to mouth -- friends and relatives, fathers and sons, and sons-in-law, yea brothers who “hanged upon” the same “mothers breasts” are warned that they may be required to be armed against each other in the [coming] war. What then shall be done to avert such a disastrous event? It is not time, it will do no good, to will tend to a more speedy culmination of the evil, to enquire who have been the instigators of it. It is actually upon us, in its incipient, but still in most threatening form -- to be prevented if it be possible -- if not to be met as best we can. What then shall be done? Human wisdom, thus far at least, seems to be incompetent for the emergency; our most profound statesmen are at fault; misunderstanding, prejudices, excitement blind the perception, forestall the judgment, bewilder the minds of men; and a furious and ostracizing fanaticism is all the while fanning the flame of discontent, and seeking to intimidate from any attempt to extinguish it. What then shall be done?

In former times when a people were brought into such an extremity they would humble themselves before God, and turn unto Him “with weeping, with fasting and with mourning”. So God commands, so history shows us even heathen nations have acted. The people of Nineveh fasted, and were saved from destruction to which a prophet announced they were doomed. The children of Israel went up and asked council of God and went and fasted when Benjamin one of the federated tribes rose up in revolt, and had slain thousands. And Benjamin was subdued and received back into the Tribes. Jehosephat proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah and then he prevailed over Moab and Acmon. King Darius passed the night in fasting, because of the consignment of Daniel to the Lion’s den; and Daniel was unhurt. Ahab humbled himself and fasted; and the Kingdom escaped, during his day, the merited evil which the Lord was about to permit to fall upon it. The locusts came up to the land making it “a desolate wilderness”; the people “turned to the Lord with fasting and with weeping, and with mourning and the Lord restored the years which the locusts had eaten.”

These are only a few of the many instances which might be adduced, to show how such public demonstrations of grief for misconduct, have availed to procure favor with God, in behalf of those who have incurred His displeasure. Why it should be so, we stop not to enquire. Let it suffice that so God has been pleased to permit it to be. It is not for us to prescribe to our Almighty Creator and rightful Sovereign, what shall be the means by which when sinned against his anger may be averted. Infinitely wise, and abounding in goodness, we may rest assured all his measures under all circumstances must be the best which ever could be devised.

Let us be instructed then by the success with which the duty of fasting has been, in former times, attended, ourselves now to practice it in this our time of need, in this fearful time of our country’s history. And as the danger is imminent, so let our fat be a real one. Let us turn unto the Lord with all our heart. Let us not come together as a mere matter of form, or simply to hear what we ought to do. Let us give ourselves to the performance of the work as those who believe the requirements of God are not to be trifled with; nor profession to be rested in, to the exclusion of corresponding examples; nor that the honoring of the lips will satisfy God while the heart is far form him. Let our fast be a real fast, one persisted in long enough to make the body sensible of the abstinence to which we are submitting; let our humiliation be so marked that it shall be visible to others it has extended to the very soul; let our prayers be the very pouring out of the heart unto God. And let them be thus poured but especially for the members of Congress, the Executive Cabinet and all in authority that they may have both the wisdom and the firmness necessary to enable them to devise and carry out the requisite measures now demanded in this our country’ most critical emergency. Says St. Paul [in 1st Timothy 2, verses 1, 2]. “I exhort therefore that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, giving of thanks, be made for all me: For Kings and all in authority; that we may led a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty”.

O, would all the people of the land, would all our Christian people be seen today thus engaged -- were they all this day to come up to our sanctuaries of religion, with spirits thus affected, and hence would they go to their closets, there thus afflicting themselves, there bowing in contrition before God and penitently confessing their sins, who can tell what would be the result? Or what might not then hope would be the grace given us, to enable us to know how to act in this day when such lowering clouds hang over us, and the safety of the Union and our own personal safety are so greatly imperiled.

There must beloved have been a cause for our present troubles -- outside of all political action. No people will be given up to be ruined by evil counsels, unless there be first a large amount of personal wickedness, unrepented of. Not then in party or personal bickerings are we now to indulge. Crimination will provoke recrimination. The ulcer is formed; irritation will not cure it. “The plague is begun”, how shall it be staid? The fire is spreading; how shall it be checked and put out? Let us beloved “turn to the Lord, the great Arbiter of nations, with fasting; and weeping and mourning”, and thus seek hi interposition in our behalf. Nor think that we shall thus be engaged in any fruitless work: “Thus saith the Lord; at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a Kingdom to pluck up and pull down and destroy it; if that nation against whom I pronounced, turn from their evil ways, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” And may it not be that we as a people have done enough of evil to provoke the Lord thus to visit us with his chastening rod?

We are a people professing belief in the existence of a God and the divine authority of the Christian religion. As a people we have publicly and in a most solemn manner declared we worship the one Jehovah as he is reveled to us in the bible, and consider ourselves bound to be regulated and to abide by the precepts and principles of that Holy book. Inconsistency then as a nation with that divinely appointed standard of duty we ought no more to think will be overlooked by God, than that he will never call individuals to account for their transgressions. By His Providence he is ever at work in every part of creation, often “brining to pass acts, strange acts”, for the very purpose of making both individuals and nations realize that the Lord He is God. And woe to the nation, woe to the individuals that cease to remember their dependence upon the almighty! Not setting the Lord before them, into excesses of wickedness they will eventually plunge which cannot but end in destruction.

God will indeed do all that He ought -- the very benevolence of His nature will incline Him to do all that He can consistently with His other attributes, to prevent the wretchedness they are thus inevitably precipitating upon themselves. And therefore it is that He so often “maketh diviners mad, and turneth their knowledge foolish”. But beloved though we are professedly a Christian people, how inconsistent is the conduct of a vast many all over the land, with Christian citizenship! and how subversive of every Christian institution! One of the peculiar features and brightest glories of the religion of the bible is its day of sacred rest and holy worship. Let this day be robbed of its religious character, and a night of most fearful evil to out country must succeed. Take it away, and with it will go everything that can be called religion -- all morality, all good order, all desirable civil liberty; and licentiousness and misrule and anarchy will pollute and devastate our dearly bought heritage, invade out much beloved homes and bring down upon us the curse of heaven. it is only from the gospel that correct notions of liberty can be imbibed. It is only as we are properly influenced by the Gospel that we can be in the best condition either to govern or to be governed. We may boast of our patriotism, discourse eloquently upon the rights of conscience, inflame assembled crowds with notions of liberty. “He”, however, “is the freeman whom the truth makes free”; and his conscience is not treated aright, he does not duly respect the rights of his own conscience, who seeks not to have it enlightened with revealed truth. He is not the safe patriot who does not what he can to secure the obedience to the divine laws, and thus to cause the blessing of heaven to rest upon the land. it may be well, beloved, for us all in this our day of humiliation, to examine ourselves whether at the doors of some of us there be not sin in this particular; and whether for this we ought not to fast and weep, and pray not to be dealt with according to our iniquities.

Again: God is the “King of all the earth”. And no more can He be expected to resign his rights and prerogatives to another, than he will exert his power in preserving the Kingdom, or in procuring glory for the people who honor him not. This truth, with a practical living up to it, ought to be the basis on which we rest our hopes, both of personal and national security. But is it so? To place implicit reliance for our success in our undertakings, on our own foresight, or prudence, or plans, or strength, or resources, is the common error of mankind. And richly gratifying to our proud spirit it is, to see adopted the measures we may have recommended, and to behold them successful in their application. In the excitement of the moment we take to ourselves all the credit for objects accomplished, which only “the right hand of God” could bring about. We care not to remember that man’s strength is derived, not inherent; his wisdom a gift, not a birth-right; all his ability of every kind, of grace, not of meritorious claim; and that n His sight “who sitteth upon the circle of the heavens, the inhabitants of the earth are but grasshoppers.” Unfortunate indeed is that community where this spirit has usurped dominion.

Stimulating to the most ambitious projects, and yet disdaining competitors or advisors, who can calculate the dissensions it will be continually fomenting? And see we not, beloved, more of such a spirit among ourselves than we ought? See we at not in the freedom of the press that Palladium of our liberty, so often abused to licentions, to the most low, wanton and unjustifiable personal vituperation? See we not in the toleration of religious opinions for which we are so deservedly eulogized, but which is so often taken advantage of for inculcating the most revolting tenets? See we it not in the freedom of speech so wisely guaranteed by the constitution, now used with the most bitter acrimony, and now persons sought to be deterred from it by threats of personal violence? See we it not, in the sacredness of the pulpit profaned by being used to minister to party strife, or morbid sensibilities? See we it not in laws ignored; decisions of courts repudiated; the constitution overridden; . . . the very word of God either prostituted to sanction violence, the self-will of men, or rejected as the standard of duty because it cannot be wrested to support their delusive and revolutionary theories?
Any people who will set up for themselves, virtually disowning God’s authority, may expect to be left to themselves, and made to know “the Lord reigneth”, by the suddenness, the terribleness with which they will sooner or later hurled form their proud elevation. They that “sow the wind”, must expect “to reap the whirlwind”. Is not this then, beloved, a suitable time in which for us to examine ourselves whether this spirit has not gained an ascendancy over us, and whether we ought not to fast and weep, for the fruits we may now be gathering from it? We had (had we not?) thought our “mountain so sure that it could never be moved”. By the blessing of heaven, a goodly heritage had been secured to us. Embracing every variety of soil and climate; with a government esteemed to be the best of any on the face of the earth; having a territory so vast and almost boundless extent; able to dispose of our lands at a price which placed them within the reach of almost anyone; with a population proverbial for endurance, enterprise, intelligence and courage -- it is not surprising that we have become, during the few years of our existence, a mighty people. And then bound together as we hitherto have been, and supposed we should always be, by the constitution as one man, each pledged to stand by the other, our Union to preserve, let it extend as it might, we gloried too much (did we not?) in our position, in our strength, in ourselves, in our “arm of flesh”, and dreamed not but that we should ever go on in increasing greatness, renown and power. And is not God now rebuking us for our pride, our vaunting spirit, our self-laudation?

If with such dependence upon self to the exclusion of a dutiful submission to the authority of God, we can be charged; then we need not wonder that the breath of his displeasure is upon us, and that we are to be punished in finding that what was our trust is to be our confusion; that we have been leaning upon a reed when we imagined ourselves to be on an immovable rock; and that it was but “rope of sand” and not an adamantine chain which was holding together our glorious, but alas for us! our too-much-gloried-in-Union. For we may pronounce, almost with confidence which prophetic vision would inspire that when by such a spirit we are influenced, ambition will take place of love of country; individual exaltation, or aggrandizement will govern us; and the strife of party, with a thirst for the spoils of office, will eat out from among us everything like pure patriotism. for, beloved, when God is no more properly recognized, served and loved by us; when the yoke of the gospel is spurned; when Christ in his character of Savior has no place in our hearts; when the Holy spirit can no more influence us to the heeding of salvation’s work, the saving of the soul for God, then God has done with us for good.

Our country will then have failed in its grandest mission assigned to us; and we must go on, with others before us who have been so infatuated, proud, selfish and defiant of God, into obscurity, or vassalage or extinction. For thus disowned of God, none of the nations hitherto jealous of our renown need be perplexed as to how we are to be crushed. They will see us, as Pompey saw the Jews, when he sat down before their city, and as Titus afterward beheld them perishing by means of civil dissension more speedily and effectually than could be by foreign force -- will see as the result of our own madness, “Ichabod, the glory is departed”, written upon the walls of the proud Capitol over which floated the stars and stripes, that banner, once by every freeman so dearly prized, covering property and person, in every clime, and which while it there waved, was the beacon of hope to the oppressed of every nation, kindred, tongue and people on the face of the whole earth.

That day of gloominess and darkness has not yet fully come. True, its dismaying shadow is on the mountain. The deep muttering of the storm is borne to us on every southern wind. But O, shall that fearful day ever fully come? Shall it ever be, that our folly and irreverence and impiety shall proceed to such a height as to provoke God to make such an example of us? Are plough-shares be beat into swords, are pruning hooks into spears, and are fields no more to smile with cultivation? the products of every clime, no more as now, to find their way to our doors? Our majestic streams and wide-spreading lake no more as now, to be covered with the barks of commerce? Our people after nearly eighty years of successful experience to be found at last incapable of governing, unworthy to be left to govern themselves because of want of due allegiance to God? Our North and our South, twin brothers brought forth in the stormy time and baptized together in the blood of the Revolution, to be arrayed in deadly strife against each other?

“The war-whoop” again to “wake the sleep of the cradle”? Insurrection to riot in rapine, lust and murder? Civil war to see friends, neighbors, relatives thirsting for each other’s blood? Our country no more to be the land of the brave and the home of the free? Our Union, our glorious Union, the world’s marvel and admiration and hope, where it is not envied or feared, broken up, dissolved, gone? That dreadful day has not yet fully come. O shall it ever thus come?

O, if fasting, humiliation and prayer can prevent it, let us fast and humble ourselves and pray as we have never before done. Let us thus act, “let us thus turn unto the Lord with all our hearts; for who knoweth if He will return and repent and leave a blessing behind Him.” And O, if Compromise, if Concession can keep from us that dreadful day, that day of doom to our prosperity, to our republic, let us in compromise and concession go to the extremest point to which honor will allow us to go. Let ‘the North give up, and the South keep not back.” Let “the North” seek better to understand the South, and leaving their institutions to their own management “give up” all it can with due self-respect. Let the “South”, disregarding fanatical misrepresentation and the unauthorized action of misguided zealots, seek better to understand the North, and “keep not back” what it can, with proper dignity accept. But let not an overweening tenaciousness of self-respect or dignity, let not undue pride, let not an obstinate partisanship be allowed to usurp the place of a magnanimous, conservative Christian spirit. Let not the North, let not the South “love” itself less but let each “love” the country, the whole country “more”. Let each “forbearing one another in love”, each “endeavor to keep” the Union “in the bond of peace,” each praying that both may be truly, savingly influenced by the peace-making glorious gospel of the Son of God. So that neither may be guilty of shedding their brother’s blood.

But if finally the appeal must be to arms, which God forbid! then merging all selfish or party considerations in a heart-burning desire for our just rights and the country’s good, let all of every political name stand shoulder to shoulder, and with faces of flint in defence of rational, constitutional, gospel liberty, the liberty which was our father’s legacy, and which the Word of God assures us we may and ought to have. And for the maintenance of this, looking unto God to uphold the right, let us spare neither treasure nor life. The conflict if it comes, O may heaven avert it! will be such as, probably, the would never witnessed; the desolation such as will cause every eye to weep; the result make a chapter in the World’s history which no on will read without shuddering. But the end, the end -- being of God’s ordering, shall serve as an additional evidence that “the Lord reigneth”, and that “blessed” only “are the people who have the Lord for their God.”

Local historian Franklin Everett wrote of Rev. Cuming “What he undertook he laid hold of with energy, be it the business of his profession, or secular affairs. There was in him a buoyant hopefulness, which was not always prudence. As a clergyman or man of the world, he was always esteemed an able counselor. His benevolence was great, and his personal honor was never doubted. Naturally a leader, he sometimes excited opposition by his determined will, and his fixed purpose to carry his point. His motto seemed to be -- ‘Be sure you are right, and then go ahead’.”

“In personal presence,” wrote Everett, “the air of Dr. Cuming was that of an energetic business man. His positive manner at first repelled, while intimacy proved him a man singularly unselfish, and living in his sympathies and loves; that he was warm-hearted, generous and affectionate. As a preacher, he was impressive and earnest; as a friend, true to the death. He knew no masters but his conscience and his God; and it is believed that the one is stainless in the presence of the other.”

In late April and May of 1861, while the Regiment was organizing in Grand Rapids, at the Kent County Agricultural fairgrounds two miles south of the city, at a place which would be called Cantonment Anderson, the men relied heavily upon the services of local ministers for their spiritual needs, and several were coming regularly to the camp. One of these was Rev. Dr. Cuming.

On May 12, 1861, he addressed the Third Regiment at Cantonment Anderson, and, according to Rebecca Richmond, one of Cuming’s faithful, if youthful, parishioners, “A large number of citizens were present, and the services were interesting and impressive. All joined in singing to the tune of ‘Old Hundred’, the 82nd hymn, Dr. Cuming ‘lining’ it for us in the old fashioned way.” Another wrote

On Sunday last [May 12] the first religious service was held at “Cantonment Anderson” in the afternoon. There was, as you may readily suppose, a large turn out of our citizens to witness the exercises. The day was peculiarly warm and genial, and at the appointed hour, the regiment under the command of Col. Daniel McConnell, formed a hollow square, and having been duly put in solemn ranks, the carriage of the beautiful brass field-piece, belonging to the Grand Rapids Artillery, was run into the enclosure, upon which the Rev. Dr. Cuming, of the Episcopal Church was mounted, and the troops, “having “off hats men”, by direction of the Col. the Dr. opened the services by a short but energetic impromptu sermon, of not to exceed fifteen minutes, delivered in his usual tone and nervous manner, and amongst other of its merits, it had that of “brevity”, which, in times of war, may as well be styled the soul of sermons, as it is at all times of wit. Following the sermon was Old Hundred, led by the Episcopal Church Choir, and then a closing prayer read by the Dr. with great unction, and a spirit which seemed to partake largely of the greatness of the occasion. I ought to mention that the Rev. Dr. was particularly happy in his advice to the soldiers to keep their heads cool and eyes clear, by the frequent use of cold water for a beverage, and to avoid entirely ardent spirits of all kinds.

The most “solemn stillness” reigned during the services, and we heard but one impertinent remark as the Dr. closed, and that escaped from a fanatical mad-cap, who was curious enough to say, as the Doctor dismounted from the cannon, “Well, I wonder if that is what would be called one of the cannons of the church? If it is there is some fire in it yet.” It is proper to add that immediate measures will be taken to arrest said profane individual.

Apparently local clergymen were rotating through the camp providing Sunday services for the troops. Joseph Stevens wrote that at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, church services were held on the parade ground, “Rev. Mr. Somerville officiating, who took his stand on the caisson of the cannon, which made a very good pulpit. It was certainly an imposing sight to see a thousand soldiers and about two hundred spectators formed into a hollow square, to listen to the preaching of the gospel.” Although the Rev. Courtney Smith, “estimable pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Fourth Ward,” had been scheduled to officiate at the cantonment on Sunday,

despite the mud, rain . . . for be it known that these things are yet daily visitors -- a goodly number of our citizens, on foot and in carriages, were on the ground at the appointed hour, but in place of the eloquent, and favorite reverend gentleman above named, I found the cannon carriage occupied by a tall and very graceful person, to me a stranger, who, with a full, rich and sonorous voice, was conducting the religious services. It was the Rev. Mr. Somerville, of the Methodist Church, Lansing. . . . Dr. Cuming, who after the straightest sect is a churchman, performed the 'evening service', and preached in the Presbyterian Church last evening. Can it be that the millennium is really dawning? That the time is really near when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together; the high churchman and the Calvinist pray together; the follower after the Saybrook platform, and he who tells his rosary and beads mess together? Verily, we have fallen in strange times. Let us hope that there will yet some good come out of our denominational Nazareth, through even the dire calamity of war.

On May 26, following morning services and seven baptisms in the afternoon, wrote Richmond, Cuming “addressed the Regiment briefly, made a prayer and a hymn was sung. The doctor has been appointed chaplain of the gallant Third of Michigan, and will accompany them whenever called to take up arms in defense of the constitution and laws.”

Indeed, Rev. Cuming was elected the first chaplain of the Third Michigan infantry Regiment, and, at the age of 62 was the oldest member of the Regiment. In the opinion of the editor of the Grand Rapids Eagle, “This is an appointment which could not be bettered. Whether his congregation will permit him to leave them, is a question for St. Mark's Vestry to decide. But doubtless his resignation will be accepted, in view of the peculiar circumstances which have caused it.” And further, that “the vote, by the Staff and Captains of the Third regt., for Chaplain of the regt., was” 12 for Cuming and 3 for Rev. Dr. Somerville.”

“As this subject is now disposed of,” continued the Eagle, “and as we understand, with very general satisfaction, a few additional particulars are here furnished: On the receipt of notice of his election, Dr. C. immediately called a meeting of the Vestry, and in accordance with the canons of his church, made the matter known to them, as without their consent he could not accept of the office. At this meeting he did not resign the Rectorship of the church, but intimated that he would be glad to have leave of absence . . . if the Vestry would consent to his acceptance of the office. But in his communication to them he stated that should they consent to the arrangement, he desired the Vestry to feel themselves at perforce liberty, to call another Rector immediately, should in their judgment such a measure be deemed advisable. The Vestry refused to take any such step,” and resolved to make do of temporary rectorship for some three months.

On June 11, Rebecca wrote that “This evening Dr. Cuming held a parting reception, and between the hours of seven and ten his house was crowded by his friends and parishioners. It was a solemnly affecting occasion.” Rebecca Richmond wrote in her diary in early July of 1861 that she could hardly believe “our beloved pastor is so far away from us and in the army too.” Indeed, the Grand Rapids newspapers painted a picture of a minister respected and beloved by all the men in the Old Third.

On July 17 the Enquirer reprinted a letter from an unknown writer in the Third infantry that said, in part not only was Cuming’s recent sermon “excellent” but also that “The doctor seems to know the minds of the men with whom he has to deal, and shapes his sermons accordingly. Always when he is speaking the soldiers give the most profound attention. He is universally liked and respected. The sick in the hospital whom he visits daily, are becoming very much attached to him.”

Some of the men in the Regiment felt differently, however. Shortly after Cuming became chaplain of the Third Michigan, and while the Regiment was still in camp near Grand Rapids, Frank Siverd of Company G hinted that Cuming was not well liked by all the soldiers. “Religious services,” Siverd wrote to the Republican, “were held in the afternoon by the newly appointed chaplain. He will be popular if he always studies the comfort of the soldiers as well as he did this time -- that is by preaching brief sermons. It is not pleasant to stand immovable for an hour.” George Miller of Company A wrote home on August 11, “I suppose we will have to listen to old Commings [sic] this afternoon.”

Nevertheless, some of the men of the Third Michigan commended Cuming for his efforts. On December 18, 1861, Dan Birdsall of Company E wrote to the editor of the Hastings Banner that Cuming had established a regimental library for which he was praised.

The Regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, and arrived in Washington, DC, where they went into camp along the Potomac near Chain Bridge (above Georgetown), on Sunday, June 16. However, the rigors of camp life and his age soon began to take its toll on the Reverend, and by mid-September of 1861 Cuming’s health was failing. On September 17 he returned home to Michigan on a 20-day furlough to recover his health.

Rev. Cuming resigned from the Regiment in October of 1861, due to ill health, although he had apparently returned to the Regiment since he was reported by at least two of the men as holding services in October and again in December.

On October 13, Charles Church of Company G referred to him in a letter home, and in December of 1861 Miller wrote that during a recent service held by Cuming, that “Old Doc Cummings disperses the gospel to us on the Sabbath unless it is too cold,” and that his “discourse consists of telling us how awful wicked we soldiers are and agitating on the subject of a big tent for the Sabbath exercises, which he want is the soldiers to buy, take it all around; he is the biggest nuisance of the Regiment. If he was like the chaplains of some of the other Regiments, the boys would take some interest in him, but as it is, its like smoking sawdust to hear him. There was nine out of our company to church last Sabbath and part of them came back before the services were over.”

Eli Hamblin of Company E wrote home in June of 1862.

Today is Sunday. We had had our meeting and have had a good one. It is the first one we had had this spring. Our old chaplain [Francis Cuming] went home when we left Washington and we have a new one now [Joseph Anderson]. It is the first time he has preached to us. We like him first rate. He is a good man. We like him better than we did the other. He is an old man but he is a clever old scotchman. He is around with the men and talking with them and but the other one was not so he talked well to us.

Rev. Cuming’s health remained fragile and he was forced to return to his home in Grand Rapids.

Rebecca Richmond wrote in her diary on May 11, 1862, that he was “still very feeble,” and on May 14 when she and her sister called on Cuming he was “reclining on his couch in a very feeble condition, scarcely able to speak. He is much emaciated, and oh! so changed from the strong, erect man who left us last summer! Can he, too, be passing away?”

Her question was soon answered. Rev. Cuming died of consumption (tuberculosis) on August 26, 1862, at his home on Bostwick Street in Grand Rapids, and was buried in Fulton cemetery: block 5 lot 30.

On June 10, 1863, the Eagle noted that

The Episcopal convention held its 27th annual meeting at Ann Arbor on Wednesday and Thursday of last week [June 3-4]. Among its various proceedings, the Bishop of the Diocese was relieved of the charge of his Parish in Detroit, by the Convention assuming the charge of his support as Bishop.

The next annual meeting will be held in this city -- the first time of its presence in this part of the State.

There was an extended review of the life and labors of the Rev. Dr. Cuming, in the Bishop’s report, which will soon be published. The Standing Committee, in its report, has also the following report:

“In memory of the Rev. Francis H. Cuming, D. D.:

“To the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Michigan, the death of Rev. Francis H. Cuming, D. D., has been the occasion of no unusual sorrow. It is to them the loss of an able and indefatigable laborer in the Lord’s Vineyard, whose efficiency, advancing years seemed more to help than to hinder; of an associate with most of them in the cares and joys of the growing Diocese from its infamy; of one identified by his abundant missionary labors, with so many of our parishes, that throughout our borders he cannot soon be forgotten; and of an ardent, zealous, enthusiastic servant of Christ, the influence of whose life and ministry and counsels could only be towards the enlargement and strengthening of our communion. And a loss like this they know is not to be made up. At the same time, as partakers of the Gospel which he preached, not only with his lips, but with his life, they must recognize in his death his own gain no less than their loss. They feel that he could have left among them no prouder remembrance than that he gave his latest strength to his country, to the ministry of Christ among her soldiers. And seeing in that only the last of many proofs of the heartiness of his Christian faith, and love and zeal, they rejoice to believe that he has gone to his reward. Assuring his bereaved family of their sincere sympathy, they pray for them, that they soon be enabled to feel that hi calm and easy removal out of this life was full of mercy, and that for him it could not be too soon to enter into his rest.”

In December of 1869 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 139053). In 1870 Charlotte (worth some $20,000 in real estate and $2000 in personal property) was living in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward with her three daughters.

Robert M. Collins UPDATE 13 July 2018

Robert M. Collins was born January 26, 1825, in New York State.

Robert left New York sometime around 1844, and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he began work as a printer, working briefly for the Grand Rapids Enquirer. Apparently at one time he was a partner in the newspaper as well. He subsequently engaged in the steamboat business, working as captain of the steamer Olive Branch on the Grand River working from Grand Rapids downstream to where the river empties into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. For a short while in 1852 commanded the steamer Empire below the rapids. In 1849 Robert joined the Alert Fire Company No. 1 in Grand Rapids. (Another member of the Alert Fire Company, Wright Coffinberry would eventually serve as Captain of Grand Rapids' first local militia company, the Valley City Guard, a company in which Robert, too, would serve.)

In 1850 Robert was living with Alfred X. Cary, a hotel-keeper in Grand Rapids, and by 1859 he had entered into the flour merchandising business with Cary. Alfred Cary was the father of Charles Cary, who would enlist in Company A.

Robert married Alfred Cary’s s daughter Elizabeth (b. 1836), probably in 1859 and presumably in Grand Rapids, and they had at least one child, Alfred (1860-1931).

Like his future father-in-law, Robert became active in the growing local militia movement and in June of 1856 he replaced Ezra Nelson as Second Lieutenant of the “Valley City Light Guards.” (At the same time Captain Wright Coffinberry resigned from command of the VCG and was replaced by Lieutenant Dan McConnell, a veteran of the war with Mexico. McConnell would serve as the first commanding officer of the Third Michigan Infantry.)

In 1859-60 Robert was reported working with A. X. Cary & Co., and boarding with the Cary family on the north side of Park between Bostwick and Ransom Streets. By 1860 Robert and Elizabeth were still residing with the Cary family in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward.

Robert was 36 years old when he originally enrolled in Company K in April of 1861, when the Third Michigan was first organized in Grand Rapids in response to Lincoln's call for troops, but was soon reassigned to the Field & Staff as Regimental Quartermaster.

Organizing a regiment almost from scratch and getting it prepared to enter federal service was a demanding task. On April 19, 1861, he wrote to Michigan Adjutant General John Robertson in Detroit informing the General that his superior, Colonel Daniel McConnell of the Second Regiment (soon to be renumbered the Third) then forming at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids, instructed him “to inquire of you if we can have the privilege of getting up the uniforms for the 2d Regiment in this city; also what provisions are made for paying for the same; also what amount of clothing will be allowed to each man; also if we can get the quota of arms to equip the bal[ance] of the Regiment forward here. I am informed that this Regiment will be mustered into service as soon as ready which we hope to do in 30 days. By answering the above questions as soon as convenient you will confer a favor on the 2d Regiment.”

Some men in the Regiment had little respect for the Quartermaster, however. On July 12, 1861, just a week before the first major test of the Third Michigan in battle at First Bull Run, George Lemon of Company A, wrote home to his parents to describe camp life in the army. After discussing the various aspects of routine drill and the like, he turned his attention to the food, and to the Quartermaster responsible for their rations. “We have tea for supper with bread and meat. We have coffee for dinner and breakfast. We have rice or bean soup for dinner and pork or beef boiled. Our rations are small we have a pint of coffee with a third of a loaf of bread and a little piece of meat. You may think [it is] enough but our coffee is very weak and we get tired of one thing all the time. The boys of Co. A have got up a petition for to have our quartermaster removed and one put in that will give us something to eat but I don't think we can do it unless our officers have a hand with us.”

Robert remained with the Third Michigan Field and Staff through 1861 and on into the summer of 1862. By August of 1862, however, he had been detached from the Third Michigan and was serving as Acting Quartermaster for the Third Brigade, First Division, Third Corps. The following month he was on a leave of absence in Grand Rapids. He eventually returned to Virginia and by December he was on detached service as Acting Third Brigade Commissary from December 26, 1862, through August of 1863. Curiously, however, he was with the Regiment or at least a portion of it, on July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. According to Dan Crotty of Company F, writing some years after the war, Collins had assisted several other men of the Third Michigan in taking confederate General Kemper off the field following the failure of “Pickett’s Charge” on July 3. (The Third had been engaged in the Peach Orchard the previous day.)

Robert was absent sick from September 10 until he was discharged on November 20 to accept promotion in the regular army as Captain and Commissary of Subsistence in the Department of the Cumberland. On November 28, 1863 he was promoted to Captain and Commissary of Subsistence in the Department of the Cumberland, and in early December he returned home on a furlough to Grand Rapids. He returned to duty and came home again in late June of 1864, and was mustered out of service on June 17, 1865, and was home in Grand Rapids by the second week of July.

After the war Robert resumed his various business enterprises in Grand Rapids. By 1867-68 he was back working with his father-in-law A. X. Cary and living on the west side of Ransom between Park and Fountain Streets. In 1868-69 the firm was renamed Cary, Moon & Collins, and was located at the Valley City Mills, at the corner of Bridge and Mill Streets. He may have been ill for a short time in early spring of 1870. That same year he was working as a flour manufacturer (with $20,000 worth of real estate and another $20,000 worth of personal property) and living with his wife and two children in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward.

His health aside, Collins’ business endeavors proved quite successful, and he was still living on the west side of Ransom Street on February 16, 1871, when the Grand Rapids Eagle reported that he possessed $29,000 in real estate and another $20,000 in personal property, an enormous sum in those days. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and the Old Settlers’ Association.

Robert died of an ulceration of the stomach at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1872, at his home on Ransom Street in Grand Rapids. The funeral service was held at his home at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. “Mr. Collins,” wrote the Grand Rapids Democrat on April 20, “has been long and favorably known to all our citizens, and his death has made a gap in the ranks of the old settlers that cannot be filled. All who knew him respected and trusted him. Naturally of a frank, generous disposition, withal of a firm, compact nature, with deep and strong convictions, true and unwavering as a law, he was always a fast friend, a reliable business man and a trustworthy citizen. We knew him intimately and loved him as a brother.”

The high esteem [wrote the Eagle on April 22] and regard of the people of Grand Rapids for the late Capt. Robert M. Collins, was shown by their general participation in the last solemn honors over his remains yesterday. Although the day was very unpleasant, as a cold rain and snow was prevailing at the time of the funeral rites, one of the largest concourses of citizens, members of the F. & A. M. and many of his comrades in the late war, ever seen in this city, followed his remains to their resting place. The funeral was held at his late residence at half past 2 o'clock. After it De Molai Commandery of Knights Templar, of which he was an honored member, the 3 lodges, Grand River, Valley City and Humboldt of F. & A.M., the resident members of the Old Third Mich Inf. with many other members of other Regiments, the Valley City Band and a large number of citizens, formed in procession and proceeded to Fulton st. cem., where he was buried with a Knight Templar's honors by the Commandery. Eulogies are unnecessary. Those who knew him, deeply feel their loss, and words cannot express their grief. They will ever treasure his memory. Such will heartily endorse and mentally add much to the following resolutions which were adopted at a meeting of the Old Third Regt. of Mich. vol. inf., held at the County Treasurer's office on the 21st: “Whereas, it has pleased almighty God to remove from this to a better land our former comrade and fellow soldier, Capt. Robert M. Collins, “Resolved, that while we bow in submission to his will and deplore the loss of one who has shared with us the dangers and privations, the hopes and fears, the dark days and crowning victories of our army life, we will ever cherish the remembrance of his manly virtues and soldierly qualities evinced by a steady devotion to principle, a warm-hearted friendship and Christian patriotism, his coolness and bravery on the field of battle, his sympathy with the sick, the wounded and the dying, and his self-denying efforts to promote the comfort and mitigate the sufferings of his comrades. “That to the bereaved family and relatives of the deceased, and to the honored fraternity of which he was a member, we tender our heartfelt sympathy and condolence. “That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family of the deceased; that they be entered upon the records of the Association, and published in the several papers of this city.”

Robert was buried in Fulton cemetery, Grand Rapids: section 7 lot no. 10, on the same lot with his brother-in-law Charles Cary who died during the war.

In 1908 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 684736).


Stephen Gardner Champlin UPDATE 13 July 2018

Stephen Gardner Champlin

was born July 1, 1827, in Kingston, Ulster County, New York, the son of Jeffrey Clarke (1798-1872) and Allis Ellen (Champlin, 1804-1873).

Rhode Island natives Jeffrey and Allis were reportedly cousins who were married around 1825, probably in Rhode Island. Jeffrey was living in Kingston, Ulster County, New York, in 1830. He may have been living in Harpersfield, Delaware County, New York in 1840.

Grand Rapids historian Albert Baxter wrote that as a boy Stephen had been “an eager reader of history and it is related of him that at twelve years of age he had well studied the histories of Rome, Greece, France, England, and the United States, and was familiar with the story of Napoleon Bonaparte's campaigns as he was with his spelling book. He was educated at the common schools and at the academy at Rhinebeck [Dutchess County], New York,” although he apparently remained there but one term.

By the time he was 15, in 1842, Stephen began professional studies in medicine, and for three years studied at Harperfield, Delaware County, under Dr. Streets of Roxbury and commenced a medical practice three years later at Warwarsing in Ulster County, New York. In 1848, at the age of 21, he gave up medicine, however, and the following year he turned to the study of law with T. H. Westbrook, of Kingston, New York. Stephen reportedly attended two terms of the Law School of Professor Fowler at Balston Spa and in 1850 he was reported to be studying law and living at Vanetting’s hotel in Kingston village, Ulster County, New York. That same year Stephen was admitted to the bar of the state of New York.

Stephen married Mary E. Smedes (d. 1910) on January 1, 1851, in Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York, and they had at least one child, a son Alexander.

Stephen practiced law for some two years in Ulster County before deciding to move west and in 1853 moved to Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan where he formed a partnership with Lucius Patterson. Three years later he was elected judge of the Recorder’s Court of Grand Rapids, serving in that position for two years. In 1857 Stephen entered into a law practice with Harry Yale. (His brother John W. would eventually serve as mayor of Grand Rapids and as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court.) It also appears that Stephen's parents settled in Walker, Kent County, where Jeffrey reportedly died around 1872. In any case Allis was listed on the 1870 census for Walker.

On November 5, 1858, the

Grand Rapids Enquirer

reported that Champlin, the Democratic candidate for Prosecuting Attorney for Kent County, had been “elected by at least a 19 majority.” In the aftermath of that victory there was considerable celebrating in some quarters of the city. On November 13, 1858, the


, quoting the

Grand Rapids Eagle

, wrote that the new prosecuting attorney “was complimented last evening by the German Band at the instance and expense of some of his overjoyed party friends. The Band acquitted themselves handsomely, and came up with some of their best notes, whereupon the worthy future prosecutor came down with his, to the tune of several dollars worth of lager, at which the crowd, who are always understood to be on hand at such occasions, also issued their notes of satisfaction.”

If local sources are to be believed, Champlin proved quite successful as County prosecutor. On March 2, 1859, the Enquirer declared that Champlin, as County attorney, “has thus far won golden opinions from all classes of his fellow citizens, for the manner in which he has attended to the interests of the public. The term of Court now in session will still further add to his reputation, we have no doubt, before its labors are closed.”

In 1859-60 Stephen was residing on the east side of Mt. Vernon, at the corner of Shawmut Street on the west side of the river. In 1860 he was an attorney living in Grand Rapids, Fifth Ward, and, according to the Enquirer of March 17, 1860, was chairman of the Fifth Ward Democratic nominations. (His parents were both living in Walker, Kent County in 1860.)

Besides his active political life and his legal practice Stephen was also involved with the growing prewar militia movement in the state of Michigan. On April 22, 1856, Champlin was elected Captain of the Grand Rapids Light Artillery, also known as the “Ringgolds” Light Artillery, and was technically subordinate to Captain Lucius Patterson’s Grand Rapids Artillery. In February of 1858, Champlin was elected Major of the newly formed Grand River Battalion, headed by Colonel Daniel McConnell, and which was composed of several western Michigan militia companies. This unit would soon become the nucleus of the Fifty-first Regiment of Michigan State Militia, which in turn would serve as the core infrastructure for the Third Michigan infantry in April of 1861.

In fact Colonel McConnell became the colonel of the Third regiment when it began forming at the old fairgrounds south of city in April of 1861, and Stephen, who was 33 years old and still serving as Major of the Fifty-first Regiment and working as Prosecuting Attorney in Kent County, enlisted as Major of the Regiment on May 13, 1861.

Stephen was on duty with the Regiment when it left Grand Rapids on Thursday, June 13, 1861. For his coolness and bravery under fire on August 30, 1861, during a reconnaissance led by Champlin, General George B. McClellan commended him. Champlin wrote in his official report from Hunter’s Chapel, Virginia, that

while reconnoitering from the top of Mrs. Hunter's house, the enemy was observed to send off from the top of the hill lying north of Bailey's Corners two companies of infantry, who numbered about 200 men, who were marched in the direction of our pickets, stationed northeast of Bailey's Corners and on the right of Captain Dillman's position. I started immediately for Bailey's Corners, to inform Captain Dillman and take steps for defense. I found that Captain Dillman was acquainted with the movement of the enemy.

A few moments after my arrival about 100 of the enemy attacked our pickets on the right side of the road, and occupying the Bailey outhouses and premises adjoining. An attack was also made on our line of pickets, extending as far as the first house on the direct road from Arlington Mill to Bailey's Corners. The pickets returned the fire and retreated back on Captain Dillman's command and upon the reserve stationed half way from Arlington Mill to Bailey's Corners. I directed Captain Dillman to march one company of his men on the table-land to his right to a point opposite the enemy in the woods and deploy them as skirmishers, advance them across the road, and engage the enemy on their flank, while I brought up and engaged the enemy's front with the reserve stationed half way to the mill, under command of Lieutenant Morris, and also with a portion of Captain [Samuel] Judd's command, stationed near Arlington Mill. The order was executed, and the enemy retreated before the skirmishers, and would not and did not wait an engagement. Our pickets were re-established, and the forces of both sides are again in the same position they respectively occupied this morning. Our loss was none [killed]; wounded, 1 or 2 slightly. The enemywere observed to carry off 3 of their own men, who were either killed or wounded.

Throughout the whole of this affair both officers and men behaved with great coolness and bravery, and I think the retreat was timely for the enemy, for had they waited the advance, they must have been repulsed with considerable loss.

On September 5, an aide to General McClellan sent Champlin word that the general had received Champlin's report of his reconnaissance and skirmish. “The general is much pleased with Major Champlin's dispositions on the occasion, which he deems eminently proper, and he desires you to convey his thanks to Major Champlin for the efficient manner in which this service was performed.”

Sometime during the fall of 1861, back in Grand Rapids there were rumors that Stephen would soon be offered the colonelcy in another Michigan Regiment about to be organized in the state. The


wrote on October 30 that Champlin was offered the Lieutenant Colonelcy of the Third Michigan Cavalry, but he had reportedly declined saying that he believed he could “be of more service to his country where he is.” In fact, owing to disability, Colonel McConnell had just resigned (in mid-October) and Stephen had been commissioned Colonel of the Third Infantry on October 28, 1861 (“jumping” as it were the Lieutenant Colonel of the Third Michigan, Ambrose Stevens). It remains unclear why Champlin was promoted over his superior, Lieutenant Colonel Stevens, although one must not rule out the very real possibility that Champlin’s political connections ran deeper and farther in Michigan (and elsewhere) than those of Ambrose Stevens.

In any case, McConnell’s departure was most welcome in some quarters and Champlin’s promotion certainly pleased some of Third Michigan rank and file.

On November 7, Frank Siverd of Company G wrote to Lansing, “Colonel McConnell has resigned, a procedure necessitated from the precarious condition of his health. So say the papers. We learn he is about to receive a pension from Uncle Sam, on account of the permanent injury to his health brought about by severe exposure on the field, incident to his arduous duties as an officer. We opine, that liberal as our uncle is, he would not grant ninety dollars a month pension to a man who is notorious for never having done the government any service, especially if he could have observed the great accumulation of empty bottles in and around the Colonel's quarters. Major Champlin takes his place and will make an efficient officer. . . .” And in early February of 1862, Siverd wrote the Republican that Champlin’s “fellow officers presented Colonel Champlin with a fine horse as a new year’s present. The Colonel is universally popular and will be followed by the boys wherever he leads.”

George Miller, a private in Company A wrote home on November 8, 1861, that Colonel Daniel McConnell “resigned a few days ago and Major Champlin has been promoted to Colonel in his stead. We have a colonel now that we can depend on and we are all proud of him, [as] he looks to the comforts of his men as well as his own, he goes through the camp every little while to see the men in there [sic] tents and see if they want anything, a thing Colonel McConnell never done [sic].”

Some of the officers, too, seemed pleased with the change. Captain Stephen Lowing of Company I wrote home on November 9 that Champlin as Colonel of the Regiment “makes a good one”. Lowing may have been prejudiced, however. He mentioned in a letter to his brother-in-law Franklin Bosworth on November 27 “Colonel Champlin was a friend of mine at home, and is no less so here.”

Champlin’s first serious test as Colonel of the Third came in February of 1862, while the Third Michigan was on picket guard, Champlin had been ordered to undertake a reconnaissance to Occoquan Village, Virginia. Consequently early on the morning of February 4 a “reconnoitering party” was sent out which returned about 3:00 p.m. that afternoon.

The party was commanded by Captain Lowing, and consisted of Lieutenant Brennan and 44 men from company I, and Lieutenant Ryan and 44 men from company H. They took the road leading by the millstead and went as far as Burke's station and then pass over to brimstone hill, returning by way of old Ox road; but the storm was so severe that the captain did not think it advisable to continue farther, so turned off to the left, and passing the house of Williamson, went down to Occoquan village. The river side was reached through a ravine through which the road passes. Arriving on the shore of the river, the road turns sharply to the north, while a precipitous rocky bluff of near 100 feet rises high immediately behind, leaving only room for the roadway. Upon nearing the river Lieutenant Brennan and 10 men were thrown forward to reconnoiter. He saw but few men in the streets of the village on his arrival, and those men appeared to be squads of unarmed recruits drilling. The scouting party was soon discovered by the enemy and the alarm give, when Captain Lowing then came up and ordered the fire to be returned. Three rounds were fired, when the men, being too much exposed and having accomplished the object of their mission, were ordered to retire, and returned by way of Pohick church.

The falling snow prevented objects from being distinctly seen. Four of the enemy were seen to fall, however, and were carried off by their comrades. Great confusion seemed to prevail. The enemy were evidently taken by surprise. Owing to the difficulty of getting men under cover Captain Lowing did not deploy his men, but brought them through the ravine in sections of eight men abreast, delivered his fire in this order, retiring from the right and left to the rear, thus exposing the head of the column, the balance being hid in the ravine through which they approached the river. The men delivered their fire deliberately and filed to the rear without confusion, acting with coolness and courage throughout.

A camp of the enemy was seen below Occoquan and on the south side of the river. No fortifications were seen. The range of vision was limited, however, by the falling snow. At the corner near Mrs. Violet's house a cavalry picket post was discovered, but the pickets had fled up the old Ox road. They found a good common tent there, in which the pickets had sheltered themselves. They destroyed the tent, as they were too much exhausted to bring it away with them. Wit the exception of this, no picket post was seen.

Captain Lowing was informed at Barker's that the enemy kept a picket post at the saw-mill between Barker's and Burke's station. I am inclined to believe that the old Ox road is picketed by cavalry from Fairfax station to Mrs. Violet's, though I have no certain information of the fact.

On the return, four of Captain Lowing's men became so exhausted that they could go no farther, he directed search to be made for horses on which to mount them. He found two horses in a barn near a deserted house. The owner of the house could not be ascertained, so he took these horses and mounted the exhausted men on them, and they rode them in. He now inquires as to what disposition he shall make of the horses -- whether to hand them over to the Brigade quartermaster or to return them to the place from whence taken.

Just before Captain Lowing returned, and when he was in the neighborhood of Pohick church, heavy firing of musketry was distinctly heard in the direction of Parker's on the Pohick road. The firing lasted several minutes. I am inclined to think that it was between two detachments of the enemy, and who met at the cross-roads, probably mistaking each other for Captain Lowing's party. I shall request the officer who relives me to ascertain if possible the cause of this firing.

I strongly second the views of Captain Moses in relation to pushing the right of our line of pickets out to the Springfield road. The advantages are, it gives a stronger line of posts, is more easily and more securely picketed, while in the rear, along the whole line nearly, is strong ground for the pickets to fall back upon if forced from their position. It will take fewer men, thus giving stronger reserves at the threatened points.

Champlin was wounded severely in the left hip May 31, 1862, at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, although according to one contemporary report “it is not considered dangerous. He walked some distance after he was wounded, and by his presence and energy did much to encourage his men.” In fact, according to George Waldron of the Fifth Michigan Infantry, “As the Michigan 5th advanced nearly or quite through the slashing, we met Col. Champlin, of the 3d, returning on foot, wounded in the left hip. A few of his men were with him, less than a company. He said, ‘I do not know that I have any men left but these; my regiment has been terribly cut up’.”

Apparently, “Colonel Champlin received a ball near the hip bone, which must have entered diagonally, and, striking the bone, glanced and passed out, leaving two external wounds, some five inches apart.”

He was attended on June 1 by the new regimental chaplain, Rev. Joseph Anderson of Grand Haven, Michigan. According to Anderson, he also escorted the colonel to the railroad depot either late on the 1st or early on June 2, to be sent to the hospital in Baltimore.

In any case, Stephen was reported absent with leave for 30 days as of July 1, 1862, but in fact, he arrived in Detroit on June 16, and along with several other wounded officers of the Third Michigan, was staying at the Michigan Exchange hotel.

At 8:00 a.m. the following morning, June 17, they left for Grand Rapids where “They were received,” wrote the


, “by the Mayor and Common Council, the firemen and GR Greys, and a large concourse of our citizens, who escorted them to their stopping places. Their feeble appearances excited the warm sympathies of every beholder for these gallant men who have suffered so much in defense of the government. Their noble deeds of daring excite the pride of every Michigander, and when this satanic war is over and history records the deeds of valor performed by Northern arms, the names of the Michigan volunteers will adorn its brightest pages, and first upon the record will stand in letters of gold the brave deeds of the noble 3rd.” On August 18 the Advertiser and Tribune wrote that Champlin “has so far recovered from his wound received at Fair Oaks that he has reported himself for duty,” and indeed he left Michigan on Friday, August 15, to rejoin his command in Virginia.

By the end of August Champlin was back on duty with the Regiment, and during the battle of Groveton (or Second Bull Run) on August 29, 1862, he apparently ruptured his Fair Oaks wound, which had not fully healed. Colonel Orlando Poe of the Second Michigan infantry and commanding the Third Brigade at the time of the battle, said in his official report of September 1 that “the long list of casualties in the Third Michigan testifies to the good conduct and hard fighting of that Regiment. I would particularly mention Colonel Champlin, of the Third Michigan, who was severely wounded at Fair Oaks, but who joined his Regiment and led it into the fight on the 29th, although his wounds were far from being healed indeed, so far that his wounds broke out afresh on the field owing to over-exertion, and he is now completely prostrated.”

On September 26, Wallace W. Dickinson of Company K wrote to the

Mecosta Pioneer

that in his estimation, “None but veteran troops would have stood up against such a terrible fire [a Second Bull Run], but our brave boys not only stood firm, but charged across the field, driving the enemy from the fence corners into the cover of the woods, maintaining their position until ordered to retire. Col. Champlin, not yet recovered from wounds received at Fair Oaks, was at the head of his Regiment and led them into the fight. But in the early part of the engagement his partly healed wounds received fresh injury, and he left the field, leaving the command to our gallant Maj. Byron R. Pierce.”

Champlin was reported as sick at Alexandria, Virginia, and listed as absent on leave in December, having been appointed Brigadier General of United States Volunteers, to date from November 29, 1862.

On December 18, 1862, R. M. Strunk, a lawyer from Kingston, New York and a member of the Tenth senatorial district Military Executive Committee, wrote to United States Senator Ira Harris, introducing his “friend” Colonel Stephen Champlin of Michigan. “The Col has been nominated by the President for Brigadier General, & of course must be confirmed by the body of which you are a member. I can say that if any man is worthy of a Brigadier’s star, he is. I know all about him. Years ago he read law in my office, & he was with me a long time. I know him thoroughly & well. Most gallantly has he served his country as his scar will tell. Among the first in the field, he has served faithfully all through. May I ask you to help him through the Senate? Be assured that you will in so doing help a deserving man, & a most efficient officer.”

On December 5, the

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune

wrote that “One of the best promotions that have been made in the volunteer officers of this State is that of Col. S. G. Champlin . . . to Brigadier-Generalship. If any man deserves such an honor it is Champlin, who has served his country bravely and faithfully.” On January 3, 1863, while in Washington, DC, Champlin wrote to Governor Austin Blair of Michigan and officially resigned from command of the Third infantry, as a result of his promotion to Brigadier General. On Saturday, January 3, Brigadier General Champlin wrote Governor Austin Blair, resigning his command of the Third Michigan due to his recent promotion to Brigadier General.

I write to inform you that my connection with the 3d Regiment Michigan Infantry has ceased, by my promotion to the office of Brigadier General. As any my successor I recommend Lieutenant Colonel Byron R. Pierce. He is the unanimous choice of the regiment and enjoys the confidence of the General officers over him to the fullest extent.

No longer holding a commission under my State I deem it not improper to tender to you my sincere thanks for many manifestations of confidence of which I have been the recipient! for the kind forbearance extended me in my many shortcomings! and for courtesies always extended -- of all these things I shall ever bear grateful remembrance.

Allow me to congratulate you on the success attending your management of the military affairs of the State.

The vast difficulties which lay before you, in clothing, feeding, and arming of the troops of the state, owing to the low fundamental condition of the state, and of the nation -- have been encountered and surmounted. The high place your regiments hold among the soldiers of the nation is but a just tribute paid to you, and the state, for the zeal manifested in the cause of the union. Surely the glory they have won cannot but reflect back home and glory upon the state administration, which has extended itself so strenuously and effectually in the cause of the union in the cause of the world. [Line illegible] sincere thanks to General Robertson, Colonel Grosvenor, Colonel Croul [?] and other members of your staff for the many courtesies shown me since I entered upon my military career.

The promotion of Colonel Pierce will leave a vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Colonel. Enclosed I send a letter received from General Berry recommending Captain Edward S. Pierce to fill the vacancy. The letter was written by General Berry without the solicitation of any one after the Battle of Fredericksburg and is based on a judgment formed on the battle field of the relative merit of officers.

I can bear testimony that Captain Pierce is every way qualified to fill the office and can most cordially recommend him.

Champlin added the postscript that “My promotion bears date of the 29th of November. I wish Colonel Pierce's could bear the same date. It will only help him . . . as he [was] mustered Lieutenant Colonel for pay on Dec. 31st [and] could not therefore draw pay as Colonel back of that date.”

Stephen was still in Washington when he wrote his brother John on February 23, 1863, that his health was improving. He then quickly launched into a lengthy discussion of the issue of emancipation proclamation and the reasons why the war was being fought. “You speak of the President's having abandoned his primary policy of warring to restore the Union and has changed it to a line for emancipation. I think the courts will finally settle the legality or illegality of the Proclamation; so the question don't bother me much at present. But I do begin to get tired trying to preserve the rights of traitors (as if they were loyal) in an instrument they are trying to destroy.”

According to Champlin, for the southerners this war from the very beginning “was a war of ideas -- and not of infringed rights.” Indeed, he argued, they hoped “to establish a slave empire”, while “We on the contrary warned them to careful fidelity to the constitution and Union.” In any case, he believed “it is becoming on both sides more or less a War of ideas, freedom pitted against slavery. Which shall prevail?” In his mind “slavery is the only obstacle to peace,” and that the “progress of the last century shows that when it is discovered, slavery will be swept away like a cobweb. As between you and the President if the above assumptions are correct it is so after all in one sense I think only a question of force -- shall the slave of the traitor be freed by decision of a court of law or freed by the President's proper production?”

In Champlin’s opinion, and it was one which he claimed to have held for some time, “this war, with or without the Proclamation, must end in the downfall of slavery; and I don't think the proclamation will free any slaves who would not have been free without it.” He points to the absurd position of the Democrats of the North who, he wrote, “still hoped to get the South back, and preserve their domestic institutions, while among the Democrats of the South, who know the objects and aims of the south, the idea does not prevail!” He then asked “what rights have traitors under the constitution? The right if captured to trial and punishment, that is all. Their goods and chattel negro and otherwise are forfeit.”

With his lawyer’s eye he saw the proclamation as in effect illegal, and for him it now became the question of “What will you or the citizens do -- will you for this reason resist the draft? Because the President has tried to proclaim bad law, will you resist good law? This is a question the citizen must ask himself and answer. If you resist, the south succeeds, and you are charged with being an abettor! If you go in and let those charged with this thing run the war, then, in the end, there is a tribunal to right the wrongs, but not now! to oppose now is to palsy the President's efforts to put down the rebellion.”

For Champlin, “emancipation is not now the primary object but only an incident of the war, at least if the President is to be believed this is so. But whether primary or secondary, I believe it makes but little difference to those of the south -- they stake their all in the institution” of slavery and in the test of battle, and, he believes, “it will entirely fall -- may not in my day or yours but the end is near.”

Having stated his thesis that the proclamation is bad law, he nevertheless warned his brother and the Republican party members who might oppose the proclamation, not to let those feelings oppose the prosecution of the war. “The constitution if violated will still stand the shock, and we shall both live and die under it, and those who violate it; they will be judged of, in the tribunals established under the constitution . . . and of the People.” Rather, he said, “Postpone these things to the end of the war, don’t give them the chance of charging the failure of their schemes on your opposition.”

Stephen also wrote to one Mr. Barstow, one of Kent County’s Democratic party leaders, saying much of the same thing to him as he did to his brother John. General Champlin, wrote the editor of the

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune

on March 21, “has written a patriotic letter in favor of the Union and the Government, which the Copperheads have suppressed. The letter denounced the Copperhead Democracy; it sustained and stood by the President; it was opposed to all peace schemes; it was a scorching rebuke of the Tory Democratic party of this State and section. The voice of our Army heroes is too loyal to suit the ears of the Submission Democrats”.

Three days later the same newspaper wrote that Champlin, “a straight Democrat and a noble patriot, has written a letter to Mr. Barstow, of Grand Rapids, breathing the firmest devotion to the Union, and containing hot rebukes of the Copperheads. Mr. Barstow, whose instincts are loyal, had consented to the publication of the letter, but the Copperhead politicians in Kent County got around him and persuaded him that the publication of the letter would injure the Democratic party! What a confession! The honest opinion of a Democratic soldier, who loves his country, contrasts so strongly with the home resolutions of the Copperheads, that the managers among the latter dare not let the people see the two side by side!”

By the end of March Stephen had returned to his home in Grand Rapids.

“He still suffers much”, wrote the

Detroit Advertiser and Tribune

on March 27, “from his bullet wounds received at Fair Oaks”. And on July 31, 1863, the Eagle wrote “we regret to say [General Champlin] gains strength very slowly. His entire constitution received a violent shock, and his hurts were far more serious than his surgeon at first believed. Nevertheless, we hope this brave and patriotic officer may long be spared to this community, in which he is universally beloved, and to the service of his country, upon which he has conferred honor.” He was much improved by mid-August of 1863 when it was reported that he had recently returned to Grand Rapids from a trip to the upper Great Lakes in an effort to regain his health, and that was “considerably improved in health and spirits.”

In late August Champlin was ordered to replace Brigadier General John S. Mason in command of the United States depot for drafted men at Camp Cleveland, Ohio. That order was quickly revoked, however, presumably on acount of his poor health, and on September 22, 1863, Champlin was assigned to the command of the depot for drafted men in Grand Rapids. By mid-October General Champlin had, reported the


, “taken rooms and fixed his headquarters, we learn, in McReynold's Block -- the Post Office building -- where his chief-of-staff and other officers may be found during business hours.”

However, Champlin’s old wound refused to heal and he resigned his commission on November 8, 1863.

But in fact it was the consumption that he had apparently contracted back in December of 1862 that was killing him.

On January 4, 1864, P. R. L. Peirce, one of the leading citizens of Grand Rapids, wrote to Mrs. Champlin. “Knowing the illness,” he said,

of your noble husband, to be of such a nature, that personal calls, other than those of his immediate relatives and friends, would tend to distract him, the board of supervisors now in session would have been pleased to have paid the Gen’l a personal visit could it have been done with safety to his health. They have placed in their records, resolution of which copies will be found accompanying this. [See below]

Permit me to add, they echo the sentiments of the people of this entire County, by whom the General is so well known, and so highly esteemed by all. And in conveying to him through you, of said resolves of the board, be pleased to add my own individual sympathies and hopes for his recovery and the assurance of a personal regard and affection that I entertain for him, next only to the love I bear for my blood kindred.

Whereas, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Kent now assembled in January session, have learned with profound sorrow that Brigadier General Stephen G. Champlin is confined to his house by severe illness, caused by wounds received in his country's service -- Therefore,

Resolved, That the heartfelt sympathies of the members of this board, be, and hereby tendered to him, and his family, in his present affliction, with the assurances of each member and officer thereof, that he is gratefully and affectionately remembered by one and all; and that he has their earnest wishes for his speedy recovery to health and renewed endeavors in behalf of his country, whose just cause he so readily espoused and has so bravely defended from armed traitors, who seek its dismemberment and ruin.

Resolved, that the Clerk be directed to furnish the General with a copy of the above.

One of the Old Third veterans, Daniel Crotty formerly of Company F, recalled in later years the last days of Champlin’s life, and summed up the sentiments of many others in the Old Third. “Our poor colonel is dying,” wrote Crotty.

His Fair Oaks wound has killed him. Oh, what a loss to the country at this time, to lose such a man, when his brilliant career has only begun. But he has done his share for the country, and can die with the satisfaction of having his comrades of his old Regiment, the Third, give him the last rites of a brave soldier's burial. As his comrades gather around his dying bed, each one takes a last sad farewell of their commander, and more than brother. The tears fall thick and fast, and each one feels his loss indeed. But we must be reconciled in knowing that all must go the same road, good and bad, old and young, rich and poor. All must pass to that great unknown beyond the grave, but happy is he who, like the brave and gentle General Champlin, can say on his death bed, I have fought the good fight, for my country, and now there is a crown of glory laid up in the hearts of my countrymen for men. The members of the old Regiment in the city march at the head of the funeral procession, for they have a right to the post of honor. We march slowly to the city of the dead and lower our beloved Colonel into the silent grave, fire the parting salute over him, and leave the warrior to his rest. Brave soldier, thy work is done. No more shalt thou lead the men that loved thee on the charge. No more shall we hear the clarion voice of our brave Colonel at the battle front. We drop a silent tear, and bid farewell to the honored dead, and march back to the city to make preparations to go and face the enemies of our country again.

Stephen died from consumption at his home in Grand Rapids on January 26, 1864. According to former Third Michigan Regimental Surgeon Dr. James Grove, who was back in Grand Rapids practicing medicine, there had been “Evidence of tubercular disease of the lung appeared while on duty in the field in December of 1862.”

Champlin’s funeral was conducted at St. Mark’s church in Grand Rapids on January 28, and the Rev. Courtney Smith delivered the funeral address.

One must be [said Rev. Smith] a remarkable example of insensibility to be in no way moved by the suggestiveness of such an occasion as this. There is in it, and by all its arrangements, and its demonstrations of respect to the dead -- in this vast assemblage of our citizens; in the civic and military pageantry so blending into an imposing whole; in the stricken central group in the sable symbols of bereavement and sorrow; in the scenes far away, gone over in thought by the power of association -- scenes of war's wild uproar and carnage, in which the form before us has once participated; with the presence with us of those who shared with him in those scenes; who fought with him under the hall of death, and some of whom bled with him -- by this draping with the flag under which he fought at Bull Run; by all this there is verily a rare combination of force settling in upon the emotions, and stirring them in an unwonted degree.

But let us not for a moment lose sight of those facts lying along in this more recent personal history, which so impressively illuminates the ways of Providence, and go to show how unmistakable known ably true it is that though ‘man deviseth his way the Lord directeth his steps’, the old truth which was immortal before the great dramatic genius of England recast it.

While standing with others, on Tuesday afternoon, in the still chamber where the soldier was sinking into the arms of death as gently as a sleeping infant sleeps on, it was impossible not to think of the Providence which brought him away from the battle-fields and hospitals and permitted him to die this peacefully in the sanctuary of home. Yes, friends, this was Providence, and in the enforcement of this single truth to look no further now -- ‘the Lord's voice crieth unto the city’, and if we are wise, we shall see his ‘name’ -- his perfections in a clear sunlight in a Providence like this.

I could not find a meaning either in personal or general history, unless I could find Providence in it -- that great steadying and cheering truth which founds itself on the very existence of God, vitalizing all history with a high import, securing its unity, and charging all its events with energy, and with hope, too.

I trust we have learned to turn such a truth to good account during the stormy years just gone, looking higher than the human agencies in the great drama, as tremendous as these are, and stilling all unreasonable anxieties with the consideration that God lives and reigns, and that all the agents and all the events which are throning and crowding the hours, constitute an underplot, the progress and results of which shall conform to the good please of a being so infinitely excellent.

Standing on this eternal truth, we shall stand firmly, and in the day of a public calamity or, of a dark personal experience, be able to rally ourselves with such a grand old song as the 46th Psalm, which was Luther's favorite in the dark day.

The true scriptural view of life is admirably expressed in a single sentence, by a writer of considerable distinction: ‘God does not frame his empire to suit and satisfy our speculations, but for our practical profit; to bring us into his own excellence and establish us eternally in the participation of his character.’ Philosophy itself, as it seems to me, must be perturbed and distrustful, while it rests on any other view of life than this.

The idea of God in society -- as reigning over us socially, suits itself to our position and circumstances today, since the proprieties of the occasion require from us a review of the career of a valued citizen and most efficient public officer.

Whether it were him or another, it is worth while to consider . . . a social relationship to God himself; as first under the divine government and training, and yet with never interference with his own liberty. Thus, the individual is being fitted, and by a discipline and experience, of which it may be he never prophesied or dreamed, or conjectured, but all under the ordering of God, for a career of usefulness. This is indeed a "magnificent scheme" of life, in the language of the writer, from whom I have already quoted a sentence: ‘Life thus ordered to bring out the value of law, and teach the necessity of right as the only conservating principle of order and happiness --teaching the more powerfully, if so it must, by disorder and sorrow.’

With a clear recognition of these principles, if a valued and useful public servant fall, and the blow so reaches us that a sense of loss and bereavement is general as it now is, the peculiar phraseology of the prophet will assume a new interest and a new impressiveness; we shall be able to construe a providence like this recent one, into the voice of the Lord crying unto the city; we shall see a revelation of His perfections in it, and with a humble acknowledgment of Him in His dispensation, we shall be disposed to hear the precise lesson which the rod is made to speak.

The minister then launched into a discussion of armies of the past ending with a description of the army of the Potomac.

We learned early to watch the movements of this magnificent army with an intense interest. This was quite natural from the representation from our own State in its organization, and also from our special interest in the Third Michigan Infantry. I do not wonder at the effect upon the enemy of which we hear, when as charging up the acclivity at Gettysburg, under the delusion that theirs was the trifling work of dispersing a horde of undisciplined militia, the undeceiving came by a discovery of their old enemies of the Army of the Potomac, from whose stern front they recoiled as if thrown back by a great wave of the sea.

The old foe waited for them, the firmness which had illustrated itself all along, from the Potomac to the James was girded for another endeavor -- was about to hew its way to another victory -- this was all.

For the Army of the Potomac the future is secure. It now has a proud history, and it has sent back, in history, its dead heroes to us from time to time; we have gathered from the lips of its maimed and scarred veterans the details of its marches and battles; we have looked on the torn battle-flag of our own Third and thought where, when and how it received those rents and disfigurations, and we share in the pride of that splendid organization whose history is associated with so much of the heroic; the future historian will take care of it all.

The connection of the deceased with the Army of the Potomac will suggest the propriety of this allusion; it prepares the way for a more particular notice of him, and estimate of his character. As a citizen he was valued, confided in and honored by you. He was not a noisy and pretentious declaimer, nor an intriguer; he was above the low arts of the demagogue, and although fearless and emphatic in the expression of his opinions, his unquestioned integrity, large-heartedness and patriotism challenged the respect of men of all parties. In the most exciting political contests he bore himself so manfully and courteously so to alienate the respect and weaken the confidence of no one.

I do not say that he was not ambitious, but his modesty was conspicuous, and in a nice sense of honor and the sway of moral considerations held him aloof from all dishonorable expedients, in the temptation were his personal elevation.

He was, as you well know, peculiarly quiet in his manner, but a man of noble impulses, quick and generous sympathies; genial, kind and considerate in respect to the comfort and happiness of others -- or, as I might have said, eminently unselfish. The men of his Regiment, were they to speak, would testify to the truth of what I have now said, and they will readily recall his paternal solicitude for their welfare, in all their vicissitudes of their experiences while he commanded them. His friendship was valuable for his genuineness and strength, and not in the least influenced by caprice, or liable to be improved by suspicion or revenge.

He had a clear and vigorous intellect, disciplined in a fair degree by reading and study and an acquaintance with men sufficiently extended to equip him for usefulness in the civil profession he had prepared himself.

His military qualities are conceded to have been of a high order. The testimony of his companions in arms is concurrent in relation to this particular. Those who have shared with him in the perils of battle, and seen him under such a scourging fire as that which so wasted his Regiment at Groveton, testify with soldierly pride to his cool courage and his skill.

His military qualities were rather solid than brilliant; if it could not be said that he exhibited the showiness of some different organization, his courage, and coolness, and skill, formed a rare combination, and precisely such as to inspire his men with confidence.

After a brief discussion of Champlin’s early years growing up in New York and his education and training for the law, Rev. Smith then turned to the great civil war.

We come now to the opening of the great and bloody drama in our country, in 1861, and I revert with pleasure to the enthusiasm which marked that memorable spring-time; and when the news flashed over the country that the conspirators against our Government had opened their batteries upon Sumter and its heroic garrison, giving this defiant form to an infamous plot, which had been maturing for a quarter of a century,men's blood was stirred as never before, and they vented their righteous indignation through clenched teeth at the unparalleled audacity of the demonstration at Charleston. General Champlin partook of this feeling, and we saw him, on the 13th of June of that year, take leave of us, as Major in that splendid Regiment which we call our own -- the Third -- whose fighting material was probably never excelled, and whose prowess is talked of from the Mississippi to the Atlantic.

The Regiment, under its first Colonel, McConnell, participated in the July battles of Blackburn's Ford and Bull Run, and there, as everywhere else, distinguished itself, and, as will yet more clearly appear, covered the disastrous retreat of the 21st of July.

The resignation of Col. McConnell, on account of physical disability, turned attention to Major Champlin as his fitting successor, and he was promoted to the Colonelcy of the Regiment Oct. 28th, 1861. For the skillful disposition of his men while in front of the enemy, at Munson's Hill, he was complimented by Gen. McClellan.

In the campaign which opened in the spring following, he participated in part; was with his Regiment at the siege of Yorktown, the battle of Williamsburg, and Fair Oaks, where he was severely wounded, and was fired at at short range after he fell, and how he escaped death, from scores of bullets which rained around him, was clear in his own convictions, for, said he to me, in a conversation with him within the last two months -- ‘I have ever felt, in circumstances of the utmost peril, that God was protecting me’.

He returned home, but while recruiting he was as impatient to rejoin his Regiment as a caged bird to be free. His wound was a savage one, and healed slowly, and while, as yet, wholly unfit for the hardships of the field, he returned to his command in August -- participated to some extent in the disastrous campaign of Pope -- at Groveton led his Regiment (then reduced to 230 men) in a charge in which 140 of them were killed and wounded -- was compelled, reluctantly, to yield again on account of his debilitated condition and returned to Washington, but rallied sufficiently to return to his command and be with his Regiment in the memorable march from Warrenton to Fredericksburg in November.

A few days later he received his appointment as Brigadier General, which was confirmed by the Senate. He reported for duty at the War Department January 8th [1863], and reluctantly yielding to a necessity imposed by his enfeebled health, took leave of absence.

He reached his home in this city in March. From that time onward --manifesting a constant anxiety to return to the field, hopeful and borne up by a will of uncommon force, through alternations of a rallying of his strength, and prostration under the renewed attacks of his fatal malady, and a resort to various and unavailing expedients, he declined, and on Tuesday afternoon last he sunk gently and without a single convulsive movement, into the repose of death -- dying at only the age of 36, but, as in truth, ‘men live by deeds, and not by years,’ having lived long, and left with us, to be cherished through the years that remain, the memory of a true man.

I should have mentioned in another place his appointment, in August last, to the command of this post, which he held till his death. Gen. C was on terms of intimate friendship with the lamented [General Hiram] Berry and [General Israel] Richardson, and the keenly discriminating and brilliant [General Phil] Kearney [sic] is said to have complimented him highly for his soldierly qualities.

You will wish me to speak of his views on the most momentous of all subjects, man's relations to God and the future, and from my repeated conversations with him on this subject and the frank and free-disclosure of his feelings to me, I am able to speak advisedly. He was a firm believer in revealed and spiritual religion; faith in Jesus Christ and repentance before God for sin, he fully subscribed to as the unalterable condition of final acceptance with God.

He regarded all religious pretension as worthless which did not exert an overmastering control in every circumstance and every relation of life; abhorred cant and hypocrisy, and often expressed to me his profound conviction that the jealousies and rivalries of Christian denominations was one prominent reason why thoughtful and observant men looked with distrust upon the pretensions of them all.

I am persuaded that Gen. C. has thought much on the subject of religion since his return from the army, in March. It was ever a welcome subject to him. He felt that he was a sinner, and that his deliverance was only in Christ, through faith in His name. At one interview, not many weeks since, he remarked to me: ‘A chief trouble with me just now is this will of mine; to get it subjected to the will of God, where I know it must come.’ Later than this, and at one time when he was exceedingly weak and articulated with difficulty, I asked him if he felt that his trust was wholly in Christ. He replied that he did -- that he stood on the everlasting rock.

I was with him in his last moments, and my last question, whispered into his ear, over the fine organism of which the paralysis of death was stealing, was substantially the same.

With a great effort he faltered back his reply -- his last words of cheer to me from his last battle-field. They were the words of victory through Christ -- of trust and hope and peace -- and I heard no more. I shall think of all this, and it shall be much that shall prevent my conceptions of the grand and immortal career he has entered upon.

I have thus brought my own tribute to departed worth to mingle it here with yours, before you shall go "slowly and sadly" to lay him down to his rest ‘till the day break and the shadows flee away’. More I might have said; less you would not have had me say, and if a strong and confiding personal friendship, with repeated substantial token of it, has given a tinge to my appraisement, it will easily be appreciated by an audience like this.

The sorrowing group on whom the blow has fallen most directly will find their support in Him who is the widow's God and a father to the fatherless; who can and who will, if sought to, give ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise for the spirits of heaviness’. To this supreme and infinite goodness I commend them.

I rejoice that some of the companions of the deceased general are permitted to be present. They have been permitted to come up from the broad Virginian battle-ground to follow these remains to the grave. They will return to the field where battles and marches await them, to achieve new victories, and pluck new honors, we trust, from the grim scenes of war. May God protect and bless them -- give vigor to every blow they shall strike upon the tottering and traitorous Confederacy of the South, and return them to rejoice with us for a Government rescued from destruction, the flag of the Union triumphant everywhere in all our domain, treason punished, and peace blessing once more a war-weary land; and where and when the conflict with the ‘last enemy’ of our race is had, there and then may they also triumph through Christ, in whom they have believed and trusted.

And now, fellow citizens, we go to our last duties in connection with this funeral pageant. Let us give heed to the voice of the Lord, crying unto our city; let us ‘hear the rod and who hath appointed it’. We, too, shall die and not live, and is not here a fitting place to purpose how to live while our swift hours travel past?

These are the times for men to be great, by magnanimous and earnest endeavor, and good by the grace of God as a scorning of all that is vile, if ever they hope to be. We are in the midst of a world's battle; truth and righteousness are everywhere contending with frauds and impurity, and the thunder of cannon, the marching of armed hosts and the shock of battle are only incidental to the mighty conflict. God calls for true men now, men who will be on His side now, and evermore.

Let us be true to Him; and reminded as we are again today how freely men are laying themselves on their country's altar, let us pledge ourselves to each other anew, over these remains to be faithful to the Government, which is perhaps the last as it is surely the best of time.

On February 22 the


reported that during a meeting of the Valley City Lodge No. 86, of F. & A. M., held at the Masonic Hall on February 16, the following resolutions had been adopted:

Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God, the Great Chief Architect of the universe, to remove from our midst, our beloved friends and brother, Gen. Stephen G. Champlin,

And Whereas, While we, ourselves stand as stricken mourners, we remembers and acknowledge the infinite power and wisdom of the hand that chasteneth, and would do all that lies in our power to comfort the stricken parents, widow and bereaved children and friends of our brother, and

Whereas, We feel that in the death of our well-beloved brother we have sustained an irreparable loss, society a true citizens and the Nation a tried patriot; therefore

Resolved, That to the aged parents, the stricken wife and relatives of our dearly beloved deceased brother, we tender our deep, our lasting and continued sympathy and brotherly affections.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be published in the daily and weekly papers of this city, and that a copy of the same be officially transmitted to the parents and wife of our deceased brother, by the Secretary.

Stephen was buried in a place of prominence in Fulton cemetery, near two other well-known young men from Grand Rapids who had perished in the war: Sam Judd who was killed at Fair Oaks while commanding Company A of the Third Michigan infantry and former Old Third solider Peter Weber, who was killed at Falling Waters, Maryland, while serving with the Custer cavalry brigade.

Some years after the war the Grand Army of the Republic Stephen Champlin Post No. 29 in Grand Rapids was named in his honor.

In 1864 his wife applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 22583). By 1870 she and her son Alexander were living in Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward.

Until 2001 Champlin's grave remained virtually forgotten, the stone having fallen over and covered by layers of time and dirt. Due to the perseverance and determination of a small group of local citizens, led by Bruce Butgereit and Jeannine Trybus, Stephen's grave is now properly marked with a new headstone and sits as it was originally intended, in a place of distinction within Fulton cemetery.


Charles Henry Cary UPDATE 13 July 2018

Charles Henry Cary was born in 1839 in Brockport, Monroe County, New York, the son of Rhode Island native Alfred X. Cary (1811-1882) and New York native Sarah Musdirk (1813-1890). 

Alfred and Sarah were married in 1833 and probably settled in New York. In 1840 Alfred X. was living in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio. He eventually moved his family west and by 1850 had settled in Kent County, Michigan. That same year Charles was living with his family in Grand Rapids where his father operated a hotel. Also living with them was Robert Collins, who would eventually become Alfred’s business partner as well as Charles’ brother-in-law and who would also join the 3rd Michigan infantry in 1861 as Regimental Quartermaster.

By 1859 Charles was living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Valley City Guards, a local militia company that would serve as the core of Company A, Third Michigan in the spring of 1861.

According to one contemporary observer, Cary was quite a marksman. On Monday, August 29, 1859, the VCG were out testing their newly acquired muskets. “They marched to a large field near the old slaughter house; where the target was erected 25 rods from the line. 25 men drew sight on the ‘bull's eye’, each being allowed three shots. 47 holes were made in the target. The best single shot was made by Fred. G. Dean; the best string shot by Alex[ander] McKenzie, being 24 and 1/4 inches. After trying at 25 rods, the guns were tested at a distance of 90 rods. At this distance Heman Moore made the best ‘string shot’, Charles Cary the best single.”

By 1860 Charles was working as a clerk, quite possibly in his father’s flour and feed store and living with his parents in Grand Rapids' Third Ward. Still living with the Cary family was Alfred’s business partner, Robert Collins and his wife Elizabeth (Cary).

In late April of 1861 Charles was reported as Fourth Corporal of the VCG.

He was 22 years old and probably still living with his family when he enlisted as either Fourth Sergeant (or perhaps Sergeant Major) of Company A on May 13, 1861. Either way, Charles was promoted to Second Lieutenant from Sergeant Major on October 28, 1861, and in late November of 1861 returned home on furlough. Although the records are unclear as to when exactly Cary was detached from the Third Michigan, Captain Stephen Lowing of Company I wrote home to Ottawa County on November 27, 1861, that he was sending “$160 in gold by Lt. Cary of Grand Rapids, who is on a visit here [to the Regiment] and returns tomorrow.”

Charles eventually returned to Virginia, but did not rejoin the Regiment. He apparently remained on detached service when Brigadier General A. S. Williams mentioned him in a dispatch dated June 22, 1862, for having exposed himself to fire in action on or about May 31, 1862, probably near Fair Oaks, Virginia. He was detached as a signal officer under Major Meyers from August of 1862 through February of 1863, and was again mentioned in dispatches.

Getting himself and his men under his command to his next post in August of 1862 had been something of an ordeal for Charles. On August 12, 1862, Charles, who was at 54 Dye Street in New York City, wrote to Captain Samuel F. Cushing, Acting Signal Officer, in charge of the Second United States infantry, relating his problems. He was detailed

on the 5th of May 1862 to report to Lt. De Forel Act. Signal Off. on board the gunboat Wachuset at West Point, Va. Soon after reporting to said officer I was ordered by him to gunboat Marblehall , Lieutenant Richardson commanding officer West Point Va. which I did on the 7th of May 1862. We were very soon ordered up the Pamunkey River where we remained until the position of the White House was abandoned by the federal troops when we returned to Yorktown where we remained until Monday July 21st 1862 when we were ordered to report at Fortress Monroe. Arrived at that place 8 o'clock a.m. July 22nd 1862. We were then ordered to leave for Port Royal S.C. [and] reached that place July 27th. As soon as possible I got orders from Com. DuPont to report to Gen. Hunter commanding and tried to get transportation for myself and two men to Fortress Monroe but could only obtain a pass to New York City where we arrived Aug. 4th. I applied immediately for transportation to Washington and ascertained that I should be obliged to have written orders such as I have never had and upon the impulse of the moment sent you the telegram of the 5th inst. not thinking for a moment but that you would understand the circumstances of the case but I now see that I should have written you full particulars. As I am anxious to return to duty immediately I shall be obliged if you will send me the necessary orders. I have no money cannot pay my own transportation neither can I obtain it without written orders. I will try and explain everything satisfactorily when I see you.

Charles eventually reached his destination, and on December 17, 1862, Lieutenant E. C. Pierce mentioned Cary in his report to Captain Cushing. And on December 21, 1862, Captain Samuel Cushing mentioned Cary in his report to Captain James Hall, commanding the signal detachment.

Soon afterwards Charles was transferred to Mississippi where he was reported on detached service with the Signal Corps when he was commissioned a First Lieutenant on February 5, 1863.

Charles died of disease at about 1:30 on the afternoon of July 17, 1863, in Jackson, Mississippi. Captain John A. Hebrew, an associate signal officer and a good friend of Cary’s, wrote to Cary’s father on July 18, 1863, explaining the details of Charles’ death.

It is with sincere and painful regret [Hebrew wrote] that I have to inform you of the decease of your son, Lt. Charles H. Cary, my associate officer and companion on signal duty, at these headquarters. It was very unexpected and sudden, even to me who has attended and waited on him since he has been sick. We did not dream even of anything serious being the matter with him until one hour before his death. He had been complaining of the usual fever appertaining to this climate almost from the day of our first landing in Mississippi, but was not even confined to his tent or bed, until 3 or 4 days ago when he was attacked with a severe diarrhea, which weakened him a great deal. Still, both his medical attendant -- Dr. McDonald, who is attached to Headquarters -- and myself could see nothing serious in his case. One-half of our troops were similarly affected. This diarrhea left him yesterday morning, and I thought he was getting better fast, until this forenoon, when his brain got affected but very slightly. About half past 12:00 I noticed him getting worse. I immediately sent for the doctor, who came and found him in strong convulsions. Every means in our power was resorted to in trying to recover him but all of no avail. The convulsions lasted about half an hour, when he peacefully and quietly passed away into that deep sleep that knows no waking, at 25 minutes past 1:00 p.m. today. So passed away into eternity my true friend and faithful soldier companion. He was completely insensible to everything after being attacked at the last; I know of nothing as regards his last wishes. I enclose a ring he has been wearing, and a small lock of his hair, cut off after his death, knowing how much they would be prized as a memento of a beloved son. His baggage, arms, clothing, money and equipment I will send by express to your address as soon as we reach a place of civilization once more. Meanwhile I will take all possible care of them. . . . I did my level best to get him sent home, to be buried there, but it was impossible to do so. He is interred in the cemetery belonging to the Insane Asylum of the State of Miss., about 2 miles from Jackson. The cem. is about of a quarter of a mile northeast of the asylum, on a slight rise of ground. The grave is carefully marked with a board, on which is painted his name, rank and regt. in full, and besides I had two large rebel shot (that were thrown at us from Jackson) put into his grave, about half way down, so as to make sure of it if any of his family desired to visit the spot in the future. We buried him in full uniform and with all the honors of war, followed by all the officers at headquarters and a great many belonging to Regiments in our neighborhood. The escort and band were furnished by the Twenty-fifth Mass Vols., and in that he was so much beloved by everybody brought into contact with him that they could not do enough to show their friendship for him. And now as to myself. I am completely lost as much so, almost, as if he had been my brother. We have been doing duty together ever since this corps left the Army of the Potomac, last February, and at different times before that, and I always dreaded being separated from him as we often are in the military service, never dreaming for an instant that he would be taken away from me by death. He was much stronger and healthier looking than any of us when we left Lexington, Kentucky, to come here, I have been more or less sick since we came here, and in fact all of us have been so. We are under orders today to march back to Vicksburg at once; will probably start tomorrow morning, and it is welcome news. I do hope you will be pleased with what I have done in this sorrowful matter. I have done everything in the best manner I could, under the circumstances. I have to refer to one of his men, who was detached from the Fifth Mich Regt. He was very attentive during his illness, and mourns for him almost as much as I do myself. His name is [Isaac] N. Wolf, and if you should ever meet him after the troubles of our distracted country are settled, you may look on him as a true friend to your son.

On July 30, the Grand Rapids Eagle wrote that “We are painfully shocked, today, by the receipt of news of the death of Lt. Charles H. Cary” at Jackson. “ Lt. Cary died of fever, followed by diarrhea, terminating in convulsions. He was a gallant soldier, and a young man of 24 years, universally beloved by his comrades and acquaintances. The letter conveying news of his death purported to contain a ring and a lock of hair -- mournful and sacred relics sent with his dying message to his family. The letter was taken from the post office here, and opened by a sister of the deceased, who, in her agitation, probably lost these relics from the envelope, between the post office and home. If any person should find them, they will confer a great favor and consolation by returning them to the afflicted family, or by leaving them at this office for them.”

Captain Henry S. Tafft of Washington, DC, Charles’ former superior officer, issued General Orders no. 12 on August 1, which said:

It is with profound sorrow and regret that the Col. commanding the Corps, is called upon to announce to the officers of his Department the decease of one of their comrades, Lt. Charles H. Cary. This brave and gallant young officer died at the Headquarters, Ninth Army Corps, near Jackson, Miss, July 18th, 1863. It will be seen, that his decease occurred while in the field, in front of the enemy, and undergoing the arduous labors of an active campaign. Detailed from the 3rd regt. Mich Vols., December 29, 1861, and assigned to signal duty with the Signal Corps of the army, this officer has ever sustained the true character of a patriot and a soldier, and has always nobly performed his duty. He was present and participated in the battles before Fredericksburg, Va., December 11 and December 16, inclusive, 1862 and was mentioned for gallant conduct in these actions by the Chief Signal Officer commanding that detachment. His gentlemanly and courteous deportment had endeared him to all with whom he came in contact, and the deep sorrow which all must feel who knew him, is a tribute to his high character as an officer and a friend. In respect to his memory, the officers of this Corps will wear the usual sign of military mourning for 30 days after the receipt of this order.

Cary’s funeral services were held at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, August 9, at St. Mark's church in Grand Rapids. That evening, Rebecca Richmond, who knew Cary before the war, along with her father William and sister Mary attended the memorial services, which were “preached to a very large congregation by Dr. Tustin. It was prefaced by a condensed biography of the fallen hero. . . .” Another observer wrote afterwards that “After the reading of services usual in such cases in that church, accompanied with excellent music, adapted to the time and occasion, Rev. Dr. Tustin delivered an able and highly interesting sermon, prefaced with a condensed biography of the fallen hero.” Tustin said of Cary that “In the army, as in social life, ‘Charley’ won the esteem and love of all who made his acquaintance”, adding that Cary’s “death adds another victim from our midst to the great slaveholding and traitors' rebellion, fills another home with mourning, and makes loving hearts bleed.”

Charles had originally been interred in the cemetery of the Insane Asylum of Mississippi, some two miles outside of Jackson, and as of early August he remained buried in Mississippi. It is quite possible, however, that his father had the body brought home and interred in Fulton cemetery. In any case, there is a marker for him along with with his brother-in-law Robert Collins and his parents in block 7 lot 10, Fulton Cemetery.


Peter A. Bogardus Jr UPDATE 13 July 2018

Peter A. Bogardus Jr. was born about 1835 in New York, the son of Peter Sr. (b. 1804) and Eliza (b. 1805). 

Peter’s family left New York and settled in Pittsfield, Washtenaw County by 1840; by 1850 Peter was a student living with his family in Pittsfield. 

Peter was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when he married Michigan native Matilda (1835-1919) on May 24, 1854, in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and they had at least four children: Edward S. (d. 1864), Robert A. (b. 1850), Isadore (b. 1859) and Jessie M. (b. 1862). (His younger brother Perry had settled his family in Kalamazoo County.)

Sometime before 1859 Peter Jr. had settled his family in Grand Rapids, Kent County. Soon after arriving in Grand Rapids Peter became a volunteer fireman for “Alert” company No. 1, and on January 5, 1859, was elected secretary and treasurer for the company.  That same year he also joined the Valley City Guard, one of three militia companies which formed in Grand Rapids before the war, and in March of 1860 he was elected Fourth Corporal of the company. Peter would remain active in the VCG until the company was enrolled as the nucleus of Company A into the 3rd Michigan in the spring of 1861.

In addition to being a fireman and a member of the volunteer militia before the war, Peter also worked as a ward constable, probably in the 3rd Ward (where he resided). On the evening of December 28, 1859, it was reported that Peter had just returned “from the north woods, bringing with him two prisoners whose names are James Mapes and Henry Ansenor. They are charged with stealing lumber sleds and a variety of useful farming implements from J. M. Lane of Solon.” 

By 1859-60 Peter was reported to be residing on the west side of Jefferson Street between Maple and Elm Streets, and in 1860 he was still working as a constable and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ 3rd Ward; also residing with them was one Joanna Walling, a 19-year-old domestic from the Netherlands.

When the 3rd Michigan infantry was organized in Grand Rapids in late April of 1861, the staff of the new regiment relied to some extent on the prewar local militia companies to provide officers for the new companies then being formed at the old fairgrounds located along the old Kalamazoo Plank Road (present-day Division Street) just about two miles south of the city. For example, Byron Pierce who had served as captain of the Valley City Guard was appointed to command Company K while another captain of the VCG, Samuel Judd, was appointed to head up Company A. 

Indeed, the command structure of Company A filled quickly, and several former VCG officers and noncommissioned officers found commanding billets in other companies. Fred Worden, at one time a Lieutenant in the VCG, became First Lieutenant of Company F, under the command of Captain John J. Dennis, and Peter Bogardus was 26 years old when he enlisted as Second Lieutenant in Company F on May 13, 1861. 

Shortly after the regiment arrived in Washington on June 16, 1861, members of his company presented Peter with a sword. On June 30, “as Captain B. R. Pierce of Company K, was forming his company for dress parade, Sergeant Dickinson stepped forward, and in behalf of the company, presented to the Captain an elegant dress sword. . . . At the same time company F, through Sergeant [Abram] Martindale, presented their Lieutenant, Peter A. Bogardus, with a handsome regulation sword and belt, costing 22 dollars. Both presentations were accompanied by neat speeches, and responded to in appropriate and feeling terms. The fortunate recipients of these favors were taken completely by surprise, as they had received no intimation of the affair until the time of presentation.”  

Dan Crotty of Company F wrote after the war that shortly after the battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, a detail from the 3rd Michigan was formed “to guard the tools that are used for building forts and other duty. There are 20 of us on the detail, commanded by Lieutenant Bogardus, . . .” Indeed, Frank Siverd of Company G, wrote home on September 8, 1861, that “At Fort Pennsylvania is a small detachment of the 3d Michigan under command of Lieutenant Bogardus of Co. D, this officer is highly complimented by the engineer corps for the efficiency with which he discharges his duty at his post.” (Crotty noted that the fort was located on a bluff overlooking a valley below.)

Peter was promoted to and commissioned First Lieutenant on August 11, 1861, but in late September suffered a fall from his horse, which apparently incapacitated him for some time. On October 17, 1861, he wrote to General McClellan seeking a 20-day furlough. “I have the honor,” he wrote, “to inform you that some three weeks since I received an injury of my right ankle, by being thrown from my horse, near Fort Scott, Va while on duty, being at that time Lieutenant in command of the guard of that post which injury up to several days since has confined me to my quarters, and as the surgeon informs me, that it will yet be at least four weeks before I shall be able to resume my duties.” 

In fact, Peter never did “resume his duties” and resigned his commission on December 26, 1861, presumably as a consequence of his injury in October.

After he left the army Peter returned to Michigan. 

He was in Saginaw when he died on April 24, 1863, and his body was returned to Grand Rapids. The funeral was held at the home of Deacon Robert Davidson, on LaGrave Street, and conducted under the auspices of the Masonic fraternity. Peter was buried in Fulton cemetery: block 7, no. 23. 

By 1880 Matilda was living in Grand Rapids’ 3rd Ward; also living with her was her youngest daughter, Jessie. In 1892 his widow was still living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 470820). By 1896 she was living at 27 LaGrave Street in Grand Rapids, and in 1916 at 1214 Terrace Ave., N.E., Grand Rapids. She was still living in Grand Rapids in 1900 and in 1910.


Zenas E. Bliss - update 5/14/2017

Zenas E. Bliss was born July 4, 1832, in Eaton (or perhaps Podville), Madison County, New York, the son of Massachusetts natives Obediah Bliss Jr. (1792-1863) and Marilla Pool (1801-1857). In 1820 Obediah was living in Savoy, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Obediah and Marilla were married in Savoy, Massachusetts on July 9, 1815. They eventually settled in New York and by 1830 Obediah was living in Hamilton, Madison County, New York.

The family moved from New York to Ohio, and by 1840 Obediah and his family were living in Chagrin Falls, where Zenas went to school at the Ashbury Seminary. Zenas was probably living at home with his family when commenced his medical studies at the age of 18 in the fall of 1850, serving as an apprentice to a Dr. Harlow and to Zenas’ brother, Dr. D. W. Bliss, and in 1851 continued his studies with his brother who had moved his practice from Chagrin Falls to Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan.

Zenas attended the 1852-53 session in the medical department at the University of Michigan, subsequently practiced in Lowell, Kent County from June of 1853 until October of 1854, when he returned to Ann Arbor, and attended medical lectures in 1854-55, following which he was graduated as a medical doctor in 1855.

In 1855 he moved to Ionia, Ionia County, where he commenced the practice of medicine and surgery until the war broke out. He married New York native Marion A. Carr (b. 1839) on September 15, 1856, and they had at least one child, a daughter Marian A. (b. 1860). By 1860 Zenas was working as a physician and living with his wife and daughter in Ionia, Ionia County; they were living with Archibald and Jane Carr, probably Marian’s parents.

As a practicing physician in a frontier community such as western Michigan, Zenas was confronted by a vast array of medical problems, some of which could be handled with ease.

On April 30, 1858, the Eagle reprinted an Ionia Gazette story reporting that Drs. Bliss and Cornell had removed a sizable tumor from Julius Babcock. “The tumor occupied a position in front of, and partially under the left arm pit, and when removed left a wound frightful to look upon. The operation consumed about eight minutes, but the patient experienced no pain, as he was put under the influence of chloroform. We learn that he is doing well, and so far recovered that on Monday last he took the cars for Lowell, the place of his residence.”

Trauma was another common hazard of mid-nineteenth century life. On September 26, 1860, the Enquirer wrote that Dr. D. W. Bliss, “assisted by Drs. Shepherd, Bissell, and Mainard, of our city, and Dr. Z. Bliss, of Ionia, and Dr. Daniel Wooley, of Big Rapids, amputated the limb of Mr. James Robinson, of Big Rapids, at the Bridge Street House, on Wednesday last. Mr. R. has suffered several years with what is called ‘white swelling’; and it was found necessary to amputate the diseased limb just above the joint. The operation was quickly performed, while the patient was under the influence of ether.”

Zenas took a keen interest in not only keeping up with the general medical trends of the day. Indeed, he worked to actively further his medical education. Toward that end he spent the winter of 1858-1859 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, studying “techniques in that city’s medical colleges and hospitals.”

He soon returned to Ionia, however, and where he was reported living in 1860 with his wife and small daughter, Mariana, and his father-in-law Archibald, who was a “general dealer”; according to the census of that year, Zenas was worth $1,000 in real estate and $1,500 in personal property.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, shortly after war broke out in April of 1861, and when it was announced that a regiment was forming in Grand Rapids, Dr. Bliss quickly offered his services. Zenas was still practicing medicine in Ionia when he enlisted at the age of 29 as assistant surgeon at organization of the Third Michigan Infantry Regiment, in Grand Rapids, on May 13, 1861, joining his brother D. Willard who was the Regimental Surgeon.

In addition to providing medical inspections to each man who wished to enlist, the regimental surgeons also provided medical information for distribution in the local newspapers. On May 1 the Enquirer published the following notice from regimental surgeons Drs. D. W. and Zenas Bliss, in which they wished to instruct the ladies of Grand Rapids as to how to make bandages, etc.

Actual war exists in our land, and the U.S. is engaged in an attempt to suppress rebellion, which exists in some portions of our Union, and to maintain the laws and support the dignity of the govt., and in this hour of peril, it behooves us all good citizens -- ladies included -- to make known by their deeds, whether they are for or against this, the land of their nativity and adoption. Therefore, the undersigned, as Surgeons of the 3d Regiment of M. V. U. M., and in behalf of the Volunteer Soldiery of said regiment, issue this circular, asking all ladies who feel so disposed, to contribute bandages and lint, for the use of said regiment while in actual service. DIRECTIONS - All bandages should be made of cotton cloth or muslin, bleached or unbleached. Old is preferable to new; if the former, it should be thoroughly washed. It should be soft, yet firm, smooth, strong, and not too yielding, divested of selvige, seams and ravelings, and should be torn (not cut) into strips varying in width from 2 and one-quarter to 2 and one-half inches, the ends of the strips lapped, and sewed together. The length of a bandage may vary from 6 to 12 yards -- ordinarily 10 yards -- and each bandage should be carefully, smoothly, evenly and tightly rolled up and pinned. The lint may consist of old pieces of linen or muslin, divested of selvige, seams and ravelings, varying in size from that of the hand up to any other size convenient. It is hoped and believed that every one can do a little in this noble service, and that a hearty response will be given to this call, and that you will show your devotion and loyalty to this govt. by sending in this small yet acceptable token, to be used if necessary in mitigating the sufferings of those who go, in this hour of peril, to defend the flag and honor of our nation. We request that all donations be completely and carefully made up, and left at the office of Dr. Bliss of Grand Rapids, and the office of Dr. Bliss of Ionia, by Weds. evening, May 1st. Each package to be carefully labeled with the name of donor, the number of yards of bandages, number of pieces of lint, and number of papers of pins.

Bliss wrote later in his official report,

The regiment remained in the state encampment one month and seven days, and was in crowded barracks; and over one hundred cases of measles occurred during this time, some very severe cases, but only one proved fatal, and that not until the lapse of several months’ protracted pulmonary inflammation. None of the cases were marked by anything unusual; but all suffered from bronchial irritation. The ordinary treatment consisted in the mild aperient early in the disease, frequent sponging of the surface, mucilaginous drinks, tablespoonful doses of a solution of three grains of tartarized antimony, and two grains of morphia in three pints of water, administered every two hours for the first few days, after which quinine, wine whey, milk punch, beef tea, and a supporting treatment were employed. Many of the convalescent cases had mumps, and several cases of metastasis occurred, but without serious results. Warm anodyne fomentations to the testes and parotid glands generally gave relief.

The Third Michigan left Grand Rapids for Washington, DC, on Thursday, June 13 and arrived at their first encampment along the banks of the Potomac on Sunday afternoon, June 16. According to Zenas, “The duties were daily drill and work on the fortifications about Washington. There was much diarrhea while in camp, which was attributed to the water, diet, and the great changes of temperature, and the days being very warm and the nights cold.”

The Regiment’s first taste of battle came in late July. Apparently there had been rumors around western Michigan that the men of the Third infantry were not receiving the best of medical care, and certain allegations were made against the Regimental surgeons and their performance during the various actions along the Bull Run in northern Virginia between July 18 and July 21, 1861.

In reply Colonel McConnell, Lieutenant Colonel Stevens, Major Champlin and Quartermaster Collins signed and sent an open letter to the Enquirer, praising the two physicians.

The conduct [wrote the staff officers] of Dr. D. W. Bliss, Surgeon, and Z. E. Bliss, Assistant Surgeon, of this Regiment, during the late retreat from Bull Run, having been severely animadverted upon, and having now fully examined into the subject, we deem it just to those gentlemen to make the following statement of facts. During the battle of Thursday, when there was apprehended need of them by the Regiment, they were both on hand doing what was possible to be done for the wounded of our Regiment, and also of the Brigade; while Dr. Z. E. Bliss contrary to what is required of a surgeon, came upon the field to attend the wounded during the action, remained there for over an hour personally exposed to the musketry, shot, and shell of the enemy and remained there until it was deemed best to have him retire to the rear, where he would be less exposed and could render an efficient service. Dr. D. W. Bliss was all that day at his proper post at the Brigade hospital, established in the rear of the line, attending to his duties as surgeon. On Sunday, the day of the last battle of Bull Run, their services not being required by our Regiment beyond prescribing for a few sick, which duty performed, they were ordered by the Surgeon General to open a hospital at Centreville, and take charge of, and prescribe for the sick, and treat such of the wounded of other Regiments as should present themselves for treatment. They complied with this order, and did their duty faithfully that day, taking care of many sick and wounded. Sunday night the retreat, having been ordered, General Tyler, a general of the division who commanded that portion of the retreat, ordered them to move forward with the ambulances containing the wounded men, and attend to their wants during the retreat. This accounts for their severance from their Regiment during the retreat, and for their arrival in Washington in advance thereof. We think that the officer who ordered them off, under the circumstances, transcended his duty, and that in complying they had no other idea than that they were obliged to obey the order of a superior officer thus given. We make this statement in justice to them, and to end, if possible, whatever unfavorable impression may be entertained toward them by those not acquainted with the facts of the case.

After his brother’s promotion to Brigade Surgeon in the United States Army in the fall of 1861 Zenas was commissioned Regimental Surgeon on October 15, 1861, and Dr. George B. Wilson, a young physician possibly from Ionia County was appointed Assistant Surgeon. Zenas remained Regimental Surgeon until late summer of the following year when illness forced him to leave the Third Michigan.

In his official report of his services during the opening phases of the Virginia Peninsula campaign in the spring of 1862, Zenas wrote;

The regiment was attached to General Berry’s brigade of General Kearney’s division of the Third Corps, and arrived at Fort Monroe on March 26th, 1862, and shortly afterwards moved to Yorktown, and encamped in a thick woods, intermingled with patches of swamp and pools of water, the ground being covered with fragments of fallen trees and decaying vegetable matter. Water could be obtained only by digging holes from two and a half to three feet in depth, and the surface obtained form these was all that the men had. The regiment remained in this camp about five weeks, and was doing picket and fatigue duty on trenches and fortifications all that time. A few intermittents and remittents [fevers] occurred, as also about forty cases of typhoid fever, all very severe, marked by epistaxis tympanitis, and, after a few days, hemorrhage from the bowels, the blood being evidently impoverished. Several of these cases proved fatal. One case of typhus, marked by hemorrhage from the nose and bowels, and with petchiae and hemorrhagic spots on the surface, occurred in the regiment and proved fatal [Hiram Dailey of Company A]. All of these patients had active, supporting treatment throughout. The sick were cared for at a hospital, about a mile and a half to the rear, composed of log huts or barracks, built and formerly occupied by the 53d Virginia Volunteers (Confederate), upon a sandy soil, where we obtained an abundance of excellent well water. These barracks were well ventilated, and accommodated a large number of sick and wounded from both the regulars and volunteers. I saw all of the sick and what few wounded there were at this hospital and had immediate charge of very many sick who were members of various regiments; and nearly all of the cases were either low remittents or typhoid fever. I say remittents, because some of them might be easily classed as such; but I believed then, as now, that they were almost pure enteric fever. I held autopsies of all that died who were under my charge, six in number. No post mortem was held on the case of typhus [Dailey]. All the deaths from typhoid fever occurred late in the course of the disease, and the majority from hemorrhages from the bowels, one from coma, and the others apparently from pure exhaustion. The abdominal viscera were those principally examined. Peyer’s glands were found in each case in a state of ulceration; some very large ulcers; some healing while others were in an inflamed condition. Some of the ulcerations extended nearly through the coats of the intestines. I preserved the specimens in each case, but subsequently lost them during the campaign. The small intestines, through their entire length, gave evidence of previous inflammatory action; but all the other abdominal viscera gave no evidence of either organic or serious functional disease, and the soft parts and glands, when divided with the scalpel, seemed to be almost exsanguined. I wish the blood could have been analysed, because I feel confident that the primary trouble was there. In cases of epistaxis, the blood gave only a faint coloring to the spots on linen, and it did not give to the linen that stiffened feel that we get when it is saturated with ordinary blood, from both of which I infer that the blood was deficient in plasma and coloring matter, or defibrinated. In these cases, quinine, brandy, ammonia, and small doses of opium were given with a view to support the patient. Essence of beef and beef tea, of good quality, and in abundance, was furnished and given. The supply of medicines at this time was ample, but at times we were deficient in hospital stores. On May 5th, during a heavy rain storm, the division arrived within four miles of Williamsburg, and the roads being unintentionally blockaded with artillery and wagons, so that an ambulance could not get through, I ordered eight of the hospital corps to take from the transport wagon the field stretchers, instruments, chloroform, bandages, brandy, candles, and lanterns, and was enabled to render service to a large number of the wounded the ambulances not arriving on the field until the next day, May 6th, at one o’clock p.m. On the evening of the 5th, by direction of Surgeon J. J. Millhau, U.S.A., medical direction of the corps, I erected an extemporaneous table, in a large frame barn, situated about one mile in the rear of the battlefield. During the evening and night of the 5th, by the valuable assistance of Doctor Sparks, a volunteer surgeon from Boston, we dressed the wounds of over eighty officers and soldiers. Among the operations performed were one amputation of the foot, and two amputations of the arm. Surgeon Milhau, U.S.A., being present early in the evening, kindly performed one of these. There were also one amputation of the forearm and one of the hand, besides a number of cases which required the removal of the whole or a portion of one or more fingers. The wounds were mostly received by musketry. On Tuesday afternoon, I dressed wounds of both Union and confederate soldiers, at a barrack bear Fort Magruder, and on Wednesday, May 8th, I dressed wounded of both armies in a church and at William and Mary College in Williamsburg. I am able to recall the number of capital operations which I performed during the two days; but as near as I can remember, two amputations of the leg, one of the arm, and one of the thigh, at the junction of the middle with the upper third. The patient on whom the latter operation was practiced survived only thirty-six hours. No exsections were performed under my observation. A number of bullets were extracted. I believe I dressed the wounds of about two hundred at this battle. The supply of soup and food was very deficient during the first twenty-four hours, because the roads were in such condition that the supply trains could not move up. Pack mules would have been of great service here. Indeed, we sent footmen back to meet the trains, and bring up hard biscuit, sugar and coffee. The wounded were removed, on May 7th, in ambulances. Some few, seriously wounded, were carried on field stretchers to York River, a distance of some seven miles, and placed aboard transports. Chloroform was given in all capital, and other severe operations. Twenty-five days after the battle of Williamsburg, the regiment arrived at Savage’s Station. During this time one officer and eighteen men with fever were sent north on a hospital transport. On May 31st, the battle of Fair Oaks was fought. Early in the engagement, I established a field depot near the field of action; but later in the day I moved back to Savage’s Station. For the triple reason of securing an abundance of good water, better security for the wounded. As well as to have them near the railroad station for removal after operations, I established a depot, erected a table in a large log tobacco house, without floors, about fifteen rods from the railroad depot, and night and day was almost constantly engaged in dressing and operating upon the wounded from various regiments, indiscriminately, from Saturday evening, May 31st, until Wednesday evening, June 4th. Here, as at Williamsburg, a comparatively few were wounded with shell and grape, a large proportion being wounded with the conical rifle ball; but not a few were wounded with the round musket ball and buckshot. I had one disarticulation of a shoulder joint, the case not admitting of excision, and several other amputations, including one of the arm for hemorrhage, in a case where excision of the elbow joint had been performed the night before by some surgeon to me unknown. There was ample supply of water of good quality at the station, and an abundance of food, including Soyer’s concentrated soup and fresh beef. I noticed that Surgeon Frank H. Hamilton, U.S.V. in his report of the battle of Fair Oaks, published in the American Medical Times, states that “Such was the scarcity of food that general Sumner ordered several horses belonging to his orderlies to be killed,” to be used as food for the wounded. I am happy to say that no such exigencies occurred at the depot where I was operating.

On July 2, 1862, Dr. Gunn, acting Surgeon for Berry’s Brigade examined Zenas and noted that he was suffering from “bilious diarrhea for more than two weeks past, during which time he has been unable to do duty, and as the disease arises from climatic causes, I believe that a change of climate is necessary to speedily restore said officer to health, and recommend that he be sent to general hospital.” Dr. Wilson, suffering from the end stages of tuberculosis also resigned from the army in June of 1862.

Zenas was sent home to Ionia, thus leaving the regiment without a surgeon. Zenas was absent on sick leave at home in Ionia when he wrote on July 18 to Adjutant General John Robertson, urging that Walter B. Morrison, then hospital steward for the Third Regiment, be commissioned assistant surgeon in the Regiment “immediately if he has not already been.”

In fact, Dr. James Grove of Grand Rapids was appointed Assistant Surgeon in August and then Regimental Surgeon in September of 1862; Walter Morrison would take over the duties of Assistant Surgeon for the Third Michigan.

Zenas’ concern that a competent medical officer be appointed to the Regiment was very real since he himself remained ill. (Curiously there is no mention of Dr. Wilson in any of the correspondence however.) On August 4, Dr. William Thomas, surgeon for the Twenty-first Michigan infantry in rendezvous at Camp Sigel in Ionia County, examined Zenas and certified that he required an extension of his furlough. He noted that Bliss was still suffering from chronic diarrhea and in a “very much emaciated and generally debilitated from this cause. Said officer is unable to travel, and to attempt to enter the field at the present time would endanger his life. Neither is he able to do duty and I believe he will not be in a less period than thirty days.” He thus recommended that Bliss’ furlough be extended.

Zenas soon recovered, however, and returned to the Regiment. He underwent an examination before the Medical Board at Washington in September for promotion, and on September 24 he was transferred and appointed a United States Army Surgeon (Brigade Surgeon) at Baltimore, Maryland.

He was specifically charged with superintending the fitting up of several general hospitals, and he remained in charge of the Continental Hotel hospital in Baltimore during the winter of 1862-63. In June of 1863 he was placed temporarily in charge of invalid officers and the following month was placed in permanent charge of the general hospital at the National Hotel in Baltimore. On December 31, 1864, he was appointed Medical Surveyor for the United States Army and stationed in Baltimore.

Zenas was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel January 26, 1866 and was mustered out of service on February 2, 1866.

Shortly after his discharge from the military he sailed for Europe in October of 1866 to continue his medical studies in the hospitals of London and Paris, where he spent the winter. He returned to Michigan in the spring of 1867 and began his medical practice in Grand Rapids by opening an office in Bryan’s Block, where he advertised himself as a “General Practitioner of Medicine, Surgery and Diseases of Women and Children.” In 1867-68 Zenas was working at no. 37 Monroe (upstairs) and boarding at the Tanner house, and he remained in that location through the following year. “Dr. Bliss,” wrote the Eagle in late March of 1869, “is breaking ground for a new brick block, 44x80 feet, on the lot next above the Catholic church, on Monroe Street.”

At 2:00 p.m. on the afternoon of December 31, 1869, 27-year-old Elizabeth (or Eliza) Scagel, wife of Edgar D. Scagel and mother of two (Gertie and Franky), died at her home in the northern part of William N. Cook’s house on LaGrave Street in Grand Rapids. She died, it was reported, “after several weeks of painful sickness, in such a manner as to leave suspicion among some of the neighbors of the family that she had been foully dealt with. . . .”

On Wednesday evening, April 27, 1870, Dr. Zenas Bliss, one of the most respected and trusted members of the west Michigan medical community was arrested by Kent County Sheriff Wyckoff and charged with the murder of Eliza Scagel. This case quickly excited “a great deal of interest in the minds of the community, and Dr. Bliss is not without deep sympathy from his many friends in this city.” The doctor was immediately brought before Justice Slauson (or Slawson), but examination was postponed until 2:00 Thursday. It was charged by Mr. Scagel “that Dr. Bliss, sometime in December last, procured, or attempted to procure, an abortion on Mrs. S., death resulting; the particulars of which, as elicited by testimony at the Coroner’s inquest, . . .”

On Wednesday, May 11, Justice Slawson, after hearing both sides of the argument rendered his verdict. The evidence, wrote one eyewitness,

entirely failed to implicate the respondent in any criminal or improper practice is the universal opinion, and his honorable acquittal will be most gratifying to the public. The investigation has been searching, and so little has been shown by the prosecution tending to substantiate the allegation in the information, that we have been surprised that the prosecution did not abandon it. . . . Justice Slauson appeared to have the case well under advisement, and immediately proceeded to deliver his opinion, holding to the evidence sought to be introduced of the declarations of the deceased that, even if it were admissible, as he thought it was not, those declarations contained nothing really implicating the respondent, and generally, that the evidence was insufficient to justify holding him for trial. He therefore ordered that the prisoner be discharged. The decision was greeted with tremendous cheering, the like of which never before waked the echoes of Justice Slauson’s office, and Dr. Bliss received the eager congratulations of his friends. A similar storm of applause followed the conclusion of Col. Gray’s remarks n the previous evening.

Specifically, the judge based his opinion on five key points. First, that there was no evidence to show that Dr. Bliss had inserted the bougie except inferential evidence. Second that the circumstances of the case went far to disprove the theory of the prosecution -- a theory that was only inferential. Third, that the dying declarations shown in the evidence were not to be received in law as such. Fourth that the circumstances show the deceased to have been determined to have no more children. And finally, that Dr. Bliss’s connection with the cause of death was not proved by the evidence. Dr. Bliss was discharged from custody.

[For more exhaustive details regarding this case contact steve@oldthirdmichigan.org.]

Zenas quickly returned to his medical practice. In 1873 he was living in Grand Rapids when he was appointed a member of the Michigan Board of Health, but declining health forced him to resign in order to seek relief abroad. He also served as an Examining Surgeon for Pensions, and was the president of the local pension board at the time of his death, and he had also been a member of the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Michigan State Medical Society and was president of the Grand Rapids Medical and Surgical Society (today the Kent County Medical Society). In May of 1874 he was among the attendees at the annual meeting of the State Medical Society held in Coldwater and was noted for being a physician of the “regular school”. He was also a founding member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. No pension seems to be available.

He was serving as the president of the Grand Rapids Medical and Surgical Society when he spent the winter of 1874-75 in southern France, Italy and Switzerland, again seeking relief for his chronic illness, tuberculosis.

On February 2, 1875, he wrote to the society from Nice, France, a letter which was read by Dr. Hazelwood during the society’s annual meeting. Zenas felt it was his

duty to review the changes occurring in the society during the past year; to note the progress made in its plans and purposes; to make such suggestions for the future as may seem proper, and to submit to you a dissertation upon some theme or subject relating to the honorable profession which your body represents. The latter I shall attempt to do only in a general way, and briefly. The society has five names added to the list of new members; it has lost one by death (the late Dr. E. S. Bienemann) and three by reason of change of residence. Having no information from the society since January 7, 1875, any changes which may have occurred subsequent to that date are not noted herein. Chief among the plans and purposes of the Association, as set forth in its constitution by the original founders, was a desire for the mutual improvement of its members in the profession of medicine and the art of surgery. Thus, an association which might at first seem to have for its object the furtherance of personal knowledge alone, become a public benefactor; for the advancement in the science of medicine, or improvement in the art of surgery, bring with them corresponding benefits to the people, by enabling the members of the profession to carry with them to the bedside of the sick that knowledge which alone renders the physician capable of dealing rationally with disease and the surgeon successfully with the surgical art. As evidence of a growing interest each successive year in the advantages afforded by this Association, we will mention the increased number in attendance at its meetings, the great variety of pathological specimens presented, and in the larger number and variety of papers read, and scientific subjects discussed. At these meetings, our professional thoughts become enlarged, our opinions modified, and our prejudices dispelled, and it is here, through the interchange of sentiments and that sympathy common to all mankind, that we learn to know each other better.

Dr. Bliss then turned to what he considered one of the most pressing health problems in Grand Rapids, the indigent sick. “The time is not far distant,” he wrote, “when some provision must be made by the city, in a moderate way, for the accommodation of the destitute sick; and the subject is alluded to herein simply for the purpose of expressing a hope that the authorities will recognize the wisdom of submitting to this association a request for its opinion as regards a location for such an institution, and plans for buildings. This society would cheerfully respond to such request by giving information that would insure the most healthful and accessible location, and plans that would secure ample and well ventilated buildings, at a comparatively moderate expense.”

The importance of one’s environment as a key component to good health, indeed the very climate of one’s surroundings, was very much on his mind, perhaps as he considered his own predicament.

All civilized nations have long recognized the curative influences of climate on disease, and for ages past it has been more or less customary among the invalids of the different people of the earth, to seek a change of climate as one of the means to secure their restoration to health. Since the discovery of steam as a motive power and the inauguration of railroads as a means of transit, the medical profession has discussed the subject of climate as a curative agent in disease more than formerly, and, fortunately, with increasing interest and profit; and as time brings with it increased facilities of communication between distant points and augmented wealth among the people, this source of relief for certain maladies will be more than every resorted to. Therefore, it becomes the duty of every intelligent physician to inform himself as far as possible upon this subject, that he may be enabled to advise intelligently whenever his opinion is sought. While it is acknowledged that the climate of no one locality is a specific for any known disease, experience has demonstrated that persons afflicted with certain maladies obtain more relief in some climates than in others; experience has also taught that different individuals afflicted with the same class of disease, and apparently in the same condition, are often affected very differently by the same climate. This singular fact is well illustrated by the varied effects of climate on that disease know as pulmonary consumption. One person improves in the invigorating air of Northern Michigan or Minnesota; another in the rarefied atmosphere of Colorado; a third in the warm valleys, or on the arid plains of California; another finds relief in summer on the Atlantic coast; while a fifth, perhaps aged, feeble, unable to resist cold, experiences relief during the months of winter in the warm, humid and balmy atmosphere of Florida. It is the province of the physician to explain this apparent contradiction by classifying the cases coming under his care, and assigning the climate most appropriate for the relief of each. Having passed several weeks of the present winter in Nice, it may be well to say something of its climate. According to traditional accounts, Nice was founded 300 years before the Christian era. The city, containing 50,000 inhabitants, faces south toward the Mediterranean Sea, the waters of which wash its southern boundaries for a distance of over two miles. Its soul is composed of detritus from the rocks of the surrounding mountains, which rise in the numerous spurs in the rear of the city, to the height of 500 to 2,000 feet, thus protecting the inhabitants from the cold winds of the north, which come from more distant, snow-capped peaks of the Alps. The Temperature never reaches lower than twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit in winter and rarely above seventy-eight degrees in summer -- the highest recorded is eighty-two degrees. These observations were all taken in a northern exposure and in the shade. The average temperature of Nice during the month of January (taken during eight years) was 47 degrees and a fraction. The mean temperature the whole year round, is nearly the same as at Florence, Rome and Naples, viz.: 59 degrees and a fraction. There has been neither snow nor ice at Nice this winter. Dryness of Climate is one of its most marked characteristics; the annual rainfall, however, is twenty-four inches, more than at either London or Paris. The explanation is a simple one; the greater proportion falls at the two periods of the equinox and within the limits of a few weeks. It has rained but four times during the past eight weeks, then in the night time and sparingly. Clear Days, or those characterized by clear sunshine, have been reckoned at one hundred and eighty in the year. These are distributed among the four seasons as follows: winter, forty-two; spring, forty-two; autumn, forty; and summer, forty-six. A cloudy day has been the exception during my stay here. Among Further Proofs of the mildness of this climate are the following: Swallows are seen here during these winter months, and as they are said to feed upon flying insects, you can imagine the warmth necessary for the support of insect life. The olive grows here in profusion, groves of these trees being seen stretching high up and for miles along the mountain sides, while in the valleys below are gardens devoted to the culture of tropical fruits, as the fig, lemon and the orange. One orchard of the latter contains 10,000 trees, whose fruit matures late in February. Here grows the palm, and myriads of roses in full bloom, which, with other flowers, lend their fragrance to every passing breeze. But this Elysium, this delightful climate, has some disagreeable features. There is a variation of fifteen degrees in temperature between sun exposed places and those in the shade. This sudden change, to a sensitive invalid, is very trying. The sun’s rays, which are cheering to all mankind, are here frequently inconveniently warm; they dazzle the eyes and irritate the skin, when exposed, resulting in the very general custom of carrying sun umbrellas. The inequality of temperature between the land and the sea during the daytime, frequently causes disagreeable breezes and counter currents in the air. A cool east wind frequently prevails during a portion of many days, in winter, resembling in character and effect the March winds of our own country; varying only in degree. The dryness of the atmosphere, before alluded to, makes it very stimulating, especially to the air passages. This is one of the principal reasons why I believe this climate is not well adapted for the relief of bronchitis or pulmonary consumption, unless it be some chronic cases, in aged people, accompanied with excessive expectoration. I believe the climate is well adapted for the relief of certain forms of gout, rheumatism, paralysis, nervous disability, lymphatic maladies, dyspepsia, and various other diseases unattended with sever organic lesions. Although Nice is more a resort for pleasure seekers, and, notwithstanding the disagreeable features of the climate which I have mentioned, there are few places, if any, which most invalids might better pass a winter. Please accept my grateful acknowledgements for the uniform courtesy you have shown me as presiding officer of your association, and for the marked proofs you have given me, of your confidence and sympathy. I bespeak for your association continued success, and as individuals, I wish you that peace and happiness which springs from the consciousness of a well-spent life. Pardon a person allusion to myself. I am glad to inform you that I am improved in health, and hope in a few months to return and resume my professional duties among you. At the date of your annual meeting I shall probably be in Naples, Italy; but wherever I journey I experience a growing affection for home, friends and country.

By April Bliss was in Serrano, Italy when he wrote to Dr. Wooster of Grand Rapids describing his present situation, and the Democrat reported on May 12, that his health “is still slowly improving though his cough still continues to bother him occasionally. There, as here, the weather has been unusual and quite disagreeable cold, damp and chilly. The doctor was to have started for Florence on the 1st inst. He reports his wife and daughter in good health and enjoying themselves.” By the end of June it was reported that Bliss would start home about the middle of July, and the Bliss family was in Paris when Zenas wrote to Dr. Wooster that his health was still improving although the Parisian weather was very bad. In early August he was reported to be back in the United States, having just recently landed at New York City, and by August 14 he was visiting friends in Ionia.

However his health continued to fail and by December of 1875 he was still generally confined to his home on Park Place in Grand Rapids. “Dr. Bliss,” wrote the Democrat in early December, “is once more able to take his meals with the rest of the Park Place family. He hopes to be able to attend to business again in a few days.” And on February 1, 1876, the paper noted that “Dr. Bliss has been feeling somewhat indisposed for the past several days, and obliged to remain within doors.”

Zenas never recovered and in fact his health steadily deteriorated until he died of consumption at his home on Sheldon Street in Grand Rapids on April 23, 1877. “Thus has passed away,” wrote the Eagle on April 24, “in the prime of life one who had seemed destined to reach the highest honors in the noble profession of medicine, and who, despite his long struggle against the insidious destroyer, had already won a place of distinction, and in many ways demonstrated his love for the well-being of his fellow men. . . . To say that he was highly esteemed by all classes in the community does not fully express that feeling of kind regard and affection engendered by his always modest walk and deportment, his quiet and unassuming ways, his love for and devotion to the highest art and skill in his profession, his noble uprightness as a man, and his tender solicitude and ever-active sympathies as a physician.”

The funeral services were held at his home at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday April 26, performed by Elder Errett, formerly of Ionia and one of Zenas’ long-time personal friends. “The choir rendered the chant, ‘Lord let me know mine and the number of my days’, very touchingly, the music by Mr. P. R. L. Peirce, Mrs. Church directing. The hymn, ‘Abide with me’, was also sung. A very large concourse of people assembled at the house and followed the remains to Fulton cemetery. The pall-bearers were among our prominent physicians, and the Medical fraternity attended in a body. Thus in the prime of life and in the zenith of his fame as a physician, has passed away from earth a true man, a devoted practitioner, and an honored and upright citizen. Peace to his ashes.”

Zenas was buried in Fulton cemetery, Grand Rapids: block 15 no. 3.

Albert Babcock UPDATE 13 July 2018

Albert Babcock was born on February 17, 1840, in St. Albans, Franklin County or Alburg, Grand Isle County, Vermont, the son of Vermont natives Hamilton Babcock (b. 1806) and Sophronia Wheeler (1806-1898).  

Hamilton and Sophronia were married in 1828 in Alburg, Vermont and were living in Alburg in 1830 and 1840. The family moved to Burr Bay (?), New York around 1846, and then on to Iowa. By 1850 the family was living in District 13, Wapello County, Iowa where Albert attended school with his siblings and his father worked as a carpenter. Hamilton reportedly died in Fayette County, Iowa, and Sophronia brought her children to Ottawa County, Michigan sometime afterwards.  In 1860 Sophronia was working as a domestic and living with her three younger children in Tallmadge, Ottawa County (Albert was not with the family). Albert was apparently well-acquainted with Hiram Bateman also living in Lamont, Ottawa County and who would join Company I in the spring of 1861.

Albert stood 5’8,” with blue eyes, brown hair and light complexion and was a 21-year old farmer living and working near Lamont, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. According to Charles Starks, who also served in Company B, sometime in November of 1861, Albert caught “a severe cold while” being on picket duty, near Pohick Church, Virginia. He was sent to the regimental hospital and, according to Starks, “was very sick for a long time in what we understood at the time to be called typhoid pneumonia.” Starks reported that “sometime in December . . . we moved our camp from Fort Lyon back in the woods for winter” and this new camp was called Camp Michigan. “The weather being bad and the sick being put in an old dilapidated house until the hospital could be established” Albert “caught more cold and was ever after during the time he was in the service unable to speak loud and was finally discharged.”   

According to Hiram Bateman, who had been a neighbor in Lamont and who had enlisted in Company I and by the winter of 1862 was a hospital attendant in the 3rd Michigan infantry regimental hospital, Albert “was for many months an invalid in the regimental hospital . . . and that he was under my especial care as nurse up to the time of his discharge from the service.” Albert was discharged for chronic rheumatism on June 15, 1862, at Camp Lincoln, near Fair Oaks, Virginia. 

Albert was working as a farmer in Waukesha, Wisconsin when he registered for the draft in the summer of 1863; his prior service duly noted in the record. 
He married Emily Tracy (1835-1918) on November 11, 1863, in Grand Rapids; they had at least three children: Hamilton (b. 1865), Louise H. (b. 1872) and Albert P. (b. 1873). 

By 1870 Albert was working in a mill and living with his wife and son in Ravenna, Muskegon County. His mother, Sophronia, or Sophrona, was living as the head of the household in Tallmadge, Ottawa County; also living with her were two of Albert’s brothers: lumber manufacturer George Babcock, (b. 1839), who owned some $5000 worth of real estate and William Babcock (b. 1846). By 1877 Albert had returned to Ottawa County and was living in Lamont, probably working in the lumber industry, and probably involved with the newly organized Reform Club of Lamont.  

Albert joined the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association in 1878, and was still living in Lamont in 1880 with his family and apparently working as an engineer. He was still living in Lamont in 1885, but by 1890 he was living at 148 Thomas Street in Grand Rapids (next door lived Wilbur Scott, another former member of the Old 3rd Michigan infantry), and in 1907 at 162 Thomas Street. 

Albert lived in Grand Rapids for some 30 years, and for 14 years worked as a street inspector. He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Champlin Post No. 29 in Grand Rapids; and he received a pension (no. 369,169), drawing $25.00 per month by the end of 1917. 

Albert died of angina pectoris on Wednesday October 27, 1915, at his home on West Leonard Street in Grand Rapids, and the funeral services were held at his home at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Albert was buried on October 30 in Fulton cemetery: block 7, lot no. 25. 

His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 802252), and was drawing $20 per month by 1916.


Miles Seymour Adams updated 12 July 2018

Miles Seymour Adams was born 1830 in New York State, probably the son of New Yorker Alanson or Addison Adams (b. 1802) and Scottish-born Anna or Sarah Glenn (1800-1882).

Sometime after 1842 (when their son William was born) the family left New York and eventually settled in Michigan. (They were possibly living in Grand Rapids in 1846 when their daughter Margaret Sarah died.) By 1850 Miles was probably working as a blacksmith along with an older brother and his father and living with his family in Grand Rapids, Kent County. By 1856 he was living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Valley City Guard, the first local militia company established in the Grand River valley (many of whose members would serve as the nucleus for Company A, Third Michigan infantry in the spring of 1861.) Miles would eventually be promoted to First Corporal of the VCG.

By 1860 Miles was working as a blacksmith with his younger brother William and they were living with their mother Sarah (who was listed as head of the household) in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward; also residing at the same address was Ellen Adams.

Miles was 30 years old and probably still living with his family in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Third Sergeant of Company A, on May 13, 1861. (Company A was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, many of whom had served in the Valley City Guards, or VCG, under the command of Captain Samuel Judd, who would also command Company A.)

He was wounded in the right shoulder on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia and subsequently sent to the City Hospital (possibly Cook’s) in New York City, where he was treated for his wounds from June 8 to July 21. On July 18 he was sent home on furlough from the hospital in New York, and arrived in Detroit on the evening of July 23.

Although he was still absent in Grand Rapids recovering from his wound, Miles was promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company K on August 12, while the regiment was at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, and commissioned as of July 1.

On August 14, four days before his furlough was due to expire, Miles requested an extension of his furlough from the Adjutant General in Washington, DC. His request was accompanied by an endorsement from two prominent local physicians, Doctors Charles Shepherd and Oscar Chipman, who both recommended that Adams be discharged for disability. By the end of October he was reported as absent sick at Grand Rapids.

Although Miles eventually returned to the Regiment in Virginia his wounds continued to bother him. On February 11, 1863, Regimental Assistant Surgeon Walter Morrison wrote that he had examined Adams “and find that he is suffering from the effects of a gunshot wound received in the right arm under the shoulders [at Fair Oaks] totally disabling him -- the arm being paralyzed and very much atrophied -- rendering him unfit to perform the duties of an officer or soldier, besides, affecting his general health through the nervous system rendering him unable to perform a day’s march with a column. I further declare my belief that a recovery is uncertain and that he is entitled to a pension.” Adams submitted his formal resignation five days later, on February 16.

Apparently there were rumors going around the Regiment that Adams’ resignation had not been accepted. “Lieutenant Adams,” wrote Sergeant Charles Wright of Company A, on February 5, 1863, “formerly of my company” had “received a severe wound in his right shoulder, which has totally disabled him from the use of his arm in the battle of seven pines [Fair Oaks], has had his discharge returned, disapproved, to these headquarters, stating that although he was deprived of the use of one arm his bodily health was good and he should be returned to duty. Now this is one of the most absurd ideas I ever heard of, to hold a man in the service after having lost the use of an arm, and suffering the pain he does every day, for indeed he does suffer, for I see him every day, and to return his discharge papers disapproved.”

Colonel Byron Pierce, then commanding the Third Michigan in fact approved Miles’ resignation on February 5; General David Birney, Third Brigade commander, subsequently accepted Adams’ resignation on February 18 and General Daniel Sickles, Third Corps commander, approved it on February 20, 1863.

After his discharge from the army Miles returned home to western Michigan, and in early 1864 was defeated in his bid for election as City Marshal of Grand Rapids. The Eagle wrote on March 30, 1864, under the headline, “Soldiers Not Wanted” that “Miles Adams, crippled for life in the battles on the Peninsula, under McClellan, has twice been a candidate in the Democratic City convention for the office of City Marshal, and has been defeated each time. This year another soldier was one of his competitors; but both were unceremoniously voted down. Soldiers stand no chance in that party.”

Following his bid for election as City Marshal Miles enlisted in the Veterans’ Reserve Corps, and was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the VRC on August 22 and assigned to Company A, Twentieth Regiment VRC as of September 5. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

By the first of September Miles was in western Michigan, and in fact on September 1, 1864, he married Anna C. Reed (1830-1914), half-sister of Peter Lawyer (also of Company A, Third Michigan), in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan; Benjamin Tracy of Grand Rapids, another former member of the Old Third, was one of the two witnesses at the wedding. Miles and Anna had at least two children: Cora (1867-77) and Alfred R.

Miles may have remained with the VRC garrisoned in western Michigan, probably in Grand Rapids and/or Jackson, Jackson County (where the draft and recruitment depot moved after Camp Lee closed down in Grand Rapids) although this is no means certain. In any case, Miles was posted to “Camp Cadwallader, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July of 1865 to November 28 when he was relieved and directed to proceed to his home and report thence, by letter, to the Adjutant General of the Army for orders.” He remained at home until he was discharged “to date” June 30, 1866, per S.O. No. 37 from the AGO on July 3, 1866.

In 1867 when Miles applied for a pension the examining physician noted “His right arm is hopelessly disabled. The fingers of right hand are turned in towards the palm . . . the wrist being partially stiffened. The only use he has of the arm is to bring food to his mouth,” although “aside from appearance sake he would consider himself about as well off if his arm had been amputated.”

In February of 1863 Miles applied for and received a pension (no. 68821), drawing $24 a month by 1902.

Miles was elected (finally) City Marshal of Grand Rapids in 1868. His office was located at 34 Canal, and he was residing on the northwest corner of Jefferson and Wealthy. He was working as a blacksmith and living with his wife and two children in Grand Rapids at 66 Jefferson Avenue in 1870. That same year his mother Sarah (?) was living alone in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward next door to her son William and his family.

Miles and his family were living at 97 Ransom Street in Grand Rapids when the Grand Rapids Democrat of August 19, 1877, wrote that Adams and his wife had recently suffered the loss of their ten-year-old daughter, Cora, who died of acute gastritis. Funeral services were held from the home on Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m. The family placed the following poem in the newspaper:

A light from our household gone,
A voice we love is stilled;
A place is vacant at our hearth
Which can never be filled
A gentle heart that throbbed but now
With tenderness and love,
Has hushed its weary beatings here
To dwell in bliss above.
We call her dead, but Oh we know
She dwells where living waters flow.

Miles was living in Grand Rapids in 1883 and in September of 1885 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. He was also a member of Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 5 in Grand Rapids. In fact he probably lived the rest of his life in the city. Miles also worked as a mail agent for some years. He was still living in Grand Rapids in 1888, 1890, and by 1902 he was living with his son Alfred at 284 Quimby Street -- it is quite possible that by the time his wife had been committed to the Insane Asylum in Kalamazoo.

Miles was still living with his son Alfred when he died of pneumonia brought on by exposure on December 17, 1902. (It is possible that he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.) According to the Herald of December 18, he apparently wandered away from his home on Monday and “was found Tuesday afternoon eight miles out on West Bridge Street road, lying asleep in the snow and nearly dead from cold and hunger. He had been missing from home about 24 hours and had walked the entire distance in the snow, insufficiently clad. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia. For some time the aged man has been afflicted with dementia that caused him to wander from home. A close watch was kept on him, but a few times he escaped the vigilance of friends. About two months ago he wandered for two days and was found in the vicinity of Englishville [Kent County]. Deceased was a mail agent running out of Grand Rapids during the latter part of his life up to a few years ago, when he was incapacitated.”

Miles was buried on December 19 in Fulton cemetery, Grand Rapids: block 4 lot 4, grave 10 next to his brother William. Sarah is buried in lot 13 block 10 along with one Elizabeth V. Adams, who died in 1884.

His widow Anna applied for and received a pension (no. 565539), drawing $12 a month in 1914. By 1903 his widow was reported as a patient at the “Michigan Asylum for the Insane” at Kalamazoo, and under the guardianship of one Blanche Outhwaite of Muskegon, and then under the care of Elizabeth Much of Grand Rapids. Anna died in 1914.

Note that Miles' headstone, left, mistakenly lists him in the 20th Michigan Infantry; in fact, after his service in the 3rd Michigan he was transferred to the 20th company VRC.

Note that Miles' headstone, left, mistakenly lists him in the 20th Michigan Infantry; in fact, after his service in the 3rd Michigan he was transferred to the 20th company VRC.