Oliver Gardner

Oliver Gardner was born 1844 in Ionia County, Michigan, the son of Joseph (b. 1818) and Miranda (b. 1818).

Canadian-born Joseph and Miranda were married presumably in Ontario, Canada, where they resided for some years. Between 1843 and 1844 the family settled in Michigan, and by 1850 Oliver was attending school with his siblings and living on the family farm in Keene, Ionia County. Oliver was still attending school with his siblings and living with his family in Keene in 1860.

Oliver stood 5’7” with brown eyes and hair and a light complexion, and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Lowell, Kent County or Ionia County when he enlisted with his father’s consent in Company G on April 4, 1862, at Lowell for 3 years, and was mustered the same day at Detroit. (He was possibly related to John Gardner of Company D whose father too was Canadian.) By early August of 1862, Homer Thayer of Company G reported that Oliver, who had been sick recently, was recommended for a discharge. In fact, Oliver remained with the Regiment and was wounded on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, after which he was hospitalized, possibly in Philadelphia. He eventually rejoined the Regiment, and was shot in the left arm on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia.

He was subsequently admitted to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC where he died from his wounds on June 4, 1864. Oliver was buried on June 6 at Arlington National Cemetery, section 27, grave no. 521 .

No pension seems to be available.

In 1870 his parents were living on a farm in Saranac, Ionia County.

John Gardner

John Gardner was born 1839 in Washtenaw County, Michigan, the son of Henry (b. 1812) and Elizabeth (b. 1811-1879).

Canadian native Henry married English-born Elizabeth and immigrated to the United States and eventually settled in Washtenaw County, Michigan where they were probably living in 1840. By 1850 Henry was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Putnam, Livingston County where John, the oldest of seven children, attended school. By 1860 John was working as a miller for and/or living with William Reeves, a farm laborer in Boston, Ionia County. His mother and several siblings were still living in Putnam in 1860.

John stood 5’6” with hazel eyes, black hair and a light complexion, and was 20 years old and probably still living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861 (and was possibly related to Oliver Gardner of Company G; Oliver’s father was Canadian). John was reported as a company cook in July of 1862, as a water carrier in August and he reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Boston, Ionia County. He probably returned home on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and returned to the Regiment by the end of January 1864.

In February of 1864 John was reported to be “taking care of public animals,” probably at Brigade headquarters, and was still on detached service at Brigade headquarters when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He remained on detached service through July, in September of 1864 he was reported absent sick and he remained absent until he was discharged on June 13, 1865, at Harper hospital in Detroit, for “chronic diarrhea of one year’s standing.”

John listed Putnam, Livingston County as his mailing address on his discharge paper. He died shortly after coming home in 1865 and was buried in Sprout cemetery, Putnam Township, Livingston County.

No pension seems to be available.

His mother and several siblings were living in Putnam in 1870, and by 1880 his father Henry was living in Putnam (listed as a single man) as were his brothers Henry and William.

Joel W. Gardner

Joel W. Gardner was born 1833 in Russia, Herkimer County, New York, the son of Gilbert and Orvilla (d. 1870).

Gilbert was living in Russia, Herkimer County, New York in 1830. Joel left New York and moved westward, eventually settling in Ottawa County, Michigan. By 1860 he was working as a “chopper” or lumberman and living at the Ewing boarding house in Blendon, Ottawa County. (James Hanna, who would enlist in Company K, was also a chopper living at Ewing’s).

Joel stood 5’6” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 28 years old and possibly living in Grand Rapids or in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. Joel was with the regiment at Camp Michigan in Virginia when he wrote home to his parents on March 5, 1862.

It has been some time since I have wrote to you; although I have wrote a number of letters to Sally, the last I have not received any answer from. It is not because I have forsaken you that I have not wrote before. I have a good deal of writing to do more than I can find time to do. I am well and hope this will find you enjoying the same blessing. We are very busy just now making preparations to march. We expect to take up the line of march tomorrow morning if the order is not countermanded on account of the weather which is very bad for camping out. It rains most every day and is cold. The roads are almost impassable for foot men. . . . We shall be obliged to camp in the open fields with but one blanket to cover us from the inclement weather. We shall not return to camp till the war is settled. We have got a hard place to march through but we have got a strong army and a resolute set of men & with God’s help we will put them [rebels] down. But be assured of one thing. This campaign settles the war in Virginia. It may cost us some hard fighting and many valuable lives but that is the common casualty of war. I hope the time is [not] distant when the war will be brought to a close and I can have the privilege to once more visit my home and the scenes of my early days. I am in tiptop spirits and my health is better than it has been in a long time.

I have sent you forty dollars [by express mail]. I shall be anxious till I hear from it you will please let me know the earliest opportunity that the next pay day I shall draw fifty-two dollars. I have sent Harriet $20.00 twenty dollars if anything should happen that I should not return you may write to him and he will send it to you. I have a deal owing owing to [me] in Michigan but it can’t be collected at present if I get it at all.

There is not much more I think of to write so I will close by saying good by for this time.

From your affectionate son, Joel W. Gardner.

And on April 4, Joel wrote home shortly after the regiment left its winter quarters and began the spring campaign down the Virginia “Peninsula.” The regiment was in camp near Hampton, Virginia when he wrote his father

It is with pleasure I sit down to answer your letter of the 17th. It came to hand the second of this month. I was glad to hear from you that you were all well and also that you received the package safe. I had some apprehensions about it. There has been a good deal of money lost by sending it by express and I did not get it insured but it is just as well as it has turned out.

We left Camp Michigan the fourteenth of March and [arrived] at Fortress Monroe. . . . There must be quite a contrast between the weather there and here. When we arrived here the Peach[es] and other fruit trees were in blossom. There is a . . . scarcity [?] of fruit in this part of the country.

[T]he coast winds and storms are extremely cold and disagreeable. Our tents are field tents which are pieces of linen cloth about six feet square made with buttons and button-holes so we can fasten them together. We roll them up and carry them on our knapsacks. We are getting a large army at this place, a hundred thousand strong. The call has been given for brigade drill and I must finish this tonight.

[With the drums and bugles that I can scarcely think of much more to write. We are preparing to march early tomorrow morning. . . My health is not quite as good as I could wish it just at this time. I have been having the chills, have taken a bad cold but am some better now. You must [not] worry about me, I shall get along well enough I guess.

There is a great deal I should like to write but I can’t, . . I have not time nor room. Sally must excuse me for not writing to her this time. I will try and write to her next time. I have also received a letter from William and Lucy but be obliged to neglect answering it this time. I am sorry but I can’t help it. Tell them to write again and I may have a better [chance] to answer it.

I wish you to write to me as soon as you get this and have Sally write too. Tis getting late and I must close.

Please excuse the pencil writing for I could not get ink to write with.

Tell Gouvenour [?] Conklin I have [written] to him and have not received an answer. Guess he has forgotten me.

You will please excuse all mistakes. This from your affectionate son, Joel W. Gardner.

And on April 25 from the regiment’s camp near Yorktown, Virginia, Joel wrote to his father,

You will find enclosed within twenty dollars. We have received two months pay today. I have saved out six dollars to use in case I should need it.

I am not very well today. You must excuse me for not writing more this time. We are at work night and day building fortifications. We are getting along very rapidly with out work. It will be some days yet before we have much of a battle.

I have not time to write more at present. Write as soon as you get this. Good by for this time. This from your son Joel W. Gardner.

Direct as usual to Washington. I wrote to Sally but have not received an answer. Please write soon as you get this and oblige, Joel.

He was reported absent sick from July of 1862 through April of 1863. He eventually recovered, returned to duty and on December 23, 1863; he was a Sergeant when he reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Joel was transferred as a Sergeant to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

He was shot in the head on June 22 while on picket duty near Petersburg, Virginia. He died either in the field on July 1 or in a field hospital on September 18, 1864, and was originally buried just south of Petersburg on the Westbrook farm or in the back of the Wood house, in the Fair Grounds hospital cemetery, near Petersburg, Virginia. In any event, he was reinterred in Poplar Grove National Cemetery: grave no. 1511 (original division D, section D, no. 173).

His father applied for and received a pension (no. 167975). By 1874 his father was living in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County and in 1882 in Richville, St. Lawrence County, New York.

Benjamin C. Gardner

Benjamin C. Gardner was born 1841 in Shiawassee County, Michigan, the son of Edward (b. 1817) and Lucy (b. 1814).

New York native Edward married Massachusetts-born Lucy sometime before 1837 when they were living in New York. Between 1837 and 1839 Edward moved his family to Michigan and by 1850 Benjamin was living on the family farm in Chester, Ottawa County. In 1860 Benjamin was attending school with four of his younger siblings and working as a farm laborer and living on the family farm in Chester.

Benjamin stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old farmer probably living in Chester, Ottawa County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company K on May 13, 1861. In February of 1863 he was reported as a guard at the Division hospital, and was a recipient of the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863. He was absent sick from November 4, 1863, through May of 1864, and was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge from the army Benjamin may have returned to Michigan and in 1865-66 was possibly living in Grand Rapids at 64 Bridge Street on the west side of the river.

(In 1870 there was a Benjamin Gardner, age 30 and born in Michigan, working as a farm laborer and living with his wife Saxony-born Betsey and their 11-month-old daughter Mary (b. 1869), with the John Boser family (b. 1825 in Saxony) in Elmwood, Leelanau County.)

In 1870 Benjamin’s younger brother Martin was still living in Chester, Ottawa County. It is possible that his father had remarried (to another Lucy) and was working as a laborer and living with his wife and young daughter in Parma, Jackson County in 1880. Interestingly, in the Grand Army of the Republic 1888 “Encampment Journal,” a man named Nelson Eayes, of Onowa, Iowa was seeking the address of Benjamin C. Gardner, formerly with the Third Michigan infantry.

No pension seems to be available.

Alfred M. Gardner UPDATE 2018

Alfred M. Gardner was born 1839 in Perry, Wyoming County, New York, the son of Alanson (b. 1801) and Marillinette (b. 1808).

Alfred’s parents were both born in New York and presumably married there sometime before 1829. By 1850 Alanson was working as a carpenter and Alfred was living with his family and attending school with three of his younger siblings in Perry, New York. Alfred eventually left New York and moved west, settling in western Michigan by 1860 when he was a lumberman and farm laborer working for and/or living with Dennis Sutherland, a farmer in Ganges, Allegan County.

Alfred stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 22 years old and still residing in Allegan County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. According to one source, he was among the second wave of recruits to come out of Ottawa County and did not in fact enlist until the end of May, along with Albert Hamlin, Calvin Hall, Nelson Davis and David Davis, Joseph Payne, James Rhodes, Perry Goshorn, Sylvester Gay, Joseph Soler (Josiah Schuler), Quincy Lamereaux, William Suret and John Ward.

He was wounded by a gunshot to his leg above the knee at about 4:00 p.m. on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and was subsequently hospitalized as a consequence. By early August he was a patient at the hospital on David’s Island in the East River, New York harbor. He was still a patient at David’s Island when he wrote home to his parents on October 5, 1862.

Dear parents,

I received your some time ago and I hope you will pardon me for not answering sooner. At present my health is very good. The abscess on my head is nearly healed up and my wound has healed nicely but my thigh is quite sore and I am still obliged to use a cane. It will be some time yet before I shall be able to join the regiment again. The doctor says he is afraid that my head will break out the second time but I do not think I shall have any farther [sic] difficulty from that source. I do not know whether all hospitals have the same rules and regulations in regard to money, clothing, watches etc. belonging to deceased soldiers or not but I think it is a general rile throughout the U.S. which is the same one as the one in this hospital. When a soldier dies in this hospital every thing is carried to headquarters to the surgeon in charge for safekeeping. His money, watch, etc. if he has any is put into a safe furnished for that purpose and his clothing is packed, labeled and sent to the storeroom. A memorandum of both is taken and sent to his friends or relatives to know what disposal shall be made of them and they are dispose of according to the wishes of his friends. You may perhaps ask how do they know where to direct to his friends.

When a soldier enters a hospital the recording clerk comes around takes your name, co., regiment, place of enlistment, age, rank, married or single, and where to direct a letter to his friends. He also inquires if they have any money or other valuables you wish to deposit with the surgeon in charge. If they have he takes them to headquarters and the head surgeon gives them a receipt. After this is done he brings around cards and nails up to the head of each one’s bed with their name, co., regiment, disease and the time they are admitted into the hospital. You will see that after they are through asking questions they know very near as much about a soldier as he knows himself.

I think perhaps they have written to some of his Spencer’s relatives. You can find out by writing to the surgeon in charge of U.S. Hospital at Harrisburg Landing. There [is] nothing on the Island but a hospital. When I first came to the Island there was but one house here and that was a dwelling house. The soldiers were quartered in tents. Since that time the government has expended about $25,000 for hospital buildings and they still keep building. There are at present about 1,500 [men] quartered in tents and as many more quartered in the new buildings that are finished. I heard today that we were all going to be moved from the tents to the buildings before the 15th of this month on account of the cold weather. W have just had our equinoxial rain storm and that together with the cold sea breeze off the Long Island Sound has made the tents very uncomfortable for the past week.

We are not allowed to leave the Island unless we have a pass from the surgeon in charge. They will not grant a pass for only six days. This one reason why I have not made Henry a visit and another is I have not the funds to make the trip. I have 7 months pay due me which I am expecting to get in a few days.

It is quite pleasant here on the Island. All the vessels and steamers going to Boston, New Haven, and Portland also the steamships going to England pass within half a mile of the Island. The Great Eastern has passed here three times since I have been here. I have heard nothing of Perry Goshorn being wounded the second time. In regard to the subject you spoke of the latter part of your letter I will simply say that I have never laid up any hardness towards you. I should [have] liked very much to have been there and seen Dennis [Sutherland?] shake. I should [have] had a hearty laugh to [have] heard his teeth chatter. I could have paid him off in his own coin. Give my love to all, yours truly, Alfred

Alfred remained hospitalized until he was discharged for “deafness” as well as a “flesh wound,” on December 31, 1862.

Following his discharge Alfred returned to Allegan County, probably settling in Ganges.

He married Ohio native Lydia A. (1841-1924), on November 23, 1864, in Otsego, Allegan County.

Alfred died on November 14, 1865, at Saugatuck, Allegan County. He was buried in Taylor cemetery, Ganges next to two of his sisters (Lydia is also buried with him).

In 1870 his parents were residing in Allegan village, Allegan County. By 1880 Lydia was working as a schoolteacher and living with Alfred’s brother John and his family in Pine Plains, Allegan County.

In 1886 his widow, who was living in Michigan, applied for and received a pension (no. 290083), drawing $30 per month by 1924. She was living in Otsego, Allegan County in 1890. It is likely that she lived in Allegan County the rest of her life.