Highland Shaw Warner

Highland Shaw Warner was born in 1835 in Cattaraugus County, New York, or perhaps in 1833 in Ohio, the son of James (1811-1855) and Sarah (Shaw or James, 1812-1869). (The 1860 census lists New York as Highland’s birthplace and his age as 24, whereas the 1850 census lists his age as 17 and his birthplace as Ohio.)

Highland’s father was born in Vermont and his mother was born in Massachusetts and they were married in either New York or Vermont in 1834. (James was the grandson of Col. Seth Warner of Vermont.) In any case, the family eventually settled in New York or perhaps in Ohio where they resided for some years but by the mid-1840s had moved to Michigan. By 1850 James had settled his family on a farm in Algoma, Kent County where Highland worked as a laborer and resided with his parents. In 1860 Highland was working as a farmer living with his mother on the family farm in Algoma. Next door lived the Hamblin brothers, three of whom would serve in the Third Michigan during the war – and who would all die during the war. On the other side of the Hamblins lived Henry Magoon and his parents; Henry too would serve in the Third Michigan.

Highland stood 5’10” with brown eyes and hair and a light complexion, and was 25 years old and probably still living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (His younger sister Mary was married to Andrew Myers who would join Company F later in the War; Andrew’s older brother Peter joined Company C, probably with Highland.)

He was present for duty with the regiment during the Pensinsula campaign in Virginia in the spring and summer of 1862. From camp near Fair Oaks, Virginia, he wrote on June 17, to his mother then living in Sparta, Kent County.

I have just received this afternoon another letter from you dated June 10th. I received one a few days ago & answered it yesterday; it was dated June 2nd. It is evening now & I am writing by candlelight in my little tent. I don’t know as I can write much tonight, but I thought I would try & write a little so that you might know that I am all right yet. My health is first rate now & I enjoy myself pretty well considering all the circumstances. We have a great deal of rain here this Spring which makes it quite unpleasant some of the time & rather bad for the movement of the army; we have not had any more regular battle since the last of May & first of June that our regiment or brigade has been in, but we are preparing for it every day, but how soon the great decisive battle will be I don’t know; but perhaps the day is not far distant when we will march triumphantly into Richmond the Confederate Capitol; when it is taken I think the rebels will have to give up & the rebellion crushed forever, as Richmond is their only hope of salvation now; but we expect that they will fight desperately to save their capitol; but if the lose that they might as well give up the ghost for the U.S.troops have got every other place of importance in our possession now; we have the whole length of the Miss. River & pretty much of the whole of the Atlantic coast.

I suppose you have heard about all the news before this time by the papers of the particulars of the battle that we was in here at Fair Oaks, or Seven Pines as it is sometimes called. I don’t know as I wrote much about it in my last letters, so I will write a little about it in this.

Well the battle began about noon the 31st of May & Gen. Casey’s division was camped at the front and was attacked first by the rebels with overwhelming numbers & was driven back out of their camp with great loss. Our regiment & brigade was lying back about a mile & we was sent in after the rebels had got possession of Gen. Casey’s camps & the ground this side; then our regt., the 3rd, was ordered up double quick to meet the enemy in front.

The rebels had then got possession of a piece of woods & slashings & was concealed from our view until we had got within ten rods of them when they opened a deadly volley of musketry upon us & we had to form our line of battle under a tremendous fire from the enemy & a great many of our men fell before our line was formed which was done in a hurry & then we poured in the deadly volleys into them. Although they had the advantage of us by being formed in the woods & slashing & getting the first fire, but soon we gave them all they wanted. It was said by some prisoners that we took that our regt. (the 3rd) stood the firing of a whole brigade of the enemy five regts. strong for nearly an hour when the 5th [Michigan] regt & 2nd Mich. & NY 37th [the rest of the brigade] come up to help us, the rest of our brigade. But our regt had got the rebels started back on the retreat before any aid came to our relief, and when the rest of this brigade come up we made the rebels fly what did not lay down to bite the dust. Our brigade drove the rebels clear back beyond Gen. Casey’s camps.

Morning, 18th

I will give you a description of our regt. & brigade & division so that you will understand when I speak of it or how situated. The commanding generals have changed since we was on the upper Potomac. Our brigade is under the command of Gen. Berry; that is the 2nd, 3rd & 5th Mich & NY 37th regts which form our brigade, called Berry’s brigade, and this brigade is in Gen. Kearney’s division; a division is formed of several brigades. Now when you hear of Kearney’s division & Berry’s brigade a doing anything in battle you may consider that the 3rd is doing their part. This brigade has won a great name in the fight of the late battle on account of their gallant bravery manifested in the great battle.

The first of June the enemy renewed the attack and Generals Richardson’s & Sumner’s divisions repulsed them & drove them back covering the ground with their dead. It is reported that the enemy attacked us with about eight thousand and was whipped by four or five of small divisions of McClellan’s army. There was a rebel general taken prisoner, said that there was men enough started from Richmond to eat up all the forces that we had this side of the Chickihominy River; he was asked why they did not do it; but said he, the devil himself could not do it. He said he never saw men fight so desperately as we did. He said that the Mich. men was perfect tigers.

I can’t write any more this time for the mail is ready to go out now.

Highland was reported sick in the hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from December 14, 1862 (when he was dropped from the company rolls at Camp Pitcher) through January of 1863, and in fact he probably remained absent in the hospital until he was discharged on May 25, 1863, at West’s building hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for arthrosia (degenerative affliction of a joint), following seven months of hospitalization.

His problem was serious indeed and would grow worse with each passing year. Highland returned to his home in Kent County, and was living in Sparta, Kent County by late June of 1863 when he was examined for his pension application by Dr. E. R. Ellis of Grand Rapids. Dr. Ellis wrote in his report that “Applicant is unable to walk without the aid of one or two canes or crutches. The rheumatic trouble is confined mostly to his knee and wrist joints. He also has a bad cough. . . .” Highland lived the rest of his life in Algoma Township, Kent County.

Highland married Michigan native Mary Smith (b. 1848) on October 12, 1864, probably in Kent County, and they had at least ten children: Carrie (b. 1865), Darius or Dan (b. 1867), James R. (b. 1870), John A. (b. 1871), Highland S. (1873-74), Andrew B. (1874-1876), Willard O. (b. 1877), Gilbert S. (1880), Blanch G. (1881) and Chauncy Henry (b. 1883).

In late 1869 he was again examined, this time by Dr. G. K. Johnson in Grand Rapids. Dr. Johnson wrote on December 20 that “At present the left arm and the left leg are considerably wasted and weakened. The left wrist joint is nearly stiff and the fingers of that hand are partly stiffened and weakened. The left knee is swollen, painful and stiffened. The limb is contracted or bent so that a crutch is necessary in walking. The disability is ‘equivalent to the loss of a hand or foot’ and it is probable that it will be permanent.”

In 1873 Warner was examined by former Third Michigan Regimental Surgeon, Dr. Zenas Bliss. Now serving on the pension board, Bliss wrote in his examination report that Warner was “suffering from chronic rheumatism involving several joints -- particularly the left knee joint which is almost completely anchylosed. Also both wrist joints -- which are considerably stiffened from the disease. Suffers from pain in the several joints.”

He was still living in Sparta in 1874 when he was again examined by Dr. Bliss, who wrote in his annual examination report that Warner’s rheumatism involved “nearly all the joints of the body” and that the “Tissues about both shoulders, ankle and hip joints, [were] considerably thickened.” Bliss also noted that Warner was now much emaciated.

He was living in Sparta when his pension was increased to $24.00 in May of 1874, and on September 25, 1874, Dr. E. J. Emmons testified that he had been treating Warner for some time and that he was “suffering intensely, with his joints all stiffened and so completely helpless that he cannot even raise his hand to his head or feed himself, or even turn over in bed. I believe that his condition is chronic and lasting. He requires the constant care and attention of another person and I believe he will continue to require such attention.” It was also noted that from the “progressive changes in the tissues”

Highland was unable to perform any labor whatsoever and as the disease progressed he was increasingly unable to take care of himself. Indeed, the pension examining board wrote in March of 1875 that Warner was “unable to dress himself, get up from bed, sit down in chair, without help. Unable to get either hand to mouth without help. Requires the constant presence of an attendant. From existing structural changes at all joints, we think his condition will never greatly improve. His present condition is not at all caused or influenced by vicious habits.” That same year his pension was increased to $50.00. per month.

By 1877, the board noted, he required constant attendance as he was entirely helpless. “Partial anchylosis of shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and neck -- also of phalangeal joints.” Following his 1880 annual examination, the board wrote that Warner was “moderately well nourished. Muscles flabby. All joints more or less anchylosed. No motion at wrist -- slight in fingers and elbow -- moderate at shoulders. Unable to carry hands near mouth -- in fact arms are useless for all ordinary purposes. Joints of lower extremities all more or less anchylosed, rendering him unable to move with crutches.”

By 1880 Highland was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Algoma, Kent County. In 1883 and 1884 Highland was living in Six Corners, Ottawa County, and probably in Ravenna, Muskegon County in 1885. His arthrosia continued to worsen as the years went by, and his “rheumatism” was, in the words of one doctor, the worse case he had ever seen. His attending physician, Dr. F. D. Smith of Coopersville, Ottawa County, testified on August 29, 1885, that “the soldier’s rheumatism affected both heart and lungs and was the immediate cause of his death. Was the worst case affiant ever saw. Soldier was totally helpless, nearly every joint in his body was affected and some of them anchylosed, and that his habits were good and temperate.”

Highland was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and he received pension no. 19,769, dated November of 1863, drawing $8.00 in 1863, $15.00 in 1870, $18.00 in 1872, and $72.00 in 1883.

He died in Ravenna, Muskegon County on July 14, 1885, of rheumatism and was buried in Myers cemetery in Sparta.

His widow applied for and received pension no. 217,616.

His widow Mary married a William Smith on December 9, 1885, and was living in Fremont, Newaygo County in 1886. In any case, a pension application was filed and granted on behalf of a minor child (no. 237258).

Highland’s remarried widow was probably living in Conklin, Ottawa County in 1890.

George W. Warner Sr.

George W. Warner Sr. was born in 1816 in Greenbush, Windsor County, Vermont.

(His service records noted his place of birth as Greenbush, New Hampshire; however, there is no Greenbush, NH. The 1850 census for Ada, Kent County, Michigan lists his place of birth as Vermont. This discrepancy between the two records would perhaps indicate that he was born very close to the line dividing the two states. Alternatively he was possibly born in Greensboro, Orleans County, Vermont In 1850 there was a G. W. Warner (35 years old) living in Troy, Orleans County, Vermont; a George S. Warner (31 years old) a merchant living in Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont along with his wife Harriet and young son Henry (7 months old); and a George W. Warner (12 years old, born in Massachusetts) living in Halifax, Windham County, Vermont, with two elderly women by the name of Pratt.)

George was married to Vermont native Electa A. (b. 1818), probably in Vermont, and they had at least four children: George W. Jr. (b. 1841), Julia (b. 1843), Edgar (b. 1846) and Carrie (b. 1855).

George moved his family from Vermont to Michigan sometime after 1846, and by 1850 they had settled in Ada, Kent County where George worked as a shoemaker. By 1860 he was working as a shoemaker and living with his wife and children in Plainfield, Kent County. (He was possibly related to Highland Warner of Algoma, Kent County, whose father James was also born in Vermont; Highland would serve in Company C, Third Michigan.)

George Sr. stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 44 years old and residing in Kent County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (His son George Jr. would enlist in company M, Sixth Michigan cavalry the following year. George Jr. survived the war and returned to his home in Plainfield. He was married to Mary and was probably the same George Warner listed as living in Plainfield in 1890 and 1894. He received a pension (no. 374084). George Jr. died in 1898, probably in Kent County. In any case, it appears he is buried in the Soldiers’ Home cemetery in Grand Rapids township.)

George Sr. was discharged for a varicocele on the left side “of nine years’ standing” on July 29, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia.

George eventually returned to his home in Michigan after he left the army, probably to Plainfield. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Austerlitz, Plainfield Township, Kent County.

George died in early 1880.

In June of 1880 Electa (listed as “mother”) was living with her daughter Carrie and her husband Frank Whitney and their family in Ensley, Newaygo County. Electa applied for a pension in March of 1880 (no. 261044) but the certificate was never granted.

Elijah Warner

Elijah Warner was born in 1840 in New York.

Elijah left New York and had settled in western Michigan by the time war had broken out.

He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old teamster possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was reported working in the Brigade bakery in May of 1863, and “absent in the hands of civil authorities” in August, apparently under arrest, possibly in New York City.

Third Corps, at 10:25 a.m. on August 7, charged with “misbehavior before the enemy.” Specifically, it was alleged by Captain Thomas Tate of the Third Michgian “that he . . . did while his Regiment was supporting a battery on the 3rd day of May 1863 [at Chancellorsville, Virginia] in the face of the enemy, disgracefully run away and remained absent until the evening of May 4th 1863.” Elijah pled not guilty.

The prosecution then called Sergeant James Van Dusen of Company F.

Judge Advocate: State what you know in reference to his running away from his regiment at the time specified.

Answer: We were laying in line of battle b y Brigade, supporting batteries. I saw the accused when we halted to lay down. I did not see him after we did lay down. We were ordered to make a charge and when we made the charge I am confident he was not there. The next time I saw him was about the middle of the next day. When he returned and reported to his regiment.

Judge Advocate: Is he a regularly enlisted and mustered man?

Answer: Yes sir.

Judge Advocate: Was your regiment engaged with the enemy during his absence?

Answer: Not after that charge.

Judge Advocate: Were you engaged with the enemy while the accused was with his company?

Answer: I do not think we were. . . .

Judge Advocate: How did he behave in the charge of Saturday night?

Answer: He behaved well as far as I know.

Court: Was the regiment in the same place when he returned as it was when he left?

Answer: No sir.

Court: Was the regiment under fire when he returned?

Answer: No, all was quiet at the time he returned.

Judge Advocate: Was the regiment under fire of artillery during the time he was absent?

Answer: yes sir, it was under heavy artillery fire.

Court: Have you ever known him to misbehave himself before the enemy?

Answer: No sir I have not.

Prisoner: What was my conduct before the enemy at Gettysburg and Wapping Heights?

Answer: It was very good, he behaved himself very well.

Court: Do you know whether the accused disgracefully ran away at the time specified.

Answer: I do not.

The witness was dismissed and Sergeant Harvey Briggs of Company F was then called by the prosecution.

Judge Advocate: Do you know, of your own knowledge, that the accused ran away from his Regiment when supporting a battery on the 3rd of May?

Answer: I know that he did run away.

Judge Advocate: state what you know in reference to his running away.

Answer: I know that he asked the Captain’s permission to leave the ranks to get some water. I do not think the Captain gave him permission, for I heard the Captain say that he could not let any man leave the ranks, but that some of the men would give him some water. In about ten minutes from that time I saw him get up and leave the Company, and was going back towards the rear. I spoke to him and told him not to leave the ranks but he made no reply. I think he must have heard me, for he was rising up and picking his gun up at the time I spoke. The next time I saw him was in the afternoon of the next day.

Judge Advocate: Have you seen the accused receive pay of the U.S. Goverment?

Answer: Yes I have.

Court: Was the Regiment under a heavey fire at the time the accused left the ranks?

Answer: Yes. We were under a heavy artillery fire.

Prisoner: What has been my conduct in battle at Gettysburg and Wapping Heights?

Answer: His conduct was noticed as being remarkably good at both engagements. I noticed it myself, he behaved well.

The witness was dismissed and Captain Thomas Tate commanding Company F was then called as a witness for the defense.

Prisoner: What has been my conduct at the battle of Gettsburg, Wapping Heights and since?

Answer: His conduct since the battle of Chancellorsville and in both the engagements named has been unexceptionable.

The witness was then dismissed. Elijah then submitted the following statement to the Court:

I had [had] no water since the afternoon of the day before. The men in the company had so little that they could not spare me any. When we halted and lay down, I asked the Captain to let me get some, and he replied he would pretty soon, or some such answer. We lay there some 15 minutes, and I was suffering for a drink of water, and supposing I should have time to get some from a creek not more than a half dozen rods, I went to get some, and the Regiment was gone when I returned. I was not gone more than 10 or 15 minutes. I looked for them, and could not find them, but later in the forenoon I found a squad of the Regiment (which I joined) with the Adjutant. And remained with them till we went to the river and stacked arms. (The Adjutant is now in Michigan.) I then went to the creek close by, washed my feet and stockings, and I looked nearly all night for my Regiment, and in the forenoon of the next day found it, and joined my company.

Elijah was found guilty to both the charge and specification and sentenced to forfeit two month’s pay and to do fatigue duty with a log and chain. However, on August 8 Major General David Birney, commanding the First division, ordered that “The accused having shown that since the alleged & proven misbehavior that he has endeavored to regain his character as a good soldier by gallantry at Gettysburg, the sentence is remitted and the accused be returned to duty.”

He was reported a deserter on September 19 in New York City, and returned to the Regiment on October 11, 1863.

Elijah reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Bowne, Kent County, was presumably absent on 30 days’ veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 but apparently failed to return to the Regiment and was reported AWOL in February. He soon rejoined the Regiment and was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Elijah may have returned to Michigan (or he may have been living in Dayton, Ohio) when he was admitted to the Central Branch National Military Home in Dayton, Ohio, on September 13, 1871.

No pension seems to be available.

Elijah died on November 22, 1871, at the Home in Dayton, and was buried in Dayton National Cemetery: section A, row 11, grave 41.

David Warner

David Warner was born on September 20, 1827, in Lindorf, Kircheim, Wurtemberg, Germany.

David emigrated from Germany to the United States and eventually settled in Illinois.

He was married to Wurtemberg immigrant Cecilia Standenmeier (b. 1829), in Chicago, Illinois, and they had at least five children: Barbara (b. 1855), Katie (b. 1857 and diedin infancy), Mary (b. 1858), twins Louisa and Alice (b. 1860, Louise died in 1912), and William (b. 1863).

They were living in Illinois by 1855 (when Barbara was born), and then moved to Michigan between 1855 and 1859 (when Mary was born). By 1860 David was working as a carpenter living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward.

David had blue eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion and was 33 years old and living in Kent County, probably Grand Rapids, when he enlisted as a Musician Second Class in the Band on June 10, 1861. He was discharged from the Band on August 13, 1862, at Harrison’s’ Landing, Virginia, “as a member of the Band not as a musician.”

By 1870 he was working as a carpenter in Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward and living with his wife and children. David and Cecilia were still living in Grand Rapids, on Gold Street, with their children in 1880. He was living in Grand Rapids in 1888, working as a carpenter and living at 55 Gold Street in 1889 and 1890 and at 257 Gold Street in 1912.

In August of 1887 David was probably living in Michigan when he applied for and received a pension (no. 393650). David was reported as a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in June of 1911.

David was a widower when he died on May 2, 1920, in Grand Rapids and was buried alongside his wife in Greenwood cemetery, section F, lot 30.