Monday, January 26, 2009

Michigan Men, Part II

The Michigan troopers' Civil war experiences were as varied as the men themselves. Unsurprisingly, they run the gamut of possibilities, excluding only re-enlistment.

One didn't even make it to Washington, D.C. Benjamin F. Sweet was discharged for disability at the regiment's second camp in Bladensburg, Maryland on October 1, 1861. Several others didn't last until the regiment's initial campaign on the Peninsula the following March. Warner C. Bradish died of disease at Camp East of the Capitol, Washington on January 31, 1862. Joseph J. Spence was also discharged for disability in Washington on February 10th.

The regiment's duty on the Peninsula was costly for the Michigan troopers. On May 1, 1862, Ruel V. Rounds died of brain fever at Yorktown, VA. Nelson Benson and John G. Beavington deserted the following day. The group suffered its first combat losses at Slatersville, VA on May 9th. Abel A. Irish was killed in action, and Elisha J. Ellis was captured and confined in Richmond the next day. He was paroled on August 11th, but there is no further mention of him in federal records. There was an Elisha J. Ellis with Company G, 44th Indiana Infantry, so it's possible he decided to try his fortune with the Army of the Ohio. John Dunmore deserted the day after the action at Slatersville. Wilber R. Allen was discharged for disability in Washington, D.C. on May 28th, and James H. Cory was discharged a few days later on June 3rd.

On July 6, 1862, Edgar R. Knapp, the sole doctor in the group, was appointed a hospital steward. He continued in this duty with the regiment until his discharge in 1864.

1862's campaigns took their toll on the Michigan men during that winter. William M. Palmer was discharged for disability from Camp Banks, VA on December 31st, and Philemon Finch the next day. By the end of the month, a convalescent camp had been established for the Army of the Potomac, and two more Michigan men were discharged from it before the beginning of the spring campaign. George W. Haight was discharged for disability on January 31st, and Albert C. Waggoner on April 3rd. Frederick S. Ladd offically deserted on April 12th, but had been appointed a Second Lieutenant in Company C, 9th Michigan Cavalry over a week before on April 3rd. He achieved the rank of captain and command of Company C before he was killed in battle at Cypress Swamp, GA on December 7, 1864.

The Gettysburg campaign was hard on the men from Michigan as well. At Fairfield, Pennsylvania on July 3rd, Sergeant Theodore Fox and Private William Robinson were both wounded and captured. Corporal James P. Campbell, Private Robert Craig and Private Charles H. Miller were also missing in action after the battle. Sergeant Miles L. Ten Eyck was killed in action at Williamsport, Maryland on July 6th, and Randolph R. Knapp was wounded and captured the following day in the engagement at Funkstown. Randolph Knapp returned from parole on August 17th, and William Robinson on August 30th. Sergeant Fox returned to duty on August 24th, but was discharged for disability at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania on December 10th. This was likely a result of his wound and imprisonment. The group's only other 1863 loss was Charles Blossom, who was captured at Brandy Station on October 11th.

1864 saw the end of the group's service. Beach B. Kennedy was discharged for disability on March 23rd. Charles Blossom died of disease while a prisoner at Andersonville Prison on May 22nd. Charles H. Miller also died there of disease on July 5th, after a year of imprisonment.

In September 1864, the remaining fourteen members of the group were discharged at the end of their terms of service. Not one re-enlisted. Four deserted and ten were discharged for disability. Seven of the thirty five men died during the war, or twenty percent of the total.

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