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´╗┐Title: Reminiscences, Incidents, Battles, Marches and Camp Life of the Old 4th Michigan Infantry in War of Rebellion, 1861 to 1864
Author: Barrett, O. S.
Language: English
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              MARCHES and CAMP LIFE
                     OF THE
              IN WAR OF REBELLION,
                  1861 TO 1864.

                By O. S. BARRETT,
    Late Lieut. Co. B, 4th Michigan Infantry.

  _Dedicated to the Survivors of the Regiment._

               Hope for the living,
               Tears for the dead.

                 DETROIT, MICH.:
            W. S. OSTLER, PUBLISHER,


Michigan Volunteer Infantry

was organized at Adrian, Michigan, and Mustered into United States
Service June 20, 1861, for three years. It was quartered in the North
College building, of the group of buildings situated at extreme west
suburbs of City. Was commanded by Dwight A. Woodbury. It was presented
by the ladies of Adrian, with a beautiful flag. The Regiment left its
Rendezvous June 25th, for Washington, numbering on its rolls 1025,
officers and men. In his orders for the movement, Colonel Woodbury
said: "Let each man remember that he has the honor of Michigan in his
keeping." The first appearance of the Regiment, while passing through
Cleveland, Ohio, brought from the Leader of that city, the following
notice of


"When we see the splendidly armed and equipped Regiments from
Michigan, pass through here on their way to the seat of war, and
compare their appearance with that of the Regiments that left Camp
Cleveland recently, it makes us almost ashamed of Ohio, and inclines
us to enquire in the mildest and most collected manner, why it is that
Michigan in the same length of time sends Regiments to the field
prepared for service, while Ohio, who boasts of her enterprise and
patriotism, sends from her camps as Regiments, mere mobs of men, half
uniformed, unarmed, and wholly without drill."

The Regiment left Cleveland, via Buffalo to Elmira, New York, where we
took supper with 23d New York Regiment in barracks there. We were
royally entertained; had a good time; had a good supper. I wish to say
here, the first hard tack the writer ever saw was issued to us at
Cleveland. They were round, and as large as an elephant's foot, and as
tough as a prohibitionist's conscience. I noticed some of the boys,
out on platform of cars, trying how far they could sail them. Others
had coupling pins, trying to pulverize them. On leaving Elmira, some
of the boys who were a little off, pulled the coupling pin, which
detached three or four cars. The rest of the train pulled out some
distance before it was discovered. The advance section backed up, the
rear cars were hitched on, and the boys were induced to all-aboard,
and the train passed on to Harrisburg, Pa. The Regiment encamped a few
days at that city, and we were drilled in the art of street fighting,
expecting a collision at Baltimore. The people of Harrisburg asked:
"has Michigan sent another Regiment equipped?" And in fact the troops
at Camp Curtin "thought if Pennsylvania would only clothe her men like
that, she would not have a single citizen at home."

From Harrisburg, on to Baltimore. The Regiment was disembarked from
the cars some distance outside of the city; formed and marched into
the depot. We were armed with old buck and ball muskets, and were not
allowed but three rounds of cartridges. The Regiment was formed into
platoons, and marched through the general thoroughfare to Washington
Depot. On its way, while about midway, the crowd was immense on the
sidewalks, a demonstration was made by some crank of a Rebel, at a
point opposite our colors, pointing a revolver toward the flag-bearer,
but was suppressed so quick that it was not seen but by few of the
Regiment. The writer was a file-closer and in rear of rear platoon,
and saw the movement. Had that pistol been discharged, the result
would have been a terrible indiscriminate slaughter. My gun was on a
line with the act in less time than it would take to pull a trigger.
Somebody would have been hurt. Men hissed and jeered, but the column
moved on to Washington Depot, where the Regiment was embarked on cars
for Washington. Just before reaching the Relay House, the train was
stopped and we were told that Rebels were in our front. We were formed
in line of battle. It was a false alarm. We got aboard again, and
passed on to Washington. Arrived in that city on the night of July 2d,
and soon went into camp on Meridian Hill, near Soldiers' Home.
Remained in camp until a short time before first battle of Bull Run.
The Regiment was ordered over the Potomac, and to Alexandria, and out
to a place called Cloud's Mills. Remained in camp there, and done
picket duty until a few days prior to first Bull Run, when it was
ordered on to Fairfax Station, in rear of advancing army. The left
wing of the Regiment was detained at that place, while the right was
marched to Fairfax Court House. The writer was with the part remaining
at the station. It was evident that the Rebels had left in a hurry, as
the advance of our column appeared; they had tried to burn the station
and other property, but were prevented by stress of time. We found
plenty of corn meal; also a number of hogs that had been corralled in
the rear of the station, but had been let out of the pen; on arrival
of our men in pursuit, they were running around loose. The writer
fired six shots at an old hump-backed sow, and got nary a swine. One
W. W. Carpenter, the liliputian of Company B, killed her with one shot
from an old Colt's revolver. We had mush and fresh pork in abundance.
We found some cows on an abandoned plantation, near by. Also plenty of
honey. We had mush and milk 'till you couldn't rest. One of the boys,
while reconnoitering around, developed a colony of bees. He seized a
hive and started for a brook near by. He attempted to jump a pole
fence. His toe caught and he pitched headlong. The hive flew twenty
feet. The bees followed back, and swarmed in his bushy hair, which
caused a lively rush for the water. He plunged in and soon divested
himself of the vicious little insects. But not daunted he returned,
and seized the hive again. This time he succeeded in drowning the
bees. He got the honey all the same. That night, after the adventure
with the bees, myself and my bunkey tore some of the hives to pieces,
and placed the boards on the ground, and spread our blankets on them
for our bed. We went to bed tickled with our layout. About twelve
o'clock we were aroused with injunction to keep very still, as Rebels
were near, and were expected to attack us. My bunkey and I got up, or
sat up. About that time I saw bunkey slap his legs, and heard him

About the same time, I felt an unusual sensation under my pants, in
the region of where I sat down. There were plenty of live bees still,
that had staid with the boards. They had crawled inside our clothes,
and everlastingly stuck it to us. Well, if you ever saw an Indian war
dance, picture to yourself our appearance. We were ordered to keep
still; but had a Brigade of Rebels attacked us, we would have fought
these bees.

Next day was fought the first Battle Bull Run. We were ordered to join
the other wing of the Regiment, at Fairfax Court House, arriving just
before the stragglers began to appear from our defeated army. We were
formed in the road, in sections, and ordered to stop all stragglers.
Talk of stopping a cyclone; it was impossible. The rush of soldiers,
congressmen, and other civilians, from Washington, literally forced us
from the highway. I saw three officers on one mule, hatless, coatless,
and unarmed, and apparently badly frightened; the Johnnies did not
follow up with any force. The 4th was soon on the way to Washington.
We returned to our old camp, on Meridian Hill. Early in fall of '61,
the Regiment built fort Woodbury, on Arlington, and done picket duty.
Later on, we were moved out to Minor's Hill, Virginia, and built
winter quarters, and remained there during the winter 1861-2. The
Regiment, with 14th New York, 9th Massachusetts, and 62nd
Pennsylvania, formed 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps,
commanded by Fitz John Porter, a brave and skilfull officer, who was
afterwards much abused; for I believe we had no more loyal officer in
the field; to the contrary notwithstanding, his traducers tried to
drag him down. Nothing of a startling nature occurred here, during the
winter. Our time was occupied in picket, camp, guard, and other
routine work. A laughable incident occurred here in camp, which
illustrates the desire of the common soldier


[Illustration: {A soldier with a gun-sling in the firing position.}]

We were armed with the old Buck and Ball musket, which we were to
exchange for the Enfield rifles. Word was given to the different
companies to send details for guns. The Company B detail was
dispatched. Soon the boxes were brought, and opened. Behold a mistake
had been made, and the boys thought on purpose. Instead of the
Enfield, the boxes contained the same kind of guns we already had. The
men were indignant, and refused to accept them, but finally concluded
to use them awhile, as they were new and bright. The guns were
distributed, and boxes ordered back, a procession formed a la
funeral. An escort, with reversed guns, and music, and every
conceivable thing that any noise could be got out of, followed to
Quarter master's depot. A volley was fired over the boxes, and the
procession returned to quarters. Soon, a racket was heard in vicinity
of Company B. Every other man had a gun sling around his body, and was
down on all-fours. The other fellows had a gun thrust between the
gun-sling and along the man's spine, firing blank cartridges. As soon
as the gun was fired, the man on the ground would assume a sitting
posture, with the muzzle up. Then the gunner would ram cartridge, and
the gun would immediately assume the horizontal, again to be fired.
There were some 40 of the company engaged in this. That night, after
the racket, the 14th New York's Sutler lost a barrel of whiskey,
rolled out from under his tent early in the evening, while the
proprietor was engaged in front with a special delegation sent to
occupy him and his assistants, while the feat was being performed. It
never was found, but you could buy a canteen-full for $5.00 of one who
knew where it was. Details were made to hunt for it, but it was never
brought to view, but some of the detail were quite drunk when they
returned. I will relate an incident that occurred while encamped on
Arlington, as stated before in this narrative: while stationed there,
we were daily beset by hucksters and traffickers. They would vend
their wares to the boys, and go away, apparently happy, but soon
return again, seeming to be dissatisfied with what they received for
their goods. One day, a pompous Jew drove over from Georgetown, a big
wagon-load of goods drawn by four-in-hand. Sales were small until he
struck Company B, the writer's company. Here he cried his wares.
Finally a syndicate was formed, and approached the vender of goods,
with the proposition to buy his entire stock. They would give so
much, provided he had a certain amount of the ardent in his outfit. He
seemed to be satisfied with the situation, and answered, he had what
they desired. The bargain was closed, and money paid in bills. Our
goods were unloaded, and he departed, highly elated. But it was not
long. He soon returned, alone, and inquired of the writer for the
Colonel's tent. The writer edged around, as near as possible, to hear
what was said. The Jew was swinging his arms, and gesticulating
fiercely. The Colonel listened until he got through, then I heard him
say, in reply, "you ought to be satisfied with small profits on so
large a sale." He replied: "Colonel, the monish is not good, it is one
Erie and Kalamazoo monish." The Colonel told him the result was as
good as the intent, and dismissed him, and we did not see him again.
The boys bought him out slick and clean, for 600 dollars, and paid him
in new and crisp Michigan Insurance and older bills of Erie and
Kalamazoo. I will say, Company B, was made up of one or two doctors,
as many lawyers, and one preacher, and the rest were gentlemen. The
writer was identified with the latter class.

[Illustration: {The salesman and the Colonel.}]


With the advance of the army from Minor's Hill, and to Fairfax, passed
beyond that dilapidated and dingy looking town, historical, much
speculation indulged in, in regard to what route would be adopted "On
to Richmond." It was finally decided to take the route via Alexandria
down the Potomac to Fort Monroe. Accordingly, the columns were put in
motion, and in due time the army arrived at above named place. Our
Division passed out beyond Hampton, and went into camp, for a few days,
then marched en route to Yorktown, by way of Big Bethel. On our arrival
within cannon shot of Rebel fortifications, we were greeted by a
general shower of shot and shell, from Rebel Batteries, which went
screeching and screaming over our heads. The 4th had the advance at
the right, toward the Rebel Left. As we drew nearer, they got our
range. Their shot plunged and shells burst in and all around us with
but little damage, but made the situation decidedly unpleasant. Our
column filed to the right, following a ravine, which extended to
extreme left of Rebel Earthworks. General Charles Griffin commanded our
Division, and his old battery was on hand, that he had formerly
commanded. He immediately ordered it to the front, out in open space,
and commenced shelling the Rebel works. Cannonading was lively for a
while, on both sides. The Rebels evidently misunderstood the
demonstrations, so audaciously made in their front, and expected an
immediate assault all along the line. They apparently reserved their
fire for closer work, but were disappointed in that. The army settled
down to a siege. We were constantly under fire, from time of arrival in
front of their works, until evacuation of same, on picket line, bivouac
and skirmishing. No let up night and day. Casualties were quite
frequent. If a picket guard showed his head it was a target as soon as
seen. Picketing was extremely dangerous business. The guard were posted
under darkness of night and was relieved the same. In front of Rebel
works was an open plain. The boys would dig holes, under cover of
darkness, and through the day would burrow like gophers. Hence gopher
holes, had dirt piled up in front with a hole at base, for to shoot
through. Was death to the man who got his cranium above the obstruction
in front of him. A thrilling incident occurred at this time. General
Fitz John Porter, who commanded the 5th corps, went up in a balloon to
take observations of rebel works. It was controlled by ropes, held by
men on the ground. After getting up the right distance, the guy became
detached, through some cause, and the balloon floated at will, first
over Rebs, then back on our side, swayed by the wind. All this while,
Porter could be seen standing up in the car, with spy glass in hand,
scanning the Rebel fortifications; and the Johnnies everlastingly
yelling, and trying to elevate their guns to reach him, but failed. The
elevation was too steep for their gunnery. Finally he descended to our
side, amid shouts of the whole army. It was hard telling at one time
into what hands he would fall. The siege went on. A heavy water battery
of one hundred pounders was placed on York River, at the extreme left
of Rebel works. The 4th was stationed at that point. These guns were
worked spasmodically. Rebs could not reply to them. York River, at this
point, was full of oysters--some the largest I ever saw. We often went
in after a supply. It was dangerous business. The Rebel pickets, on
opposite side, were alert and invariably fired on any one who had the
hardihood to approach the water for them. The writer ventured in one
day for some of the bivalves, and was industriously searching for the
precious article. I succeeded in exhuming a monster big one, and was
looking for more, when zip, pinge, came the warning to get out. I was
in such a hurry I forgot to take along my find, and you could not see
my coat tail for the water splashing behind me. I did not want any more
oysters on that special occasion. Yorktown was evacuated on the night
of May 4th and 5th, 1862; our army had been to vast labor, and the
government to tremendous expense and worry. A bloody battle was fought
at Williamsburg; the 4th were not engaged at that battle. We were sent
via West Point, and followed on to Chickahominy. The time occupied
between Yorktown and our arrival at the Chickahominy, was marching, and
camping under great hardships; mud and heat had to be contended with.
When within a few miles of Chickahominy, the 4th was detached from the
column, and in a pouring rain, were hustled on to the river. When
within half a mile of it we met a squadron of cavalry, which had been
to the point, came back full well. We were ordered, "Battalion into
line, double quick;" my company being on the left, did some tall
running over bogs, ditches and small brush, to get our place in line.
We struck the river at New Bridge, and met a sharp fire from opposite
side. We were dressed up under this fire. Our first man was killed
here, A. M., D. Piper, of Company B. He was shot dead. He was the
largest man in the company. I was first sergeant at the time, and
touched elbows with him when he fell. The boys named him Elephant, on
account of his immense size. Our Colonel, D. A. Woodbury, seeing our
disadvantage, rode his horse down to the river and ordered us to cross.
At this time the Johnnies were seen to get to the woods beyond. About
20th of May my company plunged into the water, arm-pits deep. Company A
crossed over to the right, in a bend of the river. We found 28 dead
rebels in our immediate front. We brought over some wounded rebels, and
on our return the water was chin deep to the writer, it having rained
all this time heavily. There were four or five of my company wounded.
The rebels had taken the plank from the bridge, and ranged two pieces
of cannon on the same. We held this point as a picket line until battle
of Gains Mills. The crossing of Chickahominy occurred on May 24th,

Here I first saw Custer. He was sent by McClellan to assist our
cavalry in conducting the establishment of picket lines at New Bridge.
He crossed the river four times, on horseback, to my certain
knowledge. He encouraged us boys with the example, and his cheering
remarks, such as go in Wolverines, give them h--l, and we did. The
Johnnies outnumbered us six to one, but they were deceived in our
strength, supposing us to be a regular advance of our army. I am
pained to read of the deprecating language of Major Reno, 7th Regiment
Cavalry, in regard to the gallant Custer.

This fight caused General McClellan to dispatch to the War Department,
the following: "Three skirmishes to-day. We drove the Rebels from
Mechanicsville, seven miles from New Bridges. The 4th Michigan about
used up the Louisiana Tigers. Fifty prisoners, and fifty killed and

Mr. Greeley, in his American Conflict, says: "The first collision on
the Chickahominy, between the advance of McClellan's army and the
Rebels, occurred near New Bridge, where the 4th Michigan, Colonel
Woodbury, waded the stream and assaulted and drove off a superior
force, losing but eight men in all, and taking thirty-seven prisoners,
of whom fifteen were wounded." After establishing line of pickets on
or along the river, the regiment went into camp on Gains' Farm, on
left bank of Chickahominy, about one mile from river. Soon after, the
battle of Fair Oaks was fought in plain sight of our camp. It
continued 'till early in the evening. We could see the flash of
bursting shells and vomiting cannon. The excitement among the men of
the regiment was very manifest. It is certainly pleasanter, at a
distance, to witness a battle, than to participate in one. Distance is
more agreeable than being too intimate with the struggle.

An advance from our position, at that time, was contemplated upon
Richmond. A heavy rainstorm was raging at the time. The regiment stood
in ranks all one day, in this rain--so did the whole army--waiting
orders to cross the Chickahominy. The flats each side of the river
were flooded from two to four feet deep. Whirling and seething in its
course, it was impossible to cross, and had to be abandoned. A howl
went up all over the north, because of the failure, but was not
attributed to the high water, but to cautiousness or cowardice of the
commander. It could not be done in the face of such difficulties. If
ever there was an interposition of Providence, it was manifested at
that time, for if we had crossed the river with the view of attacking
Richmond, I believe the Army of the Potomac would have ceased to exist
as an organization. Picketing and camp routine was daily gone through
with at this time; but little excitement, and nothing startling
occurred. I think, May 27th, a column was marched to Hanover Court
House to our right and rear. It was reported the Rebels were
threatening our base. The 4th Regiment was a part of the troops
composing that movement. We marched to Hanover. The front and rear of
the column had a fight with the Johnnies. The 4th was but slightly
engaged. The 9th Massachusetts, one of our brigade, had a lively chase
after the enemy,--charged them out of a piece of woods, and down a
grade, towards a railroad, via Hanover and Richmond. The 44th New York
were badly cut up, being the regiment in the rear of the column that
the Rebels attacked with great fury. The 44th stood their ground with
great bravery and determination until assistance arrived. The enemy
was driven off, and the column returned to camp. Company B, of the
4th, acted as flankers on the return to camp, 14 miles away. By the
way, the duties of flankers are very tedious and arduous, especially
over a rough country, and is attended with a good deal of danger. On
our way back, when near camp, the regiment halted in the road, with
low hanging trees on one side of the road (the flankers had been
called in,) with thick underbush. Some telegraph wires were laying
along on the limbs. Some mischievous fellow in the rear drummed with
his gun on them, causing a vibration of sound similar to a noise
caused by a charging mule team running away. The result was, the road
was vacated in two seconds. The writer jumped, and supposed he was
jumping up grade, but instead, jumped 20 feet down grade, into a hole.
The scare was over, and the column soon made camp. Many lost their
caps, the writer among the rest. I distinctly saw the colonel and
adjutant's horses leap a ditch fence on the north side of the road. If
I could have known the fellow who caused the stampede, I think I could
have mauled him--and think I would, had I caught him. As it is, the
friction is now worn off, and he is safe. I will say, the column was
marching left in front. That put the writer's company to the front.
Hence the scare at our end of the regiment. The army indulged in a
grand review at this place. General Prim, the Spanish Patriot, was
present, and, I think, President Lincoln, but am not positive as to
the latter being present. The little general humped around after Mac.,
who was a splendid rider--none were more accomplished than Little Mac.
Prim was not used to such rough ground and hard riding, hence his
unsteady seat. While in camp, our quartermaster thought to regale us
with the luxury of dried apple pies, shortened with bacon grease. He
had procured a portable oven, and dispensed his goodies to the boys,
at twenty five cents a small section. The writer remembers of being
very sick from eating pie, in fact, the only time he remembers of
being sick, until subsequently, after being wounded at Gettysburg.

And now comes the tug of war. Up to this time the regiment had not
suffered very serious loss. True, many were sick; some had been
discharged; but the regiment showed a good front. The history, from
June 26th, 1862, of the regiment, is steeped in blood, with heavy
loss. Many were sent to their last muster out, and now, after the
lapse of a quarter of a century, the roster is nearly closed.

June 26th, 1862, the regiment, with the rest of the brigade, was
formed in column, and marched out to Mechanicsville, and engaged in
battle with traitors to this good country. The battle was short and
sharp, without much advantage to either side. It was the prelude to
one of the bloodiest battles of the war,--Gains' Mill. June 27th,
1862, the regiment, with others, left our camp, abandoned everything
except our knapsacks and guns, marched out and formed line of battle,
near Gains' Mill. The Rebels soon took possession of our deserted
camp, rioted awhile on what was left,--whiskey, hard-tack, and other
commodities. About ten A. M. they came down on us without skirmishers,
with guns at a right shoulder arms, and drunk. They came to be
slaughtered, and they got it, then and there. The carnage was
terrible. The battle raged all day, until dark. Men, of human form
divine, became demons, fought like wild beasts, and with not much more
intelligence on the traitors' side. Many of the regiment went down.

The next day, loved ones, true as steel, were missing, and never again
answered to human roll call. And on to other battles, the regiment was
baptised in blood again. Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, and on to
Malvern. On the 30th of June, the army arrived at Malvern Hill, tired,
worn, and hungry. The enemy followed up and attacked in the afternoon,
but were easily repulsed. July 1st was the climax of battles. The
enemy attacked with great fury; the battle raged all day with great
slaughter, on both sides. Charge after charge was indulged in by the
persistent foe, to be hurled back bleeding in every form. The thunder
of cannon was awful; clash of arms, shouts of combatants, was
deafening. Such a seething hell will never be again enacted on this
continent. It would be impossible to repeat it, in all its details.
The enemy drew off, and the Army of the Potomac passed on to
Harrison's Landing, on the James River. The regiment lost its brave
Colonel Dwight A. Woodbury, the bravest of the brave. His last words
were, "hold them, boys." He was shot in the forehead and died almost
instantly. His body now rests in our beautiful Oak Wood Cemetery. He
was a kind man. The enemy followed to Harrison's Landing in small
force; made a slight attack on our forces, on the morning of July 2nd,
but we easily repulsed. The regiment and army settled down to camp
life. While here, the Rebels made a night attack, from south side
James River. Our heavy batteries and gun boats in the river soon
knocked them out of the box. The day following, the 4th and 16th
Michigan were ferried over the river to see about it. Found debris of
caissons, dead horses, and evidence of demoralization. Staid over all
day. Some captures were made. Among the trophies, were a considerable
amount of geese. The regiments returned to north bank of stream and
went into camp. The rebels did not attack again. The severe handling
they received at their nocturnal demonstration evidently satisfied
them. After the death of Colonel Woodbury, Lt. Col. Childs was
promoted to Colonel of the 4th regiment; Lt. Col. Duffield was
promoted to Colonel of 9th Michigan Infantry. After the Peninsular
campaign had ended, the 4th returned, with the army, and entered on
the "Pope Campaign." The regiment in command of Col. Childs was in the
engagement at Gainsville, Aug. 29, 1862; Bull Run, Aug. 30, and at
Antietam Sept. 17 following. At Shepardstown Ford, Sept. 20 with its
brigade, it forded the Potomac, in face of a battery, killed and drove
off the enemy, captured their guns. After the Maryland campaign, the
regiment returned to the Potomac, and was in battle of Fredericksburg,
Dec. 13th and 14th, 1862. Lt. Col. George W. Lumbard, commanded. Its
loss in these two days was 9 killed, 41 wounded, and one missing;
Lieut. James Clark was killed, Company B. Remember the 4th was always
identified with 2nd brigade, 1st division, 5th corps, and was in said
organizations until expiration of service. After battle of
Fredericksburg. Dec. 13, 14, the 4th returned to north bank
Rappahannock; on the 30th and 31st of December the regiment was
engaged in a reconnoisance to Morrisville, making a march of 33 miles
on the latter day. It was engaged in a movement on the 20th of
January, 1863, marching only a few miles; returned to camp near
Falmouth, where we remained until May 1st, sending out details,
building corduroy roads, bridges, and other preparations, clearing
the way for an advance to Chancellorsville. May 2d, it forded the
Rapidan River, without opposition. On the 3d it marched out to and
beyond Chancellorsville, proper, and formed the extreme left of the
army, 1st division, 5th corps. The division was cut off from the rest
of its corps, at this time. We maneuvered around, for a while. Finally
it was decided to try and support the brave Sedgwick, commanding 6th
corps, who was battling with the Johnnies at Fredericksburg. The
column was put in motion, left in front, 4th Michigan in the lead--the
writer's Company out as flankers. We soon heard the familiar Rebel
yell, in our front. It put a stop to the movement. We returned, sadder
but wiser, to our former position. It was then getting dark. The
Division was put in motion to the rear, towards the bluffy ground near
the Rappahannock River, where we were put in line of battle--our right
extending towards Chancellorsville, our left near the river. It was
high ground, and we considered it impregnable. The regiment, and in
fact, the whole line, threw up temporary breastworks. In this position
we passed the night of the 3d. Saturday, during the night, the 11th
corps had stampeded, at Chancellorsville, and took to the woods, in
rear, and could not be induced to return to the front. Sunday morning
the sun rose clear and hot.

We received orders to march to the vacated position that had been
occupied by the 11th corps. We double-quicked the entire distance,
over rough ground. The underbrush had been cleared away partially.
When we arrived in open space, where the fight was going on, we were
quickly formed in echelon, battle array by division front. The
Johnnies came out of the woods in our front with the apparent
determination to drive us back; but grape and canister, accompanied by
musketry, drove them back. They did not appear again that day. This
was May 4th. The enemy contented themselves with annoying us with
their sharpshooters, located in trees, in woods, in our front. Our
officers concluded to teach them better manners than to kill men in
this quiet and barbarous way. Accordingly, orders were given to deploy
the 4th Michigan as skirmishers, and clear the wood, which was done in
fine style, and at a double quick. I saw a rebel sharp shooter,
located in a tree some sixty feet from the ground, he had a telescope
rifle, and on his head an old plug hat. He was shot, and came tumbling
to the earth. He struck the ground straight out. He looked to be nine
feet long, in his descent to the ground.

The line swept on, driving all before it. We soon struck Rebel works,
composed of logs. In front was a ravine. As the Johnnys went up the
incline, and over the works, we landed in the ravine. This saved us,
as they could not fire to any advantage, while their men were ready to
break their necks to get out of our way. They fired a tremendous
volley over our heads; our bugle sounded the "recall," and then we
proceeded to "git"--"the Devil take the hindermost." Now, I was
considered a smart runner, but could not gain an inch on the man ahead
of me. On we went. We could hear the swish of cannister in our rear,
but on we went. The 9th Massachusetts was sent after us as a support.
It had halted half way and laid down. We passed over them in our
flight. The Rebels soon followed up, and when in range of the guns of
the 9th, they arose, and delivered their fire, which sent the
survivors flying to their works. Thus ended the most exciting race of
my life. I never shall forget it. It was amusing to. Colonel Welch, of
the 16th Michigan, felt slighted because his Regiment was not selected
for the job. I told him I was sorry, as I was willing he should have
all the honor that would accrue to me. I was not very proud of such

The army withdrew to the north bank of the Rappahannock. The 4th
Michigan, 14th New York, 9th Massachusetts, 62d Pennsylvania,
composing 2d Brigade, was rear guard to the United States Ford. The
army moved in the night, leaving picket line established. Many were
captured. After crossing the river, we encountered a sea of mud. The
army slashed around until it arrived at our old camp at Falmouth. The
4th was camped at Stoneman's Switch. We remained there until May 26th,
when it, the 4th, was ordered to Kelly's Ford, for guard duty, where
it remained until the 13th of June, 1863. Here a laughable thing
happened. The Johnnys were on one side of the river, and we occupied
the other, doing picket; a long, lankey Johnny sat on the bank of the
stream, poorly dressed, with his feet in the water; no firing at this
time, by mutual consent. One of our smart Alicks sung out to him, "I
say, Johnny Reb., why don't you wear better clothes?" His reply was
prompt, "We uns don't wear our best clothes when we go to kill hogs."
Our Alick subsided. This man was shot soon after. It was a cowardly
deed. The Regiment participated in the long and fatigueing march to
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On the way, at Aldie and Middleburg, it was
detained in support of cavalry.

We passed on and across the Potomac ferry, at Edwards. On the way we
saw plenty of evidence of the cavalry advance,--dead horses,
accoutrements belonging to cavalry outfit. We arrived at Hanover,
Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of July 1st. Rested and fed; then on to
Gettysburg. Marched all night--a beautiful moon-light night. As we
passed farm houses, the people came out with water and refreshments,
handed us as we passed along foot-sore and tired. An Aide-de-camp came
riding along, saying: "Boys, keep good courage, McClellan is in
command of the army, again." Instantly the space above was filled with
the hats and caps of the gratified soldiers. They shouted and
hollered, and kicked up their heels, and were frisky with the
supposed good news. I mention this to show with what veneration Little
Mac. was held by the Army of the Potomac. I knew this was untrue,
myself, but it served its purpose as intended. Many a brave heart went
down next day with that belief in his heart. On to Gettysburg. We
arrived in sight of line of battle being formed, at 9 A. M., July 2nd.
Lunched, and was then moved up near Round Top. Was halted again, and
awaited the coming struggle. It came.

The regiment was formed in line of battle, with the brigade, and was
moved nearer the battle going on in front of us, with other troops
engaged. The regiment stood under fire at least a half hour before it
became engaged, getting a large share of spent balls from the front.
Soon the general commanding Division, Brown, said: "Boys, I want you
to put in a few licks for Pennsylvania; the Buck-tails will go in on
your left. Forward." It was a relief to hear the order, "March." We
advanced into the maelstrom of Rebel bullets. By some oversight our
right was exposed, and we had to contend with three to one. We held
them until they made a fierce charge, charging our right and doubling
it to the rear of our left. We were taken at a great disadvantage. I
looked to our rear; our colors were there, and men rallying around
them. Our colonel, H. H. Jeffords, was there, in the thickest of the
struggle, calling on the boys to save the flag. They needed no urging;
they fought like demons. Our colonel was killed--shot and then
bayoneted. A brave man was killed by the hand of a traitor,--and many
others, too, who were simple privates, but heroes for all that; every
one of them who fell doing his duty, or imposed duty.

We had to fall back. The writer was here wounded, and the battle
surged beyond him. Soon the enemy came, tearing back in retreat. They
had struck the brave old 6th Army Corps, just arrived, and in time to
save the day. The Rebels went back flying, with the 6th Corps men
close after them. They had no time to scoop any of the wounded, as
they had all they could attend to in getting out themselves. It was
now dusk; the fierce struggle was over for the night. The struggle had
been simply terrible; the carnage was awful; the fire incessant.
Groans and oaths of the wounded were heard on every hand. Many would
have recovered, had they had care. But it was impossible to reach all.
The writer, with others, was loaded into an ambulance, at two o'clock
in the morning of July 3d, and taken to an old house to the north, and
east of the battle ground. Here were many wounded. Among those in the
house was a Rebel Colonel, shot through the breast. He sat in the only
chair in the house. He commanded a Louisiana Regiment, and was wounded
early in the fight. I saw him lying on the ground, after the fight had
surged by me. I think he died.

The 2d day of July, 1863, ended the writer's service in the field. The
3d day of July was ushered in with an ominous quiet. No sound of
cannon broke the stillness, until near ten o'clock, A. M., when
mutterings of the awful strife, inaugurated later, began to be heard.
Soon the din began. The voices of an hundred big mouthed guns began to
vomit forth its death dealing missiles. The Infantry now began to put
in its refrain; after a few spasmodic belchings, of the firing, the
tremendous concussion of all arms became general. About five miles of
line of battle could be seen from where us non-combatants lay. The
whole line was ablaze. Firing was incessant. Salvos after salvos, of
artillery belched forth. The air was full of flying missiles--death
everywhere. Thus the strife continued all day--an awful day, too, for
those who lay helpless in plain view. Charge after charge was made by
the determined enemy, but they were repulsed each and every time by
the boys in blue. The anxiety was terrible to those who could not
participate in the struggle. The very air seemed to be ablaze. The
suspense became painful later in the day. Such persistency seemed,
must be, rewarded with success.

Still the fight went on, and seemed to us an age of suspense. Many
wounded came from the front. Ten thousand questions were asked of
those who had been wounded, "how goes the battle?" Some would answer,
doubtful, others would say, "our side would win." It was curious to
note the countenances of those who heard the news, some with great
anxiety in their faces, others with confidence depicted in every
feature. Finally, the awful noise died away; news was brought by an
aide-de-camp "that the enemy had hauled off." These men who were dying
would raise themselves to a sitting posture, and utter one hurrah! Lay
down and die! The work of death ceased. The rebels retreated. Thus
ended the three days battle of Gettysburg. The 4th ranks were badly
depleted. So was the whole army. The sanitary commission was on hand,
and rendered great service, in the care of the wounded. One poor
fellow of our regiment, a Company D man, was shot in the head. He
would get on his knees, put his head on the ground, and twist his head
in the ground. He bored that way until death put an end to his
sufferings. Many died of their wounds, and were buried then and there.
The wounded were sent away as fast as possible. The writer, with
others, left for Baltimore, and remained a few days at that place, at
a Catholic Infirmary. We were treated with great kindness by the
Sisters of that benevolent institution. The ladies of Baltimore--God
bless them--they regaled us with all the luxuries of the season, I can
never forget their kindness.

The subsequent history of the regiment is taken from the official
sources, (Michigan in the War,) with some personal recollections.

The struggle in which the regiment was engaged at Gettysburg, may be
inferred from the following notice of the services of its corps, the
5th, as stated by Mr. Greeley, in his "American Conflict." Sickles' new
position was commanded by the Rebel Batteries, posted on Seminary
Ridge, in his front, scarcely half a mile distant. While magnificent
lines of battle, a mile and a half long, swept up to his front and
flanks, crushing him back with heavy loss, and struggling desperately
to seize Round Top, at his left. Meade regarded this hill as vital to
the maintenance of our position, and had already ordered Sykes to
advance the 5th corps, with all possible haste, to save and hold it.

A fierce and bloody struggle ensued, for the enemy had nearly carried
the hill before Sykes reached it. While Humphrey, who with one of
Sykes' Divisions, had been posted on Sickles' right, was in turn
assailed in front and flank, and driven back with a loss of 2,000 out
of 5,000 men.

After the death of Colonel Jeffords, Lt. Col. Lumbard assumed command
of the Regiment, pursuing the enemy from Gettysburg; the 4th marched
to Williamsport. On July 12th, the enemy having crossed the Potomac,
the Regiment proceeded to Berlin; thence on the 17th it marched to
Warrenton, by way of Mannassas Gap; then proceeded to Beverly Ford,
where it remained until Sept. 16th, thence to Culpepper, remaining
there until the 9th of October; again crossing the Rappahannock, it
encamped near Beverly Ford; recrossing on the following day, it
assisted in driving the enemy, who were advancing, back to Brandy
Station, the 4th acting as flankers, for the 5th corps. On the 12th
the Regiment recrossed the Rappahannock, and fell back with the army,
via Bealton, Warrenton Junction, and Centerville, to Fairfax Station,
where it remained until the 18th, when it marched forward to Three
Mile Station, near Warrenton Junction, and went into camp.

In Col. Lumbard's report, he says: "The Regiment has participated in
all the movements of the Army of the Potomac, and have not mentioned
the many reconnoisances, and the number of times the Regiment has been
on small skirmishes with the enemy. The Regiment has marched during
the year over 700 miles."

The 4th, in command of Colonel Lumbard, who had been commissioned as
Colonel, to rank from July 3rd, then in 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 5th
Corps. (Griffin's) advanced on the 7th of Nov., 1863, with Army of the
Potomac, from its camp near Three Mile Station, on the O. & A. R. R.
to the Rappahannock River, and the same day participated in the
engagement at Rappahannock Station. On the 3rd the Regiment was
ordered, with its Brigade, to keep open the communication from Bealton
to Kelly's Ford, and engaged in that duty until the 19th, when the
command rejoined its corps near Kelly's Ford. Breaking camp on the
26th, the command moved toward the Rapidan River, which it crossed at
Germania Ford. On the 28th, the Regiment moved to the right of the
position at Mine Run, but did not become engaged. On the night of the
30th, it fell back across the Rapidan. The 5th corps, being ordered on
guard duty along the Orange and Alexandria R. R., the Regiment arrived
at Bealton on the 1st of December, where it remained until the 30th of
April, 1864, when it broke camp and marched to Rappahannock Station.
On the 1st of May, the Regiment crossed the Rappahannock River, and
camped near Brandy Station, and thence on the 3rd, marched to
Culpepper. On the morning of the 4th it started from Culpepper to
participate in the Summer Campaign, crossing the Rapidan at Germania
Ford. On the 5th, 6th and 7th, the Regiment participated in the
Battles of the Wilderness. Col. Lumbard was mortally wounded on the
5th, and died on the 6th. In the same engagement, Capt. W. H.
Loveland, Company B, was wounded, and died of his wounds on the 31st
of same month. On the night of the 7th, the 4th, then commanded by Lt.
Col. J. W. Hall, moved toward Spottsylvania. Arrived at Laurel Hill
on the morning of the 8th, it here became engaged with the enemy, and
again on the 9th. On the 10th it assisted in a charge upon and capture
of the enemy's rifle pits, loosing 20 killed and wounded. On the 11th
and 12th the Regiment was in the advanced lines of the corps, and on
the 13th and 14th was engaged as skirmishers. On the evening of the
latter date the command moved to the left of the army, near
Spottsylvania Court House, and remained here until the 19th. It then
took part in the movement to North Anna River, which it crossed on the
24th, near Jericho Mills, the Regiment participating in the engagement
at this place. On the night of the 26th it recrossed the North Anna
and marched to Hanovertown, crossing the Pamunky River on the 28th. On
the 29th, 30th and 31st of May, and 1st of June, it was engaged as
skirmishers, and on the 3rd it participated in the capture of the
enemy's line of works near Bethesda church. In the engagement Lieut.
James N. Vesey, Company C, was killed. On the 5th, the Regiment
marched to Bottoms Bridge, and on the 14th crossed the James River, at
Wilcox's Landing, whence it proceeded to the lines in front of
Petersburg, where it arrived on the 16th. On the next day the Regiment
was engaged as skirmishers, and on the 19th took part in the
engagement of that date, loosing 8 killed and wounded. During the
engagements from Nov. 1st, 1863, to June 19th, 1864, the Regiment lost
3 officers and 37 men, killed or died of wounds, with 6 missing in
action. Although this loss seems small, yet it was about 15 per cent.
of its whole strength. The term of service for which the Regiment had
been mustered in expired June 19th, 1864. It was accordingly relieved,
and on the 20th it embarked on transports at City Point for

It arrived at Detroit on the 26th, and on the 30th of June the
companies were mustered out of service. Of those on the rolls, the
terms of 200 men and 23 officers had expired. Of these, 32 men and 1
officer were prisoners, in the hands of the enemy; 135 men and 22
officers were present for muster out, since the 1st of Nov., 1863. The
Regiment had received 110 recruits, including a new company, organized
at Hillsdale, Michigan, which joined the Regiment on the 16th of May,
and which remained in service with the Reorganized Regiment, 129 men
of the Regiment re-enlisted as volunteers, and on the 30th of June,
there were 280 men and 3 officers on the rolls, whose terms of office
had not expired. These were ordered to duty with the First Michigan
Infantry, when the 4th left the field of war. The total membership of
the 4th Regiment had been, during its service, 1,325, while its losses
were 273, of which 8 officers and 115 men were killed in action; 4
officers, 50 men, died of wounds; one officer and 95 men of disease.

    Their brows bear many a gory stain,
    Their white lips press not ours again,
    And eyes that once our life light were,
    Give back a cold, appalling stare.



[Illustration: {The exploding barrel.}]

In winter of 1861-2, at Camp Minor's Hill, Virginia, Company B had a
man who was an inveterate forager, in fact, he was peculiarly adapted
to that branch of service. He would be absent a week at a time. When
he showed up in camp, he was put on extra duty, or punished in some
form. At one time he was to stand on a barrel two hours. Some of the
boys dug a hole, and placed about a peck of blank cartridges in the
same; dug a trench to a tent ten feet away and laid a train of powder;
put the barrel over the hole. Soon the culprit was brought, and caused
to mount the barrel. Soon that barrel took a flying leap heavenward
ten feet in the air. The man, with arms and legs extended, and with a
look I never shall forget. When he struck the earth, he said, with a
grim sense of humor, "Well boys, you came damned near translating
me--making a second prophet of me; I am inclined to think the route
you would have caused me to take, would be poor foraging."

On one of his migratorial expeditions, he met with the last enemy to
be conquered--Death. He was fairly educated, and a man of good sense.
He would not learn drill or to handle a musket. He would have made a
proficient spy. I have thought sometimes he was employed in that
capacity, unknown to the Regiment, for he would leave camp as soon as
he was relieved. The barrel episode was the most severe punishment he
ever received, at our hands. It was my province to look after the
Company, and absent ones. I rarely reported him absent. I enjoyed many
a toothsome viand, the result of his foraging. He had at one time ten
thousand dollars, in Erie and Kalamazoo money, and he assured me got
rid of it all.


When the Regiment went into camp for the winter, 1861, the boys built
quarters of logs, with canvas tops; Company B built what they called a
Hermitage, of timber, mud and canvas. Its capacity was for about
twenty of the men. A chimney was constructed of sticks and mud for a
base, topped out with barrels. One night, we, of the shoulder straps
and high chevrons, got an invite to a barbacue at the Hermitage. As we
filed in a huge fire, with half a yearling steer hanging over the fire
place, met our view. It hung directly in the blaze; the boys were
occasionally throwing water on the meat to baste it. As fast as the
outside was cooked, it was sliced off and passed around. Whiskey was
plenty, and copiously used, to wash down the banquet. Songs and
speeches were in order. By the way, Company B had plenty of
talent--doctors, lawyers, preachers and gentlemen; a good time all
around. Finally some one of the party, who had not the fear of his
Creator, or shoulder straps in his heart, blew up the chimney barrels,
and all went up in smoke.

[Illustration: {The exploding chimney barrels.}]


The writer of this was Orderly Sergeant of Company B a part of 1861-2.
And certain characters of the Company considered it legal to plunder
this much abused official's pipes, tobacco, and even whiskey was
deemed free, whenever or wherever found. The writer suffered many a
loss in this line. One especially, who bored him unceasingly for a
chance to smoke a very large pipe, holding a quarter pound of tobacco.
I will call him "Croxton," "Jack," for short. One morning I sat in my
tent making morning report. I had filled this big pipe, and laid it on
the desk in front of me, expecting "Jack" to call for a smoke. He came
in due time, and asked if he might smoke my big pipe? I told him I had
just filled it for my own use. Well, he said, I was busy then, and
could smoke after he got through. He always had a story to tell me. He
sat with his legs hanging inside the doorway, (the shanty was built of
logs). I passed him the pipe; he commenced smoking, and telling me a
yarn. Soon the pipe exploded, his heels went up, and he over
backwards. He arose and said, "you think you are damned smart." He
asked for no more smoke.

[Illustration: {The exploding pipe.}]


One day a blizzard came along, and devastated things generally. Among
the calamities was the destruction of our sutlers' shebang. It was in
panels, built of thin boards. It was scuttled very promiscuous, and
his stock of goods were distributed to all points. The boys were
watching with pleased expressions on their countenances. They could
stand the temptation no longer, and they went to gathering the spoils
in. The sutler howled and ordered them off. They paid no attention. He
said he would see about it, and started to see the Colonel. While he
was gone, everything in sight was gobbled, and he could not find hide
nor hair of any article. I found two boxes cigars, some figs, a jack
knife, and a few other articles, thrust under my tent. I did not
hesitate to appropriate, notwithstanding my religious proclivities. It
was a clean sweep--a dead loss--to the old boodler. He got my first
pay, more than half, and old sledge got the balance. He soon had
another invoice of goods, and proceeded to lay up an account against
the boys.

[Illustration: {The sutler tries to keep the men away.}]


[Illustration: {A guest is thrown out of the tent.}]

Be it understood, that the calibre of the commission, or officers of
the 4th Michigan, was of a high order, for courage and undisputed
ability, as the roster in appendix of this narration shows. On a
certain occasion, Captain O. was holding a levee at his quarters. All
went well. Punch and other refreshments were freely indulged in.
Hilarity ran high. Captain O. attempted to make a short speech. His
muddled condition caused a remark from another befuddled officer, that
did not please the choleric Captain. He threw open the flaps to the
entrance of the tent; divested himself of some of his uniform, and
proceeded with the attempt to throw his guests out. But the doughty
Captain struck a bigger job than he could handle. The result was, the
Captain was picked up and deposited ten rods away in a ditch that had
been dug around a tent. This same brilliant officer afterwards
commanded a Regiment. He sent them into their first battle without
ammunition. But the courage of the promoted Captain was undoubted.


Fooling with supposed empty shells, is sometimes disastrous. The
Banner Company of the Regiment were much given to old sledge and
poker, and often plied their avocation into the wee small hours of
night, contrary to express orders--lights out after taps. But these
injunctions were not always heeded, as the sequel will show. Some of
the boys had found a shell not exploded. They, as supposed, dug out
all the powder, and on the occasion of a night's occupation of their
favorite pastime, used the shell as a candlestick. They inserted their
short piece in the fuse hole, and proceeded with the game. The candle
burned low; the lighted wick dropped into the shell; a tremendous
explosion was the result. It totally demolished the tent, and nearly
severed the flag-staff near by--so much so it fell over. But, strange
to relate, nobody was hurt. They supposed they had got all the powder
out. Moral--do not play cards after taps, nor use a shell for a
candlestick, unless you are positive it is not loaded.


[Illustration: {A soldier in a tree taunts the enemy across the river.}]

In the spring of 1863, just before the Gettysburg campaign, the 4th
Michigan was doing guard duty on the Rappahannock river, at Kelly's
Ford, Virginia. The writer's company was detached for picket duty. We
were stationed at Mountain Run Ford, down the river from Kelly's Ford,
some three miles. The river at this place was shallow. We guarded
against cavalry, had to be constantly on the alert. We also patrolled
the river some three miles down. At the end of our patrol route, lived
an old Rebel cuss. He was bitter in his denunciation of the Yankees.
His name was Atkinson,--a cousin to the Atkinson of Bleeding Kansas
fame. At his house we met another patrol from lower down, and compared
notes. We had to watch the old reprobate closely; also had to keep an
eye on his domestics. The first patrol was conducted by the writer,
and was quite early in the morning. We followed the bank of the river
about a half mile from our reserve. Standing close on the bank of the
stream stood a large persimmon tree, well loaded with the luscious
fruit. The bank sloped sudden and abrupt from the river. The patrol
passed on, and I mounted the tree, crawled out on a big limb, settled
myself to scraping in the fruit; I did not even taste the berries, but
dumped them into my haversack. The patrol passed on out of my range.
Soon a gentle sound was wafted to my ears from across the river. There
was no mistaking the ominous sound and its purport. It said, "Yank!
come over." I gazed over the water. There, in plain view, was ten or a
dozen rebel cavalrymen, with their carbines pointed at me, and a
laughing. They repeated, "Yank, come over." I could see nothing to
laugh at, and told them so. They insisted that I should come to them.
I told them, "I could not swim, and the water was too deep to wade."
Well, "that did not make any difference. You must come anyhow." I
said, well, here goes for a try. I slid to the ground. As I struck the
earth, one of them fired. The ball went high over my head. I suspect
he shot high on purpose to remind me of my obligation.

I waited for no more invitations, but threw myself flat on the ground,
and with one tremendous wriggle, slid out of range. This brought a
volley from the Rebels. The firing brought my patrol back, double
quick. The Rebels skedaddled as fast as their horses could bear them
away. The boys were terribly in earnest, but when they knew the
situation, they had a big laugh at my expense. The racket also brought
our reserve, with a battle in their mind. After learning the cause,
the reserve returned, and we, the patrol, went our rounds. The old man
Atkinson was the bitterest old devil or Rebel it was my fortune to
meet in all my stay in Dixie; and he did not disguise his sentiments.
I will say those persimmons were not ripe; their looks were deceiving.
I advise all who hanker after persimmons, to wait until they are
thoroughly ripe; for unless they are matured, they will pucker up any
vacuum that they put their grip upon; but they are delicious when


While the regiment lay at Kelly's Ford, before the Gettysburg
campaign, we were paid off. Being in arrear of pay, we received quite
a boodle of money. The communication between our army and Washington,
by way of Aquia Creek, was temporary and somewhat uncertain. Trains of
forage, and ambulances, were sent through attended by a heavy guard.
After getting paid, the men were desirous of sending their surplus
money home. It would go by Adams' Express, from Aquia. Our chaplain,
(Seage,) a brave, good man, volunteered to carry it to Aquia Creek. An
ambulance train was going to make the trip, heavily guarded; the
chaplain was to accompany it. The train left very early in the morning
without the chaplain. But, nothing daunted, he followed on, expecting
soon to overtake it. About four miles out he had to cross a swale with
corduroy road. Just across was timber; and on approaching the timber,
he saw two men step from behind trees, and at the same time ordered
him to approach. He wheeled his horse, and in turning around one of
the would-be robbers fired on him, hitting him in one wrist. This did
not stop him. They yelled to him to halt, and at the same time fired
again, hitting him in the shoulder. But the knowing mare carried her
brave rider to the rear, and out of danger. He threw himself on his
faithful horse's neck, and clung there until the faithful animal
galloped into camp, weak with loss of blood, but with a brave heart
still palpitating. A detail of cavalry was immediately sent out, but
with no result. Our brave chaplain was kindly cared for, and
eventually recovered, but badly crippled. He risked his life to save
the boys' money. Our money was returned to us, and we had to carry it
through the Gettysburg fight. My share of money sent was four hundred
dollars. I had it in my pocket when I was wounded, after, at
Gettysburg. I was a prisoner for a few minutes, but the noble Sixth
Army Corps made it such a necessity to the Johnnies to git, they had
no time to scoop us in. Brave old corps, I remember you with


After the battle of Malvern Hill, our column moved on to Harrison
Landing. We arrived there after daylight, in the morning. Made coffee,
and rested a little. The Rebels followed up in small force, and
commenced shelling us. We were moved out and formed in line of battle.
In front of us was timber; in our rear was mud, and plenty of it, of a
slushy nature. The Rebel guns threw railroad iron at us. They fired
high. The missiles went to our rear. As these pieces of iron struck
the mud, caused the slush to mount high in air, and in sheets. A New
York regiment had just arrived by boat, (a new regiment.) They were
moved to our front. I noticed the officers had hand satchels, and had
paper collars around their necks. Our fellows cried, "Soft bread,"
"Fresh fish," and other appellations. The poor devils passed on into
the woods, but the Rebels were in full retreat. Hooker had gone out
with a brigade, and took them in flank. From here a detail from our
regiment was sent to our State to recruit, to help fill the depleted
ranks. The writer was one of this number.

We boarded a mail boat that plied between the landing and Fort Monroe,
and with an escort, a turtle gun boat, started down the James, for
Fort Monroe. On our way down, our boat was the target for Rebel guns
along the bank of the river. The pilot house was sheeted over with
iron, and when the musket balls came in contact with the iron, it
caused a terrible racket. At one place, a bend in the river, they had
thrown up a redoubt, and had two pieces of cannon ranged on the river.
But our little turtle wiggled up, (gun boat,) and hurled a few shells
at them; causing them to limber up and skedaddle very sudden. We
arrived all right at the Fort, took steamer for Baltimore, and to
God's country. Recruiting was slow, for the old regiment men feared to
enlist for it, as they would be pushed immediately to the front. I
would prefer an old organization, as I would get the benefit of their
experience. Whereas a new regiment, if pushed to the front, would
labor under a great disadvantage.


A short time before first Bull Run fight, the 4th Michigan, with other
regiments, were in camp at Cloud's Mills, Virginia, about 5 miles out
from Alexandria, towards Fairfax Court House. Our pickets were well
extended out, in above named direction. One day the writer, with about
20 of the Regiment were out towards Fairfax. We seen a small column of
cavalry approaching with a flag of truce hoisted. As they drew near,
it proved to be an escort of the famous Black Horse Cavalry. We were
ranged all along the road as they passed. They were conducting a man
and woman to our lines. On their return, we encountered them again. I
noticed the contrast between those Rebel troopers, their sullen and
vindictive appearance, and compared them to the cheerful and wideawake
countenance of our men. They passed on towards Fairfax. We felt we
could have cleaned them out in fifteen minutes. There was nothing
about the Black Horse Cavalry, that was very terrifying. I saw better
men and horses every day, of our brave troopers.


While the army was stationed along Arlington, from Chain Bridge,
Potomac, to Alexandria, Virginia, the 4th Michigan occupied the ground
in and about Fort Woodbury, on Arlington. Our picket line was extended
out to, or near Minor's Hill, which we occupied, later on, in winter
quarters, 1861-2. At one time, while our Regiment was doing guard
duty, at above named place, picket firing was in order, with but
little damage to either side, but very annoying. One morning, about
day break, our doughty and valorous Captain George Spalding, formed
about 20 of Company B, and started out to see what could be developed
in our front. (By the way, our Captain Spalding was a brave man, a
little reckless, but all wool and a yard wide.) We marched out in
Indian file, the Captain leading. The writer being 1st Sergeant, was
next. After going a half mile, and near the road running down the
hill, east, and towards our approach, we saw at our right a picket
stationed in a rail pile, put up in Chevron form. He fired his gun,
and then took to his heels. Right at the end of the road, where it
comes down the hill, the road turned abruptly to the south. Right in
this angle the Rebel reserve picket lay. This was also their videt
post. About 20 of the Johnnies lay in this elbow, and apparently
asleep, for we were within 20 feet of them before they discovered us.
The shot of the picket on our approach woke them up. They were taken
completely by surprise. They were a good deal excited, (also
ourselves,) and broke for their rear. We fired a volley, with some
effect. One burley Rebel, ran about ten rods, suddenly halted, turned
around, brought his gun to shoulder, and fired. I think the shot was
intended for our Captain, but missed him, and I being directly behind
him, or a little to his left, the ball just grazed my right ear.
Before this Rebel could face to the rear, a shot from the gun of one
Fisher, laid him low. Fisher jumped the fence and obtained his
knapsack. The racket stirred up a nest of Rebels, over the hill. Soon
we saw guns dance above the brow of the hill, as the Johnnies
double-quicked up the slope, on the other side of the hill; they
arrived in plain view, battalion front, a whole Regiment of them. Then
we were admonished to git--and we did. They fired after us, but
without effect. Right here was done some tall skedaddling, through
brush, over logs and rough ground. This encroachment on their
premises, made the Johnnies mad; they kept up a continual fusillade
during the day.

Later on, after going into camp, at Minor's Hill, the Rebels tried to
locate a battery about two miles to the west of our camp, and in plain
view, a valley between. Two guns of a battery near our head quarters
were unlimbered, and proceeded to sling shell over among them. Our
fellows greeted them so lively, that the Johnnies were fain to limber
up and steal away.

NOTE--The events narrated in these Reminiscences, are not in
chronological order, but are facts all the same, as can be verified,
and attested by others belonging to the Regiment.


Comrades, I cannot close this imperfect recital, without saying a few
words to you all. I am aware of my inability to do justice to the
subject. I have omitted many incidents that happened while in service
together. I can see you all as you used to appear on the march, in
battle, and in the quiet camp. Your pranks and repartee are fresh in
my memory. 45 of the numbers that made up the roster of Company B,
were from our sister state, Indiana, and all comrades were true as
steel. You all need to be proud of your record, and the part the
glorious old 4th took in suppressing treason. A quarter of a century
from now will close the roster for nearly all of us; a much shorter
time for myself. Comrades, overlook what you may have seen amiss in
me. We are all finite, none perfect. You were a splendid class of men,
and none braver. Your record will be handed down to your posterity,
and they will point back to your probation here with pride. "My
forefathers helped to throttle treason."

                                           GOOD-BY COMRADES.

Transcriber's Note

Page 20 contains "It was amusing to." This may be missing 'me' from
the end of the sentence, or 'to' should have been 'too'. As it is
impossible to be certain, it is preserved as printed.

Page 21 contains reference to a sea of mud, followed by "The army
slashed around...." Slashed may be a typographic error for splashed,
or the author may have intentionally used slashed to indicate
hard-going on swampy ground. As it is impossible to be certain, it is
preserved as printed.

Variable spelling is preserved as printed when there is a single
instance of the word, e.g. Gainsville, canister and cannister,
fatigueing, Mannassas, barbacue, underbush and underbrush. Variation
in spelling of proper nouns where there is more than one instance has
been made consistent, as follows:

    Page 10--Miner's amended to Minor's--"With the advance of
    the army from Minor's Hill, ..."

    Page 19--Chancellorville amended to Chancellorsville--"...
    it marched out to and beyond Chancellorsville, ..."

    Page 21--Kelley's amended to Kelly's--"... the 4th, was
    ordered to Kelly's Ford, ..."

    Page 21--Johnney amended to Johnny--"... Johnny Reb., why
    don't you wear ..."

    Page 25--Beverley amended to Beverly--"... it encamped near
    Beverly Ford, ..."

    Page 25--Rappanhannock amended to Rappahannock--"On the 12th
    the Regiment recrossed the Rappahannock, ..."

Seconds and thirds may be written as 2d or 2nd, and 3d or 3rd

Minor punctuation errors have been repaired.

Hyphenation and capitalisation has been made consistent.

The following typographic errors have been fixed:

    Page 6--unusal amended to unusual--"About the same time, I
    felt an unusual sensation ..."

    Page 7--civillians amended to civilians--"The rush of
    soldiers, congressmen, and other civilians, ..."

    Page 12--come amended to came--"... when zip, pinge, came
    the warning to get out."

    Page 14--Lousiana amended to Louisiana--"The 4th Michigan
    about used up the Louisiana Tigers."

    Page 15--Masschusetts amended to Massachusetts--"The 9th
    Massachusetts, one of our brigade, ..."

    Page 15--Rebesl amended to Rebels--"... that the Rebels
    attacked with great fury."

    Page 15--mischievious amended to mischievous--"Some
    mischievous fellow in the rear ..."

    Page 16--splended amended to splendid--"... after Mac., who
    was a splendid rider ..."

    Page 19--manouvered amended to maneuvered--"We maneuvered
    around, for a while."

    Page 19--come amended to came--"The Johnnies came out of
    the woods in our front ..."

    Page 21--beautifull amended to beautiful--"... a beautiful
    moon-light night."

    Page 23--srife amended to strife--"... when mutterings of
    the awful strife, ..."

    Page 24--aid-de-camp amended to aide-de-camp--"... news was
    brought by an aide-de-camp ..."

    Page 26--Irvland amended to Loveland (name confirmed against
    official records)--"In the same engagement, Capt. W. H.
    Loveland, ..."

    Page 35--choloric amended to choleric--"... that did not
    please the choleric Captain."

    Page 37--rout amended to route--"At the end of our patrol
    route, lived an old Rebel cuss."

    Page 39--desirious amended to desirous--"... the men were
    desirous of sending their surplus money home."

    Page 40--arrivied amended to arrived--"We arrived there
    after daylight, ..."

    Page 41--CAVALARY amended to CAVALRY--"A LITTLE "BLACK
    HORSE" CAVALRY, ..."

    Page 43--stired amended to stirred--"The racket stirred up a
    nest of Rebels, ..."

Illustrations have been moved where necessary so they are not in the
middle of a paragraph. Captions in {brackets} have been added by the
transcriber for the convenience of the reader.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Reminiscences, Incidents, Battles, Marches and Camp Life of the Old 4th Michigan Infantry in War of Rebellion, 1861 to 1864" ***

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