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I WAS born in England, April 8, 1835. I enlisted in (Capt. Motts) Company B, 1st Michigan Lancers, August 5, 1861, and mustered out of the service with regiment March 21, 1862. Re-enlisted as a corporal in Company H (Capt. Purdy), 5th Michigan Cavalry, August 18, 1862, at Milford, Mich. At the battle of Trevillian Station, Va., June 11, 1864, was taken prisoner with eighteen of my company. Was taken to Richmond, Va., first to the Pemberton building—there stripped and searched for money, then to Libby prison, and from there to Andersonville. Our sufferings on the cars for the want of food and water were great. Left Andersonville for Millen October 31st, and afterwards sent to Savannah, Blackshear, and Thomasville. On the 20th of December, 1864, we were started on foot for Albany—a killing march on the frozen ground, barefooted and nearly naked—and on December 25 were again placed in Andersonville where we remained until March 25, 1865.

We afterwards crossed the Black river to the neutral ground in rear of Vicksburg, Miss., on the 1st of April, having taken an oath at Jackson, Miss., not to leave until duly exchanged (do not know whether I was exchanged or not). I left there for home April 25th on the steamer "Sultana." I was suffering with diarrhea and scurvy, and a short time before the explosion was to the rear of the boat. The men lay so thick that I could not see any of the deck. All was peace and no sign of disaster. I spoke to the engineer of how nicely we were going and then returned to my place on the deck, which was about twelve or fifteen feet forward of the boilers next to the guard or railing of the boat. Being chilly I wrapped my blanket around me, thereby saving myself from the scalding water when the boiler exploded. Wm. Brown of my company lay next to me and was lost. Also one of Company M of the 5th regiment who was next to him. All of those around me were scalded.

I remained on the boat until the fire drove the most of us off of the bow of the boat into the water. I threw a barrel into the river, but some one got it. Men were thick in the river. I jumped as far as I could, but someone caught hold of my feet and I kicked him off, I was very weak, but an expert swimmer. I secured a small piece of board about four inches by three feet which someone threw into the river. I had taken off all my clothes except my drawers and vest; in the latter was a diary and pictures of my wife and girls; these I saved. I did not try to swim, but floated about four miles, heading for the bank of the river. Getting into a clump of four or five small cottonwood trees I managed to get most of them bent down and stood on them up to my waist in the water. Once in awhile, losing my hold, I would get a ducking. I was on the Arkansas side of the river and the land was so overflown there was no getting to hard ground. I was rescued by the gunboat, "Pocahontas," at 9 A. M., and was so used up that I had to be lifted into the yawl by the sailors. Some ladies were on the gunboat who gave us shirts and drawers. It looked at the landing, at Memphis, as though all the vehicles in town were there to take us to the hospitals, etc. I was taken to the Washington Hospital, and after getting some new clothes was sent to "Camp Chase," Ohio, and from there I received a furlough (by order of the Secretary of War), and went home. I was mustered out of the service, July 5, 1865, at Detroit, Mich.

Since that time I have resided at Milford, Oakland county, Mich., and am completely broken-down, so that I have to live on my pension. I was a sash and door maker in factories.

Full List of Michigan Men  |  Reminiscences Of Survivors

(Reminiscences also linked in Full List of Men)

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Civil War Files On This Site

Michigan Civil War Files | 1883 Michigan Pensioners | 1894 Civil War Veteran Michigan Census
African Americans Who Served From Michigan | 1st Michigan Sharp Shooters Co. K | Loss of the Sultana
Honor Roll Interments in Michigan