Detroit Free Press Favorite


I WAS born in McCane county, Pa., September 9, 1843. When I was about two years of age my parents moved to Ottawa county, Ohio, from there to Williams county, Ohio, and in 1854 I, with my parents, moved to Wright township, in Hillsdale county, Mich., where I lived at the breaking out of the rebellion. I enlisted in the service of the United States on the 26th of July, 1862, in Company F, 18th Michigan Infantry, for three years or during the war unless sooner discharged. I left the State September 4, for Cincinnati, Ohio, where we took up our line of march through Kentucky. Reaching Lexington I spent most of the winter in the hospital and convalescent camp, and about the first of April, 1863, left the State with my regiment for Nashville, Tenn., where I remained about fourteen months. I then left for Decatur, Ala., and was one of the detail that routed the rebels at Pond Spring on the 29th of June, 1864, capturing nine wagons and two ambulances that the rebels had taken from an Indiana regiment some time before this, and also one of their wagons and two of their ambulances. Was also one of the detail that helped to rout the rebels at Courtland, Ala., on the 27th of July, 1864, losing only one man from my company.

On the 24th of September I was in the detachment ordered to reinforce the fort at Athens, Ala. When we got within a mile of the place we were attacked by an overwhelming force of rebels at about six o'clock in the morning and we had to fight our way until twelve o'clock. As we neared the fort that we were to re-inforce we received grape, canister, and shell from the fort, its commander having surrendered it, and our little band with it, without our knowledge, but our small force (four hundred), fought the rebel Gen. Forrest's force six long hours before surrendering, when we were completely surrounded and were finally compelled to give in.

We afterwards took up our line of march for that miserable prison, Cahaba, Ala., at which place we arrived October 6, 1864, and remained there until the 4th of March, 1865. When I left the prison the water was from six inches to four and one-half feet deep all over the entire enclosure, had been so for seven days, and had been six inches deeper. I slept two nights on a sixteen inch wall which was fifteen feet above the water, and some of the boys did their cooking among the braces of the roof. On the date before stated (March 4), I got aboard a steamer and steamed down the Alabama river, up the Tombigbee river as far as navigable, and then by rail to Meridian. From thence we were sent to Jackson, Miss., and from there we marched to Vicksburg, where we went into parole camp March 16, 1865.

On the 25th of April, 1865, was placed on board the steamer "Sultana," which was to carry us homeward to friends and loved ones; but alas, hundreds passed on to the "City of Death" to await mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and lovers, whom they had expected to meet in a few days, but were destined to pass over the river whence no parting ever comes. We reached Memphis on the 26th of April, and while unloading sugar there the staging parted, one-half turning over catching my right foot and leg to the knee, and bruising my foot badly. It soon swelled as full as the skin could hold and pained me badly. When the explosion took place at two o'clock A. M., April 27, I could not bear any weight on my foot, but was compelled to leave the boat, being forced off by the flames. I picked up a 4x4 scantling, which some one had discarded, and went to the rear part of the boat, jumped off into the river and sank for a moment in that chilling ice-cold water.

On coming to the surface again I struck out in the same direction that most of the others did, but thinking I had not acted wisely I turned around to go in the opposite direction when some one caught hold of my frail bark. Not feeling like parting company with my little craft so soon I clutched it with all my might and eventually succeeded in releasing it. I then struck out in the direction of some trees, reaching the little cottonwoods just at daylight. The little trees were so frail, however, and the water so deep, that my little craft with what trees I could get hold of would not keep me out of the water, and I was compelled to remain here until about eleven o'clock in the morning of April 27th, when I was picked up by the steamer "Silver Spray" and taken to the hospital at Memphis, Tenn. I remained in the hospital until about the middle of May when I was sent to the Soldiers' Home where I was discharged the service and reached my home on the 19th of May, 1865.

My occupation is farming.

Full List of Michigan Men  |  Reminiscences Of Survivors

(Reminiscences also linked in Full List of Men)

Sources For Your Research


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