User Tools

Site Tools


Back to 1st Michigan Infantry

Primary Sources for the 1st Michigan Infantry

Diary of a Union Soldier,

1861 Oct 4th Annapolis, Maryland

Started at 8 1/2 A. M. Passed Harker's Brigade at 9 A.M. didn't see anyone I knew. At 9 1/2 we passed a train of horses and mules 40 or 50 cars. Stopped for wood and water at Bellsville. 3 companies of Michigan 1st stationed along on the RailRoad as guards. Saw what we supposed were slaves gathering tobaco…


Letter from David Stanway to Alice Alcott

Beltsville, Md,
December 5th 1861

To Miss A. Alcott

Dear Friend

It affords me much pleasure to learn that my small and rough Sketches are acceptable to yourself and my little pet “Floy.”

Forgive me for not writing a few lines sooner. The only excuse I have to offer is that since we have been on Detached Service I have scarcely had time for anything,

I went to Baltimore this morning, It is a beautiful city and there are quite a number of beautiful buildings.

Thinking that a view of some of them might be interesting ale procured what they call the Rose of Baltimore being views of all, or at least the greater part of the principal buildings in Baltimore.

I hope this will find you enjoying good health.

We were quite sorry when we heard you had been suffering from sickness.

We are all in very good health.

The Captain sits writing on one side the table and I on the other. But I must conclude.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when they arrive.

I Remain,

Yours Truly

D, Stanway

To Little Floy

Dear Little Floy

I looked all through Baltimore to find some little article that I might send in a letter for a Christmas gift but I could, not find any so I will send you a little Bright gold and Ma-Ma will buy you somethings for old Santa Clause when he comes. Next time Ma-Ma sends a letter to Pa-Pa you must write me a few lines and I will write to you again.

Good night little Pet and God Bless. Your Pa-Pa and I often talk about you.

Alcott, Russell and Stanway, David, Company A, 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Letters, April 1, 1860 to April 6, 1864
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Michigan Argus, December 6, 1861

CORRECTION. - A letter in the State News, of Tuesday, under date of First Michigan Infantry, Camp Michigan, Annapolis Junction, Nov. 24.“ notices the arrival of ninety-one men, officers and private, of Capt. G. P. SANFORD'S Company, and says that they are to be distributed among the other companies which “creates much dissatisfaction, causing threats of returning home, etc.” Capt. S. informs us that a letter of a much later date from his First Lieutenant, assures him that the matter has been satisfactorily arranged, that Co. C, which had no Captain, has been distributed, and that his Company has been designated Company C. Capt. S. left for Washington yesterday.

Capt. SANFORD informs us that Lieut. PEAVY of his Company died suddenly on Friday last. Lieut. P. has been two years in the University, and has many friends in our City.


Letter of Abner Van Dyke to the Editor of the Statesman

Headquarters 1st Mich. Infantry,
Annapolis Junction, Md.,
Dec. 6, 1861.

Editior Statesman — Dear Sir,
Although I nothing very interesting to enumirunicate at this time, yet, to obviate the necessity of writing to numerous friends, who are anxious to learn our whereabouts, what we are doing, &c., I have thought it best to drop you a line.

Our regiment is now encamped at Annapolis Junction, Md., and our camp has been very properly christened “Camp Michigan”. We are beginning to feel almost at home here, and although our drill and guard duties are somewhat tiresome , the most at of the boys are pretty well contented, and a good degree of health prevails among them.

A few days since we were saddened by the sudden death of Lieut. Peavey, who had but just joined our Regiment. His fellow officers are now wearing the usual badges of mourning as a tender tribute to his memory. Lieut. Comstock accompanied his dead body back to his home, which he so lately left with high and manly resolves. But now, alas! his career on earth is closed, and that home is o'ershadowed with woo! Peace to his memory, and may bright angels bear his spirit to realm of bliss!

Today we buried with military honors a private in Co. D. one of the recruits from Detroit, who died of Typhoid fever, after a short illness. The funeral services were well conducted, and a nice coffin furnished, even though to a private soldier. Our good old flag was folded over the dead, and as I gazed up in its silken folds sadly drooping down and fluttering in the silent breeze, I almost wished that it might be my lot thus to die, and thus to be buried. In the silent forest we laid our comrade down to rest, and after firing a salute over his lonely grave, returned to camp to mingle in our usual duties.

I am forced from lack of time to give you a very brief letter, but I hope the little I have written may be acceptable to you and your numerous readers who are so anxious to hear from their friends in the army.

Truly Yours,

Abner Van Dyke

And the generations yet unborn, will bless the heroes name: letters and poetry of Abner Van Dyke, 1st Michigan Infantry, 25th Michigan Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops

Letter from David Stanway to Alice Alcott

Head Quarters Co “A”
Beltsville Md.
December 22nd/61

Dear Friend Alice,

The Captain has just finished writing home and I make bold to inclose a few lines to you and little Floy, Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

We have all had invitations to take breakfast on Christmas Morning with one of the citizens of Beltsville (a Mr. Simms) and I rather think there will be but few who will take advantage of the invitation. I wish you could have seen our company this morning when they fell in for inspection, They all received their New Dress Coats yesterday and the company looked splendid this morning.

I went to Washington yesterday, I went to the Smithsonian institute and the Patent Office, The Institute is a Splendid Building built in the Italian Style of Architecture and contains curiosities from almost every country in the world, I will send you a picture of it in the next if I can get one. The Patent Office is a very large Building built in the Grecian style of Architecture and contains Patents of every description, from a pistol to a plough and from a Can to a Coffin. I did not see all the things in the office for I had not time. It would take three days to look at all articles, the Principal objects of interest were the sword coat and pants, of Washington and the coat of General Jackson.

I hope you have quite recovered from your late, sickness. We felt quite sorry when we heard of it.

I Cannot write more at this tame as I am on guard tonight.

But Believe Me
Yours Respectfully,
D. Stanway

To Miss
Alice Alcott

On the 4th page:
Dear Little Floy,

You would scarcely know PaPa now if you saw him with his new hat on with two black plumes.

We all love Floy's PaPa very much but perhaps not as much as Floy.

Won't Floy write me a letter and send it to me next time MaMa writes to PaPa.

Good night Little Floy. I love you almost as much as though I had seen you. Love MaMa and PaPa. Be kind to your school mates and write soon to your

Loving Friend
D, Stanway

Alcott, Russell and Stanway, David, Company A, 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Letters, April 1, 1860 to April 6, 1864
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Abner Van Dyke to the Editor of the Statesman

Camp Michigan,
Annapolis Junction, Maryland,
Dec. 25th, 1861.

Mr. Editor:

After several unsuccessful attempts. I at length succeeded in obtaining a pass to visit Washington, and left camp at 5 'o'clock A.M., Dec., 16th. It had long been a day dream of mine to visit the Federal City and move around among er public buildings so full of historic interest. But little did I think one year ago, as sat in my western home reading some favorite speech in Congress, that that wish of mine would so soon be granted—but such are the fortunes of war. I stepped from the cars just as the first rays of the morning sun were gilding the lofty dome of the Capitol, and passed in front of that stupenduous structure — when finished it will be an ornament to our nation and a it temple for those master-minds who meet and mingle there. As the hour was too early to visit the public buildings, walked leasurely along from one street to another, and at length stopped at a barber shop to be relieved of an uncommon growth of nature's covering. The dextrous little man, of shears and razor, gave me what we soldiers term a fighting clip,” and after washing and brushing up I fancied I looked well enough to visit Uncle Abe or anybody else. (I must here inform you we have just drawn our waist suits, which are made of good material, and fit us nicely.) As it was now about nine o'clock. I thought I would visit the War Department. On the way I fell in with a commuicative citizen who kindly offered to show me through the public buildings, and I found him an agreeable companion and a great help through the day. Stopping at a corner where, said he, “is where Sickles' shot Key,” and pointed out the tree into which the ball entered after passing through the victim. The tree is now dead and as I gazed upon its withered branches, I could not avoid the reflections which the same suggests to the mind. Thus, thought I, it is with vice and folly. Beauty, health, and vigor vanish and decay before their blighting touch. From the description which I read in the papers at the time, I readily recognized the spot. The house in the distance from which the “waving handkerchief” was seen, all; all are there, and it is a poor imagination which cannot bring the tragedy again to light. But I drop this from something more worthy, and I trust more interesting to your readers.

In the park just across the way is the Bronze Statue of Andrew Jackson seated on his war horse. The old hero never looked more war-like in all his life. As I looked upon the horse and his rider, it seemed as if they were going to make a spring in some direc­tion, but alas! “We start, for soul is wanting there.” It is well thus to perpetuate the memory of the good and great. Long may it remain to inspire the heart of the Americans with new courage in the defence of the liberty of his country. The War Department is the smallest and most inferior looking of any of the public buildings, but just now is the grand place of attention. All is bustle and confusion, and no one gains an entrance without special business. After walking round the yard and looking at the various models of tents and blankets—things which interest us soldiers -we started for the “White House,” which is hut a few rods distant. I had heard that only Congressmen or other distinguished people could gain an entrance there. But Uncle Abe is a good old fellow and his house is open to all his boys—and such a house, such splendid furniture, carpets, sofas, looking-glasses, chandeliers of dazzling gold—all is so rich and costly, that it makes one proud of his country and fills the soldier's heart with a new resolution to fight manfully for its maintenance.

We next visited the Patent office, and here my pen fails me, for should I attempt to describe one ten-thousandth of the strange and new which at every turn meets the eye, it would fill many volumes, and I will therefore confine myself to one or two particulars, and leave the reader to his. own reflection. Among the many interesting rooms none is so much so to me, as that which contains the statue of the Father of our country, and those little relics which his grateful countrymen have here collected together. Let me note the articles in their order—First, there is a fragment of the old tent which Washington used during the Revolution. A card is fastened to it on which is written in a plain hand, “A portion of the canopy that sheltered the Father of his country in his country's darkest days.” — Blest fragment! you shall be kept sacred by his grateful children; next in order is his traveling secretary, which is a plain, substantial article, and hears marks of service; next the coat he wore when he resigned his commission at Annapolis. It is not as fine or showy as the one I had on—what a contrast between the fortunes of the soldier then and now! It does seem wicked that any should complain about their clothes or fare and yet they do. There are many other interesting memorials in the same case with his, about which I might speak, but for fear of wearying your readers, I will drop the curtain and ask them to come and see for themselves. As Congress was now open, we started towards the Capitol. First I went into the House; the question seemed the propriety of raising more troops for Kentucky. After gazing on the splendid building, and listening to the debate which was growing pretty warm, we started for the Senate, the great place of interest to me. It is vain to attempt a description of my feelings as I entered the gallery of that “consecrated Hall.” As I looked around me I almost fancied I could see the spirits of the departed great hovering over the place. Alas! how lamentable is the fact that we have lost some of our mightiest men who made their marks upon the age. True, there are some giants in the Senate, hut their number is growing small. I noticed Charles Sumner in his seat and as I looked upon him bent in anxious thought, I was reminded of the brutal assault made upon him by a cowardly ruffian who could not answer his arguments. That kind of thing is not “played out”—the battle ground is no longer the Senate, but the field, and before this contest is settled I trust the chivalry will be convinced that the Northerners are not all cowards. I noticed many vacant seats on one side of each House, and they spoke of “States dissevered, discordant of a land rent with civil fends and drenched in fraternal blood.” God grant that this miserable rebellion will soon be quelled, and peace with all her blessings return once more. I would gladly have tarried longer, but my friend admonished for it was nearly car time, and I was forced to leave. After a few moments the train started and in a short time I was again in camp, feeling that I had lived “A Life time in one day.” We are now busy building barracks for winter quarters, and everything looks like staying here till spring. The measles are prevailing to some extent among us, and I am a victim with the rest, hut we have a good, comfortable Hospital, and kind attentive nurses, and are getting along finely. I am still quite weak, and have already written quite enough—so for the present I will hid your readers good day. Yours truly,

Abner Van Dyke

Co. E. 1st Michigan Infantry

And the generations yet unborn, will bless the heroes name: letters and poetry of Abner Van Dyke, 1st Michigan Infantry, 25th Michigan Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops

Detroit Free Press, January 10, 1862

Praiseworthy.—The First Michigan Regiment, at the Annapolis Junction, Md., on the last pay day, sent home $9,000 to their families; 2,000 being contributed by one company.


Letter of Abner Van Dyke

Camp Michigan,
Annapolis Junction, Maryland,
Jan. 17th, 1862

Pay day is with us again, and it is surprising what an invigorating and enlivening effect it has on the Regiment, which has been considerably afflicted of late by measles, fevers and other diseases, incident to camp life. The old man forgets his weight of years; the sick their infirmities to a great extent; all, all are suddenly possessed with new life and courage. If we could he led forward to battle now, you might expect to hear good tidings of the “Michigan First.” Several companies have already been paid, and the happy soldiers are showing their money to those who are next in order. We are paid in Treasury notes, no gold or silver being used except for purposes of change. A great many complain at this arrangement, and some are willing to pay high premiums for specie, hut I still have sufficient confidence in my country to trust her “promised to pay.” We are having very singular weather here; one day it will he warm and pleasant, the next cold and blustering, but most of the time, the mud is so deep it is almost impossible to get around without carrying too much Maryland soil. We have to drill in barracks, and have had but one dress parade in several days; had one this morning, and the orders were, that hereafter our duties will he slightly changed; the arrangement is now as follows: Dress parade, at eight o'clock, A.M., guard mounting immediately after; drill from ten till twelve, and from two till four, P.M. Capt. H. S. Warner, who has been commanding our company for a short time past, has resigned his commission and is honorably discharged from the service of the United States. I am sure that I speak the sentiments of the whole company in saying that we are sorry to have him leave us, but we hope he will meet with a hearty “welcome home.”

Yours Truly,

Abner Van Dyke

Co. E, 1st Michigan Infantry

And the generations yet unborn, will bless the heroes name: letters and poetry of Abner Van Dyke, 1st Michigan Infantry, 25th Michigan Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops

Letter of Abner Van Dyke

Sunday, Jan. 19.

It is a very dark, rainy day—had our inspection in quarters this morning; nearly the whole company were in the ranks, and the guns and clothing were in good order, making due allowance for the wet weather and the poor health of the company. Last evening, a few of us were invited to the Colonel's quarters, and had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by Capt. Kendall, who has been for some years past in the service of the United States, acting as an explorer. He exhibited several varieties of cotton, which grows mainly on the West coast of South America, from Bolivia to the western confines of Patagonia, and on and between the coast and interior ranges, far above the snow line. It grows on trees and needs no cultivation, is very hardy and does well in the Northern and Western States. He had a sample sent in a letter from Canada, (grown there) which is superior in texture to any ever raised in “the Land of Dixie.” The lecture was very interesting and instructive, and we all enjoyed it after so long an absence from such intellectual feasts. Cotton is no longer “King;” and even if the rebels are brought to terms, it will he many years before they will recover from their wretched state sufficiently to supply us, (say nothing about the rest of the world) with cotton, consequently we must raise it ourselves or find a substitute. But I will leave this to older heads and more experienced pens. My purpose is simply to give your readers the little incidents of a life in camp, and not a treatise on political economy. I notice in the letters sent from other Regiments, a great deal of boasting, but the “gallant First” speaks for itself. Wherever we have been stationed thus far, we have received many compliments for our good conduct, neatness of appearance and superior intelligence. We owe much of our reputation to Lieut. Col. Roberts who is the Col. of the Regiment, and is constantly labor for our advancement and improvement in the military art, and at the same time is very kind and attentive to the sick and unfortunate. Mrs. Roberts is a “Good Angel” to the sick and afflicted; dispelling by her kind and genial ways, much of the gloom and loneliness common to a camp hospital. I offer her the tribute of a grateful heart for those kind words and a “friendly grasp,” when fever burned my brow, and assure her that her acts of mercy are felt and appreciated by many - a manly heart. Our friends in Michigan have sent us books, tracts and magazines, from time to time, for which we thank them. I will simply suggest that papers would be more interesting, and more generally read by the Regiment. Please call attention to this matter. Detroit and “home” papers please us most, send then along, friends. “The living present” is the soldier's field, and the newspaper, fresh from the press, he eagerly devours.

Yours truly,

Abner Van Dyke

Co. E., 1st Michigan Infantry.

And the generations yet unborn, will bless the heroes name: letters and poetry of Abner Van Dyke, 1st Michigan Infantry, 25th Michigan Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops

“Camp Michigan Annapolis Junction, Maryland

January 23rd 1862

Dear Mother,

I got your letter tonight and was happy to hear that you was well. I have written one letter to you this week to let you know that I had sent ten dollars to the Express office for you at Owosso. I have no news to write of interest. I sent you a paper that has some news in. If you get the Detroit papers every week I want you to send them to me. I will send the Baltimore papers to you sometimes.

I guess I shall be back to home by spring. I have been to work at carpenter work for the last three weeks. I have just got the best gold pen that ever you saw. I will send you some postal stamps so you will not be troubled for them. I know it is some bother to get them there. I wish I was to home tonight to answer all your question. I will tell you what the two words mean. Taps is the last beat of the drum at night. When all lights must be put out and every must go to bed and make no noise. Reveille calls us up in the morning when we must be present at roll call in our regiment. Taps and all other calls are sounded with the bugle. I got a letter from both of the girls last week. I can’t write much this time for I don’t know what to write. If I were we would find enough to write about, talk about I mean. Give my love to Duck and Pa. Tell them that I should like to see them very much. I wrote to Tom Gulford but he has not wrote to me. I don’t know why. If you see him tell him to write to me.

But I guess I have wrote nonsense enough for you this time. If we get into any fight at all it will be this month, for they are making a forward movement all along the line. General McClellan has ordered us to be in readiness to mass up to support the rear of the army. I don’t think we shall go into the field of battle though. I suppose the rebels are catching if from all sides now. But I must stop.

William McMurphy”

Letter of William McMurphy, for sale online

Letter of Abner Van Dyke

Camp Michigan,
Annapolis Junction, Maryland,
Jan. 31st.

Mr. Editor:

On this mild morning the last day of January, at the risk of wearying your readers with my uninteresting notes, I will send you a few items, which have transpired since I last wrote.

We have been having very disagreeable weather for a long time past, raining nearly every day, and so muddy that we could not leave our quarters, without being loaded down with “mortar;” but the sun is now shining for the first time in about a week, and it looks like the face of a faithful friend, “fairest when seen in darkest day.” As his first rays, pierced the gloomy clouds, and fell upon the window before me, I felt like exclaiming with Milton, “Hail holy light! offspring of Heaven first born!”

The people here inform me that February is generally a pleasant month; I hope it is for we are getting tired of being cooped up in barracks and drilling in the manual of arms. We long to go out into the fields and breathe the pure air of Heaven once more. The health of the regiment has improved a little of late, and as the new hospital is now finished, and the sick moved there, they will be very- comfortable, and I trust the Est of names on the “sick-book” will soon diminish. Our Surgeon, Dr. Turnicliff and his assistants, are very kind and attentive and do all they can to banish disease and death.

I think when the weather becomes more settled, it will be healthier. We need more exercise in the open air, and a greater variety of scenery; in proof of this, I will simply state, that the companies out on the Railroad, acting as “picket guard,” enjoy much better health than those in camp. Men who have spent most of their Eves in out door occupations (as most of them have,) cannot long retain their vigor when forced to stay in barracks and listen to the cry of “shoulder—arms!” and other commands equally tiresome, when so often repeated A forward movement would do more for the health of the general Army, than all the medicines which the Surgeons can prescribe. But just now such a move is impossible, so we must “learn to drill, and wait for something to turn up.”

At the court-martial, recently held at the Colonel's headquarters, several pretty hard cases were tried, and their sentences were read on dress parade a few morning's since. One Beegan, who had become notorious among us for his “dare-devil” courage, was dishonorably discharged from the service of the United States, and sentenced to the penitentiary at Washington, for one year at hard labor. I think the punishments which these offenders receive will have a good effect upon others who are disposed to break the peace and disobey orders. Verily, “the way of the transgressor is hard.” With a very few exceptions, we have a very peaceable and orderly regiment, and I hope the guard house will have fewer inmates for the future.

Capt. Withington, of the old Michigan First, has been released, and is expected here today on his way home. We are preparing give him a suitable reception.

Yours truly,

Abner Van Dyke

Co. E, 1st Michigan Infantry.

And the generations yet unborn, will bless the heroes name: letters and poetry of Abner Van Dyke, 1st Michigan Infantry, 25th Michigan Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops

Detroit Free Press, February 7, 1862

ACCIDENT IN THE Michigan First.—The Washington Chronicle says: “George Wright, a member of the First Michigan Regiment was accidentally shot by a comrade at Laurel, on the Washington Branch Railroad, on Monday last. The two soldiers were practicing the bayonet exercise by way of amusement, when one of their muskets was accidentally discharged, and the ball passed through the body of Wright, killing him instantly. He belonged to Rock Island, Illinois.”


Letter of Abner Van Dyke

Camp Michigan,
Annapolis Junction, Maryland,
Feb. 10th.

Mr. Editor:

I have just returned from Baltimore, where I spent three days very pleasantly. I had formed a very had opinion of the place, from what I had read and heard about it; its rowdies, riots, rank secessionists, &c, hut in spite of all these, I am forced to own that the monumental city is well worthy its name; also that it contains men and women of as clear heads and noble hearts, as are found in any part of the country. The men of the Mich. 6th speak in terms of the highest praise of the Baltimorians. When any of them are sick, some kind hearted citizen offers to take them to his house and take care of them until they are well. This has been done in many instances, and goes to show, (more than any words of mine) the true spirit which pervades the Union men of Baltimore.

The Washington monument is a splendid structure, reared, of course, in honor of “The Father of his country.” It stands on an elevation overlooking the city, and from its top one gets a fine view of her, wealth and splendor. I ascended the monument, lantern in hand, pausing many times to rest. The sides of the wall were covered with moisture; the air was damp and cold the lamp emitted but a feeble, flickering gleam, and every footfall was echoed from the top to the bottom of the winding stairs. As I slowly groped my way up, I was reminded of the. descent of Constance de Beverly into the gloomy dun- geons of the Convent. Those of your readers who have seen the' graphic description hy Sir Walter Scott, will easily catch my meaning and can in imagination ascend with me to the top of Washington Monument. At length a ray of light appeared, and I soon stood in the open heavens, far above the noise and confusion of earth. What a scene met my gaze! Never, no, never will the impression he erased from my memory; even while I write, the thousand objects which I saw, pass in one grand review before my mind's eye, like the moving glories of a panorama. Fort McHenry, with the good old flag waving, is seen in the distance, commanding both the city and the bay; it looks like a “Giant slumbering in conscious strength.” But I hope that that strength will never need to he exerted in destroying so fine a city.

The shot tower is quite a place of resort for soldiers. It is about two hundred feet high. I was pretty tired when I got to the top, but felt well paid by the fine view which it afforded me. I did not have an opportunity of seeing the process of shot making as it was not going on that day, but all the implements used, were there.—I remember reading, in my school days, in Comstock's Philosophy, something about the operation, and inwardly thanking a somewhat retentive memory for said particulars, I descended once more to earth, agreeing with the poet that it is a “painful preeminence, ourselves to view, above life's weaknesses and its comforts, too.”

Green Mount Cemetery is emphatically “a city of the dead.” The lot contains sixty two acres and the monuments are beautiful. All that the sculptor, the poet and bereaved mourner could do, has been done to embellish and adorn this “silent city;” and although such labors are vain, so far as the dead are concerned, they are tender tributes of respect, and “to the living, useful.” Slowly, musingly, I wandered on stopping occasionally to gaze on some of the most attractive scenery. It seems as though the friends of those who sleep there, have been striving to see who could procure the most touching memorial. It is a noble strife, for nothing marks the state of civilization in a country, more than the degree of respect shown the dead. “The Mount” is covered with cedars of native growth, I should judge, their green and cone like tops make them look very beautiful; these stand silent, hut eloquent mourners over the dear departed. This must be a delightful place in summer—when the earth is clean, and the numerous vines and flowers scent the air with their fragrance. In the centre of the lot is a Mausoleum, in which the dead are placed, previous to interment. They are often kept here for months on account of the weather, or waiting for the arrival of friends. After passing an hour or more among the “tombs,” I departed feeling that I had seen a convincing proof of man's mortality. Baltimore is not wanting in her attentions to the education of young. There are several very fine institutions of learning here, erected and endowed by the city.

I visited the Eastern Female High School, which, at present, is under the supervision of Mr. Thayer an able instructor, and a fine man. The building is a good one, and every thing is quiet and orderly about the school. There are about two hundred pupils now in attendence, with six assistant teachers, all ladies. They were all in the assembly room singing, when I entered, and be assured, Mr. EDITOR, I was charmed and delighted to hear once more, those school songs to which I have so often listened with pleasure in early life. They sung some Union songs, the “Star Spangled Banner,” &c, which roused my patriotism not a little. Blest be the cause of education everywhere, and all means provided for the instruction of sons and daughters. “An enlightened and virtuous people can never be enslaved.”

The Michigan First still lives and (not wishing to offend our friends of the Gallant Sixth, who treated me so kindly) I do think we can outshine any regiment now in the field.

The Baltimoreans give a good report concerning the boys of the Sixth, which I think they well deserve, for they are a fine lot of boys, and conduct themselves like true soldiers.

I wish something new would transpire so that I could have more news to communicate. For the present, I pause.

Yours truly,

Abner Van Dyke

Co. E, 1st Michigan Infantry.

And the generations yet unborn, will bless the heroes name: letters and poetry of Abner Van Dyke, 1st Michigan Infantry, 25th Michigan Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops

Binghamton (NY) Broome Republican, February 26, 1862

Correspondence of the Binghamton Daily Republican.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 '62.


This morning I went to Annapolis Junction, which you know became quite la mode in the earlier career of Rebeldom as a military point. It is about half way between Washington and Baltimore. My object was to see Col. Robinson, who commands what is called the Railroad Brigade, having control over the railroad between Washington and Baltimore. About half […] of the First Michigan Infantry, over which Col. Robinson is Colonel, is stationed at the Junction the rest of the Brigade being scattered along the road. Col. R. is the Military Superintendent of the road. He has been acting for some time as Brigadier General, tho' without the rank and emoluments of the office to which he is justly entitled, and which I trust he will soon receive. The proclamation of Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, to the effect that hereafter promotions and appointments to such offices shall be made for gallant deeds in the field, is in the right spirit, and will infuse a new stimulus in the ranks of our noble army, and serve to actions of high empri[…] its heroic sons. It is time, I think, that mere political civilians should cease to be appointed over the heads of officers of merit in the regular army. The policy is a bad one, and leads to discouragement and lukewarmness. Col. Robinson has been in active service for many years, and has devoted his manhood to the cause of his country. Such men should be considered in this hour of our country's peril. The way to ensure gallant deeds on the field is to be just, nay, generous to the officers of the army. I found the Colonel comfortably situated - the camps there being snug and roomy wooden tenements, erected on high dry ground, but a few rods from the railroad depot. The Colonel was suffering from a severe cold, and was in the hands of his physician, who intardicted his going out; so I was deprived of his company in looking around. - The cold and snow of the morning, had prevented a regular parade of the troops, but I saw the drilling of the Guards and enjoyed the fine music of the Band. The calling notes of the bugle on the field have a thrilling effect on the ear, and must serve to stimulate a lagging courage in the dread road of battle. Augustus Robinson, son of your respected loyal citizen, E. D. Robinson, and nephew of the Colonel, is a member of the Band. He is a picture of rosy health and manly energy.

The Colonel showed me a new and magnificent stand of colors made in New York, and about to be presented to the First Michigan Infantry. Who could not fight under such inspiring […]sory of the Stars and Stripes? But I had little, comparitively, to see, and the Colonel being hors de combat, with a cold, I hastened back to Washington in the 11 o'clock train. I much regretted to lose an opportunity of seeing the dress parade of the Regiment - it is said not be be surpassed for beauty and excellence in the field. When next I hear of or see the Colonel, I hope it will be as Brigadier General Robinson.


1st_michigan_infantry_sources.txt · Last modified: 2019/08/06 13:14 by admin