12 April 2011

The American Civil War Genealogy Challenge

Bill West of West in New England blog challenged bloggers to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the civil war by blogging about it.

April 12, 1861 finds my paternal great, great grandfather Samuel Stillman Glover, Jr. living with his wife of 3 1/2 years, Adaline, and their two young sons:  Charles, age 2 1/2 and William, age 3 1/2 months.  They were living in Lenawee County, Michigan at the time.  The 1860 United States census lists Samuel's occupation as a merchant.  Samuel's obituary says he left his business to report for duty.  Did Adaline keep the business going? 

Samuel voluntarily enlisted in July of 1861.  He left a young family to go off and fight in the war.  I wonder what the months from April until Samuel left were like for Samuel and his family.  Did his wife, Adaline, support his decision to join the Union and fight? I imagine the men felt a call of duty to support the war efforts.  What kind of preparations did Samuel make for his family?  I have so many questions about Samuel and Adaline.  I have never had to say good bye to a loved one as they go off to war, but I imagine it would be a hard thing to do. 

Samuel Stillman Glover, Jr became part of Company H of the First Regiment Michigan Engineers and Mechanics and trained at Camp Owen in Marshall, Michigan until 17 December 1861.  The men were housed in tents that held twelve to fifteen men sleeping with their feet in the center.  Food consisted of cooked rations that cost the state twenty six cents a day per man.  One account says the men were expected to be fed "one pound of bacon or one and one-quarter pounds of salt beef; eighteen ounces of bread or flour, twelve ounces of corn bread, or one and one-quarter pounds of corn meal; and eight quarts of peas or beans or ten pounds of rice per one hundred men, along with sufficient coffee, sugar, vinegar, candles, soap, and salt" (Hoffman, p20) 

On 17 December 1861, the regiment left Michigan.  Samuel's company travelled to New Haven, Kentucky and reported to General Nelson.  The First Regiment of the Michigan Engineers and Mechanics were working around central Kentucky until the end of February, 1862.  At this time, they travelled by steamboat to Nashville, Tennessee, which became the regiment's headquarters.  The regiment was involved in building bridges around Franklin, Columbia, and Murfreesboro, all in Tennessee.

They continued to build bridges, defenses, and corduroy roads.  They provided help and support to General Buell in Huntsville, Alabama.  Many engineers were put in harms way during this time, including my great great grandfather.  Samuel was shot in July of 1862 after volunteering to carry dispatches to General Buell.  He was shot in the right knee, but managed to cling to his horse and escape capture.

He was in the hospital for several months, and his family did not know of his whereabouts or if he was even alive.  Samuel's obituary says they had given him up for dead when he arrived home to Adrian, Michigan, discharged from duty.

What must those months have been like for Samuel's family?  In the age of instant communication through texting, cell phones, email, etc.  I can't imagine being at home for months not knowing where your husband was. 

Although the men were the ones fighting and earning honors, the women deserved recognition too.  They were the ones keeping things going at home.  The more I learn about Samuel S. Glover, Jr. the more in awe I am of what he gave to his country, 150 years ago.  Thank you Great Great Grandpa Glover!

Glover, Samuel Stillman; Pension File No. 28715, Civil War Pension File, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration).

Hoffman Mark. My Brave Mechanics: The First Michigan Engineers and Their Civil War. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2007.

Manistee Daily Advocate, (Manistee, Manistee, Michigan), 16 April 1904, front page, column 3, newspaper clipping; Manistee County Historical Museum, Manistee, Michigan.

Sligh, Charles R. History of the Service of the First Regiment Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. Grand Rapids, Michigan: n.p., 1921.

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