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Original Documents and Items of the Battery

Documents, clothing articles, personal items and equipment of the members of the Battery will be shown here.  If you have anything from a Battery member, we would be thrilled to see it and share it on this website.  Please contact John Hughes at Robinsonsbattery@aol.com.

Table of Contents
   Reunion Ribbon
   T. Martin Towne's Sheet Music
   Calvin Ashley's Death Certificate
   Lt. Calkin's Commission
   Lt. Calkin's Uniform
   Captain Dees' Military Papers
   William Derby's Papers
   Abel Dunton's Pension Paper
   John Durfee's Veteran Home Record
   James Durose's Veteran Home Record  
   Alexander Hunter's Papers
   Joseph Ingram Not a Deserter
   Brazil Jerry's Death Certificate
   Lewis Moore's Widow's Pension Rejection
   Judson Parker's Discharge
   Orson Prouty's Reenlistment
   James Rathbone's Personal Effects
   Sanford Smith's Documents
   Henry Shier's Pension Application
   Henry Shier's Corporal Document
   Henry Shier's Lieutenant Commission
   Philip Wilking's Death Certificate

Reunion Ribbon

A commemorative ribbon for the 1891 reunion of members of Battery C held in Detroit

Photo courtesy of John Hughes

Sheet Music by T. Martin Towne

This is the cover of a ballad written by T. Martin Towne, brother to Dewitt and Hiram Towne  who served with the Battery. 

It was dedicated to Mrs. Thos. Yarndley of Detroit, Michigan.  A search has found a Mr. Yarndley who was a noted organist in that city but the woman, so far, remains a mystery.

Courtesy of John Hughes

Calvin Ashley's Death Certificate

Lt. Calkin's Commission as 2nd Lieutenant

State of Michigan
Executive Office Lansing Jany. 21, 1864  

To The Adjutant General  

Issue Commission to John J. Calkins to be 2d Lieutenant in the 3d Michigan Battery.  

Austin Blair

[Ed. - Austin Blair was Michigan's governor during the Civil War.]

Lt. John Calkin's Uniform

In 1921, Lt. Calkin's widow donated his uniform to the Michigan Historical Museum.  An old tag on the coat indicated that it had been made by Henrietta Potter, a tailoress in Pompey, Onondaga County, New York.

Lt. Calkins's artillery officer's trousers have a large rip in the rear hip area that has been repaired with a dark blue material appearing to be the same type of material used in the Union Army sack coat.

Captain Dees' Military Papers

Court Martial Summons of September 29, 1862

Sept. 29,1862
By telegraph from Corinth

To Capt. Dees
3rd Mich battalion

You are hereby required to appear ---------  before the court martial assembled at Corinth this day by virtue South-Western Telegraph Company   Sept 29, 1862 By Telegraph from Corinth 29 1862 To Capt Dees   3d Mich battery Care Col. Mauer   You are hereby required to appear forthwith before the court Martial assembled at Corinth this day by virtue of general order No 130 Hd Qrts Army Miss
- by order of the court    

M. P. Hepbain
Maj 2nd Iowa Cav
Judge Advocate

Medical Examinations of Captain Dees

Ed - This is why penmanship matters <sigh>.

Camp Comal nr Corinth Miss
Oct. 10th 1862  
This is to certify that on Wednesday the (1st) first day of October (1862) Eighteen Hundred & Sixty Two, I carefully examined A.W. Dees Captn of (3rd) Third Michigan L. A. and found him suffering under a severe attack of dysentery, which rendered him unfit for military duty, he has been under my treatment from that time to the present - said disease was in my oppinion [sic] caused by exposure and impurity of the water obtained here.  
John A. Edmunson M. D.
Dr & Asst Surgeon   U.S.A.          

Corinth General Hospital Misp Oct 13,1862  
This is to certify that I examined the bearer Capt, A. W. Dees on the 8 or ninth of this month and found the following conditions. His feet were swollen with dropsy, the bowels swolen [sic] and tender with I thought -------- effusion he complained of diarrhea with dysentery symptoms  His hands were cold and clammy like all those who are suffering from diarrhea with other symptoms of weakness   Norman Gaybury M.D.--
In charge of Hospitial

Captain Dees' recommendation of George Robinson

Camp Near Grand Junction Tenn  
Nov 14/62  
Messers Jackson & Wiley  

Gentelmen, it is My intention to resign, and it is My wish that you see Govener Blair, and have George Robinson Appointed Capt of this Battery-for the following reasons. first George is more competent than any of the other Lieutenants, secondly he is the only Republican in the Battery that holds a commission.  

Respectfully your Obdent Servant  
A.W. Dees Capt. 3Mich Artillery  

Jackson & Wiley Letter to Governor Blair

Jackson Wiley
Founders and Machinists
Corner of Fifth and Woodbridge Streets
Detroit, Michigan  

Nov 19, 1862  

Gov Austin Blair 
Jackson, Mich  


Enclosed you will find Capt Dees letter of the 3rd Mich Battery indicating his intention of resigning his commission with the petition that George Robinson 2nd Lieut of the 3rd Battery should be appointed to the Captaincy of the same.  

You will remember that George Robinson has already been honorably mentioned by Gen Rosecrans for meritorious conduct in the last battle at Corinth, in which battle he commanded the 3rd Battery & earned it with great skill & courage.  We earnestly hope this efficient Officer who has served in every battle in which the 3rd Mich Battery has been engaged, & whom we personally know to be a man of the best principles & of correct habits & universally a favorite with his Battery may meet at your hands that encouragement & preferment as his efficiency merits.   

We write this because we wish a loyal man devoted to the administration, desiring the speedy & successful termination of the war, that Officers shall be placed in command who will fight & want to fight.   We respectfully refer you to R. A. Rumley, Messers Bahl & Duchacne Lothers, although you ( we believe) may remember C. P. Jackson the Senior partner of our …..   We are very truly yours

Jackson Wiley

William Derby's Papers

William Derby's declaration

William Derby's enlistment papers

Abel Dunton's Pension Paper

Washington April 7, 1888

Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of Pensions.
Washington, April 7, 1888
Abel Dunton, a Private of Company "C" (3rd Batty) 1st Regiment Michigan L.A. Volunteers is reported:  

On roll for May and June, 62, absent sick in hospital at Hamburg, Tenn., since May 10, 62.
July and August,62 absent - deserted by G.O. No. 73, Hd. Qrs. Army of the Miss. June 19, 62. Return for July, 62, not on file. 
Station of Battery June 3 of 62 and July 31/ 62 at Camp Clear Creek, Miss.

Ed: They seemed to use the label 'deserter' much more casually than we would today as this man clearly returned to duty after being listed as a deserter.

John Durfee's Veteran Home Record

It seems that John Durfee was in and out of veteran's homes for the last years of his life.

James Durose's Veteran Home Paper

Mr Durose was variously listed in the original Battery roster as Duvere.  A Veteran Home Record found by battery historian, Deb Gosselin, comfirms that his surname was Durose.  This is a record from a Leavenworth Veteran's home for an earlier stay by Mr. Durose in 1886-1887.  However, he was living in Stillwater, Minnesota in the 1890 vet census and didn't die until 1897 so he must have gone to a different veteran home sometime thereafter as the cemetery records show that as his last place of residence.  He appears to have been kicked out of the home for a clothing debt.  

This record also shows his movement from Co K of the 5th Minnesota to our battery.

Alexander Hunter's Papers

Joseph Ingram - Not A Deserter

Joseph must have been listed in error as a deserter - this is the official document used to correct that mistake.

Brazil Jerry's Death Certificate

New paragraph

Lewis Moore's Widow's Pension Rejection

Orpha Finch, Lewis Moore's widow, was rejected for a widow's pension as his cause of death could not be related to a specific war injury.

Judson Parker's Discharge Paper

Judson was discharged only to enlist in another unit.

Orson Prouty's Reenlistment Paper

Despite his troubles and illness, Orson still reenlisted in the Battery.  See Biography.

James Rathbone's Personal Effects

James Rathburn died the day after the Battery was mustered out of service in Detroit. James never served in the field with the Battery having enlisted January 4, 1865 while the Battery was in the midst of the Carolina campaign. The new recruits were to go via New York and then sail down the Atlantic Coast, then when Sherman's trrops made their way to the sea, the recruits would join up with their companies. Along the way he got sick and was in the hospital as the war ended. He is buried in the National Cemetery at Brooklyn, N. Y., Grave No.3046.  At left, is the list of his personal effects at the time of his death.

Sanford Smith's Documents

Enlistment papers

Documents courtesy of Jerry Radloff

Prisoner of War

Death record

Henry Shier's Pension Application

The Pension Papers of Henry Shier  

When Civil War veterans applied for their pensions, they were required to show that their disability was related to their service.  This can provide additional information about their service, and their life more generally.  In his application for a pension, Henry describes the action at the Sandtown Ferry near Atlanta, GA, where he suffered a medical problem, which he believed significantly, reduced his capacity for work.  He also comments on why he was not able to get medical attention in a timely way, and his distrust of hospitals.  The account in his pension papers also reveals the command situation in the battery in the summer and fall of 1864, and why he chose discharge in December 1864, rather than reenlisting.  

Affidavit of Henry Shier for Disability Pension November 25, 1890  

The affidavit begins with an account of his birth in New Jersey in 1829, and his family’s move to Michigan in 1843.  After his discharge in Savannah, Henry returned to Michigan and married Cynthia Preston in Ypsilanti in 1865.  He farmed in Michigan in Washtenaw County until 1872 when the Shier family moved to central Kansas near Salina.  They raised their family on the Shier homestead, and later retired to live in Salina.  What follows is quoted directly from the affidavit.  Underlining is in the original.  

I was before the war an able bodied man, could do a full day’s work with the best at my business as a farmer, which is my occupation, and I have no other way of obtaining a living.  I never was sick.   I claim my disability had its origin from exposure and hardship previous to and at the date given July 7, 1864.  I never but once went to the hospital, and that was at Bird’s Point, MO.  I had diarrhea; they gave me one oil and brandy; it did no good.  I bought lemons, ate them and was cured.  When ever I had a recurrence of this disease, was careful of diet and ate lemons, so escaped the cause of much sickness.  I dreaded the Hospital and tried to keep out of it, I never used liquors as a beverage or as medicine. 

I was always ready for duty up to July 7, 1864.    On that day I was ordered by Captain George Robinson (since deceased) Commanding Battery to take my section and in company with a regiment of infantry go to the Sandtown ferry.  The Chief of Artillery Captain Walker of a Missouri Battery assigned me my position on the bluff of the river opposite a rebel fort containing two large rifled guns and left me with instructions where to find him if I needed.  We opened up on the fort and for a long time had a lively artillery duel and had one man killed.  The day was excessively hot, the men became exhausted, I found Captain Walker and reported the fact.  He told me to rest a while and work slower, which we did.  I was very much overcome with heat.  When at night we closed I felt utterly exhausted, lay down on the ground and was taken with a chill, and was compelled to turn the guns over to Sgt. Estabrook (since deceased). 

I went to the cook’s tent fly to rest, had fever all night with headache and pain in my limbs.  In a few days I recovered sufficiently to take my place again, but never fully recovered from the shock I received on that day.
I will be ask why I did not get attendance?  I never knew a Battery that had a Surgeon with them; we were dependent on the Surgeon of the Regiment with which we served at various times.  That night I could not if I wished have found the Surgeon of the regiment; we had never served with them before and neither myself or the men knew exactly where they were.  They were in some sheltered place there being no call for them to show themselves at that time.  Afterwards I thought I should get better and did not like to go to the Surgeons for fear they would order my discharge for disability.   

I wanted to serve my time out if possible; I did not like to leave when we had fighting all most every day during the Atlanta Campaign.  So I stayed on leaving the more active duties to the Junior Lt. W. W. Hyzer (and here I should state that about July 15, 1864, Captain Robinson was detailed as Chief of Artillery and the command of the Battery was turned over to me which command I held until discharge).  This added to my care and responsibility as on account of want of forage and short rations of grain (and that damaged) our horses were in bad condition.  A good many died the first month of my responsibility; this troubled me very much and although I could not help it, it helped to keep up my physical disorders.  I wanted things to go right while I had command.
I was not while in Michigan after the war laid up so that I could do nothing, but I had to be careful of exposure in heat as cold and could never do any laborious work; so also for some years in Kansas.”   

At this point the Affidavit gives dates for problems with his knee, his shoulder and the condition of his heart.  It also names the doctors that treated him for his medical problems.  By 1890 at age 61, he was nearly completely disabled according to his physical examination included with the pension papers.  At this time Henry’s youngest son was 15 and had to assume responsibility for running the family farm.   With Henry’s pension papers are several affidavits from people who had known him before the war and after.  They attest that he did all the work normal for a farmer before the war, and that he was not able to do heavy work after the war.   

An affidavit from H. Hyzer, who took over command of the battery when Henry was discharged, says that, “Henry was always ready for duty, had good behavior and was always with his command.  He began to show signs of exposure in the summer of 1864, and these increased.  He was significantly disabled after July 1864, and not always able to perform his duties.  His disability prostrated his nervous system and he had pain in his limbs.  Henry was very committed, and refused a disability discharge though he was very nervous, trembled, complained of pain in his limbs in camp as well as on the march.  There were no complaints before the summer of 1864.” 

 It is hard to say just what happened to Henry on July 7, 1864, but some form of heat exhaustion or heat stroke is a possibility.  He may also have had some sort of heart condition, which got worse from living under field conditions and the stress of his responsibility for the battery.

Henry Shier's Appointment as Corporal

This is Henry Shier's Appointment as Corporal, kindly shared by his descendant, George Shier.

Henry Shier's Lieutenant Commission

This is Henry Shier's Commission as a Lieutenant, kindly shared by his descendant, George Shier.  It is signed by Austin Blair, Governor of Michigan.

Philip Wilking's Death Certificate

His first name is spelled with one L in the roster and the ad for his Detroit blacksmith shop but with two Ls on his death certificate.