Monroe County and the Civil War
Honored. Loyal. Brave and True - This quote comes from the Monroe County tombstone marking the
grave of Captain Amos T. Hecock in Maplegrove Cemetery, Dundee township. Amos was a soldier in Co. D
of the 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, a unit which included many county men and was a close-knit group
even after the war.
Many veteran graves do not list their military involvement at all; many do not give anything but the cool data
most tombstones state- but to stand at his modest monument and read those words speaks beyond his grave.
What kind of a man must he have been for his family to place those words in granite for all time? How many
others shared this devotion to country and kin?
These are the words we have chosen for our look back to the Civil War during these Sesquicentennial years.
It encompasses the soldiers and the ones they left at home.
On these pages in upcoming months we will be presenting articles and information on Monroe and its
involvement in the Civil War- its soldiers, the domestic quarter, home front life, children, local history,
questions and answers, and more. We are looking for articles for this spot, especially from local historical
societies and local historians. If you have a question, or topic, or are researching one of the thousands of
Monroe men who served in the War, contact Lynn Reaume at firstname.lastname@example.org Do you have
information to share? Contact us.
Currently on display: Mid-Victorian Medical and Surgical Instruments: amputation, dental,
surgical tools, travel doctor kits, and more. Appreciate the medical care we have today!
Also women's clothing and accessories, and children's clothing, reproduction and original
uniforms, relics and artifacts, flags and flag finial eagles from the Civil War. The large Civil
War exhibit will continue through the end of the year.
Student activity: Letters to Home- Letter Writing during the Civil War. Also hands-on area
on 2nd floor for family guided fun.
Right now we are featuring the Civil War throughout our museum, and plan to rotate Civil War
era topics for the Sesquicentennial, featuring the military, women and children, Monroe and more.
Many collections that museums have today were items
taken off of battlefields or places where soldiers camped. Soldiers themselves took souvenirs
and brought them back or sent them to their families back home. Today it is illegal to take relics
from protected battlefields, such as those occupied by the National Park Service.
Typical items found on the ground are cartridges and bullets, both unfired, fired and damaged
from contact with hard objects.
Closer view of lead bullets and unused
paper cartridge, which held the bullet and the gunpowder. The ringed bullet (one kind was the
Minie bullet) and its conical shape were innovations that moved firearm technology forward-
more accurate and more deadly.
Typical brass buttons were domed
and constructed of two pieces. They had a shank, or metal loop on the back for sewing onto
the coat. The Federal spread eagle was very common. Large buttons would be used on coats,
the smaller used at the cuffs.
In the 1850s Goodyear patented and started to produce
hard rubber buttons. This is one kind and was often on civilian garments during the Civil War era.
This is a state of Michigan brass 2 piece button.
Domed and rimmed, it depicts the state seal, with a shield flanked by an elk and moose (though
they look like deer here), surmounted by the Federal eagle. In the shield is a pioneer looking over
the peninsula. A flag flies here, and though it is not on the button, "Tuebor" means "to defend."
Buttons are one of the most common remnants or souvenirs left from the Civil War. Uniform coats
would have either the Federal, or state buttons upon them. They could be marked with an additional
"A" for Artillery, "I" for Infantry, or "C" for Cavalry, depending on which branch of the service the
soldier was in.
When some veterans came back from the war and got rid of their coats (due to their poor condition
or infestations), the buttons would be saved and placed in a box, or strung on sturdy string.
Other relics include items used by the
opposing army. Here is a Confederate bayonet taken from a Southern battlefield. Rust has got
the better of this iron object over time. A bayonet was a knife-like attachment locked into place
at the barrel end of the gun, used for charges and intimidation. Soldiers also used these for a variety
of other purposes- the socket end could hold a candle while the spear end was stuck in the ground.
Food could be roasted on the spear end over a fire. Bayonet thrusting was something a soldier
learning in drill, though it was not used as often as sometimes portrayed in movies and stories.
Metal relics also include ammunition such as cannon balls, dropped personal items such as knives
and jawharps, belt buckles, stirrups, insignias, guns, and more. Cloth and leather often deteriorated
faster than metal, but items such as haversacks, blankets, coats, belts, straps, and boots could also
The Last Christmas Before the War, December 25, 1860
...South Carolina had seceded on December 20th and the other Southern states were threatening
to follow her out of the Union...The possibility of war was already hurting retail trade on this last
peacetime Christmas. The New York "Herald" reported that "People have not got so much money
to spend on Christmas presents as in former years, or if they have, they think it more prudent to
husband it for expenditures of more real importance." Jewelry sales were down; so were the sales
of furs, buffalo robes, and blankets. But toy sales, fortunately, were still good. So were the sales
And the "Herald" commented in an editorial on Christmas Day: "On this Christmas morning we
find these states surrounded with perils as terrible as they are unprecedented. The good Ship of
State is rushing madly toward the breakers of disunion; the pilot is no longer able to steer his
course; already one plank has started; but thank God, the others still hold. Our best bower
anchor, the Constitution, has been let go, and we may yet weather the storm. If not, it will one
many a long day before the people of the United States see another merry Christmas."
But after a few comments the editorial continues: "So the young people shall have their Merry
Christmas, and Santa Claus shall be as liberal as ever; the hymn of praise and thanksgiving
shall ascend to the Giver of all good; the Christmas tree, the evergreen wreath, the Yule log,
the mistletoe bough, all the time-honored symbols of jollity and good cheer, shall be duly
honored throughout the length and breath of this fair land. A right Merry Christmas, then, to all!"
-page 11, The Civil War Christmas Album by Philip Van Doren Stern (1961)
"By the time the Civil War came, Santa was a rather well-established figure, who was as pop-
ular in the South as in the North. But the North had one great advantage over the South. It had
many illustrated periodicals, while the South had very few. This lack of illustrated papers meant
that few pictures were made of social activities in the Confederacy during the war. The Union
side is much more fully presented. The few Confederate artists who recorded the war conce-
trated largely on its military aspects. Fortunately, there were many Southerners...who wrote
excellent accounts of what went on in those eventful years.
"The North was...rich..in manpower and weapons..in food and all the good things that do so
much to make Christmas a time of feasting and celebration. Although there were many des-
perately poor people in the North there was never a shortage of food. But as the war dragged
on, food grew scarcer in the South, and Christmas became progressively leaner each year.
People there had to improvise and make do; they thought up all kinds of ingenious substitutes
for fancy goods, party decorations, and tree ornaments. But the spirit of Christmas was kept
alive, even when parents had to skimp and do without in order that their children might have
a happy holiday on the one day of the year that is particularly the children's own.
"The picture of Christmas that emerges from contemporary Civil War accounts is a sturdy
Victorian one with simple domestic virtues strongly emphasized and traditional customs upheld.
"In the field, very little actual fighting was done on Christmas Day. This was not because of
religious or sentimental reasons. Major Civil War campaigns usually began in the spring and
went on until cold weather closed in, when bad roads and severe weather forced the armies
to suspend activities for the winter.
"When cold weather set in, the men in both armies began to build huts and cabins to which
they added chimneys so a fire could be kept going to warm the interior. The cheerful flames
and the cozy glow of the firelight gave these rudely built temporary shelters the illusion of
being homes. Undoubtedly they reminded the soldier of their own true homes and the families
they had left behind.
"The young men in our Civil War armies were far less sophisticated than their descendants are
today. Many of them came from the country; many from large families where domestic relation-
ships were close; nearly all were used to living in big houses where there was plenty of room
for parties, for happy celebrations- and for full-sized Christmas trees. To them Christmas meant
a great deal, so they naturally looked back to it wistfully during the war...And on Christmas night,
after the feasts and celebrations were over, the lonely men would express their longing for home
by singing the carols they had learned in their childhood. Then the voices of the men in blue and
in gray would sound loud and clear in the cold night air, rising above hill and valley, and drifting
out over shell-torn fields where the armies had already fought.
pages 7-8, The Civil War Christmas Album
Images from our exhibit:
Rare collections of eagle flag finials.
Silk Victorian clothing.
Battlefield relic collections.
Our Civil War muskrat welcomes you to the Museum.
FORT SUMTER, SOUTH CAROLINA
Fort Sumter in South Carolina is where
the first shots of the Civil War were fired by the Confederates upon the Union soldiers holding
out there in April, 1861. Ferries take visitors from the mainland out to the island. This is a
view of the ferry from above the main compound.
This is a copy of what the Fort looked like
at the time of the firing, from Smithsonian magazine.
One of the two restored cannon that swivel
in place and look out to the water.
Raisinville township, Monroe county
resident Norman J. Hall is listed on the bronze plaque to honor those who were there at
the first shots. He was commissioned to West Point from the county and was later in
command of the 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, though in April, 1861 he was part of
the US Artillery at Fort Sumter.
Here’s a primer on finding the Civil War veterans laid within our county
Most of our Civil War veterans are to be found in the oldest, and sometimes most neglected,
of our county cemeteries. Be wary of landscape terrain, mole mounds and holes, snakes,
bugs, and unsteady monuments. It's not a bad idea to go with a friend!
A view of Doty Cemetery, Raisinville township.
Old St. Patrick’s #1 in Exeter township.
Sometimes it is obvious who is a Civil War veteran- by the presence of a
marble, government-issued tablet:
Norman G. Pomeroy, Co. K, 3rd Michigan Cavalry in King Cemetery,
Raisinville Twp. Note the engraved shield shape.
Some may have modern (possibly replacement) stones. Here, Isaac Manor of the
24th Michigan Infantry has a plain marble, on- ground tablet with modern engraving,
at St. Mary, Rockwood Cemetery. Sometimes modern bronze veteran plaques
are also acquired for Civil War veterans.
Many of these government issued stones have sunk over time:
Abraham Frankhouse’s military marker has sunk, and all the inscription cannot be
read. These markers traditionally give name and military unit. Note the shield. He was
in Co. G, 15th Michigan Infantry. He is buried in St. Mary, Rockwood Cemetery.
His wife is buried next to him.
George Shafer, Co. I, 9th Michigan Infantry. He was born in Germany, and
voted for Abraham Lincoln in his first presidential election. King Cemetery,
Raisinville township. When sunk, these markers are easy to hit and damage by lawn mowing.
Here is a marker showing most of the original height of the stone tablet. These stones of
solid marble weigh approx. 200 pounds. Note the soil line showing how deep the stone
was once placed. William Campbell, Co. A, 29th Michigan Infantry, also in St. Mary
Many of these marble stones have eroded over time from wind, blown sand and dirt,
acid rain, poor cemetery management, vandalism, and age. Chester Townsend of Co.
K, 1st Michigan Cavalry, died in 1888, at 50 years old. He is buried in Raleighville
Cemetery, London township. They can seem impossible to read when in this condition.
Some families chose to purchase family tombstones for their veterans:
Here Nathan Peabody, Jr. and Sr. are on the same tablet. The son died in 1860; his father
followed in 1862. Under Sr.’s name is written: “Who enlisted in the 15 Mich. Vol. In. Feb.
7. Died at St. Louis Apr. 2, 1862 Aged 53 yrs. & 6 m."
He died of disease (a common Civil War soldier's death) and is actually buried at St. Louis.
Stone in King Cemetery, Raisinville township.
Above: John Smutz of Raisinville township has a large granite family monument, a govern-
ment issued stone, and a headstone. Headstones traditionally mark the actual grave; the
larger monument marks the burial plot with two or more grave sites. He was in Co. I,
102nd Ohio Infantry. Many Monroe county men fought in units from other states,
Have you seen stones marked with metal stars that hold flags? These are good Civil War
service indicators, placed on the graves by the different Grand Army of the Republic
(G.A.R.) Posts in the county and should not be removed.
Here is Melzer B. Strong of the Provost Guard, Michigan Infantry, buried in County Line
(Hack) Cemetery (London twp.) and Leonard McKenzie of Co. I, 8th Michigan Cavalry
in Raleighville Cemetery (Raisinville twp.) Both have G.A.R. marked graves.
Dan’l (Daniel) "Cronachet" (Conway) of Co. D, 11th Michigan Infantry and Jno. (John)
York of Co. H, 20th Michigan Infantry show the shield design markers and are marked
by G.A.R. stars. They are found in St. Patrick’s Cemeteries in Exeter & Ash twps.
Note the soil stain on York's tablet indictaing the depth at which it once was buried.
John Lassey of Co. A, 4th Michigan Infantry has a metal tube for a flag holder at the
bottom front of his stone, and a “U.S.” bronze flag holder, which usually designates a
World War veteran. These were put out by Veterans of Foreign Wars (W.F.W.) or
American Legion. He was also in another unit, the 1st Michigan Infantry and is buried
in King Cemetery (Raisinville township). Note the lichen growth and discoloration on
A close-up of one style of G.A.R. flag holder in
bronze. Some indicate post.
Both of the following stones show the G.A.R. flag holder star removed and placed
in concrete on a veteran’s grave:
“Father” is Peter Mickens, but currently his unit is unknown. Was this star placed
on his grave erroneously? In one cemetery, these stars have been placed on
graves without military service- was service assumed because they were of the
On the right is a star marking the probable grave (no stone) of Arthur Hotchkiss
of Co. K, 25th Ohio Infantry, next to his wife Laura in Whiteford Union Cemetery.
Arthur’s brother Samuel was in the 1st District of Columbia Infantry during the war.
Many Civil War veterans lie unmarked in county cemeteries. Without a doubt, your
communityhas these veterans. Wouldn't the150 year anniversary of the Civil War
be an appropriate timeto find these graves and mark them, or document their service?
Watch the museum for more on the Civil War- events, programs, exhibits, displays
and more in the coming years of the sesquicentennial.
Some hastily buried soldiers on the battlefield were later reinterred with formal
headstones in rows, with their identification recorded, and these places of burial
often became our National Cemeteries.
Here at Gettysburg someone has left a very small American flag along a rock wall.
Walking the national cemeteries or battlefields still inspire, humble, and remind us
what others sacrificed.
Did you know? During the Civil War Centennial, the state of Michigan published a
series of booklets from research done by committees of the Michigan Civil War
Centennial Observance Commission. Titles include:
Civil War Facts
Mary Austin Wallace: Her Diary, 1862 by Miss Julia McCune, editor
Michigan Women in the Civil War by Mrs. Raymond H. Millbrook, editor
Materials on the Civil War Recommended for Use in Schools by Miss Irene C.
Michigan Institutions of Higher Education in the Civil War by Willis F. Dunbar,
Michigan Labor and the Civil War by Albert Blum and Dan Georgakas
Michigan and the Civil War Years, 1860-1866 A Wartime Chronicle by George
Michigan in the Civil War: A Guide to the Materials in Detroit Newspapers,
1861-1866 by Miss Helen H. Ellis
Effects of the Civil War on Farming in Michigan by Joseph J. Marks, editor
The Dutch Churches in Michigan During the Civil War by Wynand Wichers
The Impact of the Civil War on the Presbyterian Church in Michigan by Maurice
The Methodist Episcopal Church in Michigan During the Civil War by Mrs.
Margaret B. Macmillan
Michigan Catholicism in the Era of the Civil War by Frederic H. Hayes
Michigan Civil War Monuments by George S. May
The Effect of the Civil War on Music in Michigan by Mrs. Mary D. Teal and
Lawrence W. Brown
The Baptists of Michigan and the Civil War by Judson LeRoy Day II
The Episcopal Church in Michigan During the Civil War by Rev. Frank M.
Michigan Medal of Honor Winners in the Civil War by Mrs. Raymond H.
The Impact of the Civil War Upon the Congregational Church by Miss
The Tri-State Soldiers' and Sailors' Encampment by John Yzenbaard
The Effect of the Civil War Upon Manufacturing by Kenneth Metcalf
Twice Told Tales by Mrs. Raymond H. Millbrook
The Impact of the Civil War Upon Mining by Victor Lemmer
The Impact of the Civil War Upon the Negro by Norman Macrae
Small Arms Used by Michigan Regiments in the Civil War by Roger
Report to the Governor and the People of Michigan
These booklets make for interesting reading and are available at some of
the library branches of the Monroe County Library System, reference dept.
Check the online catalog for specific titles and availability (some may be
available through inter-library loan since most seem to be only for in-house reading.)
Another Michigan booklet along this line is: Michigan Soldiers in the Civil War by
Frederick D. Williams. This easy-read booklet was originally from an 1960 article
in "Michigan History" magazine and developed into a fuller booklet. The 5th edition
is from 2002.