Alvan Conner Lamson was born on April 17, 1839 in Detroit Michigan. At the age of 22 he enlisted as Sergeant Major in the Fourth Michigan Infantry on June 20, 1861, at Adrian, Michigan, mustering into Federal service on the same date. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of Company K on September 1, 1861 and then 1st Lieutenant of Company H on December 11, 1861. Alvan received his commission as Captain on July 18, 1862. He was on detached service on Colonel James McQuade’s staff as Acting Assistant Inspector General as of March 26, 1863. He was transferred to Company C of the Fourth Michigan Infantry on April 11th, 1863. Alvan was serving on General Jacob Sweitzer’s staff and detailed as Acting Assistant Inspector General, Second brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps from May 22, 1863 to March of 1864. He resigned and was honorably discharged on April 20, 1863. After the war Alvan married Eunice Gardner Cross Osborn on June 26, 1878, but died two years later in Detroit, Michigan, on September 21, 1880.
Headquarters 2nd Brig. 1st Div. 5 Corps In Camp Near Beverly Ford [Va.] August 20, 1863
Dear [Captain William F.] Robinson
Enclosed find certificate in duplicate signed by the subscriber, which will account for the lost property. They are made out according to the required form contained in the ordinance manual.
I am enjoying this extremely warm day on the banks of the Rappahanock about 10 miles from Kellys Ford. “All is quiet”, the same old story, yet we are under marching orders constantly intending to retire until the enemy makes a demonstration on our lines. No leaves are being granted, the reins being drawn closer and tighter each day, so that we are bound to die in the service. This seems to be the determination of the government.
Our headquarters are at a house occupied by two females, not young and beautiful such as you would delight to gaze on, but forlorn old maids, without ever a man about the house to teach them, until we made our appearance. We guard their property as usual. They remind us occasionally, in the language of Artemus Ward, with an approving smile. Such is life in the army. We live, tis true, but such a life, almost unbearable, yet to leave it now would only be to rush to ills we know not of. The draft I mean, which according to all accounts, is not a respecter of persons. I am glad I enlisted when the regiment was organized, aren’t you?
[2nd Lieutenant Benjamin] Westfall got back yesterday. Sidney Willis is now with his regiment. Colonel [George Lincoln] Prescott has gone home sick. Col. [James Clay] Rice commanding 3rd Brig. is a “star” now, absent without leave, having left without reporting the facts to either General [Charles] Griffin or General [George] Sykes, a very poor beginning for a General. [George] Yates made us a visit a few days ago. We laid him out as usual, sending him home wiser, if not a better, man.
What news do you have about our regiment. Who is to be the Col., Lt. Colonel, and last, though not least, Major? The latter has many aspirants, myself among the number, for I suppose [David] Marshall has no chance, yet many claims are ahead of mine, though I am senior, if Marshall is to be laid upon the shelf. [George} Montieth is rather ambitious for the position. However if I do not get [it] it will not kill me. Who knows but what you may be the lucky name, but you know how unfair it would be for you to outrank your former Captain? If you desire it, you have my well wishes for success, however you can let me know how things stand.
[General Jacob] Sweitzer is still the same, his “star” has not risen, but we are in hopes it will before long. He deserves it as you well know, for faithful service on many a bloody field.
Remember me to Mrs. Thurber if you see her, and I am your ob. servant, A. C. Lamson