War-time Artifacts

The railroad passes shown below make up a very rare grouping. The passes are for the officers of seven (out of ten) companies in the original Fourth Michigan Infantry’s  to travel to various towns across the southern tier of Michigan. The officers were traveling by rail to bring fresh recruits back to the newly formed regiment at it’s training grounds in Adrian, Michigan. Each of these passes was issued before the regiment mustered into Federal service on June 21, 1861. To the best of my knowledge, no other Civil War collection has anything similar to this group of seven passes.

Private George P. Warner

This bible was presented to Private George P. Warner of Co. F by the Fort St. Presbyterian Church in Detroit, Michigan while the regiment was forming in May and June of 1861. George enlisted in the regiment on June 20th and was mustered into Federal service the same day. According to the inscription found in rear of the book, Private Lewis Beitler of Co. C, 2nd Wisconsin Inf. found Warner’s bible on the night of July 21, 1861 at Fairfax Court House on the night of July 21, 1861, “after the Bull Run fight”. It is unknown as to why Warner left the book at Fairfax Court House. He may have intentionally left the bible behind, or simply misplaced it as the men of the Fourth Michigan followed the beaten Union forces on their retreat back to Washington D.C.  Less than two weeks later, on August 3, 1861, records indicate that Private George Warner deserted.


George Warner/ Lewis Beitler bible; courtesy of the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum.

Private Hiram L. Hartson

The identification badge shown below belonged to Private Hiram L. Hartson of Co. E. and was similar to those made and sold by jewelers throughout the war, as seen by the jeweler’s advertisement displayed next to it. According to provenance given to me  at the time of purchase, Hiram’s badge was recovered somewhere near Petersburg, Virginia. The fact that the badge no longer has the t-pin that allowed a soldier to attach the pin to his clothing was very likely the reason for Hiram’s war-time loss of this badge.

Privates Andrew Jackson Kaiser, Morris Kane, and Charles Tomlinson

Identification discs were in essence the fore-runners of the military dog-tags that would eventually be issued by the government years after the Civil War had ended. These were private purchase items and not provided by the Federal military at the time. Camp sutlers were among the various sources for soldiers who worried about being left on a battlefield as an “unknown”. The three examples of identification discs that are displayed below belonged to men of the Fourth Michigan Infantry. The disc on the left belonged to Private Andrew Jackson Kaiser of Co. C., while the middle example belonged to Private Morris Kane of Co. K. Both of these men survived the war and very likely kept these relics as mementos of it. The disc on the right belonged to Private Charles Tomlinson who was killed in action near Richmond, Va. on June 3, 1864. Notice the battle honors stamped on both sides of the discs belonging to both Kaiser and Tomlinson. It’s uncommon to find discs with as are found on these two.

ID disc group image (side 2)

These are the reverse sides of the discs in the same order:

ID disc group image (side 1)

Captain David D. Marshall

The engraving on this model 1850 Staff and Field officer’s sword indicates that it was “Presented to Capt. D. D. Marshall by Co. G 4th Regt. Mich. Vol. Feb. 1st, 1862”. Captain David Marshall’s presentation sword is one of only a handful of swords presented to officers in the Fourth Michigan that still exist today. The two manuals seen along with the sword also belonged to Captain Marshall. The “Regulations for the Recruiting Service of the Army of the United Staes” manual was gifted to Marshall by his friend the Acting Adjutant of the Fourth Michigan infantry, George Maltz. Captain Marshall would undoubtly use it when he returned to Michigan in 1863 in order to solicit recruits to replace those lost by the regiment in disease and battle in the previous year and a half. The second book is one which was written by Major General George McClellan, “Bayonet Excercise of the Army” and it bears Marshall’s inscription inside the front leaf.

Lieutenant Leroy Mead

According to the inscription, this imported, non-regulation model 1850 staff and field officer’s sword was presented to Lieutenant Leroy Mead, of Company G, by his “Friends in New York”. It is shared here through the courtesy of it’s owner, Wes Powers.

Lieutenant Edward H. C. Taylor

Sometime after January 1, 1862, 2nd Lieut. William C. Brown presented this copy of  Vol. II of Casey’s Infantry Tactics to Segt. Major Edward H. C. Taylor. Both served in Company A.

This Confederate short sword was captured from the Louisiana Tigers by Company A of the Fourth Michigan Infantry on May 24, 1862. The regiment, along with 2nd Lt. George Armstrong Custer of the Second U. S. Cavalry, had crossed the Chickahominy River to engage the rebels and had successfully routed them. This sword must have been given to Custer shortly afterwards. The sword is on display at the Monroe County Historical Museum in Monroe, Michigan.

Louisiana Tigers short sword

Colonel Harrison Herbert Jeffords

All of the following items belonged to Colonel Harrison H. Jeffords:

Lt. Moses F. Carleton

These items are the personal effects of 2nd Lt. Moses F. Carleton, Co. I of the Reorganized 4th Michigan Infantry:

Corporal Edward Sumner

The pistol shown below was owned by Corporal Edward Sumner and displays his name, which he had engraved along the backstrap:

Sergeant Irvin S.  Miner

The bone jewelry shown below were carved by Sergt. Miner, possibly while he was a prisoner being held in Richmond’s Belle Island POW camp in 1863:


Corporal Adelbert Benson

This Federal regulation army tin cup belonged to Private Adelbert Benson of Company A. “4th Mich. Benson” are scratched in the bottom surface of the cup. He was killed in action at Gettysburg, Pa. on July 2, 1863 and is buried at the National Cemetery there. Images are provided courtesy of David K. Parks at Relicsofhistory.com.

Adelbert Benson’s grave marker in The National Cemetery at Gettysburg:

Adelbert Benson grave marker

Private Albert Hartson Boies

Albert Boies was wounded in action at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 2, 1863, and eventually transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on March 14, 1864. This jacket was worn by Private Boies before he was discharged from Company F of the 19th Regiment of the Veteran Reserve Corps on September 10, 1864.

Unidentified Fourth Michigan Infantry band member

These are two early wartime photographs of various unidentified members of the Fourth Michigan Infantry. They were both taken by a photographer from Matthew Brady’s Photography studio sometime in the fall of 1861.

In the first image, an unidentified private is seen wearing what appears to be an altered black leather rifle sling as a waist belt in order to keep his four button sack coat tight around his waist. The soldier standing on the right is wearing a non-commissioned officer’s / musician’s baldric with the accompanying sword.

Two unidentified members of the Fourth Michigan Infantry

Two unidentified members of the Fourth Michigan Infantry in 1861

This second image was also taken by a member of Matthew Brady’s Photographic studio in late 1861. In this image, three musicians of the regiments band carry their instruments as they pose for the photographer while in camp. Each of the men in the forefront of the photograph are each wearing a belt made from a modified non-commissioned officer’s / musician’s baldric as seen in the first image.

Band members of the Fourth Michigan Infantry pose in 1861.

This NCO / Musicians baldric, which has been modified for use as a belt, is identical  to that which is worn by the three band members above. Due to the scarcity of this belt rig, as well as wartime photographs of men from other regiments wearing one, it is quite possible that this belt was worn by a musician in the Fourth Michigan Infantry, though that is not definitive at this time.

Exterior view of a NCO or Musician's Baldric that has been modified for use as a musician's belt.

Exterior view of a NCO or Musician’s Baldric that has been modified for use as a musician’s belt.

Interior view of a NCO or Musician's Baldric that has been modified for use as a musician's belt.

Interior view of a NCO or Musician’s Baldric that has been modified for use as a musician’s belt.