Byron Gillespie Saxton


Pvt. Byron G. Saxton

Byron Gillespie Saxton (1834-1900) enlisted with the Re-organized Fourth Michigan Infantry on August 23, 1864. He served until he mustered out on May 26, 1866 at Houston, Texas. He had previously served with the 13th Michigan Infantry from September 10, 1861 until being discharged on January 20, 1863.

Byron was the son of Joseph Jehial Saxton (1800-1879) and Margaret Gillespie (1807-1886) of Paw Paw, Van Buren county, Michigan. Byron, a shoemaker by trade, was married to Mary Ann Lawrence (1842-1936) in February 1863. Their first child (“Ella”) was born in June 1864 just before Byron enlisted in the Re-organized Fourth Michigan.


Texas Camp on the banks of Green Lake
July 17, 1865

Dear wife,

I have taken my pen once more to write to one that I love and cherish.

We arrived here the 11th of June. The distance which we come afoot is 35 miles. After we landed we stayed there some two hours, then we started on the march. It was four o’clock when we left there. They was no water between there and here. We traveled till twelve at night. Then we laid down till four, got up [and] started to come through. When we arrived at the lake, they wasn’t but a few men here. They had all of them fell out. The weather was so hot they could not stand it without water. They was a good many laid in the prairie to die. They would have died if they had not carried water back to them. They had every horse the could get to carry water to them. Some took it afoot to carry water. They was some of the boys died. ____, it look awful hard to see them look up to us and ask for water to drink when we had none to give them. If we had, it would of saved their lives. The sun was so hot they was no stirring when they cut down. They was no shade for them to get under. They would have to sit still in the boiling sun to rest.

O dear one, I am not sick of soldiering — only to think the way they do with them. What would you say if I would leave and come home? You must not feel bad if you should hear that I have left them. Give my love to all [and] keep a good share for yourself. Write as soon as you get this.

— Byron G. Saxton

Direct your letters to Cairo, Illinois, 2nd Brig., 3rd Div., 4th Army Corps

Byron G. Saxton
Co. A, 4th Michigan Inf.