The Michigan Argus, 21 June 1861
Resolutions passed by the Dexter Union Guards
Camp Williams, June 15
Agreeable to notice Company K formerly known as the Dexter Union Guard, convened Thursday morning June 13th for the purpose of rendering a proper acknowledgement to the noble hearted ladies of Dexter and vicinity for acts of kindness received.
On motion, the company designated the following gentlemen as a committee to report resolutions expressive of their gratitude: H. H. Jefford, A. J. Easton, and Jas. B. McLean.
The committee, through the chairman, reported the following preambles and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, We, the members of Company K, being called upon to go forth and manfully contend on the field of carnage for our country and its institutions, and to sustain that government bequeathed to us by the veterans of ’76, and
Whereas, In patriotic obedience to duty we freely enter the soldier’s life, with its few privileges and many responsibilities, its hardships and restrictions; and
Whereas, To smooth our rugged course the kind ladies of Dexter and vicinity have been prompted by the most patriotic motives in contributing in various ways to our convenience and comfort, and being desirous to render public acknowledgement of these numerous exhibitions of kindness and patriotism; therefore be it
Resolved, That we earnestly solicit the ladies of Dexter to receive our fervent acknowledgement of favors received, and our lasting gratitude for their united and zealous labors, in providing and contributing comforts that tend to relieve campaign life of many of its privations.
Resolved, That in the presentation of our country’s flag, oil cloth capes, Havelock cap covers, and housewives, we witness that nobleness and patriotism worthy the descendants of the matrons of ’76, which reflect the greatest credit on the donors.
Resolved, That while we ask no other incentive to our duty in the cause in which we are engaged, save the desire to support that government which has so long been our hope and pride — that it should continue in the future as it has in the past — yet the memory of all those acts of kindness will come to us under whatever circumstances we may be placed, and will kindle in our hearts a stronger determination to meet manfully and fearlessly the danger and temptation that surround our pathway.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 25 June 1861
The toledo train this morning brought Quartermaster H. A. Grannis, of the 4th Michigan Regiment, who precedes the troops to Harrisburg, to make arrangements in advance on the road. He informed us that the regiment were to leave Adrian, where they have been encamped since May 27th, at 11 o’clock this morning, and they will probably reach here between 5 and 6 o’clock this afternoon. They will make a short stop at the depot and receive coffee from Wheeler’s Dining Hall. Twenty-five passenger cars from the Cleveland & Erie Railroad have been sent to Toledo, and the train (the balance consisting of Cleveland & Toledo cars) will run through from Toledo to Dunkirk without change of cars. At Dunkirk the troops will embark on the N. Y. & E. road and proceed to Elmira, thence to Harrisburg to receive arms and equipments. The regiment was partially armed a short time ago, but those arms will be left behind. They are uniformed in a neat suit of substantial gray cloth. They are provided with four days rations.
On Friday last the ladies of Adrian presented the 4th regiment with an elegant flag.
We publish the correct list of the regimental and company officers below. The Colonel, we understand, has not seen service. The Lieut. Colonel, W. W. Duffield, was Adjutant of a Tennessee regiment in the Mexican war,
Officers of the Fourth Regiment
Colonel — Dwight A. Woodbury
Lieut. Colonel — Wm. W. Duffield
Major — Jonathan W. Childs
Adjutant — Francis S. Earl
Quartermaster — Henry A. Grannis
Surgeon — Thomas Tunnicliff
Ass’t Surgeon — D. P. Chamberlain
Chaplain — Henry N. Strong
Sergeant Major — Alvan C. Lamson
Commissary Sergeant — Selah V. Reeve
Quartermaster’s Sergeant — L. P. Baldwin
Drum Major — Isaac Dieffenbaugh
Fire Major — John White
Company A — Smith Guard, Monroe
Captain — Constant Luce
1st Lieut. — John N. Oliver
2d Lieut. — A. Morrell Rose
Company B — Lenawee Tigers, Adrian
Captain — Jas. H. Cole
1st Lieut. — Jeremiah D. Slocum
2d Lieut. — Jas. E. Avery
Company C — Sturgis
Captain — Abram R. Wood
1st Lieut. — Henry A. Grannis
2d Lieut. — Ebenezer French
Company D — Barry Guard, Ann Arbor
Captain — John M. Randolph
1st Lieut. — Richard D. DePuy
2d Lieut. — Jas. W. Hall
Company E — Hillsdale Volunteers
Captain — George W. Lombard
1st. Lieut. — Charles C. Doolittle
2d Lieut. — Chas. D. Parsons
Company F — Hudson Volunteers
Captain — Samuel DeGolyer
1st Lieut. — Simon B. Preston
2d Lieut. — Joseph L. Smith
Company G — Tecumseh Union Cadets
Captain — David D. Marshall
1st Lieut. — Geo. Monteith
2d Lieut. — Jephtha W. Beers
Company H — Jonesville Grosvenor Guards
Captain — Moses A. Funk
1st Lieut. — Simon B. Hadley
2d Lieut. — Wm. H. McConnel
Company I — Trenton Volunteers
Captain — David A. Granger
1st Lieut. — Marshall W. Chapin
2d Lieut. — Francis S. Earl
Company K — Dexter Union Guard
Captain — Alex. D. Crane
1st Lieut. — Harrison H. Jeffords
2d Lieut. — James Malloy
New York Times, 26 May 1862
Saturday, May 24
The driving of the rebels from the vicinity of New Bridge by our artillery yesterday was followed up today by a movement wholly unexpected to our adversaries.
A reconnoissance, composed of the Fourth Michigan Regiment, Col. Woodbury, and a squad of the Second Cavalry, Capt. Gordon, was made, which is worthy of special mention. Five companies of the Fourth Michigan, under Owen, of the Topographical Engineers, and Lieut. Cusher of the Fifth Cavalry, acting with the Topographical Corps, crossed the Chickahominy a short distance above New Bridge. A small command of 30 men of the Fourth Michigan, succeeded in getting between four companies of the Fifth Louisiana Regiment, who were out on picket duty at the Bridge, and a brigade of the enemy who were supporting them.
In the meantime, the rest of the regiment and the squadrons of cavalry approached the bridge from this side, thus attracting the attention of the four Louisiana Companies. The first knowledge the rebels had of the near presence of an enemy was the firing from thirty muskets at pistol0shot range, making havoc in the ranks and causing a serious panic, while the main body advanced in front and opened a deadly fire.
The result was that 31 of the enemy were taken prisoners, 15 wounded, and between 60 and 70 left dead on the field. Among the prisoners was a lieutenant.
The casualties on our side were 1 killed, 1 mortally and 6 slightly wounded. Lieut. Bowen had his horse shot under him during the skirmish.
Watchman (Montpelier, Vermont), 30 May 1862
From Gen. McClellan’s Army
McClellan’s Headquarters, Saturday, May 24
The driving of the rebels from the vicinity of New Bridge by our artillery yesterday was followed up today by a movement wholly unexpected to our adversaries. A reconnoissance, composed of the 4th Michigan regiment, Col. Woodbury, and a squad of the 2d Cavalry, Capt. Gordon, was made, which is worthy of special mention. Five companies of the 4th Michigan under Bowen, of the topographical engineers and Lieut. Custer, of the 5th Cavalry, acting with the topographical corps, crossed the Chickahominy a short distance above New Bridge, with 30 men of the 4th Michigan. This small command succeeded in getting between four companies of the 5th Louisiana Regiment who were out on picket duty at the bridge, and a brigade of the enemy who were supporting them. In the meantime, the balance of the regiment and a squadron of cavalry approached the bridge from this side, thus attracting the attention of the four Louisiana companies. The first knowledge the rebels had of the near approach of an enemy was the firing from thirty muskets at pistol-shot range, making havoc in the ranks, and causing a serious panic, while the main body advanced in front and opened a deadly fire. The result was that 31 of the enemy were taken prisoners, 15 wounded, and between 60 and 70 left dead on the field. Among the prisoners was a Lieut. The casualties on our side were one killed, one mortally and eight slightly wounded — Lieut. Bowen had his horse shot under him during the skirmish. The light brigade under Gen. Stoneman, and a brigade of Gen. Davidson of Smith’s Division, today advanced from the New Bridge up the Chickahominy to Ellison’s mills on Bell’s Creek. Here they encountered four regiments of the enemy’s infantry with nine pieces of artillery and a command of cavalry. Of these the regiments of infantry and three pieces of artillery were on the opposite side of the creek. The balance of the infantry, composed of the 8th and 9th Georgia regiments under Gen. Howell Cobb, were posted in a favorable position to resist our advance to Mechanicsville.
Daily Missouri Democrat (St. Louis, Missouri), 30 May 1862
From Gen. McClellan’s Army
An Entire Rebel Brigade Routed by the Fourth Michigan Regiment
General McClellan Slowly but Steadily Advancing
Skirmish near Cold Harbor
Cold Harbor, Va., May 24, 1862
The most important skirmish that has occurred between our troops and the rebels in front of Richmond took place this morning. Engaged on our side was the 4th Michigan regiment, Col. Woodbury, who fought for two hours with desperate and heroic courage an entire rebel brigade. We lost one man killed, two mortally wounded, and four seriously wounded, and did not lose a prisoner. The rebels lost one hundred killed and wounded, and thirty-seven prisoners. The following is a detailed account of the affair:
Intelligence having reached headquarters that quite a force of the enemy were near New Bridge, the 4th Michigan regiment, Colonel Woodbury, was sent to feel them. The regiment left camp at 7 A.M., their Colonel at their head, and all in splendid spirits at the prospects of a recontre with the rebels. A secondary object of the expedition was to obtain information in regard to the roads and fords in the vicinity. Lieut. N. Bowen of the Topographical Engineers went with the expedition, as also a squadron of the 2d regular cavalry, under command of Capt. Gordon; a company of the 5th cavalry, Lieutenant Custer; a company of the 18th infantry, Capt. Forsyth; and a company of the d Infantry, Capt. McMillen. New Bridge is four miles from the camp. They went down the main road about two miles to what is called the Old Mill, and thence turned to the right through a piece of woods, keeping it till they came to an open field commanding a view of the Chickahominy river.
A portion of Co. A, 4th Michigan regiment, Capt. Rose, was here sent forward as skirmishers, and the remnant of the company kept as reserve. The regiment filed out of the wood by flank, and formed in line of battle very nearly parallel with the river, the left extending across the main road. Here the rebels were seen lying behind a fence across the river, which at this point is about thirty feet wide. In the men plunged, all accoutered as they were, but contrived to keep their muskets in condition to use. In some places the stream, which had been swollen by the rain during the night and morning, was so deep that the men were obliged to swim, and none got over without wading waist deep in water. But this was not the worst. The enemy, who had lain concealed behind a fence close to the opposite bank of the river, kept up an incessant fire upon them. Fortunately the enemy’s shots passed harmlessly over their heads; but the shooting did not dismay the men in the least. Lieutenant Bowen attempted to cross the stream with this horse, but the latter was shot under him before he had advanced a third of the way across…All the companies but two passed the river. One of these remained behind to act as skirmishers in the woods on the right, and the other to keep an eye on the bridge and to the left beyond to prevent being flanked on either side by the enemy.
As soon as our men crossed the river the work of firing commenced. Capt. Rose’s company discharged the first volley on our side. All the remaining companies had their muskets to their shoulders in double quick time. The firing was brisk and continuous on both sides. The rebels had two pieces of artillery from which they hurled shells at our men, but the shells, like their volleys of musketry, passed over the heads of our men. Their cannon were planted on a hill beyond, while the infantry still kept position behind the fence, which, in addition to having an embankment as the base, in the style of the old Virginia fences, had a deep and wide ditch in front. The shooting continued for nearly two hours. Our men drove the rebels behind the fence and their encampment. They fled, leaving their dead and wounded behind them, taking refuge in encampments on the hill.
On our side the last shot was fired. It was not deemed prudent to pursue the retreating enemy. It was evident that they had mistaken our force or else acted in retiring more intensely cowardly than we have ever thought them to be. They had four regiments engaged, 4th and 5th Louisiana Regiments, a Virginia, and an Alabama regiment, besides their artillery, while on our side there were actually only eight companies of the 4th Michigan regiment who did the fighting. Under the circumstances, of course, it was not deemed prudent to follow the foe.
The rebel loss is estimated in killed and wounded at about one hundred. In the ditch were found twenty-eight dead bodies. Among the killed were two lieutenants. One was shot with two balls through the head, and the body of the other was completely riddled with bullets. Of the thirty-seven prisoners we took, fifteen were wounded. Our men brought them of their shoulders across the stream, whence they were taken to a dwelling house near by and every possible care given to them by our surgeons. They all expressed astonishment at the care shown them, and stated that they had been told that if they ever fell into our hands they would be killed; and such fate they expected should be theirs.
Our men partook of the dinner the Louisiana Tigers had prepared for themselves. They captured their company books, and brought away rifles, muskets, swords, sashes, &c. I might recount any number of narrow escapes had I time.
General McClellan, having received intelligence of the skirmish, rode toward the river and met the regiment on its return. He grasped General [Colonel] Woodbury warmly by the hand and said, “General, I am happy to congratulate you again on your success. I have had occasion to do so before, and do so again with pleasure.” He also shook hands with Capt. Rose of the first company, and said, “I thank you, Captain; your men have done well.”
To some of the men he said, “How do you feel, boys?” They exclaimed, “General, we feel bully!”
“Do you think anything can stop you from going to Richmond?” he asked, and an enthusiastic “No!” rang from the whole line.
The Press (Philadelphia, PA), 30 May 1862
An Expedition and its Results
The 4th Regiment of Michigan troops this morning made an excursion across the Chickahominy at a point some five miles from Richmond, advanced a few hundred yards, came upon some rebel troops, and had quite a battle. The 4th came off victorious, driving the enemy from the field, and securing a rebel lieutenant and twenty privates prisoners. Twenty-three dead rebels were counted in one pile by Captain Marshall of the regiment. The troops retired across the Chickahominy, wading breast deep in water, and were warmly welcomed back to camp after their brilliant adventure. One man was killed and one wounded on our side. The number of rebel wounded is not known. The regiment is commanded by Col. Woodbury of Adrian, Michigan — a brave officer whose adventure today will secure the admiration of the whole army.
Leslie’s Illustrated, 21 June 1862
Charge of the 4th Michigan
The present war abounds with nobler instances of heroism that the whole range of Roman and Grecian history. This is the natural result of the superiority of our soldier material to that of other nations. The army of every other nation is invariably composed of either the dregs of its society or else the conscript, forced by a brutal law, fit only for slaves, to do from fear what can only be worthily performed by the loftiest faculties of man. Among these glorious incidents the charge of the 4th Michigan on a rebel brigade stand proudly eminent. Our Artist, who was a close spectator of the whole, says: “On May the 24th the Chickahominy at this point separated the two armies. Swol[le]n by the rains, the river was about 180 feet wife, and nearly up to the men’s necks. Col. Woodbury, the gallant leader of the 4th Michigan, had received order to reconnoitre, and accordingly, early in the morning, he came to this spot, where, on the other side, he saw a rebel brigade stationed. Their tents were on the banks, which were protected by a sort of chevaux de frise; in the rear was a dense mass of woods. Col. Woodbury immediately ordered Capt. Rose, with Company A, to cross the river about half a mile above New Bridge, and then deploy skirmishers to the left. They advanced to the hedge, under cover of which they fired with terrible effect. In the meantime Companies C, D, and F crossed the river in front of the rebel camp, and received a heavy fire from the rebels behind the fence. Fortunately it was not well aimed, otherwise the effect would have been deadly. In another minute our gallant men had gained the opposite bank, whereupon the enemy fled in great confusion. So excellent had been our firing that they lost about 100 in killed, wounded and prisoners. We only had two killed and six wounded. The 4th Michigan captured all the enemy’s tents and baggage.”
Hartford Daily Courant, 24 July 1862
[Extracts from a private to R. S. Lawrence, of Sharps’ Rifle Manufacturing Co., written by a former employee and now Lieut. in Berdan’s Sharp Shooters:]
Headquarters Berdan’s Sharp Shooters
Harrison’s Landing, July 7
I thought you would like to hear how your old “Sharps’ Rifle” stood the fighting in all the time we were changing our position from the Chickahominy to the James river. I have kept the rifle with me through it all, and was in the fight at Mechanicsville, at Gaines’ Mill, at White Oak Swamp, and at the last great fight on the 2d of July [actually 1st of July, Battle of Malvern Hill]. At the last, I used thirty-one cartridges. Our Lieut. Col. [William Y. W.] Ripley shot a man 600 or 700 yards off hand. I got a good place in the bushes and shot at my leisure, about 150 yards, using about twenty shots. I would not take $100 for the gun. The Sharps’ rifles have established their supremacy as a small arm for field fights and skirmishing. No one is found to say a word against them, unless it be a rebel.
On the 2d, four companies of our regiment were deployed in front of our line of field guns, about 250 yards in advance, to keep a look-out and check the advance of the enemy. We kept them in check about an hour, without losing a man, until they came out of the woods in strong force og infantry and a battery, when we took up our position in the rear of the 4th Michigan. Our batteries dismounted all the rebel cannon except one, and they hauled that off; then our sharp shooters took an advanced position again and picked off every rebel that dared show himself. But soon the rebels came out in great force again and charged our batteries. They were met by a telling fire of grape and canister which, with the fire of the 4th Michigan, checked them; but there was no retreat for them as other brigades were behind to charge on them if they fell back, with cavalry and artillery to keep the second and third lines up. It was certain death to them to retreat, and they had no alternative; it was fight or die, and of course they fought desperately. We destroyed nearly a whole division of them. The 4th Michigan fought until their colonel was killed, and they had lost in killed and wounded near half their regiment, and had fired all their ammunition, including all gathered from the dead and wounded. In one company all but eight were killed or wounded. As the regiment was ordered back, the sharp shooters moved up into line with the Sharps’ rifles, which seemed to electrify the whole line, and cheer after cheer went up as they heard volleys with such rapidity and effect, every man taking deliberate aim. We shot down their color-guard, and afterwards took their colors. It would please you to hear the praises bestowed upon ourselves and our rifles.
Gen. McClellan rode along by after the fight and wanted to know how the Sharps’ rifles were. They have been in every fight, on picket, or in bigger fights, since the battle of Fair Oaks. Our companies were detached so that we occupied the whole length of the line of the army. The rifles are well tested, as well as the regiment, and both are all right. Of the regiment we have lost in killed, wounded and missing, 69 men, and as we had to be on the alert twenty hours out of twenty-four, we are well nigh wore out, and must have one or two weeks rest.
Tell Mr. Palmer that he need not fear any bad results from the double trigger. If any man should propose changing to single triggers, we would shoot him.
[Editor’s Note: Christian Sharps invented the Sharps rifle in 1848 in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a single shot percussion lock breech loader that could be fired eight to ten times per minute (three times the rate of the Springfield rifle), weighed about 12 pounds (5.4 kg), was 47 inches (1,200 mm) in length with a 30-inch (760 mm) barrel and fired cartridges with a .52 caliber conical ball. The Sharps rifle was accurate up to 600 yards (550 m), so the typical Sharpshooter was able to put twenty bullets in a 24-inch (610 mm) pattern from 200 yards (180 m) away. Hiram Berdan, founder of the Sharpshooters, chose the Sharps rifle mainly because of its fast breech loading and outstanding accuracy from long-range distances. Unfortunately, though, Lieutenant General Winfield Scott denied Berdan’s request because he feared the issuance of Sharps rifles would lead to a waste of ammunition. Lt. General Scott insisted that Berdan’s men use a standard Springfield rifle. Berdan was not at all satisfied with Scott’s ruling, so he took his request for Sharps rifles directly to President Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln watched Berdan perform a demonstration of the Sharps rifle’s extreme speed and accuracy he was so impressed that he ordered them to be immediately issued to both Sharpshooter regiments. The sharpshooters were finally issued their Sharps rifles on May 8, 1862 — just prior to the Seven Days Battles on the Peninsula. (Wikipedia)]