John M. Bancroft

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1st Lt. John M. Bancroft

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John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Clouds Mills, Virginia
July 19, 1861

Mr. T. H. Hinchman
Dear Sir,

We are now at the seat of war and the preparations and movements of the last few days indicate some battlefields too. The regiment came here on Sunday and on Tuesday was ordered to march at 10 a.m. toward Fairfax. I was quite sick Monday and they would not let me go on Tuesday. There are some 73 men here to take care of the camp and most of them are sick. The Brigade composed of the Michigan 1st, New York (Ellsworth Zouaves), Michigan 4th, Vermont & Mass started on Tuesday.

During the day, 22 regiments passed and since two large trains of provisions & cattle have gone forward. It is reported that the whole army is on the move north & south of us. They entered Fairfax and met with no resistance but we could hear the guns for about 40 min. yesterday p.m. and suppose there was an engagement at Centreville. There are various rumors this morning about the fight.

I am better now and wish we may be ordered forward to join the regiment soon. Geo. L. Maltz is well. He is one of the Color Guard.

Of this matter of Mr. Bailey’s, I would say that I think him a reliable man and I think I am secure. The Supervisor of Adrian refuses to let Mrs. B have any money on some legal technicality although he previously said that the certificate was right. As the Col. & the Capt. Are both absent, I advance him some money to prevent him from starting forward to see them, which of course would not result in any assistance very soon.

Very respectfully yours, — John M. Bancroft


John M. Bancroft wrote his letter to his Aunt. Images not available.

Michigan 4th Regiment
Miner’s Farm near
Falls Church
October 5, 1861

Dear Aunt

Last week we took up our encampment at Fort Woodbury and moved it, clearing up stumps and grading the streets in the nicest order, making one of the finest camps this side of the river and as oftentimes we have left it. Sat. night last, we were ordered to fall in light marching order and traveled that night till nine o’clock, stopping in the woods we knew not how near the rebels. While on the march Sherman’s Battery passed us and the 9th Mass. (Irish). The cry was “onward!”

We awoke bright and early Sunday morning and lay there quietly all day — in fact, till Wednesday — sleeping right under the stars and as the school boy said of his home,”right under the middle of heaven.” We have been on guard, picket, and other duty and have leveled acres of heavy, valuable timber. Falls Church is a small village of a church and a half of a dozen farm houses. Our troops have set on fire several houses and wheat stacks and destroyed much property. Our Army looked fine by night as one saw the camp fires burning for miles. I keep a diary of many events as they happen — especially on movements and occasionally write my friend, Col. Scripps of the Detroit Advertiser, the movements of the Mich. 4th.

Col. Woodbury told me the other day that I should have a Lieutenancy the first chance and that, when not asked for. I consider [it] a compliment. The Chaplain also said that the Col. was pleased with J. M. B. Most of my friends have held back until they get commissions before enlisting, but I told them I was going to earn mine and I feel that I am and hope that promotions will occur to give [me] a place. Most of the officers have changed already. I want a sash and sword to receive my “welcome home.” Enclosed is a letter from Mr. T. H. Hinchman and some papers of mine which I place in Uncle Milo’s care for safe keeping. The $500 I did not need to use. It shows the confidence I gained in Detroit.

Love to all — John M. Bancroft

The Michigan troops are mentioned quite frequently in the papers throughout the country and some of the illustrated give good representations of familiar scenes.

October 6th afternoon — Yours of the 2nd was at hand. In my note-book I have the following— Oct. 2nd On picket at a wheat stack with the reserve. Cooked a nice dish of potatoes and some nice tomatoes with bread, a piece of pork, etc. from major Nut’s garden near Fall’s Church. Gen. Porter reprimands the officer of the picket for inattention to duty. This is a beautiful country, is rough but uncivilized and uncultivated. There are a few places beautifully situated and surrounded by nice groves. They are mostly away from the road and the farms are traversed by bypaths to the roads and to other farm houses. Falls Church looks quite [like] New England. Sunday has been a busy day with us. Company inspection at 7, regimental inspection at 9, and church at 10:30. It was my duty to read the Articles of War, 18 pages, to those who did not go to church.

Yesterday afternoon the rebels threw shell into Gen. McDowell’s men on our left, Upton’s Hill, which was replied to by our guns. No damage. By the way, tell Uncle Milo or Joseph Pratt that if they can get me an appointment in a Mass. Regt., I can get a transfer from our Colonel and perhaps get a day or two at home. Home — that is a strange idea to the soldier and the time is far distant when we shall breathe free air again, but I have not felt it much. There has so much to do and learn that I do not to think of the difference in circumstance and surroundings of those around me and I knew it when I enlisted. I get the Boston Post daily, the Detroit Advertiser tri-weekly, and other papers occasionally, so you see I have friends. Mr. Hinchman writes often and says that I give him the best letter he gets of the Army. So if I do not get a worthy situation during the war, if we gain the day, I will consider it an honor to have been one of that has tried to do his duty as it came and I think I have gained friends who will do the best they can to give me a good situation when it is over.

The war will go forward soon with energy and will in the end be successful for the U. S. and might have been before had the men of the North come forward with proper energy, but now the interests of the country are so linked with it that it must succeed. This nation is to be much more of a military nation than ever before and I think perhaps the best place for me would be to join the U. S. Engineers Corps. But I am in hopes that we shall carry on this war so that ‘ere one year we may be home. Slavery will not amount to much hereafter in Virginia, I think, and wherever our armies travel. Our lines extend 40 miles down the river. Soldiers duty soon gets to be almost a routine. Most of his time is occupied and they look forward to an engagement as a change and a step toward going home, which with us of the Mich 4th, is an important item.

Yours in good health and pleasant weather, — J. M. B.


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Jan. 26th, 1862

Mr. T. H. Hinchman,

As a friend, permit me to ask you to deliver the enclosed to the Adj. Gen’l. On receiving the commission as 2nd Lieut., I thought perhaps Col. Childs had been under influences of liquor or had made the mistake when I would have no legal claim to a 1st Lieut. position. Please read the enclosed and if it is necessary, write to Col. Childs. At the time by the date of the commissions there would have been 11 1st Lieuts. in the regiment, so they assigned me a 2nd Lieut. again to correspond with the commission of the Col. supposed Col. Childs had made the error and recommended me as such. But to make the transfer on the rolls from 1st to 2nd Lieut. would show false muster and would keep me from getting my pay for some time and I hope to hear from this before the next muster. Surely I think those who have been in their places since the regt. was organized ought to get their pay without trouble. We were paid Sat. night after returning from our advance of the past week in regard to which I am sorry I have not time to write by the present mail.

Yours truly, — Lieut. J. M. Bancroft

Weather comfortable.

If there is informality in not writing through Regimental Headquarters, it is by advice of Capt. Gordon & if any remark is made write me & I will rectify it.


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Camp Michigan near Richmond, Va.
June 13th, 1862

Mr. T. H. Hinchman
Dear Sir,

Yours was duly received but owing from want of information to give you any insight in the position and progress of Army movement here, I have deferred writing. Suffice it to say that the main part of last week was spent coming from Washington here. We passed one R.R. train of 4 Engines 8 cars near the mouth of the Potomac. Another we found on board the fleet up York River. I should suppose there was nearly 1000 vessels of various kind in the York & Pamunkey rivers. Any quantity of forage and commissary stores. A R.R. in operation to near Richmond. Wounded soldiers going to White House [Landing] then north. I have been able to get no information on the fight save for the papers.

We are near New Bridge. Fitz J. Porter’s Corps consists of the Reserve of Regulars, Artillery, & Morell’s Division. Franklin is on our right (partly Regulars). Both on Reserve. I think the Main body of the Army is over the Chickahominy and entrenched.

It is rumored that Battery No 1 of seige guns from Yorktown is ready and from the sound this morning, I think they must have been trying them. All this week there has been more or less firing on the left over the river — 30 or 40 guns a day. This morning we have had about two hours [of] pretty brisk firing. Last night we received orders to cook three days rations and be ready at a moment’s notice. We know very little of the movements of other parts of the line. We have built four bridges over the river but the Rebels picket near one end and we cannot cross without a fight. I hear the reserve artillery with Gen. McClellan’s Headquarters moved over Bottom’s Bridge yesterday and that we are to cross the same way. The Balloon which is near us has been up all the morning. Mail closes at 9 which will acct. for the haste in which this is written.

Yours Truly, — Sergt. J. M. Bancroft
Co. I 4th Mich. Vols.

Quite warm today.


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Harrison’s Landing , Va.
July 23rd, 1862

Mr. T. H. Hinchman
Dear Sir,

Last night Sergeant Maltz came down the river from Richmond with a party of discharged prisoners. He went on board the R. S. Spaulding bound for New York. He looks well, was walking about, and wished to stop with the regiment. His wounds are healing fast & give him no trouble. He will stop in New York at 327 6th Ave. and does not think of going home, but he wishes to get a furlough. Now is the time for our officers cannot get furloughs.

Charley Dupont is here with one eye out but in good health and will undoubtedly by aid of an artificial eye look as well as ever. They were all looking well. Maltz is in first rate spirits and says he will be back in a month, but I think he will get letters from home which will tempt him to take a 30 days furlough to Detroit. Please inform his mother. Kydd brought down a letter for Maltz from home.

I am in good health & spirits but have to keep moving. My duties as Orderly Sergeant keep me busy most of the time but I think they will be lighter as I get accustomed to them and we get over the bustle of issuing clothing, ammunition, accoutrements, tents, etc. and get used to the new officers and the duties they require for new brooms sweep clean. Lt. Gordon will soon return I expect. Slocum is in New York but we have not heard from him lately. Pay rolls have been sent in and we expect the Paymaster soon. I will send Robinson’s Descriptive List as soon as I can.

Mayor Barry of Ann Arbor is here. I have written to you of the “7 days” since July 1st and also answered your last. Chapin rec’d one from you a few days since. C. Dupont of Co. K was reportedly killed. Wm. W Haven, Co. I, was reported killed and passed here several days since. Everything all quiet.

I remain respectfully yours, — Sergt. John M. Bancroft
Co. I, 4th Mich. Vols., Griffin’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Camp near Falmouth, Va.
February 8th, 1863

Mr. T. H. Hinchman
Dear Sir,

Yours last was duly received. As yet I have rec’d. Nothing from Detroit. I hope the Adj. Gen’l. will attend to this before our next muster.

Feb. 28th Capt. H. H. Jeffords has left for Michigan and promises to remind him of it. Capt. J is recommended for Lt. Col. and most of us think he is the best man here by all odds. The Army of the Potomac is resolved into its separate Corps — No Grand Div’s. Some of them are embarking — the 9th and rumors says the 6th — rumor says under Gen. Burnsides. Tomorrow we go on fatigue with arms. Engineer Corp probably to occupy the rebels so they won’t have no idea of the present withdrawal of troops. Siegel’s Corps have changed position recently. We have cut most of the wood within the length of our lines and must be moving I suppose. Perhaps the Army of the Potomac is to be merged in various expeditions and will cease to exist. The enthusiasm of New England for McClellan perhaps renders this necessary. But the administration take choice between giving him command of the Army and having him a candidate for the next President. We have had so many Generals recently that have no pride in any of them as the old enthusiasm for Little Mac. Gen. Hooker is looking after the deserters and skulkers and is gaining favor by granting a limited number of passes & furloughs.

Capt. Lamson is here. George L. Maltz is all right. The weather is very changeable. Snow frozen ground, five days of mud, etc., etc. Not very cold nor much snow, but very bad going. We have rec’d. 4 months pay at last. I suppose it is really useless to think of any Engineers and Topographical position however much I may desire such. My health is pretty good save a chronic diarrhea which if I would take to the Dr’s. and take his medicine would have carried us out of the Army before now.

Regards to Col. Chapin and my friends in Detroit. I remain with respect & esteem very truly yours,

J. M. Bancroft
Lieut. Co. H 4th Mich. Vols.
Wash. D.C.


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Camp near Falmouth, Va.
March 16, 1863

Mr. T[heodore] H[enry] Hinchman
Dear Sir,

Col. Jeffords has arrived and was treated with a public gathering — a thing very unusual here. He spoke a few words which were well received by the men who proposed three cheers for Col. Jeffords. The men and most of the officers are well blessed. By a new order officers must have their commissions and be mustered in before they can get any pay. Col. Jeffords says the Adj. Gen. has corrected mine and sent it on but it has not been received here and perhaps it has been [misplaced?]. Please inquire.

The civilian, Lt. Col. Lombard’s brother, who was put in my place in Co. K, has not received his commission yet and if mine comes and I am mustered, I shall be all right. I have refused to to be mustered with the 2nd Lieut’s commission [as I] know it to be a mistake. I shall send one of those pictures of the 4th [Michigan] to Ben Vernor in a day or two.

Lt. Waltz is all right. He is in command of Co. E now — Lt. Theil being under arrest.

The weather continues cold and stormy forbidding any movement for the present. Capt. McLean has gone to Michigan on 13 days leave. On the Rappahannock, all is quiet. I hope and trust our forces south and west will gain dear and decided victories and then it seems there will be some prospect for an end of the Rebellion.

I remain very truly yours, — John M. Bancroft. Lt. Co. H 4th Mich. Infantry

Please send me a copy of the Adj. Gen’l if you can get one.


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Camp near Falmouth, Va.
April 10th, 1863

Mr. T. H. Hinchman
Dear Sir,

Yours of March 23rd was duly rec’d. I wrote to the Adj. Gen’l. for a duplicate at once, but have rec’d no reply as yet. No officer can get his pay now until he gets his discharge as an enlisted man and is mustered in as an officer so that the commission is necessary. Several officers are now waiting. The [men of the] regiment were sorry to lose Dr. Chamberlain. Dr. French has been appointed to succeed him with Dr. Watts as Asst. Surgeon.

Col. Jeffords has been court-martialed for being away beyond his Leave of Absence. We all hope he will soon be in command of the regiment for the Lt. Col. has lost rather than gained friends by his actions since Jefford’s promotion. On Brigade drill he has shown his ignorance of tactics and he is quite irritable generally.

Monteith of Porter’s staff, has been appointed Capt. of Co. E and takes command today. George is well. Lt. Vreeland has leave of absence and will leave on Sunday. I presume you will see him.

[It’s been] some time since I sent one of the pictures [of the] 4th Michigan Vols. to Ben Vernor. The weather is quite fine and spring like this week. The President is here reviewing the troops. On Tuesday he passed through the camps and on Wednesday we had a Grand Review of the Infantry of three Corps on the heights in view of the Rebs — no doubt for strategic purposes, for a review generally precedes a move.

[It has been] some time since the order granting leaves of absence and furloughs was suspended, but they are now granted. What would the people have said if McClellan had waited so long last spring and yet the roads are not passable for artillery. The wind and sun will soon improve them and open the buds too. We must move soon to get wood enough to cook with as it is nearly gone within the lines. We have to cart it two miles now. We await anxiously for good news from the west and south, as the weather will soon stop very active operations in those parts and leave the rest to turn their attention to the Army of the Potomac. So we hope that they may be used up where they are. Events seem to hang on to the great battles now in progress. If our cause triumphs we advance at once to complete the work I suppose. Another summer of toil and heat and sickness, but we now count time to the end instead of from the beginning.

We have been paid only to Oct. 31, 1862. Still very little is said by the men about it. The 12th N.Y. when three cheers were called for Pres. Lincoln, called for “Paymaster” instead. At the Grand Review there was no cheering. Today we are mustered in to furnish data to the Provost M. Gen’l. for the conscription. Captain Gordon of this company has been appointed Commissioner of Musters for the Division under those new orders for mustering in officers. He has a horse, a clerk, and is exempt from military duty. I expect he owes this to Gen’l. Porter. Maj. Randolph and Capt. Hall are yet away. My health remains good and I hope it may continue so. Hoping to hear from you and good news from the Army.

Death to Copperheads!

[I] remain yours respectfully, — J. M. Bancroft


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

4th Mich. Vol. Infantry
May 28th, 1863

Mr. T. H. Hinchman,
Detroit, Michigan

Sir, you will excuse me for not making a report in relation to our late movement previous as I was alone in command of Co. H from April 27th to May 23 and with reports of loss to Hd. Qtrs., clothing, Ordinance, and etc., and requisitions, with the duties of refitting camp and quarters, we have all been quite busy. At this time also we know very little in regard to the general movement save what we saw. In regard to the whole move the Swiss Gen. Foghardi explains as well as any. He was all over the field. Gen. Hooker has gained the confidence of the army and they want not interference. The following is going the rounds as a telegram. (Halleck) Hooker where are you, at the ford or over the river? (Hooker) I am minding my own business. (Halleck) Had you not better move on the enemy at once? (Hooker) Gen. Had better leave me alone.

Gov. Blair made a speech here yesterday and it being the first one the men had heard for a long time, he tried several times to get a laugh or cheer. But when he told them he thought they would have been more successful had they been 100 miles farther from Washington, that succeeded. Yesterday was a gala day with us. The Gov. & suits visited the 7th , 16th and arrived at our camp about 3 o’clock p.m. Col. Sweitzer had the Brigade out in honor and we passed in review, after which we returned to camp and forming square, had a speech from the Gov. It was very good — no reflections at former generals so the boys were better satisfied than they expected as many of them curse the Republican for continuing the war to make it a negro war. The reference made to homes and the friends who think of and pray for us brought up their better feelings and the presence of the ladies was an unusual and pleasant thing.

After we were dismissed, the off. call summoned us to meet the party augmented by most of the staff officers of the Brig. and its regt. Our paymaster arrived and made another very welcome addition to the party. Also Col. Abbot, 1st & Maj. Barry of the 16th. We were introduced to Mrs. Blair who seems to be an enthusiastic whole souled woman. She thought we were very young looking officers. In fact there are very few men here who were commissioned officers when we left Michigan and our Col. was a 2nd Lt. then. “Young men for war old men for council.”

Mr . Marley looks quite natural. The party took tea here and remained until about 7½ o’clock when they went to the 1st Michigan where arrangements had been made for them to stop. All seem to be well pleased and the visit enjoyed. Not much like Chandler’s flying trip when he did not stop long enough for half the officers to report after the call. Capt. Hall — who is one of our young officers — was the lion of the day, always very neatly dressed and the best officer of the line. We hope to have him for Major in place of Randolph. Marshall expects it but will get three votes if left to the line. Maltz is in good health and 2nd in command of E [Company].

It has been very warm but now it is comfortable. There is no sign of moving at present. We have put our camp in summer trim and are waiting. A great many regts. have gone home. I presume you have seen Capt. Gordon. He is now Asst. Prov. Mar. Gen’l. at Detroit. We have no news here. Lt. Vreeland has returned from the hospital and I have now gone to duty in Co. H. on whose rolls I now appear and shall draw today the six months pay due me, I think, as I have at last been mustered in. Marching orders, are paid off and leave camp about 5 o’clock. March till 10 o’clock. Camp Harwood. 29th March to Kelly’s Ford. Part of the Brigade is at Ellis Ford. 3rd Brigade 16th Mich. etc. are at Morrisville as reserve. Gen. Meade is up here today and we hear that the Army is under orders with six days rations. Doubtless there is some important move on hand or the Gen’l. would not be out here. We are protecting the ford with earth works etc. The paymaster is paying off the Brigade.

Yours truly, — J. M. Bancroft
1st Lieut. Co. H. 4th Mich. Washington D.C.

Sunday morning — All quiet on the Rappahannock


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Aldie, Va.
June 23rd, 1863

Mr. T. H. Hinchman
Dear Sir,

It is a long time since I have received a letter from you but thinking a few lines may be of interest to you in the present uncertain position of the Army, I send them.

May 28th we left the old “Camp near Falmouth” to guard Kelly’s Ford, at which place we remained — the 5th Corps guarding about 25 miles of river — until June 13th when we went to Morrisville. Sunday morning [the] 14th, the 5th Corps [was] reunited and proceeded to Catlett’s Station. Part of the Army had passed on going toward Manassas. 15th [we] marched to Manassas Junction and waited in line of battle for the Army to pass us all. Tuesday [the] 17th, marched by Centreville to Gum Springs. Hear of the invasion of Pennsylvania. Do not see the Army. Very hot and many fall under the effect of heat. The Lt. Col. of 25th New York [Shepard Gleason] was sun struck and was buried the next day. They go home the day after. No Rebs seen or heard.

18th [we] remain in camp, the Cavalry coming up and skirmishing to Aldie’s Gap. 19th [we] move to Aldie. Rainy and wet all next day. 21st Sunday — Up at 3 o’clock [and] advance through the gap to Middleburg, arrange in position to hold the place while Gen. Gregg with Cavalry drive back the Reb cavalry to Ashby’s gap in Blue Ridge. The 3rd Brigade went out. Capt. Mott, 16th Michigan, was killed. They lost 6 or 8 men.

Monday, commenced falling back to Middleburg and then to Aldie. The Rebs follow, skirmishing lightly with the rear guard. Rumor that Longstreet reinforced in our front Sunday night. Tuesday – Just came back to camp [at] Aldie. The 3rd Corps is at Gum Springs, the 11th and 12th to our right in in direction of Leesburg I think. Saturday Longstreet was reported at Leesburg and the rebel picket are reported at Manassas Junction. We do not know where the army is. The cavalry is not in very large force here. Rations come via Fairfax Station. No mail since the 13th [of] June and one paper [on the] 17th. We hear no cannonading and the position and strength of the rebs or our own Army is a mystery to us as well as to you. We are in good spirits and discipline but would be glad to get into some kind of shape so we might get clean clothes and something to live on besides hard tack, coffee, and fresh beef. Out to Middleburg we got fresh veal, pig and milk, also cherries.

It is a fine farming country out there. Nice stone walls to fight over, etc. Several hills for artillery. Sunday all quiet. Captain Monteith is A.A.A.G on Brigade staff. Lt Maltz is in command of Co. E. I remain in [Co.] H where I last wrote. Today all is quiet. Probably Lee is sending men west under cover of this raid. Hoping to hear from you, Sir.

I remain yours, —  J. M. Bancroft 1st Lt. Co. H. 4th Mich. Inf.


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Near Ashby’s Gap near Millersburg, Va.
July 21st, 1863

Mr. T. H. Hinchman,

Want of time forbids me to speak of Gettysburg and why and how we were so badly used or to say anything of the foolish lies printed by the New York Herald and copied by the Michigan papers.

We hope the Governor will send men to fill up our ranks to keep up our good name and to have someone to go home with us. We have some as good officers as to be found in the field and enough of them too while we now have only 101 men — a captain’s command. In case we are filled up, we must have a colonel. Most of the line officers think Major Hall is the man for the position. As a captain, Hall maintained a discipline which made his company the best in the regiment. While upon the march, he would bring in more men at night than any other officer. He is brave and cool on the field and the best officer to go into a fight under we have. While in camp he is a strict disciplinarian and a gentleman who will appear and act worthy [to] the regiment. I have heard that Gov. Blair has said he would not commission Lumbard as colonel and I see no reason why he should reverse his decision. Very few if any of us wish him to. However, if Lumbard is [made] colonel, Maj. Hall should be Lt. Col. and then the regiment will be most of the time under his command.

Capt. Loveland, Capt. Monteith and Lt. Gilbert are going home to get conscripts. Monteith will probably work for Lumbard while Loveland gives him a recommendation for the majority. This is an injustice as Monteith has been with us but a short time and officers who have been here all through the war have not been home. Loveland would be a better candidate for Major too. Marshall is talked of by some but I cannot see it though I might recommend him if I could gain anything for Hall. I wish you could communicate the feelings of the regiment to Ben Vernor [or] to any of the war men of Michigan, or to the Governor if you see him. Should you see Col. Chapin, Doolittle, or any of our former officers, I think they will take the same view of Maj. Hall’s capabilities. I have heard it said that in political influences, Lumbard would out-general Hall in this. Perhaps so. Hall was but a boy when we came out and has become a man. His reputation [and] his character is all in the past three years. I can say no more.

We have marched every day since leaving Gettysburg. Yesterday I was sick and obliged to ride in [an] ambulance and today I do not feel much better. It is quite a task to write.

Very respectfully yours, — J. M. Bancroft, 1st Lt. Co. H, 4th Michigan


John M. Bancroft wrote this letter to Theodore Henry Hinchman (1818-1895) — a druggist/grocer in Detroit, Michigan. The letter is the property of the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Camp near 3 Mile Station, Va.
Nov. 7th 1863

Mr. T. H. Hinchman
Dear Sir,

Enclosed you will find a letter addressed to the cashier,  U.S. Treasury, New York, in relation to the check sent you Aug. 8th 1863. Will you please affix to it a statement or affidavit –- if that is necessary that you have not received the check such being the case, and forward the same to New York.

During the month of October we had some fine marching. The campaign commenced Oct. 10th by an advance from Culpepper toward the Rapidan. Oct. 11th we crossed the Rappahanock. Oct. 12th recrossed the Rappahanock and advanced in line to Brandy Station — the whole Army being over and every indication of a fight. By this move Lee was mystified & delayed 24 hours. 2 o’clock a.m. we crossed over the Rappahannock. Oct. 13th we marched during the day to Catlett’s Station. Several times we crossed open plains showing the different columns in motion. Meade is good in keeping us well massed and he moves with less display and faster than any other. Oct. 14th We moved on, taking dinner at Bristoe, the Rebs in their attack of the 2nd Army Corps, throwing shell into our 3rd Div. We moved on to Manassas and formed in line. The Army being about as follows — 1st & 6th at Centreville, 3rd at Bull Run, 5th at Manassas Junction, 2nd at Bristoe in just 2 days from being in line of battle at Brandy Station. At dark we moved out double quick to support the 2nd Corps. The same night both [the] 2nd and 5th Corps crossed Bull Run and rested at Centreville, in 2 days from [the] time we left the Rappahanock. [Oct.] 15th we moved to Fairfax, counter-marched between Fairfax and Centreville several days in the rain and at last advanced to our present position. The 5th Corps as said to be the reserve. At least we are much nearer [to] Army Hd. Qtrs. than formerly. We do not apprehend a fight here this fall though we are ready. We are yet in marching order and do not expect to remain in this position long. It is impossible to obtain a leave of absence. About 100 of our men are willing to re-enlist if they can go home to reorganize. Regards to Col. Chapin.

I remain respectfully yours, — J.M. Bancroft, 1st Lt. Co. H, 4th Mich. Wash. D. C.