William Marsh was born on July 22, 1842, in Weybridge, Vermont. Nineteen year old, William enlisted as a Private in Company H of the Fourth Michigan Infantry, on June 20, 1861, and later re-enlisted and was on detached service with Company H of the First Michigan Infantry, by order, July 2, 1864, Petersburg, Virginia. On July 1, 1865, William was transferred to Company C of the Reorganized Fourth Michigan Infantry, but two months later, on September 11, 1865, he was admitted to Harper U.S. General Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. William was discharged from the service on Serptember 26, 1865, while in Detroit. William died of congestion of the lungs on January 10, 1890, and was buried in Columbus, Ohio.
William wrote the following letter to his mother, Mrs. Achsah (Alonzo) Marsh, of Dennison, Ohio:
Sept. 28, 1861
As it is raining, I have time to write a little. Here is a picture that you can have. I have got 8 of them & I am going to send them to all my relations1. I have not seen a sick day since I came this side of the river. Most all the boys are well. As long as we keep in exercise, I will keep well. Tuesday was the first day that I was in the guard house. Our First Lieutenant2got a pass for 4 of us to go in town & we got parted & the city patrol got me & put me in the District Guard House. I stayed there about 2 hours & then escaped with another Lieut. that belonged to a New York Co. We was taken once each day & I was there 2 days, then they gave me a pass to go with. It is no disgrace to get in there as officers were there with me. They would arrest a Colonel if he did not have a pass & serve them like one of us. It is raining today. Sunday we will be on picket, the whole regiment, and stay 2 days. That is nice work. There will be some shooting done if they venture near enough. Our boys can’t stand the sight of a secesh. You can read more than we know about the war. There is some men here that used to live in Hudson. They say that Pete Decker is there on the R.R. as boss & Abr. North is still there. I have wrote to Walter & I expect an answer this week. I can’t think of anything to write so I will close this by telling you to send me the Hearsays & you may send me them that I have not read if you will & let all the debts go, except Grovesnors.
William H. Marsh
Co H Michigan 4
Regiment Washington D.C.
Here is Charles flag. Send me them papers as regular as you can. Tell Father to direct his letter right next time. The way is:
William H. Marsh
4th Michigan Regiment
Washington D. C.
My last letter was advertised. Here is some percussion caps that we now use.
1 William quite probably had 8 “carte de visite” photographs taken of himself. They were small mounted albumen images that were about the size of a Victorian “visiting” card (2 1/8” x 3 ½ “). A set of Eight cdv photographs was typically a minimal lot order for many photographers.
2 First Lieutenant Simon B. Hadley of Company H