Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, June 30, 2013 pg. 17
This July marks the 150th anniversary of the great Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Much is being written about it in the press and there are numerous commemorations being held. What was Albion's role, if any, at Gettysburg? Did Albion have any soldiers at that epic-making event, or is the historic record of it now gone with the wind?
Most of Albion's soldiers joined Company D of the 12th Michigan Infantry, and were involved in the Battle of Shiloh, but not Gettysburg. Another group of Albion men joined Company I of the 6th Michigan Volunteers which saw action in Mississippi and Louisiana. Those were the two "mostly Albion" units in the War. They both were fighting elsewhere when the Battle of Gettysburg occurred.
As a result it was generally understood that Albion did not have any soldiers at Gettysburg. Upon closer examination however, that was not the case. There were individuals living in Albion that joined other units such as in New York or Ohio where they were originally from, or other Michigan units. Some of them were in regiments that fought at Gettysburg. Furthermore, there were those who were not from Albion at the time, that joined units that fought in Gettysburg, and then after the War they moved to Albion. They subsequently belonged to our local E. W. Hollingsworth Post No. 210 of the Grand Army of the Republic.
In July 1913 on the 50th anniversary of the Battle, eight Albion soldiers who had participated at Gettysburg left Albion on June 28 on a train called the "Michigan Special," which eventually filled with 750 veterans who were among those who represented our State at that gathering. Local veteran Henry F. Gilbert wrote of his experiences at that reunion in the August 14, 1913 issue of the Albion Recorder. Among other things, he compared the menu provided the soldiers in 1863 with that in 1913 at the reunion: 1863: Breakfast was hardtack, salt pork coffee. Dinner: Coffee, salt port, hardtack. Supper: salt pork, hardtack, coffee. 1913: Breakfast consisted of puffed rice, fried eggs, fried bacon, cream potatoes, fresh bread, butter and coffee; Dinner: fricassee chicken, peas, corn, ice cream, cake, fresh bread, butter, coffee, iced tea, cigars. Supper: salmon, salad, macaroni, boiled eggs, cheese, warm bread, butter, and coffee.
In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, here is a list I've compiled of the Albion soldiers who fought in that Battle. There aren't that many, just nine (9), but they need to be recognized here. If you know of any others, please let me know their name and regiment, and I'll add them to my list: 1) Willard C. Durkee (1845-1928) Company B, 11th U.S. Infantry; 2) Henry F. Gilbert (1845-1919) Company E, 1st Michigan Infantry; 3) James W. Gillespie, Company F, 110th Ohio Volunteers; 4) Hiram Herrick (1843-1927) Company C, 101st NY Infantry; 5) Frank S. Ludlow (1842-1918), Company K, 16th Michigan Volunteers; 6) Reuben McWethy (1840-1914), Company B, 5th Michigan Cavalry; 7) Jacob Perine (1840-1942), Company E, 4th Michigan Infantry; Volda Kellogg (1833-1917) Company E, 76th NY Infantry who was also captured at Gettysburg; and finally, 9) Ferdinand D. Roudenbush (1844-1915), Company B, 136th NY Infantry. His regiment lost over 100 men at Gettysburg. In 1888 those of his group who survived held a reunion, and the Albion paper echoed the prevailing opinion at the time by noting, "Mr. Roudenbush is the only man living in Albion who took part in that combat."
Another soldier, Jacob Mayes (1837-1924) Company D, 6th West Virginia Militia was not at Gettysburg, but was in a skirmish several weeks later with Confederate troops retreating from Gettysburg, at the Bath Courthouse.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present the large cover of the local GAR memorial book, over 300 pages long which contains the individual service records of each of its members. The elaborate cover contains names of local dignitaries, and states, "Presented to E. W. Hollingsworth Post No. 210 Department of Michigan. Grand Army of the Republic. By Robert L. Warren, Jas. W. Sheldon, Charles S. Daskam, Isador Jacobs, O. Charles Gale, Mrs. E. W. Hollingsworth, Dr. E. L. Parmeter, Martin Haven, L. C. Rafter, Martin B. Wood, Eugene P. Robertson. Citizens of Albion January 21, 1885."
GAR Memorial Book, E. W. Hollingsworth Post No. 210 Department of Michigan.
All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic