Michigan in the Civil War

Preston family.

The papers of the family of Fowler Preston of St. Joseph, Mich., include Civil War letters of two of his sons, who served in the Union Navy.

Fowler Preston, Jr., enlisted in the Navy in 1861. During 1861-1862 he served on several ships that were maintaining the blockade of confederate ports off the North Carolina coast. He also visited Havana, Cuba, a neutral port, while in the Navy. With his one-year enlistment completed, Fowler returned to Michigan. The collection includes one letter (Oct. 5, 1861) of Fowler Preston, Jr., from the U.S.S. Stars and Stripes.

Wallace Preston spent the early part of the Civil War shipping on the Great Lakes, but in 1863 he also enlisted in the Navy. Wallace was assigned to the U.S. Steamer Proteus, which was based in Florida. The Proteus was engaged in enforcing the blockade off of Key West and Galveston. Like his brother, Wallace also returned to Michigan after military service. The collection includes two letters (July 6 and Oct. 11, 1864) of Wallace Preston, from the U.S.S. Proteus and a typescript of an excerpt from his diary.

Finding aid available online