Michigan in the Civil War

Bordner, Benjamin F.

Eight letters written to home folks while he was in Company D, 11th Michigan Infantry as sergeant (1861-1864). A camp on a large farm is described. There is smallpox in an Indiana regiment near them. He writes a graphic description of the hanging of a soldier who had shot a citizen for reporting him to the Colonel because he had stolen a pig. He tells the story of an Ohio regiment camped in a farmer's field against his wishes. The men try to buy corn, but the farmer won't sell any and attempts to hide it. As a result both corn and oats are taken, he is forced to display a Union flag and then give three cheers for the Union. Other farmers in the area are treated in much the same way.

On the march towards Louisville, they climb a steep mountain single file, set up tents in the snow, and the teams get stuck in the mud. While in Murfreesboro on guard duty (1863), the boys are "getting rich" buying and selling apples. He, himself, bought flour and sugar and made pies to sell to soldiers coming through on the train. He commented on General Rosecrans whom the "boys follow willingly." He told of the losses at Resaca. In a camp in Georgia, they have plenty to eat and little to do. He read a speech in a paper which was a plea by a Secesh in Alabama for the South to stop fighting. The letter of Dec. 1, 1863, describes the battle of Chattanooga.

Bordner was from St. Joseph County, Mich.