Michigan in the Civil War

Converse, George D.

Ten letters written while he was serving in Company D, 9th Michigan Infantry, September 1864-June 1865, Most of the letters are written from Chattanooga. He tells of cutting logs to build shanties; of voting in the regiment with 506 votes cast-all of them but six for Lincoln; of drilling new recruits. He likes soldiering in fair weather, but five men in a small cloth tent on rainy days have to keep jokes going to be happy. The camp on the banks of the Tennessee River was a pleasant place for watching steamboats and trains. On November 18 he went on detached service guarding prisoners. One prisoner was shot for disobeying orders, but he himself had no trouble with the about 200 prisoners in the camp. In January he remarked that "full rations is something I have not seen since I have been down here." Though costly, they sometimes bought butter, cheese, cakes, pies, and sometimes were given soft bread instead of hard tack. He tells of a Negro regiment doing picket duty for a white regiment. He hopes some of the men back home get caught in the draft soon to take place. The weather is cold with rain and snow, but the boys are well. In February he and a friend built a shanty with a bed and a fireplace. They took turns getting dinner-eggs, sausages, meat, bread, butter, coffee. Ninety new recruits arrived in camp. They had a great time February 20th when too guns were fired. "Then all the locomotives and steamboats and mills and furnaces and everything that could make a noise set up a whistle for about 10 minutes. There was quite a howl in the city of Chattanooga." In April they were in Nashville. They had news of Lee's surrender, and there was "tall canonading to celebrate." Converse was discharged at Nashville, Tenn., June 20, 1865. Converse was from Fowlerville, Mich.

The collection includes originals and transcripts of the letters, as well as a partial subject index.

This collection is available on microfilm for interlibrary loan.