Michigan in the Civil War

Browse by Name: Weissert, John

Weissert, John, 1828-1883.

Two hundred sixty letters (1862-1865) written to his wife and son while he was serving as artificer in Company C, Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, in Kentucky and Tennessee, and with Sherman's army on the march to Atlanta and to North Carolina. Much of each letter expresses worry about his family. He also gives many details about camps, and camp life, food, flies, picket duty and skirmishes. There are descriptions of battles and battlefields, such as Perryville, Murfreesboro, Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, and of the devastation of the countryside. Of his work he tells of building and repairing railroads and bridges, cutting timber for buildings, for axe handles, and for firewood for the railroad; of working in a lumber yard and in a tin shop; of building a sawmill, a warehouse, a hospital, barracks, stockades, pontoon bridges. He comments about the draft, a Negro regiment of engineers, mutiny over pay, and trading with enemy pickets. Weissert was from Hastings, Mich. These letters, in German, have been translated.

The collection also includes letters from three other soldiers:

Thirty-one letters (1861-1862) written (in German) by John M. Bessmer to John Weissert and family in which he describes various camps including Camp Parole camp life and duties, Beaufort, S.C., and the siege of Fort Pulaski. He writes of the failure of an expedition from Port Royal to Savannah, the organization of two Negro regiments, and bitterly criticizes the freeing of the slaves. Bessmer enlisted in Company F, 8th Michigan Infantry as corporal and became a sergeant in 1862. He was taken prisoner June 16, 1862, paroled in October, and discharged for disability in December. Bessmer was from Barry County, Mich. These letters have been translated.

One letter (Sept. 7, 1862) from Thomas D. Henderson, in which he speaks of the hard fighting they had just been through and of a scouting expedition in which they took prisoners, horses and mules. Henderson was in Company I, 65th Indiana Infantry. He was a teacher before the war.

One letter (Sept. 17, 1861) written by Richard T. Morton of Constantine, Mich., to Thomas Mitchell asking his help with the governor in raising Morton's rank from first lieutenant to captain in Company G, 2nd Michigan Infantry. Morton resigned in March 1862.