Michigan in the Civil War

Browse by Name: Caldwell, William Clinton

Caldwell, William Clinton, 1837-1896.

He was a hospital steward and assistant surgeon in the 72nd Ohio Infantry.There are some sixty letters written to members of his family in which he tells them about various camps and hospitals--a hospital in a log cabin, or confiscated mansion, or perhaps a church or school; about food--sometimes they lived high, and sometimes on half or one quarter rations; of river transports and a fleet of sixty steamers on an expedition up the Tennessee river; or a long march from Fort Pickering to Holly Springs, detailing each day's activities and noting the destruction of the countryside by Sherman's army. He admires and respects General Sherman, saying, "We believe in General Sherman and he in turn has the utmost confidence in his men." Colonel Buckland, later a Brigadier General, is also much admired; and there are comments on General McClellan and General Rosecrans. He talks about conscription and on traitors at home and what the army should do to them. He tells of the organization of Negro regiments. He describes the battle of Pittsburg Landing with particular attention to hospital activities; and the city and siege of Vicksburg.

Dr. Caldwell attended the University of Michigan Medical School, but left it to enlist in the Union Army in 1862. After the war he finished his medical training at the College of Wooster in Ohio. He died in Fremont, Ohio, September 27, 1896.