Michigan in the Civil War

Browse by Name: Root, Roswell L.

Fairman family

The papers of this Borodino, Mich., family (on microfilm only) include letters from three Plymouth, Mich., soldiers:

Sebre H. Fairman. He enlisted in Company C, 24th Michigan Infantry, August 7, 1862, and was transferred to the Invalid Corps, August 1, 1863. His letters are chiefly to girls back home. The letters are very difficult to read.

Roswell L. Root. He was also in Company C, 24th Michigan Infantry, 1862-1865, as corporal and sergeant. The letters are difficult to read, but in a letter to his grandfather, written while he was in a hospital in West Philadelphia, there is a graphic description of the part his regiment played in the battle of Gettysburg, where he was wounded July 1, 1863.

In the November 16, 1864 letter he says, "Election returns are very favorable as far as we have heard, and I guess without doubt Abraham is our President." After the war Root became postmaster at Plymouth.

Lewis K. Van Gieson. He enlisted in Company D, 5th Michigan Cavalry in 1862, as corporal; was promoted to sergeant in October, 1863; taken prisoner at James City, Va., October 10, 1863; and died in prison May 13, 1864. He is buried in the National Cemetery at Andersonville, Ga.

Some of the letters are difficult to read but the December 28, 1862 letter told of a visit to a portion of the Patent Office in Washington "devoted to the use of the wounded sad relics of the hard fought but unsuccessful battle of Frederick, Md." He expressed his feelings at the sight of the wounded and his belief in the ultimate success of the Union cause.

On a march he goes through beautiful country but devastated by war. Camped near Fairfax, Va., in May 1863, he thinks the cavalry can be better occupied than defending Washington.