Letters of the 4th

John Ransom Moore's Death Voucher

provided by  Anita Crabtree collection

(Died at the Battle for the Wheatfield July 2, 1863 - Gettysburg, Pa.)


    Recently I have had the privilege of acquiring copies of several letters and diaries from the original members of the 4th Michigan Infantry. I will be posting these letters as I can interpret and edit them. Whenever  possible they will be posted as they were written, miss-spelling and all. I will do this to preserve their historical content. Some interpretation may follow.  These letters are written by several different individuals. A quick summary follows with with whom wrote it, what material and campaigns it pertains to.


Ransom Bush  -  letters (Fairfax Court house / Fairfax Station - Bull Run 1861)

Sergeant 4th Michigan Infantry Co. K - died of disease at Philadelphia, Pa. Sept 11, 1862

Noah Cressey's  - letters  (Peninsula Campaign)

Musician 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Co. F - Mustered out of service due to disease  at  Harrison's Landing, Va. July 20, 1862

Harrison Daniels - letter from the hospital after wounding at Williamsburg (Peninsula Campaign)

Color Sergeant 4th Michigan Volunteer  Infantry Regiment Co. G

John Seage  - Letter to Gov. Blair concerning his and R. Watson Seages disability due to wounds ( Kelley's Ford and Gettysburg)

Chaplin of the 4th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment


The Soldier's Letters

Bush, Ransom, Washtenaw County. Enlisted in company K, Fourth Infantry, as Sergeant, June 20, 1861 at Adrian, for 3 years, Age 37. Mustered June 20, 1861. Died of disease at Philadelphia, Pa. Sept. 11, 1862. Buried in National Cemetery at Philadelphia, Pa. Grave No. 154.

A Letter home - Ransom Bush

Fairfax Station, Va.

July 20,1861

Dear wife,

    I recieved yours of the 13 to night and glad to hear from you and the rest now I am going to tell you just how things are here and what wee are doing. Wee left Washington last Sunday went to Cloud's Mill left thare tuesday Wednesday afternoon wee took fairfax cort hous and staion with out firing a gun thare was about 6 or 8 thousand men at Boath Places and they had Brest works maid on every street but they had to run and leave them Wee marched with about 12,000 men in our Division one half of our Ridgment is are stationed at the station the other is at the cort hous the Ballance of the Division have gon on to Buls run they had a battle thare But wee do not now how it Did come out yet wee have had orders to wait on the wounded to night when they come in with the cars they must Done something wee could hear the guns from hear it lasted about 2 ours thear is going to bee some hard fighting When they get to Manasses Junction that is a strong Place that is about 12 miles from hear But thare will bee about one hundred thousand men on our side to fight the Battle and they are coming in every Day

    Now about What the Boys have rote hom Wee fair good anough hear We had Rather hard fair one or two days When wee first came to Washington I was sick with the Disentary one Day in Washington  But I never felt better in my life than I do now the Boys all feel good

I have not Don any thing since we have Ben here But scout Ed Hauke and myself went out one Day Wee got a little Plunder I got 2 Blankets that is worth about 8 Dollars apiece Ed got one I am goin to give Jeffords one the other I shall send hom when I get a chance Yestarday Perkins and I was detailed with 7 men to scout for Provisions we was outr all Day Drove in one good fat steer and got 7 good hens one turkey about 60 lbs flour and a Chunk of Dried Beef to Day wee went again got flour and meal that is the Buisness that I have ben in here you now that suits mee 

Sunday July 21

the Wounded came in last night the [?] guide led them into a mask Battery and they had 60 kiled and wounded 27 Wounded went threw hear yesterday alst night they Retreted after that set this morning to attact them again I gues they are fiting now for we can hear Canons firing in that direction now wee have got some Big guns thear som that taks 16 Horses to draw eny quantity of small Rifle canons and Brass Peices theire has Ben one Ridgement threw here this morniing and one Just came in Dutch Zuaves this is the hardest looking Country that I ever saw theire is llots of farms that have been cleared up and run out have grown up wods again the most of the houses here have ben Built 100 years som more the most folks hear are so Poor that they cant get up alone  lots of the Poor folks have Ben Prest into the army and thear family nothing to live on their is no Danger of the army starving for they have a plenty they left lots of flour in their camps here and cords [?] of Bakin they Distroid all they had time to if I hear how Battl coms out I will Rite if not I will Write agan they are gitting at it purty hot By the firing of the guns they have ben firing about one our and it gets hotter all the while Crane is lame now wee left him at Clouds Mill hee Broke one of his toes some of the Boys I shall have to  stop Riting Wee have had orders to march at 2 oclock the news [sic] is that they drove our men Back to Centerville

No more now I will rite the first Chance I have

good fore this time from your husband     R Bush

now Cate Rite me along letter and let me now whow things is thaer

R Bush

New letter added 6/09/04

one oclock and fiting yet no Deffinet news they think that wee have got the best of it yet it is the hardest Battle so far that ever was fought in the States

     July 23 1861

Wee are now at arlington Hights we have done grate things since I commenced this letter wee have gat a Corrages Colonel a lot of oficers as son as the Batle was of over they ordered us to retreat to Washington they had a verry Hard Battle it is estimated By som that was in the Battle that thare was about ten thousand ciled on Both sides Wee our company was sent out on the Picket that night and the collonel marshed on Double quick and left us out thare about 11/2 miles from the cort hous When wee came in theyhad about 2 ours the start of us that shows what he is the [y] would not whiped us if Wee had not got out of amminition the Ellsworth Zuaves was ba and Nichigan first was Badley [?] cut to peces

    Wee Had the Worst Place at cort house that was in hole Brigade if their cavlry com Back We left the station at 2 oclock and went to the cort house then sent on Picket left thare alone if that is the way Wee are goin to Be yoused I have got anough of the ware But wee have got to stand it so let hur rip Wee can do it I am getting so that I think that I can stand enything 10 oclock and new orders

    quarter Past 2 and Back to Maradion Hill that is the way they Drag us around you see that if I should tell you all that is going on that it would keep mee riting all the while

You must excuse this letter for not Being in eny shape for When I commenced it I was first Sargent of the ard and in hearing of the Battle then on the Pickit that night till wee was ordered to run Wee was the last that company on the ground they stationd mee on the advance Picket with four men and I should staid thar tell this time if they had not ordered me to Ralley i would should [sic] shot some of the secessionist before I had come in if they had shoed themself and since then I have Ben on the march When I could get a chance i would Write a little

tell andrew that i got that money that he sent to adrian

Why the devil Dont you some of you Write more letters to mee i write all the time i get my blanket has Ben stole that i was goin to send home i had no other paper when i commenced this letter so i will finish with it if you can[t] read [this] Mrs. Y can do it Will some of you send me som stamps no pay yet no more at present

    Yours R. Bush

Noah A. Cressey

Cressey, Noah, Lenawee County. Enlisted in Company F, Fourth Infantry as Musician, June 20, 1861, at Adrian for three years, age 52. Mustered June 20, 1861. Discharged for disability at Harrison's Landing, Va. July 20, 1862 (Peninsula Campaign)

from his letters and Internet research

By Lynne Bryant


    Noah Cressey was 52 years old when he volunteered to join the 4th Michigan Regiment.  A musician, he was one of 1,325 men who enlisted on June 10, 1861, in the county seat of Adrian, Michigan.

    Noah and, apparently, his wife were counted in the census of 1850.  There is some indication that his family arrived in this country as Puritans.  This may explain why his brother is still in Massachusetts when Noah writes to him in 1862. 

    Noah writes of returning from California via the Isthmus of Panama.  It is possible that he had ventured to California during the Gold Rush, circa 1849.  Perhaps it was at this time that he turned over his box of "purgative medicines" to the unknown recipient of the second letter; everyone dashing to claim their fortunes -- or, at least, stake their claim -- wanted to travel light! 

    On the other hand, the second letter also may have been addressed to his brother in Massachusetts because the two letters were found in the same envelope, 139 years later, at an auction outside Washington, D.C.  So it may be that Noah sent the medicine box to his brother, Jonathan, when he left Michigan for California.

    We don't know exactly where Noah was living when he volunteered for war, but his daughter -- apparently his only living offspring at the time he wrote these letters -- was living west of Adrian in Hudson, Franklin County, Michigan.  Perhaps he was, too. 

At this time, we do not know "the rest of the story," what happened to Noah after his discharge July 20, 1862.  His regiment went on to face many great battles. But what an interesting life he led, glimpsing from these letters!


Alexandria, Va.      

March the 17  1862

Written to:  

Mr. Jonathan Cressey

Rowe, Franklin Co


From: Noah Cressey  (two letters)

Company F

4th Michigan Infantry

    Dear Brother I wrote you a short letter from som weaks ago not knowing whether you received it or not I will write you a short letter being in quite a Bluster, one weak ago the potomack Army made a grand advance on Centerville Bullrun and Mas nasa fortifications when the head of the colum reachit the plase it had junt ben evacuated leaving Every thing Distroyed and on fire it was soon ascertained that the rebbls had falld back by railroad about one hundred Miles Distroying all the bridges and every thing else that would give ade to an enamy after 2 Days fifty or sixty thousand was ordered back to elexandra to Embark and go South what is our Plac of Destination is censoresd some thinks we are going to South Carolina but I think they will  [ ? looks like    carin or   casin ] forcs burnside perhaps

  we start to morrow for the South I had forgotten to say that we got to this Camp 3 Miles ouft of the city of elexandra last night after marching all day with havy packs with Manny not a dry thread in their cloth by Down and Sleep all Dripping in water it was the hardest time that I ever Expranancud (with the Exception of Coming holm from California Crossing the is mas I then was sick but now am well, the request which I made in My other letter will have to be withdrawn for I Expect to have no abiding place, I am sorry I calculated [ ? 20 or 80 ] _0 gallons from Mich which I must say to them to Day to hold on I am writing in a crowded tent with the paper on my knee you will Excuse Me for not writing More lengthy for I have one to write to Mich      the rig which ones the tents that we are in are out and will

     to night be in and we will have to Camp in the open air our Brigade will leave to morrow for the South letters that are directed to Washington will follow the Army whane ever thay go give My love and respect to the others Brothers and family had it not have had bin that I rote My other to you I would have writting to theme   I would say now to you.  Sarah that I wish you would write My Daughtr a cloth letter she would be glad to have a letter from you i know i suppose yours are all gon and Marriad Amoungst all of the rest of young folks I must bring My letter to a close for I Must go out on inspettion for we go to Mar mong, if you should write to Sophia Adrys Sophia, A. Harrington Hudson Lenawee Co  Mich  My Address is on the insvlop  By adding Washington D.C. Noah Cressey


Camp Winfield Scott  

April 26 1862

    Near Yorktown on the groun’d that Corn wallas surrinded his whole Army to geneal Washington   I improve the preasent hour to let you know that I am well and injoying Camp life as well as could be expected our Brigade has for the last 15 Days bin campt in a peach orchid it contains N.Y. 14th Mich 4th Massachusetts 9th and Pennsylvania 62th   the 4th Rhodeisland and Grifons Battryas, I would lack of time and space to giv you a fool Detail of the opperations now going on as good luck would have it is all woods almost before the secesh forts if they had have known that it would have been beseiged they would cut all of the woods Down.   

    there is three tear of secesh forts Reaching from Yorktown to James River one in the rear of the other they have More than 500 Hundred large guns Mounted as viewed from a balloon  MC Chealan has More than 20,000 Men at work night and Day, I think that the Battel will not be fought until some time in May    I have not had the opportunity to go and see george and Evrit they are in Smiths Division about three Miles from Me their was quite a fite on the left Some Days ago the Vermont 3th and Some others lost a good Manny Men I ges that the Boys was not in the fight, you can imagin a genril engage-ment when their will be Brought to bare one against the other Som 1500 cannon from 12 pound and upwards to 100 pound and   there is one gun come of 200 pounds we can hear the roar of shels and cannon booth night and Day

    which are fired from the secesh and our gun boats while the works of fortifying is going on I have closed of writing about this warI would now speak of that Purgative Medican of Mine that you have bin incumbured with for twelve years I wish you would seat apart one Day overhall all of the Mesadacin have all of the Bottles full if their should enny leaked out RePack them well lay a plenty of light Chals betwen the upper layer  See that each and is well bound around with Som kind of wood Shaived out and Nailed on with Shingle nails.  that keeps the Box together hang the lid with hinges and put a lock and key

     of some kind on it nail on SCover, the lid Down and put the key in the incide, Carefully take it to north Adams if nesary pay the Exprets Charges Sent to Me the Exprets Receipt By Doing you will oblige Me verry mutch and ade in Resoring  to helth Manny of the Afflicted Soldiers if I Cannot Sell it I shal giv it away if we can Do enany thing to ade in this grate Cricets lets Do it


Noah Cressey

Company F, 4 Mich Reg

Portirs Brigade Division

Chsasmonds Creek Landding


Theses letters were provided by Lynne L. Bryant. Lynn thank you for your contribution. You are a true follower of the Civil War

H.D. & S. D..jpg (26683 bytes)

Harrison Daniels

Daniels, Harrison, Lenawee County. Enlisted in co G, Fourth Infantry, June 20, 1861, at Adrian, for 3 years, age 24. Mustered June 20, 1861. Mustered out at expiration of term of service at Detroit, Mich., June 20, 1864. ( I believe Harrison Daniels was a brevetted a non-commissioned officer. During the war it was typical for the color bearer to be a non com as a reward for the hazardous duty of carrying the flag. This was also to provide a larger pension for his family at home. Most color bearers didn't last very long.) 

"A Letter Home - Sgt H. Daniels"

The Hudson Gazette, Saturday, May 31, 1862

Letter From Sergeant Daniels

Mill Creek Hospital

Near Ft. Monroe

Friday, May 16th, 1862

Brother Joseph and Family,

            I never tho’t I should ever have and occasion to write to you from a hospital; but it is the result of war, the enemy of all mankind, and it has proved an enemy to me. One of the enemy’s leaden messengers visited me as one of its victims, as well as thousands of others, but I escaped without and serious injury, to what some received. My wound is in my left thigh. The ball struck pretty high up, and came out near my knee, without hitting the bone, but making two good sized holes, which will take some time to heal up. It is getting a little better every day. I don’t move around any, because I am a great more comfortable when I am still. This hospital is a long wooden building, built for a government store house, and has been used for storing provisions, but turned into a hospital for the occasion. It is a very airy room, and is fixed up very comfortably. All the hospitals around the Fort are full. There are, probably 2,00 in all of them. There is a great plenty of medical attendance, as many physicians from the North volunteered their assistance. A government hospital is a good place for a young physician to get posted, for he meets all kinds of cases, and wounds of all kinds. In this room are some 250 men. Some have a leg taken off, and some an arm. They have just brought a young man in from the operating room, having cut his arm off near the shoulder. He seems to suffer a great deal. If you want to see the horrors of war, you have only to step into a hospital like this.

            Saturday Morning- I feel very comfortable. It is a pleasant morning, and a band is playing close by for guard mounting. It seems too bad to lay here from morning to night; but it can’t be helped.

            There are a few secesh in this room. They behave themselves very well. They say although they are conquered, they are not subdued.

            There is quite a number of incidents connected with the battle of Williamsburg. During the battle, one of the Louisiana Tigers went up to one of our wounded soldiers, who played dead for fear of being bayoneted, and commenced searching his pockets, when a Tennessee soldier came up and saying to him, “Will you rob a dead man?” shot him dead on the spot. Another rebel came up to a wounded soldier, and was in the act of bayoneting him, when another rebel came up and knocked the fellow down with his musket, and gave our soldier a drink from his canteen. A young man by the name of Aikins, in our company, was found dead. He had been wounded, and afterwards bayoneted. There are hundreds of other cases of kindness and cruelty. In bringing in a boat load of wounded rebels from Williamsburg, a rebel swore that he would kill every Yankee he saw, if he could, and threw a large knife at one of our doctors, injuring him slightly, when the doctor drew his revolver and shot him through the heart.

            There is a man here from Ypsilanti, who came to see his son, (of Co. F., 2nd Mich.) who is wounded. He will probably take him home with him as soon as he is able.


Your brother,

 H.H. Daniels.

A Letter from John Seage to Gov. Austin Blair

Rev. John Seage

Seage, John, White Pigeon. Entered service in Fourth Michigan Infantry as Chaplain, July 10, 1862, at Falmouth, Va. for three years, age 45. Mustered July 10, 1862. Commissioned July 20, 1862. Mustered July 20, 1862. Wounded in action June 8, 1863. Mustered out at expiration of  term of service at Detroit, Mich., June 29, 1864. Enlisted in company F, 4th Michigan Infantry, Aug. 28, 1864, at Adrian for three years. Mustered Aug. 28, 1864. Commissioned Chaplain reorganized Fourth Infantry to date July 26, 1864. Mustered out Oct. 14, 1864. Mustered out at Detroit, Mich. May 26, 1866.

Seage, R. Watson, (Veteran), White Pigeon, Enlisted in company E, Fourth Michigan Infantry, as Corporal, June 20, 1861, at Adrian, for 3 years, age 23. Mustered June 20, 1861. Sergeant. Wounded in action at Malvern Hill, Va., July 1, 1862. Sergeant Major Dec. 13, 1862. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, company I April 1, 1863. Mustered to date May 22, 1863. Honorably discharged Dec. 31, 1863, for disability, on account of wounds received in action at Gettysburg, Pa., July 2, 1863. Re - entered service as Regimental Quartermaster, reorganized Fourth Infantry, Aug. 2, 1864. Commissioned to date July 26, 1864. Mustered Aug. 31, 1864. Discharged for disability March 6, 1865 by S.O. No. 59, War Department. Brevet Captain U.S. Volunteers, March 13, 1865, for gallant and meritorious service during the war. 


Camp of the 4"' Michigan Volunteer Infantry

Bealton Station, VA.  

Dec. 23, 1863

To his Excellency Gov. Blair


Permit me to present to your notice and if possible to your executive action the following.

You are doubtless aware that on the 8th of June last while on my way from Kelly’s Ford to Washington (to express moneys for the Officers and men of the regiment and do sundry errands) I was attacked by 5 Gorillas with revolvers presented who demanded my surrender – I asked by what authority?  The leader replied – “In the name of Mosby’s Cavalry.”  I said, “I do not recognize that authority and shall not surrender” – (I was alone on horseback and had $7000.00 and five watches and 26 letters to mail) Three fired, one ball going through my right wrist breaking the radius and severing the radial artery entered my right breast stuck between the ribs – My horse sprung to the right.  They then fired another volley.  A ball entered the point of my left shoulder passing 13 inches through the back lodged close to the spine from whence it was cut out.  The third volley was fired as my horse was leaping across a ravine, one hall making a flesh wound in the left leg. 

I got off with my trust – to me then of more value than life – I was taken off from the horse and put into a tent nearly dead from the loss of blood.  After remaining five days was ordered by General Meade to Washington for medical treatment (the army being then on the march to Pennsylvania) and from thence home to White Pigeon on sick leave as a wounded officer.  I left Washington June 18th and returned to my Regiment September 23rd

I drew my pay on my return to Washington most of which I sent home to pay moneys I had borrowed to pay my own expenses and my two sons, one of whom was so terribly wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg defending the Colors by the side of our much loved Colonel Jeffords.

Last week the Paymaster paid off our Regiment but told me he had orders to stop my pay as he had no right to have paid me the time I was wounded, three months and five days.

            The law of Congress 17th June 1862 says “Chaplains shall receive $100.00 per month and two rations a day  when on duty.” It being assumed that I was not on duty when absent wounded in the performance of my duty – This is an act of injustice – I cannot see why Chaplains should not be treated as other Commissioned Officers are.  If sick or wounded, we have no pay.  If disabled for life, no pension.  If killed, our families have to hold up a paupers hands for bread.

            Governor, I never feared or shrank from duty or danger in Camp, Battlefield or Hospital.  I have borne off our wounded in the midst of battle and cared for the dead at the risk of my own life, who would have been left otherwise to the cruelties of Rebel hordes – I have never slunk behind when the canon roared or ran from the sight of blood

My regiment is as dear to me as ever was a Congregation to the heart of a Pastor.  But, Sir, my family asks for bread or money and I have a dear son, the pride and hope of our family, at home in physical and mental agony – Many of our chaplains have left their work and gone from exile to home, perhaps they were not to blame – I am, and have been since May 1862, the only Chaplain in the Brigade and the sick, dying and burials claim much of my time.  Dear Sir, the Chaplaincy is not a sinecure.

    My son, R. Watson Seage, Commissioned by you 2nd Lieut. last Spring (not sure of date) was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg as follows: one ball entered the right breast went through the right lung came out near the spine, an explosive ball entered under the back of the left shoulder came out under the right arm, balls passed through the left thigh, the calf of the right leg and left heel, and while lying on the field supposed by the enemy to be dead the next day, a Rebel ran his bayonet through the upper part of the left thigh and came out under and inside of the knee joint.

    This is his condition at home in White Pigeon, Michigan – Ruined for life, maimed and penniless.  He went before the commissioners to be examined twice in order to be mustered in as 2nd Lieut.  A day and hour was appointed at Aldie.  Before the hour arrived the Regiment had orders to march to Gettysburg.

     He has drawn no pay for eight months, call get none because he has not been mustered in as 2nd Lieut. – I have sent his papers to the War Department (through the proper channel) asking an order from that Department for his muster in Michigan.  But weeks have passed and nothing has been heard from them.

    Sir, perhaps a letter from you to the War Department would set forth these matters and would induce acts in our favor.  I have written to Hon. J. M. Howard about my case – but not that of my son.

     if you need any testimonials of either of us, they may be had quickly.

    Pardon me, Governor, if I have exceeded the bounds of prudence in this communication. My pressing circumstances and that of my family must be my only apology.

    I have one son still left in the Regiment who has been in every battle but unharmed.

    My son at home had his skull cut open at the Battle of Malvern Hill and fell by the side of the gallant Woodbury and laid 42 hours on the field and was taken to Belle Isle prisoner.

    If you, Sir, can give this communication some early notice, you will oblige much.

                                                                        Yours very truly,

John Seage

Chaplain 4th Mich. Infantry

    This is an informational website not a commercial site. All the information that is provided by the 4thmichigan.com is for educational and reference purposes. The history of the 4th Michigan Infantry needs to be told. The 4thmichigan.com is ever working towards that goal.  These letters, diaries, and pictures are protected by all copyright laws. These documents are being published  with the permission of  the owners  and any commercial use of these written documents and the contents of this page and website is strictly prohibited without written permission from these individual and institutions.

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