On January 1st 1936 there were seven Lansing residents still alive who had seen service with the Union Army during the Civil War (1861-1865). All were members of the Charles T. Foster Post Number 48 of the Grand Army of the Republic, a post that once enjoyed a membership of over 200 members. Now there were just seven soldiers left, they were James A. Hamilton, Marion D. Richardson, James Kennedy, George E. Osborn, H.H. Larned, George Saxton and Joseph Covert, here are their stories.
Horatio H. Larned circa 1901
“H.H. Larned, 91 year old Civil war veteran and prominent business man, of 102 South Walnut street. Died at about 4 o’clock Tuesday afternoon as the result of accidental burns at about 9 o’clock Tuesday morning, when gasoline, applied to a bandage about a sore on his right leg, was ignited by an electric reflector heating unit placed near the bed in which the elderly man was lying at the time.” A tragic end to a fascinating life. H.H. Larned was born in Hudson, Michigan on February 15, 1845, the son of Mr. And Mrs. William Larned. At the age of 5, his family moved to Minnesota. He attended the Groton Academy in Groton, New York, at the age of 17 enlisted in the First Minnesota Regiment of the Union Army. But because of the ongoing conflict with the Sioux the regiment was kept in Minnesota. Larned stated that he served with the 1st Regiment Cavalry “Mounted Rangers”, Company C. He fought in over 50 engagements with the Sioux and was part of an expedition to the Dakota Territory. He was later a scout and trader for the Northwestern Fur Company near old Fort Rice, North Dakota. In 1869 Larned moved to Lansing and entered the Crockery business with his father. He sold the business in 1919 and retired from the retail trade. Larned served as director of Lansing National Bank in 1871; he was president and director of the Lansing State Savings Bank and later director of the Union Building and Loan Company. Larned would act as the personal representative of Edward W. Sparrow and oversaw the construction of Sparrow Hospital.
George H. Saxton
Born in Deerfield, MA on May 21, 1838, George H. Saxton would settle in Grand Haven, Michigan. At the age of 24 Saxton would enlist in the First Michigan Sharpshooters, Company B and compile an honorable war record, he frequently recalled his company’s role at the Siege of Petersburg. In 1877 Saxton would move his family to Lansing; where later he would become the Assistant Post Master under Seymour Foster. George H. Saxton died on July 15, 1936.
Marion D. Richardson
Marion D. Richardson was born in Tuscarawas County, OH on April 10, 1846 He enlisted on March 17, 1864 with the 48th Indiana Infantry Regiment and for a period of time served under General John A. Logan. Marion enlisted when he was 17 and was with Sherman’s Army at Chattanooga, but was detached before Sherman began his famous march to the sea. After mustering out of the army on July 15th, 1865 in Louisville, KY., Marion retuned to Missaukee, Michigan where he worked as a surveyor. He would later move to Lansing to work as a clerk in the Auditor General office. In 1936 Marion served as the chaplain for the Michigan Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. He passed away on May 15, 1937 and is buried at Gunnisonville Cemetery.
Michigan Soldiers Home in Grand Rapids
One of veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic that we know the least about is Joseph Covert. “Uncle Joe” Covert as he was known as to the residents of Potterville, Michigan died on June 1st, 1938 at the Michigan Soldiers Home in Grand Rapids. He was the only resident present at the home in Grand Rapids who had served in the Civil War; he had been a resident of the home since 1934. Joseph Covert was born in Tappan, Ohio and was 98 years old at the time of his death. He enlisted in the Company A, 3rd Michigan Infantry on February 14th, 1865 and mustered out February 13th, 1866 in San Antonio, Texas. He would later settle Potterville, Michigan and that is known concerning Joseph Covert’s life.
James Kennedy was born in Jimtown, Ohio in 1840 and served with pride in the 154th Ohio Regiment which he enlisted in at the age of 17. There are some inconsistencies with the service information provided in James Kennedy’s obituary. The 154th Ohio Infantry Regiment was organized May 9, 1864, under Col. Robert Stevenson. James Kennedy enlisted on May 9th 1864 and mustered out on September 1, 1864. Kennedy could not have been born in 1840 and it is doubtful that he saw service at Gettysburg and Chattanooga; it is possible that he was present at the fall of Richmond and at Appomattox although by this time he had mustered out of the 154th Ohio Infantry. He may have enlisted with another regiment. James Kennedy passed away at the age of 98 on June 8th, 1938.
George E. Osborn
George E. Osborn was a native of Maine and served in Company A, First Maine Heavy Artillery, reputed to have incurred the highest causalities of any company in combat on either side. One day in 1864, Osborn’s commanding officer, General Warren ordered a dress parade. As the unit formed up Lincoln passes the troops on horseback, Osborn recounted, “He (Lincoln) was a homely man, and we all noticed how tall he was. His legs were so long that even on a tall horse the stirrups were not far from the ground.” He also observed that Lincoln, “had a thinking face and his countenance was sad as if he had troubles.” Later Osborn would encounter Grant who delivered to the company the news, “Boys you won’t have to fight anymore. Lee has surrendered.” Oddly George E Osborn’s father in a weird twist of fate once employed John Wilkes Booth. George E. Osborn was born on September 15, 1847 in Maine, following his marriage he settled in Isabella County, MI and later in 1930 relocated to Lansing, MI. He passed away on December 2, 1940.
The commander of the Charles T. Foster Post in 1936 was James A. Hamilton, a native of Ingham County; he was born in Meridian Township on December 6, 1848. At the age of 15 he enlisted in Company G, of the Twelfth Michigan Infantry. Conflicting accounts have Hamilton being rejected as underweight at 90 pounds when he tried to enlist in Jackson, MI or just too young. So Hamilton did what any red blooded American boy would do, he “skipped out” and joined up with the regiment in Little Rock, AK.
James A. Hamilton circa 1902
James A. Hamilton saw combat at the Battle of Shiloh. His brother was taken captive at the Battle of Gettysburg and sent to Andersonville prison for 23 months. He would in 1938, recount a story of the wounded prisoners that he encountered towards the end of the war. “We treated them like our own men. One poor boy, fatally wounded was tended at once by our nurses after we had fixed a bed of grass and leaves for him. Then he said, ‘How good I feel!’ Those were his last words.” While on picket duty he witnessed Lee’s surrender to Grant and Appomattox. On July 1st, 1865 James Hamilton returned to Lansing and his mother. Hamilton was able to attend the “Boys in Blue” and the “Boys in Gray” reunion at Gettysburg in July of 1938. In 1940 he was appointed National Quartermaster of the G.A.R. He died quietly at his home on December 26, 1941, the last of Lansing’s Civil War veterans.
© Lost Lansing 2014