Civil War Letters From Stephen Lowing
09.22.2004

The Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan has a collection of letters written by Stephen Lampman Lowing(69) during the Civil War.

Lowing, Stephen Lampman, 1817-1891.

Twenty letters (1861-1864, some original and some typescripts) written to his brother while he was serving as lieutenant and captain in Company I, 3rd Michigan Infantry.

He talks about camp life and his duties, especially as judge advocate; describes a battlefield, his quarters, and the running of a sawmill under enemy fire; praises Company I but criticizes officers in general, especially for drunkenness; complains of the manner of filling vacancies among officers. Home and business affairs are discussed. Lowing, from Georgetown, Mich., was wounded in action at Fair Oaks in 1862, but though somewhat crippled as a result, he did not resign until April, 1864.

In a related account of the battle he was wounded in:

HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, HEINTZELMAN'S CORPS,
Intrenched Camp, near Savage's, June 2, 1862.
SIR: On the 31st ultimo, at 3 p.m., I received an order to send a brigade of my division by the railroad to support Keyes' corps, said to be severely engaged. Birney's brigade was designated, and getting most promptly under arms, advanced accordingly. Captain Hunt, aide to General Heintzelman, arriving from the field, made me aware of the discomfiture of most of Casey's division. The retiring wagons and a dense stream of disorganized fugitives arrived nearly simultaneously. As a precaution I ordered some picked Michigan marksmen and a regiment to proceed and occupy the dense woods bordering on the left of our position to take in flank any pursuers. I, however, soon received General Heintzelman's directions to order forward by the Williamsburg road the remaining brigade, and to retrieve the position the enemy had driven us from. I put myself at the head of the advanced regiment and set forward without delay. I also sent written orders for Jameson's
brigade, camped at the tete-de-pont near Bottom's Bridge (3 miles in rear), to come up without delay. This order met with General Heintzelman's approval.
On arriving at the field of battle we found certain zigzag rifle pits sheltering crowds of men and the enemy firing from abatis and timber in their front. General Casey remarked to me on coming up, "If you will regain our late camp the day will still be ours." I had but the Third Michigan up, but they moved forward with alacrity, dashing into the felled timber, and commenced a desperate but determined contest, heedless of the shell and ball which rained upon them. This regiment, the only one of Berry's brigade not engaged at Williamsburg, at the price of a severe loss, has nearly outvied all competitors. Its work this day was complete.
This regiment (Third Michigan) lost:
Officer killed--Capt. S. A. Judd, Company A.
Officers wounded---Col. S. G. Champlin; Capt. S. G. Lowing, Company I; First Lieut. G.
E. Judd, Company A; First Lieut. S. M. Pelton, Company C; First Lieut. G. W. Dodge,
Company F; First Lieut. A. J. Whitney, Company G; First Lieut. S. Brennan, Company I;
Second Lieut. D.C. Crawford, Company E; Second Lieut. Joseph Mason, Company
G.
Total officers killed and wounded, 10.
Enlisted men killed, 31; wounded, 111; missing, 14.
Total loss, 166.(*)

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posted by Trevor Lowing
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