Bygones of Monroe:
Letter from Camp Williams
Camp Williams, June 2nd, 1861
Friend Scott: The novelties of camp life possess a charm for our boys which you can readily appreciate. Since the arrival of the Smith Guards here, on Wednesday, they have been in fine spirits. The same might be said of them since they left Monroe, but for a few choking remembrances of parents, brothers, sisters, and friends which they were leaving, that seemed to sadden their ride on the cars. When we arrived at Adrian, a very fine representation of Firemen of the City met us, and with our Firemen of Monroe made us an escort to Camp Williams worthy the triumphal return of heroes. Our Firemen placed our Company under deep obligation by their friendly attention which they increased by a generous donation of cigars and ale, before they left Adrian. Our Company are under obligations to Mr. Drew of Adrian for a lot of fine cigars, and to Mr. A. Noble of Monroe for a bag of fruit.
Our Company was furnished with ten tents, the only ones furnished; a favor that we prize highly, for we are removed from the noise made by the 900 troops who occupy the College. Some of these troops are noted for a very striking individuality not very pleasant in some of its manifestations. We feel quite proud of our Company, and I believe no better lesson could be given the few careless men in it, than to see some of the disgusting effects of disorder among other Company’s. Our men have behaved quite well, with but one exception. Private Ross left the camp without leave this morning, to avoid guard duty. Privates Whipple and Duffield were sent after him, and brought him back in about an hour. He said he wanted to leave. Our officers however thought best to report him to the Officer of the Day who ordered him to twenty four hours confinement in the Guard House, after which his Uniform will be taken from him and he will be sent home.
A vagabond named Cady who enlisted at Monroe over a month ago, and left a few days after and went to Port Huron where he enlisted and remained a short time, went and joined the Grosvenor Guards of Jonesville and came here with that Company Thursday. When the Company was mustered he would not take the oath, but left the ranks. As soon as the Company were sworn in, about 50 started after him , and ran him down, mounted him on a rail and carried down town where they were prevented shaving the wretch’s head only by his being taken by the City Marshall and locked up in jail.
Arrangements are now complete for seating the whole Regiment at the dining tables at once. The tables are quite well furnished. The Smith Guards have been designated as Company A. I. Duffenbaugh of our Company has been appointed Drum Major of the Regiment. Mr. Strong of Adrian has been elected Chaplain. Today he gave a very interesting sermon on the death of Ellsworth. Our men are well pleased with him.
We are informed, semi-officially, that our Regiment will be ordered to Grosse Isle in a week or two; that the two Flank Companies of our Regiment will be furnished with minnie rifle muskets and the other 8 Companies with muskets. So our company will use the rifle.
Probably the hundred little incidents which spice our life here, such as blunders of Companies, the stupidity of the Guards, who let our Sergeants and Corporals past thinking from the chevrons on their coats they are commissioned Officers, and others, amusing to us at the time but isn’t worth remembering—will be sent to Monroe with this—for there must have been a score or two of letters written today. Drum-heads, mess chests, valises, boards, and whatever else they could use to improvise a writing desk with, has been used by Company A today.
The Co. think they are getting more than their share of Guard duty, as a reward for their merit.
(Monroe Commercial, June 6, 1861, Page 3, Column 2)