Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162


Bygones of Monroe:

Death of Lieut. Col. Pratt

Detroit papers of Tuesday morning brought us the sad intelligence of the death of Lieut. Col. Gilbert E. Pratt, of the 23d Infantry, at Bowling Green, Ky, on the 6th inst, by being thrown from his horse.

Lieut. Col. Pratt was a short time a resident of Monroe, just previous to the breaking out of the war. He went to the war as Captain of a company in the 8th Regiment, and was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of James Island. Our citizens will remember that after his release he visited Monroe, and spoke in the Court House on the subject of his prison life. No spirit more truly noble and patriotic has been sacrificed in this war than that of Gilbert E. Pratt.

The Advertiser and Tribune gives the following retrospect of his life and career:

Lieut. Col. Gilbert E. Pratt, of the 23d Michigan Regiment, who was killed by being thrown from his horse, near Bowling Green, Ky, on Monday was one of the noblest and most talented men whom Michigan has spared in the war to restore the Union. Mr. Pratt was a poor boy, but received a liberal education through the generosity of gentlemen of New York. He studied the legal profession, and first commenced practice at Ithaca, Gratiot County. He was also editor of the News at that place, a staunch Republican paper; and he carried on some mercantile business. In 1860 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives, so speedily and fully had he gained the confidence of his fellow-citizens, by his quick, clear intellect and lofty personal character. Mr. Pratt removed to Monroe, as a larger field for legal practice in 1860; but was finally induced to come to Detroit, and just before the war broke out, he went into partnership with Judge Yerkes, now of our Probate Court. Being an ardent friend of freedom, he took early ground on the side of the Government in suppressing the rebellion, and determined to enter the military service. He studied works of tactics, and endeavored in all ways to qualify himself. He was commissioned as Captain in the 8th Michigan Infantry, and ordered to South Carolina. In the disastrous fight at James Island, he was wounded in the side by a piece of shell, was reported killed, and for long time mourned as dead. But he recovered to enter a rebel prison at Charleston. Being paroled after three months confinement, he came home to Michigan; and while calling at the Advertiser and Tribune office last autumn, he was for the first time informed of his promotion to the Lieutenant Colonelcy of the 23d Michigan Infantry, then about to start for the seat of the war. He was exchanged by the rebels and left for Kentucky with his command. Had Col. Pratt’s life been spared he would have risen rapidly to a high rank, for he had keen intellect, cool heroism, and an earnest devotion to his country’s cause. He leaves a father, and perhaps other relatives, at Sandwich, Illinois. He was about 30 years of age, unmarried, of rather small stature, active habits and agreeable manners. Honor to this brave patriot’s memory!

(Monroe Commercial, April 9, 1863, Page 2, Column 3)

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