Old Newspaper Collections Project

By Clayton, Deb, & Holice

Death of A Soldier's Orphan, 1871


Extra special thanks to Holice B. Young for being such a trooper and typing a ton of old news articles! Without her this project wouldn't be here!


Detroit Daily Post, 1871

Noble Conduct of Michigan Soldiers--Death of a Wisconsin

Soldier's Orphan in Detroit.

Under the above heading the Wisconsin (Madison) State Journal says:

"The kindly regard manifested by the returned soldiers for the orphans of their fallen comrades has frequently been observed. It evinees the noble spirit which accompanies true courage, and adorns the soldier's character better than badges of honor, or wreaths of victory. This spirit was conspicuously illustrated in an incident which recently occurred in Detroit, and which it gives us sincere pleasure to record. M. A. Garfield, a soldier of the Sixth Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers, of the Iron Brigade, died in the service, of wounds received at the second battle of Bull Run, leaving a widow and children, among them a daughter, Lydia, who was for a time an inmate of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home, in this city. She was taken there, in failing health, several months ago, by her mother, who recently removed with her to Detroit.

"When Governor Fairchild was in that city, a few weeks since, on his way to the Reunion of the Society of the Army of the Potomac, he was entertained as the guest of the Twenty-fourth Michigan Regiment, which during the war had also served in the iron Brigade. This regiment, being largely composed of residents of Detroit, still maintains its organization, and thus keeps active the friendly relations its survivors formed during their glorious service.

"While there, the Governor received a note from Mrs. Garfield, stating that her daughter was on her dying bed, and begged to see Governor Fairchild once more. He at once called upon her, and found that she was aware that she must die soon, and wanted to send by him her love to the children who had been her playmates and classmates in the Home. From the appearance of things in the house, the Governor saw that the widow's purse, like that of most soldiers' widows was subject to surfeit of money. On his return to the hotel, he mentioned to several members of his Twenty-fourth the fact that he had visited an orphan daughter f one of their old comrades, and that she was dying, comparatively a stranger, in their city. They inquired to her circumstances, and, on learning that her care was a heavy tax on the wearied energies and slender means of the mother, they assured the governor that the poor girl should not lack for assistance or attention while she lived among them. From that day the dying orphan received every care, and the family the most delicate and assiduous attentions which kind hands and willing hearts could give. On the 23rd ult. Miss Garfield died. The Twenty-fourth Regiment defrayed the larger part of the funeral expenses. She was buried from the St. John's Episcopal Church. The Twenty-fourth Regiment attended the funeral in a body, and brought with them a strong tide if most affectionate interest and sympathy for the bereaved family. The daughter of the most distinguished citizen of Detroit could not have been carried to the grave more lovingly and tenderly than was this orphan of a humble Wisconsin soldier, by the brave men of Michigan who had fought by her father's side on the battle-fields of Virginia.

This was nobly done and worthy of the gallant men by whom it was done. It will strengthen the friendship which still subsists among the survivors of that world famed brigade and but few will read it without being remind that:

"'The bravest are the tenderest,
The loving are the caring.'"

Copyright Clayton Betzing, 2001

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