Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - Peter Passenger

Peter V. Passenger

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • E. M. Stanton Post #86 Arlington (Haller City), Snohomish Co. WA

Unit History

  • 4th Michigan Cavalry L

See full unit history

Peter Passenger
Full Unit History

4th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry
Summer, 1861 Detroit Michigan
Mustered In: 8/29/61 Detroit Michigan
Mustered Out: 7/1/65 Nashville, TN
Discharged: 7/10/65 Detroit Michigan

Regimental History


  The 4th a three year western theater regiment served throughout the war with 3rd Kentucky Cavalry, 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry and the Second Indiana Cavalry in what came to be known as "Minstry's Brigade." Leaving the state of Michigan in September, 1862, the unit saw its first action in October when it was engaged with the troops of Confederate cavalryman John Hunt Morgan at Stanford Kentucky. In that action it drove the Rebels before them and captured a number of prisoners.  From that point on until the end of the war the 4th was almost constantly in the saddle and in action.

  1863 engagements during the early part of this year included besting and pursuing Rebel cavalry under generals Forrest and Wheeler. Movements throughout Tennessee followed.

  During 1864 the 4th moved from Pulaski, TN into and around Chattanooga before joining Union forces raiding around Atlanta, GA. After the fall of that city on Sept 2, 1864 the regiment was active in scouting and facing the enemy in both Georgia and Tennessee. At the end of '64 it moved to Louisville, KY to be reequipped. From there it travelled to Alabama, a state which it had visited earlier in the year

  In the opening months of 1865 the 4th was in Georgia when word was received of the surrender of Confederate forces under generals Lee and Johnson.  While this terminated hostilities, there was, however, still one more march for elements of the 4th. This movement resulted in the capture of fleeing CSA president Jefferson Davis, his family and entourage. Final muster and disbandment followed. 

  Regimental losses: 3 officers killed or mortally wounded; 2 officers died of disease, accidents, etc.; 48 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 341 enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc.

Soldier History

Residence: Lake Town, MI   Age: 29.6 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled:7/21/62 Allegan, MI   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 8/28/62
Mustered Out:7/1/65 Nashville, TN
Highest Rank: Pvt. 

Family History


   The origins of Peter Passinger/Passenger are shrouded in the mists of time. He was reportedly born 1/26/33 in Watson, Lewis County, New York. The only bit of information available pertaining to his birth family is that his father's name may have been Andrew. 

  The next available data on Peter is, at best, ambiguous. While he cannot be located in the 1850 U.S. Census, at some point - likely in the early 1850s - he married to a woman identified only as Mary Ann. (No nee.surname) According to the 1860 census, Mary Ann had been born in Ireland.

   Most likely the marriage of Peter and Mary Ann took place in New York as that was where the couple's first child, a daughter - Hannara/Honora - was born on July the 4th of either 1854 or 1855. The union would then produce two sons James W (b. 1857 MI) and Thomas L. (b. 1859 MI). Birthdates for the two boys are taken from the 1860 U.S. Census for Ganges, Allegan County, Michigan. When and why the Peter and his young family had quitted New York for the latter state is not known.

  On 7/21/62, in Allegan, Allegan County, Michigan Peter entered in the U.S. Army for three years. His unit of enlistment, Captain Thomas McKay's company of Michigan cavalry subsequently became company "L" of the 4th Michigan cavalry. Whatever had been the spelling of Peter's surname prior to enlistment - Passinger or Passenger - on army rolls it was spelled as the latter and, as such, will be so spelled herein from this point onward.

  At enlistment Peter's vital statistics were noted as follows: Age - 29.6 yrs.); Height - 6'0"; Eyes - blue; Hair – brow/dark; complexion - dark. His occupation was noted as: farmer. For enlisting Peter received a $100 bounty or enlistment "bonus", $25 of which was paid up front with the balance to come later. At the time of his federal muster Private Passenger received not only that $25 but one month of advanced pay ($13) and a $2 "premium" payment.

  During the latter months of 1862 muster rolls showed Private Passenger as always being present for duty. This changed, however, in early 1863. In later years Peter would report the following: In early January between Nashville and Stewart's Creek, TN "I was taken down with diarrhea as caused by hardship and exposure (to the elements). The diarrhea became chronic." Thus began a revolving door pattern of being admitted to hospitals from the field level to Army general hospitals ranging from Tennessee to Kentucky and into Indiana. Except for brief periods of being returned to duty, this pattern would continue into early 1864.

  The March/April '64 muster rolls then showed Private Passenger once again present for duty. This notation was followed by an undefined period of detached service in Columbia, TN which stretched into October. 1865. On July 1st of that year, in Nashville, TN Private Passenger was separated from the army. At that time it was noted that his last payday had been up to 10/31/64. His clothing account had last been settled on 6/31/64 and he owed the U.S. Government for "clothing advanced", the sum of $33.62. He also owed $10 for arms and equipment. (Note: this may have been because he chose to retain his armament.) Also due him was the remaining $75 of his enlistment bounty. 


  Leaving the military it appears Peter returned to Allegan County, Michigan and his wife and family. Once there, however, matters did not proceed well as on 8/8/67 he and Mary Ann divorced. After that, Peter disappeared for a time as he cannot be found in U.S. Census for 1870. Not long thereafter, however, he apparently remarried to one Biancia Thompson. The union's first child, Lillie, was born in Michigan on 11/24 of 1871. The Passenger/Thompson however, was ill-fated as before many years passed Biancia died. While death years range from 1873 through 1874, and 1875, daughter Lillie would later claimed her mother's year of passing was 1876.

  Whatever the year of the second Mrs. Passenger's death, on 11/11/77 in Shelby Michigan, Peter re-wed for a third and final time. On this occasion his bride was the previously twice wed Mary Cramer. (Nee Course b. 1846, MI or IA). Her first husband,  Francis Marion "Frank" Eaton, had been a Civil War veteran but had served in a different regiment than Peter, had been killed in Michigan in 1869 by a falling tree branch. Her second husband, Steven Cramer had drowned in Tawas Bay on Lake Huron in January, 1872.

  At the time of the Passenger/Cramer union he was aged 44 years and she was ca.30 years of age.  It appears she brought one child into the marriageher son William (b. 1868) who had been fathered by Mr. Eaton.

  The 1880 census for Shelby, Oceana Co., Michigan listed the family of farmer Peter as comprised of his wife Mary, her son William - here with the surname Passenger - and Peter's daughter Lillie/Lillia. The following year on November 11, Mary bore Peter a daughter, Annie P. Passenger.

  We now jump ahead to 1886. It was on August 9th of that year that Peter began the paperwork process to obtain  a U.S. Government disability pension based on illnesses which he claimed traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering.  His ‘primary” illness was continuing diarrhea which he dated back to early 1863. The following year - 1887 - the Government requested more information from him regarding this illness and from there the pension-seeking process dragged on into the next decade with Peter asserting he was unable to support himself and his family farm because of the chronic diarrhea.  During that time the Passengers remained in Shelby, Shelby Township, Oceana County, Michigan.

  Although at some point the pension-seeking persistence paid off, available documentation does not reflect exactly what year a monthly stipend - based on the Act of June 27, 1890 - was granted. It appears that initial payment was $12 which later was raised to $15 and then $20, the amount he was receiving at the time of his death.

  Peter and Mary remained in Shelby until 1901. They then quitted Michigan to resettle in the far northwest community of Anacortes, located in the western Washington State county of Skagit. Available documentation is silent as to why the long western jump was made, but perhaps it was to be near one or more of the couple's children or step children. 

  The Passengers appear to have remained in Anacortes for a time before removing to the community of Fidalgo, also located in Skagit County. The movement from the former location to the latter took place sometime between 1909 and 1910 as in December, 1908 the couple was in Anacortes, while in 1910 they were settled into Fidalgo. It was there the 1910 census located Peter and Mary; he retired and she having born two children, both of whom were living.

  On 2/23/11, in Summitt Park, Skagit County, near Anacortes, Peter died. If one accepts that he was born 1/26/33 at death he was 78.0 years of age. He was buried Haywood Cemetery located in Arlington, WA, a Snohomish County community quite some distance south and east of Skagit County. No documental reason is given for the Snohomish County burial.

  Not many months after her husband's passing, Mary was granted a portion Peter's Civil War-based pension. While the initial amount of that stipend is not documented, she was receiving $30 per month at the time of her death. Mary remained in Anacortes until her date of death: August 21, 1926.Following her passing Mary's remains were also transported to Arlington for internment beside those of Peter.

   Burial-related fees were paid by Mary's son William who was noted as an Anacortes resident. He later attempted to gain reimbursement for some of those costs from the U.S. Government. The outcome of those efforts is not known. 


Buried at Harwood Cemetery Arlington

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