G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
3rd MICHIGAN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Mustered In: 6/10/61 Grand Rapids, MI
Mustered Out: 6/10/66 Detroit, MI
The 3rd, a three year unit, left Michigan for Washington D.C. and the Army of The Potomac three days following federal muster. Its first action was at Blackburn’s Ford, VA. Following winter quartering at Alexandria, VA the regiment entered upon and fought throughout Union Gen. George McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign.
In August, the 3rd was in action at Groveton during the 2nd Battle of Bull run. It closed 1862 at the Battle of Fredricksburg. 1863 found the 3rd at Chancellorsville, VA where it was in danger of capture or annihilation. Combat July 2nd and 3rd at Gettysburg, PA followed. Various actions, including the Mine Run Campaign, concluded the year.
Activities for 1864 began for the 3rd during the Wilderness campaign. North Anna River and Cold Harbor followed. With initial enlistments ended in October, 1864 the 3rd was reorganized. It proceeded to Nashville, TN, then moved to Decatur, AL, before returning to Tennessee.
In 1865 the unit was at Huntsville, AL before turning to Tennessee to prove efficient in driving out numerous bands of guerillas which infested that state. After surrender of Confederate armies in the east the 3rd proceeded to New Orleans, LA before moving into Texas where it performed provost (military police) duty until final muster.
Residence: Kent Co., MI Age: 32.4 yrs.
Enrolled/Enlisted: 5/13/61 Grand Rapids, MI Rank: Musician (Pvt.)
Deserted: 10/12/61 Georgetown, MD
Highest Rank: Musician (Pvt.)
*NOTE: Although Norman W. Allen’s civilian headstone bears the inscription G.A.R., documentally tying Mr. Allen to the Union army during the American Civil War has been a long, difficult, and often frustrating endeavor.
A number of Norman Allens served their country during the Rebellion. After researching each of these individuals, both in Washington State and the National Archives in Washington D.C., two factors have been utilized to wed Mr. Allen to the 3rd Michigan Infantry.
The first is the headstone notation of his year of birth as 1829. This matches that of the 3rd’s Norman Allen. The second is the fact that by 1863 the Norman Allen buried in the Snohomish G.A.R. cemetery was residing in Michigan, so he very well could have had roots there in 1861 when Norman Allen of the 3rd enlisted/enrolled and was mustered into Federal service.
Personal and family information on Norman W. Allen is, at best, sketchy. Although his parents were from New York State, Norman was reportedly born in Canada. No details exist regarding his parents’ names, possible siblings, childhood, formative, teenaged or young adult years. As he grew into adulthood, at some point Norman reportedly assumed the occupations of shoemaker and miller. Also, along the way he married Dianna C. “Lottie” McKeague (b. Canada 1832) in Ontario where the two were listed as “Mormons.”
There are indications that the Allens then ended up in New York State, but with two other families named Aldrich and Decker, removed from there to Dufferin County, Ontario Canada then, southward again to Illinois where, in 1859 their first child, Carrie, was born. The second Allen child, Daniel Webster (b. 7/61) was also born there.
In the spring of 1861 patriotic fervor was high in the United States. Thirteen southern states had seceded from the Union, Fort Sumter outside Charleston, SC had been fired upon, and both the Federal and Confederate states were marshalling forces for war. It in this atmosphere that Norman likely decided to volunteer his services to the military. In this vein, although he is noted as being a musician, available records are silent as to the nature of this status, i.e., drummer, fifer, bugler, etc.
While it is not spelled out, there are indications that once in the army musician Allen and the military may not have been a good fit. From his date of Federal muster through July and August Company K’s roll placed him in the hospital. Further, the roll for September and October carried the notation “Detached as nurse in Seminary Hospital by order of Gen. McClellan Oct 2, 61.” Interestingly, this was followed not by mention of detached duty, but by “extra duty.” Perhaps a disciplinary move?
The November/December roll concluded with “Deserted from Seminary Hospital Georgetown Oct. 12, 61. Reported December 7, 1861.” Apparently the U.S. Army did not much care about what happened to musician Allen because it appears nothing was done about his desertion.
In the meantime he seemingly returned to Michigan, for it was there on 1/12/63 the Allens’ third child, William George was born. 1870 and 1880 census reports continue to show the family residing in that state. By the time of the 1900 census shoemaker Allen was living in Snohomish, WA in home of daughter Carrie, now Mrs. Heath. He was noted as married, but his wife was not with him. Perhaps she was residing with son Daniel Webster, a school teacher also living in the Snohomish area. Lottie died in 1904, Norman in 1910 (the headstones indicates 1909). The two are buried side by side.
Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish
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