The Story of Adrian’s Henry Steward: A Black Farmer Turned Union Officer
There is a lot of history in the Civil War which is centered around Michigan soldiers. Just about any state you go there was some kind of major impact or role that Michigan officers and soldiers played. One farmer from Adrian, Michigan, decided to serve his country and ultimately met a sad ending. Henry Steward, much like a majority of others in the war, died of disease. The official cause of death was chronic diarrhea, which was not uncommon because of such unsanitary conditions:
At the time of enlisting he was a twenty-three-year-old farmer and was enlisted on the 4th April, 1863 and was assembled with other troops on April 23rd. He was a non-commissioned officer, as were all Black officers, but Steward was actively engaged in the recruiting of soldiers for the regiment he belonged to. He died of his disease at the regimental hospital on Morris Island, South Carolina, on September 27th, 1863, and his estate was paid a $50 state bounty.
Sergeant Henry Stewart, of Company E, a faithful soldier who had actively engaged in recruiting the regiment, died of disease on September 27, and was buried with proper honors. His and other deaths, with an increased sick list, called for sanitary measures about this time. No radical change of camp was possible, as the ground available for such purposes was limited; but tents were struck so that the air and sun could reach the ground beneath, and a daily inspection of streets, sink, and the cooked food instituted.
Finding Michigan In Murphreesburo
While on my walk in 2018 of the Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, I recognized a familiar object that made me feel like I was home again, a Michigan Historical Marker. The marker was erected in 1966 and dedicated to Michigan and "her brave and courageous sons who fought at Stones River to preserve the Union."
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