Clark, Gardner B. – December 25, 1861

Michigan Civil War Collection

Click here for this soldier’s biography:

Regiment: 1st U.S. Volunteers Sharpshooters

Battles Mentioned:

Historical Figures: Hiram C. Berdan

Camp of Instruction
Berdans U.S.S.S.
Washington D.C. Dec. 25th 1861

My own Dear Mary;
Christmas eve
1861, I try to pierce through a
thousand miles of distance to see
what my Mary is doing, and how
she enjoys herself. but I can only guess
and guess she is writing to me.
And now I will tell you how I have
got through the day. before sunrise

Roll call as usual. between seven and
eight breakfast about nine got a pass
to visit Washington, went to the City and
after getting a couple quarts Oysters to
carry back to camp. Went to the
Avenue House to see the Hon. F. W. Kellogg
I had to wait two hours to see him
but while waiting called upon the Hon. R.
E. Trowbridge of Mich. I think from
Detroit. After talking about half an hour
with him. I called up the Hon. F. C. Beaman
also from Mich. He was not in but his
wife was and having been there (I dont
remember whether I ever told you about
it or not but when Brewer and I went
to the camp of the Third I went to see
him to have him frank some envel-
opes for me which he said he would
do by the time I came back. His wife
asked me about the health of our soldiers
and when we came back she was alone
she asked me to take a seat which
I did and stopped about five minutes

to-day she remembered me and called
me by my name.) twice before Mrs. Beaman
being out she [  ?  ] me to be seated
until his return. And then she com-
menced telling me how she had spent
Christmas. now stop and guess.
You will give it up I know so I may
as well tell you. She with her husband
had been visiting the sick Soldiers
from Michigan in the Hospitals. I
told her (I dont know as it was
right) God bless her for that. she
said in the two Hospitals she visited
she found them all doing first rate
and not very sick, with on exception
that was a soldier wounded some
time ago in the leg (thats what she
said) and time would make that all
right. While talking with her Mr Trow-
bridge came in with a handful of
Michigan papers which he gave
me. and Mrs Beaman gave me
a piece of “Reed Tape” to tie them

together with. I will send it to you
in this please keep it for me.
After getting back to Camp I
found one of my tent mates Henry
Hacket, pretty sick. he had been some
sick for nearly a week I got him
to sweating pretty freely and it brought
out the measles thick as they can be
and have room. Our tent is so
small that one has to sit up to
make room for the measles I told
the boys I wanted to write to you, so
they are all sound asleep but will
get up and take my place by and
by. Brewers Mary is sick with
the measles he has not heard from
her since the 16th and Brewer
is so near sick there is no fun in
it. Yours of the 20th I received last
night and shall expect another from
you tomorrow night.
And now I think I hear you say
“what was you going to see N. C.
for” in answer I [  ?  ] you to the
next sheet.

11. He is often in prison. yet always at
liberty; A free man though a servent.
He loves not honor among men, yet
highly prises a good name.
12 He would lay down his life to save
the soul of his enemy, yet will not adven-
ture upon one sin to save the life of him who
saved his.
13. He swears to his own hinderance and
changeth not; yet knows that his oath cannot
tie him to sin.
14. He believes Christ to have no need of any
thing he does, yet makes account that he

relieves Christ in all his acts of charity.
He knows he can do nothing of himself, yet
labors to work out his own salvation. He
professes he can do nothing, yet as truly
professes he can do all things; He knows
that flesh and blood can not inherit the king-
dom of God. yet believes he shall got to heaven
both body and soul.
15. He trembles at God’s word, yet counts
it sweeter to him than honey and the honey
comb, and dearer than thousands of gold and silver
16. He knows God’s providence is all in all
things, yet is as diligent in his calling and
business as if he were to provide for his
own happiness, He believes beforehand that
God has purposed what he shall be. and
that nothing can make him alter his
purpose; yet prays and endeavors, as
if he would force God to save him for ever.
should be 16
17. He believes that God will never damn
him. and yet fears God for being able to cast
him into hell, He knows he shall not be saved
by, nor for his good works. yet he does all the

good works he can                                          7
18. He prays and labors for that which he is
confident God means to give; And the more
assured he is that more ernest he prays. He
believes his prayers are heard even when they
are denied and gives thanks for that which he
prays against.
19. He has within him both flesh and spirit
yet he is not a double-minded man; He is often
led captive by the law of sin. yet it never gets
deminion ever him; He cannot sin yet he
can do nothing without sin. He does nothing
against his will yet maintains he does
what he would not. He wavers and doubts
yet obtains.
20. He is often tossed and shaken, yet in
as mount [  ?  ], He is sometimes so troub-
led, that he thinks nothing to be true in re-
ligion; Yet if he did think so. he could
not at all be troubled. He thinks sometimes
that God has no mercy for him. yet re-
solves to die in the pursuit of it. He be-
leives, like Abraham, against hope, and

though he cannot answer Gods logic,
yet with the woman of Canaan, he
hopes to prevail with the [  ?  ] of imper-
21. He wrestles and yet prevails; and
though yielding himself unworthy of the
[  ?  ] blessing he enjoys, yet Jacob like
he will not let him go without a new blessing.
He sometimes thinks himself to have no
grace at all and yet how poor and afflicted
[  ?  ] he be besides, he would not change
conditions with the most prosper our man
under heaven. that is a manifest worldling
22. He thinks sometimes that the ordinan-
ces of God do him no good. yet he would
rather part with his life than be deprived
of them.
23. He was [ ? ] born dead; Yet so that it had
been murder for any to have taken his
life away. After he began to live he was
ever dying.

24. And though he has and eternal life be-
gun in him, yet he makes account he has a
death to pass through.
25. He counts self murder a heinous sin.
yet is ever busied in crucifying the flesh,
and in putting to death his earthly members;
Not doubting but there will come a time of
glory, when he shall be esteemed precious
in the sight of the great God of heaven
and earth. appearing with boldness at
his [  ?  ], and asking any thing he needs;
Being endued with humility by acknowl-
edging his great crime and offences.

and that he deserves nothing but sever pun-
26. He believes his soul and body shall be as
full of glory as them that have more; and
no more full than theirs that have less.
27. His death makes not an end of him.
this soul which was put into his body, is
not to be perfected without his body; Yet
his soul is more happy when it is separa-
ted from his body than when it was joined
unto it: And his body though toss in pieces
burnt to ashes, ground to powder, turned
to rottenness, shall be no loses.
28. His Advocate, his [ ? ], shall be his
judge: His His mortal part shall become
immortal; And what was sewn in
corruption and defilement shall be sais
ed in incorrpution and glory; And
a finite creature shall possess an infinite
happiness. Glory be to God.

Col. Berdan has been trying to
get muskets into our hands. I we
have misstrusted it this good while
but now we know it to be a fact. last
Monday night he called us all together
and told us he had won a great battle
that at last he had got the Secretery
of War to sign a requisition for
some guns for us they were to be
what he called “the Spencer Repeating
rifle” got up without regard to expense
but meanwhile the War Department
were going to loan him a lot of Spring

Springfield rifles with sabre bag o-
nets to learn the manual of Arms
with that. they would be on here in
a few days. The story did not sound
well we thought it rather strange that
Government could offered to let us
have Springfield Rifles to play with
when there were thousands of troops in
and about Washington without arms
of any kind Wednesday Morning Dec 26th we did not believe what
he said and declared we would not
take muskets into our hands (the spring
field Rifles are but very little better)
for we knew perfectly well if we did we
would be obliged to use them if the War
Department said so. and we have the
name of being one of the best drilled
Regiments in Washington. so we con-
cluded whill out stay out.
The consequences were the boys were
pretty raving. Some of the Officers got
their mad up sever the boys we
should take muskets that was a

trifle to large and we declared we
would go to the Dry Tortugas for the bal-
ance of our three years before we
would take any other arm but what we
enlisted to take. Col. Berdan was not
satisfied and went to our Company
Officers told them he wanted them to
write to Govenor Blair and have him
withdraw our rifles from us because
they were not fit to go into the field
with whether eavesdropping is manly
or not it paid this time.
I got a pass to go and get some Oysters
and went to see those M. C.s and ask
their advice Mr. Trowbridge told me he
would have his rights if both Heaven and
Hell stood in his path. Col. Kellogg
said he wanted me to send him a
copy of the Circular we enlisted under
and write the particulars of how Berdan
was using us and he would write to
the Govenor and also have it published
in the State papers and if that did

no good he would see the War Depart-
ment in our favor.
This morning Col. Berdan was found
hung in Effigy in the Second Reg. the
Officers ordered it taken down but the
men burned it and on another true
was an obituary with a picture of a
coffin and said to contain the last
earthly remains of the distinguish-
ed Col. H. Berdan. These proceed-
ings may look neither like muting
but our nights we will have and we
we have raised such a blow that
it will sweep over all the north. we
have friends homes, and a country
all of which we came here to protect
and will protect. But we went by
More in a few days. With
much love

[On Envelope:]

Miss Mary J. Baxter
Grand Rapids
(Box 450)                    Michigan