Reuben P. H. Morris (or Jones), 2nd Michigan Infantry

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
A few weeks ago a lady sent me a five page previously unpublished reminiscence of the Battle of the Crater by her ancestor, Reuben Morris, which she found in a box of materials she had been given. After transcribing what is a FANTASTIC letter, and I'll share it here once it goes live on my Petersburg site next week, I realized Reuben Morris had a heckuva story!

His birth name was Reuben Jones, and he was born in Rome, NY in 1848. He and his sister were given up at a young age by his father after their mother died shortly after having Reuben. They were adopted by George Morris and his wife, and the new family set out for East Saginaw, MI sometime prior to the Civil War. In March 1864, at only 16 years old, he lied about his age and used hid birth name of Reuben Jones to enlist in Co. F, 2nd Michigan Infantry. He was in the Ninth Corps through the Overland Campaign and the early portion of the Siege of Petersburg. He was in Ledlie's Division at the Crater and had some VERY close calls that day. He was captured in August 1864, date not specified. I suspect he was captured on August 19, 1864, when his brigade was involved just east of the Weldon Railroad at the Battle of Globe Tavern.

Somehow, by October 1864, he was at Wabash College in Indiana, where he penned and dated the five page reminiscence of the Crater. He was STILL only 16-17 years old through all of this. The weird part is that his service record ALSO shows he was discharged at Camp Chase, OH on June 12, 1865: Jones, Reuben, alias Morris, Reuben. Enlisted in company F, Second Infantry, March 28, 1864, at St. Johns, for 3 years, age 18. Mustered April 14, 1864. Taken prisoner in Aug., 1864. Discharged at Camp Chase, Ohio, June 12, 1865. Died April 19, 1886. Buried at Brady Hill Cemetery, Saginaw, Mich.

Sadly, he died at the age of 38 in East Saginaw, MI. He seems to have lived there most of his life, although he married his wife in Indiana in 1873.

Whew. Sorry for the novel, and here are my questions I am unable to answer. I'd love for any help or tips any of you seasoned veterans can give:
  • When/where/how did Reuben get exchanged after becoming a POW?
  • How/why was he at Wabash College in October 1864 when he wasn't discharged from the army until 1865 in Ohio?
  • Did he attend Wabash College? I suspect he might have given at least one namesake descendant seems to have gone there.
    • Are there records of people who attended a specific college online, something like lists of attendees or graduates?
  • Does anyone know of a regimental history of the Second Michigan or a history of East Saginaw, MI?
I may have found most of what can be found, but I know people here are much more seasoned than me and probably know some tricks. I might need to send in for his pension file. Does anyone know how easy/hard that is and how to do it?
 
Last edited:

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
My understanding is that exchanges had been suspended at this time . Perhaps he escaped . I am not aware of any histories on the 2nd . I do have "For Country Cause and Leader" the journal of Charles Haydon of the 2nd , but he died in March of 1864.I believe there is another journal out there from a vet who lived into the 1900s. When mustered in , the 2nd was largely composed of local militia units such as the Flint Union Grays and East Saginaw Guards . The militia units were formed into companies of the 2nd. East Saginaw became part of Saginaw in the 1880s. The regiment was discharged at Detroit on August 1st 1865. It had been mustered out in Washington the 28th or 29th of July. Perhaps Reuben was discharged early due to illness . Lots of questions to be answered . Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Perhaps Major Bill has more information. He is the expert on Michigan regiments.
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
My understanding is that exchanges had been suspended at this time . Perhaps he escaped . I am not aware of any histories on the 2nd . I do have "For Country Cause and Leader" the journal of Charles Haydon of the 2nd , but he died in March of 1864.I believe there is another journal out there from a vet who lived into the 1900s. When mustered in , the 2nd was largely composed of local militia units such as the Flint Union Grays and East Saginaw Guards . The militia units were formed into companies of the 2nd. East Saginaw became part of Saginaw in the 1880s. The regiment was discharged at Detroit on August 1st 1865. It had been mustered out in Washington the 28th or 29th of July. Perhaps Reuben was discharged early due to illness . Lots of questions to be answered . Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Perhaps Major Bill has more information. He is the expert on Michigan regiments.
Kurt,

Thanks for the info! No worries. I'm here because I cannot find this info myself so far. Any help or clues are always appreciated. I wondered if maybe the Confederates took pity on him because he was only 16. I cannot find any info about where he might have been sent after he was captured. Perhaps he was briefly captured and escaped back to the Union lines all on August 19 or whatever day he was captured. I'm writing up a rough draft of my original article now which includes all of the known info as well as Reuben's Reminiscence. I'll continue looking too and report back here if I find anything relevant.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
I'm going to tag @major bill since @Kurt G think he can help on the Michigan issue.

I looked at Ancestry for Wabash College info. They do have a book with a list of Civil War soldiers who attended the school. Reuben is not on it as either Jones or Morris. But they may only have included graduates. Have you reached out to the Wabash College library? They are sure to have an archive of old college publications and could check materials from the time Reuben was there.
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
I'm going to tag @major bill since @Kurt G think he can help on the Michigan issue.

I looked at Ancestry for Wabash College info. They do have a book with a list of Civil War soldiers who attended the school. Reuben is not on it as either Jones or Morris. But they may only have included graduates. Have you reached out to the Wabash College library? They are sure to have an archive of old college publications and could check materials from the time Reuben was there.

Thanks for that. I did indeed email Wabash College today about this. I'm waiting for a response. There is a 1909 newspaper article which shows a Reuben Morris just then starting to attend. I am not positive they are related.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Were you able to find any newspaper articles - obituaries etc.? Sometimes they can have great info
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Were you able to find any newspaper articles - obituaries etc.? Sometimes they can have great info

I found a series of articles in the April and May 1886 Saginaw News, the local paper. But they were completely silent on why and how he died. What GenealogyBank.com calls an "obituary" simply gave info on when the funeral service would take place. It was regrettably underwhelming.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
I found a series of articles in the April and May 1886 Saginaw News, the local paper. But they were completely silent on why and how he died. What GenealogyBank.com calls an "obituary" simply gave info on when the funeral service would take place. It was regrettably underwhelming.
The term obituary covers a wide variety of writings. The oh so helpful modern style with detailed info was not common in the CW era. Did he have a wife and/or children? I've found info on a deceased husband or father in their obituaries.
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
The term obituary covers a wide variety of writings. The oh so helpful modern style with detailed info was not common in the CW era. Did he have a wife and/or children? I've found info on a deceased husband or father in their obituaries.
He did, but they outlived him by many decades. I will try to check just in case.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Company F, 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry was formed by The Flint Union Greys in 1861. I do not have much information of them late in the Civil War but do know a bit about them before the War and early in the War.

Helen H. Ellis indexed all the Civil War Detroit newspapers. Her book Michigan in the Civil War A Guide to the Material in Detroit Newspapers 1861-1866 shows 176 newspaper article about the
2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry. There are six articles about the 2nd Michigan at the Siege of Petersburg, have you read all six articles?

This book lists sources about Michigan in the Civil War. It is a bit old (1961) so the newest sources are missing.
hist 2 mich a.png

There are 48 sources listed for the 2nd Michigan Infantry. These appear to be mostly information from books or speeches.
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Company F, 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry was formed by The Flint Union Greys in 1861. I do not have much information of them late in the Civil War but do know a bit about them before the War and early in the War.

Helen H. Ellis indexed all the Civil War Detroit newspapers. Her book Michigan in the Civil War A Guide to the Material in Detroit Newspapers 1861-1866 shows 176 newspaper article about the
2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry. There are six articles about the 2nd Michigan at the Siege of Petersburg, have you read all six articles?

This book lists sources about Michigan in the Civil War. It is a bit old (1961) so the newest sources are missing.
View attachment 390728
There are 48 sources listed for the 2nd Michigan Infantry. These appear to be mostly information from books or speeches.

Thanks! I have not read any newspaper articles on the 2nd Michigan in the Detroit papers. I will look around for those.
 

lelliott19

Brigadier General
Moderator
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CWT PRESENTER
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
A few weeks ago a lady sent me a five page previously unpublished reminiscence of the Battle of the Crater by her ancestor, Reuben Morris, which she found in a box of materials she had been given. After transcribing what is a FANTASTIC letter, and I'll share it here once it goes live on my Petersburg site next week, I realized Reuben Morris had a heckuva story!

His birth name was Reuben Jones, and he was born in Rome, NY in 1848. He and his sister were given up at a young age by his father after their mother died shortly after having Reuben. They were adopted by George Morris and his wife, and the new family set out for East Saginaw, MI sometime prior to the Civil War. In March 1864, at only 16 years old, he lied about his age and used hid birth name of Reuben Jones to enlist in Co. F, 2nd Michigan Infantry. He was in the Ninth Corps through the Overland Campaign and the early portion of the Siege of Petersburg. He was in Ledlie's Division at the Crater and had some VERY close calls that day. He was captured in August 1864, date not specified. I suspect he was captured on August 19, 1864, when his brigade was involved just east of the Weldon Railroad at the Battle of Globe Tavern.

Somehow, by October 1864, he was at Wabash College in Indiana, where he penned and dated the five page reminiscence of the Crater. He was STILL only 16-17 years old through all of this. The weird part is that his service record ALSO shows he was discharged at Camp Chase, OH on June 12, 1865: Jones, Reuben, alias Morris, Reuben. Enlisted in company F, Second Infantry, March 28, 1864, at St. Johns, for 3 years, age 18. Mustered April 14, 1864. Taken prisoner in Aug., 1864. Discharged at Camp Chase, Ohio, June 12, 1865. Died April 19, 1886. Buried at Brady Hill Cemetery, Saginaw, Mich.

Sadly, he died at the age of 38 in East Saginaw, MI. He seems to have lived there most of his life, although he married his wife in Indiana in 1873.

Whew. Sorry for the novel, and here are my questions I am unable to answer. I'd love for any help or tips any of you seasoned veterans can give:
  • When/where/how did Reuben get exchanged after becoming a POW?
  • How/why was he at Wabash College in October 1864 when he wasn't discharged from the army until 1865 in Ohio?
  • Did he attend Wabash College? I suspect he might have given at least one namesake descendant seems to have gone there.
    • Are there records of people who attended a specific college online, something like lists of attendees or graduates?
  • Does anyone know of a regimental history of the Second Michigan or a history of East Saginaw, MI?
I may have found most of what can be found, but I know people here are much more seasoned than me and probably know some tricks. I might need to send in for his pension file. Does anyone know how easy/hard that is and how to do it?
1860 US Census shows Reuben Morris, age 12, living in the household of George Morris in East Saginaw. The tick marks to the right of Ella and Reuben's names mean they had attended school in the last year.
1613105639532.png

1870 US Census shows Reuben Morris, a student, age 22, living in the household of William E Morris in East Saginaw, Ward 4
1613105469449.png


I think your Reuben Morris' middle initial was "P" but there were not two men with the name Reuben Morris living in Saginaw in 1880, so I think this is your guy and the "E" was just a mis-transciption.
1613104877437.png

The True Northerner. (Paw Paw, MI), June 04, 1880, page 3.
 

lelliott19

Brigadier General
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Does anyone know of a regimental history of the Second Michigan or a history of East Saginaw, MI?
This thread may be of interest regarding some interesting history of one of the officers.
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/th...-brother-against-brother.180013/#post-2337556
I might need to send in for his pension file. Does anyone know how easy/hard that is and how to do it?
I would just get @RhinehartRoots to get the file for you next time he is at the National Archives. He is a professional researcher and can obtain color copies for a nominal fee and he will look for additional documents that may be related.
 

RhinehartRoots

Private
Official Vendor
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
I would just get @RhinehartRoots to get the file for you next time he is at the National Archives. He is a professional researcher and can obtain color copies for a nominal fee and he will look for additional documents that may be related.
Thanks @lelliott19 for tagging me in this.

@bschulte I can certainly help you with getting the pension file. Once they reopen from the pandemic, I'll be back there. I can scan his pension file for you, and get his service records for you too. I've helped several people here get their Civil War files, so let me know if you'd like help with that.

I found a pension index card for him. I'll attach it here. This card means that he has a complete pension file at the National Archives. His widow got one and and his child did too.

-- Brian

Morris, Reuben pension.jpg
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Thanks @lelliott19 for tagging me in this.

@bschulte I can certainly help you with getting the pension file. Once they reopen from the pandemic, I'll be back there. I can scan his pension file for you, and get his service records for you too. I've helped several people here get their Civil War files, so let me know if you'd like help with that.

I found a pension index card for him. I'll attach it here. This card means that he has a complete pension file at the National Archives. His widow got one and and his child did too.

-- Brian

View attachment 391324
Thanks! I will send you a private message.
 

bschulte

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
UPDATE! I had sent in an inquiry to Wabash College asking if they had any records of a Reuben P. Morris attending in the 1860s or 1870s...and they do! A Reuben P. Morris attended Wabash College in 1871-1872. This also lines up nicely with him getting married in Indiana in 1873. Maybe he met his wife there! I am almost certain it is him, given his son or grandson attended in the 1900s as well. The coincidence is just too strong.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
UPDATE! I had sent in an inquiry to Wabash College asking if they had any records of a Reuben P. Morris attending in the 1860s or 1870s...and they do! A Reuben P. Morris attended Wabash College in 1871-1872. This also lines up nicely with him getting married in Indiana in 1873. Maybe he met his wife there! I am almost certain it is him, given his son or grandson attended in the 1900s as well. The coincidence is just too strong.
Excellent news! Another piece for fitting the puzzle
 
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