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January, 2010

Commanders Column

Another year behind us. Where does the time go? The first thing I would like to do is to thank the Ladies of the Auxiliary for another wonderful Christmas party. I believe a good time was had by all. I hope you all had a great Christmas and were able to spend it with family and friends. It sounds like there are about 40,000 of "our boys" that will miss at least 1 holiday season with their families. Maybe next year they can all be home.

As we did in 2008, we lost a Brother last year. I want to one last time reconize John McFeters for his dedication to our Camp and advancing its causes at all times. John you have been and will continue to be missed.

As we start on the new year I just want to take a moment and thank you all for your support over the last year. Not only for the support you have shown the Camp, but the support you have shown me in my first year as Commander of the Camp. We had a very busy 2009 and 2010 looks to be as busy if not more so with the Sequa-centennial of the Civil War coming up. Yes I know some will make the point that it has already started and honestly I have to agree with them.

As all of you know I am not only Commander of Camp 7, but I am also the webmaster for the Camp. It is good to know that you are acessing the website as I have seen the numbers of visits to the Austin Blair site. I'm sure you have noticed a few changes that have been made to it over the last few months. I want you all to know that this is your website. If you have any ideas at all about something that you think will make it better please send them along to me.

I am looking forward to spending this upcoming year with you. With your continued assistance, and the assistance of the Devine Being who attended both Washington and Lincoln, I know we shall move forward and put forth our best effort in Keeping green the memory of those soldiers, sailors and marines who gave so much of themselves to save this Country of ours.

In Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty.

Bob Griggs CC
December 27, 2009

Submitted by
Bill Lowe

Our world is changing so fast many of us find it difficult to either understand or to "keep up" in our daily lives. Now change in our efforts as members of the SUVCW has been greatly affected in achieving our goals in the area of graves registration and learning more about the "boys who wore the Blue", in many cases our ancestors! For the majority of us who have wanted to look at the histories of Michigan Regiments in the Civil War it has meant a trip to a library, not always in their local area, to document their service to our Country.

Just recently it was learned that 42 of the 46 individual volumes of the Records of Michigan Men in the Civil War have been digitized and are now online. This has been done by the Bentley Library at the University of Michigan. The remaining four volumes are in the process of being completed. Already available is the Index with the names, regiment, volume and page number for those from Michigan. These include Michigan men who volunteered here and were sent to other states for service in their regiments. What a bonanza!

Additionally, Michigan in the War, by John Robertson, has been digitized to study even more about the activities of our men during the war, as well as the 27 volumes of THE ROLL OF HONOR, published by the U. S. Quartermaster Department after the war. These list the men and where they are buried, who died during the war, on the battlefields or in the hospitals, who were buried in either Battlefield or National Cemeteries.

With the availability of these resources "online", accessible at your home and free of charge, it will make it for much easier for everyone.

For the Graves Registration Officers it will provide easy access for documenting the service of many of the men whose graves we locate. This is especially valued with the Veterans Administration no longer accepting information from the various online sources such as the CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS & SAILORS (CWSS) database.

For the JUNIOR VICE COMMANDERS it will expedite assisting new memberships applicants to our Camps. NOTE: Applications for membership are no longer acceptable without copies of original documents again eliminating data from sites such as the CWSS.

For the individual who just want to learn more about the "boys who wore the Blue" from Michigan you will find other significant information.

To access the websites first go to:

Then to look for the individual soldier's information go to the Index to learn the volume and page number:

This is most helpful for those not very familiar with the volume number and the regiment number You can now click on the applicable volume number

To access MICHIGAN IN THE WAR go to:;page=root;seq=1;view=image;size=100

To access the ROLL OF HONOR go to:

Again, our Thanks go to the Bentley Library at the University of Michigan, hopefully they will be adding more items to this website. If you "discover" any other states that have digitized and placed online their Civil War Rosters of the soldiers please advise me that we may share the information.

Bill Lowe


Treasure's Report
Mike Maillard
1 November 2009 thru 31 December 2009


1 November 2009 . Total Begining Balance $2,767.73

. . . .
1 November 2009 . General Fund Beginning Balance $958.20

. . . .
. Bob Griggs Issued CK 430Website Expenses and Supplies $90.20
. Bob Griggs Received 2010 Membership dues $36.00
. Zachary Hurd Received 2010 Membership dues $36.00
. Joshua Hurd Received 2010 Membership dues $36.00
. Avery Lynch Received 2010 Junior dues $10.00
. Jackson County Vets Council Issued CK 431 for annual dues $5.00
. Mike Maillard Received 2010 Membership dues $36.00
. Frank Engle Received 2010 Membership dues $36.00
. Ronald Lewis Received 2010 Membership dues $36.00
. Howard Lloyd Received 2010 Membership dues $36.00
. . . .
31 December 2009 . General Fund Ending Balance $1,125.00
. . . .
1 November 2009 . Restoration Fund Beginning Balance $474.03

31 December 2009 . Restoration Fund Ending Balance $474.03
. . . .
1 November 2009 . Camp Blair Memorial Fund Beginning Balance $1,335.50
31 December 2009 . Camp Blair Memorial Fund Ending Balance $1,335.50
. . . .
31 December 2009 . Total Ending Balance $2,934.53


Secretary's Report
Ron Tyrl PPC

The November 9, 2009 meeting of the Austin Blair Camp No.7 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was held at the Eagles, 209 N. Francis Jackson, Michigan.

Members in attendance were Brothers: Kyle Bublitz, Bob Griggs, Ron Lewis, Mark Heath, Howard Lloyd, Bill Lowe, Mike Maillard, Jeff Oberdank, Ron Tyrl, Daniel Watkins, Charlie Waters Jr. and Russell Watson. Guest: Dept Commander Charles L. Worley and Dept. JVC Dave Arnold.

Commander Griggs opened the meeting with a request for the Secretary's report and it was motioned accepted as published on the website by Brother Heath, seconded by Brother Oberdank. Motion Passed. The Treasurer's Report was distributed and accepted as published by Brother Waters, seconded by Brother Watson. Motion Passed.


1. The Camp received another request for an Honor Guard for a "Lean on Me" event at the Crouch Center November 17th at 11:30am for the Jackson Woodcarvers as they present canes to veterans. Five to Six camp members said they were available to provide the Honor Guard.

2. The Jackson Veteran's Council sent applications for Veteran of the Year and the $5 membership dues requested for the 2010 year. Please forward names to Commander Griggs of veterans in mind for nomination.

3. A "Thank You" card was received for our participation in the Waterloo event. And Brother Conklin's "To the Left Pete" badge was found and was returned.

4. Commander Griggs announced that there were music CDs from Kelly Trudell a local musician from Concord, Michigan for sale at the meeting.


1. Commander Griggs reported that Geocities our service for the Camp's website was transferred to Yahoo and our cost of $4.95 per month which is locked in will double once expired but our current 25 meg website space will be unlimited; the contract paperwork was available for review. Also Commander Griggs is finalizing the Auxiliary's ancestor's page.

Graves Registration

1. Commander Griggs read a report from Graves Registration Officer Waters III that a soldier's relative is ordering a Bronze Marker for Grass Like Cemetery and she will want a service once installed. Also two headstones for soldiers in Woodland cemetery have been ordered, more to follow.

2. Brother Lowe gave an update on the new procedures for ordering Veteran military headstones through the V.A and currently the Dept. of Michigan is seeking clarification on the new requirements.


No report given

Old Business

1. The Concord cemetery headstones damaged last month were repaired by the Jackson Monument Company and a card will be sent thanking them for their work and it was motioned that Commander Griggs send a formal letter also thanking them for the time and expense for these repairs.

2. Chaplain Heath updated the Camp on the two ad hoc committees for options for the Camp's Flags and Historian's items currently being worked. Chaplain Heath reviewed how the current Flags were bought and donations were sought but the money primarily came from the Camp's general funds. Also Chaplain Heath will have some of the Camp's Historian items at the Holiday Christmas party for review and then all items deemed keepable will be given to our new Historian Henry Hawker.

3. Dept. Commander Worley proceeded to installed the 2010 officers per ritual: Commander Griggs, SVC Gilman, JVC Oberdank, Treasurer Maillard, Secretary Tyrl, Patriotic Instructor Lloyd, Camp Council: Conklin, Lewis, and Watkins, and Chaplain Heath.

New Business

1. Invitations were handed out for the Camp's Christmas Party for Dec. 13, 2009.

For the Good of the Order

1. The Camp's Christmas party will be on Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 1pm at the Sandstone Congregational Church, a pot luck lunch and the annual auction for entertainment with proceeds going to purchase items of need for troops overseas and a local food bank.

2. Dept. JVC Arnold reported that our Camp's Chaplain made the Lansing paper for his participation in the Mt Hope event last month.

3. Two articles were read: first a Lincoln letter turned up in a flea market in Ohio dated April 14, 1865 "Let this man enter with this note. A Lincoln" probably worth $25,000 today and West Virginia hopes to give thousands of unclaimed civil war medals to descendants of soldiers that were awarded the medals but never claimed. The medals are now valued at $1,500.

4. Brother Watkins brought in books and a revolver for sale and Brother Maillard had his Lincoln anniversary "Silver Dollar" proof set and a 1905 GAR Badge on display at the meeting.

5. Chaplain Heath reported that there are two SUVCW Flag Holders with Camp 7 on them and seven GAR Flag Holders in the Camp supplies.

6. Dept. Commander Worley closed the meeting with a review of Dept. goals and the importance of the Patriotic Instructor position. Emphasizing the Messenger as a good source of important information and the latest on the Michigan Library status which all can be said is it is being worked. Expect to also hear of event planning for the Sesquicentennial in two years.

Commander Griggs proceeded to close the meeting at 8:40pm and our next camp meeting is scheduled for January, 2010, to be held at the Eagles, Jackson, Michigan.


What we have read

Lincoln's Darkest Year
The War in 1862

By William Marvel

Submitted by Ron Tyrl

I felt the book was well written, valid points but very dark as far as the authors opinion on Lincoln, Stanton and the men who served in the Union Army.

The Author came across to me as biased toward the southern cause somewhat very critical of Lincoln and his men but generous to the southerner.

He basically says most soldiers in the Union army served for the money not for cause of Union, basically the poor served while the elite stayed away "poor man's fight, rich man's war".

Economics did played a part I would imagine as a factor but he uses a broad brush on the majority of those who served.

He has good details never knew the dark side of some of the issues: suicides after battles, large numbers of officer resignations, and the politics behind the pay and benefits.

Just from what I've learned of my relatives service in the civil war some of what he says held true: they were always paid about four to six months behind, economics hurt them while in the service, they had to sell land to pay bills while in the union army, but both men had farms that seemed to be doing well over a hundred acres before the war and they were in their early and mid-thirties when they joined in July 1861 and Jan 1862. This author says most of the men who joined in 1861 and early 62 were poor or had substandard employment and saw military service as an improvement in their life. My Grandfather's Grandfather just bought $500 worth of acreage the summer before joining the army so doesn't sound like he was hurting too bad.

1862 was a terrible year though for the union overall.

Never heard of the "Stay Laws" that prevented bill collectors from taking land from men serving in the war but my relatives did have to sell land to pay the bills in 1864 and 65, so this law must not have prevented all collections or a hold on bill payments.

Enjoyed the book, even with his biases against Lincoln and his union men, good to hear all sides.


Upcoming Events


January: 2010
Austin Blair Camp No. 7Auxiliary
Monday January 11th;

Austin Blair Camp Meeting Jackson Eagles-612, 301 Detroit St. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).
Monday January 11th;

Austin Blair Ladies Auxiliary Meeting. Jackson Eagles-612, 301 Detroit St. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).

February: 2010
Austin Blair Camp No. 7Auxiliary
Monday February 8th;

Austin Blair Camp Meeting. Jackson Eagles-612, 301 Detroit St. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).

Friday February 12th;

~ Abraham Lincoln's 201st Birthday ~

Monday February 8th;

Austin Blair Ladies Auxiliary Meeting. Jackson Eagles-612, 301 Detroit St. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome). .







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