Benjamin B. Brock Papers (c.00239)
This collection consists of Civil War letters from Benjamin B. Brock (also spelled "Bengman" or "Bengiman") of the 14th and 26th Michigan Infantry Regiments to his wife, Sarah "Sally" Ann (alternatively spelled Sallian, Salyann, or Sallyan; maiden name Arnold), and their teenage son, Almond (mostly spelled Almon or Alman). Brock originally enlisted with Company K of the 14th Michigan Infantry, a predominantly Irish regiment, in Ypsilanti in early 1862. However, Ypsilanti was located within Michigan's Third Congressional District, which formed more companies than the state goverment could afford to equip and pay. Thus, Brock's company was sent to Jackson, where they joined other surplus companies to fill out the 26th Michigan Infantry Regiment (Brock was in Company H). The 26th was mustered in on December 12, 1862, and were immediately sent to Washington, D.C., then to Alexandria, Virginia, for provost duty. From there, the regiment engaged in skirmishes in various parts of the Eastern Theater and were sent to New York City in mid-July to help suppress the Draft Riots. Brock was wounded at the Battle of Spottsylvania Courthouse, but later returned to his regiment. His letters describe his experiences but are generally concerned with home matters. He frequently expressed his dissatisfaction with the army and especially with a war to free slaves.