Michigan State University

James Bradish Papers (c.00147)

The James Bradish papers consist of the letters Corporal James Warren Bradish wrote to his family and friends in Michigan during the Civil War. The letters are primarily addressed to a woman Bradish calls Sister Emma, however through extensive research it has been concluded that they are not of biologic relation. Eighteen-year-old James Bradish was enlisted in the army on August 6, 1862, and was mustered into Company A of the 18th Michigan Infantry on August 26. He was stationed throughout the South in states including Tennessee and Kentucky. On September 24, 1864, Bradish was captured alongside other members of his Regiment in Athens, Alabama. The Prisoners of War were sent to the Castle Morgan Civil War Prison located in Cahaba, Alabama, where they were held until their release to Vicksburg, Mississippi in April of 1865. Nearly 2,000 released Prisoners of War, Bradish among them, were placed on the steamboat Sultana for their return to the North. However, on April 27, 1865, the steamboat’s boilers exploded, setting the Sultana ablaze and causing it to sink in the Mississippi River. Over 1,200 of the approximately 2,000 passengers died in the accident, including Bradish. The letters in this collection detail Bradish’s experiences from September of 1862 until March of 1864.

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