Civil War Round Table to Meet Wednesday, 7 p.m., at the Lincoln Center
The Birney Family and Bay City's Role in the Civil War to be Discussed
January 16, 2005
By: Dave Rogers
David Bell Birney, left, and William Birney were major generals in the Civil War.
Dee Dee Wacksman, chairperson of the 7th Michigan Cavalry Civil War Round Table, presents a program on Confederate Raider John Hunt Morgan of Ohio.
The 7th Michigan Cavalry Civil War Round Table (CWRT) will meet Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Lincoln Center of the Bay Regional Medical Center to discuss the role of the Birney family and Bay City in the Civil War.
Discussionleader will be D. Laurence Rogers, author and historian.
"Much new information about the Civil War is coming out all the time, in part because of the increased capability of research through the Internet," said Dee Dee Wacksman, chairperson of the CWRT."
Four sons and a grandson of Bay City pioneer James G. Birney fought in the Civil War.
Maj. Gen. David Bell Birney lived in Bay City from 1841 to 1848. He drove a herd of cattle 300 miles here from Ohio, operated a store and traveled the region to trade with the Indians. He was a lawyer in Philadelphia at the onset of the Civil War.
William Birney lived briefly in Bay City and went to France where he was a college instructor and fought in the French Revolution of 1848. He enlisted in the 4th New Jersey Volunteers when the war broke out.
Dion Birney enlisted from Saginaw, served in the medical corps, and died early in the war of exposure.
Fitzhugh Birney and grandson James G. Birney IV were residents of Bay City at the time of the outbreak of the war. Fitzhugh was away at Harvard College and enlisted from Massachusetts. He served as an adjutant on the staff of Gen. William McClellan and died at Washington, D.C.June 17, 1864 of wounds received at the Battle of Cold Harbor.
James G. Birney IV, grandson of James G. Birney, enlisted at "Hampton," obviously Hampton Township, Bay County. Young Birney served in the 7th Michigan Cavalry, incorporated into the Michigan Cavalry Brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer. He was wounded, captured and escaped at Gettysburg, receiving a commendation from Custer.
The 2nd Michigan Cavalry was headed by Philip H. Sheridan, who later became General in Chief of the U.S. Army. Birney IV also served under Sheridan later in the Civil War and was recommended for promotion by that leader.
The Michigan Cavalry Brigade was in 57 actions and participated in the Grand Review in Washington on May 23, 1865. The units were consolidated into the First Michigan Veteran Cavalry and were immediately ordered west to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
Besides the Birneys, whose background, qualifications and military performance will be highlighted in the presentation at the meeting, many Bay Cityans served in the Civil War. And many Civil War veterans moved to the booming lumber town after the war.
Several had been connected with the 7th Michigan Cavalry. For example, Rev. C.P. Nash, named pastor of the First Universalist Society of Bay City in April, 1866, had been chaplain of the Seventh Michigan Cavalry during the war.
Capt. F.W. King, an officer with the 7th Michigan Cavalry, is buried in Oak RidgeCemetery, but little is known of his career or how he came to Bay City.
The most distinguished Civil War career of any Bay City was that of Benjamin F. Partridge, former lumberman and Bay County sheriff, who rose from private in the 16th Michigan Infantry Regiment to brevet brigadier general. He was in 42 major actions and was wounded five times, at Malvern Hill, Gettysburg, Peeble's Farm, Hatcher's Run and Quaker Road. He was brevetted "for gallant conduct at the action at White Oak Road,Virginia, Mar. 29, 1865."###
History Article 672
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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