May 10th

Today Company __  performed the melancholy duty of consigning one of its members to the tomb. He died last evening at 8 o’clock from an attack of brain fever. How little he thought his comrades would be called upon so soon to lay the last tribute to humanity, but life is fleeting.  And though he will never see the contest of armies, nor see the clash of arms. Yet we may hope he is engaging  a far better scene where fierce contentions and disabling wars are unknown.

Joseph Proper was the first soldier to die at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids, MI and the U.S. Army buried him at Oakhill Cemetery on land they purchased for the purpose. A dedication ceremony was held on May 7th, 2011. Read more about the event here.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 4th

Today we drilled in the room and an on a small green west of Grand River till about 3 o’clock P.M. when all the companies present formed on ____ street and marched out to the fair ground two miles south of the city. The fair ground farms are paved and the house upon it which is a large, narrow, semicircular building forms our barracks. There are three rows of bunks and on each side placed one above another calculated to accommodate four persons. Today we ate our first camp meal in a large shedlike building, which is being constructed, and which when done will accommodate the entire regiment. Eight of our men were detailed on guard immediately on arriving at camp.

The 3rd Michigan was quartered at Cantonment Anderson, fairgrounds at Jefferson Ave. and Hall Street, which was 2 miles south of the city of Grand Rapids, MI at that time. It was later referred to as Camp Kellogg or Camp Lee. The site was abandoned after 1861. See more of the site history here.