Set of five 1861 Civil War Michigan Central Rail Road passes for soldiers of the 1st Michigan Infantry Regiment including one issued to a private who was wounded at The First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas). soldiers, issuing officials.
Set of five 1861 Civil War Michigan Central Rail Road passes for soldiers of the 1st Michigan Infantry Regiment including one issued to a private who was wounded at The First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)
Set of five 1861 Civil War Michigan Central Rail Road passes for soldiers of the 1st Michigan Infantry Regiment including one issued to a private who was wounded at The First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)

Set of five 1861 Civil War Michigan Central Rail Road passes for soldiers of the 1st Michigan Infantry Regiment including one issued to a private who was wounded at The First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)

Detroit, Michigan: August to October 1861. Envelope or Cover. Three of these five passes measure about 3¼” x 2”. All are printed on yellow cardstock.

Two passes are generic and printed for “One soldier Co. ___ Reg’t”. The three other passes required a name to be filled in the “Pass” blank. Four are dated between 16 August and 18 October; one is undated. All of the passes have punch cancellations. Four of the cards are in nice shape with light wear and soiling. One pass is soiled, creased, and edge-worn.

Three passes were issued for travel from Detroit to Ann Arbor. One was issued for travel from Ann Arbor to Jackson, and one was issued for travel from Ann Arbor to Chelsea. Some are signed by a regimental officer. All are signed in manuscript or print by J. H. Foutain, the Quartermaster of the Military Force of Michigan.

They are enclosed in a small envelope with docketing that reads “Comp. Mrs Florence S. Babbitt Dep Pres. of Womens Relief Corps – Aux of the Grand Army of the Repulbic – April 28th 1905 – Passes issued to the first Mich Infantry”. Very good. Item #009593

The 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment was organized at Fort Wayne, Detroit and mustered into federal service for three months service at the beginning of the war. It was among the first reach the Capitol, and President Lincoln is said to have exclaimed, “Thank God for Michigan” upon its arrival. In July, the regiment fought at Bull Run where four enlisted men were killed. Four officers and 33 enlisted men were wounded; and 65 enlisted men went missing. Three officers were mortally wounded and captured. The Regimental commander was wounded while leading several charges for which he received the Medal of Honor. Following the battle, the unit was mustered out of service. While this was occurring a second unit, the 1st Michigan Infantry Regiment was organized and pledged to three years of service. Two of these passes are marked “& return” and punched twice, so it is probable that these men returned to fight with the second 1st Michigan Infantry Regiment.

One of the passes is issued to a sergeant identified as a 1st Regt Recruiting Officer, so it is likely that he remained in Michigan, at least for a while, to recruit enlistees there. One pass has only one punch, so it is likely that soldier had his fill of war and chose not to reenlist. The last pass, the one for travel to Jackson, is issued to “Private Briggs 1st Rg & Wounded”. Briggs had his leg amputated from a wound suffered at Bull Run and returned home to Jackson, Michigan where he apparently remained until he died two years later in 1863.

Florence Babbitt, from Ypsilanti, was very active in the Grand Army of the Republic’s Women’s Relief Corps. She served as the President of the Michigan Corps (chapter) and represented the state at the WRC’s 1905 Annual Convention in Denver where she was elected to its Executive Board. It’s unclear to whom she presented these passes with her ‘compliments’.

Civil War era railroad passes are scarce and passes issued to soldiers even scarcer. This group of passes issued to soldiers, including a wounded soldier, returning from the first important battle of the war are likely to be unique. At the time of listing, nothing similar is for sale in the trade or held by institutions per OCLC. Neither are there records at Rare Book Hub or Worthpoint of any having been sold at auction.

Price: $900.00