The fallen General Israel B. Richardson & his family return back home to Michigan, November 1862

General Israel B. Richardson

 

The Battle of Antietam was over. It was a crucial engagement in the Civil War, not only because of the sheer number of casualties-but because it was what President Abraham Lincoln needed to forward his movement on issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. It had been a Union victory. Michigan had received the good news of the battle but other news had so soon afterward followed that caused the state to mourn deeply. It’s own General Israel B. Richardson had died from wounds received in the Antietam battle. Upon hearing the final outcome of Richardson’s wound, Detroit newspapers ran eulogies in his honor. Author Jack C. Mason has written a most informative work on Richardson entitled Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army. Mason notes that General Richardson’s body arrived in Detroit with his family. They were to travel from there to Pontiac where the General had made his home. Senator Zachariah Chandler met the grieving family at Detroit. A memorial service was held at the Fort Street Presbyterian Church. Chandler was a member of the church that so was prominent in the downtown Detroit area. Reverend Eldridge then escorted the Richardson family to Pontiac where a service was conducted November 11, 1862. Hundreds attended. The same minister Eldridge had performed the wedding ceremony for the Richardsons the year before. Now the time had called for a funeral. Before burial at Pontiac’s Oak Hill Cemetery, Richardson had lain in state in the Pontiac courthouse. Many paid tribute to the departed hero. The war continued. Officers and men that served with Richardson would fight other battles-many of them would also not survive the conflict. The cemetery where Richardson is buried also is the final resting place of a large number of fellow Union soldiers. Together- they serve to remind the generations of all those who followed to this day- that there was a price to be paid-and they paid it. Michigan, and the whole nation, thanks them.

 

 

Source: Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack C. Mason

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