My Union Ancestor
JOHN N. FOSTER
Co. B, 3rd Michigan Infantry
Half great-great-granduncle of Tad D. Campbell, PCinC
John N. Foster was born about January 1843 in Wayne County, Michigan, the second son of Moses and Joanna (Slarrow) Foster. About 1850-57 the family settled in Corunna, Shiawassee County, Michigan, where his father worked as a shoemaker. This family produced four sons and a daughter.
In 1857, John's mother became very ill. While upon her deathbed, she made the family housekeeper, Sarah A. Miller, promise that after her death she would marry John's father. Joanna Foster died on June 19, 1857. Shortly thereafter Moses and Sarah were wed.
John's new step-mother was only four years older than him; she being over twenty-one years younger than her husband. This union also resulted in four sons and a daughter.
Claiming to be twenty-one years old, John N. Foster enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private on May 13, 1861 at Grand Rapids, Michigan at the age of about eighteen. He was mustered into Company B, 3rd Michigan Infantry on June 10, 1861.
The regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861 for Washington, D.C., where it joined the Army of the Potomac. One month later, on July 18, 1861, they took part in the action at Blackburn's Ford, Virginia (also called First Bull Run or Manassas).
The Third went into winter quarters at Alexandria, Virginia until the following March, when it was assigned to General Berry's Brigade, Third Division, Third Corps, and entered upon the Peninsula campaign conducted by General McClellan in 1862.
The regiment was present at the siege and evacuation of Yorktown, Virginia (April 5 to May 4, 1862) and engaged in the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia on May 5th. They fought gallantly at Fair Oaks, Virginia and received a special commendation from General Berry commanding the brigade, and from General Phil Kearney commanding the division for duty "nobly performed." The severe loss of 30 killed, 124 wounded and 15 missing attested to the conspicuous part that the Third took in this battle.
It was during the battle of Fair Oaks on May 31, 1862 that John N. Foster was wounded. Because of his weakened condition, he contracted typhoid fever and was sent to the General Hospital at New Haven, Connecticut where he died on June 15, 1862 at the young age of nineteen years and five months.
John N. Foster also had two brothers that served in the Union Army, namely: William J. Foster of Co. B, 1st Michigan Infantry who died from wounds received at Chancellorsville; and Charles D. Foster of Co. F, 10th Michigan Cavalry.
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