Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Michael Warner Papers, 1805-1950

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, March 1991

Summary Information
Title: Michael Warner papers
Creator: Warner, Michael, Jr. and Warner, Michael III, 1829-1864
Inclusive dates: 1805-1950
Extent: 84 items
Abstract:
The Warner papers consist of letters relating to the Warner family including Michael Warner III's Civil War service.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by Thomas W. Zeigler, 1985 M-2254.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Michael Warner papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Michael Warner III was born into a wealthy Baltimore family in 1829. His father, Michael Warner, Jr., was President of the Mechanics Bank of Baltimore from ca.1860 to at least 1866, and served as a representative in the Maryland House of Representatives in 1861. Unfortunately, little is known about Michael Warner III's life during the pre-war period: he was one of five children born to his father's first marriage, and he had seven half-siblings by his father's second marriage. Like his father, he appears to have received a formal collegiate education.

In August, 1863, Michael Warner III traveled to Boston and enlisted in Company B of the 16th Massachusetts Infantry. He and the other recruits were ordered to northern Virginia to augment regiments that had suffered tremendous losses in the summer campaigns: Co. B, Warner noted, had only four effectives after being 'very much cut up.' To add to his worries, Warner was robbed of all his money on the way south, a crime he suspected was perpetrated by his fellow soldiers, whom he considered to be "all hard cases & graceless scamps...any quantity of New York pickpockets & blacklegs, murderers & thieves amongst them."

After a year of comparatively uneventful service, Warner was wounded in the arm and eye at the Battle of Spotsylvania, 18 May 1864, and was left on the battlefield as his comrades were driven from the field by Confederate troops. Captured almost immediately, Warner was placed under the care of a surgeon who was forced to amputate his right arm. When the 16th regrouped, and his body was unaccounted for, Warner was listed as missing in action, setting off a several month effort by his father and brother-in-law, John Derr, to try to ascertain exactly what had transpired at Spotsylvania. Some 'witnesses' to the engagement claimed that Warner had been killed, others that he was merely wounded, and one thought he might have been totally unharmed and merely separated from his unit. In the ensuing confusion, Derr and Warner's father contacted hospitals and relief organizations, and attempted to pull strings with officials, but without success: Warner was pronounced dead in September, 1864. In reality, Warner was still alive at that time, and was held as a prisoner in some of the 'more extreme' Southern prison camps. He was paroled and returned to Annapolis in November, 1864, however his fragile health failed him, and he died of chronic diarrhea on December 4.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The main interest in the Warner papers is likely to be found in one of two sets of documents. The first concerns the Civil War experiences of Michael Warner III. While only a few individual letters are interesting in themselves (most being filled with routine requests for food or other goods), the letters concerning Warner while he was missing in action are, as a group, the highlight. These letters underscore the confusion of battle and the organizational difficulties inherent in any military campaign, and the many conflicting interpretations of the battlefield fate of Warner are an interesting commentary on the Union army's ability to deal with MIAs.

Of secondary interest are a series of 10 letters concerning a dispute over a fence constructed on the Warners' land by Frederick Dawson. The remarkable aspect of these letters is that the argument over the placement of the fence was protracted over 20 years even though both parties agreed the fence was illegally placed. Dawson's underhanded intransigence in the matter, and Warner's increasing level of frustration is almost comical.

Other non-war material includes a few interesting letters written by friends to Michael Warner, Jr., while he was at college (c.1812-1816), family documents, and some photographs of the Warner (?) home in Maryland probably taken during the 1890's.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Battle casualties.
    • Fences--Law and legislation--Maryland.
    • Military Pensions--United States--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Genre Terms:
    • Photographs
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   1  
    Michael Warner papers,  1805-1950 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    African-Americans--Employment--Maryland
    • 1804 September 9-1806 October 26
    Athletes--Photographs
    • Graphics Images Series
    Aunts--Death
    • [1923 July 27]
    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company
    • 1809-1879
    Baltimore Athænian Society, Baltimore, Md.
    • 1809-1879
    Baptismal certificates--Maryland
    • n.d.
    Battle casualties
    • 1864 May 24
    • 1864 May 25
    • 1864 June 22
    • 1864 June 26
    • 1864 September 22
    Birthdays--Poetry
    • 1902 April
    Blunt, Nelson
    • 1868 April 18
    Celibacy
    • 1903 November
    Chloroform
    • 1863 September 11
    Christmas--Maryland
    • 1950 January 19, 23
    Conduct of life
    • 1812 September 6
    Dawson, Frederick
    • 1853 November 10
    • 1853 November 10
    • 1854 October 25
    • 1871 November 8
    • 1872 July 5
    Dawson, Robert
    • 1871 November 8
    Derr, John P.
    • 1863 November 12
    Diarrhea
    • 1863 October 5
    Dogs
    • 1950 January 19, 23
    Episcopal Churches--Maryland--Cumberland--Photographs
    • Graphics Images Series
    Essence of ginger
    • 1863 October 5
    Executors and administrators--Maryland
    • 1848 June 15
    Fences--Law and legislation--Maryland
    • 1853 November 10
    • [1853 November 10]
    • 1853 November 10
    • 1854 October 12 and 25
    • 1854 October 25
    • 1868 March 20
    • 1868 April 6
    • 1868 April 18
    • 1871 November 8
    • 1871 November 27
    • 1872 July 5
    Freemasons--Maryland
    • 1917 September 24
    Frisk, William
    • [1864 June?]
    Gardens--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
    • 1823 June 7
    Gloves
    • 1863 November 12
    Hancock, Winfield Scott (1824-1886)
    • 1864 May 30
    Lindweaver, John N.
    • 1861 November 29
    Loans, Personal--Maryland--Baltimore
    • 1869 January 20
    Maps, military
    • 1863 September 21
    • 1863 October 3
    • 1863 November 17
    McClellan, George Brinton (1826-1885)
    • 1862 September 5
    McDowell, Irvin (1818-1885)
    • 1862 September 5
    Mothers and sons
    • 1812 September 6
    Oysters
    • [c.1812] September 22
    Pensions, Military--United States--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • 1864 December 15
    • 1864 December 23
    • 1865 March 20
    Perine, D. W.
    • 1848 June 15
    Photography--Interiors
    • Graphics Images Series
    Photography--Portraits
    • Graphics Images Series
    Picket duty
    • 1863 September 13
    Pickpockets
    • 1863 September 2
    Poetry
    • 1903 November
    Pope, John (1822-1892)
    • 1862 September 5
    Postage stamps--Collectors and collecting
    • 1911 June 7
    Rowles' Red Pepper Rub
    • 1950 January 19, 23
    Sciatica
    • 1950 January 19, 23
    Shipley, Otho
    • 1861 November 30
    Sigel, Franz (1824-1902)
    • 1862 September 5
    Soldiers--Alcohol
    • 1863 September 11
    Spotsylvania, Battle of, 1864
    • 1864 May 24
    • 1864 June 22
    United States. Army.Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 16th
    • 1863 September 2
    United States. Army--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • 1862 September 5
    • 1863 September 2
    • 1864 May 30
    United States. Army--Criminals
    • 1863 September 2
    United States. Army--Officers
    • 1862 September 5
    United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
    • 1863 September 13
    • 1863 November 17
    United States. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.--Civil War, 1861-1865
    • 1863 August 20
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Communications
    • 1862 September 5
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Missing in action
    • 1864 May 20
    • 1864 May 30
    • 1864 June 4
    • 1864 June 4
    • 1864 June 11
    • 1864 June 11
    • 1864 June 22
    • [1864 June?]
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons
    • 1864 June 14
    • 1864 June 14
    • 1864 November 23
    • 1864 November 25
    • [1864] December 6
    Universities and colleges--Societies, etc.
    • 1816 October 5
    Universities and colleges--Students
    • 1823 June 7
    University of Pennsylvania--Students
    • 1823 June 7
    Vacations--New Jersey
    • 1851 July 17
    • 1851 July 21
    Warner, Alice V.
    • 1876
    • 1903 November
    Warner, John H. R.
    • 1880
    Warner, Julia A.
    • 1880
    Warner, Michael
    • 1809-1879
    Warner, Michael (1829-1864)
    • 1864 May 20
    • 1864 May 24
    • 1864 May 25
    • 1864 May 30
    • 1864 May 30
    • 1864 June 4
    • 1864 June 4
    • 1864 June 11
    • 1864 June 11
    • 1864 June 22
    • 1864 June 26
    • [1864 June?]
    • 1864 September 22
    • 1864 November 23
    • 1864 November 29
    • [1864] December 6
    • 1864 December 15
    • 1864 December 23
    • 1865 March 20
    • 1869 January 20
    • 1809-1879
    Warner, Michael (1829-1864)--Death
    • 1864 December 15
    • 1864 December 22
    Warner, Michael (d. 1848)
    • 1848 June 15
    Warner, Susan C.
    • 1880
    Wedding Photography--Maryland
    • Graphics Images Series
    Weddings--Invitations
    • 1820 January 25
    Widows' allowance
    • 1824 October 5
    Wills--Maryland--Baltimore
    • 1880
    World War, 1939-1945--Italy
    • 1943 December 27
    Zeigler, Thornton Woodward--Photographs
    • Photographs collections