William H. Shaw papers  1861-1865
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Shaw, William Henry, 1840-1865

Rank : Corporal, Sergeant (1862 March 1)

Regiment : 6th Michigan Infantry Regiment. Co. F (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 August 20-1865 April 28

Henry Shaw was born in Michigan in 1840, the son of a blacksmith, Adna Shaw (b. Massachusetts, 1796) and his wife, Charlotte (b. New Jersey, 1807). In 1860, the family had settled in Saline, and Henry was listed in the census as a clerk. Curiously, Henry's brother, Stephen, a physician, had moved with his family to New Iberia, La., in about 1861 in sympathy with the Confederacy. His other siblings, Caroline (wife of Charles B. Royall), Martha, and Emma (b. 1841) remained in Michigan.

Enlisting in the 6th Michigan Infantry in June, 1861, mustering in a month later, Shaw was made Corporal of Co. F. After spending the winter of 1861-62 in the environs of Baltimore, anticipating assignment to the Army of the Potomac, the 6th were instead assigned to the Gulf and arrived in New Orleans shortly after its capitulation to Benjamin Butler in May, 1862. The 6th took part in a number of operations in Louisiana, including the Battle of Baton Rouge, the Bayou Teche expedition, and the siege of Port Hudson. In July, 1863, they were converted into a heavy artillery regiment, retaining their infantry numbering, and remained near Port Hudson for over a year.

Like many soldiers in Louisiana, Shaw fell prey to disease and was periodically quite unhealthy, serving a stint as hospital orderly late in 1863. In March, 1864, he was sent home on reenlistment furlough, perhaps, as well, to recover his health, but returned to the field to take part in the capture of Fort Morgan, Ala., late in the summer. After a fall and winter in which the heavy guns of the 6th were trained on Mobile, Shaw was sent home a second time early in 1865. He died in Saline on April 28, 1865, still on furlough.