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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2024 4:43 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 320
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Fellow Sharpshooters

The link below provides an excellent article by Kendra Harris, (with additional research by JoAnn Miller and Art Ruitburg), for the Hillsdale Historical Society. The article is rich in family history, maps and photographs related to Private Jerome Fountain of Company C, 1st USSS. Fountain died of disease on February 16, 1862.

Included in the article is a pair of 1861 Rosensthal Brothers lithographs, featuring the USSS regimental encampments outside Washington D.C. The Rosenthal’s sold stationary with the images of the camps that were sold to the early Sharpshooter recruits. The 1st regiment image (attributed to Charles Seaton of Vermont Co. F) identifies officer, company, and support tents, as well as the famous target range, used by President Lincoln. A postwar photo shows the residence used by Hiram Berdan’s as his headquarters.

For some unexplained reason, Jerome’s headstone misidentifies his home state as New York, (not Michigan). However, the Hillsdale researchers are confident the headstone marks the final resting place of “our Jerome”.

Jerome Fountain was the second recruit from the town of Hudson to die in service. Below are tributes to his memory by his community, friends and comrades.

From the Hudson Gazette
February 16, 1862

Death of one of the Sharp Shooters

Intelligence was received here Saturday of the death of Jerome Fountain, a member of the Michigan Company of Berdan’s Sharp Shooters. He enlisted at this place. His parents reside in Pittsford. We are permitted to make an extract on this subject of his death from a letter from Serg’t Way to Serg’t Armstrong of this village. The letter is dated, “Camp of Instruction, D.C., Feb.12, 1862” The writer says: “This painful news reached our Camp this afternoon of the death of one of our most beloved and friendly companions, Jerome Fountain-one whom every soldier will miss in the ranks, as well as in many a social gatherings we frequently enjoy here. He is gone. He died with the small pox, which is quite prevalent in Washington”.

* Jerome H. Fountain, Hudson. Enlisted Aug. 21, 1861, at Detroit, for 3 years, age 27. Mustered Aug 26, 1861. Died of disease, Washington DC, Feb 10, 1862.

* James Way, Grand Rapid. Enlisted as Sergeant, August 21, 1861, at Detroit, for 3 years, age 33. Mustered Aug 26, 1861. Discharged at Detroit, Mich., Aug 8, 1862.

* Almeron Armstrong, Hudson. Enlisted as Sergeant, Aug 21, 1861, at Detroit, for 3 years, age 27. Mustered Aug 26, 1861. Mustered out near Petersburg, Va. Aug. 20, 1864.

In a February 16th letter to his brother, Durf, a homesick and disillusioned Private Frank Cobb adds this ‘snarky’ comment about Sergeant Armstrong, (on recruiting duty in Michigan): “How does Armstrong get along a recruiting, the first man that he gets will give him a good thrashing after being a soldier a little while”.

On March 5th, Cobb again wrote to his brother, Durf; tell Ed if it is convenient to send two three or four dollars to me as I will be going to long with out money to wait until pay day as I have been stoped for a week. I am going up to the Soldiers Home burying ground when it gets pleasanter that will be tomorrow or the next day. I am going to find where Jerome is buried, and if so I can which will not be much of a task, as every grave is marked with a headstone. The name of the Person the Regt and company is marked on the board, there is no small box at all in either Regt. The 2nd Regt. Is under marching orders

Earlier I mentioned Fountain’s home state was misidentified as NY (New York) instead of Michigan. Cobb reports a wooden board was used to record Jerome’s state and regimental affiliation. I’ve not discovered when it was replaced with a marble marker, but I suspect the passage of time and exposure to the elements contributed to the mixup.

There are three additional members of Company C buried at the Asylum Cemetery, they are;

* George Zimmerman, Moscow. Enlisted Aug. 21, 1861 at Detroit, for 3 years, age 26. Mustered Aug. 26, 1861. Died of disease at Washington DC, Dec. 20, 1861

* William Doyle. Ransom. Enlisted Aug 21, 1861, at Detroit for 3 years., age 30. Mustered Aug 26, 1861. Died of disease at Washington DC, March 17, 1862.

* Orson E. Sturtevant, Marshall. Died at Washington DC from wounds received in action at Bull Run, Va., Aug 30, 1862.

Bill Skillman
Michigan Companies
Berdan Sharpshooters Survivors Association

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