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Benjamin F. Pease Memoir

A description of the item at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Pease, Benjamin F.
Title: Benjamin F. Pease Memoir
Inclusive Dates: 1901-1910
Quantity: 1 volume.
Abstract: Memoir of Pease's years as a soldier with the 8th Michigan Infantry during the American Civil War. Handwritten, with typed transcription.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Benjamin Fish Pease (1836-1911) was a cooper, soldier and farmer, first in Michigan and later in Armada Township, Buffalo County, Nebraska.

Born in Ontario County, New York to Granger and Anna (Fish) Pease, he moved with his parents to Michigan in 1839. Pease began to learn the cooper trade when he was eighteen, and followed it for five years. His first wife, whom he was married October 24, 1859, was Martha Judd (1838-1868) by whom he had a son, Herbert. His second wife, married May 30, 1872, was Charlotte Odell, by whom he had three children: Charles, Salina, and Floyd.

Pease's interest in abolition began when he heard a lecture by Henry Bibb, who had escaped slavery in the South, and he was later influenced by Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. He worked for abolitionist political parties prior to the Civil War, and after the fall of Fort Sumter he enlisted with the 8th Michigan Infantry on August 12, 1861. Captured in June of 1862, he was exchanged in January of 1863 and returned to his regiment after a short furlough home. During his enlistment he participated in the Battles of Coosaw and James Island, South Carolina; Pulaski and Wilmington, Georgia; Blue Springs, Kentucky; Jackson, Mississippi; and Knoxville, Tennessee. Towards the end of July 1865, he recounts, the men received orders to prepare mustering-out documents for the regiment, which they did "with a renewed energy," and he and the rest of his regiment returned to civilian life in August of 1865. Pease was mustered out as a first lieutenant.

Pease came to Nebraska in May, 1884, and settled in Armada Township, Buffalo County where he took a soldier's homestead which he eventually expanded to 320 acres. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veterans' organization and, according to the Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney and Phelps in Nebraska (F.A. Battey and Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1890) was "a highly respected citizen in the community."

[Special Collections Research Center gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Elisabeth Burns, descendant of B.F. Pease, in the preparation of this biographical sketch.]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Benjamin F. Pease Memoir recounts the experiences of private, later first lieutenant, Pease as a soldier and prisoner of war during the American Civil War. The volume, written at various times between 1901 and 1910, is dedicated to his grandson, Hazen Teeple.

In the book, Pease discusses the struggles, privations, medical conditions, and occasional humor of his service, and records his observations on the quality of Union officers. Initially, he and his fellow soldiers were issued no weapons; the few muskets were used by those on guard, and handed off at the end of their shift to the next detail. He recollects his months as a prisoner, discussing medical facilities and practices, the respect shown to them by Confederate soldiers, and the belligerence of some civilians.

The volume is handwritten; also included is a typed transcription.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has a number of diaries, letters and other items of Civil War soldiers. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Pease, Benjamin F.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Army. -- Michigan Infantry Regiment, 8th (1861-1865)


Soldiers -- Michigan.
Soldiers -- United States -- History -- 19th century.


United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Benjamin F. Pease Memoir,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Miriam B. Teeple, 1982.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: circa 1985
Revision history: 26 Mar 2012 - bio updated (MRC); 17 Oct 2018 - rehoused (MS)

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