Grand Rapids, Kent County, MIchigan

The following record book showing the guards, officers and prisoners at Camp Lee in Grand Rapids, MI from November 7, 1863 through April 2, 1864 is located in the History Department of the Grand Rapids Public Library – Main Branch. Camp Lee was situated near College Avenue and Fountain Street during the Civil War. It was possibly where Central High School is located.



The record of guards and prisoners was kept by Captain Sheldon who for a time had charge of the camp and later the record became the property of Dr. A. C. Sheldon, himself a veteran of the Civil War. Just before Dr. Sheldon’s death (1916), he gave the old leather bound volume to me explaining its value and asking that in the event of its again changing ownership to be sure it was placed in the hands of some one who would take good care of it. As the old record is a short chapter in the war history of Grand Rapids it seems but just to return it to your city feeling assured that the Ryerson Library will care for it with the appreciation its late owner coveted.

(From a letter written by Miss Sue Silliman, September 22, 1920

(Sarah S. Saris Shelby – Danby, ILL)

First Relief – 9 am – 11 am and 3 pm to 5 pm

Second Relief – 11am to 1pm and 5 pm to 7 pm

Third Relief – 1 pm to 3 pm and 7 pm to 9 pm

Prisoners = Deserters

The posts to be guarded were: G=Gate, S=South Side, SE=Southeast side, E=East Side, N=North side, W=West Side, SUP=Supernumerary, GDHSE=Guardhouse


To be read daily to the guard by the non-commissioned officers of the S____

"Special Order No. 20
Paragraph VIIth

"The Posts and duties of the Camp guard from reveille until retreat will be as follows:

Post No. 1 at the gate to walk his beat like other sentinels to allow no person whatever to enter the camp grounds except a Commissioned Officer of this camp without a pass signed by the Community Officer of this Camp or approved by his order and signed by the Asst Adjt General and then only when the non-commissioned officer of the guard has personally examined the pass and is satisfied of its correctness. If the Sentinel on Post No. 1 does not recognize the Officer approaching to enter the Camp he will call the Sargeant of the Guard and the sargeant also not recognizing the Officers as an Officer of the Camp he will demand a pass which must be duly signed as for an enlisted man. The same rule will be observed in passing officers out but no enlisted man or detail will be passed out without the Officer of the Day or Officer of the Guard shall pass him or it out personally and it if be on a pass the Officer of the day or guard shall endorse the pass with his signature and the sergaent of the guard will take it from the person on his return and note the time of his return on the pass. These passes are all to be handed in after guard mounting with the guard book for examination. The Guard Book will contain names of officers who are furnished with standing passes as well as enlisted men with permanent passes. The passes marked "Permanent" in the body of the pass are not to be endorsed and will not be taken from the Person property holding them. Particular intelligence will be required at Post No. 1 as well as great vigilance. The reliefs for the post will be selected from the guard while every guard will endeavor to render the Camp easy to ingress and egress by the authorized persons still no one will be omitted to ensure the object of the Camp Guard.

Posts Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. To walk their posts at all times and will allow no one to lay hold or stand by the fence under their charge and any person attempting to climb the fence to get out will be ordered to halt if the person does not instantly halt the guard will shoot or bayonet him on the spot. If he halts instantly he will be handed over to the Officer of the Guard. They will allow no nuisance to be committed in their sight. Nos. 2 & 3 will require order an decency on their Posts of all visiting the sink.

No person will be allowed to climb the fence from the outside or be suffered to look over it . Any drafted men or substitutes before the Officer of the Day any man attempting to evade? The guards or redress or orders of this camp and if the ____ be for attempting to escape or circumstances be such as to suspect him of such intention he will be thoroughly ironed and kept with the Main Guard.

The Officer of the Day will inspect the guard during his tour as often as he thins necessary and at least once after twelve (12) o’clock at night the time of the latter inspection to be noted on the Guard Book in the remarks. When the guard is paraded for the Comd’g Officer of Officer of the Day all prisoners will be paraded with it except those in close confinement. During Guard Mounting and retreat the guard will be paraded in order at the guard house. No sentinel and especially Number (1) will allow a number of men to collect around his Post or stand bout him.

The numbers of the guard will sleep and remain at the Guard House except the two reliefs that are posted inside the quarters at night.

During his tour the Officer of the Day has charge of the Camp and will use a wise discretion in allowing details to pass out and revealing other circumstances not especially mentioned in order. He will be held responsible for the camp and will himself enforce the lurking suspiciously about the Post of any Sentinel will be arrested and put in Irons.

Each Sentinel will walk his post at all hours of the day and night will be in complete uniform fully equipped rifle loaded and cupped when on Post No. sentinel will smoke on his post nor will he hold consultation with any one except in performance of his duties. He will carry his arms at all times in accordance with some tactical position and will salute officers according to rank facing inward and waiting until the officer has returned the salute.

The sentinel at the gate will turn out the guard for the Brig. Genl Comd the post the Colonel or other officers of the day on their approach and will be instructed in and perform all other duty as required by regulations.

The guard will remain at its post with belts on and each relief will be inspected by the Commander of the guard as it goes on post.

The commander of the guard will repeatedly instruct the sentinels on their duties and will arrest and confine instantly any sentinal neglecting any of hi duty or himself violating any of his orders.

All officers noncommissioned officers or guards will immediately arrest and take most proper order.

No fire will be allowed on or near the Post of any Sentinal.

By order of Colonel N. I. Hall

Transcriber: Evelyn M. Sawyer
Created: 7 April 2003