Corporal, Co. G, 9th Mich. lnf., Aug. 15, 1861 - Sept. 15, 1865
Photo courtesy Warren J. Demarest (gg-nephew of Andrew J. Demarest)
Private Andrew J. Demarest (b. 1843 near Broadalbin, Fulton County. N.Y.) was the second oldest of 3 brothers from Girard Michigan to serve in the United States Army during the American Civil War. His parents, William W. Demarest (b. 1813 - d. 1894) and Lydia Steenburgh Demarest (b. 1822 - d. 1882) had moved to Michigan from Fulton County, N.Y. shortly before the Civil War. Andrew was the grandson of Nicholas P. Demarest (b. 1787) and Jane Brouwer Demarest (b. 1791); he also was the nephew of Henry N. Demarest (b. 1827 - d. 1900) and Sarah Steenburgh Demarest (b. 1828 - d. 1903) of Tekonsha. Michigan, therefore being the first cousin of their son, James Henry Demarest (b. 1854 - d. 1928).
Andrew J. Demarest enlisted as a Private in company G, 9th Michigan Infantry in Coldwater, Michigan on Aug. 15, 1861 for a period of 3 years. His service records indicate he was 18 years old at the time. Pvt. Demarest was mustered into service at Detroit, Michigan on Oct. 15, 1861; his regiment was sent to the Kentucky front on Oct. 25, 1861 - the first Michigan regiment to enter active service in the western theater of the war. A total of 913 officers and men in the 9th Mich. Inf. were first stationed at Jeffersonville , Indiana across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.
Pvt. Andrew Demarest and the 9th Mich. Inf. moved to West Point, Kentucky and then to Muldraugh Hill, Kentucky in November of 1861 where they constructed fieldworks, roads, and bridges through Jan. 17, 1862. Co. G of the 9th Mich. Inf. and Pvt. Demarest then marched to Elizabethtown, Kentucky where the entire regiment was concentrated on March 9, 1862. The 9th Mich. Inf. then marched back north to West Point (near Louisville), Kentucky where it boarded the steamboat Jacob Strader on March 19; the Michiganders arrived in Nashville, Tennessee on Mar. 23, 1862 and were encamped there.
On May 3, 1862, Pvt. Andrew Demarest and the 9th Mich. Inf. left Nashville in pursuit of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, then raiding in Middle Tennessee and attacking Federal lines of communication, trains, and other opportune targets. On May 5, the 9th Mich. Inf. entered Shelbyville, Tennessee and flushed General Morgan's force towards Lebanon, Tennessee where the 9th Mich . helped capture 66 Confederate soldiers.
The 9th Mich. Inf. was then part of a force under General Negley that marched to Chattanooga, Tennessee in hopes of drawing off Rebel units then raiding between Nashville and Chattanooga. Negley's army of about 5,000 men, including Pvt. Andrew Demarest, reached Winchester, Tennessee on June 3, 1862 and captured several prisoners. That same day, Negley's soldiers made a forced march of 20 miles over a mountain pass to Sweeden's Cove, Tennessee and engaged Confederate General Adams' cavalry about 40 miles from Chattanooga. On June 6-8, General Negley's army made its demonstration outside Chattanooga, primarily through the use of artillery. Federal forces then separated and rapidly returned to safety behind Union lines in Tennessee.
Pvt. Andrew Demarest and about 250 comrades in the 9th Mich. Inf. were stationed, along with other Federal units, in Murfreesboro Tennessee on July 13, 1862 when they were attacked by approximately 3,000 Confederate cavalry under the personal command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Andrew's Company G was camped with four other companies of the 9th Mich. Inf. on the outskirts of Murfreesboro and were rudely awakened by about 2,000 of General Forrest's men at approximately 4:00 a.m., early morning of July 13. Fortunately, some warning was given by Federal sentries and the Michiganders were in position to receive the initial charge which lasted about 30 minutes - ending in hand-to-hand combat. Repeated charges by Confederate cavalry upon Pvt. Demarest and his 9th Mich. Inf. comrades took place for the next 8 1/2 hours. At approximately 12:30 p.m., after losing 13 killed and 87 wounded (137 effectives were left), then Lt.-Colonel John G. Parkhurst of Coldwater, Michigan surrendered the 9th Mich . Inf. to General Forrest. The Rebel horsemen were no doubt impressed by the stubborn defense put up by the outnumbered Federal soldiers.
Confederate losses this day were estimated at 25-30 killed and wounded at 100. General Forrest then collected together his prisoners and captured property and left that afternoon for the Rebel lines at McMinnville, Tennessee. McMinnville was reached the night of July 14, 1862; here all enlisted men of the 9th Mich. Inf. including Pvt. Andrew Demarest - and noncommissioned Federal officers were paroled and released by General Forrest. The Federal commissioned officers, including Lt.-Colonel Parkhurst of the 9th Mich . Inf. , were sent to Knoxville, Tennessee to be held for exchange. Confederate General Forrest would once again give battle to and capture members of the Demarest family from Girard, Michigan - on March 5, 1863, Andrew Demarest's older brother Charles and his Uncle John in the 19th Mich . Inf . were captured at Thompson's Station, Tennessee after a 5-hour battle.
It is not clear exactly what Pvt. Andrew Demarest was doing between July 15 - August of 1862; however, he is listed on a "Detachment Muster Roll"for Sept.-Oct. of 1862 as a Private in "Co. H Independent Battalion, 9th Mich. Inf." and being stationed at Cave City, Kentucky. A "Company Muster Roll" for June 30 - Dec. 31, 1862 lists Andrew Demarest as a Private in Co. G, 9th Mich. Inf. and being "Absent" and "Left in General Hospital at Bowling Green, Ky. sick. Dec. 2, 1862". Andrew was similarly listed in the Company Muster Roll for January - February, 1863; therefore, Pvt. Andrew Demarest was not present at the battle of Stone's River, (Murfreesboro), Dec. 31, 1862 - Jan. 2, 1863
March, April, and May of 1863 saw Andrew Demarest and Co. G of the 9th Mich. Inf. stationed at or near Murfreesboro. Tennesssee He is described as being "left sick in Hospital at Murfreesboro, Tenn., June 23, 1863" but on active duty between July - October of 1863. Pvt. Andrew Demarest therefore took part in the massive battle of Chickamauga, Georgia on Sept. 19-20, 1863; at this time the 9th Mich. Inf. was serving as Provost Guard for the XIV Corps - having been appointed by Major General Thomas. In this role, the 9th Mich. Inf., under now Colonel John G. Parkhurst, was active during the battle of Chickamauga and was deployed at first, McFarlan's Gap, then Rossville Gap with fixed-bayonets in order to check the fleeing Federal troops during the Confederate onslaught of Sept. 20, 1863.
Pvt. Demarest and the 9th Mich. Inf. remained at Rossville Gap as a rear-guard defense and rounded up "stragglers and skulkers" while awaiting a Confederate strike against Chattanooga, Tennessee that never came. The 9th Mich. Inf. continued their duty as Provost Guards for the Federal Army of the Cumberland during the siege of Chattanooga by Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg; in this capacity, Pvt. Andrew Demarest was involved with "M.P." duty, arrest and interrogation of Rebel deserters and prisoners.
Pvt. Demarest witnessed the replacement of Federal General Rosecrans by General Ulysses s. Grant and participated in the Federal army "breakout" of the Confederate siege of Chattanooga during the battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee on Nov. 25, 1863. Shortly thereafter, Pvt. Andrew J. Demarest was discharged on Dec. 6, 1863 and then re-enlisted as a veteran on Dec. 7, 1863 for an additional period of 3 years; his re-enlistment documents (actually signed in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Dec. 7, 1863) describe him as having "...blue eyes, sandy hair, light complexion..." and being "...5 feet, 3 inches high". He was again mustered-in as a veteran on Christmas Day, 1863 - his patriotism was rewarded with a $60.00 bounty and 30 days furlough along with 306 of his comrades in the 9th Mich. Inf. who also re-enlisted at this time.
On Jan. 5, 1864 the 9th Mich. Inf. and Pvt. Andrew J. Demarest arrived in Coldwater, Michigan and were furloughed for 30 days; after reassembly from furlough, the men of the regiment recruited new members from the Southern Michigan area. Apparently, the visit home by Pvt. Andrew Demarest had a strong effect on at least one member of his family in Girard. The younger brother of Andrew, George W. Demarest, enlisted in Coldwater, Michigan on Feb. 2, 1864 - under "Recruiting Officer" on his enlistment documents is the signature of "Pvt. Andrew Demarest, Co. G, 9th Regt. Mich. Vet. Vol". Both Demarest brothers then left Coldwater with the rest of the 9th Mich. Inf. on Feb. 20, 1864 and returned to Chattanooga,Tennessee.
Pvt. Andrew Demarest and the 9th Mich. Inf. left Chattanooga on May 3, 1864 to take part in the Atlanta campaign of General William T. Sherman; his brother George Demarest was ill and did not accompany him (see biography of Pvt. George W. Demarest). The 9th Mich. Inf. participated in the following actions in Georgia: Rock Face (May 8), Resaca (May 14), Dallas (May 27), Kennesaw (June 25), Chattahoochee River (July 5-6), Atlanta (July 22 - Aug. 25), and Jonesboro (Sept. 1). Pvt. Andrew Demarest and the men of the 9th Mich. Inf. then did provost duty in Atlanta through the month of October, 1864 and then returned to Chattanooga for a little "R. & R.". After arriving in Chattanooga on Nov. 6, 1864, the 9th Mich. Inf. performed guard duty at the headquarters of the Army of the Cumberland through February of 1865.
Pvt. Andrew Demarest received another 30 day furlough between Feb. 26 - Mar. 24, 1865; during that time, he was promoted to Corporal on March 1. He rejoined his regiment at Nashville , Tennessee and did guard duty at the Federal military prison and General Thomas' headquarters there until he was mustered out on Sept. 15, 1865. Now Corporal Andrew J. Demarest left the next day for home and arrived at Jackson, Michigan on Sept. 19. On his "Co. Muster-Out Roll" , he is described as having " . . . retained one Springfield rifle and accoutrements under G.O. No. 101. Veteran"
In 1888, Andrew J. Demarest was recorded on a list of Civil War veterans living in Girard, Branch County, Michigan. He died Feburary 4, 1917 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Girard, MI along with his brother and uncle who both served in Co. C of the 19th Michigan Infantry.
by Kenneth Elburn Byrd - Indianapolis, Indiana
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