My great-great-great grandfather, Michael Nathaniel Beaver, was born in Rowan County in 1842, a 4th generation American whose great-great grandfather had come from Germany in the 1730’s. Following in the tradition of his great-grandfather, Nicholaus Bieber, who had fought in the Revolution and served under Washington at Trenton as a translator and later at Valley Forge, Michael was eager, along with his 2 brothers to join the war effort.
He enlisted in the “Scotch Ireland Grays” at Rowan Mills in Salisbury, Rowan County, NC on July 6, 1861 at age 19. His company saw a great deal of combat throughout the War and was present at such battles as Seven Pines, Seven Days, South Mountain, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg (where the company sustained heavy casualties), the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse and both Cold Harbors. At the 2nd Cold Harbor on June 1, 1864 he was captured in his trench and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland, until being transferred to Elmira, New York on July 9, 1864.
Michael though Point Lookout had bad conditions, but after nearly a year at Elmira, he wished he could have stayed in Maryland. He would remain at Elmira until being released on June 12, 1865, 2 months after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. While at Elmira, Michael would later attribute his survival to having his oldest brother, “Dolph” of the 5th NC Co. K, with him. In his later years, Michael would often be heard to say that “I would rather had served time in Hell than Elmira and I wouldn’t wish those conditions on [any] man, Confederate or Union.” Michael would return home and in 1866 move his new bride to Iredell County and built a large farm and homestead that is still in the family today along with the operating farm. He would die a relatively young man in 1901, his wife Sarah attributing his poor health to the time he spent in Elmira.