Dear Great Grandfather Clarke,
I found what we would call your Civil War Draft registration today at www.ancestry.com.
This is a photograph of Schedule II, -Consolidated List of all persons of Class II, subject to military duty in the 5th Congressional District of Michigan. You are listed as residing in White Lake, number 14 on the list; Clark, John. C. age in July 1863 is 43, a merchant born in Conn. The date on the document is July 1, 1863.
I expect that your registration was matter-of-fact for you. After all, your were rated as Class II. Class I comprised all persons subject to do military duty between the ages of twenty and thirty-five years, and all unmarried persons subject to do military duty above the age of thirty-five and under the age of forty-five. It was probably seemed unlikely that you, as a married man with a daughter, and already 43 would be called to serve.
Still I imagine just the requirement that you register sent chills through the minds and hearts of your wife Lydia Hornell Clarke and your daughter Mary Elizabeth. They were still in deep mourning for your step-son Theodore W. Clarke, aka, Theodore W. Ford who had died in the Camp of the First Nebraska Regiment just six months before.
Wish I talk with you to discover your feelings about the War and the Union cause. From Theodore's letters home, I know he felt that he was taking part in the great fight against slavery. Did his death shake the family's determination? It was such an defining event in Molly's life that she made certain that her brother's letters were saved. Most of them have been passed on to me, your 3rd great-granddaughter.