Was Michigan Involved In The Civil War?
We usually hear about the “War Between the States” but only occasionally pinpointing Michigan.
Michigan did indeed become involved, even though no battles took place here. Michigan sent many troops and generals – the most famous being Custer. Aside from Custer, among the generals were Elon J. Farnsworth, Byron Root Pierce, Orlando Metcalfe Poe, Israel Bush Richardson, and Orlando B. Willcox. Initially, Michigan governor Austin Blair wound up sending seven regiments to fight, when he was only asked for one.
The 1st Michigan Regiment formed on May 1, 1861, arriving in Washington D.C. on May 16. Upon seeing the regiment, President Abe Lincoln exclaimed, “Thank God for Michigan!”
Over the course of the war, some 90,000 Michigan men served in the Union forces. Out of all those troops, an 1869 report by the Michigan Legislature listed 14,855 names of Michiganders who perished in the war...that number is disputed elsewhere to be 14,753. 4,448 of these deaths were from combat while the remainder – over 10,000 others – died from disease, contaminated food, extreme weather exposure, and lack of proper medicine and medical assistance.
In total, Michigan ended up sending 1 light artillery regiment, 2 light batteries, 2 sharpshooter companies, 11 cavalry regiments, 30 infantry regiments, and the 1st Michigan Engineers.
When the war was over and the smoke cleared, out of all the Union states involved in the war, Michigan ended up having the sixth-highest losses.
This is only a nutshell version of Michigan's extensive involvement in the Civil War. You can read much more about it in the book "Michigan and the Civil War: A Great and Bloody Sacrifice".
Below is a photo gallery showing a few images taken during that war, as well as some Civil War veterans years later.
Michigan's Involvement in the Civil War, 1860s
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