At this date there were a number of independent military companies in the state possessing military knowledge from long practice and study. Ten of these companies were accepted to form the First Michigan Regiment. Those companies accepted were designated at their home camps as the "Detroit Light Guard", the "Jackson Grays", the "Coldwater Cadets", the "Manchester Union Guards", the "Stuben Guard", the "Michigan Hussars", the "Burr Oak Guard", the "Ypsilanti Light Guard", the "Marshall Light Guard", and the "Hardee Cadets". Orlando P. Wilcox was appointed Colonel of the Regiment and the companies were ordered to report to him at Detroit with the least possible delay.
The organization of the Regiment was completed on April 29th., being mustered into the Federal service on May 1, 1861 with a total enrollment of 798 men. The President had called for these troops to serve in Federal service for three months and they promptly complied."
The above is a excerpt about the "1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry" from a website called Michigan at War. Today I had the privilege of attending Historic Fort Wayne in Detroit for the 150th Civil War commemoration. As it was told by the speaker of the day, we don't call it a celebration as the nation was plunged into a horrible war, instead we call it a commemoration to honor those (on both sides) who fought and died for their beliefs 150 years ago.
Michigan only had a population of around 750,000 in those days, and yet raised around 30 regiments for the Union of around 90,000 men. That is something in itself. I was only aware of this special day because I have a friend who is a Civil War reenactor who happened to mention the event that I took part in today as an observer. I must say I had a grand time seeing the volunteers of the 1st Michigan mustering at Fort Wayne and it was like stepping into a time machine and going back all those years. You could tell they took pride in their hobby as everything was quite authentic from the uniforms right on down to how they served chow etc.
Another unit taking part in today's commemoration was Michigan's 102nd USCT Co. B (United States Colored Troops). The original regiment was created in July 1863 after an extensive editorial and letter writing campaign by Henry Barns who was then the editor of the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune. It originally was called the 1st Michigan Colored Regiment and retained that name until it was officially mustered into federal service. At that time it was re designated the 102nd United States Colored Troop (USCT). For his efforts Henry Barns was commissioned the regiment's first Colonel, a post he retained until voluntarily stepping down in favor of a regular army officer. The audience learned today that this unit's regimental flag was being preserved as part of the save the flags, a program that was launched on July 2, 1991, to help save nearly 160 fragile, battle-torn Civil War flags that had been displayed for decades in the Michigan State Capitol rotunda.
There is much more to be told of the colorful histories of the Michigan Regiments that took part in the Civil War all those years ago, but I will allow the reader here to research further if they wish too. The following photos I took at the event are posted below, and as always thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share some of my interests with you.
My friend Brian (who is a serious student of American Civil war history and is a reenactor) and the author of this story posing in front of ole Glory
1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry
1st Michigan Colored Regiment
What Ole Glory looked like in 1861