Michigan answered President Lincoln’s call for volunteers during the American Civil War with 90,747 men. Michigan went well beyond the call of duty and supplied more than 30 regiments during the war. Michiganders fought on the ground as infantry and on horseback as cavalry. Michiganders fought as teams to work both light and medium artillery. Michiganders fought from afar as precise sharpshooters. Michiganders served as engineers and mechanics building railroads, bridges, and blockhouses. African-American men fighting for the equality fought in the First Colored 102nd United States) Infantry. Indigenous men fighting for to be full citizens fought in Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters.
Dig into the collections below to discover diaries written from the field about the tedium of soldiers, letters from the home front about how the farm is managing, images of individual and regiments, how men mustered in and out of regiments in the service records, and so much more.
Letters and Dairies
Read through these first hand experiences of war, both from the battlefield and the home front. This collection consists of letters and diaries from the Civil War period (1861-1865). Most of the collection consists of personal narratives with a few official records concerning the war and later pensions.
Images of individuals, groups, and entire regiments are in this collection of photographs. Photography evolved during the 1850s making it easier to obtain durable, small photographs in the form of a tin type. Tin types made it easier for a soldier to carry a photograph of a loved one or to send an image home. The method of creating multiple prints from one photographs, cartes de visites, encourages people to share more portraits among family and loved ones.
The Michigan Adjutant General received a number of records during the American Civil War about the inner workings of Michigan regiments. Records include muster rolls, letters to and from the Adjutant General, lists of dead, monthly returns and more. This scanning project was funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Before leaving for the field of battle in the American Civil War the men of each regiment were presented with beautiful silken flags. The regiments received a stand of colors consisting of two flags: a national flag and a regimental flag. The national flag was the traditional American red, white, and blue Stars and Stripes. The regimental flag typically had a solid blue field emblazoned with the Federal or Michigan coat of arms. The flags often were presented to the regiments by the ladies of their communities in grand ceremonies.
Do you have a Michigan ancestor who may have served in World War I? Is that service an unsolved mystery in your family history research? If so, you may know how difficult it can be to piece together a military history, given that a large… Read More