Unit History – 1st Michigan Infantry

13 07 2022

Cols., Orlando B. Willcox, John C. Robinson, Horace S. Roberts, Franklin W. Whittlesey, Ira C. Abbott; Lieut.-Cols., Loren L. Comstock, Franklin W. Whittlesey, W. A. Throop; Majs., Alonzo F. Bidwell, George C. Hopper. This regiment was organized at Detroit in April, 1861, and was mustered in May 1 for three months. It left the state on May 13 for Washington, led the advance into Virginia, entering and taking possession of Alexandria May 24, capturing 150 cavalry. It was assigned to the 2nd brigade of Heintzelman’s division and fought at Bull Run, charging one of the strongest of the enemy’s batteries four times under a heavy fire, being compelled to retire with a loss of 95 in killed, wounded and missing, one-eighth of its numbers. Its dead were found nearest the enemy’s works. It was mustered out Aug. 7, 1861, but was reorganized at Ann Arbor in August and September, and was mustered in on Sept. 16 for three years. It left the state on that date, with the exception of two detachments, and was on railroad guard duty at Annapolis Junction, Md., during the winter. It moved to Fortress Monroe in March, 1862, and was engaged at Mechanicsville, Gaines’ mill, Peach Orchard, Savage Station, Turkey bend, White Oak swamp, Malvern hill, Gainesville and the second Bull Run. In the last named engagement it was one of three regiments to make the advance, losing 8 officers and 50 per cent. of its men in killed and wounded in a few minutes. It also fought at Antietam, Shepherdstown ford and Fredericksburg, losing in the last engagement 48 killed and wounded. It was then in camp near Falmouth until April 27, 1863. It participated at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, repulsing the enemy repeatedly in the latter. It joined in pursuit of the enemy, was engaged at Williamsport, drove the enemy from Manassas gap, and was in the engagement at Wapping heights. It was then in camp at Beverly ford from Aug. 8 until Sept. 17; occupied Culpeper until Oct. 11; was engaged at Culpeper, Brandy Station and Bristoe Station; was in the desperate engagement at the Rappahannock in November; took part in the Mine Run campaign, and was in winter quarters at Beverly ford from Dec. 3, 1863, until Feb. 18, 1864, engaged in picket and guard duty. Most of the regiment reënlisted in Feb., 1864, and were furloughed home during March. Upon their return the regiment occupied its old camp at Beverly ford on April 18 and was attached to the 3d brigade, 1st division, 5th corps, Army of the Potomac. It participated in the engagement at Germanna ford on May 5, driving the enemy back and is said to have been the first infantry force to attack the enemy in the campaign of 1864. It was almost continually in battle or in skirmishing for 8 days, losing heavily and participated in the battles of Spottsylvania, Ny river, North Anna, Jericho mills, Noel’s tavern and Totopotomy. Its loss in killed and wounded during the 8 days noted above was 84. It also fought at Magnolia swamp and Bethesda Church, and was in front of Petersburg from June 17, 1864, until April 3, 1865, being engaged at Weldon railroad, and at Peebles’ farm, where, unaided, it stormed and carried two strong fortifications. It fought at Hatcher’s run, Nottaway Court House, High bridge and Appomattox Court House, and was mustered out at Jeffersonville, Ind., July 9, 1865. Its original strength was 960: gain by recruits, 386; total, 1,346. Loss by death, 243.

From The Union Army, Vol. 3 p. 390