Unit History – 3rd Michigan Infantry

16 06 2022

Cols., Daniel McConnell, Stephen G. Champlin, Byron R. Pierce, Moses B. Houghton; Lieut.- Cols., Ambrose A. Stevens, Edwin S. Pierce, Moses B. Houghton, John Atkinson; Majs., Stephen G. Champlin, Byron R. Pierce, John C. Hall. This regiment was organized at Grand Rapids in April and May, 1861, and was mustered in June 10. It left the state June 13 and was attached to Richardson’s brigade, Tyler’s division, McDowell’s corps. It was engaged at Blackburn’s ford and Bull Run, and a detachment was in the engagement at the Occoquan river. The regiment encamped near Alexandria during the winter under command of Col. Champlin, Col. McConnell having resigned, and in the spring was assigned to the 3d brigade, 1st division, 3d corps. It participated in the battle of Williamsburg and at Fair Oaks lost 30 killed, 124 wounded and 15 missing. In the Seven Days’ battles it fought at Savage Station, Peach Orchard, Charles City cross-roads and Malvern hill, July 1. Prince de Joinville, speaking of the brigade, said of its work at Fair Oaks: “It advanced firm as a wall into the midst of the disordered mass and did more by its example than the most powerful reinforcement.” The regiment was engaged at Groveton, sustaining heavy losses, and was at Chantilly on Sept. 1. It then was on the march and in camp at various points in Maryland and Virginia, finally going into camp at Falmouth on Oct. 23. It was under fire three days at the first battle of Fredericksburg, and then encamped near Falmouth until May 1, 1863. It fought at Chancellorsville, losing 63, and at Gettysburg, losing 41. It then moved to Manassas gap and was engaged at Wapping heights. It was ordered to New York during the draft in August, but returned to Culpeper in September; was in a skirmish at Auburn heights in October; and in the battle at Kelly’s ford on the Rappahannock the following month. It took part in the Mine Run campaign, engaged the enemy at Locust Grove, and at Mine run charged the enemy’s works, driving him from three lines of rifle -pits. The regiment went in camp at Brandy Station on Dec. 2, where 207 of the men reënlisted and were furloughed home, rejoining the regiment in mid -winter. On May 4, 1864, the regiment encamped at Chancellorsville, being then in the 2nd brigade, 3ddivision, and corps, and in the battle of the Wilderness it sustained heavy loss. It fought at Todd’s tavern; participated in a successful charge at Spottsylvania, capturing a number of prisoners and 2 flags; was engaged at the North Anna, its losses in the engagements of May being 31 killed, 119 wounded and 29 missing. It fought at Cold Harbor, and on June 9 the regiment, with the exception of the reënlisted men and recruits, was ordered home for discharge. The remaining officers and men were formed into a battalion of four companies and attached to the 5th Mich. The regiment was mustered out at Detroit June 20, 1864. Its total strength was 1,000; its loss by death, 224. As soon as it was mustered out orders were issued to reorganize the regiment. This was done during the summer and it was mustered in at Grand Rapids on Oct. 15. It left the state Oct. 20, reported at Nashville and was ordered to Decatur, Ala., where it was stationed during November, being in a small engagement on the 23d. It was then ordered to Fort Rosecrans, Murfreesboro. The pickets being forced in and the town possessed by Faulkner’s brigade, four companies of the 3d joined other troops in a spirited engagement, repulsing the enemy. The regiment was in numerous small affairs and on Jan. 16, 1865, it moved to Huntsville, Ala., where it was assigned to the 3d brigade, 3d division, 4th army corps. It moved to Jonesboro, and was ordered to Nashville on April 20. On June 15 it was sent to Texas, reaching Green Lake July 11, and on Sept. 12, it started for San Antonio, reaching there two weeks later. It engaged in provost guard duty and during the winter two companies were on duty at Gonzales. The regiment was mustered out at Victoria May 26, 1866. Its original strength was 879. Gain by recruits, 230; total, 1,109. Loss by death, 158.

From The Union Army, Vol. 3, pp. 391-392

3rd Michigan Infantry roster

Pvt. Michael P. Long, Co. E, 3rd Michigan Infantry, On the Battle

4 04 2020

Arlington Heights

Camp Hunter, Va.

July 12th 1861

Dear Brother,

I received yours from Laporte [Indiana] last Thursday, John. It was with pain & sorrow I received that letter although I had almost expected Father’s death. Still I had fondly hoped that he might be spared until I could give him a home or could have been near him at his last moments. God knows I have suffered in secret for whatever harm I may have done but tis now too late. We are now alone. When I received your letter I felt crushed. I looked around me but not one of the old familiar countenances around and I seemed for the moment lost.

I have been on the sick list for a whole [week] but am now getting better. I may see you soon if you are still in Laporte as there is a prospect of our going home in 30 days. We are 3 years men but there appears to be some fluke in the manner in which we were mustered in so it is calculated we will be ordered home & be sworn in again. Our Colonel [Daniel McConnell] is very unpopular & threats have been made against his life. We are encamped on the estate of Lt. Hunter, C. S. A. The house is an old romantic-looking mansion. The grounds are the most beautiful I ever saw. The scenery is magnificent—the house commanding a view of the Potomac & the City of Washington.

Gen. McClellan is our division commander. The men have every confidence in him. If anybody says says that we did not fairly win the Battle of Bulls Run, tell them they are mistaken, but it was lost by bad generalship. Think of men marching 30 miles & when arriving near the battlefield at 3 P. M., having marched since morning on empty stomachs & then going into the battlefield on double quick & you have some idea of how we felt. To tell the truth, it was murder. To judge of how I felt & others besides, I fell asleep on the battlefield when we were posted on a hill & the boys dodging & squatting all around. We were not allowed to return a shot in the early part of the fight. We were marched within 40 rods of a masked battery & a flank fire of Minié Rifles and after marching down there to no purpose were marched to a hill on the right where they had another fair sweep at us.

Of some of the scenes I must tell you of one. One poor fellow—a member of the New York 12th—was sitting by the roadside on a stone eating a cracker. He supposed he was out of danger, poor fellow, when a rifle cannon ball struck him on side of the face and completely cut it off above the chin. It severed the upper lips from the rest of the face. The poor fellow lived 2 hours after he was shot. It was pitiful to see him put up his hands & feel for his face. Others there were [who] were worse than this.

I would advise you, John, not to enlist when no men can be found to fight their country’s battles than it may do to show patriotism, & as for enlisting any other way, it don’t pay. It costs a man 10 dollars a month to live for Uncle Sam sometimes forgets his boys. We were 3 days without rations at Bulls Run. How can men fight thus? We fare well now as Bull Run has taught them a lesson.

Send me Chicago papers if you can. There are no western papers here. I would write more if I had room.


Your brother,

M. P. Long

Letter Images p. 1, p. 2

Contributed and Transcribed by William Griffing

Michael P. Long info at Spared & Shared 

Michael P. Long info at Men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry 

Michael P. Long at Ancestry.com 

Michael P. Long at Fold3 

Michael P. Long at FindAGrave 

Charles D. Lyon and a Call for Stuff

19 08 2009

There’s a new biographical sketch of Lt. Charles D. Lyon of the 3rd Michigan Infantry up at Men of the Third Michigan Infantry.  The sketch includes an excerpt letter that the site owner attributes to Lyon, reprinted in the Grand Rapids Enquirer in July, 1861, describing the action at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18.  Check it out.  If anyone has the article and would like to share it for inclusion in the Resources here, let me know.  In fact, if you have any newspaper articles, letters, diaries or memoirs you’d like to contribute to the Resources, by all means drop me a line!

Daniel Webster Littlefield

3 08 2009

Steve Soper over at Third Michigan Infantry Research Project has put up a biography of Daniel Webster Littlefield, who was present with the regiment at First Bull Run.  The post includes a letter from Littlefield that covers July 11-21, 1861.  I’m trying to get permission to include the letter and bio here as part of the resources, but am having some trouble getting in touch with Steve.  Check out his blog, which showcases a growing database of biographical information on members of the regiment.