United States Regiments & Batteries > Michigan

The 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed in May of 1861 for three months service. It arrived in Washington two weeks later, leading Lincoln to exclaim, “Thank God for Michigan!” The regiment fought at Bull Run, then headed back to Michigan when it’s enlistment was up in August. It quickly reorganized as a three year regiment and returned in September, fighting in all of the battles of the Army of the Potomac to Appomattox. The 1st Michigan Infantry Regiment lost 15 officers and 172 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 149 enlisted men to disease, a total of 337.

The regiment is honored by a monument at Gettysburg. From the monument:

Total enrollment 2144 officers and men. Killed in action officers 12, men 135. Died of wounds officers 6, men 22. Died of disease, officers 1, men 95. Total 252. From the first to the last. Entry into Virginia and capture of Alexandria May 24, 1861 to Appomattox April 8, 1865. Participated in 54 skirmishes and general engagements.

1st Michigan Infantry Regiment (3 months service)

May 1 Organized at Fort Wayne, Detroit, Michigan, and mustered into United States service (the only three-months Regiment from Michigan) under Colonel Orlando Willcox, Lieutenant Colonel Loren L. Comstock and Major Alonzo Bidwell.

Orlando Wilcox, Colonel of the 1st Michigan Infantry

Colonel Orlando Willcox

May 13 Left State for Washington, D.C.
May 16 Arrived in Washington late in the evening, the first western regiment to reach Washington. Assigned to the Department of Washington.
May 24 Crossed the Potomac via the Long Bridge and occupied Arlington Heights, Va.
June 1 Action at Arlington Mills (Co. “E”) Attached to Willcox’s Brigade, Heintzelman’s Division, McDowell’s Army of Northeast Virginia
July 16-21 Advance on Manassas, Va.
July 21
Battle of Bull Run

Commanded by Major Bidwell while Colonel Willcox commanded the brigade. The regiment went into action with 25 officers and 475 enlisted men and lost 6 killed or mortally wounded, 4 officers and 33 enlisted men wounded and 65 men missing. Captain Eben Butterworth and Lieutenants Bernard Mauch and John Casey were mortally wounded and captured by the 28th Virginia Infantry. Captain Charles Lum and Lieutenant Hiram Warner were wounded.

Colonel Willcox was wounded leading several charges during the battle, for which he received the Medal of Honor. Captain William Withington of Company B was also awarded the Medal of Honor for staying on the field and succoring Willcox. He was wounded and taken prisoner, but was exchanged and went on to become the colonel of the 17th Michigan Infantry.

August 7 Mustered out under Major Bidwell.

1st Michigan Infantry Regiment (3 years service)

June-September Organized at Detroit under Colonel John C. Robinson, Lt. Colonel Horace Roberts and Major Franklin Whittlesey.

John Robinson

Colonel John Robinson

September 16 Mustered in and left State for Washington, D.C.; Attached to Hooker’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac
October Duty at Bladensburg, Md. and at Annapolis Junction guarding Washington & Baltimore Railroad. Attached to 1st Brigade, Hooker’s Division, Army of the Potomac
February Railroad Brigade, Army of the Potomac
March Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
March Duty at Camp Hamilton, Fortress Monroe, Va.
April 28 Colonel Robinson was promoted to brigadier general. Lieutenant Colonel Roberts was promoted to colonel and Major Whittlesey was promoted to lieutenant colonel.
May Attached to Robinson’s Brigade, Dept. of Virginia
June Ordered to join Army of the Potomac in the field. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps.
June 25-July 1
Seven days before Richmond
June 26
Battles of Mechanicsville
June 27
Gaines Mill

Colonel Roberts was wounded and Lieutenant Colonel Whittlesey was wounded in the leg.

June 29
Peach Orchard and Savage Station
June 30
Glendale and Turkey Bridge
July 1
Malvern Hill, then at Harrison’s Landing
August 3 Lieutenant Colonel Whittlesey was forced to leave active duty with the regiment due to lameness from his leg wound at Gaines Mill. It was hoped to be temporary but would be permanent.
August 16-27 Movement to Fortress Monroe, then to Centreville, Va.
August 28 Gainesville
August 30
Second Battle of Bull Run

Colonel Roberts was killed. Lieutenant Colonel Whittlesey was promoted to colonel but was incapacitated due to his wound from Gaines Mill, so Lieutenant Colonel Ira Abbott, promoted from major, took command of the regiment.

September 6-22
Maryland Campaign
September 16-17
Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg)
September 19
Shepherdstown Ford
September 20 Shepherdstown
October 29 – November 19 Movement to Falmouth, Va.
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg

Lieutenant Colonel Ira Abbott was wounded.

December 29-30 Expedition from Potomac Creek to Richards and Ellis Fords, Rappahannock River
January 20-24 “Mud March”
January – April At Falmouth
March 18 Colonel Whittlesey resigned due his lame right knee, the result of his Gaines Mill wound. Lieutenant Colonel Ira Abbott was promoted to colonel.
April 27-May 6
Chancellorsville Campaign
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville
June 11-July 24
Gettysburg Campaign
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The Regiment was commanded by Colonel Ira C. Abbott, who was wounded on July 2nd. Lieutenant Colonel William A. Throop then took command despite also being wounded.

From the monument:

Present for duty 21 officers 240 men, total 261. Killed 1 officer 4 men. Wounded 6 officers 27 men. Missing 4 men. Total 42.

Monument to the 1st Michigan Infantry at Gettysburg

Monument to the 1st Michigan Infantry at Gettysburg

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap
July 27 –
September 17
At Warrenton and Beverly Ford
September 18 Provost duty at Culpeper
October 11-22
Bristoe Campaign
November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 7
Rappahannock Station
November 26 –
December 2
Mine Run Campaign
December 3 Duty near Culpeper
February 23 Re-enlisted as Veterans
March Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps
May 4-June 15
Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness
May 8-21
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 8 Laurel Hill
May 12
Assault on the Salient
May 23-26
North Anna River
May 23
Jericho Mills
May 28-31
June 1-12
Battle of Cold Harbor
June 1-3 Bethesda Church
June 16
Siege of Petersburg begins
July 30
Mine Explosion, Petersburg (Reserve)
August 18-21
Six-Mile House, Weldon Railroad
September 29 – October 2
Poplar Springs Church
October 27-28
Boydton Road, Hatcher’s Run
December 7-12 Warren’s Expedition to Weldon Railroad
February 5-7
Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run
March 28-April 9
Appomattox Campaign
March 29
Junction, Quaker and Boydton Roads
March 29
Lewis’ Farm, near Gravelly Run
March 30-31
White Oak Road
April 1
Battle of Five Forks
April 2
Fall of Petersburg
April 3-9 Pursuit of Lee
April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army

May 16 Duty at City Point, Va.
May 16-18 Moved to Alexandria
May 23 Grand Review
June 16 Ordered to Louisville, Ky.
July 9 Mustered out at Jeffersonville, Indiana