Today in Michigan History

July 1, 1863

Michigan infantry suffered the greatest loss of any northern regiment in Civil War fighting.

The Twenty-Fourth Michigan Infantry regiment of the Iron Brigade engaged advancing Confederate forces at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War. In savage fighting, the Twenty-fourth Infantry suffered 80 percent casualties (400 of 500 men) on the first day of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg.

Thank you Michigan Start Pages for this glimpse into our past.  See more here.

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Today in Michigan History

June 29, 1863

George Armstrong Custer was appointed to command the Michigan Cavalry Brigade.

Raised in Monroe, Michigan, George Armstrong Custer graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1861. Serving as a junior officer for the first two years of the Civil War, Custer—and two other junior officers—were promoted to brigadier general in late June 1863. The unique move was intended to instill élan in the Army of the Potomac’s cavalry command, which was often bested by Rebel cavalry. Custer received command of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade, which consisted of four regiments of Michigan cavalrymen. Several days later, Custer and his command played a key role in stopping Rebel efforts to break the center of the Union line in the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Today in Michigan History

May 10, 1865

Michiganders captured Jefferson Davis.

Fleeing the U.S. government, Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, was captured by members of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry near Irwinsville, Georgia. Colonel Benjamin Pritchard, a University of Michigan graduate from Allegan, Michigan, led the battle-hardened veterans of the Fourth. Pritchard transported Davis to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where he remained imprisoned for two years. The Fourth was mustered out of the federal service and came home. Several years later, they received part of the $100,000 reward that had been posted for Davis’s capture.

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Today in Michigan History

March 8, 1869

Michigan ratified the Fifteenth Amendment.

The last of three Civil War amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Fifteenth Amendment guarantees that U.S. citizens shall not be denied the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude. The amendment was introduced when it became clear that former slaves were being disenfranchised in the former states of the Confederacy.

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Today in Michigan History

February 17, 1864

The First Michigan Colored Infantry was mustered into federal service.

Detroiter Henry Barns commanded Michigan’s first and only African American regiment. The First, soon re-designated the 102nd U.S. Colored Infantry, left Michigan for Hilton Head, South Carolina, with an enrollment of 895 officers and men.

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Today in Michigan History

October 26, 1864

The 28th Michigan Infantry left for war.

Organized from communities in the southwestern Lower Peninsula, the 28th Michigan Infantry left its encampment at Kalamazoo for Nashville, Tennessee. In December, the regiment saw action at the Battle of Nashville.

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Today in Michigan History

September 30, 1865

The First Michigan Colored Infantry headed home.

The 102nd U.S. Colored Troop (formerly the First Michigan Colored Infantry) was mustered out of federal service in Charleston, South Carolina. In eighteen months of service, Michigan’s only African American regiment suffered losses of 11 killed in action and 129 who died from diseases.

Thank you Michigan History Magazine for this glimpse into our past.  See more at www.michiganhistorymagazine.com.

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