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2nd Michigan Infantry
in the American Civil War
|Second Michigan Infantry. — Cols., Israel B.
Richardson, Orlando M. Poe, William Humphrey; Lieut. -Cols., Henry L.
Chipman, Adolphus W. Williams, Louis Dillman, Edwin J. March, Charles B.
Haydon, Frederick Schneider; Majs., A. W. Williams, Cornelius Byington,
John C. Boughton. This regiment was organized at Detroit in April, 1861,
and was mustered in on May 25, being the first three years regiment in
the state. It left for the front on June 5 and reported at Washington.
It was engaged at Blackburn's ford, and covered the retreat from Bull
Run three days later. It remained near Alexandria during the fall and
winter, with Col. O. M. Poe in command, Richardson being made
brigadier-general. It was assigned to Berry's brigade, Kearny's
division, Heintzelman's corps, for the Peninsular campaign, was in the
siege of Yorktown, and was engaged at Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Charles
City cross-roads and Malvern hill, its losses being 137 in killed,
wounded and missing. It was in the hottest of the fight at Williamsburg,
forcing back twice its numbers at the point of the bayonet. "By
coolness, precision and energy, recapturing our lost position and
artillery, * * * and have won a name in history that the most ambitious
might be proud of," read the official report. At Fair Oaks, 500 of the
regiment charged ten times their number, "stopping them in mid-career."
It was at Harrison's landing until Aug. 15, was under furious fire at
the second Bull Run, repulsing several cavalry charges, and was also in
the severe engagement at Chantilly. It was in numerous expeditions and
reconnaissances until the last of November and was then transferred to
the 1st brigade, Burns' division, 9th corps, being held in reserve at
Fredericksburg. It moved to Newport News, Va., in Feb., 1863, and to
Bardstown, Ky., in March. In June it joined Grant's army in Mississippi
and participated in the siege of Vicksburg. It was in the several
engagements at Jackson in July, including a skirmish, in which it drove
the enemy from his rifle-pits and through his reserve. It moved to
Milldale, then to Nicholasville, Ky. and on Aug. 30, to Crab Orchard. It
then moved to eastern Tennessee and was in the engagements at Blue
Springs, Loudon, Lenoir's station and Campbell's station, and assisted
in the defense of Knoxville. The regiment performed heroic service at
Fort Sanders and at Thurley's ford, after which it camped at Blain's
cross-roads until the middle of Jan., 1864. There 198 of the regiment
reenlisted and after camping at Erie Station until Feb. 4, the veterans
were sent home on furlough. Col. Poe, their old commander, wrote of
them: "Proud am I that I was ever associated with such heroes. * * *
There is something sublimely grand in the steady, quiet courage of those
men of our 'Second ;' they never yet have failed in time of need, and
never will." The regiment rejoined its corps of the Army of the Potomac
May 5, and participated in the battle of the Wilderness. At
Spottsylvania Court House it recaptured some guns lost by a New York
battery and drove back a brigade. It was engaged at Ox ford, North Anna,
Totopotomy, Bethesda Church and Cold Harbor and in the first assaults on
Petersburg in June it lost 22 killed, 143 wounded and 6 missing. In the
attack following the springing of the mine the regiment lost 6 killed,
14 wounded and 37 missing. It was engaged at the Weldon railroad and
Poplar Spring Church, and was then in camp near Peebles' house until
Oct. 27, when it fought at Hatcher's run and was then in the trenches
before Petersburg during the winter. It participated in the defense of
Fort Stedman in March, 1865, sustaining heavy loss, and aided in the
capture of Petersburg in April. It was mustered out at Washington July
28, 1865. Its original strength was 1,013: gain by recruits, 1,138;
total 2,151. Loss by death, 321.
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing
Company, 1908 - Volume 3
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