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5th Michigan Cavalry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Fifth Michigan Cavalry. Cols., Joseph T. Copeland, Freeman Norvell, Russell A. Alger, Smith H. Hastings; Lieut. -Cols., William D. Mann, Ebenezer Gould, Edward M. Lee; Majs., Freeman Norvell, Ebenezer Gould, Luther S. Trowbridge, Myron Hickey, Crawley P. Dake, John E. Clark, Stephen P. Purdy, Robert C. Wallace. This regiment was organized at Detroit and was mustered into the U. S. service Aug. 30, 1862. It left Detroit Dec. 4, 1862, for Washington, D. C, with an enrollment of 1,144 officers and men. Soon after the arrival of the regiment at Washington it was assigned to the Michigan cavalry brigade, composed of the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th Mich. cavalry, and these regiments served together during the war. In June, 1863, the brigade met the Confederate Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's cavalry near Hanover, Pa., and drove it back in a spirited charge, afterward dismounting and fighting on foot. In this engagement the 5th lost severely. On July 3 the regiment, with the brigade, had one of the severest cavalry engagements of the war with Stuart's forces and won a decisive victory in repelling the enemy's attack, driving him back so he could no longer threaten the rear of the Union lines. The next day the regiment started to intercept Gen. Lee's army that was in full retreat upon Williamsport. It charged across a bridge on the side of the mountain leading to Williamsport, where the enemy's wagon train was passing, and with the brigade captured 1,500 prisoners and destroyed a large wagon train. A few days later it met the enemy near Boonsboro, where it was dismounted and charged the Confederates who were behind stone walls, but the charge of the regiment was so impetuous that the enemy was driven in confusion. It took an active part in the engagement at Falling Waters, Md., where the Confederates were put to flight by the gallant charges of the Michigan men. The regiment returned to Virginia after Gen. Lee had crossed the Potomac and in September fought at Culpeper Court House, Raccoon ford, White's ford and Jack's shop. The regiment was in the fight at James City, and had a severe engagement with the enemy at Buckland mills, where it first fought on foot and then in a mounted charge drove the enemy pell mell for 2 miles. It was in the terrible battle of the Wilderness, on the Brock road, and also at Haw's shop, where the regiment was dismounted, as the country was too wooded to successfully maneuver cavalry, and, with the other regiments of the brigade, charged the enemy and a desperate hand-to-hand encounter took place. Two battle flags were captured by the regiment at the Opequan and it did gallant service at Winchester, Luray, Port Republic, Mt. Crawford, Woodstock, Cedar creek, Newton and Madison Court House. It was with Gen. Sheridan when the Union forces moved in the direction of Gordonsville and Richmond and drove Gen. Rosser from Louisa Court House, where a large amount of property was destroyed, together with the depot and railroad and aqueducts on the line of the James river canal, seriously interfering with Gen. Lee's sources of supplies. After the surrender of Gen. Lee the regiment marched to Washington, where it took part in the grand review; was then sent to the far West, and was finally mustered out in Utah. Its total enrollment was 1,866 ; number killed in action, 101; died of wounds, 24; died while prisoners of war, 69; died of disease, 109; discharged for disability, 196.

Footnotes:
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 3

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