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6th Michigan Cavalry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Sixth Michigan Cavalry. Cols., George Gray, J. H. Kidd; Lieut. -Cols., Russell A. Alger, H. E. Thompson, Harvey H. Vinton; Majs., Thaddeus Foote, Elijah D. Waters, Simeon B. Brown, George A. Drew, Charles E. Storrs. This regiment was organized in the summer of 1862, under authority of the secretary of war granted directly to Hon. Francis W. Kellogg, member of Congress from the (then) 4th Congressional district. It comprised twelve troops of a maximum strength of 100 men each, including the proper complement of non-commissioned officers. The rendezvous was Grand Rapids and the regiment was mustered into the U. S. service Oct. 11, 1862, with 1,229 officers and men. On Dec. 10 it proceeded to Washington, D. C, and went into camp on Meridian hill, where it was brigaded with the 5th and 7th and attached to Casey's division of Heintzelman's corps, Department of Washington. The regiment was first under fire at the battle of Hanover, Pa., and to quote Gen. Kilpatrick's report it "particularly distinguished" itself at Hunterstown after dark on July 2, where it encountered Wade Hampton's cavalry. On July 3 it was in the famous cavalry fight on the right at Gettysburg, where it supported Pennington's battery. It marched all day July 4 in a pouring rain and was in the engagement in the mountain pass at Monterey at midnight. It then fought at Smithfield, Boonsboro, Hagerstown, Williamsport and Falling Waters, where it attacked the rear-guard of Lee's army, making a charge which Kilpatrick in his official report referred to as "the most gallant ever made," and which a Confederate writer in a Southern paper afterwards described as "a charge of dare-devils." The regiment was with Custer in all the cavalry engagements which followed in Virginia ; performed conspicuous service at Brandy Station and Buckland mills; was at Mine run, Morton's, Raccoon and Summerville fords, and other minor engagements, after which it went into winter quarters at Stevensburg. On May 6, 1864, the regiment was hotly engaged on the left of Hancock's corps in the Wilderness. It led the advance on the first day of Sheridan's great raid, when 10,000 cavalrymen marched by fours, in a single column; was at Beaver Dam Station, Yellow tavern, Hanovertown, Haw's shop, Cold Harbor, Trevilian Station, Meadow bridge, and many other engagements during the months of May and June. It accompanied Sheridan to the Shenandoah Valley and was in the battles of Winchester, Tom's brook, Luray, Shepherdstown and Cedar creek. In the spring of 1865 it left Winchester with Sheridan and did excellent service in the closing campaign of the war, from Winchester to Appomattox. It marched to Washington, participated in the grand review, and was then ordered to Leavenworth, Kan., whence it marched 1,100 miles via Fort Kearny, Julesburg and Fort Laramie to Powder river, Wyo. Ter., a portion of it going still farther to the Rosebud country. The men who had less than 2 years to serve were ordered back to the state and were mustered out at Jackson, Mich., in Nov., 1865. The others were consolidated into a new regiment and sent to Utah, where they were afterward mustered out. The regiment carried on its rolls from first to last 1,624 officers and men. It lost during its term of service 8 officers, 8 sergeants, 8 corporals and 97 men killed in action or died of wounds, a total of 121. At Andersonville, Ga., 65 died in prison and 42 died in other places as prisoners of war; wounded in action, 214 ; died of disease, 132 ; discharged for disability, 150.

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

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