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7th Michigan Cavalry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Seventh Michigan Cavalry. Cols., William D. Mann, George G. Briggs; Lieut. - Cols., Allyn C. Litchfield, Harvey H. Vinton; Majs., John S. Huston, George K. Newcomb, Henry W. Granger, Robert Sproul, Alexander Walker, Daniel H. Darling. This regiment was organized at Grand Rapids in the summer and fall of 1862, being one of the cavalry regiments which the secretary of war authorized the Hon. F. W. Kellogg to recruit at that time. On Jan. 27, 1863, the last contingent of the ten companies was mustered in and on Feb. 20 the horses of the first five companies, with a detail of 20 men, proceeded to Washington, followed on the 21st by the horses of the other five companies and on the 22nd by the main body of the regiment. It reached Washington Feb. 27, encamped on what was known as Meridian hill and remained there for about a month. On March 26th it proceeded across the river over Long bridge and marched to Fairfax Court House, where it was united with the 5th and 6th Mich, cavalry, into a brigade which was assigned to Gen. Stahel's cavalry division, Department of Washington. From May 3 until June 24, 1863, the regiment was engaged in scout duty and in guarding the Orange & Alexandria railroad, which was the line of supplies for the army of the Potomac, and while thus engaged it had several skirmishes with Mosby's men. In one of these actions near Catlett's station, where Mosby had destroyed a train of cars, 2 small brass pieces were captured by the commands engaged, several men of the 7th were injured, and quite a number of prisoners were taken from the enemy. On June 30 it participated in an engagement at Hanover, Pa., where the brigade was united in order to oppose the attempt of Gen. Stuart to effect a junction with Gen. Lee's army. In this engagement a portion of the regiment supported a battery and another portion was on the skirmish line. The first battleflag of the enemy captured by the regiment was taken in this action. On the night of July 2 the regiment was engaged until midnight at Hunterstown, Pa., and on July 3, with others of the brigade, it was at Gettysburg, on the extreme right of the Union army, where it was engaged the entire day. In this engagement out of the 401 officers and men who went into the fight the regiment lost 13 killed, 4 officers and 48 men wounded, and 39 missing. On the morning of July 4 it proceeded with the command to follow up Lee's retreating army and on that night, while marching through Monterey pass, it was met by a volley of canister shot from 2 pieces of artillery in the road. These guns were promptly charged and taken by the 7th, and the brigade captured many prisoners and some 400 wagons. The regiment was subsequently engaged at Smithburg, Hagerstown and Williamsport, and at Falling Waters it captured a 10-pounder Parrott-gun from the enemy. After a few days of much needed rest it again crossed the Potomac into Virginia and participated in engagements at Snicker's gap, Kelly's ford, Culpeper Court House, Raccoon ford, White's ford, and Jack's shop. When the army of the Potomac fell back from the Rapidan the enemy was met by the regiment near James City and on Oct. 10 it participated in the battle of Brandy Station. On Oct. 19 it participated in a severe engagement at Buckland mills. After that the enemy fell back toward the Rapidan and was not again encountered by the regiment until in November at Stevensburg, and Morton's ford. About daylight on the morning of May 6, 1864, it participated in a lively engagement in the Wilderness, near the intersection of the Furnace and Brock roads, where it was engaged all day. At daylight on the following morning it was again on the same ground, contending with the enemy until the middle of the afternoon, when he was driven from the field. On May 10 the regiment was engaged all day in destroying railroads, and at dawn of the 11th began skirmishing with the enemy. On that day an engagement, at the intersection of the Telegraph and Brock roads, was opened by Stuart and continued all day, the regiment participating in several charges. It had several engagements at Meadow bridge on the Chickahominy, where it forced a crossing and routed the enemy with a heavy loss. It was again engaged at Barney's ferry, and on the same day the regiment made a saber charge at Crump's creek, driving the enemy for 3 miles. On the 28th it was engaged at Haw's shop, the regiment being exposed to a severe fire. On May 30 the 7th and 1st Mich. were engaged in a hard fight with the enemy at Old Church, completely routing the Confederates. On May 31 the regiment participated in an engagement at Cold Harbor, and on the morning of June 1 it was attacked by superior forces of the enemy's infantry, but repulsed them with great slaughter. A few days later the regiment was attacked at Louisa Court House by Wickham's brigade of cavalry, but being supported by the 1st Mich. cavalry it maintained its ground. Thence it marched to Trevilian Station, and there for the the greater part of two days it and the other cavalry regiments of Custer's, Merritt's and Devin's brigades were engaged in one of the most desperate cavalry combats of the war, against Hampton's and Fitzhugh Lee's commands. In July the regiment engaged the enemy on the New Market road, on the north bank of the James river, where with other cavalry it repulsed a large infantry force of the enemy, and then by a charge captured 250 prisoners and 2 battleflags. From Aug. 10 to 16 the regiment was moving about the country in the vicinity of Winchester, several times coming into collision with the enemy. It was in action at Front Royal, charging a whole brigade of Confederate cavalry, completely routing it and capturing 100 prisoners with a large number of horses and arms. At Berryville, it repulsed a determined attack of the enemy and from that time to the 25th it was engaged in scouting, picketing and light skirmishing. At the Opequan in September the regiment led the advance of the army from about 2 a. m., and after an attempt of the 25th N. Y. cavalry had been repulsed, it charged across the river and captured the rifle-pits upon the hills on the opposite bank. In the afternoon the enemy fled precipitately, the regiment being engaged until after dark, making many mounted charges during the day and capturing large numbers of prisoners, cannon and small arms. In September it was engaged at Port Republic, and remained in that vicinity until Oct. 2, when it had a brush with the enemy at Mt. Crawford. At Tom's brook, the enemy was completely routed in an engagement participated in by the regiment, and was pursued for 26 miles. At the battle of Cedar creek the regiment captured more prisoners than it had troopers in its ranks, and later it was again engaged with Early's army at the same place. On Dec. 19 the regiment participated in an expedition to Charlottesville and Gordonsville to wreck the railroads, and from day to day there was more or less skirmishing and a lively engagement at Liberty mills on the Rapidan. On March 30, 1865, the regiment found the enemy in force on the White Oak road near Five Forks, and, in column of squadrons with sabers drawn, moved forward in a countercharge, soon routed him. On March 31 it had a sharp engagement at the intersection of the Dinwiddie and Five Forks roads, and on April 1 it was again engaged with Pickett's infantry near Five Forks, participating in the battle of that name and taking a prominent part in the final charge, capturing many prisoners and pursuing the enemy until after dark. On April 4 it skirmished with the enemy, made many captures on the way to Amelia Court House and Jetersville, and participated in the battle of Sailor's creek, in which the whole of Ewell's corps was captured. On April 8 it proceeded to Prospect Station and thence toward Appomattox Depot, where it had a spirited brush with the Confederates, capturing much property and ammunition. The regiment was deployed and hotly engaged on the morning of the 9th, but its Spencer carbines soon checked the enemy, and then followed the armistice which resulted in the surrender of Lee's army and the termination of the operations of the regiment in the Civil war. Gerry's South Carolina cavalry failed to keep the armistice, whereupon the 7th Mich. charged upon it and put a quietus upon it in short order. With the brigade the regiment participated in the grand review at Washington and then was included in the assignment to the far West. Those of the regiment whose term of service expired before Feb., 1866, were mustered out Dec. 15, 1865, and the others were transferred to the 1st Mich. veteran cavalry and retained in the service in Utah until March 10, 1866. The total enrollment of the regiment was 1,779, and its loss during service was 322.

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

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