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1861-Michigan's "Fighting Fifth" Infantry in Civil War


A separate blog that followed the newspaper accounts of Michigan's "Fighting Fifth" Infantry as it happened 150 years ago has moved to this section of Storytelling + Research = LoiS.
As Liberetta Lerich Green I reenact her family's involvement in the Underground Railroad and the "War of Rebellion" for the Lerichs had 2 brothers in the 5th Infantry. For more information, go to
Find here the Detroit and other area newspapers originally published by LoiS online at the same pace as relatives did when searching for news of their family in the "Fighting Fifth."

The Fifth was part of the Army of the Potomac and one of the regiments about whom Lincoln said, "Thank God for Michigan!"  Their regiment also was 5th in Union infantry deaths as they were active in many actions including the following:
*The Peninsular Campaign
*2d Battle of Bull Run (entering after the devastating 1st loss)
*Battle of Chantilly
*Battle of Antietam
*Battle of Fredericksburg
*Battle of Chancellorsville
*Battle of Gettysburg
*Battle of the Wilderness
*Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
*Battle of Cold Harbor
*Siege of Petersburg
*Appomatox Campaign

Microfilmed reports, unfortunately, are not always clearly reproduced, but this is a way to follow the 5th Regiment since there is currently no book on just this important regiment.  Over the five years when the blog was published various methods of coping with those microfilms changed.  As a result the quality of reproduction varies and, unfortunately, the original articles were deleted from the flash-drives that captured them off the Library of Michigan microfilm.  Sizes also may vary.  The largest size possible was used, but you may need to adjust the viewing size to see the best image.  As of this date, those original microfilms remain at the library for viewing. 

Unlike the original blog, I have delayed putting this page up until all material is posted.  This permits reading the articles in first to last sequence, unlike the usual blog format which goes from the most recent backwards.  Because there is so much material, I am going to break it down by year.  This page is when the war started in 1861. 

It also reveals the learning curve as I worked upon the material.  Because the total blog had so many tags to index material, those labels will appear with each article and I can put them at the beginning of each article.  They do not appear on the sidebar because the sidebar's tags are for the main part of the blog.

Unfortunately some of my original decisions, like the use of this color font, are proving difficult to change.  Additionally, quirks of the Blogger process are not truly "WYSIWYG" (What You See Is What You Get), still its price (free, other than my own time) has made problems, for example spacing and fonts different than I chose on the original blog.  Yet I have changed it as far as I can, although how it appears may mislead the reader into not realizing there is more to come.  Just know that an entire year exists and keep going.

June 18, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Fort Wayne, officers

June 21, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Fort Wayne, officers

The microfilmed posting of initial officers was blurry, but fortunately it is information found in other locations. The classic book, Michigan in the Civil War, compiled by Robertson of the Adjutant General's Department states:
The 5th was organized at Fort Wayne, composed of the companies named below recruited mainly at the points designated: Sherlock Guard, Detroit. Mt. Clemens rifle Guard, Mt. Clemens. East Saginaw Volunteers, East Saginaw. Ingersoll Rifles, Owosso. Governor’s Guard, Detroit. Saginaw City Light Infantry, Saginaw City. Livingston Volunteers, Brighton. Washington Guard, St. Clair. Pontiac Volunteers, Pontiac. Huron rangers, Port Huron. It was mustered into service with about 900 officers and men on August 28th 1861. At the time of muster the companies were designated by letter: Sherlock Guard, A.
Mt. Clemens Guard, B.
East Saginaw Volunteers, C.
Ingersoll rifles; H.
Governor’s Guard, F.
Saginaw City Light Infantry, K.
Livingston Volunteers, I.
Washington Guard, G.
Pontiac Volunteers, D.
Huron Rangers, E.
Colonel, Henry D. Terry, Detroit.
Lieutenant Colonel, Samuel E. Beach, Pontiac.
Major, John D. Fairbanks, Detroit.
Surgeon, Moses Gunn, Detroit.
Assistant Surgeon Robert A. Everett, Ann Arbor.
Adjutant, William N. Ladue, Detroit.
Quartermaster’ Hudson B. Blackman, Howell.
Chaplain, D. C. Jacokes, Pontiac.
‘ A. Captain, Edwin T. Sherlock, Detroit.
First Lieutenant, John Pulford, Detroit.
Second Lieutenant, John W. O’Callahan, Detroit.
B. Captain, Judson S. Furrar, Mt. Clemens.
First Lieutenant, Edgar H. Shook Mt. Clemens.
Second Lieutenant, Henry C. Edgerly, Mt. Clemens.
C. Captain, Henry W. Trowbridge, Saginaw. First Lieutenant, William O. Donnell Saginaw. Second Lieutenant, Charles H. Hutchins, Detroit.
D. Captain, Joseph A. Eagle, Detroit. First Lieutenant, Salmon S. Mathews, Pontiac. Second Lieutenant, Sylvester D. Cowles, Pontiac.
E. Captain, Charles S. Traverse, Port Huron. First Lieutenant, Augustus Zanier Port Huron. Second Lieutenant, Henry F. Decker, Port Huron.
‘ F. Captain, Heber Le Favour, Letroit. First Lieutenant, William N. Ladue Detroit. Second Lieutenant, William T. Johnson, Detroit.
G. Captain, George W. Wilson, St. Clair. First Lieutenant, Willis B. Pomeroy, St. Clair. Second Lieutenant, Frederick S. Steele, St. Clair.
H. Captain, Louis B. Quackenbush, Owosso. First Lieutenant, William Wakenshaw Owosso. Second Lieutenant, William K. Tillotson, Owosso.
I. Captain, John Gilluly, Brighton. First Lieutenant, Hudson B. Blackman, Howell. Second Lieutenant, Charles H. Denison, Brighton.
K. Captain Henry Miller, Saginaw. First Lieutenant, Alexander Alberti, East Saginaw. Second Lieutenant, Hugo Wesener, Saginaw.

July 2, 1861 Detroit Daily Advertiser

Captain Pitcher, Captain Sherlock, Fort Wayne, General Williams, Henry Munger, Schoolcraft Light Guard, Smith Munger


July 6, 1861 Detroit Free Press -- 4th of July at Fort Wayne 

 Colonel Terry, Fort Wayne
















July 21, 1861 Detroit Free Press

Fort Wayne

By now (late July 1861) the news would be known 

Bull Run, Gen McDowell, Manassas, Sen Chandler

The news of a battle can sometimes take a while to be known and printed.  One hundred fifty years ago on July 21, 1861 the First Battle of Bull Run (also called the First Battle of Manassas) was fought.  The Fifth Infantry was still in training at Fort Wayne's Camp of Instruction, but news of this first major Union defeat traveled across the wires.  Michigan's First, Second, Third, and Fourth Infantry gave the Fifth and also the Sixth and Seventh Regiment extra reason to take their training seriously.  

The official casualties of the battle still vary, but Wikipedia's article on the First Battle of Bull Run claims:
Army      killed         wounded          missing or captured        Total
Union      460         1,124          1,312                               2,896
Confederacy      387         1,582          13                                    1,982


Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, First Bull Run, July 1861.
Credit: William Morris Smith/Library of Congress

Added to the soldiers, there were hundreds of civilians from Washington, D.C. to picnic and observe what was expected by the North to be an easy victory.  The Union troops were composed of volunteers who signed up for 90 days and had little training and experience. When told to retreat, the way was clogged with the civilians in what newspapers called "The Great Skedaddle."  Michigan's own Senator Zachariah Chandler tried to block the way.  Back in Washington the president and his cabinet received this telegram: "General McDowell’s army in full retreat through Centreville. The day is lost. Save Washington and the remnants of this army." 

The official Report of Brigadier General Irvin McDowell wasn't published until August 4th of that year.  By that time it was recognized that this was not going to be a short, easily won rebellion, but an actual war.  When the Second Battle of Bull Run took place thirteen months later, the Fighting Fifth would be there and ready to prevent a repeat of the First Battle.

July 27, 1861 Detroit Free Press 




















August 1, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Fort Wayne, Governor Blair, rendezvous

The end of this article was chopped off talking about how experienced, able officers with lives of service to the government are detailed on unimportant assignments.








August 6, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Sergeant Kile




















August 15, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Captain Travers, Colonel Terry, Fort Wayne, Lieutenant Colonel Beach, Port Huron

















August 20, 1861 Detroit Free Press











August 29, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Captain Miller, Captain Trowbridge, Colonel Backus, Colonel Terry, Dr Everettin, Fort Wayne, Saginaw





Alas, the joys of microfilm dark spots!

































There also are these miscellaneous items about individuals. 

















August 30, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Fort Wayne, uniforms























September 3, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

5 MI Reg Band


















The article continued in the second column, but a stamp (from microfilming?) obscured the remainder of the text.  
The 5th Michigan Regiment Band still exists!  For music clips and more information, go to 5th Michigan Regiment Band . 

September 9, 1861 Detroit Free Press

Chaplain Jacokes, Fort Wayne, uniforms










September 10, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Captain Mizner, F. Buhl and Co., flag, Sergeant Foster, Sergeant Major Gunning 

This starts out with a section called Military.  I began when the 5th is discussed, after a section about a cavalry unit.

September 11, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

departure, F. Buhl and Co., flag, General Williams, Governor Blair, SS May Queen, SS Ocean

They're off!




September 12, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Adjutant Ladue, departure, flag, Revised Regimental Staff, SS May Queen, SS Mississippi, SS Ocean

More about their departure (2 columns worth)

September 12, 1861 Detroit Free Press - Bottom of the page 

This gives the bottom part missing in the previous post.

September 20, 1861 Detroit Free Press 

Captain Wilson, Lincoln, Washington D.C.

This is a letter dated September 16, 1861 from "one of the Captains of the Fifth Regiment."  It was received and published on September 20.







































September 21, 1861 Detroit Daily Tribune 

7th Michigan Infantry, arms, Belgian rifled musket, Colonel Terry, Doctor Gunn, Meridian Hill, Senator Chandler, Springfield musket

Here's a view of the arrival in Virginia from the Detroit Daily Tribune





































October 1, 1861, Detroit Daily Advertiser 

Captain Bredthschneider, Colonel Terry, Corporal Gifford, Private Fuller, R. Williams of the Georgia Regulars, Sherlock Guards, Virginia

At last word from the Fifth in Virginia!









































































October 3, 1861, Detroit Daily Tribune 

Captain Farrell, Captain Sherlock, Colonel Terry, Drum Major Daniel, General Richardson, Judge Edmunds, Judge Gray, Mr. Carlin, Munson's Hill, Virginia

Field notes for Munson's Hill, Virginia -- the first engagement.















October 4, 1861, Detroit Daily Tribune 

Arlington Heights, California 1st, Colonel Terry,  General Richardson, Munson's Hill, New York 15th, New York 37th, telegraph








































October 25, 1861 Detroit Daily Advertiser 


Yet another anonymous letter from the field in Virginia.

October 26, 1861 Detroit Daily Tribune 


The following brief article was on the same day.   

November 25, 1861 Detroit Daily Tribune 

General McClellan, Lincoln

The article continues in the next column, but size and clarity is not always adjustable.

November 29, 1861 Detroit Daily Tribune 

Alexandria, Colonel Terry, Doctor Gunn, Peter Smith

The Fifth is still in camp.







































December 3, 1861 Detroit Daily Tribune 

3d Michigan Regiment Band, Adjutant Ladue, Alexandria, Alfred Madden, Captain LaFavour (Captain Lefevre), Chaplain Jacokes, Colonel Washington, Lewis Williams, Governor Blair, Henry Lester, Manassas, Occoquan, Thanksgiving


While this was written at Thanksgiving, it took this long to reach Detroit and be published.

December 10, 1861, Detroit Daily Tribune 

Captain Sherlock, Nash, Sergeant Foster


December 20, 1861 Detroit Daily Tribune 

5th Michigan Regiment Band, Alexandria, blankets, Camp Buhl, Camp Lyon, Captain Gilluly, Captain LaFavour, Captain Miller, Captain Trowbridge, Colonel Halman, flag, health, Mrs. O'Donnell

Correspondent, Ennius, apologizes for the delay in writing.  Like many soldiers, he tries to provide a positive view of "The Sunny Side of Camp Life - Breaking Up Camp - An Alarm - Preparation for Winter Quarters - Flag Raising - Health of the Regiment - Medical Staff."  At the same time he points to the need for blankets as winter approaches.

Ennius closes with "I will try to make my communications briefer and more frequent in the future."  As the war finally heats up they will indeed become more frequent.






Civil War Christmas at Fort Wayne 

Christmas, Fort Wayne

Historic Fort Wayne is where the Fifth Michigan Infantry and many other regiments began.  By Christmas of 1861 they were part of the Army of the Potomac away in Camp Michigan near Mount Vernon.  There is no newspaper account until January 9 in the Detroit Free Press.  For a taste of Christmas of that time, although they were not indoors in Camp Michigan, I want to recommend the page on the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition's website showing their Civil War Christmas celebration.
Next on  the 1862 page, January 9th, is the posting here of the Free Press article about the Fifth's Christmas.

The Fifth mustered in after the disaster at 1st Bull Run and Lincoln didn't issue his first special war orders until Jan. 31 of '62, asking the Army of the Potomac to move "before, or on, the 22nd day of February."  Their action built gradually, but definitely.



















































































































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