The Civil War
Michigan answered President Lincoln’s call for volunteers during the American Civil War with 90,747 men. Michigan went beyond the call of duty and supplied more than 30 regiments during the war. Michiganders fought on the ground as infantry and on horseback as cavalry. Michiganders fought as teams to work both light and medium artillery. Michiganders fought from afar as precise sharpshooters. Michiganders served as engineers and mechanics building railroads, bridges and blockhouses. African-American men fighting for equality fought in the First Colored Regiment. Indigenous men fighting to be full citizens served in Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters.
Dig into the collections below to discover diaries written from the field, letter from home, image of individuals and regiments and service records for the regiments. Through these first person accounts you will learn about the tedium of soldiers, updates from the home front and the movement of soldiers through the various military units.
Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865
This is a great collection to start your American Civil War research. The volunteer registries provide a quick synopsis of a person's service in the Civil War. These volumes are organized by regiment, but advanced scanning makes it possible to search these documents by name or other key words.Browse the Collection
Civil War Manuscripts
Read through these first-hand experiences of war, both from the battlefield and the home front. This collection consists of letters and diaries from the Civil War period (1861-1865). Most of the collection includes of personal narratives, a few official records concerning the war and pensions for Civil War veterans after the war’s end.Browse the Collection
Civil War Photographs
Images of individuals, groups, and entire regiments can be found in this collection of Civil War photographs. Photography evolved during the 1850s, making it easier to obtain durable, small photographs in the form of cased or card-sized images. These formats made it easier for a soldier to carry a photograph of a loved one or to send an image home.Browse the Collection
RG 59-14 Michigan Military Establishment Regimental Service Records, 1861-1865
The Michigan Adjutant General kept various records during the American Civil War concerning the inner workings of Michigan regiments. Records include muster rolls, letters to and from the Adjutant General, lists of dead, monthly returns and more. This scanning project was funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.Browse the Collection
Civil War Battle Flags
Before leaving for the field of battle, the men of each regiment were presented with beautiful silken flags. The regiments received a stand of colors consisting of two flags: a national flag and a regimental flag. The national flag was the traditional American red, white, and blue Stars and Stripes. The regimental flag typically had a solid blue field emblazoned with the federal or Michigan coat of arms. These hand-sewn flags often were presented to the regiments by the ladies of their communities in grand ceremonies.Browse the Collection
at the Archives of Michigan
In addition to content on Michiganology, you can find more original records and published resources on the American Civil War at the Archives of Michigan.