Welcome to this website dedicated to the regiment known as the Fourth Michigan Infantry, and to those men who served under its glorious banner during the American Civil War. As you visit the various pages of this site, you will discover an extensive collection of images, letters, documents, diaries, etc., all of which I hope you find just as interesting and rewarding as they have been for me. Study the photos of these men and read the thoughts that they put to paper and you’ll have a momentary glimpse of the war-torn world in which they fought so hard to survive. Should you walk the battlefields that they fought on and stand besides their graves as I have, you’ll find that their images and words instill a more personal appreciation of the soldier’s role in the American Civil War.
Please note that while on this website, you are actually looking into the history of not one, but two separate regiments known as the Fourth Michigan Infantry. The “original” or the “Old Fourth”, as the veterans would call it, served their country from June 21st of 1861 until June of 1864. For most of that time they marched and fought as members of the Army of the Potomac, led by General George B. McClellan. Under his command, they partook of the bloodshed spilled on the battlefields of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Their unit was one of those few Civil War regiments which lost more men on the battlefield than it did to disease. Indicative of the bravery of its commanding officers, the regiment lost 3 of her colonels on the field of battle. Colonel Dwight Woodbury was shot in the head during the battle of Malvern Hill, Virginia, on July 1, 1862. On July 3, 1863, Colonel Harrison Jeffords died the day after being mortally bayoneted while fighting to save the regiments flag in “The Wheatfield” portion of the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A year later, Colonel George Lumbard was mortally wounded during the battle of the Wilderness, Virginia on May 5, 1864, dying the next day. Official records indicate that 1325 soldiers served in the ranks before the regiment mustered out on June 19, 1864. Of that number, 123 men and officers were killed in action and another 54 had died of wounds. Disease took the lives of an additional 96 men, to bring the total loss in the ranks to 273 men.
In spite of those numbers, 129 of those men discharged would re-enlist as Veteran Volunteers, many going on to serve in the ranks of the Reorganized Fourth Michigan Infantry. Most of the recruits that had joined the rolls of the regiment after it was already in service had to serve the balance of their 3 year term while attached to the First Michigan Infantry. Some then went on from there to finish their time with the “New”, or “Reorganized” Fourth Michigan Infantry.
The “Reorganized” Fourth Michigan mustered into service in October of 1864 and served in Tennessee and Alabama, before embarking for Texas by boat from New Orleans, Louisiana, in July of 1865. It spent the following 10 hard months serving in Texas before mustering out on the 26th of May, 1866. In direct contrast to the losses of the original regiment, the Reorganized Fourth Michigan lost only 1 man on the battlefield, and another 6 men to wounds. However, disease took a terrible toll on its ranks, killing 141 soldiers. The regiment’s total loss was 141 (of the 1300 that it originally began with) which was comparatively high, considering that it was on active duty for approximately 19 months.
This site is a “work in progress” and will continue to grow as new information is found and historical relics from the regiment are located and/or acquired. I strive to post accurate transcriptions and information, but am as fallible as anyone else, so please bear with me.
So many knowledgeable and friendly people have supported my effort to learn (and now share) the history of the Fourth Michigan Infantry. Though listing all of their names will be quite a challenge, I will do my best to give credit here to those who have, in their own special way, made this site possible. If I have failed to list your name due to an oversight on my part, I would like to apologize for that and ask you to send me a friendly reminder so I can give you the credit that you so warmly deserve.
First of all, I would like to thank my ever supportive wife, Julie Wilkinson, for giving up so much of “our” time so that I could “go back” in history. A special “thank you” goes to my daughter, Valerie Gleason, whose photographic skills provided many of the images of the relics found on this site.
My deepest appreciation goes to William (Griff) Griffing and David Prince for their technical insight, instruction, and support. Without them, these pages would be blank.
Many of my fellow historians and Civil War collecting friends rendered invaluable guidance and support. They led me to acquisitions and information both and for that I would like to thank:
William Floyd, Jonathan Webb Diess, William Heckert, Marguerite Little, Bob and Meri Schoof, Dr. Lee Pratt, Jerry Raisor, Dave Broene, Don Andrew, David Finney, Marcia Simmons, Marguerite Little, Dave Parks, Everitt Bowles, Rick Carlile, Jeff Kowalis, John Gelderloos, Janine Delcamp, Dan Haley, Diane Wright, Mike Hogle, Jan Linblom, Bob Kaczar, Allen Cebula, Rick Schmidt, Dave Houseman, Chris Carroll, Paul Brzozowski, Dale Niesen, Dick and Mary Hutchins, Richard Hardesty, Bob Farnham, Scott Hilts, Brad Pruden, Dick Kloke, Bob Coch, Jim Brady, Steve Bucher, Dave Ingall, Jim Jamra, Mark Magdowski, Martin Berterra, Wes Powers, Richard Hutchins, Steve Rigoni, and Jerry Everts.
The following individuals are descendants of men who served in the regiment and have graciously shared their family treasures with me in a mutual appreciation of history and the importance of sharing it:
Bill Clark, Steve Roberts, Jim Pimlott, Shaun Williams Winwood, Brian Bender, Jennifer McGraw, Kathleen Hill, Sarah Nelson, Joseph Edwards, Dan Schwalm, Dale Marshall, William P. Watson, Linda Simonetta, John Spelman, Patricia DeHaan, Craig Emery, Hal Flynn, Tom Spain, Mike Rice and Richard Rice, Peggy Munoz, Kathryn Aragon, Elaine O’Neill, Jane Miller, Neil Tenbrook, James Farley, Janeen Sharpe, Pam Clark, George Otis, John Lennon, Malissa Walcik, Gary Saxton, Bill Gates, Glen McQueen, Curt Dalgleish, Anita Crabtree, Robert Hartman, Guy Lassey, Patricia Davidson Peters, Patrick Freeman, William Thomas, Tad Campbell, Joe Mulvany, James Baggerly, Bill Peak, John Demming, Kristina Eide, William Kernan, Robin McDuffie, Marc Ryan, Lynne Bryant, Linda Cruz, Jeff Phelps, Janet Wilkinson Schwartz, Kelly Beach, John C. Mosher, Steven Barnhart, K. D. Andrews, Alice Jeffords Lewis, Fred Jeffords, Tricia Jeffords Tidswell, Michael Doyle, Monica Woodward Tackett, Mary Hutchins, Cindy Hatzeld, Bob Flynn, John C. Carter, Martha Tenney, Chris Mauer, Anson Jagger, Don Justin, Bill Orr, Olive McMillen, Donnalyn Bancroft Yates, Andrew Hopkinson, Edith Lenzi, Gary Gemmell, Faye Locke, Mike Zuidema, Kathry Harris Aragon, Tom Spademan, Elizabeth Ball, Les Wolf, Cynthia Ingraham, Janet Lundell Ahlin, Eloise McNeilly, Ron Packard, Lou Brennen, William Thomas, Richard Wells, Mitch Atckinson, Dale Tuckey, Mike Birdsall, Carol King, Larry Rastatter, Chet Kelly, Darron Williams, Fred Rose, Tim Brown, Bernard Koentz, Keith Larzelere, Dana Spencer, Michelle Goodrich, Monica Woodward, James Densel, Diane Van Kampen Chestlson, Heather Yater, Andrea Carter, Lori Zeiler, Diana Ward, Tim Twiss, Jim Burk, David Grinnell, Mary Anne Leister, Chris Caywood, Marlaina Q. Holcomb, Jennette Wall, Susan Dickerson, Vern Pierson, Laura Bolander, Sue Bates, George Wakeman, Leslie Lewis, Tracy Ken Brown, William Southard, Wayne Faust, Cathy Shelly, Kathleen Jones, Jo Ann Wyman, Kathleen Boyd Jones, Kay Pierce, Rodney Figueiredo, Pat Kaszubowski-Thomas, Rob Simmons, Jeff Morris, Mary Warner, Nicholas Weerts, Juliane Montgomery Burbach, Terri Mulliken Allen, Tom Jones, Maria Borill, Rose Mohnsam, Flora Mcrae, Lou Brennan, Dale Churchill, Kim Ward, Judy K. Hanson, Mike Wilkinson, Dennis Brockaw, Sharon Stingley, Vickie Pemberton, Marlene Tyler, Shaun Williams Winwood, Wesley Powers, Lyle Finkle, Pat Fitzgerald, Jim Rankin, Cyndi Wilson, Scott Cook, Matt Henderson, Angela Peters, Carol Evers, Randy Gleason, Richard Chapman, Shen Smith, Diane Henson, Jeff Hampton, Timothy Allen, Kathleen Hill Ishikawa, Earl Rhode, Sheryl Clements, Nancy Mosier, and Elaine Johnson,
Additionally, I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to the following institutions and staff members who provided so much valuable assistance in this work:
Hazel Monahan and both Mike and Diane Mills of the Hudson Historical Museum, Nancy Van Blaricum and Nina Rackham of the Dexter Area Historical Museum, Darin Sheffer and JoAnn Miller of the Hillsdale County Historical Society, Russ and Lorna Paul as well as the rest of Co. A of the Fourth Michigan Infantry living history group, Lila Fedokovitz and the Flat Rock Historical Society, John Gibney and the staff at the Monroe Historical Museum, the Library of Congress, Ray Leonard at the Thompson House Museum, the Bentley Historical Library, the Fulton County Historical Society, Karen Wisniewski and the Dearborn Historical Museum, the William L. Clements Library, the National Archives, Bill Lowe and Jim Davenport of the Sons of Union Veterans organization, the Clarke Historical Library, the Detroit Public Library, the Michigan Historical Museum, and the U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center.