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It was not contemplated that in this work any history of the State prior to the commencement of the war would be included, and really none subsequent to that period, farther than that connected with the services of the regiments in the field. But, on considering the matter, the snbject of raising the regiments and the work accomplished in the State in connection therewith, seemed to be a necessity in order to make the entire action or Michigan in the war as complete as possible, hence that has been included, although in a very brief manner.
To say that Michigan performed her whole duty in her efforts to aid in suppressing the rebellion would not be saying enough; for, considering the low ebb of her finances at the time, it was an undertaking under great disadvantage, and especially so as Michigan, like most of the other States, had in the past made but a very feeble preparation, in a military point of view, to meet an emergency of that magnitude.
But, placed as she was at the time under these disadvantageous circumstances, she determined to overcome all obstacles, and placing implicit reliance upon the intelligence of her people and faith in their great love for the "Old Flag,” coupled with their pronounced loyalty and patriotism which seemed so universally to prevail, Michigan entered the contest, and with truthful earnestness and indomitable energy, confident of final and complete success, commenced her great and bloody sacrifice for the Nation's life. By the unbounded zeal and liberality of her people in the cause of the Union, and especially by the bravery, efficiency, and great prowess of her troops in the field, she was most successful, acquiring an exalted position among her sister States, and in the Nation while the war lasted, and Michigan is now, and will continue to be the recipient of much credit and distinction for her part in suppressing the rebellion.
To Governor Croswell and the Legislature of 1879 the citizens of Michigan, and particularly the soldiers, are under many obligations for the unanimity with which they authorized the publication of this work; and although it may be found deficient in many respects, still it will be accepted as a deserved tribute by the State of Michigan to the people, and especially to her troops, who bore the brunt of the war and gave many of the best days of their lives to hardship and danger, while many of them gave their lives.
It will be observed that the histories of the regiments vary as to extent, which is attributable to the difference in completeness of regimental reports. While some are full, others are very limited, and it may here be said that the brief histories generally required more research than those of regiments having on file a more full and complete record.
In its preparation the compiler has labored industriously, and he hopes that his great desire and efforts to avoid inaccuracies and omissions will be accepted as an excuse for their occurrence.
In his labor he has received much needed countenance and encouragement. And while he has been under obligations to many, he has to make special mention of Miss Amy F. Hendryx of Lansing, the proof reader, whose careful reading, and in many instances needful corrections, have been of valuable service in improving the composition; while the strict attention, care, and patience, coupled with the good taste of Frederick D. Carnahan, of Lansing, assistant foreman of the book room in the State printing office, have given the topograplıy of the work a neat and uniform appearance.
He has also to acknowledge the promptness with which Messrs. W. S. George & Co., the State printers, have accomplished their work, together with the creditable manner in which it has been done, and also to notice the valuable suggestions regarding the make-up of the work received from time to time at the hands of Wm. Van Buren, their capable and courteous foreman.
He at the same time desires to notice specially the valuable assistance and efficiency of Mr. W. C. Humphrey, clerk in the Adjutant General's office, whose laborious and faithful work in copying manuscript has been of the greatest service.
The American Rebellion, in 1861, was the consumation of a long and increasing determination to resist grievances, which the Southern States unreasonably claimed to have received for a series of years, at the hands of the Northern States.
Imaginary wrongs of the past-unpromising shadows of the future--the decay of political power—the “Irrepressible Conflict” in force—the dreadful handwriting on the wall, fortelling the doom of human slavery—the pronounced hostility of the press—the continuous and earnest denouncement of it from the pulpit—the increasing sentiment of the northern masses against it-the enactment of laws by Congress circumscribing its limits, together with the election of a President, the choice of a party professing open hostility to its extension, and foreshadowing the accomplishment of its utter abolition, led to a declaration of secession from the Union of most of the States in which slavery existed, and the repudiation of the National Government and its lawsthe setting up of a revolutionary government and the armament of a force to maintain it—the inauguration of hostilities by the perpetration of acts of war on National forts and ships, -the vile desecration of the Flag, and the onset of a vicious and vindictive rebellion in force.
This sudden uprising in rebellion in so formidable proportions unfortunately found all departments of the National Government, as well as States, unprepared for its fearful emergencies, and as they were unanticipated they were unprovided for.
War was then to the American people only as a name. They had been lulled into a condition of repose by years of comparatively social tranquility, amid great commercial and increasing prosperity. They had not for many years realized the dreadful realities of war in their own country, and had for a long time been only cognizant of its devastating results as they from time to time heard of its existence in other nations; and while they were confident of not meeting it from any external source, had forgotten the possibility of encountering it within their own borders; and rarely or never, even in thought, admitted that it might hastily become a fearful fact, even refusing, almost up to the last moment, to credit the most probable predictions of the loyal, and disregarding the continuous and defiant threatenings of the disloyal, of a coming eclipse on the peace of the Nation, until its terrible shadow, in all its gloom, had fallen upon their country.
It was not until the walls of Sumter were being laid in smoking ruins by rebel batteries, and the National Flag riddled by shot and shell, that the people of the land became undeceived, the dreadful responsibilities acknowledged and accepted, and the action determined upon which was at once needed.
The emergency was sudden and alarming. Prompt action and strong measures must at once prevail; the necessities of the time must be met; the existing deficiences supplied; the burdens of the struggle borne; great sacrifices of life and means must be made, and a country saved. How these were so triumphantly accomplished has gone into history as the grandest achievement on record.
Michigan, in common with the other Northern States, had shared in the prevailing indifference as to possible internal discord which might lead to a civil war, and had never actually or impliedly conceded its possibility until the first blow was struck. The people had made the wish father to the thought, that as American citizens they were loyal to the Nation; they would expect it in others, and proposed to hold all innocent until guilt was indisputably proven. Thus the times of peace had not been devoted to a preparation for war. The preliminary arming, the antecedent training, the husbanding of resources, the abatement of encumbrances, the occupancy of advantagous positions necessary to enter a terrible conflict, had all been forgotton in the fancied security of continuing peace; and the enemy vigorously assailed the walls while the unthinking garrison were yet engaged in the peaceful avocations of life, and the rusty weapons of years past yet remained in quiet arsenals of the land until they became a prey to treason and rebellion.
The militia of the State had been struggling for years to acquire a recogni. tion as an institution of the State, but so far it had failed. It was rather looked upon as a burlesque on the military profession, than as an efficient and necessary part of the State government. Yet, neglected and feeble as it was considered, it formed a nucleus from which rallied the first regiments sent to the field in defense of the Union, and from it germed much of the esprit de corps which characterized the early Michigan regiments, coupled with superior military appearance and general efficiency, and which became more or less infused into many other regiments throughout the war.
To the efforts of Col. F. W. Curtenius, of Kalamazoo, then Adjutant General, the State was more indebted for whatever efficiency was found in the Militia at the out break of the war, than to the meager and limited provisions of law.
The entire available force at the time consisted of twenty-eight companies, poorly equipped and armed, having an aggregate strength of 1,241 officers and men. For the entire support of this military establishment, the State annually spent the enormous sum of three thousand dollars, appropriated by the legislature. No wonder the people of Michigan regarded it as at a very low ebb and most delicately feeble, when such an estimate was placed upon it by the State Legislature.
Although the State was physically weak in a military point of view, as well as in financial resources, it was strong in principle, the morale of the people being loyal to the core and true as steel.
Governor Wisner, on retiring from the Executive chair at the close of his term in 1860, delivered an eloquent and cogent address to the Legislature of 1861.
After presenting, in the usual way, full and well considered summaries of all the essential facts regarding the manifold important and varied interests of the State, he took up the discussion of the grave condition of the country at that time, over which a dark cloud had been cast by a recent passage in several Southern States of ordinances of secession, foreboding most dire results. In his language there was not a shadow of faltering, no tinge of disaffection, no uncertain sound. With intense ernestness he breathed devotion to the Union and the Flag in every sentence. Every paragraph was a stirring argument, counselling the maintenance of the Union, denouncing treason, and invoking patriotism. We quote from these inspiring utterances, words which fell upon the ear of patriots amid doubt, disloyalty, and danger, like tidings of better days and harbingers of future glory:
“This is no time for timid and vacillating councils, when the cry of treason and rebellion is ringing in our ears.” "The Constitution, as our fathers made it, is good enough for us, and must be enforced upon every foot of American soil.” “Michigan cannot recognize the right of a State to secede from this Union. We believe that the founders of our Government designed it to be perpetual, and we cannot consent to have one star obliterated from our Flag. For upwards of thirty years this question of the right of a State to secede has been agitated. It is time it was settled. We ought not to leave it for our children to look after.” “I would calmly but firmly declare it to be the fixed determination of Michigan that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, must and shall be preserved."
It was but a short time until personal example followed these glowing words, this noble advice. His fidelity to the Union and the honor of his State prompted him soon to take the field, where a short but bright and promising career, gave the name of Moses Wisner to the long list of Michigan martyrs to American liberty,
Following the valadictory of Governor Wisner, the Legislature of 1861 listened with intense interest to the inaugural of Austin Blair, his successor, who, in a profound and philosophical address set forth the true nature of our