Over 2,000 Monroe men served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Many brothers, cousins and other relatives and friends joined and served together. Although Monroe men served in many regiments, including Ohio regiments, there are eight Michigan Regiments that maintained large numbers of Monroe men.
The Fourth Michigan Infantry – The Fourth Michigan, Volunteer Infantry, given the name the “Old Forth”, consisted of men from the southern counties of Michigan. It was organized in Adrian, Michigan, by Colonel Dwight Woodbury. The unit was mustered in on June 20, 1861. Monroe men made up Company A and took the name the Smith Guard to honor Monroe citizen Colonel Joseph R. Smith, of the United States Regular Army. Some of the major battles that they saw action in were First and Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Petersburg. Monroe teacher, George Spaulding was one the first men to enlist. Promoted to Captain of Company B, he would be severely wounded in the neck and be reported as dead during the Seven Days Battles. He recovered and attained the rank of Colonel by the end of the Civil War. The Fourth was mustered out of service on June 29, 1864 in Detroit, Michigan. After this, it was reorganized and sent to the western theater.
Families anxiously waited for news of their loved ones in the form of letters and articles from the newspapers. Here are a few articles from the Monroe Commercial and the Monroe Monitor that give a unique view of life in the Fourth:
More newspaper articles can be found on the Monroe County Library System Bygones of Monroe page.
Read more about the Fourth Michigan Infantry in these books:
If you enjoy learning about the Civil War, try our book club or lecture series:
Paging through the Civil War Book Club - This is a book club that focuses on the American Civil War. We are currently reading Sea of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the HL HUnley by Brian Hicks. We will meet to discuss the book on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 7 pm at the Ellis Library and Reference Center. For more information please contact Charmaine Wawrzyniec at 734-241-5277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the Civil War - The Monroe County Civil War Round Table, sponsored by the Friends of Ellis, meets the second Thursday of every month, from September through May, at the Ellis Library and Reference Center. Each month a different speaker is invited to share his or her knowledge about specific Civil War topics. For more information please contact Charmaine Wawrzyniec at 734-241-5277 or email at email@example.com.