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 7th Michigan Infantry - The Forlorn Hope of Fredericksburg
As President Lincoln called for 75,000 men, Michigan Governor Austin Blair gave Monroe’s Colonel Ira R. Grosvenor the task of raising a regiment from Michigan. Men answered the call from around the state and formed units together including the Port Huron Union Guard, Mason Curtenius Guard, Jonesville Light Guard, Tuscola Volunteers, Farmington Blair Guard, Lapeer Guard, the Prairieville and Burr Oak Rangers and Monroe’s Light Guard.
The 7th Michigan was mustered in and trained in Monroe. The training grounds became known as Camp Monroe. The camp, located on the old fairgrounds, was on Noble Street and extended to Godfroy Street to the west and Grove Street to the north. The camp covered almost 20 acres. In the evening, citizens would come out to watch the recruits on the parade grounds. The Monroe Commercial newspaper reported on the progress of the recruits.
The encampment of the Seventh Regiment, on the County Fair Grounds in this city, which is to be designated as Camp Monroe, now presents quite a lively appearance. Parts of five companies, being one from Port Huron under Capt. Hunt, from Jonesville under Capt. Baxter, from Burr Oak under Capt. Waterman, from Farmington under Capt. Harty, and the Monroe City Guards under Capt. Darrah have been reported at the Camp, partially full. The latter Company now numbers between eighty and ninety men. A very fine, athletic and vigorous looking body of about fifty arrived last night, from the Upper Peninsula, for Capt. Harty’s Company. The officers are mostly large and muscular men, and fine looking.
Considerable activity has prevailed today in putting up tents, and other necessary preparations. We understand all the tents have been received and will be pitched immediately, and that it is probable that the entire regiment will be in camp as soon as the fore part of next week. The tents are quite large and roomy, and will accommodate twenty men each. The Company’s owing to some changes having been made, will soon be re-lettered, and when this done we shall publish a full list of the officers. The regimental officers are as follows:
Colonel—Ira A. Grosvenor, Monroe, Lieut. Colonel—Frazey M. Winans, Monroe, Major—Nathaniel B. Eldridge, Lapeer, Adjutant—Henry B. Landon, Monroe, Qr. Master—Charles M. Walker, Lapeer, Qr. Master Serg’t—Chas. H. Curtiss, Detroit
Published on August 15, 1861
The 7th left Monroe on September 5, 1861, under the command of General Grosvenor. Trains and lake steamers would deliver the 7th to Washington on September 9. These men would see action at Balls Bluff, Yorktown, Malvern Hill, 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Their last part of war service ended with the Siege of Petersburg. They earned the nickname The Forlorn Hope of Fredericksburg after volunteering to cross the Rappahannock River under heavy fire to dislodge the confederate units from secure positions within the city during this battle.
Miss Winifred Lee Brent wrote a song honoring the brave Michigan men who saw service in the Civil War. She included the action of the 7th at Fredericksburg in the following stanza:
Dark rolled the Rappahannock’s flood,
Michigan, my Michigan;
The tide was crimsoned with thy blood,
Michigan, my Michigan,
Although for us the day was lost,
Yet it shall be our proudest boast
‘At Fredericksburg our Seventh crossed,
Michigan, my Michigan.
On the third day of fighting during the Battle of Gettysburg, the 7th Michigan would take part in the repulse of the now famous Pickett’s Charge. After the Confederate surrender, they participated in the Grand Review in Washington. On July 5, 1865, they were mustered out and disbanded in Jackson, Michigan. By the end of the Civil War 183 men of the 7th would be killed or mortally wounded.
Monroe men of the 7th Volunteer Infantry
Monroe had very close ties to the 7th Michigan Infantry. The Monroe Commercial and Monroe Monitor Newspapers published many letters written home and reported on their battles.
Colonel Norman Hall
In July of 1862, Monroe’s Norman Hall was placed in command of the 7th Michigan after Colonel Grosvenor was forced to resign due to illness. He fought with the 7th at Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg and then he was forced to resign due to illness also. Read more about Norman Hall on the blog Norman Johnathon Hall.
Reverend. A.K. Strong
The pastor of Monroe’s First Presbyterian Church, Reverend Addison K. Strong, was appointed chaplain of the Michigan 7th Infantry in August of 1861. Read more about Reverend Strong on the blog Tending to the Spiritual Needs of the 7th Michigan.
Camp Monroe and more.
Check out these books about the 7th Michigan Infantry
In the Rocket’s Red Glare Recollections of Monroe County Veterans by the Monroe Evening News (This book includes biographies and letters from Colonel Ira Grosvenor, Colonel Norman Hall and Captain Amos T. Hecock.)
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 The Man Who Would Not Be Washington by Jonathan Horn. We will meet to discuss the book on Thursday, March 23, 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 .