From Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, Washington D.C., dated July 24, 1863, in part,
"You are hereby instructed to raise one Regiment of colored Infantry in the State of Michigan. To these troops no bounty will be paid. They will receive ten dollars per month, with one ration per day, three dollars of which monthly pay will be deducted for clothing, these troops will be commanded by white officers".
Under this order to Austin Blair, then Governor of Michigan, the Regiment known originally as the First Regiment of Colored Infantry, afterwards its designation changed to the 102nd. United States Colored Troops was commenced on the 12th. day of August, 1863, upon completion with 895 men on its roll, receiving their commission into the service of the United States.
The Regiment left its rendezvous at Detroit on the 28th. of March, 1864, under the command of Colonel Bennett, joining the 9th. Army Corp at Annapolis,Md, remaining at that place until the 15th. of April, when they were detached from that Corp, embarking on steamers for Hilton Head,S.C., arriving there on the 19th. of that month.
Detachments of the Regiment were employed on picket duty on St. Helena and Jenkin's Islands, then at Sea Wall and Spanish Wells, on Hilton Head, for one month. They were then ordered to the fort at Port Royal, where they were assigned the task of building fortifications, they also assisted in the construction of a second line of defenses. On the 15th. of June they moved to Beaufort, on Port Royal Island, They were here employed as camp guard and provost duty until the end of August. Embarking at this time for Jacksonville,Fl, arriving there on the 3rd.
On the following day, they marched to Baldwin, a railroad junction, 21 miles from Jacksonville, where they were engaged on picket duty, also destroying tracks there. On the 11th. of that month they were suddenly attacked by a force of Confederate Cavalry, which they easily repulsed, which by their action in the fight, fully convinced their officers, they were indeed a most reliable and gallant fighting Regiment.
Leaving Baldwin on the 15th., the Regiment participated in an expedition through the Eastern part of Florida, making a circuit if nearly one hundred miles in 5 days, then reaching the St. Johns River, at Magnolia, thirty five miles above Jacksonville. They remained at Magnolia, building fortifications,while performing other garrison duties.
Reembarking foe Beaufort, the Regiment reached there on the 31st. On the 1st. of September, they were sent to the front to do picket duty, in which duty, they were engaged with the Confederates at different points on Coosa, Lady's and Port Royal Islands. The Confederates made an attempt, in early October, to land a surprise force, under the cover of darkness, to attack the Regiment on duty at Lady's Island, but were discovered, when after a brief fire fight were driven off.
On the 30th. of November a detachment of the Regiment, consisting of 12 officers and 300 men left Beaufort, joining General Foster's column at Boyd's Landing, being engaged with the Confederates at Honey Hill, S.C., then at Tillifinny on December the 7th., again at Devaux Neck on the 9th. At the points named, they performed most gallantly in the face of a vastly superior force sustaining in the three engagements 65 in killed and wounded.
On January 19, 1865, the several companies doing duty at the outposts returned to Beaufort, then on the 28th. set out for Pocotalligo, where they remained until the 7th. of February, then crossed the Salkehatchie River to Charleston, until on the 8th. they made a reconnaissance to Cuckwold Creek. where Confederate skirmishers were met, driving them from the area. On March the 9th., the Regiment boarded steamers for the trip to Savannah,GA, where they remained until the on the 9th., found them striking the Southern works at Nelson's Ferry.
On the 18th., near Manchester, the Regiment, along with the 54th. Mass., succeeded in flanking the Confederates there, driving them in great disorder in the direction of Statesburg. The Regiment remained in that general area until the Confederates approached them under a flag of truce with a dispatch that Generals Lee and Johnston had surrendered, the war then over. The Regiment stayed at there post until April 25th. when they marched to Charleston, remaining there until September 30th., when they were mustered out and proceeded to Michigan, arriving at Detroit on the 17th. of October, to be paid of and disbanded.
During their term of federal service, they were engaged at:
|Baldwin, Fl||Honey Hill, SC||Tillifinny, SC|
|Devaux Neck, SC||Cuckwold's Creek,SC||Sumpterville, SC|
|Spring Hill, SC||Swift Creek, SC||Boykin's, SC|
|Singleton's Plantation, SC|
Organized at Detroit, Mich., August, 1863, to February, 1864.
Mustered in February 17, 1864
Moved to Annapolis, Md., March 29, and Joined 9th Army Corps.
At Annapolis, Md. till April 15.
Ordered to Hilton Head, S.C. April 15.
Picket and outpost duty on Hilton Head and St.Helena Islands, S. C., and garrison at Port Royal till June 15.
Designation of Regiment changed to 102nd United States Colored Troops May 23, 1864.
Attached to District of Hilton Head, S.C., Dept. of the South, District of Beaufort, S.C., to August, 1864.
District of Florida, Dept. of the South to October, 1864.
2nd Separate Brigade, Dept. of the South to November, 1864.
2nd Brigade, Coast Division, Dept. of the South to February, 1865.
2nd Separate Brigade, Dept. of the South to March, 1865.
1st Separate Brigade and Dept.of the South to September 1865.
Moved to Charleston and mustered out September 30, 1865.
|Killed in Action||6|
|Died of Wounds||5|
|Died of Disease||129|
|Total Casualty Rate||9.6%|
"We rose and rushed unto her aid,
White faces sank into the grave,
Black faces too, and all were brave,
Their red blood thrilled Columbia's heart,
For it could not tell the two apart".