The Twentieth was raised in the Third Congressional District, composed of the counties of Wastenaw, Jackson, Calhoun, Eaton and Ingham. Its camp was at Jackson, the Commandant appointed to supervise its organization was the Honorable Fidius Livermore, of that place.
The recruitment was commenced on July 15,1862, and the muster into the service of the United States was accomplished on August the 19th. The Regiment left its rendezvous at Jackson, for Washington on September 1st,, in command of Colonel Williams, with 1012 officers and men on the rolls, being sent into camp at Fort Lyon, near Alexandria, with orders to report to General Burnside, then on the Maryland Campaign, but on reaching Leesboro the army had moved. It remained at that point until the 18th., when it marched for Sharpsburg, via Frederick City, Middleton and Boonsboro, arriving at Sharpsburg on the 22nd.
Here the Regiment was attached to the 1st.Division, 9th. Army Corp. After remaining at Sharpsburg about two weeks, it moved to Pleasant Valley,Md. where it remained in camp until October 14th., when by forced march it moved to Nolan's Ford to cut off the retreat of Stewart's Cavalry from Maryland, but they had already made their escape.
The 20th. remained on picket duty at the Ford until October 30th., when it forded the Potomac River at Point of Rocks, and joined the Division at Waterford, Va.
The Regiment with its Division commenced to advance from Waterford towards Culpepper on November 2nd., on the 14th. the Confederates were met at White Sulphur Springs, where a slight skirmish occurred, in which the Regiment did not participate. On the 15th. it picketed Thompson's Ford, near the Spring, then in the night made a forced march of twenty miles to Bealton Station, where it again rejoined the Division. From that point the Regiment moved with the advance on Fredericksburg, reaching there on the 19th., and went into camp with the army at Falmouth.
Soon after the Regiment took to the field, the ladies of Jackson gave it an elegant silk flag, on which was inscribed the State Arms. The flag was sent to the Regiment at Washington, but only reached it at the encampment opposite Fredericksburg. This flag was carried in all of the engagements of the Regiment until the spring of 1864, when it became so tattered, it had to be returned to Michigan.
The Regiment crossed the Rappahannock River, December 13th., but being held in reserve, did no participate heavily in the battle at Fredericksburg, losing 11 men wounded there. After the return to camp at Falmouth, the Regiment suffered much from sickness. Embarking at Aquia Creek, on February 19th., to Newport News, thence to Baltimore, then Cincinnati, from there into Kentucky.
On the 9th. of May a detachment of 100 men were sent into the narrows of the Cumberland to break up a raiding party led by Confederate forces under General John Morgan. The following morning the entire Confederate command attacked the 20th., and they were obliged to fall back with considerable loss to Horse Shoe Bend where a fight lasting the rest of the day ensued. The Confederates were finally forced to fall back, with a loss of between 300 to 400 men, while the 20th. lost 29 men, 5 of whom were killed.
The Regiment, then in the 3rd. Brigade fell back to Columbia, where on June 3rd. they were ordered to reinforce General Grant's Siege of Vicksburg, at which place they fortified Hayne's Bluff and Oak Ridge. Upon the surrender of Vicksburg the Regiment moved on to Jackson, where it was engaged in skirmishing on the 10th. and 11th. of July 1865. On July 24th. they returned to Hayne's Bluff, during this campaign, the heat was oppressive, and sickness abounded, causing the 20th. to lose in all 20 men dead.
Embarking on the 3rd. of August, the Regiment returned to Kentucky, thence onto Knoxville, TN, taking part in the battle of Blue Springs, losing one killed and two wounded.
Then on November 20,1863, they were at Lenoir Station, where they remained until the 14th. On the 16th., the army continuing its retreat to Knoxville, the 20th. was with the Second and Seventeenth Michigan Regiments constituting the rear guard for the retreating army. At Turkey Creek, the advancing Confederates fell on the rear guard. The 20th., along with the other Michigan men withheld the onslaught for more than two hours, at which time they were reinforced, the 20th. by then had lost 33 in killed and wounded.
After the Seige of Knoxville, the 20th. pursued the retreating Confederates to Blain's Cross Roads, where they went into camp. On January 16,1864 an inspection was made of the camp, and the men were found to be without shoes or overcoats and suffering greatly from having to live on quarter rations. The Regiment was then ordered to Knoxville, thence to Annapolis,MD, its Corp having been ordered to join the Army of the Potomac.
Then assigned to the 2nd.Brigade, 3rd.Division, Ninth Corp, they marched with the Army, crossing the Rappahannock River, then the Rapidan River, participating at the Wilderness, then on the 8th. acting as a rear guard at the battle of Chancellorsville. Then on the 12th., after an engagement on the banks of the Ny River, they made a charge on the Confederate works at Spottsylvania Court House, sustaining 30 killed, 82 wounded and 31 missing.
On July 30th., the Regiment participated in the attack at Petersburg, following the explosion of the mine. The 20th., along with six other Michigan Regiments, charged into The Crater, trapped there by the Confederate counter attack, finding the situation hopeless the men of the 20th., cut up their colors and bury them in the sand before being overwhelmed, some escaped, many were captured.
After wintering in the trenches of Petersburg, they participate in the spring offence against Fort Mahone, suffering sorely. After the cessation of hostilities the 20th. marched to City Point, embarked there for Alexandria and Georgetown, arriving there on the 22nd., to take part in the Grand Review at Washington, afterwards being mustered out and sent to Michigan, arriving at Jackson on the 4th. of April to be paid off and disbanded on the 9th.
During their term of federal service, they were engaged at:
|Horse Shoe Bend, Ky||Vicksburg, Ms||Jackson, Ms|
|Blue Springs, Tn||Louden, Tn||Lenoir Station, Tn|
|Campbells Station, Tn||Fort Saunders, Tn||Thurley's Ford, Tn|
|Strawberry Plains, Tn||Chuckey Bend, Tn||Wilderness, Va|
|Ny River, Va||Spottsylvania, Va||North Anna River, Va|
|Bethesda Church, Va||Cold Harbour, Va||Petersburg, Va|
|The Crater, Va||Weldon,R.R., Va||Ream's Station, Va|
|Poplar Springs Church, Va||Pegram Farm, Va||Hatcher's Run, Va|
|Boydon Plank Road, Va||Fort Steedman, Va|
Organized at Jackson, Mich., August 15-19, 1862.
Left State for Washington, D.C., September 1, thence marched to Leesburg, Va., September 8, and to Sharpsburg, Md., September 18-22.
Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to April, 1863.
Army of the Ohio, to June, 1863.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee to August, 1863.
Army of the Ohio to January, 1864.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Ohio to April, 1864.
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac to September, 1864.
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, to May, 1865.
|Killed in Action||74|
|Died of Wounds||40|
|Died of Disease||181|
|Total Casualty Rate||25.5%|