1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Sharpshooters

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1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Sharpshooters
Flag of Michigan.svg
Michigan state flag
Active April 14, 1863, to July 28, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Engagements Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Cold Harbor
Siege of Petersburg
Appomattox Campaign

The 1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Sharpshooters was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


The 1st Michigan Sharpshooters was organized at Kalamazoo and Dearborn, Michigan, between April 14 and October 7, 1863, and six companies were mustered into Federal service on July 7, 1863.

Major John Piper, of Battle Creek, originally served as Captain of the famed Company D (The "Michigan Boys") of the Western Sharpshooters (W.S.S.) Regiment. Captain Piper resigned from the W.S.S. to take up the position of Major of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. He was killed in action at the Battle of Spottsylvania Courthouse, May 13, 1864.[1]

Company K was composed primarily of Native Americans of the United States, especially members of the Ojibwa, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations.

The regiment was mustered out of service on July 28, 1865.

Total strength and casualties[edit]

The regiment suffered 6 officers and 131 enlisted men who were killed in action or mortally wounded and 165 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 362 fatalities.[2]


  • Colonel Charles Victor DeLand held nominal command of the regiment from its initial muster until his discharge for disability, on 4 February 1865. Because of wounds, incarceration as a POW, hospitalization, and brief stints as brigade commander, he spent only a portion of this time in active command. DeLand was promoted to Brevet Brigadier General for "faithful, gallant, and meritorious service" on 14 March 1865.
  • Captain Levant Rhines actively commanded the regiment from 14 May 1864 until killed in action, 17 June 1864. He was posthumously promoted to major.
  • Captain Elmer Dicey actively commanded the regiment from Rhines' death until 15 July 1864. He also commanded the regiment during the battle of the Crater, 30 July 1864, during which he was captured.
  • Captain George Murdock actively commanded the regiment from 30 September 1864, when Colonel DeLand was wounded and captured, until November 1864. He resigned on 12 December 1864. Murdock was promoted to Brevet Major on 4 December 1864.
  • Major Asahel Nichols actively commanded the regiment from 12 November 1864 until February 1865, when he assumed full command. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March, and remained in command until 2 April 1865, when he was seriously wounded. He was promoted to Brevet Colonel for his “conspicuous gallantry” that day.
  • Several officers briefly commanded the regiment during the ensuing battle on 2 April 1865, among them, Captain James DeLand, and Captain Levant Case, who assumed command after DeLand was wounded. Both men were promoted to Brevet Major for their actions that day.
  • Captain (later Brevet Major) Ira Evans commanded the regiment from 3 April until 27 April 1865.
  • Major and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Edward J. Buckbee commanded the regiment from 27 April until the Sharpshooters mustered out, 28 July 1865.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barker, Lorenzo A (1994). With the Western Sharpshooters. Huntington, WV: Blue Acorn Press. p. 48. ISBN 1-885033-02-8. 
  2. ^ http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unmiinf1.htm The Civil War Archive website after Dyer, Frederick Henry. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. 3 vols. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959.


  • The Civil War Archive
  • Herek, Raymond J. These Men Have Seen Hard Service: The First Michigan Sharpshooters in the Civil War. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1998.
  • Hauptman, Laurence M. Ch. 7 titled Sharpshooters in the Army of the Potomac: The Ottawa from Between Two Fires: American Indians in the Civil War. New York ; London : Free Press, c1995.