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First Michigan Three Month Infantry Regiment's weapons.

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by major bill, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    I am looking for some advice on some thing I am working on. When the First Michigan Three Month Volunteer Infantry Regiment left for war they were armed with whatever available weapons the Michigan Militia had at the time. Michigan only had had 1226 percussion muskets and 330 Hall rifles. I would like to say they were reasonable well armed, but not sure this is true.

    The pre War militia companies who were included in the First Michigan Thee Month Infantry brought with them 328 rifled muskets (some of which were referred to as improved percussing rifled muskets). Most of the other Michigan pre war militia companies went into the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Michigan Infantry Regiments. Pre war they also held the best of what long arms Michigan had (372 rifled muskets, some being improved percussion rifled muskets). Some of these companies may have had their rifled muskets taken away to arm the First Michigan Three Month Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

    This means that the First Michigan Three Month Volunteer Infantry Regiment might have had 700 rifled muskets (perhaps 100-300 of these being improved percussion rifled muskets) and the rest possibly being older rifled muskets, smooth bore muskets, or Hall rifles.

    If the above is true, at the First Battle of Bull Run, could I say First Michigan Three Month Volunteer Infantry Regiment were reasonably well armed?

    Although most Michaign's records were destroyed in a fire I have pieced together the following information:


    Starting in 1850 Michigan begin sending flintlocks to the Watervliet and Alleghany arsenals to be converted to percussion. It would appear some or most of these were part of a shipment of 260 bright 1st class model 1822 muskets which arrived on 22 August 1846. On July 31 1844 160 muskets with accoutrements and 160 rifles with accoutrements arrived. The State received 330 percussion muskets and accoutrements on October 1 1850. In 1856 120 improved percussion muskets arrived.
     
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  3. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    Bumping ya up. Hopefully somebody has some information on this.
     
  4. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    I would guess if they had 50% rifled muskets and 50% smooth bore muskets they were probably are no better armed or no worse armed than the Confederate regiments they tangled with at First Bull Run.
     
  5. bdtex

    bdtex Brigadier General Moderator

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    At that time in the war,that would be a reasonable guess.
     
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  6. James Brenner

    James Brenner Private

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    If Michigan's militia was anything like Ohio's, it's safe to assume that the rifles Michigan troops carried were M1841 Mississippi rifles, not Hall rifles. The Halls were obsolete by 1861 (remember Fremont's hall rifle scandal?) despite the fact that some had been converted. Whatever weapons the state had, the USG had issued them under the provisions of the 1808 Militia Act. Are the annual reports to the governor for 1861 published or on line? If so, the reports of the state's AG and QMG may give you an idea of what the regiment carried.

    I hope this helps.
     
  7. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    The Michigan Adjutant General's Reports of the 1850s called them Hall Rifles. So yes they were probably obsolete but they were still on the Michigan militia books but I did not see any Michigan Militia company having them on the 1860 Report and I assume they were in storage and thus available to arm one of the States first four Regiments. it is not certain if they wire utilized and may have remained in storage during the Civil War.
     
  8. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    I would think that at that early time of the war what state units were raised had what ever was in the state arsenal issued to them. As the war machine cranked up these obsolete guns would have been replaced.
     
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  9. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    Most of the Michigan Militia papers wore burned when an arsonist set a fire at the Michigan Library during the Korean War. The 1862 Report sums up the weapons issued, but is not completely clear on the arms of the First Michigan Three Month Volunteer Infantry Regiment. At the start of the war Michigan did not have enough long arms to supply two full infantry regiments. Most of the arms for the 2nd Michigan Infantry and all future regiments mostly came from the Federal Government. Michigan probably did have enough sabers, Colt Revolvers and carbines 9only a couple of companies could have carried carbines and I suppose a coupe companies could have been issued with some artillery muskatoons if the State would have wanted to issue the older artillery musketoons) to arm a single Cavalry regiment.
     
  10. Story

    Story Sergeant

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    I had to look that one up.

    Meanwhile, back at the topic: do you have a freebie JSTOR account? If not, make one and check this out - there seems to be more than a passing reference to Michigan.

    Militia of the United States from 1846 to 1860
    Paul Tincher Smith
    Indiana Magazine of History
    Vol. 15, No. 1 (MARCH, 1919), pp. 20-47
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/27785886
     
  11. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    No I do not have a JSTOR account yet. Every two year the Michigan Adjutant General submitted a report to the Michigan legislature which was published in their Joint documents. This report gives some weapons information, but does not always give precise information on musket type.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  12. James Brenner

    James Brenner Private

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    If you know what towns the volunteers came from, their letters to the newspapers will be a valuable source for not only weapons, but uniforms and equipment as well. Check out the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website.

    Good hunting.
     
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  13. FiremarshalBill

    FiremarshalBill Private

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    I have heard that Color Sargent Daniel G. Crotty of the 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry (in his book "Four years Campaigning in the Army of the Potomac"), writes that they were initially issued the Austrian Model 1854 Lorenz rifle-muskets in June of 1861, but cannot find that particular quote.
     
  14. major bill

    major bill Major Forum Host

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    I am not at home, but have several sources for the weapons of the 3rd Michigan Infantry. Michigan had depleted it's supply of arms, but a couple of militia companies brought their State issued arms. The militia company from my home town who joined the 3rd Michigan Infantry had their improved percussion rifle muskets taken from them and the riles given to the flag guard company. The William's Rifles were outraged and replaced their stolen rifles during the First Bull Run Battle by picking up rifles
     

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