The 6th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Cavalry was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was a part of the famed Michigan Brigade, commanded for a time by Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer.
|6th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Cavalry|
Michigan state flag
|Active||May 28, 1862, to November 24, 1865|
|Engagements||American Civil War
The 6th Michigan Cavalry was organized at Grand Rapids, Michigan, from May 28 to October 13, 1862, and mustered in October 13, 1862. Among the officers who later joined the regiment as replacements were Thomas W. Custer, who would earn two Medals of Honor while serving with the 6th in the spring of 1865.
The regiment was assigned to what became the Michigan Brigade during the early part of the Gettysburg Campaign in June 1863. It saw its first actions under General Custer at the Hanover, Hunterstown, and Gettysburg. Armed with Spencer Repeating Rifles, the 6th provided superior firepower against the lightly armed Confederate cavalry.
Sent out to the Old West frontier following the cessation of hostilities in mid-1865, the 6th, commanded by Colonel James H. Kidd and under the overall command of Brigadier General Patrick Connor constructed "Fort Connor" as a supply depot during the Powder River Expeditions of that summer. A detachment of the regiment guarding James A. Sawyers wagon train participated in the Sawyers Fight of August and September, 1865. The regiment was mustered out of service on November 24, 1865.
The regiment suffered 7 officers and 128 enlisted men killed in action or mortally wounded and 251 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 386 fatalities.
The Battle of Dinwiddie Court House was fought on March 31, 1865, during the American Civil War at the end of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign and in the beginning stage of the Appomattox Campaign. Along with the Battle of White Oak Road which was fought simultaneously on March 31, the battle involved the last offensive action by General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia attempting to stop the progress of Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant's Union Army (Army of the Potomac, Army of the Shenandoah and Army of the James). Grant's forces were moving to cut the remaining Confederate supply lines and to force the Confederates to extend their defensive lines at Petersburg, Virginia and Richmond, Virginia to the breaking point, if not to force them into a decisive open field battle.On March 29, 1865, a large Union cavalry force of between approximately 9,000 and 12,000 troopers moved toward Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the end of the Confederate lines and about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of the important road junction at Five Forks, Virginia. Under the command of Major General Philip Sheridan, and still designated the Army of the Shenandoah, the Union force consisted of the First Division under Brigadier General Thomas Devin and the Third Division of Brigadier General (Brevet Major General) George Armstrong Custer under the overall command of Brigadier General (Brevet Major General) Wesley Merritt as an unofficial corps commander, and the Second Division, detached from the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George Crook. Five Forks was a key location for control of the critical Confederate supply line of the South Side Railroad (sometimes shown as Southside Railroad). While Devin's and Crook's divisions reached Dinwiddie Court House in the late afternoon of March 29, Custer's division was protecting the bogged down wagon train about 7 miles (11 km) behind the other two divisions.
Also on March 29, 1865, the Union V Corps under Major General Gouverneur K. Warren moved to the end of the Confederate White Oak Road Line, the far right flank of the Confederate defenses. Warren's corps seized control of advance Confederate picket or outpost positions and occupied a segment of a key transportation and communication route, the Boydton Plank Road, at the junction of the Quaker Road, as a result of the Battle of Lewis's Farm. After a day of pushing the Union line forward on March 30, Warren's force was driven back temporarily on March 31 by a surprise Confederate attack. The V Corps rallied and regained their position on the Boydton Plank Road, cutting direct communication over the White Oak Road between the Confederate defensive line and Major General George Pickett's task force about 4 miles (6.4 km) west at Five Forks, during the afternoon of March 31 at the Battle of White Oak Road. At the end of the day, the V Corps remained the closest Union infantry corps to Sheridan's position.
At the same time on March 31, Sheridan's cavalry force deployed north from Dinwiddie Court House in a movement aimed to occupy Five Forks. Sheridan was thrown on the defensive by an attack by both Confederate infantry and cavalry under Major General George Pickett and Major General Fitzhugh Lee. Sheridan's men gave way at various locations during the day but fought long and hard delaying actions, keeping their organization after withdrawals and inflicting hundreds of casualties on the Confederates. Finally reinforced by Custer with two brigades of his division under Colonels Alexander C. M. Pennington, Jr. and Henry Capehart which were brought forward from wagon train guard duty, the Union cavalry divisions at Dinwiddie Court House held their line just north of the town. Sheridan's force appeared to be in peril by nightfall due to the threatening position of the strong Confederate force just outside the village. During the night of March 31, however, Brigadier General Joseph J. Bartlett's brigade of Brigadier General (Brevet Major General) Charles Griffin's First Division of the V Corps, followed hours later by Warren's entire corps, maneuvered Pickett back to Five Forks by advancing on his flank before he could take advantage of his advanced position the next day. By 7:00 a.m., Sheridan had a corps of infantry as well as his cavalry to proceed against Five Forks.
The battles at White Oak Road and Dinwiddie Court House, while initially successful for the Confederates, even a tactical victory at the end of the day at Dinwiddie, ultimately did not advance the Confederate position or achieve their strategic objective of weakening and driving back the Union forces or separating Sheridan's force from support. The Confederates suffered at least 1,560 casualties to their dwindling forces in the two battles. The battles of March 31 and the troop movements in their aftermath set the stage for the Confederate defeats and the collapse of Confederate defensive lines at the Battle of Five Forks on the following day, April 1, 1865, and at the Third Battle of Petersburg (also known as the Breakthrough at Petersburg) on April 2, 1865. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond on the night of April 2–3 and march west of the Confederate Army, with the Union Army in close pursuit, ultimately led to the surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865.Fort Reno (Wyoming)
Fort Reno also known as Fort Connor or Old Fort Reno, was a wooden Fort established on August 15, 1865 by the United States Army in Dakota Territory in present-day Johnson County, Wyoming. The fort was built to protect travelers on the Bozeman Trail from Native American tribes.List of Michigan Civil War units
This article provides a list of Michigan military units active during the American Civil War. As a northern state, Michigan was part of the Union, and its units were active during the entire length of the war. Units included the Michigan Brigade (known as the "Wolverines"), which served under George Armstrong Custer during the Gettysburg Campaign.Montana in the American Civil War
The area that eventually became the U.S. state of Montana played little direct role in the American Civil War. The closest the Confederate States Army ever came to the area was New Mexico and eastern Kansas, each over a thousand miles away. There was not even an organized territory using "Montana" until the Montana Territory was created on May 26, 1864, three years after the Battle of Fort Sumter. In 1861, the area was divided between the Dakota Territory and the Washington Territory, and in 1863, it was part of the Idaho Territory.
Nevertheless, Confederate sympathizers did have a presence in what is now the U.S. state of Montana. Those in the Montana Territory who supported the Confederate side were varied. Among them were Confederate sympathizers who were determined that some of Montana's gold would go into the Southern instead of Northern coffers. But most were those who would rather not fight in the war, which ranged from pure drifters to actual Confederate deserters.
In southwest Montana, Madison County residents of the area native to the Southeast United States wished to name their new town Varina, in honor of Varina Davis, the wife of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The Varina Townsite Company, on June 16, 1863, went to confirm the 320 acres (1.3 km2) of land as the town of Varina. However, when they applied for the name, the judge—Connecticut native Dr. G.G. Bissell—refused, saying they would be "damned" before he would allow the town to be named for the first lady of the Confederacy. Bissell did say he would allow the company to name the town after the state of Virginia, and they did so, incorporating the town of Virginia City. Charles Dickens even mentioned it in his book All the Year Round. The town would remain sympathetic to the South, even after being named the capital of Montana. When boats sailed down the Yellowstone River from the town (this is manifestly wrong, since the Yellowstone River does not even penetrate Madison County, much less flow through Virginia City), the local newspaper said they were sailing to "America."The loyalty towards the Confederacy concerned many supporters of the Union. Seeing this, Sidney Edgerton in 1863 went quickly to see Abraham Lincoln about the situation, and this was one impetus to create the Montana Territory so quickly.Gold mining in Montana began during the Civil War; gold placer deposits were discovered at Bannack in 1862. The resulting gold rush resulted in more placer discoveries, including those at Virginia City in 1863 and at Helena and Butte in 1864. Gold from the Montana gold mines went to both sides of the conflict. In Broadwater County, in the central portion of the state, Confederate sympathizers found a vein of gold eight miles (13 km) west of Townsend, with the immediate area named "Confederate Gulch" in their honor. It was said to be among the "largest and richest of the placer diggings" within the state.Powder River Expedition (1865)
This event should not be confused with the Big Horn Expedition during the Black Hills War.The Powder River Expedition of 1865 also known as the Powder River War or Powder River Invasion, was a large and far-flung military operation of the United States Army against the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians in Montana Territory and Dakota Territory. Although soldiers destroyed one Arapaho village and established Fort Connor to protect travelers on the Bozeman Trail, the expedition is considered a failure because it failed to defeat the Indians and secure peace in the region.Sawyers Fight
The Sawyers Fight was part of a surveying expedition in late 1865 to improve the emigrant trails from Nebraska to Montana. Not a military venture, the expedition was named for and led by James A. Sawyers. The expedition was attacked by Arapaho warriors in retribution for losses at the battle of the Tongue River.