Brief Overview of the Service for the 102nd USCT


July 1863       Sec. of War Stanton authorized Governor Austin Blair to organize regiment

August 12, 1863  Recruitment commenced

Regiment trained at Detroit's Camp Ward

December 8, 1863   About 250 soldiers left Detroit to tour the state recruiting  enlistees

February 17, 1864  Regiment mustered into service in Detroit

March 28, 1864    Left Detroit for Annapolis, Maryland where it joined the US Army (9th Corps)

April 19, 1864       Arrived at Hilton Head, SC (detached from Annapolis and sent by transports)

May 23, 1864       Organized as the 102nd USCT

April-July, 1864    Picket duty at St. Helena, Jenkins Islands and Hilton Head Island, SC

Until June 15th occupied Port Royal where the regiment assisted in constructing fortifications and engaged in other fatigue duty

August 1st                Sailed from Beaufort aboard the gunship "Canonacus"

August 3rd               Arrived in Jacksonville, Florida 

       Then marched inland (with three white unites--the 75th Ohio Infantry, the Rhode Island 3rd Artillery and the Mass. 4th Cavalry) to Baldwin, FL where it engaged in picket duty for the next 15 days (one record says until Aug. 15th)--and destroyed railroad tracks in the vicinity

       It was here that they received their first taste of hostile fire

August 11, 1864       While outside Baldwin, a Confederate cavalry unity suddenly  attacked the 102nd. After a brief skirmish the rebel cavalry was repulsed.

 August 13, 1864      Union force (with the 102nd) began a grueling 100 mile march (destroying railroad tracks as they went--through extremely poor  weather)--marched through eastern Florida

 August 15-19          Raid on Florida Central Railroad

August 18, 1864       Reached Magnolia, Florida--resumed picket duty and build a small fort (for the remainder of the month they stayed at Magnolia--left on Aug. 29th)

August 29                Embarked on transports at Magnolia for Beaufort

August 31                Arrived at Beaufort

August 30, 1864       Returned to Beaufort

       Regiment was dismembered and assigned to guard three nearby islands (Port Royal, Lady and Coosa)--until end of December, with one exception, the regiment was engaged in the usual picket duty

       One report says--Sept. sent to different parts on Coosa and Port Royal Islands--Oct. the enemy attempted to surprise and capture the regiment but was repulsed and driven off

November 28, 1864      12 officers and 300 men were ordered to join the Coast Division under the command of General John P. Hatch (total force of 5,500 men)--charged with breaking the Charleston and Savannah Railroad--ordered to secure the village of Grahamville which set astride the railroad about 10 miles from Port Royal.

       Force left Beaufort evening of the 28th but due to fog and bad maps they did not reach Grahamville until late the next evening

November 30, 1864      Elements of the 102nd (detachment of 300) joined forces under General Foster at Boyd's Landing and engaged CSA at Honey Hill, Tillifinny and Deveaux Neck, SC

       During the battle of Honey Hill, the detachment from the 102nd arrived at the scene at 11:00 a.m. and deployed across the main road and held in reserve. In their sector a Union artillery unit was being decimated by heavy enemy fire and was forced to withdraw. In the course of their retreat, they left three cannons behind. It was left to the men of the 102nd to retrieve the abandoned fieldpieces.

       It took two attempts to recover the cannon. First, Captain Arad E. Lindsay was ordered to take his company forward. Exposed to a deadly fire, D company rushed toward the cannon. Lindsay was immediately killed, and Lieutenant Henry H. Alvord and several enlisted men were severely wounded. Sergeant Jessie E. Madray was left in command and withdrew in good order.

       The second attempt was successful. A detail of 30 men led by Lieutenant Orson W. Bennett rushed forward and hauled the cannon off the field by hand. (Bennett was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions--but not the enlisted men)

       In their first real fight, the men of the 102nd proved their mettle at the cost of 66 killed and wounded--1/5 of the men engaged (?).

December 6-9         Demonstrations on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad

December 9, 1864   The Coastal Division again engaged the rebel forces--the Union force fought a pitched battle with the Confederates about 10 miles north of Honey Hill at Deveaux Neck. The 102nd, with two white regiments (the 56th and 154th NY Infantry regiments) were on the front line, taking the brunt of the rebel's assault.

       Tillinny River (?)

       December 14th the Confederates abandoned their positions, leaving the railroad in Union hands.

January 1865          Quiet month--the 102nd rested and picketed--the detachment assigned to the Coastal Division camped at Deveaux Neck, while the balance of the regiment was still based at Beaufort.

January 23, (24) 1864    Regiment was reunited at Deveaux Neck

January 28, 1864     Regiment left with the Second Brigade of the Coastal Division for Pocotaligo, SC.

       The 102nd's role with the Coastal Division was a mixed one. It was divided between picket duty, destroying railroads and constructing breastworks at strategic points.

February, 1865             Regiment reunited at Pocotaligo (?)

       During the month of February the division slowly moved towards Charleston, destroying railroads, farms and any other installations which could help the confederate forces.

February 7-23               Advanced on Charleston

February 27, 1865         102nd arrived at Charleston and entered the ruins (when the Confederates evacuated Charleston they put the cotton warehouses, supply depots and other military stores to the torch) --ironically, the first federal troops to enter the famed rebel city were the 21st USCT and a detachment from the 54th Mass. --102nd helped build defenses at Charleston

       Coastal Division adopted the harsh tactics employed by Sherman's army--many miles of railroads and a substantial amount of private property were demolished.

February                      Skirmish at Cuckwold Creek (Companies B, E, I)

February 28th               Moved to Pocotaligo

                                   Duty at Charleston Neck till March 9th

March 1865                  Picket and fatigue duties filled the month of March.

March 9, 1865              Ordered to Savannah--once there the regiment continued its usual routine

       9th-16th--Moved to Savannah

March 28, 1865 Regiment began to move to Georgetown, SC

April 1, 1865                Half the regiment under colonel Chipman's command arrived at Georgetown

April 7, 1865                Remainder of 102nd arrived at Georgetown

April 5-29                    Potter's Expedition from Georgetown to Camden

April 5, 1865           102nd began its last campaign. At Georgetown the regiment combined with 5 additional infantry regiments to form an expeditionary force under the command of General Edward E. Potter--the mission was to destroy all locomotives and rolling-stock between Sumterville and Camden, SC

       Potter divided his forces and charged each with conducting an incursion into the interior of SC--ultimately reunited on April 19th near Manchester, SC. Likewise, the 102nd was broken into two wings.

       One wing was under the command of Major Clark--attached to the force commanded by General Potter, they helped destroy a section of the Wilmington and Manchester railroad and skirmished with the Confederates at Sumterville, Spring Hill, Swift Creek, and Boykins. At Boykins, along with the 54th Mass. the men of the 102nd engaged a large confederate force and completely routed them.

       Under the command of Colonel Chipman, the second wing of the Union force, to which several companies of the 102nd were attached, followed a different route through SC and skirmished with the enemy on several occasions.

o      Right wing of regiment, under Chapman (clarify spelling Chapman or Chipman) moved to Charleston April 7-9 then marched to join Potter at Nelson's Ferry April 11-18.

       On April 17th Chipman attempted to join Potter as he (Potter) was facing a Confederate stronghold--unsure of Potter's position he sent Lieutenant Charles L Barrell to locate him--meanwhile (the next morning) Chipman found his force hemmed in on every side and facing heavy enemy fire--just then the situation became desperate, Barrell returned with a detachment of cavalry and drove the Confederates from Chipman's front.(Barrell became the second officer of the 102nd to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor)

       Next day, the regiment was once again intact (April 19th)

       Dates of some of the engagements and marches--

o      April 15th--Statesburg

o      April 17th--occupation of Camden

o      April 18th--Bokins Mills

o      April 18th--Bradford Springs (right wing)

o      April 19th-- Dingle's Mill

o      April 19th--Singleton's Plantation

o      April 19th--Beech Creek near Statesburg

Regiment continued to skirmish with the Confederates until April 21st when they received news of the surrender of Generals Beauregard and Joseph Johnston

Regiment remained in South Carolina for the next five months and practiced the duty they new so well: drilling and picketing

May 29, 1865           Regiment proceeded to Charleston and for the next few months occupied Summerville (May 7-8), Branchville (May 18), Orangeburg (May 25-provost duty there til July 28th), Winnsboro, (marched to July 28-August 3--duty there until Sept.) SC

Returned to Charleston

September 30, 1865      Mustered out and returned to Detroit

October 17, 1865         Part of the regiment arrived at Detroit

October 19, 1865         Rest of regiment arrived (delayed caused by a storm on Lake Erie)      

October 17, 1865         Regiment disbanded

Regimental Command:

Organized May 23, 1864, from 1st Michigan Colored Infantry.
Attached to District of Hilton Head, S. C., Dept. of the South and District of Beaufort, S.C., Dept. of the South, 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.


Total enrollment                      1673

Killed in action                              5

Died of wounds                            12

Died of disease                           116

Total casualties                          128