|102nd Regiment United States Colored Troops|
|Active||1863-1864 (as 1st Michigan)|
May 23, 1864—September 30, 1865 (as 102nd USCT)
|Engagements||Battle of Honey Hill|
The 102nd Regiment United States Colored Troops was an African American infantry unit of the Union Army during the American Civil War. The unit was organized as the 1st Michigan Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment before being redesignated as the 102nd Regiment USCT.
The 1st Michigan Colored Infantry was formed on February 23, 1863, after an editorial and letter writing campaign by Henry Barns, an editor for the Detroit Tribune and Advertiser. Barns was commissioned the regiment's first colonel for his efforts; he maintained this post until voluntarily stepping down in favor of a regular army officer.
The regiment was organized at Camp Ward, located on a farm. Eight-hundred and forty-five men from Detroit, southern Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, volunteered for the regiment. Some of these volunteers were escaped slaves from the Underground Railroad, and some were fighting to free their family members who may have still been in slavery. During training, a regimental band was formed which toured to recruit more volunteers. The regiment also had artillery and cavalry elements. On May 23, 1864, the unit was redesignated the 102nd Regiment United States Colored Troops.
The 102nd Regiment fought throughout South Carolina, eastern Georgia and Florida. The infantry was assigned to the fort at Port Royal where they served as the second line of defense. In Baldwin, Florida, 21 miles away from Jacksonville, the unit was attacked suddenly by a Confederate cavalry force. The soldiers easily defeated the Confederates, which proved to their officers that they were just as skilled and reliable as any other infantry. In Manchester the regiment and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry succeeded in an attack on the flank of Confederate forces, putting them in disorder. Then the regiment was attacked by 200 Confederates and caused many casualties to the enemy. The Confederates came to a truce and there Generals Robert E. Lee and Johnson had surrendered; the war was over after that.
This was the regiment's last battle; they served occupation duty until they were called together and were mustered out of service on September 30, 1865. The regiment returned to Detroit were they were disbanded on October 17, 1865.
Strength and casualties
The total enrollment in the 102nd Regiment was 1446; 6 people were killed in action, 5 people died of wounds, and 129 people died of disease.
- List of United States Colored Troops Civil War Units
- Alkalimat, Abdul (2004). The African American Experience in Cyberspace. Pluto Press.
- Brennan, James. First Michigan Colored Regiment. Available online at http://www.michmarkers.com/startup.asp?startpage=S0288.htm, 1991–2007
- Harvey, Don & Lois. 1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Available online at