|17th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry|
Michigan state flag
|Active||August 8, 1862 to June 3, 1865|
|Size||982 officers and men at beginning of service|
|Engagements||Battle of South Mountain|
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Fredericksburg
Siege of Vicksburg
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Cold Harbor
Siege of Petersburg
The 17th Michigan Infantry was organized at Detroit, Michigan, between August 8 and August 22, 1862. Most of the soldiers in the regiment were from south-central Michigan, and Company E was composed largely of students from Michigan State Normal College, today known as Eastern Michigan University. They trained at Fort Wayne under their first commander, Colonel William H. Withington, until August 27, when they left for Maryland.
At the Battle of South Mountain, Maryland, on September 14, 1862, the regiment saw its first major action. Although they took heavy casualties, the 17th performed well for an untried unit and earned the nickname "Stonewall Regiment". Three days later, they participated in the Battle of Antietam as part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, IX Corps.
The regiment was mustered out of service on June 3, 1865.
Eight men from the regiment were awarded the Medal of Honor:
- Private Frederick Alber, Company A, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864
- Private Joseph E. Brandle, Company C, Lenoire Station, Tennessee, November 16, 1863
- Corporal John A. Falconer, Company A, Fort Sanders, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 20, 1863
- Private Andrew J. Kelley, Company E, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 20, 1863
- Sergeant Daniel McFall, Company E, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864
- Corporal Irwin Shepard, Company E, Knoxville, Tennessee, November 20, 1863
- Lieutenant Colonel Frederic W. Swift, Lenoire Station, Tennessee, November 16, 1863
- Sergeant Charles A. Thompson, Company D, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864
Captain Christian Rath of the 17th Michigan acted as the executioner at the hanging of four people convicted of involvement in the assassination of President Lincoln: George Atzerodt, David Herold, Lewis Powell, and Mary Surratt.
Total strength and casualties
The regiment suffered 7 officers and 128 enlisted men who were killed in action or mortally wounded and 154 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 289 fatalities.
- Colonel William H. Withington
- List of Michigan Civil War Units
- Michigan in the American Civil War
- http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unmiinf2.htm#17th 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
- Woodford, Frank; Arthur M. Woodford (1999). Father Abraham's Children: Michigan Episodes in the Civil War. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 9780814328163. http://books.google.com/books?id=Un-3SVcHZgoC.
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