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Battery "C", First Michigan Light Artillery
Battery C 1st Michigan Light Artillery was mustered in to service on November 28, 1861 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Battery consisted of men from all over southern Michigan; men from Detroit, Jackson, Allegan, Coldwater, Kalamazoo, Ypsilanti, as far away as St. Louis, Missouri, and Cheboygan, Michigan as well as those from the greater Grand Rapids area. Most men were between the ages of twenty and fifty. Altogether, Battery C's roster consisted of 109 officers and men.
Captain Alexander W. Dees, hailing from Detroit, Michigan, aged thirty-eight, led his men southward on December 17th, 1861, to join up with the Western Armies. Their destination was Benton Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri, for two months of intensive training.
The Battery was issued the equipment at Benton Barracks that they claimed as their own: three model 1861 rifled Parrotts, with a 2.9" bore; one model 1841 bronze field howitzer, with a 4.62" bore, as well as limbers, caissons, wagons, horses, harnesses, mules, and a traveling forge.
Upon leaving the barracks on February 16, 1862, Battery C became a part of John Pope's Army of the Mississippi, first assigned to General Napoleon Bonparte Buford's "Flotilla Brigade," and would later become attached to "Fuller's Ohio Brigade."
During the course of this great conflict, Battery C, 1st Michigan Light Artillery was engaged at many battles, including: Iuka, MS; the Siege of Corinth; Farmington, MS; Lumkin's Mills, MS; Town Creek, AL; Resaca, GA; Kenesaw, GA; Nickajack Creek, GA; the Siege of Atlanta, GA; Savannah, GA; South Edisto, GA; and Bentonville, NC.
The first causalities were sustained during the Siege of Cornith, on the morning of October 4th, 1862. Reports state that eleven men were wounded or missing in action, in addition to several dead and wounded horses.
The men of Battery C, 1st Michigan Light Artillery, served proudly and bravely during these long years of conflict, as Sergeant George Robinson writes, in a letter to his brother on April 6th, 1862: "you will not see me again until this war is honorably closed, or I am sent home wounded in action, for I am bound to see this thing through at all hazards"
The Present-day Battery C, 1st Michigan Light Artillery, was reactivated in 1964, by Jerry Phillips, the first commander. Battery C currently has over twenty active members in the N-SSA ranks, and is a pretty diverse group of people, very much like an extended family. We are all brothers (and sisters) who have a common love of history and skirmishing. There is always room at our campfire.
Members of "C" Battery are spread out, regionally, hailing from Southern Michigan, Northern Ohio, Traverse City, Michigan, and currently we have two members who live in Mexico. Our youngest skirmishers are fifteen years old, the minimal age required by national and regional by-laws, and hopefully they have long careers in the N-SSA, and enjoy their years in our club.
Battery C, 1st Michigan Light Artillery competes in musket competition, as well as carbine, smoothbore, Henry, or repeater classification, and mortar. We hope to have a fully functional revolver team in place by Fall Nationals, 2003. The Battery has hosted a skirmish consecutively for the last ten years, in Adrian, Michigan; with the 2002 season being the only exception. We also hosted a gun show, which was usually in the Jackson, Michigan area, on the weekend of Jackson's big Civil War re-enactment, at the Cascades Park. The Battery is always complemented on the effective job the team does when hosting a skirmish. There are usually not a whole lot of surprises with the Battery commanding the lines.
We are a fun-loving group of people, men and women, young and old, who all love this sport and the history that we represent. There are no barriers in our unit, only folks who like to traverse the Eastern United States on some of the hottest days of the year, to participate in a sport that we all love. Most importantly, though, we all love to be with our friends.