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Michigan Military – Free Books and Articles Military History

Michigan Military - Free Books and Articles Military History

Links to free books and articles about Michigan military history, from before the Revolutionary War through WWII.

Many stories of the heroic effort, valor, and sacrifice of Michigan residents have been published in books over the years. Here you can find links to downloadable books and articles on the military history of Michigan, from its early settlers to World War II.

Michigan Military History General

Old Fort Michilimackinac: Reproductions of two maps… – Michigan Military

from the papers of General Thomas Gage in the William L. Clements Library with a reconstructed drawing of the fort by Raymond McCoy and a Foreward by Kenneth Roberts

Ann Arbor: Univ of Michigan 1938

Fort Michilimackinac was a strong-point at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, and a battlefield in Michigan during Pontiac’s Rebellion, at the end of the French and Indian War.

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

“The Conquest of St. Joseph, Michigan, by the Spaniards in 1781”

Alvord, Clarence Walworth
Missouri Historical Review

Reprinted from the Missouri Historical Review, April 1908, pp 195-210. United States — History — Campaigns — Revolution, 1775-1783, Fort Saint Joseph (Mich.) — History, Spain — History — Charles III, 1759-1788, Saint Joseph (Mich.) — History.

“Recollections of the “Patriot War” of 1838-9 [1837-8], on This Frontier”

Historical Collections Vol 10, 1887, 414-424

Bishop, Levi
Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society

1837-38 saw widespread plotting in Canada to overthrow the British government, and many people in Michigan were preparing to help in the effort. Secret societies known as ‘hunters’ lodges’ sprang up in Michigan along the Canadian border, often including leading citizens. The author was a resident of Detroit at the time and, as a private in the State Militia played a minor role in one memorable incident. This article both recounts his own memories and provides a history of the movement. Wars in Michigan.

“That Windsor Battle”

“The Account of it from a Canadian Standpoint”

The suppression of the Canadian revolutionaries in the “Patriot War

Historical Collections Vol 7, 1886, 82-88

Dougall, James
Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society

“The “Patriot War”; The Battle of Fighting Island”

Historical Collections Vol 7, 1886, 89-92

M’Farlan, Robert
Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society

The author was a participant in the battle. Military — 19th century, Canada — History — Rebellion, 1837-1838.

Ft. Pontchartrain at Detroit: A Guide to the Daily Lives of Fur Trade and Military Personnel, Settlers, and Missionaries at French Posts. Vol I – Michigan Military

Vol 2

Kent, Timothy J.
Ossineke, MI: Silver Fox

“Reference work for avocational and professional historians, archaeologists, curators, re-enactors, and enthusiasts of the fur trade era, early military life, and native lifeways. Illustrated with over 600 drawings and photos. This work clearly and vividly reveals the complete anatomy of an interior post and settlement during the French era.” – Book cover.

Old Fort St. Joseph; or, Michigan under Four Flags… – Michigan Military

delivered before the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society at its Thirty-second Annual Meeting, June 7, 1906

McCoy, Daniel
Lansing: Wnkoop Hallenbeck 1907

You know that Michigan was under three flags; France, Great Britain, and the USA. But a fourth flag? Fort Saint Joseph (Mich.), Niles (Mich.) — History.

Report of the Adjutant General; 1856-1866 – Michigan Military


Michigan Adjutant General, comp.
Lansing: State of Michigan

These two links contain most of the Adjutant General’s annual reports for the range of years shown.

Michigan Military Records, the D. A. R. of Michigan Historical Collections: Records of the Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Michigan …

the pensioners of territorial Michigan; and the soldiers of Michigan awarded the “Medal of Honor

Silliman, Sue Imogene
Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission 1920

United States — Registers — History — Revolution, 1775-1783 — War of 1812 — Civil War, 1861-1865 — World War, 1914-1918, Michigan — History, Military.

Indian Battles in Michigan

Journal of Pontiac’s Conspiracy, 1763 – Michigan Military

Burton, M. Agnes, ed.
Detroit: Michigan Society of the Colonial Wars 1912

This book contains the original 1763 journal text in French with English translation, together with an introduction to the document. The author of the original journal is unknown. It was the most important historical document for reconstructing the events of Pontiac’s Conspiracy (AKA Pontiac’s Rebellion), and formed the basis of Francis Parkman’s history (also found on this webpage).

The Conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian War after the Conquest of Canada

Volume 2

Parkman, Francis
Boston: Little, Brown 1870

Parkman portrays the inflammatory situation that led up to and followed the French and Indian War. With France’s loss of its North American colonies in 1763, the English took possession of French posts, English traders swarmed into Indian areas, and Anglo-American settlers pushed westward into what is now western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. The consequence was widespread conflict–usually known as Pontiac’s War, after the Ottawa leader.
Author Francis Parkman may have been America’s most famous historian in the 19th century, and is still well-known for books on the Oregon Trail and the French in North America. He is also still highly regarded for his prose, although there is less consensus about the quality of his historical interpretation. Historian C. Van Woodward wrote that “…Modern sensibilities will be nettled by his casual stereotypes of national character and by the sharp distinction he draws between “civilization” and “savagery”.” (Foreword to Parkman’s Montcalm and Wolfe: The French and Indian War, p. xxx.)

Pontiac’s Siege of Detroit

Peckham, Howard H.
Detroit: Wayne University 1951

A 20-page narrative of events of one of the most dramatic periods in Detroit’s long history.

Official Report, made by the Commanding Officer, Mr. Dubuisson…

to the Governor General of Canada, of the war which took place at Detroit, in 1712, between the French and their allies, and the Ottagamie and Mascoutins Indians

Renaud Dubuisson, Jacques-Charles
Detroit: Harsha & Willcox 1845

Detroit (Mich.) — History — Siege, 1712.

Revolutionary War in Michigan

See our post on Commanders’ Correspondence in the Revolution

Narrative of Mr. John Dodge during his Captivity at Detroit – Michigan Military

Burton, Clarence Monroe, ed.
Cedar Rapids: Torch 1909

Reproduced in Facsimile from the second edition of 1780 with an introductory note by Clarence Monroe Burton.
Dodge was a trader living in Detroit who was made a prisoner during the American revolution by the British commander of Detroit, Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton. His narrative describes the inhuman treatment of prisoners at Detroit. Hamilton, who fueled Indian attacks on American settlers with generous bounties for scalps, was later brought before a grand jury in Montreal for executing a Frenchman for theft. Wars in Michigan. United States–History–Revolution, 1775-1783–Prisoners and prisons.

The War of 1812; Battles Fought in Michigan

Historical Memoranda of the Territory of Michigan – Michigan Military

Burton, Clarence Monroe, ed.
Detroit 1904

This is a reprint of a long 1819 article from the weekly “Detroit Gazette”. It was intended as a history of Michigan territory, but most of the article relates to Michigan’s military history during the War of 1812.

A Journal, containing an accurate and interesting account of the hardships, sufferings, battles, defeat, and captivity of those heroic Kentucky volunteers and regulars…

commanded by General Winchester, in the years 1812-13. Also, two narratives by men that were wounded in the battles on the River Raisin and taken captive by the Indians

Darnell, Elias
Philadelphia: Lippincott 1854

The battle of River Raisin, in January 1813, also known as the Battle of Frenchtown, took place at the present-day town of Monroe, MI. It was the biggest engagement of the War of 1812 in Michigan.

Darnell’s narrative begins when his Kentucky regiment prepared in August 1812 to cross the Ohio River and join the army of General Hull in Detroit. Their orders soon changed, and the regiment was in the Northwest marching, pursuing minor actions against the Indians or in camp until the mid-January Battle of the River Raisin. This is a very interesting chronological description of about 80 pages written from the point of view of an ordinary soldier, describing the hardships of military life, the battle itself, and Darnell’s subsequent experience as a prisoner.

The other two narratives are fairly brief; about 10 pages each. Mallary and Davenport were both wounded during the battle, and afterward were separately carried off the field and made prisoners of the Indians. Each of their stories are entirely concerned with their adventures as prisoners after the battle. United States — Personal narratives — History — War of 1812 — Campaigns, River Raisin, Battle of the, Monroe, Mich., 1813.

See the resources on this site for: The War of 1812

For history of the War of 1812, see: America in the Early 19th Century – 1809-1861

“Battle and Massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan, January, 1813” – Michigan Military

Historical Collections Vol 22, 1894, 436-443

Dudley, Thomas P.
Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society 1894

The Battle of Frenchtown was also known as the Battle of the River Raisin, and was fought in present-day Monroe. This article is in a pamphlet with several other articles, and page numbers are confusing. Go to the first page #2, and then go to the previous page.

This is an article that begins with an account of the battle, which is mainly in the third person and reflects the author’s presence there as well as a reading knowledge of the battle. When the battle is over, Dudley switches to a first-person account of his experiences after being wounded and taken prisoner by Indians.

See the resources on this site for: The War of 1812

A Chapter of the History of the War of 1812 in the Northwest… – Michigan Military

Embracing the surrender of the northwestern army and fort, at Detroit, August 16, 1812; with a description and biographical sketch of the celebrated Indian chief Tecumseh

Hatch, William Stanley
Cincinnati: Miami 1872

This is essentially two books. The first, of about 87 pages, is a very well-written account of military events surrounding the surrender at Detroit. The author was present as a volunteer in the Cincinnati Light infantry, and claims that as acting assistant quartermaster he was in close contact with the officers and heard their discussions and reactions throughout. It was written as a first-person narrative, but his intervening research on the topic enabled him to fill in details he did not witness.
The second half of the volume is the biographical sketch of Tecumseh. The author claims to have had considerable familiarity with Indians in the region, and treats Tecumseh and the Shawnees with great respect.

See the resources on this site for: The War of 1812

For history of the War of 1812, see: America in the Early 19th Century – 1809-1861

Hull’s Surrender of Detroit – Michigan Military

Lossing, Benson J.
Philadelphia: Potter 1875

A 20-page historical article.

See the resources on this site for: The War of 1812

For history of the War of 1812, see: America in the Early 19th Century – 1809-1861

See our Military Books PDF Free Download

The Robert Lucas Journal of the War of 1812 during the Campaign under General William Hull

Parish, John C., ed.
Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa 1906

By the time war broke out in 1812 Robert Lucas had risen to Brigadier General of the Ohio Militia, and had been tendered appointment in April 1812 as a Captain in the regular army of the United States. A few days afterward there was a call for volunteers, and, instead of waiting for his officer appointment to be formalized, he enlisted as a Private in a volunteer company commanded by his brother. The journal records the campaign from April 25 to August 16, 1812, when Detroit was surrendered. Lucas served as a scout, guide and ranger, and these duties enabled him to be familiar with many facets of the campaign.

Incidentally, twenty years later Lucas was elected Governor of the State of Ohio.

See the resources on this site for: The War of 1812

For history of the War of 1812, see: America in the Early 19th Century – 1809-1861

War on the Detroit: The Chronicles of Thomas Vercheres de Boucherville and The Capitulation by an Ohio Volunteer – Michigan Military

Quaife, Milo Milton, ed.
Chicago: Lakeside Press 1940

Thomas Vercheres’ very literate journal begins with his arrival in Canada in 1803 as a newly hired employee of the New Northwest company, and his subsequent journey to Sault Ste. Marie. The second reprint in the volume was originally published in 1812 as The Capitulation, or A History of the Expedition Conducted by William Hull, Brigadier-General of the Northwestern Army..

Michigan and the Mexican War

“Michigan Soldiers in Mexico” – Michigan Military

Outline of the March of the 15th U.S. Infantry from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico, 1847

Historical Collections Vol 7, 1886, 112-121

Toll, Col. Isaac D.
Lansing: Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society

Mexican War, 1846-1848.

Michigan in the Civil War, Michigan Civil War Regiments

Michigan Civil War Regimental Histories Collection – Michigan Military

This collection of books on Michigan units in the Civil War is in the Internet Archive. It includes histories or profiles of the 24th Michigan Infantry, 7th Michigan Cavalry, 2nd Michigan Cavalry, 20th Michigan Infantry, 4th Michigan Infantry, and memoirs of individuals in other units.

Michigan Men in the Civil War; 1st Volume – Michigan Military

Supplement 1

Supplement 2

4th Volume – Michigan Military

Brown, Ida Cecilia
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan 1959-196?

In 1959 the Michigan Historical Collections at University of Michigan published its bulletin #9 entitled “Michigan Men in the Civil War”, which described the institution’s rich manuscript collections relating to Michigan men who served in the Civil War. In 1960 and 1966 two supplements were published, adding descriptions of additional material in the collection. Finally, the fourth volume, which is essentially a third supplement, was published in 1977.

Four Years Campaigning in the Army of the Potomac

Crotty, Daniel G.
Grand Rapids: Dygert 1874

Sergeant Crotty served in the Third Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and gives a lively account of his experiences from his enlistment in June 1861 through the end of the Civil War and his return to Michigan.

For histories of the Civil War, see also on this site: Civil War in America

History of the Twenty-fourth Michigan of the Iron Brigade – Michigan Military

Curtis, O. B.
Detroit: Winn & Hammond 1891

Regimental Publications & Personal Narratives of the Civil War: A Checklist. Vol. 1, Part 6 – Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

Dornbusch, Charles Emil
NY: New York Public Library 1961-1972

This is Part 6 of a 7-part work, which covers Civil War histories of 17 participating northern states. Part 6 covers Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. According to the compiler’s Preface, every battery and regiment is listed, and arranged numerically by arm of service – Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry. Any publications that could be associated with a particular battery or regiment are listed under that unit, including regimental histories, personal narratives, reunion proceedings, unit rosters and even sermons preached at soldiers’ funerals. Personal narratives by individuals who served under more than one unit are found under the unit of their first service.

Many or most of these articles and books are likely available online, free. For assistance in finding these, see our blog post Find Free Books on the Internet.

For histories of the Civil War, see also on this site: Civil War in America

Michigan in the Civil War: A Guide to the Material in Detroit Newspapers, 1861-1866

Ellis, Helen H.
Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission 1965

Michigan — Bibliography — History — Sources — Civil War, 1861-1865, American newspapers — Indexes — Michigan — Detroit.

Michigan at Vicksburg

Hampton, Charles G., comp.
Moore Printing 1917

Published by the Michigan-Vicksburg Military Park Commission, to commemorate the role of Michigan soldiers in that campaign.

Old maps of Michigan

Personal Reminiscences of Samuel Harris – Michigan Military

Harris, Samuel
Chicago: Rogerson 1897

Harris, a native of Rochester, Michigan, helped raise a company of Cavalry there in 1862 and served in it as 1st Lieutenant through the remainder of the Civil War.

A Cavalryman with Custer: Custer’s Michigan Cavalry Brigade in the Civil War

Kidd, James H.
Bantam 1991

Chiefly known for his exploits in the Indian Wars, most significantly for his horrific defeat at the Little Bighorn in 1876, George Armstrong Custer found initial success on the battlefields of the Civil War, leading his Michigan Cavalry Brigade in more than sixty battles and skirmishes. The men were affectionately called “Custer’s Wolverines” and among them was James Kidd, a newspaperman by training. Kidd wrote a series of letters to friends and family back home between 1862 and 1865, chronicling the conditions and experiences of life in the field of battle. Kidd’s letters have been combined into this historical memoir, which tell a moving story of wartime service and shed a light onto the gallant and often brash Custer. Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman with Custer’s Michigan Cavalry Brigade in the Civil War has been hailed as one of the richest, most reliable accounts of Union cavalry operations in the Eastern theater of the Civil War, ranging from the raid on Richmond to Appomattox.

A Soldier’s Diary; The Story of a Volunteer, 1862-1865

Lane, David

Lane enlisted in August 1862 and was assigned to the 17th Regiment of Michigan Volunteer Infantry. This literate account of his Civil War experiences, mostly in campaigns in Virginia, runs through April 1865.

Personal and Historical Sketches and Facial History of and by Members of the Seventh Regiment Michigan Volunteer Cavalry, 1862-1865 – Michigan Military

Lee, William O.
Detroit: 7th Michigan Cavalry Association 1902?

The Seventh Michigan Cavalry was one of four brigades making up the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. Brigadier General George A. Custer, later of Little Big Horn fame, assumed command of the brigade enroute to Gettysburg in 1863, where it played a key role. The Michigan Cavalry Brigade, according to the Introduction, sustained the highest losses of any mounted brigade at Gettysburg, and the highest rate killed of any mounted brigade throughout the war.

Record of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865

Michigan Adjutant General, comp.
Kalamazoo: State of Michigan 1900

All 46 volumes are at this link. Start the search for a particular service-member in Alphabetical General Index to Public Library Sets of 85,271 Names of Michigan Soldiers and Sailors Individual Records, on this web page below, where you’ll find the right volume and page in this set.

Michigan in the War – Michigan Military

Michigan Adjutant General, comp.
Lansing: State of Michigan 1882

This is a one-volume report compiled from reports in the Michigan Adjutant General’s office and ” … on file in the War Department at Washington, of the services of Michigan regiments, batteries, and companies in the late war [Civil War].”

Alphabetical General Index to Public Library Sets of 85,271 Names of Michigan Soldiers and Sailors Individual Records

Michigan Secretary of State
Lansing: State of Michigan 1915

This alphabetical index indicates the company and regiment of each individual veteran, and shows where to find his entry in the Record of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, also found on this web page.

Reports produced by state Adjutant Generals on the service of soldiers and units in the Civil War were far from perfect reflections of their records. The excellent “Introductory” (page 5) explains why this was so.

Andersonville Diary; Escape and List of the Dead

Ransom, John L.

John L. Ransom was the quartermaster of Company A, 9th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry during the American Civil War and a Union prisoner in the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia. This is his diary which he published some few years after the end of the Civil War. The Andersonville prison was overcrowded to four times its capacity, with inadequate water supply, reduction in food rations, and unsanitary conditions. Of the approximately 45,000 Union prisoners held at Andersonville’s Camp Sumter during the war, nearly 13,000 men died.
This volume includes a chapter of Rebel Testimony, given during the trial of Maj. Henry Wirz, the camp commander. There is also a list of those who died during their imprisonment. The deceased are listed alphabetically by state with the full name, Company, Regiment, date of death and the number on the headstone in the cemetery.

A Hundred Battles in the West: St. Louis to Atlanta, 1861-65, the Second Michigan Cavalry

with the armies of the Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky and Cumberland, under Generals Halleck, Sherman, Pope, Rosecrans, Thomas and others; with mention of a few of the famous regiments and brigades of the West

Thatcher, Marshall P., Captain
Detroit: Thatcher 1884

The Story of the Twenty-fifth Michigan – Michigan Military

Travis, Benjamin F. (Lt.)
Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo 1897

Civil War history of an infantry regiment.

A Brief History of the Tenth Michigan Cavalry – Michigan Military

together with half-tones of the photographs of all its officers, from its organization to its muster out, and a map showing the theater of its active operations

Trowbridge, L. S. (General)
Detroit: Friesema Brothers 1905

Father Abraham’s Children: Michigan Episodes in the Civil War – Michigan Military

Woodford, Frank B.
Wayne State Univ 1961

The Civil War was the largest and bloodiest conflict ever waged upon American soil, and while no fighting took place in Michigan, both the hardship of the war effort and the heroism of Michigan men at war touched residents deeply. In Father Abraham’s Children: Michigan Episodes in the Civil War, Frank Woodford collects personal remembrances of the war from many sources. Originally published in 1961 and reissued in 1999, this volume is not a formal account of Michigan’s part in the conflict or an analysis of military strategy and wartime politics, but instead presents stories of Michigan soldiers, both as individuals and as units, and their actions, thoughts, and aspirations.

Michigan in World War I, and After

Michigan in the World War: Military and Naval Honors of Michigan Men and Women – Michigan Military

Landrum, Charles H., comp.
Michigan Historical Commission 1924

“Michigan men and women received over a thousand military decorations for acts of gallantry performed during the World War [1917-1918]. Two-thirds of these were official awards of foreign nations made possible by special act of Congress. ” – Preface.

The 32nd Division in the World War 1917-1919

Joint War History Commissions of Michigan and Wisconsin
Wisconsin War History Commission 1920

The 32nd Division was organized in July 1917 from National Guard troops; about 15,000 from Wisconsin and 8,000 from Michigan. Before it left for France, 4,000 National Army troops from Wisconsin and Michigan were transferred to the division. In France and Germany the 32nd Division was under fire for six months, from May to November 1918. It fought on five fronts in three major offensives, and took 14,000 casualties. – Summarized from the “Highlights” section.

Michigan’s Polar Bears; The American Expedition to North Russia 1918-1919 – Michigan Military

Doolen, Richard M.
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan 1965

The author made use of a large collection of resources collected by the University of Michigan and described in The Polar Bear Expedition: American Intervention in Northern Russia, 1918-1919; A Guide to the Resources in the Michigan Historical Collections, found on the Michigan Documents and Collections page of this site.

Michigan in World War II

State of War: Michigan in World War II – Michigan Military

Clive, Alan
Univ of Michigan 1979

Michigan State Troops – Michigan Military

Michigan State Troops
Lansing: Michigan State Troops 1947

Established in 1940 to take the place of National guard units that were transferred to federal service, about 6,000 troops were organized for home service. This volume has brief histories for each of the units that were stationed in various places around the State of Michigan.

State Summary of War Casualties [Michigan] – Michigan Military

U.S. Navy Office of Public Information
U.S. Navy 1946

WWII. Casualties listed here were on active duty in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, in which injury or death resulted directly from enemy action or from operational activities against the enemy in war zones from Dec 7, 1941 to the end of the war.

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