Michigan State University

April 16, 1861 : Governor Austin Blair Begins Recruiting Troops To Preserve Union

Jon Harrison

On Tuesday, April 16, 1861, four days after the firing on Fort Sumter, Governor Austin Blair reached Detroit and in the afternoon held a conference with the state military officers and a large number of leading citizens and capitalists.

President Lincoln had called upon the state to furnish one regiment of infantry fully armed and equipped to aid the national government in suppressing the rebellion. Although the treasury was comparatively empty the necessary funds for such purposes were promptly pledged by private citizens, and the chief executive at once issued a proclamation calling for ten companies of volunteers and directing the adjutant general to accept the first ten that should offer.


The president's call upon Michigan for troops was promptly met by the muster in of the First regiment of infantry and its early movement to the seat of war in Virginia.

Sources :

Images of West Michigan's Civil War Military History

Images of the Military History of Northern Michigan

Visit Rally Round the Flag. War! for a photograph of the military and government officials taking an oath of allegiance on April 16, 1861 in Detroit as well as other news about the war's outbreak in Ann Arbor.

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