Michigan State University

January 12, 1863 : Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters Mustered into Service

Jon Harrison
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Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters was recruited by Garrett G. Gravaraet of Little Traverse, a talented musician, teacher, and artist. He was himself of mixed Chippewa Blood and the enlisted men of his company were Indians from the Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomi tribes of Northern Michigan. The company was the only complete company of Indians in the Union Army that saw action against the Confederacy east of the Mississippi. It was mustered into service January 12, 1863, and for a time was stationed at Fort Dearborn to guard the state arsenal and later was sent to guard the prisoners at Camp Douglas, Illinois. Must of this time was also spent in qualifying all the men as sharpshooters with their new seven shot Spencer repeating rifles. According to Army regulations, a man had to hit a five inch circle at forty rods to qualify as a sharpshooter. On March 8, 1864, the regiment was ordered to Annapolis and from there left to join General Grant and the Army of the Potomac.

Garrett G. Gravaraet was badly wounded in the left arm at Petersburg, Virginia, and later died July 1, 1864 at the Army Square Hospital in Washington. It was said his father was killed by his side just before he was wounded.

Source: Twice Told Tales of Michigan and Her Soldiers in the Civil War, Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, 1966, p.46-47.

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