Encyclopedia Of Detroit

First Michigan Colored Regiment

Called the Corps d’Afrique by the Detroit Free Press at the time, the First Michigan Colored Regiment was formed in February 1863 as the First Michigan Colored Infantry Regiment, and later became the 102nd United States Colored Infantry.  Raised at Camp Ward, located on Macomb Street east of Chene, these troops were commanded by white officers, paid no bounty, and allotted ten dollars per month with one ration per day, while three dollars of their monthly pay was deducted for clothing.

The regiment was made entirely of volunteers from Canada and Detroit that were formed through the efforts of Detroit’s black leaders.  In all, about fourteen hundred black soldiers enlisted and of these, one thousand had been born in slave states.  In 1864, the regiment became the 102nd United States Colored Infantry for the Union Army and saw service in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida during several engagements in the Civil War.  The regiment was mustered out in Charleston on September 30, 1865 and the troops returned to Detroit.

Written by Stacy Newman

 


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Photo of the historic marker for the First Michigan Colored Regiment, 1968

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