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This web site is dedicated to the memory of my Great Grandfather, Ferdinand Fester who served the Union in the Third Michigan Cavalry from October, 1861 until his discharge in October, 1864.

The Third Regiment is Raised

In July, 1861, the 3rd Regiment of the Michigan Cavalry was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On November 28, 1861, the Regiment, under Lt. Col. Minty, was sent to St. Louis, Missouri, to prepare for operations against rebel forces in southeast Missouri.
The Third's First Battles
Under the command of Lt. Col. Minty, the Third Regiment took part in the Siege of Island Number Ten. That siege began on March 14th and lasted until April 8th, when the Confederate forces on that Mississippi River island (near present-day Cape Girardeau) surrendered. At the same time, other elements of the Third Regiment took part in the Battle of New Madrid, Missouri. That battle began on March 13th and eventually ended in Union victory.
The Long Road Through Mississippi
The Third Regiment was placed under the command of Colonel John K. Mizner, on March 31st. After the southeast Missouri campaigns, Mizner led the Third Regiment southward with Pope's forces. The Third took part in the Battle of Corinth (Mississippi). Thereafter, they served under General Rosecrans' command. During the campaign in Mississippi, Col. Mizner was promoted to Chief of Cavalry and Captain Wilcox assumed the day-to-day command of the Third Regiment. The Third continued to serve in northern Mississippi and Western Tennessee until January, 1863.
Rest and Re-enlistment
In December, 1863, the original term of enlistment expired. Sufficient men re-enlisted to preserve the unit's status. The veterans who re-enlisted were given a thirty day leave to visit their families in the north. At the end of that leave, the Third mustered in St. Louis to await re-outfitting. After two months of garrison duty there, the rested and re-fitted Third Regiment proceeded to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they reported to Major General Steele.
The War in the Southwest
The Third proceeded to Brownsville Station, Arkansas, a railroad depot. From there, they campaigned against the forces of Confederate General Shelby whom they forced to retreat across the Arkansas River. In March, 1864, the Third Regiment moved south into Louisiana, and from there, joined the Union forces in the Battle of Mobile. After the fall of Mobile, command of the Military Division of the Southwest was given to General Phil Sheridan. He led his forces into Texas, arriving at San Antonio on August 2d, 1864. The Third patrolled throughout the southwest Texas area until February 15th, 1866.
The End...
On March 15th, 1866, the Third regiment, Michigan Cavalry, was mustered out of service. The Third had fought bravely throughout the southern Mississippi Valley, and took part in such notable battles as New Madrid, Corinth, Holly Springs, Oxford, Coffeeville, Grenada, and Mobile. In Arkansas, the Third controlled and maintained its strategic area of operation and suppressed the Confederate guerilla forces to such an extent that they were forced to retreat westward. The Third Regiment, Michigan Cavalry, served the Union well at a time when such service was critical to the National survival. The ancestors of those who served in the Third, and the State which sponsored it, can be proud of the brave officers and men of the Third Regiment, Michigan Cavalry, and what they accomplished.
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