Civil War “Spots” in Upper Michigan

Union soldier reenactor with B. Nash at Fort Wilkins, Michigan

Union soldier reenactor with B. Nash at Fort Wilkins, Michigan

 

B. Nash at Fort Wilkins

B. Nash at Fort Wilkins

 

Houghton, Michigan Civil War Statue

Houghton, Michigan Civil War Statue

 

Statue in Houghton at Veterans Memorial Park

Statue in Houghton at Veterans Memorial Park

 

Things having to do with Abraham Lincoln and/or the Civil War are never very far. Of course, that also depends on where you are! In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula there are “spots” but they must be sought out. I was crossing the bridge from Hancock, Michigan heading into Houghton when my eyes caught sight of a Civil War statue. Didn’t have to search that one out! There on a little rise atop a hill was a Veterans Memorial Park. It’s centerpiece was a marching Union soldier statue. As I soon learned, Houghton provided troops for the Union cause. Company I of the 23rd Michigan Infantry served three years in the war for President Lincoln from July 1862 to July 1865. They participated in several actions, including: Franklin, Nashville, and Knoxville. There are over 70 names of men from Houghton that served in the war posted at the site. The park also honors American veterans from our nation’s other wars.  

Going up to Michigan’s Copper Harbor area, there is Fort Wilkins. It is beautifully preserved and cared for. The fort was originally established to protect the copper interests early in the 19th century. After the Civil War, combat veterans returned there as a duty assignment along with other soldiers. It was a lonely post not without it’s problems. It seems alcohol was the source of problems at times. But then, alcohol was not a new problem then nor is it today. When visiting Fort Wilkins, you get the “feel” of what military life must have been like for those folks. You see everything from the mess hall to the jail. It’s certainly a “must” for anyone interested in the era.

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