One of our Region of Three Oaks Museum members, Randy Miller, recently shared the following post with us. Randy has done several hours of personal research in some area cemeteries cataloging area Civil War Veterans.
During the upheaval and turmoil of the American Civil War, all communities in our growing nation, both North and South, were intensely involved, and many aspects of the political atmosphere and deep passions that existed for the nation as a whole also existed in the communities of Southwest Michigan. The history of these small communities during this period and their contribution to the Northern war effort is in a way a history of the war for the entire nation.
The decade of the 1850's saw the region of Three Oaks grow from sleepy farm communities to villages and towns that began to thrive on a newly burgeoning logging industry, railroad, and the construction of several mills and business ventures. Even so, at the onset of the threat of war, the men and women of the area quickly responded to the call to arms. Berrien County as a whole saw over three thousand volunteers join the war effort with several hundred coming from communities such as Three Oaks, New Buffalo, Galien and Chikaming Township.
Our soldiers would find themselves in every branch of service with most joining infantry divisions. With little training and no real battle experience some of our boys would be thrust into what would become one of the bloodiest battles in the entire war. The 12th Michigan Infantry, stationed at Niles was ordered to Pittsburg Landing in Tennessee as part of a large fighting force under the command of U.S. Grant. The fight that ensued became known as the Battle of Shiloh.
All of our local cemeteries have Civil War veterans buried in them. Most of their graves are distinguishable by the unique government issued markers that depict the name and regiment of the soldier. The Region of Three Oaks Museum has lists of all of veterans and where they are buried.
If you are related to a Civil War veteran and would like assistance in locating their grave or simply want to know their role in the conflict, help is available through the museum