A chronological timeline of events for the 1st Minnesota during the Civil War beginning on April 12th, 1861.
Confederates open fire on Fort Sumter.
In Washington, Governor Alexander Ramsey pledges 1000 Minnesota troops to President Lincoln, the first troops pledged.
President Lincoln calls for 75,000 troops.
The ten companies of the 1st Minnesota report to Fort Snelling.
The 1st leaves for Washington D.C., arriving on June 26.
The 1st sees combat at the Battle of Bull Run. One of the last regiments to leave the battlefield, the 1st suffered the highest casualties of any Union regiment with 48 killed, 83 wounded, 23 wounded and missing, and 30 missing.
The 1st is lightly engaged at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff.
Apr 5-May 4
Engaged at the Siege of Yorktown
May 31-Jun 1
Companies H, K, and D were sent in as reinforcements at the Battle of Fair Oaks while the remainder of the regiment delivered enfilading fire.
The 1st defended the Union left flank at the Battle of Savage Station.
President Lincoln visits the 1st while they were camped at Harrison’s Landing.
Aug 28-Sep 2
The 1st covers the Union retreat at the Second Battle of Bull Run, covering 65 miles in four days.
The 1st, down to 435 men, on the right of the Union line, charged through the West Woods at the Battle of Antietam, coming under heavy fire which resulted in 15 killed, 79 wounded, and 21 missing. The 1st retired under good order unlike other regiments.
The 1st enters Fredricksburg. They took the town through the night and took fire during the next few days as the Battle of Fredricksburg raged on.
The 1st was involved in a secondary role at the Battle of Chancellorsville where they guarded pontoon bridges and dug entrenchments.
The 1st‘s signature act took place during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg when, at the order of General Hancock and under the leadership of Colonel William Colvill, they charged 1600 Confederate troops who threatened to split the Union line.
Taking heavy casualties (of 262 men available, 215 were killed, wounded or missing as a result of the charge), the 1st delayed the Confederate advance enough for Union reinforcements to fill the gap and save the day for the Union. On July 3rd the 1st, positioned on the point of the Angle, faced the brunt of Pickett’s charge, suffering an additional 64 killed and 224 wounded.
Aug 15-Sep 6
The 1st is sent to New York City to help keep order after the draft riots. The heroes of Gettysburg were celebrities in Williamsport in Brooklyn where they were stationed.
The 1st’s last engagement is the Battle of Bristow Station. They were to lead an attack on Confederate entrenchments. The attack was called off, much to the relief of all, at the end of the day.
The 1st is honored at a banquet, attended by both the Vice-President and the Secretary of War, at the National Hotel in Washington D.C. The next day the regiment headed home to Minnesota.
The final parade at Fort Snelling before they are mustered out. Some went on to form the First Battalion Infantry Minnesota Volunteers.