Dedication of a
State Historical Marker

Commemorating the location of
Camp Blair
Jackson Michigan


"...as between the institution of slavery and the maintenance of the Federal Government. Michigan does not hesitate to say, that in such exigency, slavery should be swept from the land and our country maintained."

Joint Resolution of the Michigan Legislature,
January 18, 1862


During the four bloody years of the American Civil War, approximately 90,000 men (and women) would leave the State of Michigan to join the Union Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. About 15,000 of them would not return. Reportedly the first recorded casualty, from the State of Michigan was from Wayne County. Private Mathias Wollenweber of the 2nd Michigan Infantry. He was wounded while the 2nd and 3rd regiments were participating in a reconnaissance action at Blackburn's Ford, July 18, 1861.

Of those that did return about 22,000 of them returned to
Camp Blair in Jackson
on their journey home.


The State of Michigan Historical Marker
is placed at about the location of the main gate to the camp and is
located at
1214 Wildwood Avenue
Jackson, Michigan



...

In February, 1864, local Jackson, Michigan newspapers began to announce the beginning of construction of buildings for a new draft rendezvous encampment of Civil War soldiers from Michigan. The camp, soon named Camp Blair, would remain in service for the duration of the War. From 1864 and into 1866, the camp served as one of the locations for the pay-out and discharge of returning Michigan soldiers.

  • This military post was named after Michigan Governor Austin Blair - also known as the "War Governor" - whose full time residence was also in Jackson.

  • The camp was used as an induction and gathering center for volunteers and draftees, housing and processing troups in transit, training new recruits, tending to the wounded and mustering out soldiers.

  • Camp Blair was located on a site of approximately 22 leased acres between the railroad and current day Wildwood Avenue. (see below)

  • The site consisted of twenty-two wood frame structures which included a hospital, barracks and an officer's home.

  • The camp was commanded by Colonel Grover Wormer.

  • The commanding officer's residence was opposite the main gate of the camp.

  • As many as 7,500 troops passed through the camp during a two-month period in early 1865.

  • Many soldiers that died there are buried in a special section of Mount Evergreen Cemetery in Jackson.

In July of 1865 General George W. Lee of the Union Quartermaster's office in Detroit, corresponded with Bvt. Maj. General Montgomery Meigs in Washington D.C.; transmitting to him a "plan" (drawing) of the buildings at Camp Blair.

"I have the honor to transmit herewith a plan of the Government buildings at Jackson, Michigan, known as "Camp Blair", and here-to-for used for the purpose of a General Draft Rendezvous. The buildings consist of a barracks, guardhouse, hospital, officers quarters and commissary and quartermaster offices. They are all built in the cheapest possible manner of rough undressed lumber, with the exception of the hospital, the floors of which are dressed and matched boards, and the walls plastered, this being the most economical way of securing the comfort of the patients. This building has capacity for about one hundred beds.

The buildings are erected upon a tract of land containing about twenty acres, ten of which are enclosed with an upright board fence, nine feel high, & whitewashed.

The tract of land is rented from Mr. Daniel B. Hibbard of Jackson; the right to relinquish the lease any time the government may determine, being reserved. I also transmit, herewith, photographs of the barracks and hospital."


This image shows the barracks and was probably taken around the time of President Lincoln's assassination as the men are wearing white gloves and the flags are at half-staff.


.
This image shows the hospital and is "staged". Looking over the head of the man on the left in the forground you will see two men who appear to be fighting on the roof of the building in the back ground. Also the two men to the right appear to be in a fighting posture.

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