15th Michigan Volunteer Infantry

Organized at Detroit, Monroe and Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 16, 1861, to March 13, 1862. The 15th Michigan was mustered into Federal service on March 20, 1862 at Monroe, Michigan and first engaged the enemy at Shiloh, Tennessee on April 6th and 7th. After the Civil War ended, the 15th Michigan moved to Little Rock, Arkansas where they remained until they were mustered out on August 18, 1865.

Actions of Private Sancrainte

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On October 5th, 1865 the officers of Company B, 15th Michigan Veteran Volunteers sent the following letter to the Michigan State Senate where it was read into the record. They were endeavoring to gain support for awarding the Medal of Honor to Charles F. Sancrainte of Company B for his actions on 22 July 1864 during the Battle of Atlanta.  On July 25, 1892 Charles Sancrainte was finally awarded the Medal of Honor for the action listed below.

Private Sancrainte's Medal of Honor citation:

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 15th Michigan Infantry. Place and date: At Atlanta, Ga., 22 July 1864. Entered service at: Monroe, Mich. Born: 1840, Monroe, Mich. Date of issue: 25 July 1892. Citation: Voluntarily scaled the enemy's breastworks and signaled to his commanding officer in charge; also in single combat captured the colors of the 5th Texas Regiment (C.S.A.).
From: http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/civwarmz.html

 

It should be noted that there is an error in the La Point letter and the official Medal of Honor orders. The regimental flags mentioned are not correct. He is officially credited with only capturing the flag of the 5th Texas and the below letters additionally lists the 17th and 18 Texas. Since the 5th Texas did not participate in this battle we can be somewhat sure the Medal of Honor orders and this letter are wrong. The 17th and 18th served together in the Texas Brigade during this battle and I believe they were consolidated into a single battalion. So based on this I would say the combined 17th and 18th Texas would be the flag capture by Mr. Sancrainte.

This is the letter from Moses A. La Point, Late Lt. Col. 15th Mich. Inft’y. Vol’s. Enjoy.

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State of Michigan
Erie, County of Monroe, Oct 5, 1865
I, the undersigned Col Moses A. Lapoint, jointly with the officers of Company B, 15th Michigan Infantry Veteran Volunteers, beg your honorable body of Senators of the State of Michigan, to take notice of our petition sent to your honorable body. We the undersigned take pleasure in forwarding to you the name of one of our bravest soldiers of the regiment, if not of this State.  We herewith give you our statement of the facts.
Being in front of Atlanta, Georgia, July 22, 1864, the regiment charged on the rebel rifle-pits in front of the regiment about 10 A.M., and about 1 P. M. the regiment was attacked in front and rear, by General Hood. We were ordered to fall back to the breastworks we had left in the forenoon to take possession of its line of work.  Coming on a double quick we noticed three or four flags sticking out of the works that we were to take. I, Colonel M. A. Lapoint, halted the regiment in a low place safe from danger, then called on a private of Co. B named Chas. F. Sancrainte as a volunteer, a man in whom I could trust, knowing his ability as a soldier, and trusting to his fearlessness to go to the front at the breastworks and investigate what was there and give me a signal.  As he was going to the front I expected to see him drop dead every instant. He reached the works and climbed eight or ten feet high to their top, only to find twenty or thirty muskets pointed at him, but he gave me the signal to make a charge.
After the regiment charged on the rebels we found him fighting with the Major of the 5th Texas Infantry, having knocked a revolver from the Major’s hands, and with the butt of his gun knocked the officer down and captured the flag, but it was not before he had received three wounds, two slight flesh gunshot wounds and a bayonet through his hand.  By the regiment’s prompt action it captured 167 prisoners, 17 officers and three colored flags of the 5th, 17th and 18th Texas Infantry, for which it broke the enemy’s line and saved a great charge on our line, which if it had taken place, would have brought great distress upon our army.
The flag captured by the said soldier was forwarded to Michigan. Besides this service he was to be found always in rank and ready for duty. He was in every battle the regiment was in, from the battle of Pittsburg Landing, April 6 and 7, 1862, until the capture of Fort McAllister, Georgia, upon which occasion he was one of the advance guard who took the fort by storm. He was three years in the service of the United States, received his honorable discharge, but not before he had received four wounds from which he is crippled for life, and receives a comparatively small pension.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, ask your honorable body to make a record of the above, and of his bravery, and to recompense him by the presentation of a medal in honor of his bravery, as there has been no opportunity that has presented itself for recompense by a promotion in rank in his company or regiment. We hope that the State, through its officers in the Senate, will do him justice, as a soldier who has rendered such valuable services should not be forgotten.
The name and address of the soldier are Chas. F. Sancrainte, private of Co. B, 15th Mich. Infy. Veteran Volunteers, and a resident of Almira, Benzie county, Michigan.
Moses A. La Point,
Late Lt. Col. 15th Mich. Inft’y. Vol’s.
Charles Henderson,
Late 2d Lieut. Co. C, 15th Mich. Vol. Inft’y.
Andrew La Forge,
Late Capt. Co. I, 15ht Mich. Vol. Inft’y

 

 

 

Historical Note

OUTSIDE SHILOH 1862...

"March 29 - A good day for spring fever and it took hold of a good many. Have been busy all day preparing to leave for the south. This eve the 15th Mich came in tired, dirty and used up. The regt. Numbers about 900 and are armed with Austrian muskets, a very clumsy looking gun."

From The Civil War Diary of Cyrus F. Boyd, Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, 1861-1863

 

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