Of 1,412 men enrolled in the 3rd Michigan Infantry, we have death dates for 1,221and death locations for 1,256.
From mid-June of 1861 to mid-June of 1864, 232 men died while serving in the Old 3rd Michigan:
- 103 men killed in action
- 47 died from wounds
- 80 died of disease
- 2 died accidentally
- 1 was murdered
This represents a 16% casualty rate (based on a total enrollment of 1,412).
When we take into account men transferred to other regiments or discharged from the 3rd Michigan and who subsequently reentered the military, a total of 355 men did not survive the war. As a group, then, the 3rd Michigan suffered a 25% casualty rate.
In other words, one of every four men who enrolled in the 3rd would not survive the war. On the upside, 1,056 men would live to see the end of the war.
First to die
The first man to die was probably Joseph Proper or Propier, on May 8, 1861, at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids. He was buried about one mile away from the camp in what is now Oak Hill (north) cemetery, at the corner of Eastern and Hall streets in Grand Rapids.
The first man to die after the regiment arrived in Virginia was William Choate of Company C; he died of disease at Camp Blair, Virginia, near the Chain Bridge and presumably buried near the camp.
Homer Morgan of Company B was the first to die by violence, on July 20, 1861, allegedly a suicide.
The first man to be killed in action was David Stone of Company H. He was shot on May 5, 1862, near Yorktown, Virginia.
Last to die
Originally in Company E Moses Monroe transferred to the 5th Michigan Infantry in June of 1864 when the regiments were consolidated. He was wounded on April 6, 1865 at Sayler’s Creek, Virginia, near Appomattox and died of his wounds on April 23.
Fourteen other former members of the 3rd Michigan died in April of 1865, and another 4 in May. For example, Casper Thenner, sick from disease, had just returned to his home in Grand Rapids when he died on May 27, and was interred in what is now an unmarked grave in Oak Hill (south) cemetery.
The last to die in 1865 was probably Joel Guild, who had recently returned to his home in Grand Rapids and was suffering from dysentery contracted in the service, when he died in December.
Perhaps the last man to die as a direct consequence of the war was Samuel Thurston of Company C. According to the Grand Rapids Herald of February 9, 1897,
“After carrying a rebel bullet in his right lung for over thirty years” Thurston, who was an inmate of the Michigan Soldiers' Home “has given up the fight. The bullet had for over thirty years been ploughing its way downward through the tissues of the lungs, and yesterday afternoon dropped out, death being almost instantaneous. The ball was covered with a linen patch, just as it had left the rifle of some rebel soldier, the patch and bullet being firmly connected. At 2 o'clock yesterday morning Thurston was taken to the hospital, having been in usual good health up to a short time before that. In the afternoon he complained to his nurse that his heart pained him, and while she was gone to secure a hot water application Thurston died.”
Last man standing. . .
The last known survivor of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry, was probably Edward McArdle of Company E. He died on October 15, 1937, at the Pacific Branch, National Military Home, Los Angeles, California, and was buried in the National Cemetery in Los Angeles.