Age, Height, Education, Religion and Occupation

Age
The men of the 3rd Michigan Infantry were born between 1798 (Rev. Francis Cuming) and 1850 (Jacob Rebhun). Not including the four men for whom we do not have even a birth year, more than three-quarters of the total 1,412 enrolled were born after 1830 and one in five born after 1842:

  • 11-16 years of age: 30
  • 17-19 years: 257
  • 20-29 years: 826
  • 30-39 years: 202
  • over 40 years: 71
  • over 50 years: 10
  • over 60 years: 3

If we combine the numbers of all those men under 30, that group comprised nearly 80% of the total enrolled in the Regiment (1,412).

Height
Of the nearly 900 reported physical measurements, four men were 5' or less: Tommy Byers, John McPherson, Albert Pelton and Jacob Rebhun. At the tall end, we have George Kasten at 6'10,  George Randall and Robert Swart at 6'6",  Sam Aldrich and Ben Waite were 6'4", and Alex French and Calvin Wilsey s6'3".

Over half of the men were between 5’6’” and 5’11”.

Education
At least 678 men were reported as able to read and write and 38 were listed as illiterate; both numbers were probably higher. We also know that at least 40 men attained “higher education” degrees in architecture, law, medicine, education and the ministry.

Religion
In religious matters the men were probably overwhelmingly Protestant, although this remains speculation.

Of the 114 reported religious preferences we know that 84 were Protestant, 27 Catholic, (1 who converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, August Heyer), 2 were Universalist, and 1 was Jewish.

Occupations
At least 797 (or more than 56%) of the reported occupations were directly related to the farm, and if one adds the 162 laborers, 68% of the men who joined the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry were either farmers or common laborers (and quite often both).

The next highest represented occupation was carpentry with 60 men who had worked in that trade before the war, followed by 59 in the lumber industry, 34 clerks, 23 blacksmiths and 23 shoemakers.

If we add the farmer/laborer group to the next five occupations, more than 82% of the regiment fell into seven occupational categories.