About the Colgrove-Woodruff Camp No. 22
Colgrove-Woodruff Camp No. 22 is involved in several projects, including graves registration, monument care and maintenance, school programs and the proper observance of Memorial Day. The Camp provides the Color Guard for the Post Band Concert series held at Mill Race Park in Battle Creek. Our Camp also provides hosts for the G.A.R. hall in Marshall. For more information, see Events Calendar.
The Colgrove-Woodruff Camp No. 22 meets on the first Thursday of even months at the Marshall G.A.R. hall, 402 East Michigan Avenue. Meetings begin at 7:30 P.M. unless otherwise noted. We invite you to join us in honoring our ancestors, the men who preserved the Union.
Marshall's G.A.R. post was named after the first local man to die in the war, Private Calvin Colgrove, who was killed in the Battle of First Bull Run in 1861. It's official name was Colgrove Post No. 166. The post was started in October 1883 and continued for 41 years.
Calvin Colgrove was born about 1828 in Montgomery County, NY and grew up in Marshall, MI. He married Jane Day, born November 14, 1832, and they had a son, Frederick, born January 1857, and a son Charles, born about 1860. Charles died at age 3 of scarlet fever and was buried March 26, 1863 at Oakridge cemetery, Marshall, MI.
On April 22, 1861, at the age of 32, he heeded the call to arms of President Lincoln. Along with eighteen other Marshall citizens, he joined Captain Devillo Hubbard and went off to war. The Marshall unit was assigned to the First Michigan Infantry, Company I, under the command of Colonel Orlando B. Willcox. The regiment led the advance of the Union army across the Long Bridge into Virginia on the 24th day of May, and drove off the rebel pickets. They entered the City of Alexandria and after a brief skirmish, they captured over 10 Confederate calvarymen.
On July 21, 1861, the Michigan First Infantry found itself in the midst of the First Battle Bull Run. They charged a rebel battery, time and time again, suffering heavy losses. During a lull in the battle, the Confederate Artillery fired cannon balls across a wide open meadow. Color Sergeant Colegrove was struck in the head by a wayward ball and died instantly.
According to an eye-witness, O. P. Hulett, of Charlotte, "The regiment was not on the firing line and hostilities had but just commenced when a spent cannon ball came bounding toward the body of soldiers, traveling at a slow rate of speed. They saw it coming, spoke of it as it approached and simply aimed to keep out of its way and let it pass. Its speed was slow, so that a man could easily run and keep up with it but it had been sent on its way with a force which made it almost irresistable. Just as it reached the men it struck an obstacle and bounded, striking Mr. Colgrove on the head and killing him instantly."1
In his pocket they found a certificate of membership in the First Baptist church of Marshall.2
The regiment lost many young soldiers during this battle, including six from Marshall who along with their Colonel were taken prisoner and spent many months in a Confederate prison camp.
After Calvin was killed in action in 1861, his widow, Jane Colegrove married Gerret B. Fountain on February 14, 1865. Jane (Day) Colegrove Fountain died November 2, 1904 of Bright's disease at the home of Mrs. Harriet Fountain, and was buried November 4, 1904, at Oakridge cemetery in Marshall, next to her three-year-old son Charles Colegrove.
Camp No. 22 was also named for Lieutenant George A. Woodruff. Another native of Marshall and the son of a prominent circuit court judge, he entered the military academy at West Point in 1858. Woodruff's class graduated and was called to service. He was assigned to the Army of the Potomac and was in action at the first battle of Bull Run. Shortly after this battle he was transferred to the artillery. Lieutenant George A. Woodruff was in command of company K, 24th Michigan Infantry, when he was killed with sixteen of his men at Gettysburg, all of who lay within a few feet of each other when they fell. His brother, Lieutenant William S. Woodruff was wounded in the face, the ball entering his mouth and passing out through his cheek, and within ten minutes afterwards he saw his brother George, shot through the head and instantly killed. This occurred during Confederate General George Pickett's famous charge, that Lt. Woodruff was shot from his horse on the last day of the battle. Although mortally wounded, he gave a final command to his friend, and fellow artilleryman, Lt. John Egan. "I ordered you to the left sir, do your duty and leave me." He died the next day.
Lt. Egan buried his friend the next day near where he had fallen on the battlefield. Upon receiving the news of his son's death, Judge George Woodruff, left for Gettysburg where he found his grave and returned his body to Marshall's Oakridge Cemetery.
Another brother, Lieutenant Frank Woodruff died in New Orleans while attached to the Twelfth U.S. Cors deAfrique. These three brothers were sons of Judge George Woodruff, of Marshall. The wife of Judge Woodruff died in a short time after the death of her boys.
During the first 18 years, meetings were held at various halls rented for the occasion. In 1902 the Post built their own meeting hall, the landmark G.A.R. hall on Michigan Avenue.
This building was built in 1902 at a cost of $3,000. It served as a meeting place for the members of Colegrove G.A.R. Post No. 166. It remains today the best preserved G.A.R. hall in Michigan.
The cannon on the lawn was added in 1906. It is a 30-pound Parrott (heavy artillery) and used during the Civil War.
Post No. 166 met regularly in this hall between 1902 and 1924. Afterward, the hall was rented for use as a church, a dance studio and also an ice cream parlor. When Marshall's V.F.W. Post was organized after World War II, they used the hall for their meetings.
In 1977, the Marshall Historical Society bought the building from the City of Marshall for one dollar. Since then, they have restored the building and transformed it into a historical museum and archives for local history.
The museum features an excellent collection of Civil War items donated by local families. It is open on Saturdays during the summer.
1. The Evening Chronicle, Marshall, MI, Monday, June 1, 1914.
2. The Marshall News-Stateman, Marshall, MI, Monday, May 25, 1914, p.1, c.5.
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