The Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University will commemorate the sesquicentennial of the end of the Civil War with a new exhibit on one of Michigan’s least-known stories from the conflict. “The Men of Company K: 1st Michigan Volunteer Sharpshooters” will open with a public reception at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in 105 Cohodas Hall. Admission is free.
The exhibit will focus on the history of a group of Native American soldiers who chose to enlist in the Union Army and distinguished themselves in battle during the Civil War. These Native American sharpshooters helped influence the future practices of other sharpshooter units, especially with their introduction of the use of natural camouflage techniques. Company K was part of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters and fought in battles in and around Spotsylvania and Petersburg, Virginia. Fifteen members of the company became prisoners of war and were held at the infamous Andersonville Prison. Seven died during captivity.
This opening and the exhibition are part of “The Dawn of Peace” commemoration events taking place in Marquette from April through June. “The Dawn of Peace” commemoration was planned through a collaboration between several museums and groups in the region, including; Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, DeVos Art Museum, Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center, Marquette Regional History Center, and the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.
The exhibition will be on display through August. Center hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is curated by NMU alumna Glenda Ward and designed by NMU student Riley Crawford.