The First Michigan Colored Regiment was organized at Camp Ward, which originally stood at this location. Formed from August through October 1863, a year of draft riots and protests against the war, this Negro regiment consisted entirely of volunteers. During training, a regimental band was formed and toured southern Michigan to recruit additional volunteers. Mustered here as the 102nd U.S. Colored Troops, February 17, 1864, the 900-man unit left Detroit March 28, 1864 for service in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. More than 1,400 men served in the regiment during 19 months in the field; ten percent of this number died in service. The regiment was disbanded in October 1865, in Detroit.