Robert Sligh was born June 24, 1827, in Ayton, Berwickshire, Scotland, the son of Robert (1790-1858) and Elizabeth (Bogue Cleghorn, 1795-1858).
According to one source, the elder Robert and his family immigrated to North America during the winter of 1833-34, settling in or near Grafton, Haldimand Township, Ontario, Canada. In 1833 his James W. moved from Canada to Rochester, New York and in 1846 to Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan where he worked as a merchant before the war. His father Robert and his family followed some years later.
The younger Robert was 34 years old, and probably living in Kent County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. (His brother-in-law John Nelthorpe would also enlist in Company K.) Robert’s older brother James served as Captain in the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics and died in 1863 in Tennessee; there is a memorial to him in Oak Hill (north) cemetery, Grand Rapids, where their parents are buried.
Robert was wounded in the thigh on July 2, 1863, while the regiment was engaged in the Peach Orchard, during the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, and apparently died in Gettysburg from his wounds. He was buried in the Michigan plot, Gettysburg National Cemetery: section B, grave 17. Both of Robert’s parents as well as his brother James are buried in Oak Hill cemetery in Grand Rapids.