Pennsylvania Grand Review

Honoring African American Patriots 1865 / 2010

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24th USCT Regiment

Posted by: mintzmo

The 24th USCT Regiment was organized at Camp William Penn on February 17, 1865.  In May, it was stationed at Camp Casey in Virginia outside of Washington, DC; then in June it was moved to Maryland to guard Confederate prisoners.  The regiment’s final assignment was preserving order and distributing supplies in and around Roanoke, Virginia between July and September 1865.

You can read the full summary of the 24th USCT Regiment’s actions during the Civil War as well as see the complete muster roll here.

(Courtesy of Google Books – Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5 (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1871), 5: 1011-1025.)

Posted Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 11:08 am.

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25th USCT Regiment

Posted by: mintzmo

After being organized in January 1864, the 25th USCT Regiment was deployed to Texas, although it never reached its intended destination.  The steamer that carried the regiment was caught in a storm and sprung a leak, and the men barely kept her afloat long enough to dock safely in the North Carolina harbor.  The regiment arrived in New Orleans in May 1864 just as the Confederates were gaining the upper hand in the Red River Campaign; therefore, instead of continuing on to Texas, the regiment was sent to Florida for garrison duty.  In January 1865, the government ordered the 25th USCT Regiment into active duty as part of an effort to organize a division composed entirely of African-American troops.  However, the regiment was deemed too inexperienced to take part in any active field operations, and its numbers dwindled as a result of an outbreak of scurvy due to poor nutrition.

Colonel Frederick L. Hitchcock said of the 25th USCT Regiment:  ”I desire to bear testimony to the esprit du corps and general efficiency of the organization as a regiment, to the competency and general good character of its officers, to the soldierly bearing, fidelity to duty, and patriotism of its men.  Having seen active service in the Army of the Potomac prior to my connection with the Twenty-fifth, I can speak with some degree of assurance.  After a proper time had been devoted to its drill, I never for a moment doubted what would be its conduct under fire.  It would have done its full duty beyond question.  An opportunity to prove this the Government never afforded and the men always felt this a grievance.”

You can read the full summary of the 25th USCT Regiment’s actions during the Civil War as well as see the complete muster roll here.

(Courtesy of Google Books – Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5 (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1871), 5: 1026-1046.)

Posted Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 11:01 am.

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41st USCT Regiment

Posted by: sailerd

The 41st USCT Regiment was organized at Camp William Penn in the fall of 1864. This regiment participated in several engagements in Virginia:

  • “On the 27th of March [1864], in connection with the Twenty fourth Corps, under command of General Ord, to the Second Division of which it now belonged, it move to join the Army of the Potomac, arriving at Hatcher’s Run on the 29th. It was immediately ordered upon the front, where it threw up breastworks and skirmished with the enemy. On the 2d of April, it was engaged before Petersburg, losing one killed and eight wounded, and at evening moved in pursuit of the rebel army, following the line of the South Side Railroad. The pursuit was pushed with little interruption until the regiment reached Appomattox Court House, where, on the 9th, while upon the skirmish line, Captain John W Falconer was mortally wounded, dying on the 23d.”

After Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, the 41st USCT regiment was sent to Texas. The regimented was stationed there until the men were mustered out of service at Brownsville, Texas, on November 10, 1865. You can read the full summary of the 41st USCT Regiment’s actions during the Civil War as well as see the complete muster roll here.

(Courtesy of Google Books – Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5 (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1871), 5: 1066-1080.)

Posted Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 9:22 am.

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8th USCT Regiment

Posted by: mintzmo

The recruiting for the 8th USCT Regiment began in September 1863 at Camp William Penn, and the regiment was deployed to Florida on its first assignment in February 1864.  After a time of looting supply lines and taking prisoners, the regiment finally encountered resistance at the Battle of Olustee.  This battle incurred some of the heaviest losses (percentage-wise) of the Civil War, and the 8th USCT played an integral part:

  • Without awaiting the arrival of the rest of his force [General Truman] Seymour put the Seventh New Hampshire in position on the right of the road and the Eighth Colored upon the left and pushed them at once into action.  The Eighth though scarcely a month from camp and with hardly any skill in handling a musket boldly advanced in face of a withering fire from the enemy’s strong and well chosen lines… but still it stood firm.  For three quarters of an hour the action raged with unabated fury these raw troops maintaining their ground without the least shelter with a courage worthy of veterans.  Several color bearers were shot down and many officers fell but it preserved an unflinching front.  At this juncture the enemy whose lines greatly overreached the Union front charged upon the unprotected left flank of the Eighth threatening its capture.  Seeing that the ground could be no longer held General Seymour ordered the regiment to retire.  It was executed in good order the men firing heavily as they went…. The loss in the Eighth was very severe.”

The Union brigade was repulsed by the Confederate forces, and eventually retreated almost to Jacksonville.  The 8th USCT regiment was ordered to Virginia in August 1864, where it was on active duty on the Petersburg front and participated in some minor skirmishes.  The regiment remained stationed around the James River until the fall of Petersburg in the spring of 1865.

You can read the full summary of the 8th USCT Regiment’s actions during the Civil War as well as see the complete muster roll here.

(Courtesy of Google Books – Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5 (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1871), 5: 965-990.)

Posted Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at 3:44 pm.

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22nd USCT Regiment

Posted by: mintzmo

The 22nd USCT Regiment was organized in January 1864 at Camp William Penn in Pennsylvania.  The regiment joined the Army of the James, Eighteenth Corps near the end of that month, and was assigned to construct earthworks along the James River for protecting supply lines.  In June,  the Eighteenth Corps participated in the siege of Petersburg, for which the 22nd USCT regiment received great acclaim:

  • “The Twenty second headed the charge in this assault and captured six of the guns taken by the division and two of the four forts.  The victory was gained however at a fearful cost to the regiment.  Its loss was one officer Emery Fisher and seventeen men killed and five officers and one hundred thirty eight men wounded and one missing Lieutenant Colonel Goff among the severely wounded.  Its conduct on this occasion was warmly commended at corps and army headquarters.”

During the Siege of Petersburg, the regiment also participated in the Battle of Fair Oaks in October, where it was roundly repulsed by Confederate forces and sustained heavy losses.  The regiment was also present at the fall of Richmond in April 1865, and was rewarded for its commendable service by being elected to participate in President Lincoln’s funeral ceremony later that same month.

You can read the full summary of the 22nd USCT Regiment’s actions during the Civil War as well as see the complete muster roll here.

(Courtesy of Google Books – Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5 (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1871), 5: 991-1010.)

Posted Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at 3:23 pm.

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127th USCT Regiment

Posted by: sailerd

The 127th USCT Regiment was organized in September 1864 and received training at Camp William Penn. Records indicate that this regiment only participated in a single battle:

  • “On arriving at the front, it was incorporated with the Army of the James. The official army register of Colored Troops, shows that the only battle in which this regiment participated, was at Deep Bottom, and the only loss in killed and wounded it sustained, was one man, killed in this battle. It was sent with other troops to Texas, after the close of hostilities in the east, and was posted on the Mexican frontier….The battalion was mustered out of service on the 20th of October [1865].”

You can read the full summary of the 127th USCT Regiment’s actions during the Civil War as well as see the complete muster roll here.

(Courtesy of Google Books – Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5 (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1871), 5: 1125-1137.)

Posted Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 9:32 am.

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3rd USCT Regiment

Posted by: sailerd

The 3rd USCT Regiment, which was organized in August 1863, was the first unit to receive training at Camp William Penn, located outside of Philadelphia. (You can read about this regiment’s flag raising ceremony in a previous post). The War Department initially sent this regiment to South Carolina, where it was involved in the campaign to seize Fort Wagner:

  • “Soon after its organization, the Third was ordered to the Department of the South and proceeded thither, arriving at Morris Island while the siege of Fort Wagner was in full progress. It was immediately put into the trenches, and shared in the hardships of that memorable trial of skill and endurance which resulted in the fall of the fort. The loss during this siege was six killed and twelve wounded. In one of the night attacks which resulted in the capture of a line of rifle pits, a Corporal was reported missing. Two days after, the advance sappers came upon his dead body. Warned by previous experience, they were careful to examine it thoroughly before attempting to remove it. A small string was discovered attached to its leg, which led away to the trigger of a torpedo buried in the sand. Such was the warfare which this command was called to meet.”

This regiment was sent to Florida in early 1864 and remained there until it was disbanded in October 1865. You can read the full summary of the 3rd USCT Regiment’s actions during the Civil War as well as see the complete muster roll here.

(Courtesy of Google Books – Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5 (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1871), 5: 925-942.)

Posted Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 at 12:48 pm.

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Battle of Port Hudson (May 1863)

Posted by: sailerd

The Battle of Port Hudson on May 27, 1863 did not include USCT regiments organized in Pennsylvania, but it was among the first major engagements of the Civil War that involved African American regiments. The Union’s efforts in late May 1863 failed to capture Port Hudson, Louisiana, which in turn led to a siege that ended on July 9 when the Confederates surrendered. Yet even though the initial attack had failed, the African American regiments’ actions during that battle were singled out as particularly noteworthy. Union General Nathaniel P. Banks noted in his official report that “[the men’s] conduct was heroric” and that “no troops could be more determined or more daring.” In one day “they made…three charges upon the batteries of the enemy, suffering very heavy losses, and [held] their positions at nightfall with the other troops,” as Banks explained. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper published Banks’ report along with a poem written by a Philadelphia poet. Some northerners questioned whether USCT regiments would be effective against Confederate forces, but this battle and others provided irrefutable evidence as to how wrong their original assumptions had been. “We may be sure” that those regiments, “after Port Hudson, [will not] be again exposed to sneers or insult,” as a Harper’s Weekly editorial concluded.

(Courtesy of the House Divided Project – “Battle of Port Hudson: The Charge of the 2d Louisiana,” Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, June 27, 1863, p. 209: 2-4 ; “Negro Troops,” Harper’s Weekly, June 20, 1863, p. 386: 1-2.)

See images related to this event in the Slideshow below –

Posted Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at 2:08 pm.

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Presentation of Colors to the 20th USCT

Posted by: sailerd

As USCT regiments were organized in northern states, they were often honored at ceremonies held in local cities or at their training camps. A previous post described a flag raising ceremony at Camp William Penn. This article in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, however, described the event at which the 20th USCT received their colors in New York City. “A vast crowd of citizens of every shade of color, and every phase of social and political life, filled the square, and streets, and every door, window, veranda, tree and housetop that commanded a view of the scene was peopled with spectators,” as the reporter observed. You can read the entire article here.

(Courtesy of the House Divided Project – “The Fete to the 20th U. S. Colored Infantry,” Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, March 26, 1864, p. 7: 3-4.

Posted Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at 1:00 pm.

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History of Camp William Penn

Posted by: sailerd

Jeffry Wert’s article in Pennsylvania History provides a great overview of Camp William Penn’s operation between 1863 and 1865 as well as interesting details on events that took place at the camp. While “the record is mute” as to who picked the location outside Philidelphia for building the camp, Wert notes that “whoever…[it was] chose wisely.” “The training site was located near ‘Roadsite,’” which has Wert explains, was “the home of abolitionists James and Lucretia Mott.” Pennsylvania History, which is the official journal of the Pennsylvania Historical Association, is available through a digital archive that contains all of the issues published between 1934 and 2005. Wert’s article is available here as PDF file. (Note that Adobe Reader has to be installed on your computer in order to read this article.)

(Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Historical Association – Jeffry D. Wert, “Camp William Penn and the Black Soldier,” Pennsylvania History 46 (October 1979), 335-346. )

Posted Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 at 1:49 pm.

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