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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Saving the Lands Around Fort Negley

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you have probably seen references to Fort Negley in Nashville before.  Many of the African American men from Williamson County who liberated themselves during the Civil War made their way to Fort Negley and other fortifications in the area.  They worked as laborers - some were impressed, others may have been paid.  After the creation of the US Colored Troops they transitioned from the role of military laborer to soldier.

Section of Freeman Thomas' Pension Application regarding his work on Fort Negley

Recently, the City of Nashville has declared the land around Fort Negley to be "surplus" and is planning to redevelop it.  While I understand the desire to provide green space, affordable housing and community resources for this neighborhood - and even support it - I cannot endorse it at the sake of a full and complete historical and archaeological review of the site.  It is believed that many unmarked graves sit on the land as well as many other artifacts - all waiting to be uncovered.  By contrast, the original "contraband" camp around Fort Monroe in Virginia is undergoing just such an archaeological review right now - see this article.  For more information you can also read this article.

Here's a link to the letter that I wrote to Mayor Barry and the other Council Members and decision makers.

Please visit this website and consider contacting your local representatives to voice your concerns - Friends of Fort Negley

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Equality in Pay Among the USCT


Very often when I am researching one of the veterans from Williamson County, I encounter an issue or term that I'm not familiar with and it takes me down an investigative path or "rabbit hole" that turns out to be one significant to understanding the US Colored Troops in a larger context. Its not surprising really - each man is a case study of their broader experience. So please indulge me as we take a side trip to discuss the phrase "Free on or Before April 19, 1861" and how that led to an exploration of the fight for equal pay by the African American veterans of the Civil War.


As I was compiling my research into the men from Williamson County who served in the US Colored Troops I would occasionally come across a note in their file that they were "Free on or before April 19, 1866."  At first, I was thrilled!  I thought that this was clear evidence of their status before the War - information that is often very scant.  However, the more I looked into it, the more I realized that this information may not be entirely reliable and that there is much more to the story than just their possible emancipation status.
Notation of "Free on or before Apr. 19, 1861" in William Holmes' military records. Private Holmes served in the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry. He settled and died in Williamson County, Tennessee after the War.
To understand why this notation was in the men's files in the first place, we need to back up a little, though, to 1862.

Section 6 of the Militia Act of 1862 gave President Lincoln the authority to arm African American men (slaves or free) by borrowing language from the Emancipation Proclamation. Within it Congress embedded a provision that provided for the unequal payment of African American and white soldiers:
SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to receive into the service of the United States, for the purpose of constructing intrenchments, or performing camp service or any other labor, or any military or naval service for which they may be found competent, persons of African descent, and such persons shall be enrolled and organized under such regulations, not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws, as the President may prescribe.
. . .

SEC. 15. And be it further enacted, That all persons who have been or shall be hereafter enrolled in the service of the United States under this act shall receive the pay and rations now allowed by law to soldiers, according to their respective grades: Provided, That persons of African descent, who under this law shall be employed, shall receive ten dollars per month and one ration, three dollars of which monthly pay may be in clothing.
Under this authority, Congress provided that African American soldiers would be paid only $10 per month with $3 monthly that could be deducted for their uniforms. During this time, white privates were paid $13.50 per month. As you can imagine, this did not sit well with many - both black and white.  Initially it was relevant primarily for the men serving in the individual state's African American regiments - the first to be formed - such as the famed 54th & 55th Massachusetts Infantries.  When the USCT was established on May 22, 1863, this section of the Militia Act applied to them as well.  The discriminatory payment was seen by many as a default on a promise to the soldiers who had enlisted.  The soldiers themselves obviously felt this way but so did the Governors and many of the officers who had recruited and enlisted them.  
Letter from Corporal Gooding
National Archives

In September of 1863 Corporal James Henry Gooding of the 54th Massachusetts sent a letter to President Lincoln pleading their case.  Corporal Gooding was not new to writing eloquent letters - he had been a war correspondent for northern newspapers since his enlistment.  In his letter to the President, he eloquently asked, "Are we soldiers or are we laborers? . . . You caution the Rebel Chieftain, that the United States knows no distinction in her Soldiers. She insists on having all her Soldiers of whatever creed or Color, to be treated according to the usages of War. Now if the United States exacts uniformity of treatment of her Soldiers from the Insurgents, would it not be well and consistent to set the example herself by paying all her Soldiers alike?"




In December of 1863 Secretary of War Stanton made his annual report in which he extolled the performance of the African American troops thus far in the War effort and recommended the removal of the discriminatory provisions. 
Reverend Samuel Harrison,
Photo courtesy of the Samuel Harrison House

The following spring, Governor John A. Andrew of Massachusetts tried to force the issue. In March, 1864, at Governor Andrew's request, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner delivered a petition, along with a letter from the Governor, to President Lincoln asking him to have Attorney General Edward Bates investigate a claim by Reverend Samuel Harrison, a chaplain - and thereby an African American officer - in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry.  Rev. Harrison had requested pay of $100 per month - the standard pay for a chaplain in the Army; the paymaster in Hilton Head (where they were stationed) refused.  


Outline of the Facts and Finding of the Attorney General's Opinion Regarding the Case
 of Reverend Samuel Harrison, Chaplain of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry
On April 23, 1864 the Attorney General ruled on the case in favor of Rev. Samuel Harrison. In summarizing his analyses of the various applicable laws he came to this conclusion:
To assume that because Mr. Harrison is a person of African descent he shall draw only the pay which the law establishes for the class it obviously refers to, and be deprived of the pay which another law specifically affixes to the office he lawfully held would be, in my opinion, a distortion of both laws, not only unjust to him, but in plain violation of the purpose of Congress. . . . I am also of opinion that your constitutional obligation, to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, makes it your duty to direct the Secretary of War to inform the officers of the pay department of the army that such is your view of the law, and I do not doubt that it will be accepted by them . . . 
The issue appeared to be settled for black officers by virtue of this ruling but pressure was building to address it for the lower ranking men.  The northern regiments in particular were protesting the unfair payments and the results were occasionally violent.  In a few instances soldiers had been courtmartialed and several executed for perceived mutiny in protesting the lower payments.  The Sea Island area off of Georgia - where the South Carolina and Massachusetts  regiments were stationed - was the nexus of the violence and protests.  A good article that goes into more detail is available here. And this article describes what a tinderbox the Massachusetts regiments had become over the issue. 

As cries for reform grew louder from the soldiers, their officers, sympathetic Congressmen and portions of the public - especially in the North- Congress decided to address the problem through an amendment to the appropriations bill for the Army.   However, as the bill worked its way through Congress, revisions introduced a distinction between pay for those who were free when they enlisted and those who enlisted as men who had been enslaved.

On May 23, 1864, Massachusetts Senator Sumner wrote President Lincoln a letter from the Senate Chambers and attached a memo describing his concerns about the new bill.  I am going to transcribe them below because with some commentary because I think his analysis and his description of the history of the process is interesting. 
Charles Sumner to Abraham Lincoln, Monday, May 23, 1864
Senate Chamber, 23d May '64

My dear Sir,
 The Senate attached its Bill to equalize pay -- as an amendment to the Army appropriation Bill. This bill is identical with the first two pages which you showed me last evng.
The enclosed memdm will show how the Army Bill now stands.
Should the House amendment prevail, it would, probably, exclude most persons in the two [South Carolina] regiments & also in the [Louisiana] regiments from its benefits [because they were composed primarily of former slaves]; but it would cover the [Massachusetts] regiments [because most of those men had been free when they enlisted since Massachusetts was a free state].
Faithfully yours,
Charles Sumner

His summary continues . . .
Charles Sumner to Abraham Lincoln, Monday, May 23, 1864


Charles Sumner to Abraham Lincoln, Monday, May 23, 1864
Army Appropriations Bill HR 198, Now in Committee of Conference, Senate Attached its Bill (No. 145) equalizing the pay of white and colored soldiers as an amendment to the above entitled act (HR 198).  The House concurred? in the Senate amendment as follows: "Strike out Section 4 and insert as follows 'That all free persons of color who have been or may be mustered into the military service of the United States shall, from the date of their enlistment, receive . . .   the same uniforms, clothing, arms, equipment, camp, equipage, rations, medical & hospital attendants, pay & _____ & bounty as other soldiers of the regular or volunteer forces of the US or like arm of the service.'  The above amendment is in lieu of the section giving full pay from the date of enlistment to all colored soldiers to whom it had been promised by authority of the War Department.


Charles Sumner to Abraham Lincoln, Monday, May 23, 1864

See Edwin M. Stanton to Edward Bates, June 17, 1864; Bates to Stanton, June 20, 1864; Lincoln to Bates, June 24, 1864; and Stanton to Lincoln, June 24, 1864.]


On June 15, 1864, the 34th Congress of the United States passed this bill which codified the language "free on the 19th day of April, 1861."

Section 15, as enacted, US Congressional Documents website 



http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=013/llsl013.db&recNum=157

On June 17, 1864, President Lincoln wrote to Attorney General Bates requesting his opinion as to the effect the new law would have on the attempt to equalize pay for African American soldiers:
“I require your opinion in writing as to what pay, bounty, and clothing are allowed by law to persons of color who were free on the 19th day of April, 1861, and who have been enlisted and mustered into the military service of the United States between the month of December, 1862 and the 16th of June 1864. Please answer as you would do, on my requirement, if the act of June 15th 1864 had not been passed; and I will so use your opinion as to satisfy that act.”
Attorney General Edward Bates replied to President Lincoln a few days later - his correspondence displays his confusion regarding the law’s impact on black soldiers and on his new role is overseeing the law:
On Saturday afternoon I had the honor to receive your letter of the 17th (Friday), with a copy of the act of Congress of June 15. 1864, and a request for my opinion upon a question “in reference to what pay, bounty and clothing is allowed by law, to persons of color who were free on the 19th day of April 1861, and who have been enlisted and mustered into the military service of the United States, between the month of December 1862, and the 16th of June 1864.”
I confess myself at a loss to know (so as to answer satisfactorily to myself) the precise meaning of the question, or the precise point upon which a doubt exists in your Department, as to the amount of pay, bounty and clothing of the persons indicated, under laws passed prior to the 15th of June 1864.
I am the more induced to desire a specific statement of the question, because the 4th section of the act (of June 15, 1864) to which you refer, is very peculiar in its phraseology. It does not give, or purport to give to the class of troops indicated, any thing whatever, to which they had not a perfect right, by prior laws. It provides only that they shall “be entitled to receive the pay, bounty and clothing allowed to such persons by the laws existing at the time of their enlistment.” It seems to me therefore that any question as to the amount of pay, bounty and clothing to be paid to such troops, must, of necessity, arise under the previous laws, and not under the act of June 15. 1864. And I should be ready to comply, with alacrity, with your request for an opinion upon any specific question of law, arising under any of those prior acts.
But the said 4th section is very peculiar, in another respect. It does not require the Attorney General to give any opinion to any officer. That is amply provided for by other statutes, which make it his duty, in the cases specified, to give “opinion and advice” to the President and the Heads of Departments. But it goes far beyond that. It purports to make him a final judge of the matter, by enacting that “the Attorney General of the United States is hereby authorized to determine any question of law arising under this provision ” i.e. this 4th section. And this is clearly a new and special delegation of power, to hear and determine questions of law, without and beyond the general duty of the Attorney General, to give opinion and advice to the President and the heads of Departments.
I make these suggestions sir, upon the supposition that there may be questions arising under the acts prior to that of June 15. 1864, touching the pay, bounty, and clothing of the persons indicated, and that, if so, you will be pleased to direct the question to be so stated as to enable me to give direct and specific answers, which I will endeavor to do, with all convenient speed.
It appears as though Congress was trying to address the issue for the northern regiments in particular - such as the men from Massachusetts regiments (who were presumed to have been "Free before April 19th".) This was problematic from the start and presented many difficulties.

New York Tribune, August 12, 1864
This letter to the the Editor of the New York Tribune published August 12, 1864 laid out the problems nicely.  The author, Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginsworth, was a colonel of an African American regiment raised in South Carolina and an ardent abolitionist. His letter criticizes the Army for creating such a complicated payment system that seems calculated purely to try to save a few dollars and he went on to say, "But the Government should have thought of this before it made the contract with these men and received their services. When the War Department instructed Brigadier-General Saxton, August 25, 1862, to raise five regiments of negroes in South Carolina, it was known very well that the men so enlisted had only recently gained their freedom. But the instructions said: "The persons so received into service, and their officers, to be entitled to and receive the same pay and rations as are allowed by law to volunteers in the service." Of this passage Mr. Solicitor Whiting wrote to me: "I have no hesitation in saying that the faith of the Government was thereby pledged to every officer and soldier enlisted under that call."  Where is that faith of the Government now?
The men who enlisted under the pledge were volunteers, every one; they did not get their freedom by enlisting; they had it already. They enlisted to serve the Government, trusting in its honor. Now the nation turns upon them and says: Your part of the contract is fulfilled; we have had your services. If you can show that you had previously been free for a certain length of time, we will fulfil the other side of the contract. If not, we repudiate it. Help yourselves, if you can.  In other words, a freedman (since April 19, 1861) has no rights which a white man is bound to respect. He is incapable of making a contract. No man is bound by a contract made with him. Any employer, following the example of the United States Government, may make with him a written agreement receive his services, and then withhold the wages. He has no motive to honest industry, or to honesty of any kind. He is virtually a slave, and nothing else, to the end of time.
Under this order, the greater part of the Massachusetts colored regiments will get their pay at last and be able to take their wives and children out of the almshouses, to which, as Governor Andrew informs us, the gracious charity of the nation has consigned so many. . . ."

This letter is so interesting for many reasons - the support the white officer gives to his troops, the eloquent cry for fairness, the mention of the poverty facing the families of the Massachusetts regiments (and presumably still facing the families of the men of the South Carolina regiments), and the discussion of how this decision could impact opinions of Americans in greater society regarding the willingness to honor contracts with African Americans.

Circular No. 60 - August 1, 1864

Six weeks later, on August 1, 1864, by order of the Secretary of War, Circular No. 60 went into effect - this was the military order that implemented the June 1864 legislation; it stated: 
"all officers commanding. . . colored troops, will immediately make a thorough investigation and examination of the men belonging to their commands who were enlisted prior to January 1, 1864, with a view to ascertaining who of them were free men on or before April 19, 1861; the fact of freedom to be determined in each case on the statement of the soldier, under oath, takin in connection with the most reliable information that can be obtained from other sources."

In other words, the white officers were to question their African American soldiers and ask them (under oath) whether they were free before the pertinent date. Those men who were determined to have been free on or before that date were to be:
"mustered for pay accordingly. Such muster shall be authority for the Pay Department to pay said soldiers from the time of their entry into service to the 1st day of January, 1864, the difference between the pay received by them as soldiers under their present enlistments and the full pay allowed by law at the same period to white soldiers."

So this meant that those men that swore to their freedom before the specified date would be rewarded with additional pay. While it doesn't state it in this order the difference in pay amounted to this:

  • The men who had been free BEFORE the date were to be paid $13 per month and allowed $3.50 per month for clothing (for a total of $16.50) 
  • The men who had been free AFTER the date received $7 per month and were allowed $3 per month for precisely the same articles of clothing (for a total of $10) 
This oath reportedly led one creative colonel in the 54th Massachusetts to contrive a “Quaker oath” in which he asked his soldiers to swear that they “owed no man unrequited labor on or before the 19th day of April, 1861.” While this oath might be believable for men from the Northern states, it would have been less likely for the majority of the black troops rom the southern states, 75 percent of whom were recently freed slaves from the border states and Union-controlled portions of the Confederacy. It is believed that sometimes sympathetic officers may have looked the other way when southern men who had clearly been enslaved said they had been free - or in some cases - in order to help equalize the pay they just went ahead and wrote on their statements that they were free.  If you come across a statement that your ancestor was "free on or before the 19th day of April 1861" and have no other evidence regarding his status I would encourage you to take this with a grain of salt.  Look for them as a free person of color in the census for 1860 and previous years.  But also look for other evidence that they may have been enslaved.  Unfortunately I don't think you can rely on this statement that this is clear evidence of their free status.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day - Remembering the Fallen

Sixty Williamson County USCT veterans died during the Civil War.  Two were killed in action during the Battle of Nashville and eight succumbed to wounds sustained during that fighting.  The majority of the rest died from diseases contracted in the course of their service; this was a very common cause of death for soldiers of any race on both sides of the conflict.  On this Memorial Day weekend, please remember these men, their sacrifices and their bravery.  

As you read through the descriptions of their service and deaths below, you will notice how many of their burial locations are not identified.  Some are buried in the Nashville National Cemetery's segregated section for USCT soldiers that was created shortly after the end of the Civil War.  If you would like to visit this weekend to honor them, I would encourage you to do so.  While there, you could also take some time to see the USCT Monument that was created in the likeness of Bill Radcliffe, a USCT re-enactor from Nashville who frequently visits Franklin.  


United States Colored Troops National Monument, Nashville National Cemetery
The inscription reads, “In Memory of the 20,133 who served as United States Colored Troops in the Union Army Dedicated 2003”
Source: US Department of Veteran Affairs

Additionally, the Toussaint L'Ouveture Cemetery on Del Rio Pike in Franklin contains three USCT headstones honoring men who served in the USCT but died after the end of the war - from left to right, Freeman Thomas, Peter Ratcliffe, and John Dubuisson.  

Photo Credit: Dr. Sam Gant

Killed in Action
Died from Wounds Received in Battle
  • German, Miles, 13th US Colored Infantry Co A, B 1833 in Franklin, Tennessee; enlisted on Oct. 22, 1863 in Stephenson, Alabama as a 30-year-old laborer; died at the General Hospital No. 16 of wounds received at Battle of Nashville, January 19, 1865; hospital record 11471 US Burial Ground - South West City Cemetery K – 286, #10771 burial records say Co I 
  • Armstrong, Samuel, 13th US Colored Infantry Co A, B 1845;Enlisted in Franklin on August 12,1863 as a 19 year old farmer; was in the battle near Nashville Dec 16, 1864; died of wounds received in that battle on Dec 20, 1864; buried Jan 1, 1865 US Burial Ground - South West City Cemetery L – 96; #11253
  • Owens, Winstead, 12th US Colored Infantry Co G, 22 year old farmer; enlisted September 10, 1864 at Sullivan’s Branch, born in Williamson County, Wounded at Battle of Nashville Dec.16, 1864; Died of wounds received at the Battle of Nashville, Dec. 24, 1864, can’t find his burial records
  • Degraffenried, Asbury, 12th US Colored Infantry Co K, 19 year old farmer; enlisted August 12, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County, died Dec. 20, 1864 at General Hospital No. 11 of wounds received in the Battle of Nashville Dec. 16, 1864; gunshot wound through abdomen; grave No. 10510 indicated in records but I can’t find his burial site   
  • Helms, George, 13th US Colored Infantry Co B, 21 year old farmer; enlisted August 1, 1863 at the Elk River, born in Williamson County, died from wounds received at the Battle of Nashville Feb 11 1865, General Hospital, Nashville; death certificate says he died of Typhoid Fever at Wilson Hospital - maybe injured and then got sick in the hospital?; grave site – 11985; hospital 451; he was single: his effects; one overcoat, one deep coat, two pair of trousers, one shirt, one pair shoes, one blouse, one feathers?, Can't find his burial records    
  • Winston, Horace, 13th US Colored Infantry Co F, 21 year old laborer; enlisted Sept. 30, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County; Dec.7, 1863 on detached service to “Colored Soldiers Rest” Nashville through April 1864; was severely wounded in Battle of Nashville Dec 17, 1864; Died in General Hospital No. 16 of Gangrene; January 6, 1865 Hospital no 11018; can’t find his burial records      
  • McPearson, Henry, 17th US Colored Infantry Co H, b. around 1838 in Williamson County; enlisted on Nov 30, 1863 in Murfreesboro as a 28 year old farmer; July 8, 1864 appointed corporal; wounded at Battle of Nashville Dec. 15, 1864 by gunshot (arm broken); died at Wilson US Hospital Feb 21, 1865 of pneumonia – probably got sick in the hospital while healing from the gunshot wound; Hospital Record # 16, grave #121806? ; married in Nashville; UR 12186, L – 186, U.S. Burial Ground - South West City Cemetery burial says McPherson
  • Jackson, John 1st?, 17th US Colored Infantry Co K, b. around 1842 in Spring Hill, Williamson County; enlisted on Nov 29, 1863 in Stevenson, Alabama as a 21 year old farmer; Dec. 16, 1864 wounded in Battle of Nashville, in hospital; died Jan.10, 1864 from wounds received in the Battle of Nashville
Died of Disease
  • Carter, Thornton, 53rd US Colored Infantry Co A, 32 year old fieldhand, enlisted on Dec 4, 1963 at Milliken’s Bend, born in Franklin, Tenn, 5’ 6” tall; died of disease at US General Hospital No. 3 Vicksburg July 22, 1864; died of acute dysentery; inventory of the effects: 1 cap, 1 great coat, 1 flannel sack coat, 2 pairs of trousers, 2 flannel shirts, 1 pairs of socks, 1 blanket, 1 oil blanket, 1 knapsack; gravesite not identified
  • Alexander, James H., 17th US Colored Infantry Co B, 18 year old farmer; yellow; enlisted on Dec. 19, 1964 in Nashville, born in Franklin, Tenn., Died in US General Hospital No 11
    (Nashville) Jan 25, 1866 of small pox; no effects; Hospital No 1293 Pest Hospital Cemetery 
  • Farris, Aaron, 13th US Colored Infantry Co I, Enlisted as a 21 year old, laborer enlisted on Oct. 22, 1863 in Stevenson Alabama; born in Franklin; died January 5, 1864 of disease (Camp Mussey); can’t find his burial records 
  • Gibson, Adam, 12th US Colored Infantry Co A, 22 year old servant; enlisted on Sept. 14, 1863 at the Elk River Bridge, Born in Williamson County, Died in Nashville Dec. 29,1863 at Hospital No. 16 from disease; died in removal from ambulance; Buried at Nashville National Cemetery #5882 - E – 2068 Due West City Cemetery
  • Gibson, Manson, 12th US Colored Infantry Co A, 28 year old servant; enlisted on Sept. 14, 1863 at the Elk River, born in Williamson County, Died at Elk River, Nov 2, 1863 – disease – congestion of the brain; Can’t find his grave 
  • Gosey, Logan, 12th US Colored Infantry Co A, 20 year old servant; enlisted on September 14, 1863 at the Elk River Bridge, born in Williamson County, Sent to hospital No 16 Dec. 29, 1863; Died in General Hospital No. 16 January 29, 1864 in Nashville, Tenn.; buried at Nashville National Cemetery U.S. Burial Ground - Due West City Cemetery E – 1886 #5700  
  • Strong, James, 12th US Colored Infantry Co A, 23 year old servant; enlisted Sept. 14, 1863 at the Elk River Bridge, born in Williamson County, joined a recruit; mustered in at Sullivans Branch; Dec. 28,1864 sent to hospital; Died in hospital in Kingston Springs Feb. 8, 1865 of small pox; can’t find his burial records        
  • Sneed, John, 12th US Colored Infantry Co G, 27 year old laborer; enlisted Aug 12, 1863 at Nashville, born in Williamson County, quickly promoted to 3rd Sergeant; Dec. 26, 1864 sick at Huntsville, Alabama; February 10, 1865 died of disease at hospital in Huntsville, Alabama [Numerous Union troops who died during the federal occupation of Huntsville are believed to have been buried in unmarked graves throughout the oldest section of the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville. Most of these graves were apparently moved to Chattanooga National Cemetery in 1867.] can’t find his burial records       
  • Johnson, Thomas, 12th US Colored Infantry Co H, 27 year old laborer; enlisted August 12j, 1863 in Nashvile, born in Williamson County, promoted to corporal June 20, 1864; Dec 17, 1864 sick in hospital in Nashville; died in regimental hospital Oct. 1, 1865 Kingston Springs, Tennessee of chronic dysentery; can’t find his burial records
  • Briggs, Harry, 12th US Colored Infantry Co I, 45 year old shoemaker; enlisted on August 12, 1863 in Nashville born in Williamson County, died of typhoid pneumonia, Regimental Hospital Sec. 53 Nashville and North Western Rail Road Tenn. April 5, 1864 ; can’t find his burial records         
  • Cater, Isaac [Carter?], 12th US Colored Infantry Co I, 17 year old farmer; enlisted August 12, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County; April 7, 1865 died in Regimental Hospital in Kingston Springs, Tennessee of pneumonia ; can’t find his burial records; Co K?
  • Winstead, Abraham, 12th US Colored Infantry Co I, Enlisted on August 14, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County, Enlisted on August 14, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County, Enlisted at 51 years old in Nashville; a farmer; died March 1, 1864 of dropsy? (a term for edema congestive heart failure at the time); Dec 15, 1863 sent to Hospital 16 [this was No. 16. Contraband Hospital. [ first day of the Battle of Nashville] Gordon Block, corner of Broad Street and Upper Wharf]; can’t find his burial records
  • Boyd, Reuben, 12th US Colored Infantry Co K, 38 year old farmer; enlisted August 12, 1863 in Nashville; born in Williamson County; March 13, 1865 sick and died in Nashville hospital No 11 with small pox; death certificate says he was single and living in Nashville before enlistment - perhaps a contraband; buried in Pest Hospital Cemetery; hospital record no 2170; can’t find his burial records
  • Ensley, Michael “Mike”, 12th US Colored Infantry Co K, 33 year old farmer; enlisted August 12, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County, Died April 8, 1864 at Regimental Hospital - Sec. 53 of N&NW Rail Road; died of disease “flux” (An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea.); can’t find his burial records 
  • Spratt, Alfred, 12th US Colored Infantry Co K, 23 year old farmer; enlisted August 12, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County, Died of disease Oct. 10, 1863 at Elk River; can’t find his burial records
  • Burnett, Tucker, 13th US Colored Infantry Co B, Enrolled at the Elk River in Aug 1863, 19 years old farmer born in Williamson County; died of disease within a few months of mustering into the army on Jan. 1, 1864 at Camp Mussey; can’t find burial records
  • Moore, Monroe, 13th US Colored Infantry Co B, 20 year old farmer; enlisted on August 1, 1863 at the Elk River, born in Williamson County, sick at Camp Rosencranz Nov. 9, 1863; Died Dec 15, 1863 at Regimental Hospital, Camp Mussey of disease; can’t find his burial records         
  • Crawford, Henry, 13th US Colored Infantry Co F, Enlisted at 19 years old on Sept. 24, 1863 in Nashville; born in Williamson County, died May 3, 1864 of typhoid at Hospital No 16; occupation “hostler” – worked as a groom with horses; can’t find burial records   
  • Crawford, Andrew, 13th US Colored Infantry Co G, Enlisted 18 years old on Sept. 16, 1863 as a private; born in Williamson County; farmer; recruited at Murfreesboro; sick in hospital Jan. 11, 1864; died in May 1864 in Nashville General hospital No. 16 from bronchitis – or small pox?; buried May 19.1864 US Burial Ground - South West City Cemetery, Section K – 130; #10615 (burial records say Company D)      
  • Waters, Peter, 13th US Colored Infantry Co H, enlisted in Franklin on October 19, 1863, 18 year old farmer born in Williamson County; Dec. 10, 1864 sick in hospital in Nashville; his company mustered out Jan. 10, 1866; he died on January 21, 1866 at the Pest Hospital of Small Pox – his hospital number was 999; he was buried in the Pest Hospital Cemetery - can’t find his burial records
  • Bittick, Robert, 13th US Colored Infantry Co I, b. 1818 in Williamson County; enlisted at age 45 on Oct 22, 1863 in Stevenson Alabama;, Died of Jan. 20, 1864 in Nashville of disease (typhoid fever) – hospital No. 16?; US Burial Ground - Due West City Cemetery Section E-2008, #5822        
  • Crutchelow, Nick, 13th US Colored Infantry Co I, Born in Williamson County, Enlisted as a 21 year old laborer on Oct. 17, 1863 at Stevenson, Alabama for a term of 3 years; died of disease May 6, 1864 at Camp L Thomas ; can’t find burial records
  • Parham, James, 13th US Colored Infantry Co H, Born in Frankln, Tennessee; 20 year old Teamster; enlisted on Oct 16, 1863 in Stevenson, Alabama, Dec. 16, 1864 sick in Nashville; died at US General Hospital No. 11, January 22, 1865 of small pox; hospital number 1766; can’t find his burial records
  • Spratt, Robert, 14th US Colored Infantry Co C, b 1841; teamster; enlisted on Nov 1, 1863 in Gallatin, born in Williamson County, died Dec.2,1865 in Pest Hospital Chattanooga Dec 2, 1865; Buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Plot: J, 3546
  • Woodward, John Wm, 14th US Colored Infantry Co I, b. 1845 in Williamson County; enlisted on Dec 15, 1863 in Gallatin as an 18 year old farmer; mustered in as an under cook in Gallatin on Jan. 1, 1864; January 18, 1864 sick in General hospital No. 1 in Gallatin; died August 23, 1864 in Chattanooga of chronic diarrhea; inventory of his effects; Buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Plot: J, 3288    
  • Boxley, Anderson, 15th US Colored Infantry Co A, b. about 1841 in Williamson County; enlisted on Dec 2, 1863 in Columbia, Tennessee as a 22 year old farmer; died in Hospital in Nashville July 18, 1865 from dysentery; single; record of death – City Cemetery, later moved - U.S. Burial Ground - South West City Cemetery, #10457 , J – 1710        
  • Jordon, William, 15th US Colored Infantry Co A, b. around 1843 in Williamson County; enlisted on Nov. 28, 1863 in Columbia as a 20 year old farmer; married; Dec. 2, 1863; April 30, 1864 on duty as drummer in the Regiment, Nashville, Tennessee; died in hospital in Nashville May 26, 1865 of typhoid fever; Hospital Record No. 1183 Wilson USA Federal? Hospital; buried in City Cemetery; can’t find burial records       
  • Hughs, Peter (Hughes?), 15th US Colored Infantry Co B, B around 1840 in Williamson County; enlisted on Dec 9, 1863 in Columbia as a 23 year old farmer; mustered in at Shelbyville on Jan. 4, 1864; January 16, 1864 – has a sort of “doctor’s note” in his file stating he has pneumonia and dysentery and won’t be fit for military duty for at least 20 days; died at Wilson General Hospital, Nashville January 23, 1864 of pneumonia ; hospital record number 1183; buried in the City Cemetery; he was married; Burial Records - U.S. Burial Ground - Due West City Cemetery, E – 2108
  • Swanson, Josephus, 15th US Colored Infantry Co E, b. 1843 in Williamson County; enlisted on Jan 14, 1864 in Shelbyville as a 21 year old farmer; residence before enlistment was Franklin, Tennessee (per death certificate); he was single – but a name of Emily Swanson is given living in Nashville – perhaps mother?; died in Cumberland Hospital in Nashville March 30, 1866 cause of death “anasarca following variola” = Generalized massive edema following smallpox; his effects consisted of a blouse, drawers and shoes; Hospital medical record number 14805 – buried at City Cemetery March 31; burial records UR 14805, R – 319, Small Pox Cemetery 2 miles N.W. of Nashville Tenn S.W. Corner of Cemetery
  • Barker, James, 16th US Colored Infantry Co C, b. about 1819 in Williamson County; enlisted on Dec 7, 1864 in Clarkesville as a 44 year old farmer; admitted to pest hospital on December 21, 1864; died at pest hospital from pneumonia, Clarksville  December 25, 1864; can’t find his burial or grave information
  • Elmore, Noah, 17th US Colored Infantry Co E, b. about 1838 in Williamson County; enlisted on Feb 21, 1864 in Murfreesboro as a 26 year old farmer; died March 3, 1864 at Murfreesboro (coincidence that William Ellison from Williamson County deserted the same day?); died of typhoid pneumonia; hospital record # 1391; can’t find his burial information
  • Dotson, Daniel, 17th US Colored Infantry Co H, B 1837 in Williamson County, enlisted on Jan 17, 1864 in Murfreesboro as a 27 years old Farmer; Died at Nashville May 29, 1865 of scurvy also “rheumatism of the heart?; he “left no effects of any value”; 13722 Nashville Cemetery; Section L – 426; unmarried [listed as David Dotson in the cemetery records, and also a duplicate of D Dotson with incomplete information]
  • Roberts, James, 1st US Colored Heavy Artillery Co C, b. around 1844 in Williamson County; enlisted on Jan 28, 1864 in Knoxville as a 20 year old farmer; died April 2, 1864 caused by pneumonia, typhoid in Knoxville Regimental hospital; can’t find his grave         
  • Battle, Peter, 2nd Regiment US Colored Light Artillery Battery A, b. about 1845 in Williamson County; enlisted on April 2, 1864 in Nashville as a19-year-old farmer; died in Wilson Hospital Nashville Feb 15, 1865 of pneumonia; burial information: #11575 – UR 12081, L – 418, U.S. Burial Ground - South West City Cemetery 
  • Willington, Harvey, 2nd Regiment US Colored Light Artillery Battery A, b. 1839 in Williamson County; enlisted on Feb. 4, 1864 in Nashville as a 25 year old blacksmith; mustered in and then died in USA Hospital No. 16 Nashville, Tenn. March 23, 1864 of typhoid fever; hospital record No. 16; can’t find his burial records
  • Carter, Alfred (Albert), 2nd Regiment US Colored Light Artillery Battery E,  B about 1842 in Williamson county; enlisted on Feb 9, 1864 in Helena, Arkansas as a 22 year old farmer; died in hospital in Helena, Arkansas of pneumonia April 26, 1865, can’t find his burial records
  • Patton, Thomas, 3rd US Colored Cavalry Co M, B around 1842 in Wililamson County; enlisted on Jan 6, 1865 in Vicksburg; laborer/farmer; 23 years old; died April 28, 1865 of chronic diarrhea in a regimental hospital in Memphis; can’t find his burial records
  • Jordan, John, 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery Co K, b. around 1825 in Williamson County; enlisted on Nov. 18, 1863 in Memphis at Ft. Pickering as a 38 year old farmer; Aug. 17, 1864 sick in Regimental Hospital; died Nov. 7, 1864 in Regimental Hospital at Ft. Pickering in Memphis
  • Potter, Amos, 42nd US Colored Infantry Co H, b. around 1815 in Williamson County; enlisted on Dec 3, 1863 in Columbia as a 48 year old farmer; mustered in Jan. 8, 1864 at Shelbyville; died in Huntsville Pest? Hospital of acute dysentery/typhoid fever on Oct. 9, 1865; hospital record # 11711; buried in 252 Huntsville Cemetery Oct. 10, 1865 can’t find his current burial site – some people think these graves were moved to Chattanooga    
  • Roberts, Harrison, 44th US Colored Infantry Co B, b. around 1847 in Williamson County; enlisted on March 25, 1864 in Chattanooga as a17 year old farmer; May 21 – Nov. 8, 1864 on recruiting service; Sept. 1, 1864 promoted to corporal; Oct. 13, 1864 taken POW at Dalton, GA by Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army; April 1, 1865 on color guard duty (escort); July/August – relieved of color guard duty and returned to company; Feb. 24, 1866 sick in General Hospital in Huntsville; died in USA Post? Pest? Hospital in Huntsville of consumption Feb. 24, 1866; hospital record # 1353; buried in 288 Huntsville Cemetery, 18 years old can’t find current gravesite – perhaps moved to Chattanooga   
  • Anderson, Isham, 46th US Colored Infantry Co H, b. abt 1841 in Williamson County, enlisted on May 1, 1863 in Helena, Arkansas as a 22 years old farmer; Aug 7, 1865, sick in Hospital in Brownsville, Texas; died of dysentery in hospital in Brownsville, Texas Sept 16, 1865. The graves at Brownsville were moved to Alexandria, Louisiana in 1909. I haven’t been able to locate Isham’s grave, but if he were buried in Brownsville and his grave were identified he should have been moved to Alexandria. [1st Regiment Arkansas Volunteer Infantry (African Descent)]
  • Dougherty, Abram, 47th US Colored Infantry Co K, B about 1832 in Williamson County; enlisted on Feb. 24, 1864 in Vickburg as a 32 year old field hand; May 5, 1864 died in Regimental Hospital in Vicksburg of pneumonia; no burial record; I can’t find his grave     
  • Wilson, Miles, 47th US Colored Infantry Co K, B. 1820 in Williamson County; enlisted on Feb 24, 1864 in Vickbsburg as a 44 year old fieldhand; March 8, 1865 died of small pox at Corps d’Afrique General Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana; his listing in the US Register of Deaths of Volunteers; no burial information       
  • Irwing, William A., 4th US Colored Heavy Artillery Co C, b. around 1835 in Williamson county; enlisted on June 21, 1863 in Columbus, Kentucky as a 28 year old farmer; July 26, 1863 sick in hospital at Island No. 10; died of dysentery in hospital in Columbus, Kentucky August 25, 1863; no burial information         
  • Collyer, John, 55th US Colored Infantry Co F, b. about 1833 in Williamson County; enlisted on Feb 23, 1864 in Memphis as a 31 year old farmer; May 22, 1864 died of disease at Memphis; no burial information
  • Gordon, James, 8th US Colored Heavy Artillery Co A, b. about 1825 in Williamson County; enlisted on Sept. 14, 1864 in Paducah, Kentucky as a 39 year old cabinet maker;  Jan. 27, 1865 died at USA Hospital for Colored Troops at Paducah, Ky. Of pneumonia; Salena? Gordon – widow – came for his effects; no burial information       
Death Not Stated
  • Carpenter, Edmund (Esmond?), 13th US Colored Infantry Co A, Enlisted in Franklin, 26 years old, farmer, Aug. 12, 1863 in Franklin; Died in Regimental Hospital at Camp L. Thomas March 12, 1864; cause of death not stated; can’t find burial records
Death from Other Causes
  • Pider, John (Pointer?), 13th US Colored Infantry Co D, 20 year old farmer; enlisted Oct 4, 1863 in Nashville, born in Williamson County, April 1, 1865 promoted to corporal on daily duty recruiting; Died June 20th of accidental wounds in the 2nd of June at Waverly, Tenn; ; can’t find his burial records   
  • Gordon, Alexander, 51st US Colored Infantry Co I, b. about 1828 in Spring Hill, Williamson County; enlisted on May 11, 1865 in Providence, Alabama as a 37 year old Laborer; died from drowning in Red River Dec. 23, 1865; no burial information
  • Moon, Henry, 17th US Colored Infantry Co E, Born in Virgnia, raised in Williamson County near Triune, Enlisted on January 17, 1864 in Tennessee as a 27 year old farmer; wounded at Battle of Nashville Dec 15, 1864; in hospital from January 12, 1865; returned May 20, 1865 from Wilson Hospital; in Nashville; February 7, 1866 he and his brother Henry Moon were granted permission to visit their home in Triune and they were confronted at the gate in front of John Bostick’s house on Nolensville Road by John Henry Griggs who shot and killed Henry Moon; Lewis made his escape back to Nashville