Archive for the ‘Not 1st USCC’ Category

Four brothers from Southampton County, Virginia — all freeborn — enlisted in cavalry units: Henry Charity, Company E, 1st U.S. Colored CavalryJoshua Charity, Company A, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry; Thomas Charity, Company E, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry; and Friday Charity alias Friday Whipple, Company I, 2nd U.S. Colored Cavalry.

This young man fled his apprenticeship and enlisted in the Union Army. He died of “congestive fever” (malaria) in a regimental hospital.

Mother – 292,885 / 225,641, Gincy Charity
See M.O. Ctf 225,614 Thomas Charity E 1 U.S.C. Cav (2 sons)

[Note: The mother filed for pensioner’s benefits on 19 May 1882. The handwritten note at the bottom of the pension index card — it begins “See M.O. Ctf” and stands for “Mother’s Original Certificate” — directs the researcher to the shared application and certificate number assigned to both young men. — Leslie]


Declaration for an Original Pension for of a Father or Mother, Jinsey Charity, 12 May 1884
71 years old; post-office address, Franklin, Southampton Co., Va.
“[the soldier] enlisted under the name F. Whipper … died while in service between Richmond and Petersburg on the 1st day of April 1865 . . . the said declarant was married to the Father of said son at Southampton Co., Va. … in 1821 …
“Also personally appeared Henry Darden, residing at Jerusalem, Va. and H.W. Taylor, residing at Jerusalem, Va.”


Statement of B.F. Pope, Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army, War Department, Surgeon’s General’s Office, Record and Pension Division, 30 September 1884
Friday Whitford, Private, Co. I, 2 U.S.C. Cav. died in Regimental Hospital, Feb. 27, 1865 of ‘Congestion Fever.'”


Letter from, B.F. Knight, Clerk’s Office of the Circuit and County Courts of Southampton, Jerusalem, Va. to Hon. J.C. Black, Commissioner of Pensions, 16 November 1885
“I have been requested by Ginsie Charity of my neighborhood, whom I know well, to go to Washington to collect her pension money which she thinks is ready. In order to save her needless expense, I write to know if the claim has been adjusted and should I come to Washington with power of attorney, and I collect the claim…”
[Note: This letter was signed by B.F. Knight — Leslie]


Sworn Statement, Gincy Charity, 22 January 1887
“I am the mother of Friday Charity … and that my residence has always been this county and that my p.o. address since 1865 has been Newsoms, Va. … no one has been legally bound to support me since since 1865 nor since the death of the soldier nor have I ever married since the death of my son Friday. … that my husband abandoned me prior to the death of the soldier & left me to support myself as best I could … I have never owned any property either before or since 1865 except a few chairs & a bed and my son Friday wrote me letters while in the army & I only possessed a knowledge of his death by information of one Henry Williams who returned a private of Co I. 1st Reg. U.S. Col. Cav. “


Letter from Jincy Charity to Jno. C. Black, U.S. Pension Commissioner, Washington, DC, 22 January 1887
“I have waited so long because I have been so much troubled to get this pension that I had despaired of ever getting anything from the Gov. but I am now so old & feeble & so poor and needy that I have determined to make one more effort.”


Letter from John Charity to Hon. John C. Blackwell [sic], 28 December 1887 [date stamped]
“Dear Sir,
“You will please let me know whether a child can draw a pension on his brother. The name of the man I am after now is Friday Charity but enlisted under the name Friday Whipper, Reg. 2, Co I. His mother died May 11, 1880. I want to know whether her youngest son can draw it or not.”

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Sonny Blackman, Company D

The applicant claimed that her father joined the 1st U.S.C.C. in Vicksburg, Mississippi in June 1863 but that’s impossible. The regiment wasn’t organized until December 1863 at Fortress Monroe. There isn’t a Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) for this soldier in this regiment.*

Minor — 946,456 / —–, Lizzie Blackman
Declaration for Pension of Children under Sixteen Years of Age, Lizzie Blackman, 22 July 1910
residence, Kings Point, Warren County, Mississippi; post-office address, General Delivery Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi, c/o Henry Abraham  … “Sonny Blackman [enlisted at Vicksburg in June 1863] as a Private in Comp D, Cold Cav 1st Reg was killed at Champion Hill in service, 1865 … That the mother of said child was married under the name of Lottie Hill … that [her husband] died 1867 …

“Also personally appeared Chas. Grimes, residing at Vicksburg, Miss and residing at Vicksburg, and Newell [?] H. Cook, residing at Vicksburg …”

Letter from Lizzie Blackman, Vicksburg, Mississippi to Department of Interior, Bureau of Pensions, 7 September 1915
“Dear Gentlemen, I received of Mr. Wm. Fletcher & Co., arranged a letter stating that said Blackman of Co. D, 1st U.S.C. Cav could not be found and my witnesses say that were right and they know these witnesses was in the service with him and he was wounded at Champion Hill in actual battle and was sent to Vicksburg Mississippi Marine Hospital and did die from said effects. Please look him up for me. Lizzie Blackman. Very truly yours. I am getting old dear gentlemen please let me hear from you at an early date.”

[This letter was written in pencil and it’s quite faded. Almost every word is misspelled; I corrected them for readability — Leslie]
*Compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served with the United States Colored Troops [microform]: 1st through 5th United States Colored Cavalry, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored), 6th United States Colored Cavalry (1997). Reel 0001 – 1st United States Colored Cavalry: Ackess, Alexander – Bom, John H. (online at http://www.archive.org/details/compiledmili0001akesunit).  

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This soldier was in the 1st U.S. Heavy Artillery and not the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry. The correction was noted on two items in the pension application folder but the mistake hasn’t been corrected elsewhere.


Invalid — 1,116,461 / —–


Sworn Statement, William Alphine, 12 October 1892
“I hereby certify that my rupture is on the left side of my belly. I was ruptured about July 1866 in the following manner — while working on the Steamer Adelaide as a deckhand running between Baltimore and Norfolk, Virginia. I lost the first joint of the first finger of my right hand about November 1888 in the following manner — by having my hand caught in a block and tackle while working at longshore work in Charleston, South Carolina.”


A.C. McNulty, Law, Pensions, Patents, 313 W. Clinch Street, Knoxville, Tennessee [letterhead] to Southern Division, 7 December 1896
“Has claimant been heard from direct? Letters addressed to him at 15 Limehouse Street, Charleston, South Carolina, failed of delivery. Delay wholly due to the fact of my inability to secure claimant’s co-operation, I ask that my rights, as attorney of record, be regarded.”
[A handwritten note on the attorney’s letterhead reads “I 1 U S C HA.”  Document was date stamped by the Pension Bureau — Leslie]

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I wasn’t able to locate an image of the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry regimental flag  I found images for the Pennsylvania regiments in which my father’s ancestors served. Joseph Bryans (1842-1913), 45th U.S. Colored Troops, was my great-great-grandfather. His brothers William Alexander Bryans (1845-1929) served in 127th U.S. Colored Troops and Stephen Batch Bryans (1847-1928) served in 24th U.S. Colored Troops. The family name is “Bryans” but the great-great-uncles’ names were incorrectly entered into the military record as “William E. Bryan” and “Stephen O’Bryan.”

The regimental flag had several purposes. It was a source of morale for members of a regiment who tended to be from the same geographic area and developed a sense of loyalty and pride.  Battlefields were noisy, smoky, and confusing. Regiments could get scattered. Bugles and vocal commands couldn’t be heard. Soldiers were trained to follow the flag. The flagbearer followed the officer’s orders and rode directly into battle — unarmed. Gven his visibility, it’s no surprise that he was often the target of enemy fire; the mortality rate was high. If he was injured or killed, his comrades picked up the banner. The color guard typically included a color bearer for the American flag, another color bearer for the regimental flag, and two other soldiers who guarded the color bearers. Losing a battle flag was considered a disgrace; capturing the enemy’s flag was a triumph.

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