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Compiled Military Service Records

This is the bottom portion of one of the cards in the Compiled Military Service Record for William Hill, Company H, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry.

“Beginning in the 1890s, the War Department created the Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) to document the military service of Volunteer soldiers. Transcribed from original muster and pay rolls, regimental returns, descriptive books, hospital rolls, and other records, the CMSRs were intended to permit more rapid and efficient checking of military and medical records in connection with claims for pensions and other veterans’ benefits.

“The War Department initially created CMSRs for Union veterans of the Civil War and later expanded the records to include state Volunteers from other conflicts. As a result, the National Archives now holds CMSRs for Volunteer soldiers from the Revolutionary War through the Philippine Insurrection.”

For the complete article on the National Archives’ website, click on this waypoint:
Home>Research Our Records>Military Records Research>Army Records at the National Archives>Compiled Military Service Records.

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“First Monday” features an extra sketch or sidebar.
Today’s posts include Henry Hill, Company E; William Hill, Company H; and Compiled Military Service Records.

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Draymen and Drayage

A drayman at Bethel Burying Ground*

“Drayage was vital to a seaport town. Tons of merchandise were transported to and from the surrounding countryside, and between wharves and mercantile houses. Even firewood and drinking water were brought into the borough….A run-down horse and a makeshift cart were the minimum necessity for getting started. The established draymen usually owned at least two horses, or mules, and several carts and wagons. The work of these proud, independent men caused them to travel throughout southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina and they established contacts with some of the most prominent merchants in the area.”
Tommy L. Bogger, Free Blacks in Norfolk, Virginia, 1790-1860: The Darker Side of Freedom. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. 1997, p. 67

“A visitor to Norfolk in 1828 called drayage ‘the business of the negroes’ … In addition, a historian labeled drayage as ‘the only occupation in which Norfolk’s free blacks faced no competition from whites.’ But a close investigation reveals that whites had begun to enter that field between 1850 and 1860. Economic considerations disposed them once again to seek employment in a traditionally black field.”
Bogger, p. 69

*Efforts to memorialize the cemetery have been sponsored by the Bethel Burying Ground Project. Locate the photograph by putting these terms in the Google search box — “black drayman” “bethel burying ground” — with the quotation marks.

The cemetery’s nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places is 70 pages long and has lots of photographs and maps.

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This is a large file at a low resolution. Click on the links below for much sharper images.

Fort Powhatan situated on the James River is highlighted with a “star (a blue square with spokes) on the upper portion of this map. The Library of Virginia has the original map in its collection and a digital version on its website. There’s another digital image of the map on the Library of Congress website.

The catalog record at the Library of Congress includes these notes:
“-  “May 26th 1862.”
–  Shows roads, railroads, towns and rivers.
–  This item is in the Map Collection of the Library of Virginia; please contact the Library’s Archives Research Services department for more information.
–  Title from accompanying envelope.
–  Available also through the Library of Congress web site as raster image.
–  Source unknown; April 2004, Map Cataloging Team.
–  Civil War project no.: lva00202.
–  Conservation: Etherington Conservation Center, April 2004.
–  Digital image available: 17 x 9.5 in.
–  Map accession no. 5274.”

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The original map is at the Library of Virginia and a digital image is available at the Library of Congress website.

The catalog record on the website explains that the map was created by Charles E. Cassell and published in 1861. It depicts landowners in Norfolk and Portsmouth. It also shows “public property, landowners, vegetation, streets, railroads, and includes Fort Norfolk.”

Note also that the wharves are named.


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Join hosts Janice and Cherekana of Speak On It ! with Leslie Anderson for a conversation … “Stories from the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry.” The program is Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 8pm (EST) on BlogTalkRadio.

The 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry included free men, freedmen, freedom-seekers, and white officers from the United States and around the world. Who were they? Where did they come from? Where did they go? And what of those who didn’t survive? Many who returned to civilian life established families and contributed to their communities. Others struggled with debilitating injuries, madness, and broken hearts. This program examines the pre-and post-war lives of selected troops and officers by using pension applications and sources from local history. Learn about strategies and sources that you can apply to your research.

Named a Virginia Humanities Scholar in 2020 Leslie won the 2013 NGS Family History Writing Contest. Her publications include Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853-1865 (Project Editor), Alexandria (Co-author), and the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. Leslie’s genealogical education includes Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. She’s a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, the National Genealogical Society, and the Virginia Genealogical Society.  

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This reference book is available online. Chapters are organized into ten parts:
Part I: African and Other Roots; Part II: Africans in Early North America; Part III: In The House of Bondage; Part IV: Transculturation; Part V: The Civil War, Emancipation, and the Quest for Freedom; Part VI: The Maturation of African American Communities and the Emergence of Independent Institutions; Part VII: African Americans and ‘Wars for Democracy’; Part VIII: Gender and Class; Part IX: Migration, Renaissance, and New Beginnings; and Part X: Searching for Place.

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“Laurel Cemetery (1852-1958) existed for over 100 years as a nonsectarian cemetery for Baltimore’s African American community. In its early years, it was a premier burial site for people across Black Baltimore’s socioeconomic spectrum. However, years of improper maintenance led to the eventual demolition of the site in 1958. Today, the Belair-Edison Crossing shopping center occupies the footprint of the old cemetery.

“In spring 2014, University of Baltimore and Coppin State University professors initiated the Laurel Cemetery project as an inter-institutional project for students interested in cultural resource management, history, archaeology, and environmental sustainability. Through archaeological excavation, faculty and student researchers found conclusive evidence of existing burials. Their current efforts focus on public education, research into the lives of those buried at the site, and the erection of a memorial to recognize the burial ground.”

The above is excerpted from the Laurel Cemetery Memorial Project website. Resources on the site include maps, photographs, presentations and programs on YouTube, and a list of burials including those of U.S. Colored Troops.

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The catalogue record for this item at the Library of Congress

“[Many hospitals] were built on a pavilion model, with separate, single-story, ward-size buildings arranged in rows or a semicircle and designed for good ventilation. These hospitals had additional buildings for kitchens and other supportive services.”
Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein. The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2008), page 140.

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According to his Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) — not shown here — the soldier was 40 years old when he enlisted in New York City. His occupation was horse trader. After the war he and his wife settled in Baltimore.

Invalid — 125,499 / —–
Widow– 489,516 / 450,795, Catherine Jones

Declaration for an Invalid Pension, Walter Jones, 2 May 1867
43 years old; residence and post-office address, 69 Arch Street, Baltimore, Md
“He was wounded in a skirmish with the rebels about the 15th day of January 1865 as nearly as he can recollect near Suffolk, Va. striking him by a musket ball in the front and inner side of the left leg about six inches above the ankle which shattered the bone and lodged about two inches above the ankle…. always requiring a cane to walk, and limping in his movement
“Also personally appeared, George Riggs and Warren Riggs … residents of Washington, DC”

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Catharine Jones, 2 December 1890
“The soldier died July 19, 1871 in Baltimore, Md. … that she was married under the name Catharine Cheevers to said Walter Jones on May 1861 by Rev. Stephen Howard at Gloucester, Va. … the soldier had been previously married but his wife had been dead for some time when he married claimant”
“Also personally appeared, Nancy Taylor residing at 594 W. Preston St., Balto, Md. and Caroline Moseley residing at 755 Raborg St., Baltimore, Maryland … acquaintance with her of 25 years and 25 years, respectively”

Sworn Statement, Caroline Moseley, 2 December 1890
50 years old; residence,755 Raborg Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“I was bridesmaid at the marriage of Catharine Cheevers and Walter Jones at Gloucester, Va. in May 1861 and I dressed the bride.”

General Affidavit, Catherine Jones, 9 December 1891
50 years old; residence, Baltimore, Maryland
“My husband Walter Jones was a member of Company C 1st Reg U.S. Cold. Troops.
In my original declaration I was mistaken when I said my husband was a member of Co K 30th US Cold Troops.”

Sworn Statement, Anthony A. Carter and Elizabeth Maddux, 16 December 1890
[Carter] 45 years old; residence, 511 Norris Ave., Baltimore, Maryland
[Maddux] 40 years old; residence Horning Ave near Carrolton Ave., Baltimore, Md.
“[Maddux] saw him carried out of the house, dead. He died on the corner of Pine & Josephine Sts., Baltimore, Md. Anthony A. Carter moved him into the house about ten days before he died.”

General Affidavit, Catharine Jones, 28 June 1893
49 years old; residence, Baltimore, Md.; post-office address, 594 W. Preston, Baltimore, Md
“Her husband died of the smallpox and all his effects were burned by the city.”

Handwritten Note Signed by John B. Giles, Laurel Cemetery, 30 June 1914
“I hereby certify holding Mrs. Dervella Lattimore responsible for (three dollars) 3.00 to John B. Giles Supt LC for the open of grave of Catherine Jones burried [sic] in Laurel Cemetery no of lot 47 Laurel Park area.”

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