Posts Tagged ‘cemeteries’

This sidebar accompanies today’s sketch for Charles Sprout, Company E, 1st US Colored Cavalry.
Thank you, Mr. Wilinski for sharing this information with me — Leslie

Charles Sprout: A Civil War Soldier Revisited
“An exploration of the life and death of Charles Sprout, a soldier in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during and after the Civil War. Using military and pension records held by the National Archives, it shows how the National Archives supports and provides synergy with other federal agencies, such as the National Park Service, in presenting an enslaved person’s unique military history.”

This brief documentary on YouTube gives a lot of detail about Charles Sprout’s life before and after the Civil War. Research was conducted by Jesse Wilinski, Archives Technician, National Archives, Washington, DC who also volunteers at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Virginia. Also featured in the film is Peter Maugle, Park Ranger/Historian, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Virginia.

Approved Pension File for Private Charles Sprout, Company E, 1st U.S. Colored Troops Cavalry Regiment (SC-814459)

Compiled Military Service Record for Private Charles Sprout
A serviceman’s CMSR includes a physicial description, details about his enlistment, his whereabouts during his service, notes about sums owned to a sutler or the U.S. Army, and legal status at enlistment.

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Born enslaved in Spotsylvania County, Virginia the soldier enlisted as a free man. When the war ended, he married in Spotsylvania in 1897. He is buried in Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Additional information about his life is available in this week’s sidebar which includes a brief documentary and other items of interest.

Invalid — 1,050,441 / 814,459

Declaration for Pension, Charles Sprout, 17 August 1891
48 years old; residence, Wilderness Tavern, Spotsylvania County, Virginia; post-office address, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Co., Va.
“Also personally appeared, Mary Gray, residing at Washington, DC and Mary Bailey, residing at Washington, DC … their acquaintance with him for 20 years and 6 years, respectively”

Declaration for the Increase of an Invalid Pension, Charles Sprout, 15 December 1892
residence and post-office address, Wilderness Tavern, Spotsylvania Co., Va.
“Also personally appeared John J. Berry [?], residing at Fredericksburg and A.B. Bowering, residing at Fredericksburg”

Declaration for an Original Invalid Pension, Charles Sprout, 4 August 1896
52 years old; residence and post-office address, Wilderness Tavern, Spotsylvania Co., Va.
“occupation, farmer … when enrolled a slave”
“Also personally appeared L.R. Colbert, residing at Massaponax, Virginia and Isaiah Long, residing at Sunlight, Va.”

Declaration for the Increase of an Invalid Pension, Charles Sprout, 26 July 1897
54 years old; residence, Spotsylvania Co., Va.; post-office address, [“Fredericksburg” is struck through] Dunavant, Spotsylvania Co., Va.
“Also personally appeared John S. Berry [?], residing at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Charles W. Edington, residing at Fredericksburg, Virginia”

Questionnaire (Form 3-402), Charles Sprout, 23 March 1898
[married] Fannie Kemp Ward; Fannie Kemp Sprout
[when, where, by whom] “June 30th 1897 at her home in Spottsylvania [sic] Co by James Roberson
[record] Spotsylvania Co., Virginia
[previously married] “was never married before this”
[living children] “none living nor dead”

Questionnaire (Form 3-493), Charles Sprout, 31 August 1898
[residence; post-office address] Spotsylvania County; Dunavant
[residence after discharge] “I think I was discharged in June 1865 at City Point, Va. from there I went to Washington where I went to Washington where I spent about two months, and from there I went to Wilderness Tavern, where I was about eight or nine years and from there I went to Dunavant where I am now”
[nearest post-office to residence] Wilderness Tavern and Dunavant
[occupation since discharge] farming
[known by another name] no
[name in service] Charles Sprout

Questionnaire (Form 3-173), Charles Sprout, 31 August 1898
[married] Fannie Kemp Ward Sprout
[when, where, by whom] “June 30th 1897 by James Roberson, Spotsylvania Co., Va.”
[record] at Spotsylvania courthouse
[previous marriage] no
[living children] no

Declaration for Pension, Charles Sprout, 22 June 1908
69 years old; residence, Dunavant; post-office address, Dunavant, Spotsylvania, Virginia
“occupation was teamster … born October 6th, 1849, at Spotsylvania County, Virginia … residences since leaving service have been as follows: [illegible] 2 months after the war and since in Spotsylvania — Warren County, Virginia … Also personally appeared, John S. Berry [?], residing in Fredericksburg, Virginia and Samuel Coleman, residing in Fredericksburg, Viginia … their acquaintance with him of 13 and 13 years, respectively”

Questionnaire (Form 3-014), Charles Sprout, 13 June 1913
70 years old; residence, Fredericksburg, Virginia; post-office address, Fredericksburg, Virginia
“honorably discharged at Brazos Santiago, Texas, on the 4th day of February, 1866 … his occupation was teamster … he was born about 1843 … Also personally appeared John S. Boon [Brown?], residing in Fredericksburg, Virginia and George A. Scott, residing in Fredericksburg, Virginia … their acquaintance with him of 15 years and 10 years, respectively”

Questionnaire (Form 3-364), Charles Sprout, 16 June 1913
“Age shown by evidence, 70 years old; date of birth, December 12, 1842; claimant does not write
[Note: This document was date-stamped received by Pension Office — Leslie]

Letter (handwritten) from A.D. Cunningham, P.O. Box 72, Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Commissioner of Pensions,
21 February 1926
“This is to let you know that Charles Sprout is dead. He died last Sat. the 13th. He was buried in the national cemetery Tue. the 16th and I his adopted son Arthur D. Cunningham take this means of letting you know.”

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US Geological Suvey, Flushing NY 7.5 minute topo series, 1966 edition. Image cropped to show only Hart Island, Bronx. Click here to download the USGS map.

The Hart Island Project
“New York’s City Cemetery on Hart Island occupies 131 acres in the Long Island Sound on the eastern edge of the Bronx. Since 1869, prison labor has been used to bury unclaimed and unidentified New Yorkers in mass graves of 150 adults or 1000 infants. Until 2014, these graves were inaccessible to families of the buried.”

NY State’s Civil War ‘US Colored Troops’ Organized, Trained on Rikers & Hart Islands
“Before becoming major bases of operations in New York City Correction history, Rikers and Hart Islands served as military bases for New York State’s three regiments of African-American soldiers in the Civil War. These more than 4,000 Black servicemen formed New York’s 20th, 26th and 31st regiments of what was then called the United States Colored Troops (USCT).”

Hart’s Island … contains the Reformatory Prison and the City Cemetery … The Reformatory Prison, operated by the municipal Department of Corrections, cares for approximately 1,200 prisoners transferred from the New York City Penitentiary on Riker’s Island in accordance with the department’s classification policy. The prisoners here include partially cured drug addicts, aged veterans, crippled and infirm men, and others who may benefit by the opportunity for exercise and light employment in the open air.”
Federal Writers’ Project. New York City Guide; A Comprehensive Guide to the Five Boroughs of the metropolis: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Richmond. New York: Random House, 1939.

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This photograph of Section 27 was taken in 2020 by a U.S. soldier or employee of the federal government as a part of their official duty. The image is in the public domain.

Robert E. Lee’s home and plantation, Arlington House, became a Federal encampment, a community where freedmen lived and worked, and then the resting place for thousands of Americans. When Arlington National Cemetery was established in 1864, Section 27 was a segregated area for African American soldiers and civilians. Burials include the remains of United States Colored Troops and formerly enslaved people who lived and worked in Freedman’s Village.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery: Freedman’s Village

National Park Service: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

Ric Murphy and Tim Stephens. Section 27 and Freedman’s Village in Arlington National Cemetery: The African American History of America’s Most Hallowed Ground. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2020.

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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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