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The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 December 1863, page 1, column 5

Newspapers across the country followed the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry from its origins to its dissolution.  Readers were interested in the regiment’s formation, the training and drills they engaged in, and also the parades and reviews conducted for government and military officials at Fortress Monroe. Journalists reported on troop movements and participation in skirmishes and battles. Troop transport to Brazos Santiago, Texas at the end of the war and activities related to final discharge at City Point, Virginia were also reported on.

Many of the white officers commanding the regiment began their military careers with brief service in the Third New York Cavalry. Officers’ names show up repeatedly in pension applications.

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“Soldiers Home News Sent by Captain Brady,” The Hampton Monitor, 22 February 1918, page 1, column 7

“Soldiers Home News Sent by Captain Brady,” The Hampton Monitor, 8 March 1918, page 1, column 7

Early in my research, I came across The Hampton Monitor on microfilm at Hampton Public Library. The newspaper which was published every Friday featured a column with news from the National Soldiers Home, Hampton, Virginia. The column included news items and sometimes names of those “Admitted,” “Readmitted,” “Transferred,” “Discharged,” “Dropped from Home Rolls,” and “Deceased.” The newspaper is now available online at Chronicling America (Library of Congress) and Virginia Chronicle (Library of Virginia).

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At war’s end, U.S. Colored Troops were sent to Brazos Santiago, Texas before their final muster out. Brazos is on that part of the Rio Grande that empties into the Gulf of Mexico. They were to intervene if Mexico came to the aid of the Confederates and work as laborers on the railroad.

This article reports that members of the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry “made threats at City Point that they would not be ‘sent to Texas,’ ‘that the government had to right to send them there.'”

The ‘mutiny’ occurred as the Whildin carried troops from City Point to the ocean transport Meteor which would sail to Brazos Santiago. The troops told the officers they wouldn’t board the Meteor. The officers insisted and three companies boarded the Meteor but the fourth company refused to obey orders. Those on the Whildin loaded their carbines; others drew their sabres. Both vessels steamed to Baltimore.

Upon arrival a small command boarded the Whildin and proceeded to the Meteor while “on board the Whildin the same time the most insubordinate company.” As the Whildin approached the Meteor, members of the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry threatened to shoot. The senior officer from Baltmore ordered the Whildin to return to the wharf and “formed [his men] along the wharf with their muskets loaded and bayonets fixed.” The Whildin returned to the Meteor and transported the ‘mutineers’ in groups of twos and threes back to the wharf where they laid down their arms and were marched to the fort.

At 9pm, four more companies of the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry arrived at the wharf in City Point. They were disarmed, transported to the Meteor, and eventually arrived in Texas.

This newspaper is online at the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chronicle, “a historical archive of Virginia newspapers, providing free access to full text searching and digitized images of over a million newspaper pages.” ( virginiachronicle.com )

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