Thursday, July 18, 2019

Schuylkill County's African-American Civil War Soldiers: A Roster

The ranks of the 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were composed primarily of Schuylkill County men. So, too, were the ranks of the 96th Pennsylvania, as well as several companies of the 50th Pennsylvania, 129th Pennsylvania, and 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Indeed, throughout the four years of America's Civil War, many thousands of Schuylkill County's brave sons, hailing from places like Pottsville and Tamaqua, Port Clinton, St. Clair, Middleport, Cressona, and all the many towns, townships, and coal patches in between, served in Union blue. 


From a USCT Recruiting Poster
"Come and Join Us!"


Included among this number were more than three dozen African-American men who were prohibited from serving in the county's white volunteer regiments but who still proudly served--and bravely fought--in segregated regiments, commanded by white commissioned officers, regiments such as the hard-fighting 3rd United States Colored Infantry (USCI) and the 8th USCI. Two black men from Schuylkill County--James Phoenix and William Haines--served within the ranks of the famed and fabled 54th Massachusetts Infantry, seeing action at James Island and during the regiment's storied assault upon Battery Wagner. Others, like those who served in the 43rd USCI, fought with a fierce determination during the attack upon the Crater. It was there were forty-three-year-old John Cole, a shoemaker from Pottsville, suffered a mortal wound, and where young Jonathan Enty, a twenty-year-old laborer from Tamaqua, went listed as Missing In Action. He would never return and was most likely killed in action. 

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, had a very small black population on the eve of Civil War. Of the 89,510 men, women, and children counted in Schuylkill County in the Census of 1860, only 357 were identified as either black or mulatto. Of this number, only 92 were black men of fighting age. Still, despite this small number, at least 37 of these men (a remarkable 40%) served in the Civil War, a few of them were drafted or served as substitutes, the majority, however, enlisted as volunteers. 



The names of these soldiers are provided below, along with pertinent biographical information and military data garnered from service records, muster rolls, and other such places. Please note that this list is not exhaustive; there were likely other African-American soldiers who called Schuylkill County home. What follows is simply a roster of all the black Civil War soldiers from Schuylkill County I was able to locate in several sources, including Francis Wallace's Memorial to the Patriotism of Schuylkill County, newspaper accounts, and cemetery records. Some of the information was contradictory; sometimes I could not locate records for a particular soldier, but I tried to gather as much information as I could in an effort to tell their stories, and let their service be known.





Samuel Bartlett
Private
Company B
43rd USCI

Age: 18; Height: 5'6 1/2"; Complexion: Fair; Eye Color: Hazel; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 4/3/1865 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Credited to: Cass Township
Date of Discharge: 5/23/1865 at Camp Cadwalader, Philadelphia
Born: Schuylkill County, PA 
Notes: Mustered Out Of Service by Virtue of War Department General Order 77


Henry Bhular/Buehler
Private
Company B
8th USCI

Age: 45; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly" 
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/4/1864 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Credited to: North Manheim Township, Schuylkill County
Born: Berks County, PA


Alexander Brown
Private
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 19; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Yellow; Eye Color: Grey; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Teamster

Enlisted: 1/18/1865 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Credited to: Tremont, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Born: Chambersburg, PA


Charles Calaman
1st Sergeant
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Brown; Eye Color: Brown; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 1/12/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Port Carbon, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, VA
Born: Either in Frederick, MD or Winchester, VA
Notes: 
Appointed Sergeant: 1/23/1865; Promoted 1st Sergeant per G.O. No. 2: 6/1865

Flag of the 24th USCT
"Let Soldiers in War Be Citizens in Peace"
[www.loc.gov] 



John Cole
Private
Company E
43rd USCI

Age: 42; Height: 5'10"; Complexion: Yellow: Eye Color: Light Brown; Hair Color: "Curly Black"
Occupation: Shoemaker

Enlisted: 3/29/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Washington Township, Schuylkill County, PA
Notes: "A good soldier;" Wounded at the Crater, 7/30/1864; "Corps. R. Julius and Jeff Henry who were wounded in same action testified to having seen him dead at City Point, VA. No official notice of his death having been received & the men who knew of his death having been absent for a long time in Hos, his name was not dropped from the Company Rolls until Sept. 12, 1865;" Died of Wounds: 8/4/1864

Mortally Wounded at Battle of the Crater: July 30, 1864; Died of Wounds: August 4, 1864

Casualty Sheet for John Cole, 43rd USCT
[nara.gov] 

Obituary of John Cole
Miners' Journal, August 1864




More on the life and death of Private John Cole can be found here


George Dellaman/Dellamaw
Private
Company B
8th USCT 

Age: 17; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/4/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA
Born: Newbern, North Carolina


Elijah Enty
1st Sergeant/Private
Company F
43rd USCI

Age: 35; Height: 5'7 1/2"; Complexion: Yellow; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/31/1864
Credited to: Porter Township, Schuylkill County; Resided in: Newcastle
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 6/12/1865 from L'Ouverture Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia, due to Disability
Notes: Wounded in Action at the Crater: 7/30/1864; Sent to Hospital, sick: 9/5/1864; Promoted to 1st Sergeant: 10/1/1864; Reduced in Ranks to Private: 9/1/1865


Gabriel Enty
Corporal
Company D
43rd USCI

Age: 18; Height: 5'7 1/2"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Blacksmith

Enlisted: 3/22/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Blythe Township, Schuylkill County, PA
Born: Northumberland County, PA 
Discharged: 6/8/1864 from L'Ouverture Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia, due to Disability
Notes: Wounded in Action near Petersburg: 7/24/1864


George Enty
Private
Company H
43rd USCI

Age: 33; Height: 5'5"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Miner

Enlisted: 4/4/1864 in Brookville, PA
Credited to: Eldred Township, PA
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 10/20/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Notes: Sick in Hospital: 8/1864; Sick in Hospital: 10/1865


Jonathan Enty 
Corporal
Company D
43rd USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/22/1864 at Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA
Notes: Appointed Corporal: 4/18/1864; Wounded and Missing In Action: 7/30/1864 Battle of the Crater
Missing in Action and Likely Killed or Mortally Wounded at the Battle of the Crater: July 30, 1864


James Fisher
Private
Company D
3rd USCI

Age: 19; Height: 5' 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black

Enlisted: 7/4/1863 in Philadelphia
From Pottsville
Discharged: 10/31/1865 at Jacksonville, Florida
Notes: Sick--Left at Hilton Head, SC, by order of Surgeon: 2/6/1864; returned to regt by March '64
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


The Grave of Private James Fisher
3rd USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 


David Fry
Private
Company I
3rd USCI


Age: 29; Height: 5'11"; Complexion: Light; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Farmer


Enlisted: 7/21/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: Lancaster County, PA
Resided: Port Clinton, PA
Died: 9/8/1897
Buried: St. John's Cemetery, Auburn, PA



The Grave of Private David Fry
3rd USCT

[findagrave.com] 




Stroud Groves
Private
Company D
3rd USCI

Age: 46; Height: 5'10"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Farmer

Enlisted: 7/4/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: Lehigh County, PA
Discharged: 10/31/1865 at Jacksonville, Florida
Died: 9/12/1896
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA



The Grave of Private Stroud Grove
3rd USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



William Haines
Private
Company G
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Age: 19
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 4/12/1863
Born: 1844 in Schuylkill County, PA 
Discharged: 8/20/1865


Thornton Heath
Private
Company C
24th USCI

Age: 37; Height: 5’2”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black: Hair: “Wool”
Occupation: Blacksmith
Enlisted: 2/2/1865 in Pottsville
Born: Virginia
Notes: Substitute for Gillard Dock, Tremont, PA; Deserted from Camp William Penn: 4/11/1865


George Jackson
Private
32nd USCI

Age: 32; Height: 5'10 1/2"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 6/27/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Carbon
Born: Columbia, PA
Buried: Perhaps at Lincoln Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, PA


John B. Jones
Musician
Company F
8th USCI

Age: 24; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 9/23/1863 in Pottsville
From: 8/5/1840 in Port Carbon, PA 
Discharged: 11/10/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


The Grave of John B. Jones
Musician, 8th USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



Joseph Jones
Private
Company K
8th USCI
24th USCI

Age: 27; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted in 24th USCI: 1/18/1865 at Pottsville
Born: Harper County, Virginia
Notes:  Deserted from 8th USCT under the name Joseph Garner; This Enlistment Void; 1/26/65: "This man is a deserter from Co. G, 8th Regt. USCT under the name Joseph Garner;" "Joseph Jones having been recognized as a Deserter from the 8th USCT is hereby dropped from the Rolls of Company "A" 24th Regt. U.S. Colored," Signed Louis Wagner, Lt. Col. 88th PA; commanding post at Camp William Penn


Charles Lee
Corporal
Company H
22nd USCI

Age: 24; Height: 5'6 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation Waiter

Enlisted: 1/18/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Cressona, PA
Born: Harrisburg, PA
Notes: Promoted Corporal: 6/4/1864; Sent to Field Hospital, 3/15/1865; Returned: 3/16/1865
Died: 8/30/1888 in Pottsville
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


Edward Lee
Corporal
Company K
32nd USCI

Age: 19; Height: 5'6 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation : Laborer

Enlisted: 3/3/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA 
Born: Charles County, Maryland
Discharged: 8/22/1865 at Hilton Head, South Carolina
Notes: Appointed Corporal 3/18/1865
Died: 3/22/1913 in Schuylkill County
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


John L. Martin 
Sergeant
Company E
3rd USCI
Age: 33; Height: 5’10; Complexion: Brown; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Mason
Enlisted: 7/6/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: 1827 in Lancaster County, PA
Notes: Sergeant from Enlistment
Died: 10/30/1907 in North Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, PA
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA

The Grave of Sergeant John L. Martin
3rd USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA



Daniel Molson
Corporal
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 34; Height: 5’6 ¼”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman
Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Notes: Promoted to Corporal: 2/8/1865


David Molson
Sergeant
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 38; Height: 5’2 ½”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman
Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Born: Berks County, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Notes: Promoted to Corporal: 2/8/1865; Promoted to Sergeant: 4/22/1865, to date from: 4/2/1865


Henry Morgan
Wagoneer
Company H
6th USCI

Age: 33; Height: 5’8”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman
Enlisted: 8/29/1863 in Philadelphia
Discharged: 9/20/1865 at Wilmington, North Carolina


James Phoenix
Private
Company K
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Age: 24; Height: 5'9"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Brown; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer
Enlisted: 5/5/1863
Notes: Wounded at the Battle of James Island, 7/16/1864; in Hospital at Beaufort, South Carolina; Died of Disease: 7/8/1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Kurz and Allison's Famed Print of the 54th Massachusetts' Attack at Fort Wagner



Daniel Proctor
Private
Company F
25th USCI
Age: 31; Height: 5’5”; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Grey; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer
Enlisted: 1/21/1864 at Reading, PA
Discharged: 9/19/1865
Notes:
 Identified on one Enlistment Form as Mulatto; Sent to Hospital on 4/7/1865; Dicharged per Certificate of Disability at David's Island Hospital, New YorkDied: 10/8/1903
Buried: Port Clinton Cemetery, Port Clinton, PA

Obituary of Daniel Proctor
Harrisburg Telegraph October 10, 1903

The Grave of Daniel Proctor
25th USCT
Port Clinton Cemetery, Port Clinton, PA 


George Richardson
Corporal
Company I
6th USCI
Age: 25; Height: 5’4”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Tailor
Enlisted: 9/8/1863
Born: Bucks County, PA
Discharged: 9/20/1865
Notes: 
Substitute for Tillman Seidle, 3rd Ward, Reading, PA; Wounded while on picket duty and sent to General Hospital: 6/25/1864; Sent to D.C. General Hospital: 11/15/1864; June-August 1865: On Detached Service as Brigade Headquarters' Guard
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



Hosea Rigbee
Corporal
Company C
127th USCI

Age: 30; Height: 5'6 1/4"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Barber

Enlisted: 8/24/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Carbon, PA
Born: Harford County, Maryland
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville PA


Benjamin Robinson
Private
Company C
127th USCI

Age: 35; Height: 5'9 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 8/24/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Carbon, PA 
Born: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Discharged: 9/8/1865 at Brazos Santiago, Texas
Notes: Absent, sick in hospital at Point of Rocks, 3/26/1865


Israel Smith
Private
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 17; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia

At age 17, Israel Smith Needed the Consent of His Grandfather in Order to Serve
nara.gov

Enlistment Form of Israel Smith



James H. Snowden
Private
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 22; Height: 5'7 1/4"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Hazel; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Forgeman

Enlisted: 1/3/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Pine Grove, PA
Born: 10/6/1838 in Huntingdon, PA
Discharged: 11/10/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Notes: Wounded at Olustee, FL, 2/20/1864; in Hospital at Beaufort, SC; returned from hospital by 5/1864; Engaged at Chapin's Farm, VA; Petersburg, VA; Detached as Brigade Teamster as of 10/1864; Appomattox, VA
Died: 10/21/1889 at age 50; "Death came when he lost control of the wagon he was driving down a steep hill, and the team ran away. He was thrown to the ground and fatally injured when a wagon wheel rolled over him."
Buried: Big Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Newville, PA


Martin Snowell/Snowden
Private
Company I
8th USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'6"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 9/24/1863 in Port Clinton, PA
Born: 1842 in Spotswood, New Jersey
Discharged: 11/10/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Notes:
 Drafted; Wounded at Olustee, FL, 2/20/1864; in Hospital at Beaufort, SC; returned from hospital by 5/1864; Engaged at Chapin's Farm, VA; Petersburg, VA; Detached as Brigade Teamster as of 10/1864;  Appomattox, VA
Died: 1917
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


Nelson Searls
Corporal
Company K
8th USCI

Age: 38; Height: 6'2"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 9/24/1863 in Port Clinton, PA
Discharged: 11/10/1865 in Brownsville, Texas
Notes: Drafted; Resigned as Corporal to enter Band: 1/11/1864


John Surls
Sergeant
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 22; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Light; Eye Color: Hazel; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Notes: Promoted to Corporal: 2/8/1865; Promoted to Sergeant: 7/10/1865


William Tarr
Sergeant
21st USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Servant

Enlisted: 9/1/1864 in Jacksonville, Florida
Mustered into Service: 9/6/1864 at Hilton Head, South Carolina
Credited to: Vermont
Born: September 1844 in Pottsville, PA
Notes: Appointed Sergeant on 9/15/1864; Police Sergeant per Special Order 83 Headquarters U.S. Forces, Hilton Head, SC: 8/11/1865
Died: 9/26/1925
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA

The Grave of Sergeant William Tarr
21st USCT

Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



Charles Thomas
Company B
8th USCI

Age: 40; Height: 5'8 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/4/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA
Born: Middlesex, New Jersey
Buried: Perhaps in Odd Fellows' Cemetery, Tamaqua, PA


Charles Titus
Private
Company D
3rd USCI

Age: 30; Height: 5'8 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 7/4/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: Chester County, PA
Discharged: 10/31/1865 at Jacksonville, Florida
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA



The Flag of the 3rd USCT
"Rather Die Freemen Than Live To Be A Slave"


Daniel Wright 
Sergeant
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5’3”; Complexion: Yellow; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Brown
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 1/12/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to Port Carbon, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, VA
Notes: Appointed Sergeant: 1/23/1865






Nicholas Biddle
Wounded While Marching With The Washington Artillery
Through Baltimore on April 18, 1861
"First to Shed Blood in Civil War" 


Schuylkill County's best-known black Civil War veteran, Nicholas Biddle, was not, officially, a soldier, but his was the proud distinction of shedding the first blood in the conflict. His story can be found here, in an article I wrote years ago for Pennsylvania Heritage magazine. 

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