“Every vestige of the prejudice and ill feeling… has disappeared”: Gillmore on the USCT

By December 1863, Major-General Quincy Gillmore had commanded the Department of the South, and more specifically the Tenth Corps, for seven months.  In that time, his command took possession of Morris Island, but only through an active, vigorous campaign of three months.  The follow up was a prolonged bombardment of Fort Sumter, with occasional prods at the other Confederate defenses and Charleston itself.

In that time, several regiments of US Colored Troops played a prominent role in operations.  Grimball’s Landing, the second failed assault on Battery Wagner, the long siege of Battery Wagner – all actions in with colored troops at the fore. And after those active operations on Morris Island, the colored troops continued, like all the infantry formations, to support the artillery operations and garrison the island footholds on the South Carolina coast.  Meanwhile, other colored troops in the department engaged in raids into the low country.  Up to this time in the Civil War, the department boasted the most active employment of the USCT.

This activity caused some changes in attitudes among the Federal command and ranks.  (And it caused no small discomfort on the Confederate side.) Gillmore twice issued general orders to ensure the USCT, as regiments, were treated as the white troops.  And on December 14, 1863, Gillmore sent forward some recommendations about the USCT to Major-General Henry Halleck in Washington, D.C. The note began with Gillmore’s assessment of the use of USCT in the department:

I desire to urge upon the attention of the Government certain simple measures for bettering the condition of the colored people of this department, colored soldiers in particular.

The policy of the Government in organizing regiments of colored troops upon this coast, and the value and general efficiency of that class of soldiers, has had a fair trial and a successful issue under my own eye. The wisdom of the course pursued (under my uniform rule to treat the white and the colored soldier alike) has been fully vindicated upon the field of battle and in the trenches. Every vestige of the prejudice and ill feeling which existed between the white and the colored troops of this command, during a period of inactivity, has disappeared under the excitements of an active campaign, of which the labors and dangers were shared alike by both classes.

Gillmore’s assessment of race relations must have the caveat here.  The orders were specific to work assigned to the troops.  There was nothing in those orders to change the attitudes and behavior of individuals.  It was a policy with respect to assignments of regiments.  The USCT would not get menial details.  Gillmore attributes the change in attitude to the performance of the USCT under fire.

As he continued, Gillmore made five recommendations (one of which was detailed separately in a letter to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton).   The first was to re-designate the existing regiments officially as US Colored Troops.  Their original designation of South Carolina Volunteer Infantry set them apart from fellow colored troops.  “This would materially simplify the organizations and increase their efficiency.”  The second recommendation was to maintain a promotion board within the Department of the South to review candidates for commissions in those regiments.  Both were more administrative changes and easily implemented.

The third recommendation read:

The pay of the white soldier and of the colored soldier should be the same. All distinctions calculated to raise in the mind of the colored man a suspicion that he is regarded as an inferior being, should be scrupulously avoided. Every dictate of sound policy suggests this course, even if we regard the matter as still all experiment of doubtful results, which it is not.

The pay difference had long been a point of contention, if you recall the history of the 54th Massachusetts.  Now the highest level of command recognized the impact of inequalities of pay… be that some administrative glitch or not.  Still this would require congressional action.

The fourth recommendation alluded to a unique situation among those who’d just escaped slavery.  All well and good to emancipate, but what after that?

The families of colored soldiers should be provided for by allowing them to locate upon and cultivate land in advance of the regular survey and sale thereof. This is important as a military measure by making the soldier contented with his lot, by securing to him a home for his family during the war and for himself when the war is over.

Not quite an explicit “forty acres and a mule” but the concept was growing in the minds of those at the front of the issue.  Contraband camps around Port Royal had grown into full fledged villages.  And not confining ourselves to South Carolina, places like Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River were now allocated for use by freed slaves.  The question of ownership of the land and resources, however, lingered.

Lastly, Gillmore proposed consolidation of several South Carolina Volunteer regiments:

There are now nominally five regiments of South Carolina colored troops, only one of which, the First South Carolina Volunteers, Col. T. W. Higginson, has ever reached the minimum number of men required by law. The others are as follows: Second South Carolina Volunteers, Col. James Montgomery, about 540 men; Third South Carolina Volunteers, Lieut. Col. A. G. Bennett, about 300 men, organized by Major-General Hunter for labor in the quartermaster’s department, for which they have been used until quite recently; Fourth South Carolina Volunteers, Col. M. S. Littlefield, about 150 men; Fifth South Carolina Volunteers, organization just commenced.

Gillmore wanted to break up the 3rd South Carolina to provide troops to the 2nd and 4th (which would become the 3rd South Carolina, if not directly a USCT numbered regiment).

Shortly after this letter to Halleck, Gillmore received authorization to form officer boards for the USCT regiments.  The reorganization requested was worked out.  And the regiments were officially renumbered as US regiments.

I would point out that all of Gillmore’s justifications, to include those for the general orders issued earlier, were based on practical experience.  Operational needs placed the USCT at the front lines.  And that experience brought out the need to change policies.  Often when studying the story of the USCT involvement in operations against Charleston, the narrative begins and ends with the charge of the 54th Massachusetts on July 18, 1863.  But I contend we need to look at the whole experience to better understand this important thread in our history.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 28, Part II, Serial 47, pages 127-8.)

Colored troops will receive the same treatment and opportunities: The Gettysburg Address and G.O. 105

Today many will recall, with good reason, President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  Several contemporary written copies of that famous speech offer slight variations. The words may be different, but the meaning is there.  We tend to forget in the context of the time, that speech, and its meaning, were extensions of Lincoln’s policies – his greater goals beyond just seeing the war through to a successful conclusion.

But policy statements are but hollow words without action.  If the President really, honestly, intended there be a “new birth of freedom” then where do we see that in action?  On the battlefield?  Yes… on the battlefield.

Months earlier, Major-General Quincy Gillmore General Orders No. 77.  Section I of that order read:

It has come to the knowledge of the brigadier-general commanding that the detachments of colored troops detailed for fatigue duty have been employed, in one instance at least, to prepare camps and perform menial duty for white troops. Such use of these details is unauthorized and improper, and is hereafter expressly prohibited.

Commanding officers of colored regiments are directed to report promptly to these headquarters any violations of this order which may come to their knowledge.

As mentioned in an earlier post, in the context of this order the Federal troops on Morris Island were engaged in a long, bitter siege.   And during that siege, the Army employed the U.S. Colored Troops to a larger degree than ever before.  USCT regiments served in the lines, often on specific details, along side white volunteer regiments.  This lead some to evaluate, or perhaps RE-evaluate is a more applicable word, the nature of race as it applied to the combat environment.

But apparently not all on Morris Island had fully re-evaluated.  A week after Lincoln’s address, Gillmore issued General Orders No. 105 on November 25, 1863.  The first section of that order read:

The major-general commanding has heretofore had occasion to rebuke officers of this command for imposing improper labors upon colored troops. He is now informed that the abuses sought to be corrected still exist. Attention is called to General Orders, No. 77, current series, from these headquarters, and commanding officers are enjoined to see to its strict enforcement. Colored troops will not be required to perform any labor which is not shared by the white troops, but will receive, in all respects, the same treatment and be allowed the same opportunities for drill and instruction.

Again, don’t paint Gillmore as an advocate for front seats on the bus, or even at the lunch counter.  The context is clear – if black troops were willing to carry the muskets and risk their lives, they should receive the same respects as white troops.

The path from Civil War to Civil Rights contains many waypoints like G.O. 77 and G.O. 105.  Lincoln’s 272 words stand as a marvel of the English language and serve as the centerpiece to a national legacy.  Not to detract from that, but I’m drawn to those words from Gillmore.  That order put action behind the words.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 28, Part II, Serial 47, pages 95 and 123.)

The horse and the ox: Comparing the work of whites and blacks on Morris Island

As the work from the fifth parallel drug on… slowly drug on… Major Thomas Brooks recorded a change of the duty regiment among the fatigue detail on August 31, 1863:

The Third U.S. Colored Troops, who have been on fatigue duty in the advanced trenches since the 20th instant, were relieved to-day by the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, it being desirable to have older troops for the important and hazardous duty required in the advance at this period. Infantry officers commanding fatigue details inform me that it requires much more effort to make the men work than fight under the same fire.

Again we find an example where the contingencies of war, at the very front edge, challenged society’s perceptions of race.  As result authorities on the ground adjusted to meet the challenge in small ways.  There’s a subtle point made in the journal entry:  “men” behaved the same, and it was the “experience” that counted most.

As related yesterday, the Federals opted to employ their fatigue details within a rotation cycle.  Although the rotation did nothing to reduced the danger or improve the overall living conditions, at least it afforded some recovery time for the troops.  These rotations applied to all the regiments assigned to constructing the trenches.    A significant portion of the troops assigned to the fatigue details were USCT – particularly the 3rd USCT and the 54th Massachusetts in the critical later phases of the operation.  Black troops performed 56% of the fatigue detail duties (white troops performed all of the guard details on the line).

Shortly after Battery Wagner fell, Brooks sent out an inquiry among his fellow engineers regarding the performance of the USCT:

As the important experiment which will test the fitness of the American negro for the duties of a soldier is now being tried, it is desirable that facts bearing on the question be carefully observed and recorded.

It is probable that in no military operations of the war have negro troops done so large a proportion, and so important and hazardous, fatigue duty, as in the siege operations on this island.

The questions posed were:

I. Courage, as indicated by their behavior under fire.

II. Skill and appreciation of their duties, referring to the quality of the work performed.

III. Industry and perseverance, with reference to the quantity of the work performed.

IV. If a certain work were to be accomplished in the least possible time, i.e., when enthusiasm and direct personal interest are necessary to attain the end, would whites or blacks answer best?

V. What is the difference, considering the above points, between colored troops recruited from the free States and those from the slave States?

Brooks received six replies, of which those from Captain Joseph Walker and Lieutenant Hiram Farrand appear in Note 19 of Brooks’ report.

To the first question, Brooks indicated all those polled felt “the black is more timorous than the white, but is in a corresponding degree more docile and obedient, hence more completely under the control of his commander….” Walker explained further:

 I will say, in my opinion, their courage is rather of the passive than the active kind. They will stay, endure, resist, and follow, but they have not the restless, aggressive spirit. I do not believe they will desert their officers in trying moments in so great numbers as the whites; they have not the will, audacity, or fertility of excuse of the straggling white, and at the same time they have not the heroic, nervous energy, or vivid perception of the white, who stands firm or presses forward.

He added that he knew of no instances where the USCT had avoided duty, but the same could not be said for the white troops.

Although all observers felt the black troops were less skilled than whites, the skill level was more than sufficient for siege work and soldiering.  But as for appreciation of the work at hand, the black troops appeared to make up ground.  As Farrand observed:

White soldiers are more intelligent and experienced, and, of course, more skillful, than black ones, but they have not generally a corresponding appreciation of their duties. As a consequence, I have, in most cases, found the work as well done by black as by white soldiers.

I think this is significant.  We might explain the lack of skills within the individual experiences – in particular educational backgrounds.  But appreciation for duties is something derived from the individual’s situational awareness.

As for the quantity of work performed, Brooks noted that all agreed, “the black will do a greater amount of work than the white soldier, because he labors more consistently.”  Walker added in his response:

I think they will do more than the whites; they do not have so many complaints and excuses, but stick to their work patiently, doggedly, obediently, and accomplish a great deal, though I have never known them to work with any marked spirit or energy. I should liken the white man to the horse (often untractable and balky); the black man to the ox.

In line with that assessment, to the fourth question, Brooks summarized, “The whites are decidedly superior in enthusiasm.”  Walker offered an amateur analysis, “… there is a hard, nervous organization at the bottom of the character of the white, and a soft, susceptible one at the bottom of the character of the black.”

In regard to the performance of those recruited from slave states compared to those from free states, all felt those from the north performed better.  Walker stated, “They have more of the self-reliance, and approximate nearer to the qualities of the white man, in respect to dash and energy….”

Walker went on to add his own summary:

To me they compare favorably with the whites; they are easily handled, true and obedient; there is less viciousness among them; they are more patient; they have great constancy. The character of the white, as you know, runs to extremes; one has bull-dog courage, another is a pitiful cur; one is excessively vicious, another pure and noble. The phases of the character of the white touches the stars and descends to the lowest depths. The black character occupies the inner circle. Their status is mediocrity, and this uniformity and mediocrity, for military fatigue duty, I think answers best.

Reading this 150 years later, one must keep in mind the context.  And an important part of that context was that on Morris Island white and black regiments performed duties within the same set of trenches, in close proximity.  Perhaps not an “integrated” force, but at least one where a few preconceptions were broken.

At the end of his report, Brooks offered an observation worth noting:

The efficiency and health of a battalion depends so much upon its officers, that, in order to institute a fair comparison, when so small a number of troops are considered, this element should be eliminated.  That has not, however, been attempted in this paper.

The matter called for more study, to be sure.  An army does not simply recruit a good regiment.  Rather good leaders train a group of recruited men into a good regiment.  I think those observing the performance of the troops on Morris Island saw that held true regardless of skin color.

(Source: OR, Series I, Volume 28, Part I, Serial 46, pages 328-31.)

Yes, let’s tell that story. It’s time to bring the USCT to the fore.

Yesterday Emmanuel Dabney posted his thoughts about the future of Civil War history, leaving readers with a set of questions about the focus of interpretation:

So what do you think? If you are interpreting USCTs at a museum, historic site, or battlefield, how have you incorporated their stories in your interpretation? If you haven’t, why not?

His questions are direct, and right on target, in my opinion.

Back at the first of January, I had the privilege of speaking along side some of the other Loudoun County historians regarding the Emancipation Proclamation. My assigned task was to relate the military aspects of the proclamation. As you probably gather from my writings, I tend to focus on how things are applied, in the practical sense. So discussed the proclamation as an executive order – how it was applied by the military, and that emancipation was thence tied to success on the battlefield. But I also put emphasis on the oft forgotten section of the proclamation which authorized the USCT. The contribution of the USCT in the war was nothing short of crucial. In the end, their weight tipped the scales in the favor of the men in blue.

Emancipation depended the military… yet at the same time, the military depended on emancipation. The two were welded into a composite instrument by way of the proclamation.

One of the other speakers at the event was Kevin Grigsby, another of our Loudoun historians. Kevin has identified about 250 black men from Loudoun who served in the USCT. They fought on battlefields in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and of course Virginia. You’d think with such widespread service, their stories would be well known and shared. In a recent article run in the Washington Post, Kevin offered his take on why this is not the case:

“I don’t want to say they lived an anonymous life,” he said. “But they just kind of settled back in. There weren’t parades or statues or monuments; they came back as victors.”

“I can’t even imagine what it was like for an African American . . . to have had that moment,” Grigsby said. “In some cases, you went from a slave to a liberator . . . to a protector and then, within so many years, you begin to see that freedom slowly peeled back and you have the rise of Jim Crow.”

“So it’s no wonder that it took all these years later to kind of start discovering, wow, we had a lot of Civil War vets who were African American here,” he added. “You have to remember you are in Virginia, and that story kind of got overlooked.”

That is, to me at least, a good explanation as to why the USCT story was, for lack of a better word, buried. And that us back to Emmanuel’s set of questions.

I’ve mentioned here a time or two, a hallmark of the sesquicentennial, as compared to the centennial, is the diversity of stories… or shall I say broader spectrum of colors. It may be in Cleveland or here in Loudoun, but there is a strong current pushing us to a place with a more complete understanding of the war. We have every opportunity to bring these overlooked and overshadowed stories to the fore.

While no major actions in Loudoun involved USCT, those veterans lay in the county’s cemeteries.

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That is where, in my opinion, we in Loudoun might tell the story of the USCT. The way I see it, the cost of a historical marker is a comparatively small investment considering the return. Particularly in order to speak to a portion of our collective history that deserves to be told in rich, bold colors.

150 Years Ago: Bricks for Fort Clinch… gathered by the “Sable Arm”

I’m a bit early with this sesquicentennial themed post.  But there are several events “stacked up” at the end of this month, furthermore the topic goes well with today’s holiday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Fort Clinch, near Fernandina Beach, Florida, protected the entrance to St. Mary’s River, bordering Georgia and Florida.  The five-million or so bricks of Fort Clinch have captured my attention on each visit to the site.  Even a casual observer notes the distinct line of colors in the brickwork.

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Fort Clinch – looking to the west end of the gorge wall

Most of the lower, grayer bricks are from the initial construction period and were drawn from local sources.  Although started in 1847, work proceeded slowly.  Even when Federals occupied the fort in March 1862, the work was still far from complete.  Authorities felt, even though the fort was a backwater in a backwater theater, Fort Clinch should be completed in order to shore up defenses along the coast.   Such efforts required bricks… and labor.

Project engineer Captain Alfred F. Sears began contracting “contraband” labor in 1862.  But he was short of bricks, with no available source on the barrier island.  The brickyard which had supplied the fort’s builders before the war lay some thirty miles upstream on the St. Mary’s River, behind Confederate lines.  With Sears’ urgings, an expedition formed in mid-January 1863 with the aim to secure the bricks.  It is easy to overlook this activity with much larger events occurring in the major theaters of war at around the same time.  Call them “raids” or “expeditions,” such forays occurred with regularity along the coastlines during the war.  What draws my attention to this particular expedition are the troops employed – the First (US) South Carolina Infantry.

The 1st South Carolina first formed, by order of General David Hunter, in the spring of 1862 from contrabands at Hilton Head.  Under political pressure, the regiment was disbanded.  But by November the regiment reformed under Colonel Thomas W. Higginson.  Despite the state designation, the regiment consisted of a number of escaped slaves from Georgia and Florida.  That factor worked in favor of the expedition.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Despite the military air of his portrait, Higginson was not a military man by training.  A minister and ardent abolitionist, Higginson hailed from Massachusetts.  Before the war he’d supported John Brown, going as far to say that slavery had to end even if it meant war.  And when war came, Higginson went as a Captain of the 51st Massachusetts.  His beliefs and reputation, despite his lack of experience, led General Rufus Saxton to offer command the 1st South Carolina to Higginson.

Higginson’s expedition left Beaufort, South Carolina on January 23.  The 1st South Carolina, consisting of 462 officers and men, loaded into three steamers.  As reports go, Higginson’s was one of the worst in terms of formatting.  In reciting the details, he failed to provide any specifics as to the routes taken or even dates of activities (although he did offer a chapter length account of the expedition in Army Life in a Black Regiment, published in 1870).  By February 1, the expedition returned to South Carolina.  He could report accomplishment of his primary objective – “I have turned over to Captain Sears about 40,000 large-sized bricks, valued at about $1,000, in view of the present high freights.”  Higginson went into great detail about the stores and supplies acquired, and in some cases left behind due to lack of transport.

But in a broader perspective, one might say the 1st South Carolina took away some bricks, but left behind something more important.  The expedition was among the first, if not THE first, operation involving black troops after the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation.  That fact was not lost on Higginson:

The expedition has carried the regimental flag and the President’s proclamation far into the interior of Georgia and Florida. The men have been repeatedly under fire; have had infantry, cavalry, and even artillery arrayed against them, and have in every instance come off not only with unblemished honor, but with undisputed triumph.

Higginson reported a few slave families returned with the expedition.  But he didn’t figure the count of freed slave to be the measure of success at this stage of the war:

No officer in this regiment now doubts that the key to the successful prosecution of this war lies in the unlimited employment of black troops. Their superiority lies simply in the fact that they know the country, while white troops do not, and, moreover, that they have peculiarities of temperament, position, and motive which belong to them alone. Instead of leaving their homes and families to fight they are fighting for their homes and families, and they show the resolution and the sagacity which a personal purpose gives. It would have been madness to attempt, with the bravest white troops what I have successfully accomplished with black ones. Everything, even to the piloting of the vessels and the selection of the proper points for cannonading, was done by my own soldiers. Indeed, the real conductor of the whole expedition up the Saint Mary’s was Corpl. Robert Sutton, of Company G, formerly a slave upon the Saint Mary’s River, a man of extraordinary qualities, who needs nothing but a knowledge of the alphabet to entitle him to the most signal promotion. In every instance when I followed his advice the predicted result followed, and I never departed from it, however slightly, without finding reason for subsequent regret.

We might write this off as Higginson championing his abolitionist aims. However, he was right in some regards.  The President’s proclamation, now a war aim, depended upon the Army and Navy for successful enforcement.  But likewise, the Army and Navy needed the “Sable Arm” in order to prosecute the war.  The Army needed more Corporal Suttons.

A year or so later the 1st South Carolina became the Thirty-third United States Colored Troops.  Such completed the transition of this pre-Emancipation Proclamation regiment.  But Fort Clinch remained incomplete, needing more bricks.  Eventually bricks shipped down from the north allowed the completion of the major portions of the wall. Their composition stood out as a distinct line compared to the locally produced bricks.

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Several colors of Bricks in the Fort Clinch Wall

But this came at a time when brick fortifications were just not worth maintaining.  After decades of neglect and intermittent military activity, the fort received the attention of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1934.  The CCC and later the State of Florida restored the brickwork, adding newer bricks where needed. The end result is a patchwork of colors in the wall.

Perhaps a standing, physical metaphor for us to consider?

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Interior of Fort Clinch

(Colonel Higginson’s report appears in OR, Series I, Volume 14, Serial 20, pages 195-198.)

Markers Can “make a Difference”

The Georgia Historical Society, and other groups associated with the state’s Civil War 150th markers, continue to impress.

We have two recent entries from Dalton, Georgia into the Historical Marker Database.  Speaking chronologically, the first is a marker noting General Patrick Cleburne’s famous proposal to arm slaves.  Cleburne was in Dalton when making the proposal on January 2, 1864.  The text of the marker accurately and succinctly covers the reaction of Confederate leaders.

The second marker, placed earlier, discusses two actions near Dalton involving US Colored Troops.  On August 15, 1864 the 14th USCT helped repel a Confederate cavalry raid on the Western and Atlantic Railroad – through which Sherman’s forces around Atlanta depended for supply.  Later on October 13 of that year, Confederate forces forced the surrender of the 44th USCT defending the same railroad at Dalton.  Significantly, many of those from the 44th captured that day were returned to slavery.

Reading those two markers, there’s a lot to think about.  Almost like two book-ends for a long shelf of ideas.   And some of those ideas lay along “third-rails” of the Civil War topic – always sure to rile an argument from one quarter or another.  Yet, the historical facts place the events less than a mile apart. (A rhetorical question, then:  Could either of these markers have been placed in 1961?  Or 1981?  Maybe 2001?)

An article run in the Dalton Daily Citizen captures that sentiment.  Speaking of the Cleburne proposal marker, Curtis Rivers, director of Dalton’s Emery Center, said, “Things like this will really make a difference….  It’s the ideal location for the marker, and I was happy to help them out however I could.”

The text of both markers conclude calling attention to “nearly 200,000 free African Americans served in the U.S. armed forces.”

Waterford Union Cemetery: An Interesting Mix

Yesterday I attended the Waterford Civil War Day, where two new historical markers were dedicated.  I’ve posted the Virginia State DHR marker and the Civil War Trails marker (along with the older plaque at the Baptist Church) on the Historical Marker Database.   I’ve also posted a brief “report” of the ceremonies over on the Loudoun County CW Roundtable website.  (And you can look over more photos from the event in my Flickr collection.)

Towards mid-day, the event moved to the Waterford Union Cemetery for a wreath-laying in honor of all Civil War veterans.  We often hear that at ceremonies, but I would submit you will find no better location that represents the inclusive “all” than Waterford Union Cemetery.  As you enter the gate, a headstone for J.W. Virts of the Loudoun Rangers.

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John W. Virts, Loudoun Rangers

Nearby lay several of his comrades from the Loudoun Rangers.

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Charles Virts, Loudoun Rangers

The grave of Lieutenant Robert Graham is along the west fence of the cemetery.  Graham enlisted as a corporal and rose to the rank of lieutenant.

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Lt. Robert Graham, Loudoun Rangers

Indeed, the number of Loudoun Ranger internments in the cemetery outnumber that of Confederate veterans (one of only two public cemeteries in Virginia that can boast such, I am told).   But there are graves of the Ranger’s chief rivals in the war – the 35th Virginia Cavalry Battalion.

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Corporal William Moreland, 35th VA Cav BN

The 35th Virginia and the Loudoun Rangers represented more than just opposing sides in the war.  These were men who lived together in Loudoun County before the war.  Indeed, in a number of cases, brothers served in opposite ranks in these two units.  It is hard to find a more direct example of the “brother vs. brother” (which often sounds so cliche) aspect of the Civil War.  But when Colonel Elisha White’s 35th Virginia attacked the Loudoun Rangers at the Waterford Baptist Church on August 27, 1862, brothers stood on opposite sides.

Other Confederate Veterans include those who served in locally raised infantry units.

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James Russell, 8th Virginia Infantry

The 8th Virginia Infantry served in most of the major battles of the Eastern Theater, participated in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, and surrendered at Appomoattox.

But moving into the African-American section of the cemetery, several more veterans lay at rest.

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Henson Young, 1st USCT

Henson Young served in the 1st US Colored Troops.  The regiment was raised in Washington, D.C. in mid-1863.  It served in the fighting at Petersburg, to include the Battle of the Crater, and participated in the capture of Fort Fisher and Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Jas. Lewis, 55th Massachusetts Infantry

James (?) Lewis served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry (Colored).  Like their sister regiment, the famous 54th Massachusetts, the 55th served most of the war in South Carolina in operations against Charleston.

The total number of Civil War veterans interned at the cemetery number over 40, if my math is right.  I submit you will not find a broader sampling of Civil War experiences than that represented among the men who lay at rest in the Waterford Union Cemetery.