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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum

Black Soldiers in White Union Regiments

Black Soldiers in White Union Regiments

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000

The Civil War segment is one of the most interesting
parts of my family history. I obtained the military
and pension files of my ancestors from the National
Archives in Washington, D.C. Its quite a feeling when
you open those documents for the first time. You begin
to realize that your family played a role in the
shaping of American history.

I had five ancestors who fought in the Civil War, all
were from Winona, County, Minnesota, four in Minnesota
regiments, and one in a Wisconsin regiment. My
great-great grandfather, Charles Jeffrey, was in the
Nineteenth Wisconsin Regiment, Company E, (Wisconsin
Adjutant Generalís Report) Horace Jeffrey, Seventh
Minnesota Regiment, Company D., Richard Jeffrey,
Seventh Minnesota Regiment, Company D., Josiah
Jeffrey, Eleventh Minnesota Regiment,(Sergeant)
Company K, and Frederick Jeffrey, Eleventh Minnesota,
Company K. All mustered in at Winona, County,
Minnesota and served in all white regiments.
(Minnesota in the Civil War and Indian War)

Charles Jeffrey was the only one who mustered in a
Wisconsin regiment. The Wisconsin state line was
just across the Mississippi River from Winona. Charles
Jeffreyís regiment was assigned as a part of the army
of the James. They were bivouac in the state of
Virginia. The regiment engaged at Newburn NC,
Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Chaffinís farm, (where he injured
his back) Petersburg II, and the fall of Richmond,
VA. (Quiner, pp. 669-673) Like many in the war, he
suffered from exposure while being in the field.
Charles Jeffrey was a musician in the Nineteenth
regiment.( U.S. pension file and Wisconsin Adjutant
Generalís Report)

Horace Jeffreyís regiment fought at the Battle of
Tupelo, the Arkansas and Missouri Campaign, and the
Battle of Nashville. Horace was wounded in the Battle
of Nashville, on 16 December, 1864, died of his wounds
27 January, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Ind. where he was
buried. (section 2, grave # 315)

Richard Jeffrey was only 16, when he mustered in the
Seventh regiment he lied about his age. Unfortunately,
he died of Smallpox at Fort Snelling, before he could
report to his regiment. (U.S. pension file)

Josiah and Frederick Jeffreyís regiment were stationed
at Gallatin, Tennessee. Their assignment was to keep
the rail line from Louisville to Nashville open, and
guard against rebel guerrillas raiding the rail
shipments. (Minnesota in the Civil War and Indian War)

A few years ago, I visited Winona, Minnesota, I
stopped in at the visitors center on Huff street and
began talking with the gentlemen in the center about
Winona and the Civil War. They only had knowledge of
the First Minnesota, (The First fought in the
Gettysburg campaign) and had no idea that Co. K came
out of Winona. They were flabbergasted to say the
least when I began telling them about the role the
Seventh & Eleventh Minnesota played in the rebellion
and the fact that I was black. In fact, they were
interested about seeing my documentation, I told them
that I would return at a later date to share it with
them.

Eric A. Smith


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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