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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

UNION NAVY - Wilson Brown and Tom Gates

Submitted by
Ser Seshs Ab Heter Boxley
Natchez, Mississippi


Extracted from the Natchez Democrat dated September xx. The article stated “after more than 117 years, a former Natchez slave will receive public recognition as a recipient of the prestigious Congressional Medal of Honor for his service during the Civil War. The story of Landsman Wilson Brown, a former slave, and the story of his missing Congressional Medal of Honor, was almost lost to history until it aroused the curiosity of Natchez resident Donald F. X. Finn.”

“Finn discovered that Wilson Brown was born a slave on James Surget’s Carthage Plantation in Natchez in 1840. In 1862, in the middle of the War Between the States, Brown and another slave, Tom Gates ran away. It happened that the U. S. S. Hartford, Admiral David G. Farragut’s flagship, was lying off Natchez. They got to the ship and enlisted in the Navy Finn said.” “ Brown was taken to Sandy Hook, N. J., for training. He joined the U. S. Navy and was stationed aboard the U. S. S. Hartford. It was in the famous Battle of Mobile Bay where Brown was recommended by his commander for the Congressional Medal of Honor award. It was Aug. 4, 1864, when the U. S. S. Hartford exchanged fire at point-blank range with the Confederate flagship CSS Tennessee. After repeated ramming and gunfire, the Confederate ship began to sink and the Confederates surrendered. The Union battle victory helped win the war for the North by blocking the port from Confederate forces who were using the Mobile port to bring in supplies to the South.”

WILSON BROWN PERSONAL INFORMATION: Place of Birth – Natchez Mississippi, Age – 22, Complexion – Negro, Occupation - , Height – 5’ 8”, - Naval Service, Place of enlistment- Mississippi River, Date of enlistment – March 18, 1863, Term of Enlistment – 1, Rating – Boy. Detailed Muster Records, January 1, 1864 Vessel Hartford, March 31, 1854 Hartford, July 1, 1864 Hartford, September 30, 1864 Hartford, December 20, 1864 Hartford, April 1, 1865 Adolph Hugel. (African American Sailors in the Union Navy forwarded to this project from the Internet by Bennie McRae LWF Communications Trotwood Ohio). NOTE: RECORDS OF WHAT HAPPENED TO TOM GATES WERE NOT AVAILABLE TO THIS PROJECT AT THE TIME.

Resting place of Wilson Brown at Natchez National Cemetery, go to:

Messages In This Thread

UNION NAVY - Wilson Brown and Tom Gates
Re: UNION NAVY - Wilson Brown and Tom Gates

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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