Brownsville, Texas: October, 1865. 8½” x 3¼”, folded; opens to 17” x 13 ¾.” Printed form completed in manuscript. Good: losses and separations at folds and intersections costing one signature and repaired with archival tape; toned, dust soiled and with several small stains.
This is a receipt roll signed by members of Company D, 114th Regiment, United States Colored Troops while stationed in Brownsville, Texas. The regiment was organized July 4, 1864 at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. From January to March of 1865 the men participated in siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond on the Bermuda Hundred Front. From March 28th to April 9th, they were a part of the Appomattox Campaign, including witnessing Lee's surrender at the Appomattox Court House. As of July, 1865, they were in Brownsville, Texas where they served until April, 1867 when they were mustered out. In 1906, 167 black soldiers stationed in Brownsville were summarily dishonorably discharged after accusations of their involvement in the killing of a white bartender and wounding of a white policeman in what came to be known as “The Brownsville Affair.”
Approximately 24,000 black Kentuckians served in the Union Army, more than any other state save for Louisiana. According to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley website, some of the soldiers with the U.S.C.T. stationed in Brownsville “were assigned to prevent former Confederates from establishing their defeated government and army in Mexico. Later . . . [they] patrolled the border to stop ongoing violence in Mexico from spilling into the United States, and to discourage bandits and Indians from attacking civilian communities.” >
This roll is for clothing issued October 31, 1865, with the most common items distributed that day being cap covers, pants and bootees. We have not been able to determine how many of the men were enslaved just prior to enlistment, and all 28 who signed with a document did so with an “X.” One member of the company can be identified: Elijah Mason, who was a drummer boy and was eight years old at the time he enlisted.
A direct link to African American soldiers who actively participated in the final skirmishes and events of the Civil War.
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