Persons of color have served in all the wars of the United States, sometimes in all black units. During the Civil War, "men of color" from Georgia served in both the Union and Confederate Armies. Over 100,000 men of color served with Union forces in regiments of United States Colored Troops (USCT). Suprisingly, over 3,000 of these men named Georgia as their residence.
Men of color also served in the Confederate states military forces as members of white units. The identity of these men often remains obscure. Sources other than the military records aid in identifying them.
Tines Kendrick, a former slave born in Crawford County, Georgia gives this account of his service with Confederate forces:
It was this way boss, how come me to be in the war. You see they ’quired all of the slave owners to send so many negroes to the army to work digging the trenches and throwing up the breastworks and repairing the railroads when the Yankees done ‘stroyed. Every marse was ’quired to send one negro for every ten that he had. Iffen you had a hundred negroes, you had to send ten of them to the army. I was one of them that my marse ’quired to send. That was the worst times that this here negro ever seen, and the way them white men drive us negroes, it was something awful. The strap it was going from ’fore day till ’way after night. The negroes, heaps of ’em, just fall in they tracks-give out-and them white men laying the strap on they backs without ceasing. That was ’zacky way it was with them negroes like me what was in the army work.I had to stand it , boss, till the war was over.Tine Kendrick, Slave Narratives, Works Project Administration, Library of Congress
In 1940, 106 year old Tine Kendrick, shares a household with his brother Austin in Phillips County,Arkansas. Several years earlier, a writer from the Works Project Administration recorded the testimony of this former slave.U.S.Census, 1940,Phillips Ct, Arkansas,page 469.
Twenty-two year old Essex Smith of Hancock County, Georgia enlisted February 3, 1865 at Savannah, Georgia. He was assigned to the 103rd unit of the United States Colored Troops. Essex Smith changed his name to Essex Hill, resided in Hancock County, Georgia in the year 1867, and worked for T.J. Smith. He married Ella. By November 1903, he was deceased.
Served as a member of the field band of the 38th Georgia regiment in Virginia.The following newspaper article provides evidence of his service:
A Pleasant Incidence A Negro's GratitudeMr.W.A, Clark has at last won his spurs and in an unexpected way. His popularity is not confined to the white race. He has many warm friends among the colored people and no one among them entertains for him perhaps a more kindly feeling than Robert R. Battey, col, the buggy and carriage man on Ellis street.
A year or so ago Mr. Clark secured from Mayor Dunbar a free business license for his friend Battey in recognition of his Confederte record. He had served for many months as a member of the field band of the 38th Ga. regiment in Virginia. Mr. Clark had shown him other kindnessess and Battey had been racking his brains for months to formulate some plan by which he could make appropriate return to his good white friend.
Some days ago there came to him a...
Robert Battey headed this household in the 1880 Richmond County census:
Battey, Robert, mulatto, age 38, occupation
wheelwright, born Georgia, parents born South Carolina
Alice, mulatto, age 33, wife, occupation seamstress, born Georgia, parents born South Carolina
Rutha, mulatto, age 14, daughter, born Georgia
William H., mulatto, age 12, son, born Georgia
Robert H., mulatto, age 6, son, born Georgia
Luciller, mulatto, age 4, born Georgia