In John David Smith’s book Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era, he states that approximately 10% of the soldiers in the Union Army were black. One of these soldiers happened to be Rachel Flower’s father, Harry F. Flowers. According to his enlistment record, Mr. Flowers was born in Putnam County, FA in 1846. He worked as a farmer. My favorite fact, he was only 5’4’’. He enlisted in 1864 in Jacksonville, FA and was promoted Corporal on August 31, 1865 and Sergeant on September 12, 1865. He fought for the 21st Regiment Company F in the US Colored Infantry.
In the next document shown below, Flowers mustered in at Hilton Head, South Carolina.
In a more descriptive document, he appeared as a Private and mustered in at Hilton Head. A bounty of $100 was paid (not exactly sure what that means) to Harry during his enlistment with the 21st USCT.
The 21st Regiment was created on March 14, 1864. Until April, 1864, they were assigned to Jacksonville, FA.. The regiment then moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina. They would later travel to Folly Island, SC, Morris Island, SC, Cole Island, SC, and Charleston, South Carolina. The 21st Regiment mustered out October 7 ,1866. According to a document released by fold3.com, the 21st Regiment was employed on fatigue, guard, and picket duty. It was one of the first regiments to enter Charleston.
Here is an expert about the 21st Regiment from Smith’s Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era by a contributor Robert J. Zalimas Jr.:
“…the 21st U.S. Colored Troops, a unit composed of former slaver from South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia, cautiously entered the port city. An onrushing cloud of smoke from fires set by the retreating Confederates greeted the black liberators. Along with members of other white and black Union regiments, the men of he 21st moved quickly into the city and worked their way through Charleston’s rubble to extinguish the raging inferno. To slow the Union advance, retreating Confederate soldiers engulfed Charleston with flames by setting afire cotton warehouses, buildings, bridges, the railroad depot, and several naval vessels.”
Would include more, but I think this is enough for today until the next post.
Smith, John David. Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2004. P 362
Weidman, Budge. Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With The United States Colored Troops : Infantry Organizations, 20th Through 25th http://www.fold3.com/pdf/M1823.pdf