Thursday, September 27, 2007


News release shared by Joe Becton:

Nearly Eleven Thousand Names Listed
La Mott, PA - September 1, 2007 - Phase One of a project to list in a searchable database the names and regimental information of the nearly eleven thousand black soldiers and the white officers who trained them has been completed. These men were the members of the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.) who were trained at Camp William Penn located just outside Of Philadelphia during the years 1863-1865.
The men are listed in alphabetical order by rank according to the regiment to which they were assigned. The list also indicates those that were killed in action (KIA) or who were wounded or who died from illness. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that such a list has been available to the general public in this form and on the Internet. The list and the history of each regiment is available on our supported Web site in the section, "Who They Were and What They Did."
Phase Two of the project will combine all of the names in a compiled searchable database in alpha order.
The completion of Phase One was made possible in part by a generous DCED grant sponsored by Pennsylvania State Senator LeAnna M. Washington. The following Westbrook-RockHill Foundation staff workers contributed to the project: Ruth N. Fulton, Rachel Fernbaugh, Judith Girton, Shawna Lacomis and Marlena Masitto. Programming for the project was performed by The Canton Group, LLC who also hosts the site.
The non-commercial site does not contain "pop-ups" and in addition to the list it contains a virtual compendium of information about Cheltenham Township, PA, and La Mott which was the site of Camp William Penn. The Web site also contains information about persons and historic events which have been associated with the area.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Re:The 1st Rhode Island at The Battle of Monmouth

Sergeant Becton,
Wow, you are correct.  Rich Walling missed the June muster roll for Captain Thomas Arnold's detachment.  I took a quick look at it (we have a print from the National Archives microfilm), and was able to find most of the names from Louis Wilson's list.  At least half of the privates and one musician were African Americans.  It is very clear that most of them were at Monmouth (although two were left sick at Valley Forge and perhaps one of those on command was with the baggage at Rocky Hill).  Rhodes is noted "sick at Englishtown," and Moses Wickes "sick Princetown."  (Was Moses Wickes left at Princetown on the march to Monmouth--or sent back to the Princeton hospital after the battle?)  Sick could mean "sick" or lightly wounded.  Capt. Arnold is listed as "Wounded Absent."
We also have a print of the July muster for essentially the same detachment.  This time, however, it is listed as Capt. Jona. Wallen's Company.  Capt. Thomas Arnold is listed after Wallen as "sick # Englishtown."
In Major-General Nathanael Greene's letter to his brother, Jacob Greene, 2 July 1778, he notes "I had like to have forgot to mention that the Rhode Island Troops were in Action and behavd very well.  Capt Arnold is wounded in the Leg."
What is uncertain is whether Capt. Arnold's detachment fought with Varnum's brigade at the hedged fence (most likely) or were part of a battalion of picked men (temporary light infantry).  Maj. Simeon Thayer, 2nd RI, was wounded while serving as major of a battalion of picked men led by Col. Joseph Cilley, 1st NH.  Cilley had men from 20 different regiments with him.  Washington had sent Cilley's and Parker's battalions of picked men to attack the British right as it withdrew from the field at the end of the day.
I would love to have more particulars on these men.  Do any of the primary sources reveal more about the Battle of Monmouth?  What about the other men in the detachment?  Which are WASPs, which are Native Americans?
Antiquary Garry

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

1st Rhode Island at Monmouth

It is generally believed that the First Rhode Island regiment did not serve at the battle of Monmouth in June 1778. It is a fact that after the Valley Forge encampment and retraining, the First Rhode Island Regiment returned to the Highlands Army in New York and New England .

What aroused my curiosity were the wounds of Captain Thomas Arnold who lost his right leg and of Richard Rhodes, newly freed African Soldier wounded in the arm.

These men were both members of the First Rhode Island and should not have been at that battle.

The First Rhode Island created a detachment, on 1 June 1778 ,Windsor Fry and others were detached to Captain Thomas Arnold and fought at the Battle of Monmouth, New Jersey, on 28 June 1778. On 1 July some of them moved to Captain Johnathan Wallen’s company.

The Second Rhode Island Regiment and Captain Thomas Arnold's detachment from the First Rhode Island, fought at the Battle of Monmouth. White, Black and Red soldiers served in his detachment.

The list of Africans who served in Arnold’s detachment and company in June of 1778 comes from the list of Louis E. Wilson of Smith University. It was included in a presentation during a Seminar and Exhibit called "Forgotten Patriots" offered by the DAR at their Headquarters in Washington D.C. January 11, 2003.

  • Edward Anthony, Transferred from the Second Rhode Island in May
  • Hampton Barton
  • Ebenezer Caesar
  • James Carpenter (Enslaved) New Recruit
  • Prince Childs (Possible escaped Slave)
  • James Dailey Enlisted 1776 in 9th continental
  • Abraham Demos Enlisted in the Militia in September 1776
  • William Frank Enlisted April 20, 1777 in the Militia Transferred in May.
  • Windsor Fry Enlisted 1775
  • James Greene New recruit
  • Frank Gould (Enslaved) enlist January 14, 1777 in 2nd RI Transferred in May
  • Robert Howland New recruit
  • Cuff Peckham Transferred from 2nd RI in May
  • John Jehu Pomp Enlisted March 1777
  • Richard Dick Potter Enlisted March 1777
  • Thomas Reynolds Enlisted January 1777
  • Richard Rhodes (Enslaved) New recruit
  • James Robillard Fifer Transferred from the 2nd RI
  • George Rogers
  • George Sambo Enlisted March 1777
  • Thomas Spencer
  • Solomon Wanton Enlisted in Militia in January of 1777 the 1st RI
  • Pomp Watson Enlisted May 23, 1777
  • Primus Watson (Enslaved) New Recruit
  • Prince Watson
  • Moses Wickes Transferred from 2nd RI
  • Jesse Willis New recruit May 1778
  • Frances Tefift Transferred from the 2nd RI
  • Cato Vernom (Enslaved) April 24, 1778


  • Captain Thomas Arnold
  • Heitmen’s (1914) p.76 "Thomas Arnold"
  • Valley Forge Muster list 1777-1778.
  • Records of the State of Rhode Island ed, John Russell Bartlett Vol X 1784 to 1792
  • Providence Press Company (1865) p.166
  • Private Dick, a.k.a. Richard Rhodes Pension Application 3, April 1818.W2206.448
  • Black Courage 1775-1783 Robert Ewell Greene DAR (1984) p.5
  • Rhode Island Archives (Folder R) Minorities in the Revolution
  • Valley Forge Muster list 1777-1778.
  • Some Observations of the Black regiment of Rhode Island in the American Revolution p.158
  • Hoyt's Index to Revolutionary War Pension Application
  • Pension S2970 and W22060 Catherine
  • Lewis Wilson List p.45,
  • Private Windsor Fry Rhode Island Archives (Folder F) Minorities in the Revolution "Windsor Fry"
  • Lewis Wilson List p.45,
  • Doctor Stone
Hopefully this is enough information for you to look into and form your own opinion . Black Courage and Heitman’s list of Revolutionary War Officers will be the easy to get. It is possible that Stryker or Smith may have mentioned Captain Arnold and Private Richard Rhodes as being wounded.

Joseph P. Martin talks about Colonel Joseph Cilly of New Hampshire, rallying Varnum’s troops for the counter attack on pages 126-130. Not George Washington.

Sgt. Joe Becton

First Rhode Island Regiment

Captain John Dexter’s Company

" I joined the army to obtain my freedom"

Monday, June 4, 2007

American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the Crater

Correction - the link to this article was incorrect. You can now access the article.

Original Source: Civil War Magazine article - available at

According to this article 20,000 Native-Americans fought in
the Civil War - on both sides. The article provides some insights
about the Native-American participation in the Civil War
treatment, as well as their role at the Battle of the Crater.

Click the following to access the link:

American Indian Sharpshooters at the Battle of the Crater*

Monday, April 30, 2007

Exhibit chronicles black soldiers' efforts

There was an article in the Beacon Journal on April 1st about a photo exhibit about the USCT that opened April 25th. The photographer visited historic sites that often were not documented in the local history. Without this documentation these sites would fade forgotten along with the history.

Leon Brooks

Friday, April 27, 2007

Combat Multipliers: African-American Soldiers in Four Wars

This book is a rare find, offering the unusual perspective of an American-African military professional - Lieutenant Colonel Krewaksky A. Salter I, a soldier scholar. This is another example of a technical, or at least specialized publication. It is a study - initiated for the curriculum of the Combat Studies Institute. Col. Salter looks at the impact of black soldiers in the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, and World War II. He describes this impact in terms of black forces having had an effect as a combat multiplier - "significant and supporting means that increase the relative combat strength (power) of a force while actual force ratios remain constant". I like his use of this concept because, if I interpret it correctly, this quantifies, or at least specifies the contribution of blacks in operational vectors, e.g. deployment, leadership, terrain reinforcement, etc. Sometimes the contributions of blacks in military history, when acknowledged, are understood or conveyed in general historical terms. Context studies like this make the contributions more concrete. We know that the USCT fought in 449 engagements, and in 39 major battles which determined the outcome of the Civil War; but this doesn't begin to explain the disproportionately large impact that they had. The combat multiplier concept helps to follow black contributions in U.S. military history over time in concrete terms.
This book is in the public domain, so you can read it online, at Google Books. This would make an excellent addition to a collection so you may want to Locate a copy to lend, borrow , or purchase.

Pvt Leon Brooks

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Black Soldiers at Battle of Germantown

Byron Childress has posted a list of blacks who fought at the Battle Of Germantown, which he compiled from the book " Black Courage, 1775-1783 : documentation of Black participation in the American Revolution"*. He has posted it on the 1ST Rhode Island Regiment website. Having read the list I look forward to reading the book.

Greene, Robert Ewell. Black Courage, 1775-1783: Documentation of Black Participation in the American Revolution. Washington: National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1984.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Fight For Freedom

Fight For Freedom
is a 30 minute documentary available on DVD, produced in collaboration by the Closeup Foundation, the African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Memorial, and was funded by a grant from the WK. Kellogg Foundation. It won the prestigious Grand Award for Best of Show at the New York Festivals 02 International Film and Video Awards. It is a high quality production, and a great resource for schools, students, descendants of soldiers who fought with US Colored Troops in the Civil War, and anyone interested in African American history, or supporting the Civil War Memorial. Sgt. Fred Minus from the 6TH USCT obtained a copy while attending the United Stated Colored Troops Symposium.

submitted by
Pvt. Leon Brooks

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Sons of Providence : the Brown brothers, the slave trade, and the American Revolution

Joe Becton reccommends this book. Charles Rappleye will speak on his book on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 7:30 p.m. at Brittingham's Irish Pub and Restaurant

Locate a copy
Leon Brooks

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Retouching History: The Modern Falsification of a Civil War Photograph

Retouching History is a website publication, technical in nature, that brings to light the extent to which neo-Confederate apologists for slavery will go to revise the history of the South. For those of us committed to establishing the black soldiers rightful place in history, as a freedom fighter, we must be vigilant and thoroughly versed in our history and aware of the tactics used to distort the truth. In recent years we have seen the intensified efforts of ideologues to manipulate, revise, and suppress information, including scientific knowledge. The authors describe how a photograph posted on a purporting to be a picture of the 1st Louisiana Native Guard, is in fact a deception. It is well documented with citations which are helpful in researching the issues.Thanks to Byron Childress of the 3rd USCT for bringing it to our attention.
Pvt Leon Brooks, 6th USCT

Thursday, March 8, 2007

1888 Population Statistical Map

For educators, living historians, and history geeks in general, looking for unusual presentation of primary sources information - this is it. It is an interactive map, includes information on Proportion of white Civil War soldiers to white population ; Proportion of colored troops to colored population; and Pensioners, July 1, 1888. Check it out. How could you see this being used?

PVT Leon Brooks, 6TH USCT

Women Spies

As this is Womens History month, you may find The Civil War: Black American Contributions to Union Intelligence, a CIA publication, very informative. Of course it mentions Harriet Tubman, whose exploits are well known. It also describes the intelligence contributions of two other black women - Mary Touvestre, and Mary Elizabeth Bowser (picture).
Though interesting it is not comprehensive. Some other women who spied for the Union are

Sarah Emma Edmonds :
She disguised herself as a man to serve in the Union Army, and sometimes "disguised" herself as a woman -- or as a black man -- to spy on the Confederate troops.

After her identity was exposed, she served as a nurse with the Union.

Elizabeth Van Lew :
An abolitionist living in Richmond, she helped bring food and clothing to Union prisoners and smuggled out information. She also placed a spy in the home of Jefferson Davis.

Mary Edwards Walker :
Known for her unconventional dress - she often wore trousers and a man's coat - this pioneer physician worked for the Union Army as a nurse and spy while she waited for an official commission as a surgeon.

Mary Elizabeth Bowser :
She served as a maid in the Confederate White House -- and, ignored while important conversations were held, she passed along important information from those conversations and from papers she found.

PVT Leon Brooks

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Book List Page

I have set up a page of recommended readings on the 6TH USCT site. I'll be adding a titles from First Sgt Minus' extensive collection. Recommendations are welcome. Please submit title(s) and any comments you like to share on the material.

Pvt. Leon Brooks

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Coming Soon

The 6th Regiments site will soon add a Book List page with recommended readings