Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

USCT Burials Marked in Wilmington

Posted in African Americans, Memory by Andy Hall on June 4, 2011

A couple of my readers have pointed me to news stories on Thursday’s dedication of a new historical marker outside the Wilmington, North Carolina National Cemetery. It’s believed that around 500 officers and enlisted men from USCT regiments who died during the Wilmington campaign are buried there, many in unmarked graves. The 4thU.S. Colored Infantry, profiled in the previous post, served in the campaign and it is thought that some of its members are interred at the site.

In a ceremony organized by the city’s Commission on African-American History, Mayor Saffo presented a special certificate of appreciation to Fred Johnson, a local Civil War re-enactor who had researched the story of the black soldiers buried in Wilmington.

Johnson and retired Lt. Col. James C. Braye had organized a lobbying campaign to have the marker erected by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

“Oh, what a morning!” shouted Johnson, wearing the uniform of a Civil War-era artillery sergeant.

He thanked Chris Fonvielle, a historian with the University of North Carolina Wilmington who serves on the state committee that approves new highway markers. Fonvielle had been a strong advocate for the project, Johnson said.

Spectators included both re-enactors of U.S. Colored Troops in Union blue and members of Cape Fear Chapter No. 3 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, many of whom dressed in black as hoop-skirted Civil War widows.

The re-enactors gave a loud “Huzzah!” as Saffo handed the certificate to Johnson.

Thanks for the heads-up on the story, folks.


StarNews Online photo by Paul Stephen.

5 Responses

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  1. corkingiron said, on June 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I found the participation of women from the UDC to be a nice detail – perhaps a small step towards the idea that the ACW is a shared -American – history.

    I was also touched by some of the photos – especially # 2 in the queue and # 28. The moving nature of the event is evident on the faces of the reenactors – and the educational nature is evident on the faces of the students watching. I hesitate to offer advice to an excellent blogger, but they might be worth posting too also Andy.

  2. focusoninfinity said, on June 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Hilton Head Island, S.C., black Union soldiers Pvt. and Sgt. Bellinger; how would I see if a Bellinger is buried there? Is there an on-line list of internments there?

    • Andy Hall said, on June 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Would that be the Beaufort National Cemetery? The VA has a graves locator tool here:

      but it doesn’t show the Bellingers. You might try different spellings, but if they’re in unmarked graves, they presumably would not be in the database.

      If they’re in a local cemetery, I don’t know of a sure way to trace them, and you’d need to go through a local genealogy or archival source.

      Maybe others can assist.

  3. dmf said, on June 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

    hey andy, i imagine that you know this site but if not:

    • Andy Hall said, on June 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Yes, thanks. The Army OR (128 vols) and the Navy OR (30 vols) really are essential tools. I’ve found the MoA interface to be a little clunky, and purchased a digital version that I run on my machine locally. Not cheap, but I see it as an investment in the work.

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