Monday, April 11, 2011

Tennessee Black Soldiers Honored at National Cemetery

As one who has six ancestors from Giles County Tennessee who served with the 111th US Colored Infantry, I was delighted to see this wonderful video about a monument dedicated to the honor of the US Colored Troops at the National Cemetery in Nashville! My ancestors were from Giles County Tennessee, served with the 111th US Colored Infantry and were captured at Sulphur Branch Trestle in September 1864.

Sephus Bass, his brother Braxton Bass and his own two sons Henry Bass and Emmanuel Bass, all joined together. Another close relative Thomas Bass also served in the same unit, In addition to that, there were two who had married sisters of my Uncle Sephus--James and William Oddaway who were also in the 111th. So that is seven all from Giles County who joined the Union Army.

I was pleased two years ago when researching for a  man who happened to be the mayor of one of the cities in Arkansas, and to discover that his family roots are tied to North Alabama.  I became interested in his history and I was most surprised to see that his own family had served in the Union Army with mine. In fact he had 17 ancestors that had joined the 110th US Colored Infantry and 2 who had joined the 111th US Colored Infantry.  What a legacy! Of the 17 men connected to him, 7 of them were either corporals or sergeants.

Both regiments fought in the same area, both were captured at Sulphur Trestle, Alabama, and his direct ancestors  were living in Giles County immediately after the war.  They more than likely knew my own ancestors!

I have learned how so many men joined in groups when so many were seizing their own freedom after the Bureau of US Colored Troops were established.

As much as I research USCTs I have seen so few monuments devoted to these men.  I am so happy to see Tennessee honor these men at the National Cemetery.  My goal is to visit that cemetery, to see the monument, and to see the grave sites of the men who served with my ancestors all brave men, who fought for freedom.


  1. Great video. I have made it to a dozen Civil War battlefields and I have only seen one USCT monument (Vicksburg) so far.

  2. How lucky you are to have visited so many battlefields! And I believe that the cemeteries are sacred places.

  3. Angela, you are doing an awesome job with
    this blog!

    Thanks for taking part in the Challenge!

  4. There is a very nice monument commemorating the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers (later designated as the 79th US Colored Infantry--New Organization)at the site of a battle in what was then the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). A photo can be viewed here:
    Well over twenty thousand African Americans from Tennessee served in Union USCT regiments. I too believe both battlefields and cemeteries to be sacred places. The USCT Chronicle and its author performs a necessary and valuable service in raising consciousness of the sacrifices of those long overlooked. As long as the living remember, the sacrifices of those who gave the last full measure of devotion will not have been in vain.

  5. Bill,

    Thank you for visiting the blog, and for your remarks. The task to honor our ancestors is an ongoing one and it their shoulders upon which we stand.

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  7. To Lloyd Monroe,

    Thanks for mentioning the monument to the Kansas Colored. I have visited the Honey Springs Battlefield, and have seen that monument. I mentioned it on my African-Native American blog and have an image of it there.
    ( )

    I also have an image of the Indian Home Guards as well on that post:

    You are correct that these sites should be held as places of honor, and truly these men of courage did not fight nor die in vain.

    Thank you for your remarks!