Sgt. George Mitchell's company (Company K of the 62nd U.S. Colored Infantry) was, according to Coddington's research, the last to fire arms in the Civil War.
This rare portrait shows an identified Confederate noncommissioned officer, Sgt. Andrew Martin Chandler (left), and his named slave, Silas Chandler (right). It is the only Confederate photograph in the book by Rod Coddington, African American Faces of the Civil War. Born into slavery, Silas "was one of thousands of slaves who served as [body servants] during the war," writes Coddington.
Corp. Wilson Weir was a slave when he joined the Union army at age 21. "My initial attraction to old photos was purely aesthetic, and this still continues to be the dominant motivating factor," writes Coddington. "This carte de visite meets and exceeds my criteria. ... He wears his hat at a jaunty angle, perhaps reflective of his character."
Collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and M****cript Library, Yale University
John and Isaiah Owens. "An absolutely wonderful cased tintype of two brothers who served in the same company in the 60th U.S. Colored Infantry," writes Coddington. "The story of the Owens brothers is poignant. Both died during the war. Isaiah succumbed of disease, and John fell from a transport and drowned in the Mississippi River."
Sgt. Alexander Herritage Newton (left) and Sgt. Daniel S. Lathrop. "After obtaining permission to publish [this]," writes Coddington, "I discovered Newton's autobiography, Out of the Briars. This honest and able account of his life experiences is one of the best personal Civil War narratives that I have read."
Credit Collection of the *****sburg National Military Park Museum
Corp. Henry Gaither. "One of the few free men of color in this book when the war began, Gaither and his regiment, the 39th U.S. Colored Infantry, fought as hard as any white organization in the Union army," writes Coddington. "This is one of my favorite images in the book."
African-American serving with the US Navy in the Civil War aboard the USS Wabash.
This photo of Robert Walker, a young African-American “First Class Boy” dressed in a sailor’s uniform, has “Our Bob” written on the bottom.
“First Class Boys” in the U.S. Navy were generally young men under 17 years of age. They were paid $9 per month and performed various sailor duties. African-Americans served in the Union navy from the start of the Civil War in 1861 and were fully integrated into a ship’s crew. There was little public objection since slaves and seamen shared a common low social standing. Black sailors were paid the same wages as the white crewmen in sharp contrast to the army. Most African-American sailors were northern, urban free blacks from New York or Boston. It is estimated that approximately 24,000 (16%) of the Union navy was African-American.
Image Courtesy Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield; WICR 32071-L