Battle of Olustee 8th US Colored Troops (USCT) black soldier discharge papers

Nov 8, 2017
Stumbled recently upon these discharge papers from a private in the 8th USCT who was severely wounded in the Battle of Olustee.

Thought others might find the scans fascinating before I send them off for framing. This item has a big meaning to me being I grew up miles from the site of the battle and have stood and walked the same area as this soldier did. I have been searching for items relating to this moment in time most my adult life and finally located something. I would love to hear opinions and even what others might value these items for. Not for sale at this time. (Most likely never again :smile:

Also some interesting info incase pictures arent clear enough are:
Soldier was slave before mustering in aged 20, 5ft 4 inches tall and was discharged with a surgeons certificate of permanent disability.




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Nov 8, 2017
from my understanding these are extremely rare so i figured they should be enjoyed by all and owned by me. :smile:

John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
Copies of neither of these documents is included in Jackson Wilson's 11-page Consolidated Service Record (CSR) file available at

My fold3 subscription has just expired, and I'm still waiting for my replacement credit card to arrive, or I'd download and send them to you. Perhaps somebody else here could do so, if you're interested.

ADDED: I just found that file at The roll is alphabetical, and may not come up right at his file. Its not very informative, besides the fact that he was a 20 year old laborer, born in Greene Co., Va., drafted, enrolled 16 Nov. 1863, at Lewisburg or Harrisburg Pa. (both appear in the record, but Lewisburg seems to be named more often).

THEN you come to the Surgeon's Certificate, which tell a sad story about poor private Jackson Wilson:

"Functional Derangement of the Heart and chronic rheumatism which existed prior to enrollment. He has done no duty in the regiment, is utterly worthless as a soldier, and it is a fraud on the Government to keep him in. Disability total. Not entitled to a pension because existed prior to enlistment. A.P. Herscholdt, 8th U.S.C.T., Surg."

His Captain, Robert A. Travis, notes: "His disease was contracted before entering the service, he has done no duty, is entirely useless here but an encumbrance, as he often requires the assistance of those who are fit for duty."

Was he aware of his heart condition before entering service? If he was both drafted and unaware, why was this not discovered during his medical examination? I find no pension index record for him, so he apparently got no relief at all.

What a tragic end. Would the surgeon have spoken so harshly of him if he was white? Possibly. I've seen two similar "useless/worthless" judgments and declarations of "not entitled to a pension;" both soldiers were white -- but both were also Irish (so, who knows?)
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