Black Servants and Support Personnel with the Union Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
In the course of my research to date, I have found primary source references that confirm the presence of at least 23 individual blacks who were attached to the Army of the Potomac on or near the battlefield, with five others whom I consider probably present. Of these 28, two were wounded by enemy fire. Doubtless they represent but a small fraction of the number actually on the scene of the great battle, thus affording us only a glimpse of those who played a largely hidden and unheralded role in contributing to the Union victory at Gettysburg.

The list of confirmed and their duties (when noted):

George, a cook for Stephen M. Weld, aide to Maj. Gen. Reynolds, and other First Corps staff.

William (Billy), forager, cook and servant for Col. Rufus Dawes, 6th Wisconsin.

Jerry, servant to Lt. A. N. Nickerson, 8th Ohio.

Charles (Charley), servant to Capt. Thomas L. Livermore, 5th New Hampshire.

Mart, servant to Chaplain Joseph H. Twichell, 71st New York. Although unhurt, Mart was exposed for a time to Confederate artillery fire while behind Abraham Trostle’s brick barn on the afternoon of July 2. The location was initially used as a temporary field hospital, but was soon abandoned. (Killed in Action, by Greg Coco, Gettysburg: Thomas Publications, 1992, p. 36)

Samuel Todd, servant to Lt. Col. S. M. Zulick, 29th Pennsylvania. Todd was severely wounded in the arm by a shell fragment. (Casualty List, 29th Pennsylvania, The Press (Philadelphia), July 11, 1863)

Unidentified (U/I), servant to a sergeant in Company B, 2nd Wisconsin. This servant became very ill during the march, but had no access to medical care. (Diary of Elon Francis Brown, Company H, 2nd Wisconsin. Brown wrote that his regiment’s surgeons “will not encumber ambulances for a colored man. It might seem unjust to soldiers to use army ambulances to carry sick contrabands, but humanity demands that we do it or else prevent their following the army. They are very useful as servants, but every mortal is liable to sickness or accident at any moment.”)

Two (or more) U/I, other contrabands who followed the 2nd Wisconsin.

U/I, hostler for Col. George H. Biddle, 95th New York.

U/I, cook for Capt. John D. S. Cook, 80th New York, also served on hospital duty.

U/I, servant to Lt. Col. Alfred B. McCalmont, 142nd Pennsylvania.

U/I, servant to Lt. Col. Charles H. Morgan, Inspector General and Chief of Staff, 2nd Corps.

U/I, drove wagon (teamster) for Lt. Emerson L. Bicknell of the Andrew Sharpshooters.

U/I, attached to 12th New Jersey.

U/I, servant to Col. C. D. McDougal, 111th New York.

U/I, servant to Capt. Charles R. Johnson, 16th Massachusetts and his lieutenant.

U/I, boy about 14 years old, servant to an unidentified New York officer, who was wounded during the July 3 cannonade and had his arm amputated. (History of Battery B, First New Jersey, by Michael Hanifen, Ottawa, IL: Republican-Times, Printers,1905, p. 81)

U/I, worked for Capt. Richard W. Davids, 118th Pennsylvania.

Two (or more) U/I, cooks in the 11th Corps. On the afternoon of July 2, their pack mules made a great racket as they passed by Meade’s headquarters at the Leister cottage on the Taneytown Road. Annoyed, Meade sent for his Provost Marshal, which prompted one of the black cooks to exclaim, “For the Lord’s sake, if that ain’t General [Marsena] Patrick a coming.” (Patrick McEneany, The National Tribune, March 22, 1900)

U/I, servant and forager to Capt. Patrick Hart, 15th New York Artillery.

U/I, cook for Lt. Starkey, Company H, 5th Michigan Cavalry.


Probable:

James, worked for Stephen M. Weld, aide to Maj. Gen. Reynolds.

Henry, servant to Surgeon William Watson, 105th Pennsylvania.

Jackson Hughes, cook and servant for John B. Noyes, 28th Massachusetts.

Two (or more) U/I, servants to staff officers under Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames.


Others who were possibly present:

Warner Cunningham, cook, 13th Massachusetts.

Lewis, cook and waiter, officer’s mess, 150th Pennsylvania.

Nelson, cook, 150th Pennsylvania.

Richard (Dick), servant to Colonel of 40th New York.

Thomas (Tom), boy of 13 years who did odd jobs for both Maj. Charles. H. Howard, 11th Corps staff, and Capt. Whittlesey.

Henry, mulatto servant to quartermaster Jamison, 27th Indiana.

Two U/I, cooks for 97th New York.

U/I, worked for Capt. Sanborn, 28th Massachusetts.

U/I, worked for Capt. McKeever, 28th Massachusetts.

U/I, cooked and kept tent in order for John B. Noyes, 28th Massachusetts.

Two (or more) U/I, cooks in 1st Minnesota.
 

midwestjoe

Private
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
In the course of my research to date, I have found primary source references that confirm the presence of at least 23 individual blacks who were attached to the Army of the Potomac on or near the battlefield, with five others whom I consider probably present. Of these 28, two were wounded by enemy fire. Doubtless they represent but a small fraction of the number actually on the scene of the great battle, thus affording us only a glimpse of those who played a largely hidden and unheralded role in contributing to the Union victory at Gettysburg.

The list of confirmed and their duties (when noted):

George, a cook for Stephen M. Weld, aide to Maj. Gen. Reynolds, and other First Corps staff.

William (Billy), forager, cook and servant for Col. Rufus Dawes, 6th Wisconsin.

Jerry, servant to Lt. A. N. Nickerson, 8th Ohio.

Charles (Charley), servant to Capt. Thomas L. Livermore, 5th New Hampshire.

Mart, servant to Chaplain Joseph H. Twichell, 71st New York. Although unhurt, Mart was exposed for a time to Confederate artillery fire while behind Abraham Trostle’s brick barn on the afternoon of July 2. The location was initially used as a temporary field hospital, but was soon abandoned. (Killed in Action, by Greg Coco, Gettysburg: Thomas Publications, 1992, p. 36)

Samuel Todd, servant to Lt. Col. S. M. Zulick, 29th Pennsylvania. Todd was severely wounded in the arm by a shell fragment. (Casualty List, 29th Pennsylvania, The Press (Philadelphia), July 11, 1863)

Unidentified (U/I), servant to a sergeant in Company B, 2nd Wisconsin. This servant became very ill during the march, but had no access to medical care. (Diary of Elon Francis Brown, Company H, 2nd Wisconsin. Brown wrote that his regiment’s surgeons “will not encumber ambulances for a colored man. It might seem unjust to soldiers to use army ambulances to carry sick contrabands, but humanity demands that we do it or else prevent their following the army. They are very useful as servants, but every mortal is liable to sickness or accident at any moment.”)

Two (or more) U/I, other contrabands who followed the 2nd Wisconsin.

U/I, hostler for Col. George H. Biddle, 95th New York.

U/I, cook for Capt. John D. S. Cook, 80th New York, also served on hospital duty.

U/I, servant to Lt. Col. Alfred B. McCalmont, 142nd Pennsylvania.

U/I, servant to Lt. Col. Charles H. Morgan, Inspector General and Chief of Staff, 2nd Corps.

U/I, drove wagon (teamster) for Lt. Emerson L. Bicknell of the Andrew Sharpshooters.

U/I, attached to 12th New Jersey.

U/I, servant to Col. C. D. McDougal, 111th New York.

U/I, servant to Capt. Charles R. Johnson, 16th Massachusetts and his lieutenant.

U/I, boy about 14 years old, servant to an unidentified New York officer, who was wounded during the July 3 cannonade and had his arm amputated. (History of Battery B, First New Jersey, by Michael Hanifen, Ottawa, IL: Republican-Times, Printers,1905, p. 81)

U/I, worked for Capt. Richard W. Davids, 118th Pennsylvania.

Two (or more) U/I, cooks in the 11th Corps. On the afternoon of July 2, their pack mules made a great racket as they passed by Meade’s headquarters at the Leister cottage on the Taneytown Road. Annoyed, Meade sent for his Provost Marshal, which prompted one of the black cooks to exclaim, “For the Lord’s sake, if that ain’t General [Marsena] Patrick a coming.” (Patrick McEneany, The National Tribune, March 22, 1900)

U/I, servant and forager to Capt. Patrick Hart, 15th New York Artillery.

U/I, cook for Lt. Starkey, Company H, 5th Michigan Cavalry.


Probable:

James, worked for Stephen M. Weld, aide to Maj. Gen. Reynolds.

Henry, servant to Surgeon William Watson, 105th Pennsylvania.

Jackson Hughes, cook and servant for John B. Noyes, 28th Massachusetts.

Two (or more) U/I, servants to staff officers under Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames.


Others who were possibly present:

Warner Cunningham, cook, 13th Massachusetts.

Lewis, cook and waiter, officer’s mess, 150th Pennsylvania.

Nelson, cook, 150th Pennsylvania.

Richard (Dick), servant to Colonel of 40th New York.

Thomas (Tom), boy of 13 years who did odd jobs for both Maj. Charles. H. Howard, 11th Corps staff, and Capt. Whittlesey.

Henry, mulatto servant to quartermaster Jamison, 27th Indiana.

Two U/I, cooks for 97th New York.

U/I, worked for Capt. Sanborn, 28th Massachusetts.

U/I, worked for Capt. McKeever, 28th Massachusetts.

U/I, cooked and kept tent in order for John B. Noyes, 28th Massachusetts.

Two (or more) U/I, cooks in 1st Minnesota.
Thank you. Kudos on your research.
 

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