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Federal First Sergeant Powhatan Beaty (Company G, 5th USCI)

Discussion in 'Contemporary Photos of Civil War Sites & Events' started by Buckeye Bill, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Buckeye Bill

    Buckeye Bill 1st Lieutenant

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    Powhatan Beaty (October 8, 1837 – December 6, 1916) was an African American soldier and actor. During the American Civil War, he served in the Union Army's 5th United States Colored Infantry Regiment throughout the Richmond/Petersburg Campaign. He received America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for taking command of his company at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm (New Market Heights) Virginia, after all officers had been killed and/or wounded. Following the war, he became an orator and actor, appearing in amateur theater productions in his home of Cincinnati, Ohio. His most well-known stage performance was an 1884 appearance at Ford's Opera House on 9th Street in Washington, D.C., opposite Henrietta Vinton Davis.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2017
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  3. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Thanks for posting. Had never heard of him.
     
  4. Buckeye Bill

    Buckeye Bill 1st Lieutenant

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    I first heard about him at the Richmond National Battlefield Visitor Center at the Tredegar Iron Works. A NPS volunteer asked where we lived and my son told him Cincinnati, Ohio. We talked about the state of Ohio related to the American Civil War. The volunteer mentioned Powhatan and stated, "I believe he is buried in Cincinnati." The NPS volunteer was dead to red..... Powhatan was born in Richmond, Virginia.

    Bill
     
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  5. Buckeye Bill

    Buckeye Bill 1st Lieutenant

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    Enjoy,
    Bill
     
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  6. William G Hendry

    William G Hendry Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Why would someone deface these plaques For a man who got the medal of honor, no respect.
     
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  7. Yulie

    Yulie Corporal

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    I don't know.... Your guess is as good as mine. Cemetery and monument discretion is happening all over the country.

    I am a member of the commemorative 5th USCI, Co. C, and we attended the dedication ceremony in 2003 of the USCT marker. There was a parade, dedication ceremony, wreath laying and rosemary presentation. I have photographs somewhere.... I recall it being a very beautiful day and everyone was so proud to be there. I was unaware and I am sadden that the marker has been defaced. I will follow through on gathering the forces to get that corrected.

    Unfortunately, many of the vanguards for USCT monument preservation and awareness are honorably retiring. Ohio had Bennie McRae, Jr., who was very active in this effort. He involved numerous school children in researching cemeteries for USCTs and refurbishing neglected tombstones and monuments. I was able to attend several rededication ceremonies resulting from these efforts -- the last being a dedication in Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio, in 2012. This particular project was lead by Centennial High School students.

    -Y
     
  8. Waterloo50

    Waterloo50 Major Silver Patron

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    I have a question if you don't mind, its about African American or coloured soldiers that were awarded the Medal of Honor. Given that there was a high incidence of institutionalised racism and discrimination during the CW and for many years after, did the MOH make any difference to those coloured men that were awarded it, in other words, did these men gain the respect that they deserved or were they treated with indifference. The reason that I am asking is because the British equivalent to the MOH is the Victoria Cross and it wasn't until well into the First World War that coloured soldiers started to be awarded the VC and considering that it had been around since 1856, awards to coloured troops were surprisingly low, those that did gain the VC were treated very well indeed especially in the higher social circles where racism was rife, it was almost as if their ethnicity was no longer an issue. I would almost go as far to say that the VC had the ability to remove racism. I was wondering if the MOH had the same effect?
     
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  9. Kip124thNY

    Kip124thNY Corporal

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    Thanks for posting, and interesting story about Sgt. Beaty.
     
  10. Yulie

    Yulie Corporal

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    Interesting question....

    I don't think you can compare the two situations. There were Jim Crow laws in the United States that systematically disenfranchised the rights of its African American citizens both during and after Reconstruction. Even the most educated, hard working and diligent person found obstacles to overcome. I can only deduct that a medal did little to improve their lives in civilian life outside the African American community. Racism and segregation were factors in their lives. Good secondary resources are After the Glory: The Struggles of Civil War Veterans, by Donald Shaffer and Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction through the US Pension Bureau Files, by Elizabeth A. Regosin and Donald R. Shaffer.

    I am biography driven when it comes to soldiers, but have not seen a complete compilation of biographies of USCT Medal of Honor recipients that covers their entire lifetime. Their service records are published but their personal lives are works in progress. I am finding scatterings of writings and publications. I have studied Milton Holland and he achieved success in the African American community. He entered civil service, became a lawyer, and owned an insurance company. From secondary sources I've read, he found it difficult to receive his pension. Attempts to posthumously grant him the full rank of captain is still pending as a House bill. If you visit Arlington National Cemetery, you'll see his huge headstone but there is no reference on it about him being a Medal of Honor recipient. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mholland.htm

    -Yulanda
     
  11. Yulie

    Yulie Corporal

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    By the way...

    I recommend reading Eagles on Their Buttons: A Black Infantry Regiment in the Civil War (1999) by Versalle F. Washington, regarding the 5th USCI. Beaty had a admirable company of comrades.

    -Yulanda
     
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  12. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    With that first name did you find any evidence he was part Native American? I tried looking but couldn't find anything.
     
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  13. Yulie

    Yulie Corporal

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    A nice biography on Beaty can be found at http://www.oxfordaasc.com/article/opr/t0001/e1986

    Don't know how he got his name. His early years appear to be a mystery. I can speculate and conjecture on his ethnicity, but folks here on the board want proof of any statements. By appearance he is bi-racial. Ohio was the depository of slave-owner's children where they were sent to be educated at places like Oberlin, Wilberforce, and Albany (Lewis) Academy. Would be interesting to check their student roster. Albany was a mechanical school (the Milton and William Holland, both of the 5th USCI) were students. Just saying: small circles meet ends.

    Edmonia Lewis....

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    -- Yulie
     
  14. Buckeye Bill

    Buckeye Bill 1st Lieutenant

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    Morons! Greek for Fools!!!
     
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  15. Buckeye Bill

    Buckeye Bill 1st Lieutenant

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    Thank you for sharing!

    Bill
     
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  16. Buckeye Bill

    Buckeye Bill 1st Lieutenant

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    Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Chaffin's Farm (New Market Heights), Virginia. Powhatan Beaty earned his Medal of Honor during this battle.
     

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