Private John N. Sharper, 11th U.S. Colored Artillery

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John N. Sharper, a printer by trade, enlisted in the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery Regiment (Colored) at Providence, Rhode Island on October 30, 1863. He was listed as being 5-foot8, of "dark complexion," with black hair and black eyes. He was born in New York State about 1841. He signed his own enlistment papers. The 14th Rhode Island was later re-designated the 11th U.S. Colored Artillery.

Sharper was born at Herkimer, New York (west of Albany) on May 24, 1841. In 1860, at age 18, he was still living in Herkimer with his parents, Samuel and Jane, and working as a printer's apprentice.

Sharper's unit was assigned to the Department of the Gulf, where its elements were stationed in New Orleans, Port Hudson, Brashear City (now Morgan City), Louisiana and Fort Esperanza on Matagorda Island, Texas. In the winter of 1864-65 Sharper was detached from his unit to work at post headquarters as a printer. Sharper was discharged for disability at New Orleans on September 11, 1865 for phthisis pulmonalis, another term for consumption or tuberculosis. He died on April 5, 1866, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Herkimer.

His parents, Samuel and Jane, applied for a pension on as dependents of his. There is a page on Ancestry that shows Sharper married to an Esther Thomas (c. 1846 to c. 1929), but cites no documentation.

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Image from the LoC. Information compiled from Sharper's NARA CSR, Ancestry and Find-a-Grave.
 
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John N. Sharper, a printer by trade, enlisted in the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery Regiment (Colored) at Providence, Rhode Island on October 30, 1863. He was listed as being 5-foot8, of "dark complexion," with black hair and black eyes. He was born in New York State about 1841. He signed his own enlistment papers. The 14th Rhode Island was later re-designated the 11th U.S. Colored Artillery.

Sharper was born at Herkimer, New York (west of Albany) on May 24, 1841. In 1860, at age 18, he was still living in Herkimer with his parents, Samuel and Jane, and working as a printer's apprentice.

Sharper's unit was assigned to the Department of the Gulf, where its elements were stationed in New Orleans, Port Hudson, Brashear City (now Morgan City), Louisiana and Fort Esperanza on Matagorda Island, Texas. In the winter of 1864-65 Sharper was detached from his unit to work at post headquarters as a printer. Sharper was discharged for disability at New Orleans on September 11, 1865 for phthisis pulmonalis, another term for consumption or tuberculosis. He died on April 5, 1866, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Herkimer.

His parents, Samuel and Jane, applied for a pension on as dependents of his. There is a page on Ancestry that shows Sharper married to an Esther Thomas (c. 1846 to c. 1929), but cites no documentation.

_________
Image from the LoC. Information compiled from Sharper's NARA CSR, Ancestry and Find-a-Grave.
Rhode Island
Fourteenth Regiment Rhode Island Heavy Artillery.
(COLORED.)
Into the idea of raising a regiment of colored men,
Governor Smith early entered. He communicated with the
authorities at Washington on the subject, and on the 17th of
June, 1863, was granted permission to enlist a colored company
of heavy artillery. This was so spiritedly done that on the
4th of August the permit was extended to a battalion, and on
the 3d of September was again extended to a full regiment. In
accomplishing this work many and peculiar difficulties
occurred. But these, by the energy and perseverance of the
Governor, were successfully overcome. It should perhaps be
stated that the officers of this regiment were white men, all
of whom had seen previous service. They were commissioned by
the President of the United States, after having passed a
rigid examination before a military board convened at
Washington, of which Major General Silas Casey, United States
Army, was president.

" Camp Smith " was established on the Dexter Training
Ground, in Providence, and on the 28th of August the first
company was mustered in. To Colonel Nelson Viall was assigned
the duty of organizing and preparing the regiment for the
field. A more judicious selection could not have been made.
Colonel Viall had gained large experience in the Mexican War,
had proved himself a brave and capable officer in the Army of
the Potomac, had faith, (as many at the time had not,) in the
capabilities of the colored man to make an efficient soldier,
and entered heartily into the wishes of Governor Smith. He
devoted himself untiringly to the work, and under his daily
inspection the men made rapid progress in military evolutions
In the course of a few weeks a battalion of four companies was
enlisted. In September these companies were transferred to
Dutch Island, and established " Camp Bailey," in compliment to
Colonel Charles E. Bailey, Aide-de-Camp and Private Secretary
to the Commander-in-Chief, who had shown particular interest
in the welfare of the men. The encampment on the Dexter
Training Ground was still used to complete company
organizations. November 19th, the Governor, accompanied by the
Legislature and many other invited guests, visited Dutch
Island, reviewed the troops, and presented to the regiment a
stand of colors. To the presentation address made by Governor
Smith, Colonel Viall, in behalf of his command, returned an
appropriate reply. Addresses were also made by Hon. Henry B.
Anthony, Senator to Congress from Rhode Island, Rt. Rev.
Thomas M. Clark, D. D., Rev. Dr. Edward B. Hall, Rev. Dr.
Barnas Sears, President of Brown University, and Rev. Dr.
Leonard Swain. The regiment then broke into column and passed
in review before the Governor, making a very gratifying
appearance.

On the 7th of December, the first battalion left the
island under Major Joseph J. Comstock, Jr., and went into camp
at "Camp Smith," in Providence, preparatory to proceeding to
New Orleans to Join General Banks, commanding the Department
of the Gulf. Wednesday, December 9th, the colored ladies of
Providence, through Mr. John T: Waugh, a colored native of
Virginia, presented the battalion with a handsome silk flag,
bearing appropriate emblems. Governor Smith, Lieutenant
Governor Padelford, Major-General Robbins, Adjutant-General
Mauran, Mayor Knight, and a large concourse of spectators were
present at the interesting ceremony. December 19th the
battalion left Providence and sailed from Newport on board the
transport Cahawba for New Orleans, where it arrived December
30th. Without debarking, it proceeded to Passo Cavallo,
Texas, where it arrived January 8,1864, and was assigned to
garrison duty in Fort Esperanza, Matagorda Island. Here it
was visited by Major-General Dana, commanding the Union forces
in Texas, who expressed himself highly gratified with its
appearance. In a letter to Governor Smith, he says: " I took
them entirely by surprise by going over in a small boat, but
they were ready. The soldier-like conduct of the sentinels on
post, and of the main guard at the gate, challenged my
admiration. The "Assembly" was sounded, and in five minutes
the whole battalion, four hundred strong, was in line, and I
have never found a regiment, even on a Sunday morning
inspection, in more perfect condition. Excellence is the
proper term to apply to its condition and soldierly
bearing.The drill was also most creditable. Such discipline
and order deflect great credit on the company officers, and
especially on the Major in command.

On the 8th of January, 1864, the second battalion under
the command of Captain Nelson Kenyon, sailed in the transport
Daniel Webster for New Orleans, where it arrived February 3d,
and Captain Kenyon went on shore to report to General Banks.
In the course of the day he was ordered to report to General
J. J. Reynolds, commanding the defences of New Orleans. On
account of the measles which prevailed to some extent in the
command, the battalion was ordered into camp at English Turn,
where, March 7th, Major Richard G. Shaw assumed the command.
From English Turn the battalion removed to Plaquemine, 160
miles above New Orleans, where Major Shaw became post
commander, and Captain Kenyon resumed the immediate command of
the battalion. Here it was engaged in putting the fort, which
had been commenced by a former garrison, in a state of
defence, and in guarding the town by a long line of pickets.
A detachment from the battalion under command of an officer,
also picketed the country a short distance on the other side
of the river opposite the town. Frequent skirmishes occurred
between the battalion and the guerrillas under the notorious
Captain Scott of Plaquemine Parish. At one time they dashed
upon the outposts and captured several men, the cavalry
picket, (from the Third Rhode Island Cavalry,) and the
infantry picket, composed of three men, from the second
battalion of the Fourteenth. The white soldiers were retained
as prisoners of war, but the colored soldiers, after they had
surrendered, were inhumanly murdered as the enemy retreated
through Indian Village. The color borne by this battalion was
procured by the means of funds raised by the officers and men
of the battalion.

Colonel Viall was appointed by the President, Lieutenant-
Colonel, January 15, 1864, and it had been intended that the
third battalion should follow the first and second in
February. For that purpose, the United States transport
Daniel Webster was sent to Dutch Island to convey it to New
Orleans; but simultaneously with its arrival, February 24th,
the small pox broke out among the troops, and they were
detained until April 3d, when Lieutenant-Colonel Viall, with
the battalion, sailed in the transport America for New
Orleans, which place it reached on the 15th, and was ordered
to Camp Parapet. Here Lieutenant-Colonel Viall assumed
command of the post, and the immediate command of the
battalion devolved on Captain Samuel Farnum. Immediately
after encamping at Fort Parapet, fatigue parties were
organized to work on the fortification, and for the next two
months the battalion furnished details for the swamp and
slashing on the right.

In March, while the battalion was still at Fort
Esperanza, Companies A, C and D were under arrest for refusing
to accept the pay at that time offered by the government to
the colored soldiers, viz.: ten dollars per month, three
dollars of which might be in clothing. Enlisting as they did,
with the understanding that their pay was to be the same as
that of white troops, it is not surprising that they
manifested indignation, and became technically insubordinate.
In view of all the facts, their case warranted charitable
judgment. The ringleaders in the trouble were tried by
general court-martial, and sent to Fort Jefferson, Florida.
During the month of April, the battalion, company A excepted,
remained at Fort Esperanza. On the 16th of the month this
company, under Captain Thomas W. Fry, moved to Aranzas Pass.
The whole regiment being now in the Department of the Gulf,
its designation was changed by general order, April 19th, to
the Eleventh United States heavy Artillery, (Colored).

On the 19th of May Major Comstock received orders to
evacuate Fort Esperanza, first destroying what he could not
bring away, and return to New Orleans. He accordingly
dismantled the works, shipped the heavy ordnance, and
embarking his men on board the transport steamer Clinton,
reached New Orleans May 23d. The next day he reported to
Lieutenant-Colonel Viall at Fort Parapet, where the first and
third battalions were consolidated, and Lieutenant Joseph C.
Whiting, Jr., was appointed Post Adjutant. At Parapet
Lieutenant-Colonel Viall, with the aid of sympathetic friends,
established a school for the men under his command, which was
placed in charge of Lieutenant Martin S. Smith and
Quartermaster-Sergeant Hamblin, a colored man, who had passed
a successful examination before a military board sitting at
Morganzia, for the position of second lieutenant. The men
showed a great desire to learn, and zealously improved the
opportunity. June 30th, Lieutenant Colonel Viall was placed
in immediate command of the fortifications on both sides of
the river. This field work was commenced by the Confederates
early in the rebellion, a tax of two millions of dollars
having been levied upon the principal merchants of New Orleans
for the defences of the city. The first installment was paid
and expended upon the Parapet running from the Mississippi
river to the marshes of Lake Ponchartrain. It was abandoned
on the occupation of New Orleans by General Butler, and the
gun carriages and magazines were destroyed by fire. In this
condition Lieutenant-Colonel Viall found the works when
assigned to the command of them. The magazines were re-built,
and thirty heavy guns were mounted by his regiment. The line
of works was over two miles in length, and required constant
labor to keep it in repair. Aside from the drill and fatigue
duty, a very rigid system of guard duty was required of
Lieutenant-Colonel Viall. All boats, luggers and sailing
craft bound up or down the river were brought to at Fort Banks
and inspected, to prevent contraband of war passing within the
enemy's lines. A record of the same was required to be kept,
as also of every team and its contents passing up on both
sides of the river; and of all these a report was to be made
and forwarded to headquarters of the defences of New Orleans,
with the Custom House permits allowing the same. Similar
duties were required of the first battalion at Fort Jackson.
Every steamer and sailing craft from above or below was
brought to, and its papers were inspected before it was
allowed to pass the forts.

Before the first battalion arrived at Camp Parapet,
Company I, of the third battalion, had been detached for duty
on the Jackson and New Orleans Railroad. July 3d, General T.
W. Sherman ordered the first battalion to Fort Jackson, below
New Orleans, to do garrison duty, and the regiment remained
thus divided until mustered out of service. July 5th, Colonel
Jacob Hale Sypher, of the United States Army, was appointed by
the President to the command of the regiment, and made his
headquarters with the second battalion at Plaquemine. He was
much of the time engaged on a military commission in New
Orleans. In August, the second battalion was visited at
Plaquemine by the Inspector-General of the Department of New
Orleans, who reported to General Banks as follows: " I landed
in camp about noon, and no one knew of my coming. The call
was sounded, and notice sent to turn out for inspection. In
five minutes lines were formed in their streets. I found
every man fit for duty (not on guard or picket) at inspection;
also all of the officers. The arms and equipments were all in
the very best of order. From this they marched up to the guns
in double-quick time, and every man knew his place." August
16th, General Banks addressed a complimentary letter to Major
Shaw, commending the officers and men of his command for the
good preservation of their arms, their excellent discipline
and prompt execution of orders. October 24th, Lieutenant-
Colonel Viall received from the Rhode Island Relief
Association a box of hospital stores for the use of his
command. December 1st, Colonel Sypher was in command of the
Camp of Instruction, at Greenville, Lieutenant-Colonel Viall
was serving on general court-martial at New Orleans, Major
Fitzwater was engaged on Military Board of Inspection, and
Captain Henry E. Southwick was still on duty as Acting
Inspector-General of the District.

Early in January, 1865, the Allotment Commissioner, Major
Amsbury, visited the second battalion at Plaquemine, and paid
the troops to August 1st, preceding the first payment received
by the men since their enlistment. Up to the opening of the
new year, little had occurred at the post to vary the usual
routine of garrison duty. February 16th, the entire regiment
numbered 1,452 men. The effects of the climate had seriously
diminished its ranks. Up to the date last named, upwards of
300 men had died of disease. From July 1st, previous, 70 men
had died at Fort Jackson. Experience proved that while black
men made good and faithful soldiers, their power of endurance
was not equal to that of the whites. In April, the station of
the first battalion was transferred from Fort Jackson to
Brashear City. In June, the second battalion removed to
Donaldsonville, La., where it performed garrison duty until
ordered to Camp Parapet, where it rejoined the other
battalions of the Regiment. The duties of the Regiment at the
several posts possessed few of the charms that give attraction
and excitement to the movements of the field. The work was
laborious and often disagreeable, but without the inspiration
of glory, was always patiently and faithfully performed. For
this, impartial history will award just praise.

From this last date until the following October, little
occurred in the Regiment requiring notice. At this time the
war had closed, a reduction of the military force of the Union
was almost daily taking place, and the further services of the
Regiment being unnecessary, it was mustered out at Camp
Parapet, October 2d, 1865. On the 7th, it embarked on board
the steamship North Star, for New York, where it arrived on
the 15th. On landing, the Regiment marched up Broadway
preceded by a brass band and drum corps organized from its
ranks, presenting one of the most imposing scenes that had
been witnessed by the citizens of New York since the
commencement of the return of soldiers from the field of war.
Along the entire route, loud and enthusiastic exclamations of
welcome and admiration went up from the crowds thronging the
way. The ovation was complete. Leaving New York in the
propeller Doris, the Regiment reached Portsmouth Grove at
eight and a half o'clock, A. M., October 18th, and was
received with a national salute fired by a detachment of the
Newport Artillery under Colonel John Hare Powel.

Saturday morning, October 21st, the Regiment made a visit
to Providence. A salute was fired by the Marine Artillery.
On landing, the column was formed on South Main street, and
marched to City Hall, where, under the direction of Acting
Adjutant-General Crandall, L. H. Humphreys had prepared a
handsome and bountiful collation. As the men filed in,
keeping step to " Tramp, Tramp, Tramp," as pealed forth by the
band of Morris Brothers, Pell & Trowbridge's minstrels, and
took their stand at the tables, the spectacle was exciting and
inspiring. After the men had refreshed themselves, the column
was reformed and marched to Exchange Place, where a
dress, parade took place in the presence of Governor Smith and
staff and an immense concourse of spectators. This ended, the
Regiment broke into column of companies, and marching up
Westminster street in review by the Governor at headquarters,
and thence through several other principal streets, it
embarked for the rendezvous at Portsmouth Grove. A few days
after, the Regiment was disbanded and the men were scattered
to their homes, having by their general good conduct as
soldiers honored the State whose name they bore upon their
regimental colors, and paying in this manner a gratifying
tribute to the untiring energy and sound judgment of the Chief
Executive by whom they were called into service.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 1
.................................................................................................................
Eleventh U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery


Organized from 14th Rhode Island Colored Heavy Artillery. Designated 8th Heavy Artillery
April 4, 1864, and 11th Heavy Artillery May 21, 1864. Attached to Defences of New Orleans,
La., Dept. of the Gulf, to October, 1865.

SERVICE.—Garrison duty at New Orleans and other points in the Defences of that city
till October, 1865 (see 14th Rhode Island Colored Heavy Artillery). Mustered out
October 2, 1865.


Frederick A. Dyer "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" vol. 3

******************************************************************
MAY 14-16, 1865.--Expedition from Brashear City to Ratliff's
Plantation, La.

Report of Lieut. Charles H. Potter, Eleventh U. S. Colored Heavy
Artillery.

BRASHEAR, May 16, 1865.
LIEUT.: I have the honor to report a tour of duty as officer in
command of flag-of truce boat, steamer Cornie, as per order dated, viz:

HDQRS. U. S. FORCES,
Brashear, May 14, 1865.
Cmdg. OFFICER BATTN. ELEVENTH U. S. COLORED
HEAVY ARTY.:
SIR: You will furnish a detail of fifteen men, under the charge of
Lieut. Charles H. Potter, to report on board the steamer Cornie
immediately. The men will be fully equipped and armed with forty
rounds of ammunition in their cartridge-boxes, and one day's rations in
their haversacks. Lieut. Potter will receive further instructions on
board the Cornie.

By command of Lieut. Col. R. F. Atkins, Ninety-eighth U. S.
Colored Infantry, commanding post:
W. H. STILLMAN,
Lieut. and Post Adjutant.

Pursuant to the above order I embarked with the above detail specified
at 5.15 p. m. May 14, 1865, and proceeded to the plantation of Mr.
John Bertram Blanco, situated on Sand Bayou, about three miles from
Brashear City, where we found the estate submerged, about four feet of
water in the shallowest places. Being obliged to cut away the rafters of
the cattle shed in order to place sufficient gang planks for the cattle to
come on board the steamer, we were detained some time at this
plantation, where we received on board about twenty-five head of cattle,
twenty hogs and shoats; also the family of Mr. Blanco, consisting of
Mr. John Bertram Blanco, wife, and three children; total, five. Then we
received at Mr. Valgrand Verret's two beef-cattle, which we landed at
Brashear Monday night, May 15, at 2 a. m., and crossed the river to
Berwick, where we landed stock belonging to Blanco; thence took him
and family to Felright's place, about a mile below Berwick.

Allow me to represent that in Sand Bayou, where we took on board
Bertram Blanco and Verret, that the sweep of current was so powerful
as to carry the steamer among the woods on the starboard quarter, doing
some damage to the boat, fortunately extricated by the superior
management of Capt. Conklin; also among the intricate labyrinths of
Bayou Penchant, where we had removed Madam Ratliff. I cannot omit
my commendation of his superior judgment. Thence we proceeded at 3
a. m. to Bear's plantation, where we took on board four cords of wood
and left immediately for Mr. Ratliff's, where we received on board
steamer thirty-five head of cattle, ten head of sheep, two head of hogs;
also Mrs. Lydia Ratliff, N. C. Bigler (daughter of Mrs. Ratliff), Miss
Julia Ann Ratliff (daughter of Mrs. Ratliff), Mr. N. C. Bigler, and Mr.
Frank Beadle. Took on board two cows belonging to Beadle from Bayou
Chene. From there we came down Bayou Chene to Bayou Penchant,
and passed through the most intricate swamp and bayou I have ever
seen, for over twenty-five miles, where we arrived at 8 o'clock May 14,
1865, at a point about forty feet above the rise of water at that time.
This is the only land I have seen for a distance of nearly fifty miles
below Berwick. Shew Island, about half a mile from where we landed
Mrs. Ratliff, is in Penchant Lake, but not where we could reach with
the steamer, and is considerably higher than any land in that precinct.
At Madam Ratliff's we were obliged to leave sixty "gums" of bees
drowned, or so infuriated as to be unapproachable. Beal's plantation, on
Bayou Chene, is inundated. Forty head of cattle we could not move. Mr.
F. Beadle had ten head of cattle and many others we could not receive,
that must evidently suffer, if not perish. The rise of water while we lay
at Madam Ratliff's yesterday was nearly four inches in about four or
five hours. Be kind enough to allow me to represent that there are no
quarters on board steamer for any officer commanding any expedition;
also that there is no flag of truce belonging to said boat.

I have the honor to remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHARLES H. POTTER,
1st Lieut. Co. B, 11th U. S. Colored Heavy Arty., Cmdg. Expedition.

Lieut. W. H. STILLMAN,
Post Adjutant.


Source: Official Records
CHAP. LX.] EXPEDITION FROM BRASHEAR CITY, LA. PAGE 271-101
[Series I. Vol. 48. Part I, Reports, Correspondence, Etc. Serial No. 101.]
 

James N.

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I though sack coats were getting fairly universal in the Union Army by mid 1863.
Expired Image Removed

Interestingly, the artist chose to depict members of Louisiana's Corps d'Afrique in frock coats complete with shoulder scales in his book on U.S. Military Uniforms.
 

pfcjking

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#6
Interestingly, the artist chose to depict members of Louisiana's Corps d'Afrique in frock coats complete with shoulder scales in his book on U.S. Military Uniforms.
Which depiction are you referring too?
 
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James N.

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Which depiction are you referring too?
I don't know what happened to my original post; let's try it again:

This was painted in the 1950's by recently deceased artist Fritz Kredel as part of a large series of uniform plates to illustrate Frederick Todd's U. S. Military Uniforms and Military Equipage, 1776 - 1954.
 
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Pvt.Shattuck

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#9
I though sack coats were getting fairly universal in the Union Army by mid 1863.
Frocks were issued throughout the war as the official dress uniform but gradually disappeared from service in the field, especially during a summer campaign, by most units because they were hot, heavy, and uncomfortable. It wouldn't be unusual for a new recruit to "take a likeness" in his new frock coat at any time during the war.
 

pfcjking

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#10
Frocks were issued throughout the war as the official dress uniform but gradually disappeared from service in the field, especially during a summer campaign, by most units because they were hot, heavy, and uncomfortable. It wouldn't be unusual for a new recruit to "take a likeness" in his new frock coat at any war.
When I was a reenacting teenager, I had a nice lined frock in Tuscaloosa grey sky blue cuffs and a stiff sky blue collar. The length wasn't too bad, perhaps 1/3 down my thigh.
I wore it for about 3 years, 4 to 6 weekends a year. I only washed it once, and that was only really soaking it in hot water and the rinsing it a few times. Dear Lord that was some filthy water. It has a strong musk to it, mainly consisting of smoke and leather. The smoke helped mask the BO to a large extent.

I'm rambling... Sorry.
 

major bill

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#11
Many Union soldiers retrieved both sack coats and frock coats. The sack coats were often preferred for field wear but many soldiers had thier photographs taken in their dressier frock coats. That said, heavy artillery was often more of a garrison type troop much of the war and would have often worn their frock coats. Red trimmed frock coats are in fact often associated with heavy artillery units.
 
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#12
View attachment 38510

John N. Sharper, a printer by trade, enlisted in the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery Regiment (Colored) at Providence, Rhode Island on October 30, 1863. He was listed as being 5-foot8, of "dark complexion," with black hair and black eyes. He was born in New York State about 1841. He signed his own enlistment papers. The 14th Rhode Island was later re-designated the 11th U.S. Colored Artillery.

Sharper was born at Herkimer, New York (west of Albany) on May 24, 1841. In 1860, at age 18, he was still living in Herkimer with his parents, Samuel and Jane, and working as a printer's apprentice.

Sharper's unit was assigned to the Department of the Gulf, where its elements were stationed in New Orleans, Port Hudson, Brashear City (now Morgan City), Louisiana and Fort Esperanza on Matagorda Island, Texas. In the winter of 1864-65 Sharper was detached from his unit to work at post headquarters as a printer. Sharper was discharged for disability at New Orleans on September 11, 1865 for phthisis pulmonalis, another term for consumption or tuberculosis. He died on April 5, 1866, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Herkimer.

His parents, Samuel and Jane, applied for a pension on as dependents of his. There is a page on Ancestry that shows Sharper married to an Esther Thomas (c. 1846 to c. 1929), but cites no documentation.

_________
Image from the LoC. Information compiled from Sharper's NARA CSR, Ancestry and Find-a-Grave.
As it turns out, I had a relative that was a Union recruiter of Colored Troops. I really like this side of the story. I'm getting ready to read Barbara Tomblin's Bluejackets and Contrabands: African American Sailors in the Union Navy and Steven Ramold's Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy. Has anyone read either of these? Thoughts on the books? Is there a better volume for the topic?
 

James N.

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#13
As it turns out, I had a relative that was a Union recruiter of Colored Troops. I really like this side of the story. I'm getting ready to read Barbara Tomblin's Bluejackets and Contrabands: African American Sailors in the Union Navy and Steven Ramold's Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy. Has anyone read either of these? Thoughts on the books? Is there a better volume for the topic?
I'm unfamiliar with the ones you mention, but considering the position of your ancestor I think this would be more relevant: http://www.amazon.com/Forged-Battle...d=1454775416&sr=1-4&keywords=Joseph+Glatthaar

510BVY42T4L._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


I own this and read it now many years ago but remember it as being quite comprehensive. This is the sort of angle necessary since relatively speaking very few black soldiers left any sort of personal accounts when compared to either their white officers or the Official Records.
 

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James N.

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#14
Which depiction are you referring too?
For some reason, yesterday the small picture of the print I copied after doing a search "disappeared"; here's a larger one I scanned from the original I own:

Image.jpg


In reality, these are merely full-dress versions of U.S. Regulation uniforms - note the white gloves and brass shoulder scales on both. (The only thing that makes them Corps d'Afrique are the black faces on the subjects!) These uniforms remained regulation for the U.S. Army until new styles were adopted in 1872 in the wake of the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War, 1870-71.

Many Union soldiers retrieved both sack coats and frock coats. The sack coats were often preferred for field wear but many soldiers had thier photographs taken in their dressier frock coats. That said, heavy artillery was often more of a garrison type troop much of the war and would have often worn their frock coats. Red trimmed frock coats are in fact often associated with heavy artillery units.
There were two distinct types of artillery, foot or garrison which manned the large guns in permanent installations like seacoast forts and those ringing Washington, D.C., Richmond, Nashville, Mobile; etc.; and field or horse artillery that accompanied the field armies. ONLY the first category wore the frocks, while the latter tended to wear short shell jackets; both usually wore the 4-button sack coats for fatigue purposes. The Brigade Bandsman pictured is an infantryman, as denoted by the blue trim on his frock;his red sash is actually for non-comissioned officers like the Sergeant but was the sort of affectation sometimes adopted for bandsmen to make them stand out even more.
 
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Pvt.Shattuck

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#16
When I was a reenacting teenager, I had a nice lined frock in Tuscaloosa grey sky blue cuffs and a stiff sky blue collar. The length wasn't too bad, perhaps 1/3 down my thigh.
I wore it for about 3 years, 4 to 6 weekends a year. I only washed it once, and that was only really soaking it in hot water and the rinsing it a few times. Dear Lord that was some filthy water. It has a strong musk to it, mainly consisting of smoke and leather. The smoke helped mask the BO to a large extent.

I'm rambling... Sorry.
I bought a beautiful second hand NJ Sekela frock coat from a reenactors website. The pits stank. I washed it in Woolite. I hung it out in the hot sun. I tried all the remedies for removing body odor from wool clothing suggested on Google. Finally I took it to the dry cleaners. The owner told me that quite honestly he could not help. He told me about a customer of his, a lovely and elegant lady with expensive designer clothes and a BO problem. Nothing worked on her clothes.
I am ashamed to admit I resold the frock to some other poor sucker, hopefully less sensitive than I.
For that reason, I will not buy used garments ever again. I'll just deal with my own smell from now on, , not yours, thank you very much.
NJS Fed Issue Frock Coat.jpg NJS Frock.jpg
 

Mild53

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#18
A number of African American Mainers served in the 14th RI. Amazing that they traveled all the was to RI to do their duty.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/12/...oke-racial-barriers-in-white-state-regiments/

"The eager Army recruits facing Capt. A. P. Davis at Augusta on Saturday, Dec. 5, 1863, differed only slightly from so many other loyal Union men taking up arms late that fall.

Waiting to sign the enlistment papers spread before Davis were three cousins, all from Warren: Daniel W. Peters, Dexter Peters and James Peters. They had traveled together in cold weather to join the fight against the Confederacy.


Like so many thousands of Maine boys who had preceded them into uniforms, the Peters all were farmers. Daniel was “twenty years and seven months” old, according to his enlistment papers. James was 30, actually almost 31, and 18-year-old Dexter brought with him his father, Jacob. He signed the “consent in case of minor” that Dexter was really “eighteen years of age” and that he, Jacob, agreed in writing that “I do hereby freely give my consent to his volunteering as a Soldier in the Army of the United States for the period of three years.”

A surgeon examined the Peters cousins and declared them fit for service. Davis, provost marshal for the “3rd [Congressional] District of Maine,” asked each cousin to sign on the literal dotted lines, front and back on the “volunteer enlistment“ forms.

Davis penned his signature to the “I certify, on honor” paragraph attesting that each cousin “was entirely sober when enlisted” and that “he is of legal age.”

Then Davis filled in each Peters’ physical description. Daniel stood 5 feet 9 inches — tall for that era — and Dexter stood 5 feet 6 inches. James Peters was 5 feet 5 inches in height.

The Peters differed little in other physical attributes. Eyes? “Black.” Hair? “Black.” Complexion? “Black.” Davis quickly penned the same word on all three enlistment forms."

Then he asked the cousins to raise their right hands and repeat the requisite phrases that indicated their loyalty to the Union and their desire to serve in the United States Army. The official swearing-in completed, Davis likely welcomed the Peters to the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery Regiment.

Rather than join a Maine regiment, the cousins had opted for an Ocean State outfit. As black Mainers, they believed that no Maine white regiment would accept them."
 

major bill

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#20
If any one is interested the above image came out of the magazine. The man in the lower left is a Confederate Marine.

artty 3.jpg
 



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