Randolph Johnson, Gettysburg's African American Civilian Soldier " Piles Hot Lead "

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JPK Huson 1863

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forbes pursuit emmitsbrg rd crop.jpg

Edwin's Forbe's depiction of the long pursuit from Gettysburg. Who knew a small part in the departure of Lee's army from Northern soil would be played by a black civilian?

We have a statue to civilian combatant John Burns, his civilian combatant brother in law Andrew Hagerman lost his life shouldering a rifle defending Hagerstown. Civilians pitching in during the summer of July, 1863 are great stories- missed this one. Saved a snip from a Hathitrust book, with a note " Randolph Johnson, African American Civilian ". Problem is, lost the book title so have no clue what soldier from which regiment is speaking.
johnson randolf book.jpg


1860 census for Gettysburg contains the Johnson family, ' mulatto ', Upton, Rebecca, Dorson, Randolf and Charles S. Randolph is described in his tavern application as ' colored '; census lists as mulatto.

johnson randolf 1860 census 2.JPG


Randolph applied for and was granted a tavern license in 1867, so an active member of the community. The Johnsons seem involved in their church, civil groups and Randolph seems irked by the invasion, July 1863. Hazardous, a black citizen remaining in town during the invasion much less picking up a gun!

Does anyone know anything more of Randolph, please? 22 at the time, seems a little likely he or his brothers ended up USCT.
johnson randolf 1860 census.JPG
 
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Kurt G

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I remember reading this same story in one of my books . It always intrigued me and that single reference is all I ever found . As I recall this took place on or near Culp's Hill .
 
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View attachment 199836
Edwin's Forbe's depiction of the long pursuit from Gettysburg. Who knew a small part in the departure of Lee's army from Northern soil would be played by a black civilian?

We have a statue to civilian combatant John Burns, his civilian combatant brother in law Andrew Hagerman lost his life shouldering a rifle defending Hagerstown. Civilians pitching in during the summer of July, 1863 are great stories- missed this one. Saved a snip from a Hathitrust book, with a note " Randolph Johnson, African American Civilian ". Problem is, lost the book title so have no clue what soldier from which regiment is speaking.
View attachment 199833

1860 census for Gettysburg contains the Johnson family, ' mulatto ', Upton, Rebecca, Dorson, Randolf and Charles S. Randolph is described in his tavern application as ' colored '; census lists as mulatto.

View attachment 199832

Randolph applied for and was granted a tavern license in 1867, so an active member of the community. The Johnsons seem involved in their church, civil groups and Randolph seems irked by the invasion, July 1863. Hazardous, a black citizen remaining in town during the invasion much less picking up a gun!

Does anyone know anything more of Randolph, please? 22 at the time, seems a little likely he or his brothers ended up USCT.
A soldier by this name enlisted and mustered as a Sergeant at Camp Nelson Kentucky on 7/14/1864, into Company K U.S.C.T. 116th Infantry.

UNITED STATES COLORED TROOPS.
116th REGIMENT INFANTRY.

Organized at Camp Nelson, Ky., June 6 to July 12, 1864. Attached to Military District
of Kentucky, Dept. of the Ohio, to September, 1864. Unattached, 10th Corps, Army of the
James, to November, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 10th Corps, to December, 1864.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 25th Corps, to April, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division,
25th Corps and Dept. of Texas, to September, 1866.. Dept. of the Gulf to January, 1867.

SERVICE.-Duty at Camp Nelson till September, 1864. Defence of Camp Nelson and Hickman's
Bridge against Forest's attack. Ordered to join Army of the James in Virginia, reporting
to General Butler September 27. Duty at City Point, Va., till October. Moved to Deep.
Bottom October 23. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond October 23, 1864,
to April 2, 1865. Operations on north side of the James River before Richmond October
27-28, 1864. Fatigue duty at Deep Bottom, Dutch Gap and in trenches before Richmond
till March, 1865. Moved to Hatcher's Run March 27-28. Appomattox Campaign
March 28-April 9. Boyd- ton Road, Hatcher's Run, March 29-31. Fall of Petersburg April 2.
Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his
army. Duty at Petersburg till May 25. Embarked at City Point, Va., for Texas May 25,
arriving, at Brazos Santiago June 22. March to White's Ranch June 24. Duty at Rome,
Texas, till February, 1866. In Sub-District, Lower Rio Grande, till September, 1866,
and at New Orleans, La., till January, 1867.

Mustered out at Louisville, Ky., January 17, 1867.


Frederick A. Dyer "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" vol. 3
 
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View attachment 199836
Edwin's Forbe's depiction of the long pursuit from Gettysburg. Who knew a small part in the departure of Lee's army from Northern soil would be played by a black civilian?

We have a statue to civilian combatant John Burns, his civilian combatant brother in law Andrew Hagerman lost his life shouldering a rifle defending Hagerstown. Civilians pitching in during the summer of July, 1863 are great stories- missed this one. Saved a snip from a Hathitrust book, with a note " Randolph Johnson, African American Civilian ". Problem is, lost the book title so have no clue what soldier from which regiment is speaking.
View attachment 199833

1860 census for Gettysburg contains the Johnson family, ' mulatto ', Upton, Rebecca, Dorson, Randolf and Charles S. Randolph is described in his tavern application as ' colored '; census lists as mulatto.

View attachment 199832

Randolph applied for and was granted a tavern license in 1867, so an active member of the community. The Johnsons seem involved in their church, civil groups and Randolph seems irked by the invasion, July 1863. Hazardous, a black citizen remaining in town during the invasion much less picking up a gun!

Does anyone know anything more of Randolph, please? 22 at the time, seems a little likely he or his brothers ended up USCT.
Applied for a pension from the State of Kentucky in 1890.

randolph johnson.jpg
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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This is the first identification of this individual I have seen, but his participation is known through at least two separate soldier accounts:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/black-civilian-warns-of-confederate-attack-and-joins-the-fight-on-culp’s-hill.143216/#post-1756548

Ah! Ok, forgot that thread, thank you! Guess it would be unsurprising these stories received less attention given the social clime, how incredibly unfortunate since the trail is now so cold. Will keep digging on Randolf- his tavern can't be too tough to track down.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Smitten as anyone by John Burns. Who doesn't love a good curmudgeon? The thing is, he's feted as the only civilian who picked up a musket. That Randolph Johnson also did is even more remarkable give the double danger faced by African Americans during the invasion. Please no one turn Johnson's story into contention about citizens swiped outa their shoes and taken south- it happened. A black face among soldiers, firing at enemy lines? Wouldn't have been ' just ' another prisoner.

Bumped for Black History Month.
 

Pat Young

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View attachment 199836
Edwin's Forbe's depiction of the long pursuit from Gettysburg. Who knew a small part in the departure of Lee's army from Northern soil would be played by a black civilian?

We have a statue to civilian combatant John Burns, his civilian combatant brother in law Andrew Hagerman lost his life shouldering a rifle defending Hagerstown. Civilians pitching in during the summer of July, 1863 are great stories- missed this one. Saved a snip from a Hathitrust book, with a note " Randolph Johnson, African American Civilian ". Problem is, lost the book title so have no clue what soldier from which regiment is speaking.
View attachment 199833

1860 census for Gettysburg contains the Johnson family, ' mulatto ', Upton, Rebecca, Dorson, Randolf and Charles S. Randolph is described in his tavern application as ' colored '; census lists as mulatto.

View attachment 199832

Randolph applied for and was granted a tavern license in 1867, so an active member of the community. The Johnsons seem involved in their church, civil groups and Randolph seems irked by the invasion, July 1863. Hazardous, a black citizen remaining in town during the invasion much less picking up a gun!

Does anyone know anything more of Randolph, please? 22 at the time, seems a little likely he or his brothers ended up USCT.
View attachment 199831
Never knew any of this.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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A number or black civilians helped the Union Army at Gettysburg.

Love to hear more, thank you! Lydia Smith sure did- I've seen her mistaken for Steven's Lydia but not sure she was? Her ID tends to match a family in Gettysburg whose names aren't the same as Thaddeus's wonderful friend. Driving around with supplies for wounded sure was heroic.

Never knew any of this.

It's amazing what you can pick up listening to what locals had to say, in newspapers or later books? Randolph was brand new to me, too. Burn's brother in law is spoken of a few times, editorials pointing out there were other civilians besides Wade and Burns who'd been killed or wounded. Barbara Cecilia Burns had a tough invasion.
 

wbull1

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African Americans and the Gettysburg Campaign by James S. Paradis and The Colors of Courage by Margaret S. Creighton both offer information about the roles played during the battle by black who stayed despite knowing that the Confederates planned to and did force blacks to return with them and enslave or re-enslave them. According to accounts, during the battle, thousands of African Americans were involved in many different roles. Some served as soldiers (for both the Union and the Confederacy). They also served as teamsters, laborers, servants, hospital workers, and grave diggers. The Army of the Potomac alone employed 8,000 to 10,000 black teamsters.
 
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