I learned years ago from researching my own family to research others associated with the focus person or family. Those others may be kinfolks, neighbors, or friends. My research of James A. Fields began this interest in studying the Civil War era, but researching others in his family has taken me into whole new unintended direction.
United States Colored Troops
Much of what I know about the United States Colored Troops (USCT) comes from my friend and fellow genealogist, Angela Walton Raji. I communicate with her regularly through email and participation in the chats of the Afrigeneas website. One of Angela's genealogical passions is the USCT'S and every time I tell her that I’m going to visit a cemetery, she always says “Look for USCTs!” So far, I have not discovered any USCTs in the cemeteries I have visited.
Angela and a few other Afrigeneas chatters have discovered several USCT ancestors and other African American kin who served in the American Civil War. "Adopt a USCT," Angela said to those of us in the chat who have not found a USCT ancestor. At the time of this conversation, I was contemplating starting a new blog focusing on my ancestors who were alive during the Civil War. I was also actively engaged in researching the Fields family who were former slaves who had escaped from slavery during the Civil War. At the time of this chat, I really was not interested in researching a USCT or anything military related. I’ll leave that type of research to Angela and others, I thought as this conversation was going on during one the Afrigeneas chat. Angela is so passionate about USCTs that she launched a new blog on January 1st of this year and in her first posting, she writes about her reasons for starting this blog, The USCT Chronicle --150 Years Later Getting the Story Right!.
My Adopted USCT Soldier
On another occasion, I did say to the chat group that if I found a USCT through my research of James A. Fields, then I would adopt him. Shortly after I make this declaration, I discovered a USCT named Madison Lewis who was a brother in law of James A. Fields and since that time (last weekend), I have been consumed with researching the military career and regiment of Madison Lewis who was born into slavery around 1835 in Spotsylvania County, VA . In March 1863, he escaped from slavery in Hanover County, VA with the mother and some of the siblings of James A. Fields. They arrived to Fort Monroe in early April 1863 and later that year in December, Madison Lewis enlisted in Company B of the 1st Regiment USCT Calvary which was organized at Camp Hamilton near Fort Monroe, VA and the campus of Hampton University.
To Be Continued . . .