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WHILBR - Western Maryland

p16715coll37

About this collection

The United States Colored Troops (USCT) were composed of African American soldiers who joined the Union Army to fight in the Civil War.  In Washington County, Maryland, no African Americans fought in battles at home, at the Battle of Antietam, South Mountain, Hancock or the various skirmishes as the Confederates headed south after the Battle of Gettysburg. But a significant number of men from the county did serve elsewhere during the war, either in infantry divisions or in the famous Brigade Band where the Dorsey brothers and others served. Many of these men returned to the county after the war, or moved into the county, and thus there are a signifant number of USCT graves in Washington County. There are a number of Washington County men buried elsewhere, for example Pvt. Jacob Edwards from Williamsport who is buried in Arlington Cemetery. In addition there are men who served the USCT from Washington County but who may or may not be buried in the county. Poor record keeping of burials, movement of cemeteries when the land is needed for other purposes and lack of durable cemetery markers has made this research more difficult.

Richard and Jack Ebersole grew up in Williamsport and knew of some of these burials in Riverview Cemetery, Williamsport. Their investigation of those graves has led to a larger quest to research the African American men of Washington County who volunteered after the Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation allowed them to do so and if possible locate the burial places of USCT troops throughout the county.  The collection will be added to as more material becomes available.

We are most grateful to the Ebersoles for their interest in and work on this project, and for sharing their findings with Western Maryland Regional Library. Thanks also to Brenda Nelson of Winchester, Virginia for making available her research.

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The collection is organized by cemetry and also by service man. There is therefore a listing of those buried in Riverview Cemetery in Williamsport, as well as Halfway, Red Hill, Rose Hill, Tolson's Chapel and other cemeteries. The service men are listed by name. To browse all of the collection, select the BROWSE ALL tab above. To search for a specific person or cemetery, type the name into the SEARCH box, for example Moxley or Williamsport.

 
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