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Forgotten Freedom Fighters: Indiana Blacks in Massachusetts Regiments
by Alan D. Gaff

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Forgotten Freedom Fighters
Letters from William Edrington, Co. K, 54th Massachusetts
Isom Ampey
List of Black Soldiers from Indiana's Fifth Congressional District Who Served in Massachusetts Units
Bibliography

54th Massachusetts Infantry
55th Massachusetts Infantry

PRIVATE ISOM AMPEY,
COMPANY K, 54TH MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY

Born in New Garden Township, Wayne County, Indiana, Isom Ampey was the son of James and Dicey Ampey, former North Carolina slaves who had been freed by George Mendenhall in 1829. James had died by 1850, so Dicey watched over her youngest eight children, first in Dalton Township, then on a small farm one-half mile northeast of Newport. By the time of the Civil War, two older sons had left home, leaving James and Isom to work the fields. Isom and his elder brother Thomas were among the first to sign up for the 54th Massachusetts, the younger boy emerging unscathed from his military service.

The Ampey family did, however, suffer its share of loss during the war. Thomas was among those killed in the storming of Fort Wagner. George W., one of Isom's younger brothers, enlisted in Company B, 28th U.S.C.T. in December of 1863. His regimental surgeon sent George to L'Ouverture Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 31, 1864. An army doctor reported on the case: "He entered our Hospital with the desease of Insanity. Since his admission he has been gradually becoming worse. At times he becomes so boisterous and unmanageable that he throws pillows and stones at sick members of the Wards; So that he has ceased to be a safe member of the Hospital and ought to be transferred to some Insane Asylum." On June 27 George transferred to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he remained until discharged on January 5, 1866.

Isom moved to Michigan after the war and met Mary Crumbo, whom he married in 1866. The couple located at Bloomingdale, Michigan, where they lived on a small farm and raised five children. The veteran became prominent in the Grand Army of the Republic and held numerous state offices until his death in 1905.

LIST OF BLACK SOLDIERS FROM INDIANA'S FIFTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WHO SERVED IN MASSACHUSETTS UNITS

FIFTY-FOURTH MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY

Ampey, Isom, Company K, Private; born New Garden Township, Wayne County, Indiana; resided Newport, Indiana; farmer; 21; 5' 11"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 12, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; detached to the Quartermaster Department April, 1864; mustered out August 20, 1865.

Ampey, Thomas R., Company K, Private; born Newport, Indiana; resided Newport, Indiana; laborer; 26; 5' 8 1/2"; brown complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; killed July 18, 1863, in the assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina.

Broady, George W., Company H, Private; born Newport, Indiana; resided Newport, Indiana; laborer; 28; brown complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 13, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; wounded July 18, 1863, in the assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina; wounded in the left hand and hip November 30, 1864, at Honey Hill, South Carolina; mustered out August 20, 1865.

Burket, Elisha, Company H, Private; born Ohio; resided Newport, Indiana; farmer; 35; 5' 8"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted April 21, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; killed July 16, 1863, at James Island, South Carolina.

Charles, George T., Company E, Private; born Richmond, Indiana; resided Richmond, Indiana; barber; 24; 5' 9"; light complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted May 12, 1863; mustered April 23, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1865.

Edrington, William E., Company K, Private, born Brookville, Indiana; resided Centerville, Indiana; laborer; 21; 5' 7"; brown complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1865.

Lewis, Alfred, Company K, Private; born Allen County, Indiana; resided Spartanburg, Indiana; laborer; 26; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1865, as a Corporal.

Lewis, Daniel D. H., Company K, Private; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Richmond, Indiana; laborer; 21; 5' 3 1/2"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1865.

Lewis, George, Company K, Private; born Monmouth, Ohio; resided Richmond, Indiana; barber; 23; 5' 5 1/2"; brown complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; died of disease July 1, 1865, at Charleston, South Carolina.

McCowan, George T., Company K, Private; born Rush County, Indiana; resided Richmond, Indiana; farmer; 23; 5' 7"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 12, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1865.

McCowan, Pleasant, Company K, Private; born Rush County; resided Richmond, Indiana; laborer; 19; 5' 8½"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1865, as a Corporal.

Raimer, Newman, Company H, Private; born Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; resided Newport, Indiana; laborer; 18; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted April 29, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; died of disease December 3, 1863, at Morris Island, South Carolina.

Redmond, William H., Company K, Private; born Dayton, Ohio; resided Newport, Indiana; farmer; 21; 5' 9 1/2"; brown complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1865.

Shaffer, John, Company H, Private; laborer; 22; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Newport, Indiana; enlisted May 13, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; mustered out August 20, 1864, as a Corporal.

Wilson, John H., Company K, Private; born Fayetteville, North Carolina; resided Richmond, Indiana; blacksmith; 22; 5' 7 1/2"; brown complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863, as a Corporal; wounded and supposed killed July 18, 1863, in the assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina.

Wilson, Joseph, Company K, Private; born Greensboro, North Carolina; resided Newport, Indiana; blacksmith; 27; 5' 8"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 12, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; wounded July 16, 1863, at James Island, South Carolina; mustered out August 20, 1865.

Winslow, John W., Company K, Private; born Lewisville, Indiana; resided Lewisville, Indiana; laborer; 24; 5' 9 1/2"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 5, 1863; mustered May 13, 1863; killed February 20, 1864, at Olustee, Florida.

FIFTY-FIFTH MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY

Bowlin, Edward, Company G, Private; born Farmland, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 20; 5' 10 1/2"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Bowlin, James, Company C, Private; born Franklin, Ohio; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 26; 5' 10 1/2"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 21, 1863; mustered May 31, 1863; wounded November 30, 1864, at Honey Hill, South Carolina; returned to duty February 17, 1865; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Cannon, Thomas, Company C, Private; born Hartford, North Carolina; resided Dublin, Indiana; farmer; 22; 5' 10"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 21, 1863; mustered May 31, 1863; deserted from Knight Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, May, 1864; reported voluntarily at Richmond, Indiana, July 1864; returned as a convalescent; deserted September 16, 1864, from Distribution Camp Alexandria, Virginia; returned and wounded in the left thigh November 30, 1864, at Honey Hill, South Carolina; discharged July 14, 1865, because of his wound.

Cotton, Wiley W., Company G, Private; born Farmland, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 19; 5' 5 1/2"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1863.

Crawford, John W., Company A, Private; born Richmond, Indiana; resided Richmond, Indiana; farmer; 22; 5' 11 1/2"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 13, 1863; mustered May 31, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865, as a Corporal.

Evans, William H., Company A, Private; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Wayne County, Indiana; farmer; 23; 5' 8"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 13, 1863; mustered May 31, 1863; wounded in the hip July 2, 1864, at James Island, South Carolina; discharged July 16, 1865, as a First Sergeant, for disability caused by wounds received July 2, 1864, at James Island, South Carolina.

Hill, John, Company G, Private; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Economy, Indiana; farmer; 18; 5' 4 3/4"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1863.

Means, Andrew J., Company G, Private; born Henry County, Indiana; resided New Castle, Indiana; farmer; 19; 5' 10"; light complexion; brown eyes; brown hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; died October 4, 1863, of typhoid fever at Folly Island, South Carolina.

Oglesby, Charles, Company G, Private; born South Carolina; resided Greenville, Indiana; farmer; 22; light complexion; gray eyes; black hair; enlisted June 4, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865, as a Sergeant.

Outland, Alfred, Company G, Private; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 18; 5' 7 1/4"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Outland, King S., Company G, Private; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 23; 5' 8½"; dark complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Pediford, Stephen W., Company D, Private; born Guilford County, North Carolina; resided Henry County, Indiana; farmer; 20; 5' 7 1/2"; brown complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted May 23, 1863; mustered May 31, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Perkins, John, Company H, Private; born Farmland, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 19; 5' 7"; light complexion; brown eyes; brown hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 22, 1863; discharged September 10, 1864, fordisability at Folly Island, South Carolina.

Riley, William, Company G, Private; born Farmland, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 23; 5' 8 3/4"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; died October 3, 1863, of typhoid-malarial fever at Folly Island, South Carolina.

Robbins, Simeon, Company G, Private; born Butler County, Ohio; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 23; 5' 9 1/2"; dark complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Roberts, Charles, Company G, Private, born Butler County, Ohio; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 21; dark complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Smothers, George W., Company G, Private; born Stoney Creek Township, Randolph County, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 18; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Smothers, Thomas, Company G, Private; born Stoney Creek Township, Randolph County, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 19; 5' 3 3/4"; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Steth, John W., Company A, Private; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Wayne County, Indiana; blacksmith; 24; 6' 3"; dark complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 13, 1863; mustered May 31, 1863; discharged September 15, 1864, for disability at Folly Island, South Carolina.

Ward, Emanuel, Company C, Private; born Wayne County, Indiana; resided Centerville, Indiana; farmer; 24; 5' 6½"; black complexion; dark brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 21, 1863; mustered May 31, 1863; mustered out August 29, 1865.

Williams, George W., Company G, Private; born Farmland, Indiana; resided Farmland, Indiana; farmer; 21; 5' 9 1/2"; dark complexion; black eyes; black hair; enlisted June 5, 1863; mustered June 15, 1863; mustered out September 15, 1865.

Williams, Thomas, Company A, Private; born Newport, Indiana; resided Newport, Indiana; blacksmith; 24; light complexion; brown eyes; black hair; enlisted May 13, 1863; died July 30, 1864, of consumption, as a Corporal, at Folly Island, South Carolina.


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