Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Moses Smith, Black Canadian Born Soldier in Civil War

Through a recent study of the birthplaces and enlistment locations of a select group of soldiers in Company B of USCT 1 Calvary, I discovered a black Canadian born soldier who enlisted in Buffalo, NY in October 1864 and was transferred to a Virginia Based United States Colored Troop Regiment a few days after his enlistment. This discovery is quite intriguing and the curious side of me wants to know more about this soldier. And so I start the research process of this soldier with a basic genealogy step which is to “WRITE DOWN WHAT I KNOW.” I hope that by posting this summary on my blog that others who are more knowledgeable of Canada, New York, and Civil War research can give me tips on further researching the life of this soldier. The information below was obtained from the Civil War Union Service Record for Moses Smith, USCT 1 Calvary.


Moses Smith was born in Canada around 1843. Although his record does not name a province in Canada, a strong possibility is “Ontario” since it borders Buffalo, NY the location where Moses enlisted. On his Union Civil War service record, his physical characteristics were noted as “5 foot, 3-1/2 inches tall, with black complexion, eyes, and hair”. His occupation was listed as a Laborer.

Moses Smith mustered into the military as a “Recruit” on October 3, 1864 in Buffalo, NY under Captain Ruggans. He was 21 at the time of his enlistment. Three days later on October 6, 1864, Moses was “forwarded or transferred to the “United States Color Troop 1 Calvary which had been organized in Camp Hamilton, VA in December 1863. Moses Smith received a bounty of $100 and $25.75 for clothing for his military service.

Remarks in the service records suggest that Moses Smith was a musician because it indicates transfers and duty in the “reglt band.” (I assume that the reference to “band” refers to a musical group and not some other type of military group.) There is also a remark about a special order 32 dated Jan 9, 1865.

Moses Smith was mustered out of the military on February 4, 1866 in Brazos Santiago, TX along with his regiment, USCT 1 Calvary.

The part of this story which sparks my interest the most is Moses' Canadian roots and I hope to discover more about this black Smith family living in Canada during the 1800s.

Monday, June 6, 2011

United States Colored Troops in Photos

Check out this short video of photos of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) 1863-1865. These African American men fought during the American Civil War.