Soldiers of the United States Colored Troops Formed on Hilton Head
The United States Department. of War issued General Order #143 on May 22, 1863, establishing the Bureau of Colored Troops. Its purpose was to recruit colored soldiers to provide the Union Army with much needed additional manpower and to meet the demands of those who felt African Americans deserved the chance to fight in the Civil War.
The 21st Regiment USCT was organized from the 3rd and 4th Regiments, South Carolina Colored Infantry on March 14,1864. Those soldiers in the 21st who had enlisted prior to this date were members of either than 3rd or the 4th before automatically being assigned to the 21st.
The 3rd Regiment had been organized at Hilton Head, SC in June 1863 and attached to the District of Hilton Head, SC, 10th Army Corps, Department of the South, in January of 1864. They were assigned post duty at Hilton Head until February 1864 when they moved to Jacksonville, FL and served there until March. The 4th Regiment had been organized at Fernandina, FL in July of 1863. Both Regiments were combined and re-designated the 21st U.S. Colored Troops in March1864.
Service of the 21st Regiment, USCT:
The 21st Regiment was on duty at Jacksonville, FL until April 1864 when it moved to Hilton Head, SC, and then to Folly Island, SC, on April 18. It served on Folly Island, Morris Island and Coles Island operating against Charleston, SC until February 1865. It served on an expedition to James Island, SC from June 30 to July 10 and saw action on James Island on July 2. The Regiment took part in the occupation of Charleston on February 18 and then performed garrison duty at Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, SC until August 1865, and at various points in South Carolina and Georgia till October 1866. The 21st Regiment was mustered out at Charleston, SC, October 1866.
Using the Index:
This index was compiled using information from the service records and pension applications of members of the 21st, their widows and minor children. Soldiers in this index are listed by the name used by the Army during their enlistments; when another name was used after the war in pension or other files a cross reference or AKA is provided. The information provided includes names, dates of service, dates and places of birth and death, whether pension and/or service records are available, and other items of interest found in the records. The full record for each soldier is available in the Heritage Library USCT files.
This database was compiled by volunteers of The Heritage Library, including Nancy Burke, Diana Luellen, John Griffin, Jane Michel, Bob Blot, Barbara Vernasco, and Glenda Blakeney.
- National Park Service
- National Archives of the United States
- Fold3: Images of Civil War Service and Pension Records
Other information on the 21st Regiments, USCT may be found here:
This project was made possible through a grant given to the Heritage Library by the Heritage Classic Foundation.