The amount of available information regarding African American men from Champaign County who served in the Union Army during the Civil War is very limited. In some instances the records show that a man was "colored," but in many instances, the fact that he served in a black regiment is the only evidence of his soldier's ethnicity. For these reasons, the following list of black men from Champaign County who served in the Civil War is almost surely incomplete.
Black Soldiers Listed in the Roll of Honor as Being Buried in Champaign County
Homer GAR Cemetery
Samuel Persons, Pvt, Co F, RSCT (USCT)
Mt. Hope Cemetery, Sidney
Isaac Beard, Pvt, Co C, 13th USCT
Mt. Hope Cemetery, Urbana
J. Anderson, Pvt, 28th U.S. Volunteers (28th USCT)
James H. Bell, Pvt, Co D, 29th USCT
W. G. Blackburn, Pvt, Co I, 50th USCT, died 20 January 1893
Elijah Gibbs, Cpl, Co H, 55th MA Vols
G. W. Johnson, Pvt, Co K, 118th US Inf (118th USCT)
John C. Louis, Sgt, Co D, 28th USCT
Martin McDermot, Pvt, US gunboat Hastings
John R. Merrick, Pvt, Co I, 55th MA Vols
John Moss, Pvt, Co H, 55th MA Inf
Ruff Phillips, Pvt, Co C, 48th MO Vol, and Drummer, 7th IL Cav
J. E. Riley, Pvt, Co K, 29th USCT
Stephen Roey, Pvt, Co C, 1l0th USCT
Simon Ross, Pvt, Co K, 49th USCT and Co I, II th USCT
William Summerville, Pvt, Co G, 29th USCT
L. H. Walden, Pvt, Co I, 55.th MA Vols
James Walker; Pvt, Co K, 118th USCT
W. P. Winn, Cpl, Co. D, 18th USCT
Stephen Winston, Co C, 1l0th USCT, died 4 May 1900
Old Homer Cemetery
J. C. Cone, 54th US Cav (54th USCT)
26th U.S. Colored Troops
The Report of the Adjutant General shows the following men as recruits assigned to the 26th U.S. Colored Troops.
Bryor Bell, Urbana, Enl21 Feb 1865
Thomas Benton, Champaign Co., Enl21 Feb 1865
James S. Keines, Champaign Co., Enl8 Feb 1865
29th U.S. Colored Troops
The 29th U.S. Colored Troops was the only black regiment raised in Illinois. The regiment was organized at Quincy in late 1863 and early 1864 by Lieutenant Colonel John A. Bross, former captain of Company A, 88th Illinois Infantry. It was mustered into federal service on 24 April 1864. Although the regiments' commissioned officers were white, its noncommissioned officers were black men. Company A was organized in Adams County, Companies B and C in Cook County, Company D was formed with men from both Cook and Adams Counties, Company E was made up with men from the state at large, and Companies F through K were composed of men from other states. The 29th USCT participated in the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, and was heavily engaged in the Crater, suffering 124 casualties - 21 dead, 56 wounded, and 47 missing. Among the dead was Lieutenant Colonel Bross. The regiment also saw action in the Appomattox Campaign. After Lee's surrender, the 29th was transferred to Texas, where it saw duty on the Rio Grande until its muster-out in November 1865. During its term of service the 29th, USCT lost 2 officers and 45 men in battle, and one officer and 164 enlisted men died of disease, accidents, and Confederate imprisonment.
An examination of the muster rolls of the 29th U.S. Colored Troops as found in the Illinois Report of the Adjutant General shows the following men with addresses in Champaign County. However, the majority of the men shown on the rolls of the regiment do not have addresses listed.
All men listed were from West Urbana
Pvt. Dennis Jackson Enl15 Feb 1865
Pvt. George W.Johnson Enl15 Feb 1865
Pvt. William Kelley Enl15 Feb 1865
Pvt. Jerry Pinney Enl15 Feb 1865
Pvt. James Walker Enl15 Feb 1865
Champaign County Men in Other Regiments
Four black men are among those who recorded their military discharges in the records of Champaign County. The Soldiers Discharge Records of Champaign County are compiled in Chapter 23, and the reader should consult that chapter for further information on the men listed below.
Information for the following biographical sketches was obtained from various sources, including United States census records, the newspaper files of The Urbana Free Library, and public records of Champaign County. The biographical sketch of Joseph Stocks was obtained from the records of Colonel Nodine Post No. 140, GAR. Click on the names of one of the soldiers for more biographical information - if information is missing please add it.
Source: Robert H. Behrens, From Salt Fork to Chickamauga: Champaign County Soldiers in the Civil War Urbana Free Library (June 1988)