Thursday, January 27, 2011

Take a look inside USCT complied service records: The Death Report

We will spend a few posts covering the type of records and information that may be found in the Compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served with the United States Colored Troops.    After the Bureau of Colored Troops was created in May 22, 1863, regiments of African American troops were officially recognized as United States Colored Troops.

With this designation came the required paperwork such as death reports.  When a soldier died, the commander was required to take an inventory of his possessions and complete a report which detailed his payments, money owed for clothing, etc.  Any pay that was due the soldier would be given to the next of kin or legal representative.  See Articles of War (19) Army Regulations on page 38 of M1818, Roll 96 below.

Private David McQuilley, born in Madison County, Mississippi,  enlisted on March 1, 1864 in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  He mustered in on March 23rd as a laborer with the 1st United States Colored Heavy Artillery, Company A to serve three years.   Almost two months later, he died from a disease in a regiment hospital. 

His commander provided an inventory of his effects which was clothing which had been provided for him:
  • one cap
  • one flannel shirt
  • one pair shoes
  • two blankets
  • one rubber poncho
He died owing one dollar.   Other men having the same surname of McQuilley enlisted on the same day as Private David McQuilley and they were also born in Madison County, Mississippi. Clayton McQuilley deserted.  Jacob McQuilley also joined on March 1, and served until May 20, 1866 with Peter McQuilley.

A Scott McQuilley also served until he died in March 1866.  You can review each of these compiled service records on images 30 through 101 below.  Scott and David McQuilley were 2 of 697 enlisted soldiers who died from disease from this regiment.  That's a staggering amount when you consider that only 124 died as the result of combat between when this regiment was organized on December 1, 1863 until it was mustered on May 20, 1866.  For more details, see American Civil War Regiments at Ancestry.

Compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served with the United States Colored Troops
artillery organizations
Published 1998 by National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC .
Written in English. (OpenLibrary)
5th United States Colored Heavy Artillery
M1818, Roll 96, McQuilley, Clayton-Mosley, Jacob 

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