3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery

OVERVIEW: Organized from 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent). Designated 2nd United States Colored Heavy Artillery March 11, 1864, and 3rd Heavy Artillery April 26, 1864. Attached to District of Memphis, Tenn., Dept. of Tennessee, to June, 1864. Memphis, Tenn., District of West Tennessee, to July, 1865. 2nd Infantry Brigade, District of West Tennessee, to September, 1865. District of West Tennessee to April, 1866.

Predecessor unit: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS. 1st REGIMENT HEAVY ARTILLERY (AFRICAN DESCENT). Organized at Memphis, Tenn., June, 1863. Attached to 1st Brigade, 5th Division, District of Memphis, 16th Army Corps, Dept. of the Tennessee, to April, 1864. Post and garrison duty at Memphis, and at Fort Pickering, Defences of Memphis, June, 1863, to April, 1864. Designation changed to 3rd United States Colored Heavy Artillery April 26, 1864

SERVICE: Served as garrison at Fort Pickering, and in Defences of Memphis, Tenn., and in District of West Tennessee till April, 1866. Mustered out April 30, 1866.

Thirteen Williamson County men served in the 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery:

Pvt. Thomas Buford

Company E

Following the War, Pvt. Thomas Buford opened a Freedmen's Bank Account on January 25, 1868 in Memphis. He described that he left Williamson County in 1861 and went to West Tennessee. He named his parents and siblings who were still living in Williamson County at the time. He also noted that a brother Stephen "was killed at time Hood tried to take Nashville" [the Battle of Nashville].

Sgt. Tom Strawn, Co. B, 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery

Sergeant Tom Strawn of Company B, 3rd U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) Heavy Artillery Regiment, with revolver in front of painted backdrop showing balustrade and landscape. Library of Congress.

Strawn was born in Germantown near Memphis, Tennessee.

Pvt. David Warrington, Co A, 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery

This photographic image is associated with the pension file of Dianna Warrington, minor child of Private David Warrington (alias David Washington), and was originally submitted as proof in the claim. Warrington served in Company A of the 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/200186009

Quartermaster Sergeant James Mosley (alias John James Dobson), Company M, 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery

Photographic Image from the Pension File of Martha Dobson, Widow of Quartermaster Sergeant James Mosley (alias John James Dobson), Company M, 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery


Harper's Weekly Memphis riot scenes

Tennessee Virtual Archive

Memphis Race Riot of 1866

When the 3rd USCHA mustered out of service in Memphis in April 1866, the War was over. Many of the new veterans were young single men who stayed in the city getting their bearings as freedmen and civilians for the first time and celebrating their discharges. Conflicts between the Black men and the mostly Irish police force in Memphis were common and becoming more heated as the month wore on. From May 1-3, 1866, the conflicts turned into an ugly and vicious riot. By the end of the three days, 46 Black and 2 white people were killed, 75 Black people injured, more than 100 Black people robbed, and 5 Black women raped. Additionally, 91 homes and every Black church and school in the city were burned (4 churches and 8 schools). You can read more here.