49th US Colored Infantry

The 49th United States Colored Infantry was first established as the 11th Louisiana Infantry (African descent) . The unit was organized at Milliken's Bend, Louisiana on May 23 of 1863 and fought in the Battle of Milliken's Bend on June 7. Along with the Mississippi 1st and 3rd and the Louisiana 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th Regiment Infantry (African Descent) they were attached to the African Brigade, District of Northeast Louisiana, until July 1863. They were posted at Goodrich's Landing until January 1864 and at Vicksburg, Mississippi between January and March 1864. An expedition to Waterproof, Louisiana was undertaken from January to February 1864.The designation of the regiment was changed to the 49th Regiment Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops on March 11, 1864.[3] The regiment served on garrison duty at Vicksburg, Mississippi and mustered out March 27, 1866.

OVERVIEW: Organized March 11, 1864, from 11th Louisiana Infantry (African Descent). Attached to 1st Colored Brigade, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to October, 1864. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 16th Corps, to November, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to June, 1865. Dept. of Mississippi to March, 1866.

SERVICE: Post and garrison duty at Vicksburg, Miss., and at various points in the Dept. of Mississippi entire term. Mustered out March 27, 1866.

Predecessor unit: LOUISIANA VOLUNTEERS. 11th REGIMENT INFANTRY (AFRICAN DESCENT). Organized at Milliken's Bend, La., May 23 to August 22, 1863. Attached to African Brigade, District of Northeast Louisiana, to July, 1863. Post Goodrich Landing, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to January, 1864. 1st Brigade, U. S. Colored Troops, District Vicksburg, to March, 1864.

SERVICE: Duty at Milliken's Bend till January, 1864. Action at Milliken's Bend June 7. Post duty at Vicksburg, Miss., January to March, 1864. Expedition to Waterproof January 29-February 23. Waterproof February 14-15. Designation of Regiment changed to 49th U. S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864.

One Williamson County man is known to have served in the 49th USCI:

  • Cpl. Moses Prophet was born in Williamson County around 1846. He enlisted in Company B of Powell's Regiment of US Colored Infantry - one of the lesser-known USCT regiments. He soon was transferred to Company F of the 49th USCI in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was 18 years old. It is interesting to note that another man - about 17 years old - named Moses Prophet, also born in Williamson County, enlisted in the 3rd Reg. US Colored Heavy Artillery, Co. K in Memphis. However, based on enlistment dates they were not the same person. Prophet was promoted to corporal and survived to muster out with his regiment. Nothing has been uncovered regarding his life after the War.

African American Troops repelling the Confederate attack on Milliken's Bend

Harpers Weekly

Battle of Milliken's Bend.

The 49th USCI was involved in the Battle of Milliken's Bend on June 7, 1863, as part of the Vicksburg Campaign. Despite having only just been organized, the 49th USCI were sent to fight. Sgt. Jack Johnson of the 5th USCHA's actions that day were remembered by Lt. David Cornwell. He said that Jackson, "Laid into a group of Texans... smashing in every head he could reach", and that, "Big Jack Jackson passed me like a rocket. With the fury of a tiger he sprang into that gang and crushed everything before him. There was nothing left of Jack's gun except the barrel and he was smashing everything he could reach. On the other side of the levee, they were yelling 'Shoot that big [soldier]!' while Jack was daring the whole gang to come up and fight him. Then a bullet reached his head and he fell full on the levee."

The fight at Milliken's Bend cost the US Forces 652 men: 101 killed, 285 wounded, and 266 missing. Many of the missing men were Black USCT soldiers who had been captured and returned to slavery. All but 65 of the Union casualties at Milliken's Bend were Black. re