55th US Colored Infantry
The 55th USCI was first organized as the 1st Alabama Volunteer Infantry Regiment (African Descent) in May 1863, serving on garrison duty at Corinth, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. It was redesignated as the 55th United States Colored Infantry in March 1864, continuing its garrison service in Tennessee and fighting at the Battle of Brices Cross Roads. After the end of the war, the regiment was mustered out in late 1865 after garrison duty in Louisiana.
OVERVIEW: Organized March 11, 1864, from 1st Alabama Infantry (African Descent). Attached to 1st Colored Brigade, District of Memphis, Tenn., 16th Corps, to April, 1864. Fort Pickering, Post and Defences of Memphis, District of West Tennessee, to June, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Infantry Division, Sturgis' Expedition, to June, 1864. 1st Colored Brigade, District of Memphis, Tenn., District of West Tennessee, to January, 1865. 2nd Brigade, Post and Defences of Memphis, Tenn., to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, United States Colored Troops, District of Morganza, La., Dept. of the Gulf, to April, 1865. District of Port Hudson, La., Dept. of the Gulf, to December, 1865.
SERVICE: Post and garrison duty at Memphis, Tenn., till June 1, 1864. Sturgis' Expedition from Memphis into Mississippi June 1-13. Battle of Brice's Cross Roads, near Guntown, June 10. Ripley June 11. Davis' Mills June 12. Duty at Memphis till August 1. Smith's Expedition to Oxford, Miss., August 1-30. Action at Waterford August 16-17. Garrison duty at Memphis, Tenn., till February, 1865. Ordered to New Orleans, La., February 23; thence to Morganza, La., February 28, and duty there till April. Garrison duty at Port Hudson, Baton Rouge and other points in Louisiana till December, 1865. Mustered out December 31, 1865.
Predecessor unit: ALABAMA VOLUNTEERS. 1st REGIMENT INFANTRY (AFRICAN DESCENT). Organized at Corinth, Miss., May 21, 1863. Attached to 2nd Division, 16th Army Corps, Dept. Tennessee, to November, 1863. Post of Corinth, Miss., 16th Army Corps, to January, 1864. 1st Colored Brigade, District of Memphis, 5th Division, 16th Army Corps, to March, 1864.
SERVICE: Served as Garrison at Corinth, Miss., till January, 1864, then on duty at Memphis, Tenn., till March, 1864. Designation changed to 55th U.S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864.
Battle of Brice's Crossroads.
"The colored troops made for themselves on this occasion a brilliant record. Their gallant and soldierly bearing, and the zeal and persistence with which they fought, elicited the warmest encomiums from all officers of the command. Their claims to be considered as among the very best soldiers of our army can no longer, in my opinion, be seriously questioned." Excerpt from report by Major General C. C. Washburn, HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Memphis, Tennessee, July 20, 1864.
Four men from Williamson County have been identified as having served in the 55th US Colored Infantry:
Pvt. Obed Carlton was born in Williamson County around 1837. He enlisted in Company A on May 15, 1863 in Corinth, Mississippi. Pvt. Carlton was captured at Gun Town, Mississippi June 10, 1864 [the Battle of Brice's Crosssroads] and returned to his unit (escaped from POW camp) Aug 1, 1864. He mustered out Dec 31, 1865 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Pvt. John Collyer [Collier] was born in Williamson County around 1833. He enlisted in Company F on February 2, 1864 in Memphis, Tennessee. On May 22, 1864 he died of small pox at Memphis. No headstone has been identified for him.widow?
Cpl. John Dodson aka John B. Baugh was born in Williamson County around 1845. He enlisted in Company F on May 5, 1863 in Corinth, Mississippi. He survived to muster out with his regiment. In 1883 he applied for a pension. L
Pvt. George Brown was born in Williamson County around 1828. He enlisted in Company I on November 19, 1863 in Pocahontas, Tennessee. He survived to muster out Dec. 31, 1865 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Bronze statue of 55th USCI Soldier at Corinth Contraband Camp
Letter dated 4 Sept. 1864, relating the testimony of Dr. B.F. Foreman. Foreman testified that 150 to 200 soldiers armed with muskets and revolvers, complained that their wives were not properly rationed, and held Dr. Foreman prisoner until he agreed to open the commissary on Sunday morning and provide rations to the wives. Seven women appeared at the commissary that morning, identified in the document as the wives of six named soldiers in the 55th United States Colored Infantry and one in the 3rd Battalion United States Colored Artillery. Cowan's Auction.