58th US Colored Infantry

Organized March 11, 1864, from 6th Mississippi Infantry (African Descent). Attached to Post of Natchez, Miss., District of Vicksburg, Miss., to April, 1866.

SERVICE: Post and garrison duty at Natchez and in the Dept. of Mississippi entire term. Expedition from Natchez to Gillespie's Plantation, La., August 4-6, 1864. Mustered out April 30, 1866.

Predecessor unit: MISSISSIPPI VOLUNTEERS. 6th REGIMENT INFANTRY (AFRICAN DESCENT). Organized at Natchez, Miss., August 27, 1863. Attached to Post of Natchez, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to January, 1864. Post of Vicksburg, Miss., to March, 1864.

SERVICE: Post duty at Natchez and Vicksburg, Miss., till March, 1864. Skirmish near Natchez November 11, 1863 (Detachment). Designation of Regiment changed to 58th U.S. Colored Troops March 11, 1864.

Thus far, only two men with ties to Williamson County have been identified as having served in the 58th USCI: Pvt. John Scales and Pvt. George Washington. 

The Slaves to Soldiers Project is grateful to Jefferson Mansell of the National Park Service for identifying them

Pvt. John Scales

Pvt. John Scales was born in Williamson County around 1826. When he was 38 years old, he enlisted in the 58th US Colored Infantry, Co D in Natchez, Mississippi. He was described as a married field hand who had most recently been enslaved by John Thorn of Adams County, Mississippi. Thorn owned and operated a cotton plantation using enslaved laborers - including apparently John Scales.

A few months after his enlistment, in  July 1864, John Scales legally married Hilda Scales in Natchez. The marriage was solemnized by Rev. E. G. Trask, the Chaplain of the 4th Illinois Cavalry. Beginning in January 1865, Scales was placed on detached duty in the Engineering Corps in Natchez.  A year later, he was on extra duty in the Quartermaster's Department for the Freedmen's Bureau in Jackson, Mississippi. On April 30, 1866, Scales mustered out with his regiment at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Little is known about his life post-War, but in 1890 he applied for and was granted a pension for his service. He appears to have died in February 1894 because his widow, Hildeh, qualified for his pension

Pvt. George Washington

Pvt. George Washington was born in Williamson County, Tennessee. He was a 20-year-old blacksmith when he enlisted in Company E of the regiment. He was one of 8 men who used that name, which may indicate that it was not his actual name. In fact, his name was noted as "George Washington No. 2".  According to his enlistment papers, Washington was last enslaved by Alonzo Taylor of Franklin County, Mississippi. Sadly, Washington was among the many men in the regiment who contracted smallpox.  Within weeks of claiming his freedom and enlisting in the regiment, Pvt. George Washington died on  February 20, 1864, at the Pest Hospital in Natchez. Thus far, no headstone or gravesite has been located.