Sixty-Ninth Regiment, United States Colored Troops (US)
The Sixty-Ninth U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) was a regiment recruited largely of formerly enslaved men that was organized late in the Civil War, primarily in Arkansas.
The recruiting of African American military units to serve in the Union army was approved with the creation of the U.S. War Department’s Bureau of Colored Troops on May 22, 1863. At least seven regiments of Black troops and two artillery batteries manned by Black soldiers were raised in Arkansas, with the Sixty-Ninth USCT being the last of them.
The Sixty-Ninth USCT consisted of five companies that were organized at Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), Helena (Phillips County), and Memphis Tennessee, between mid-1864, and March 17, 1865. The companies served in detached areas, and the entire regiment apparently never served as a whole in one location.
Company A, the earliest raised, served at Pine Bluff in May and June 1864, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from July 1864 until February 1865, and on Bayou Fourche from March to June 1865. Company B was stationed in Pine Bluff for its entire term of service. Company C apparently was at Fort Pinney southeast of Helena in early 1865 before serving at Bayou Fourche from March to June 1865. Company D served on President’s Island near Memphis from March 17 to April 30, 1865, before moving to Pine Bluff in May. Company E apparently spent its term of service at Fort Pinney.
The only mention of the Sixty-Ninth USCT in the Official Records was that Captain Charles T. Parks led troops—presumably of the Sixty-Ninth—in a January 27, 1865, expedition from Fort Pinney to Kimball’s plantation in search of deserters and smugglers. First Lieutenant John H. Rains of Company B would serve as Superintendent of Freedmen for the District of Little Rock in 1865.
The Sixty-Ninth U.S. Colored Troops was “discontinued” on September 20, 1865.
For additional information:
Dyer, Frederick. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Co., 1908, p. 1734.
Hewett, Janet B., et al., eds. Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Vol. 78. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1998, p. 495–496.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 48, part 1, section 1, pp. 73–74.Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1896.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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