Thanks to Dr. Michael R. Bradley who reached out to me yesterday to share some information he has collected about the 25th Tennessee Infantry which enlisted in Tullahoma, TN, in June 1861. The unit was raised in the Upper Cumberland area. Included in the list of original enlistees are twenty names, spread over seven companies , with each name followed by the note “Free Negro.” According to Dr. Bradley, each of these men was assigned rank and complete enlistment papers noting rank and pay drawn for three months are in the archives.
These names are also listed in “Tennesseans in the Civil War,” published in 1964 by the Tennessee Historical Commission, although no race is noted in that source. The 1860 census however lists each of the men as a free person of color. Here are the names:
- Co. A
Hale, John; Harris, James; Harris, William Alban; Rickman, Abner; Scott, Micajah
- Co. B
Alexander, Grunton B; Harris, Rufus
- Co. C
Burgess, William; Rickman, Joseph; Rickman Joseph A.; Scott, Alex; Worley, Rufus
- Co. D
- Co. E
- Co. G
- Co. H
- Co. I
Fields, James; Gibson, William; Oxendine, Levi–died and buried at camp ground; Walker, L.
This is fascinating regardless of what further inquiry reveals. I am curious as to whether these men remained in their units beyond the first three months. Dr. Bradley admittedly has not followed up on that question nor does he state anything explicit about these individuals or what their presence might mean more broadly. I look forward to reviewing copies of their enlistment papers that are now being forwarded to me. Continue reading