Paducah in McCracken County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
8th U.S. Heavy Artillery (Colored)
By the middle of March 1864, 274 men had enlisted in what was then designated as the First Kentucky Heavy Artillery, African Descent. Lieutenant R.D. Cunningham was in charge of recruiting troops and training them to operate the artillery at Fort Anderson and also as infantrymen.
Each state, including Kentucky, had quotas for enlisting African Americans. Because many people had crossed statelines when leaving slavery behind there was confusion as to what state they were from and which state should receive credit. The various African American units were re-designated as United States Colored Troops and the First KY Heavy Artillery, African Descent became the 7th United States Heavy Artillery (Colored) and finally the 8th United States Heavy Artillery
On March 25, 1864 the Eighth formed a major part of the garrison of Fort Anderson with 120 men from the 122nd Illinois Infantry and 271 from the 16th Kentucky Cavalry. The fort was commanded by Colonel Stephen G. Hicks. In addition, two federal gunboats, the Peosta and the Pawpaw, on the Ohio River, supported Hick's command. During the Battle of Paducah on that day the Eighth fought well. Hicks, who had been opposed to the enlistment of African Americans, compared their conduct in combat favorably to the best troops he had fought with during the War.
The Eighth actively recruited throughout the War and by May 1864 was at 317 men, commanded by Colonel Henry T. Barry. When the unit joined the 132nd Illinois Infantry on an expedition to investigate reported Confederate activity near Haddix's Ferry on July 27, 1864 400 men from the Eighth took part along with 200 from the Illinois unit. A similar mission in August led to small skirmish near Smithland, Kentucky. At the end of the War in April 1865 the Eighth was transferred to Texas where it remained until mustered out of federal service on February 10, 1866.
Erected by The Paducah-McCraken County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Location. 37° 5.148′ N, 88° 36.027′ W. Marker is Touch for map. Across the street from St Francis De Sales Church. Marker is in this post office area: Paducah KY 42001, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Duke of Paducah" (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Barkley's Law Office (about 300 feet away); Union Headquarters (about 300 feet away); Broadway Methodist (about 500 feet away); Tilghman Home (about 600 feet away); Tilghman House (about 600 feet away); American Red Cross (about 700 feet away); Proudly Dedicated to the Kentuckians (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Paducah.
Additional keywords. U.S.C.T.
Categories. • African Americans • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 630 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.