Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
U.S.C.T. Burials in the National Cemetery
U.S. Colored Troops
Beginning in March 1863, the federal government began actively recruiting black men for the Union Army. A few months later, the War Department created the Bureau of United States Colored Troops (USCT). USCT regiments fought in Civil War battles and engagements from Virginia to Texas. Approximately 200,000 black soldiers and sailors served, roughly 10 percent of all Union troops. Twenty-five of these men received the Medal of Honor—the nation's highest military honor.
After the Battle of New Market Heights (Virginia), Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler reported,
The colored soldiers by coolness, steadiness, and determined courage and dash have silenced every cavil of the doubters of their soldierly capacity...
The Union Army established eight camps in northern states to train black regiments. Camp William Penn — located 8 miles north of Philadelphia in what is now Cheltenham Township — was the first and largest of these federal training camps. It opened in June 1863 under the command of Col. Louis Wagner, an abolitionist and veteran of early Civil
Before the camp closed on August 14, 1865, it produced eleven regiments of 10,940 soldiers and 400 white officers. In Philadelphia, a school opened to screen and train white officers to lead the new United States Colored Troops. Black officers were not appointed until the end of the war.
Regiments that trained at Camp William Penn distinguished themselves in action throughout the conflict. They were among the first to enter the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, in 1865, and were present at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
Death and Burial
During the Civil War, approximately two soldiers died of disease for each one who died of battle wounds. Common ailments included dysentery, rheumatism, typhoid fever, and pneumonia. In theory, black troops received the same medical care as white, but USCT regiments were frequently understaffed and undersupplied in medicines and hospitals, resulting in a higher mortality rate.
Black soldiers and sailors who died in the Philadelphia area during the war were originally buried in Lebanon Cemetery, one of the city's black-owned burial grounds. The remains of more than 300 USCT were moved to Section C of the newly created Philadelphia National Cemetery in 1885.
Veterans of the USCT who died after the war were often buried
Erected 2018 by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the National Cemeteries series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1863.
Location. 40° 3.47′ N, 75° 9.29′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Limekiln Pike and Haines Street (69th Avenue). Marker is located within the Philadelphia National Cemetery grounds, near the Haines Street & Woolston Avenue intersection on the south side of the cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6909 Limekiln Pike, Philadelphia PA 19138, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Philadelphia National Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Mexican-American War Monument (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Confederate Burials in the National CemeteryConfederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (about 500 feet away); A National Cemetery System (about 500 feet away); In The Battle of Germantown (about 500 feet away); Address by President Lincoln (about 600 feet away); Village of La Mott (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Camp William Penn & Philadelphia National Cemetery
Also see . . .
1. Camp William Penn. Camp William Penn is a significant site in the history of the Civil War due to the fact that more African American soldiers trained there than any other training camp. Unfortunately, not much of the site remains. (Submitted on July 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Civil War USCT Memorial. (This link presents a professional video of the elaborate marker dedication ceremony.) On Saturday, April 21, 2018, a new Civil War memorial for the United States Colored Troops (USCT) was unveiled in a special ceremony. This is the first of its kind in Philadelphia to recognize and honor black soldiers, (Submitted on July 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 24, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 10, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 193 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 10, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.