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 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. (Marker Number 23.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • War, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1864.
Location. Touch for map. 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. St. Francis de Sales (a few steps from this marker); Guthrie Building (within shouting distance of this marker); "Duke of Paducah" (within shouting distance of this marker); Barkley's Law Office (within shouting distance of this marker); Paducah Pictorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Col. Stephen G. Hicks Headquarters (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Broadway Methodist (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Paducah.
Additional keywords. U.S.C.T.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 710 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. 3. submitted on August 18, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 17, 2011, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.