Colored Troop Enlistments from Connecticut during the Civil War

On March 8, 1864 a new Connecticut infantry regiment was mustered into military service during the American Civil War.  The 29th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment, over a thousand men strong, was unique as it was Connecticut’s first colored unit to serve during the war from Connecticut.  These units were comprised of minority or non-white “colored” recruits of varying origins, ages, and occupational backgrounds who were willing to fight for the Union cause.  These “persons of color” may have been African-American, as well as of Native American, Hispanic, and European origin, with some recruits being from as far away as China.       

Under the command of Colonel William B. Wooster of Derby, and led by an all white officer staff, the 29th would eventually serve with honor and distinction during engagements during the war in the State of Virginia at Petersburg, Chapin’s Farm, Richmond, Derbytown Road, and Kell House.  By the end of the Civil War in 1865, over 1,600 individuals of color would volunteer to serve from Connecticut in the 29th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment as well as the 30th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment whose members were folded into the 31st Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops [USCT] on May 18, 1864. 

The original enlistment paper of many of these recruits may be found today in the Connecticut State Archives as part of Record Group #013, Record of the Military Department.  These records contain important historical information about each individual as they signed-up to serve their country  such as the following example:Example of a Volunteer EnlistmentExample of a Volunteer Enlistment

Enlistment paper for Alfred Powers,
Born in Saybrook, CT, age 19,
Residence Hartford, CT,
Married, Black eyes, Black hair, Black complexion,
6 feet 3/4 inches tall, Occupation: Porter, Enlisted in Hartford, CT 12/17/1863,
assigned to Company E., 29th CT Volunteer Infantry Unit
[Connecticut State Archives, RG #013, Box 2, Folder 2]

This document provides a unique snapshot into the recruit’s life and background.  The enlistment document provides the recruits name, as well as place of birth, age, residence, occupation, and marital status.  A basic physical description of eye and hair color as well as height and complexion is included.  One can even determine educational or literacy level by seeing if the recruit signed his name as Alfred Powers did, or used a mark for their signature.  If the recruit served as a substitute for another individual as was then allowed the enlistment paper may include the name and residence of the person being substituted for.  The enlistment paper will indicate what Connecticut regiment they served in, and may, but does not always include, the company they were assigned to.

The following Index of Colored Troop Enlistments from Connecticut during the Civil War was created by Connecticut State Library staff to highlight and better utilize these unique archival records.  Please keep in mind that the spelling found on the enlistment paper was transcribed as provided.  As a result, spelling of names and geographic locations found on the enlistment document, may be phonetic in nature, and may seem to be misspelled.  Care was made to transcribe the names as written, though mistakes are likely to happen due to the poor penmanship on many documents.    

You may conduct a search in any of the columns, or any combination of columns to limit your search. 

If a record of interest is found in any of the below Index to Colored Troop Enlistments from Connecticut during the Civil War, and a reproduction of the original record is desired, you may submit a request via E-mail or by contacting the History & Genealogy Unit of the Connecticut State Library at (860) 757-6580.  Please include the recruit’s name, along with the Box and Folder numbers the enlistment paper is found. 

Reproduction formats and fees available, are as follows:

  • Photocopy: black & white copy, 8 1/2 X 11″ or  11 X 14″ sized paper, 25 cents; 11 X 17″, 50 cents per photocopied page, plus a $3.00 handling fee and first class postage charges.
  • Photocopy: color copy 8 1/2 X 11″ or 11 X 14″ sized paper, $1.00 per photocopied page, 11 X 17″, $1.25 per photocopied page plus a $3.00 handling fee and first class postage charges.
  • Digital images (low or high resolution): PDF, JEG, TIFF, or DNG images, 25 cents per image, plus a $3.00 handling fee.  Digital file may be delivered via internet for no additional cost.

Pre-payment is not needed as a bill will accompany the finished product, either in the mail with photocopies or with the digital images.

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29th Connecticut Regiment Enlistment