Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
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102nd U.S. Colored Troops Civil War

102nd U S Colored Troops Civil War LotClick here to view or download a PDF.

Members of the 102nd U.S. Colored Troops Civil War Lot, Section S

Battle Flag for the 102nd USCTFormed entirely of volunteers 1863-1865, the First Michigan Colored Regiment was organized at Camp Ward (named after Eber Brock Ward), which once stood on the site of Duffield School, now known as Ralph J. Bunche Elementary and Middle School, three blocks from Elmwood. The Regiment saw service in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. More than 1,400 men served in the regiment and ten percent gave their lives in battle. The regiment was disbanded in October 1865. Eighteen members of the 102nd troop are buried in the Michigan Civil War lot in Section S. Information about these men is fairly limited but follows at the end of this biography. More research needs to be done, regarding who among this group may have been enslaved, escaped on the Underground Railroad or participated in helping others out of bondage.

Since 1984, Elmwood Cemetery has hosted a Veterans Day Commemoration where members of the U.S. Colored Troops, Native American Veterans, and all Veterans are honored. The program involves the members of all branches of the armed forces, JR ROTC programs at Detroit high schools, Martin Luther King Jr. High School Marching Band, re-enactors, political leaders, and the general public.

Elmwood's self-guided tour of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom map is available in the office or may be downloaded here and features these members of the 102nd United States Colored Troop, buried in Section S, and 23 other key individuals:

Row 1
John Griffin USCT Military Paper Elmwood John Griffin Monument Elmwood IMG 8694webPvt. John Griffin, Company F, was born in 1812 and was buried in 1871. Griffin’s birthplace is unknown. The military record to the left indicates Griffin had two dependents, George and Louisa. In Elmwood’s files, John Griffin’s birthplace is noted as “American.” His age is noted as 59 and he lived in the Soldier’s Home in Detroit. Griffin died of pneumonia on August 4, 1871 and was interred on August 6, 1871. Additional research is underway to learn more about Pvt. Griffin’s life and time during the Civil War. 


Stewart Augustus USCT Military Paper Elmwood web Augustus Stewart Memorial Elmwood IMG 7700webPvt. Augustus Stewart, Company C, was born on the ocean in 1819. Stewart enlisted at the age of approximately 44 on November 4, 1863 in Detroit. Prior to enlisting, Stewart was employed as a cook and continued in this capacity in the military. Stewart mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. His military records indicate that he was “free on or before April 19, 1861.” He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on January 2, 1894. He was interred on January 4, 1894.


Row 2
Robert K Russell Memorial Elmwood IMG 7701web Pvt. Robert K. Russell served in Company D. He was born in 1847; the location is unknown. He died in 1889. There are multiple Robert Russel(l)s who served in the Civil War in the USCT. One was noted as Robert R. Russell who served with Company D and E. He was a sailor who was born in Missouri who “free on or before April 19, 1861.” Additonal research is underway.


William H Carter Memorial Elmwood IMG 7702web

SGM William H. Carter, Company F, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1841. He enlisted on November 15, 1864 in Ypsilanti. His enlistment records indicate he was a laborer. He was described as a most “faithfull (sic) soldier.” He was promoted to 1st Sergeant on February 2, 1864 when the person who previously held that command deserted, and then to Sergeant Major on August 18, 1865. He then transferred to non-commissioned staff, mustering out on September 30, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. Military records indicate Carter was ‘free on or before April 19,1861.” He appears to have been literate as he signed his name on the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on October 16, 1876 and was interred on October 19, 1876.


Henry Smith USCT Military Paper Elmwood web Henry Smith Memorial Elmwood IMG 7703webSGT Henry Smith, Company I, was born in Burlington New Jersey in 1835. He worked as a laborer and enlisted at age 28 in Detroit on December 11, 1863. He was promoted to Sergeant on January 3, 1864 but requested his rank be reduced due to his deafness. Ultimately, he was discharged at Orangeburg, South Carolina on July 13, 1865 for his “physical disability.” He appears to have been literate as he signed his name on the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on March 9, 1889 and was interred on March 12, 1889.


Daniel B Walker Memorial Elmwood IMG 7704web Pvt. Daniel B. Walker, Company D, was born in Virginia in 1820. He enlisted at the age of 43 on November 23, 1863 in Detroit. According to the remarks in his military records, he was a “slave.” His occupation before joining is listed as farmer. In the military, Walker served as the cook of the company. He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on July 13, 1890 and was interred on July 15, 1890.


 


William Riley Memorial Elmwood IMG 7705web Pvt. William Riley, Company A, was born in Rockville, Maryland. He enlisted at the age of 33 in Detroit on January 23, 1864. According to the records, he was a laborer, and he was “free on or before April 19, 1861.” He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He appears to have been literate as he signed his name on the Volunteer Enlistment form. Riley died on March 28, 1891 and was interred on March 30, 1891.


George A Holmes USCT Military Paper Elmwood web George A Holmes Memorial Elmwood IMG 7707webPvt. George A. Holmes, Company E, enlisted in Detroit at the age of 31 on December 5, 1863.  He was a sailor born in New York and was “free on or before April 19, 1861.” He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on October 4, 1891.

Row 3

Greenbury Hodges USCT Military Paper Elmwood web Greenberry Hodge Memorial Elmwood IMG 7712webSGT Greenberry (aka Greenbury) Hodges, Company C, enlisted in Detroit at 44 years old on September 16, 1863. He was a laborer, born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1819, who was “free on or before April 19, 1861.” He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He appears to have been literate as he signed his name on the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on August 4, 1879 and was interred on August 6, 1879.

Henry Williams USCT Military Paper Elmwood web Henry Williams Memorial Elmwood IMG 7710web

Pvt. Henry H. Williams, Company F, was one of four Henry Williams who served with the regiment. However, according to military records, only one served in Company F. Williams, a laborer, was born free in Malden, Canada. He enlisted on September 13, 1864, at the age of 18. While serving, his duties included taking care of government horses. He appears to have been literate as he signed his name on the Volunteer Enlistment form. Williams died on November 7, 1888 and was interred on November 9, 1888.


Berry Thomas Memorial Elmwood IMG 7709web Pvt. Berry (a.k.a. Benjamin) Thomas, Company K, was a laborer, born in Virginia in 1835. Thomas enlisted late in the war on January 31, 1865 at Pontiac, Michigan as a substitute for John B. Nixon. He was assigned to Company K on May 31, 1865. He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. According to his military records he was free. He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on August 16, 1866 and was interred on August 18, 1866.



Frank Robinson USCT Military Paper Elmwood web Frank Robinson Memorial Elmwood IMG 7708webPvt. Frank Robinson, Company E, enlisted in Detroit on November 1863 at the age of 24. Born in Newport, Kentucky, he was a laborer. He served in the military as a musician in the regimental band. The regimental band toured southern Michigan as part of its recruitment efforts. During his time in the military, he also played in post and brig bands. According to records, he was “free on or before April 19, 1861.” He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died in 1910.

Row 4
Gilbert Charles USCT Military Paper Elmwood web Charles Gilbert Memorial Elmwood IMG 7713webSGT Charles Gilbert, Company H, was born in Pike County, Georgia. He enlisted at the age of 24 on December 21, 1863 in Jonesville, Michigan but was mustered in at Detroit. He enlisted as a corporal, but was promoted to sergeant on May 10, 1864. It is noted that he was “free.” He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on April 2, 1888.


Row 5
William Shorter Memorial Elmwood IMG 7716web William Shorter USCT Military Paper Elmwood web CPL William Shorter, Company G, was born in New York in 1843. He enlisted on December 26, 1863 in Detroit at the age of 20. His occupation is listed as farmer. In March 1864, he became sick with tuberculosis and was hospitalized. He remained there until his death in May 1864. He appears to have been literate as he signed his name on the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on May 28, 1864 and was interred on June 6, 1864.


George C Griggs Memorial Elmwood IMG 7715web George H Griggs USCT Military Paper Elmwood web CPL George H. Griggs, Company D, was born in Woodstock, Ontario Canada. A laborer, he enlisted at Detroit on February 18, 1864. His enlistment rank was private, but he was promoted to corporal on March 12, 1864, then demoted on March 24th 1865, then promoted back on July 18, 1865. His military records contain contradictory statements about his status as a free or enslaved person. However, his Canadian birth, if accurate, would seem to suggest that he was free. He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He appears to have been literate as he signed his name on the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on December 1, 1877.


Albert J Raitliff Memorial Elmwood IMG 7714web Pvt. Albert J. Ratliff, Company F, was born in Gosfield, Ontario Canada. A laborer, he enlisted at the age of 18 on November 18, 1863 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Most of his time in the military he was sick in a Detroit, Michigan hospital. He ultimately received a medical discharge in September 1864 because of “physical disability,” described as “phthisis pulmonalis” which previously was a name for tuberculosis. The “disease of the lungs… existed previous to his being enlisted.” He was deemed “totally unfit for the service.” There are no notes in his records regarding his status as free or enslaved, but his Canadian birth suggests the former. He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died in March 1866 and was interred on March 11, 1866.


Row 7
London Floyd USCT Military Paper Elmwood web London Floyd Memorial Elmwood IMG 7718web
Pvt. London (aka Leonard and Landon) Floyd, Company D, was born in North Carolina or Georgia around 1844. His occupation is listed as farmer. In one of the remarks on his enlistment there is a note that reads, “Slave…Joined Co. August 26, 64 at Magnolia, Florida by Enlistment,” which seems to suggest that he may have been a freedom seeker. He mustered out in Charleston, South Carolina on September 30, 1865. He filed for a military pension on May 15, 1888. He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form. He died on April 26, 1890.


Robert Thomas Memorial Elmwood IMG 7717web CPL Robert Thomas, Company D, was a farmer, born in Lafayette County, Kentucky. Thomas enlisted on February 13, 1864 in Janesville, Wisconsin. He was mustered in on February 14, 1864 in Detroit. He was promoted from private to corporal on July 10, 1864. In July 1865, he became sick with tuberculosis and died. He was buried in October 1865. According to remarks in his military records, he was a “slave.” He appears to have been unable to read or write because he signed his mark to the Volunteer Enlistment form.


102nd U S Colored Troops Civil War Lot2


The 102nd U.S. Colored Troops Civil War Lot is listed in Elmwood’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Self-Guided Tour Map.