7th United States Colored Troops
The Seventh Regiment Infantry United States Colored Troops, Maryland Volunteers began recruiting on September 26, 1863. As with the 4th U.S.C.T., Colonel William Birney, 2nd U.S.C.T. was in charge of recruiting men for this regiment.
Companies A., B., & C. were raised in September and mustered into service at Camp Birney, Baltimore, Maryland. By October three additional companies, D., E., & F. were in uniform, but the regiment was without weapons. None the less drill instruction was carried out with sticks and what ever was at hand.
Colonel Birney dispatched details to Milstone Landing, Benedict, Shelltown, Rehoboth, Shad Landing, Newtown and Snow Hill to recruit volunteers. Not all the volunteers were free blacks, and several altercations occurred between slave owners and the recruiters. While these details scoured the countryside for volunteers, a large camp of instruction was established at Benedict, Maryland.
On October 29th 130 recruits were obtained from the oyster fleet lying off the mouth of the patuxent River. By November 12th the remaining four companies were fully organized and mustered into service. Colonel James Shaw took command of the regiment.
The 7th spent the winter at camp Stanton in Benedict. The location was an unhealthy one and many of the men in the regiment suffered for it. Several perhised over the winter season.
On March 4th, 1864, the 7th U.S.C.T. began a winding Odyssey that would have strained the nerves and disciplen of Ulysseus. The regiment was transported by steamer to Portsmouth, virginia. They then marched to Getty Station along the military railroad line. For the next two days the regiment marched about from point to point to protect Suffolk and Portsmouth from possible enemy attack. On the 7th of March the regiment was once more on board a steamer, the transport "Baniel Webster," headed south, to Hilton Head, South Carolina. On the 10th the regiment disembarked and marched out past the Federal garrison and set up camp near old "fort Beauregard." On the 14th they were back on ship, the "S.S. Delaware," bound for Jacksonville, Florida. They arrived in Jacksonville the following day, and once again they were forced to march past the Federal camp and set up their own camp site. From March 15th to early May the regiment drilled and of course was used to perform manual labor.
Rebel cavalry attacked the outpost of the 7th and were repelled. On the 25th the regiment participated in a recon in force toward Cedar Creek, where they skirmished with Confederate troops. The regiment skirmished with rebels at the same location several days later.
On June 27th it was back on the ships to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where the regiment participated in General Foster's expedition to the North Edisto River. For the next 17 days the regiment was constantly engaged with enemy troops and sufferred severe casualties. The regiment returned to Jacksonville on July 15th, only to be ordered out on another raid on the 22nd. They proceeded up St. John's River to Black Creek on board the steamer "Mary Benton," and after disembarking at Black Creek moved to cut the Florida and Gulf Railroad at Trail Ridge.
After cutting the rail line the regiment returned to Jacksonville on august 5th, only to set sail for Hilton Head once more the following day. From Hilton Head the 7th was dispatched back to Fortress Monroe to join the Army of the Potomac. Upon reaching virginia, the regiment marched to Bermuda Hundred, joining the all black brigade, 3rd Division, 10th Corps. From August until November the 7th was continualy engaged in the campaigning near Bermuda Hundred and suvered numerous casualties during this period. In Decmber of 1864 the regiment was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 25th Corps. This was a move on the Army's part to consolidate the U.S.C.T. troops into one command.
On March 19, 1865 the command bgan a long sweeping march across the Appromattox and James Rivers, and around the Petersburg forticifications towards the Weldon Railroad. With the collapse of the Confederate defenses on the 1st and 2nd of April, the 7th pushed forward and was among the first troops into the center of Petersburg. The chase was then on and the regiment turned west in the persuit of Lee's fleeing army. The 7th was present during the final confrontation at Appromattox. During it's tenure at Bermuda Hundred and it's trek toward Appromattox Cour House, the regiment participated in the fighting at Kingland Road, Fussels Mills, White Point, Fort GGilmer, the Darbytown Road and Amstrong's Mills.
After Lee's surrender, the 7th went into camp at City Point, but on the 25th of May they were once more aboard steamers heading south. After short stops at Mobile Bay and the mouth of the Mississippi, the regiment reached Indianola, Texas on June 23rd. The regiment performed garrison duty in Texas until October 14th, when they set out once more for Maryland.
The 7th did not arrive in Baltimore until November 4th, and disbanded on the 15th. Few units in the Civil War traveled as much as the 7th U.S.C.T. And few suffered the percentage of casualties. The regiment suffered 1 officer and 84 enlisted killed, 1 officer and 307 men died of disease.
History provided by Gary Baker of the Association of Carroll's Sacred Trust.
See the General Sources page for items containing information on all Maryland Units.
James H. Whyte, "Maryland's Negro Regiments - How, Where they Served," Civil War Times Illustrated, (July 1962).
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