United States Colored Troops in the Civil War

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  U.S. Civil War  Gotoarrow.png  United States  Gotoarrow.png  United States Military  Gotoarrow.png  United States Civil War  Gotoarrow.png  United States Colored Troops in the Civil War

4th United States Colored Infantry, Company E, about 1864


The United States Army began to organize African Americans into regimental units known as the United States Colored Troops (USCT) in 1863. The enlistment of free blacks and slaves was considered a key to winning the war. Many USCT regiments originated as state militia units before 1863. The regiments included cavalry, artillery and infantry.

Approximately 186,000 African Americans served in the United States Colored Troops volunteer cavalry, artillery,and infantry units during the Civil War.

The service records of the United States Colored Troops are indexed on M589 roll 49 FHL film: 1276501(96 rolls FHL # 1266617) The service records have not yet been filmed, and are available from the National Archives.

For charts listing microfilmed military records available through the National Archive and Family History Library film numbers: click here.

In searching military or other records for an ancestor name that served with a United States Colored Troop (USCT) there may be abbreviations or marks within the record or following the name that may give clues about their military service.

Some of the abbreviations or marks may include.

  • A.D. = African Descent
  • C.d'A. Corps d'Afrique
  • col.,cold., col. = Colored
  • POC = Person of Color
  • USCA Lt  + U. S. Colored Artillery(Light)
  • USCA Hvy = U.S. Colored Artillery (Heavy)
  • USCC = U.C. Colored Cavalry
  • USCHA = U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery
  • USCI = U.S. Colored Infantry
  • USCLtA = U.S. Colored Light Artillery
  • USCT = U.S. Colored Troops

United States Colored Troops Military Units

Most units were numbered, however, some were named. See the table below for lists of the regiments, battalions, batteries, and unassigned companies.

The information in the lists of United States Colored Troops comes from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors web site. This web site can also be searched by the name of a soldier.

United States Colored Troops by Number or by Name
Union Units
85th- 138th
State Troops
A to Z

United States Colored Troops by Type of Unit
Union Units
Unassign- ed Units

Regiments of United States Colored Troops

These numbers are missing - I have not found them as offical yet

  • 129th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • 130th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • 131st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • 132nd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • 133rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
  • 134th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

United States Colored Troops Cemteries

The following on line site sponsored by the Center for Civil War Research is developing pages to include information on the burial plots of United States Colored Troops in the United States.



Civil War Sesquicentellial - 150th Anniversary

This site shares news, events and websites for serveral states about the upcoming commemorations.


Additional References

  • Berlin, Ira.  Freedom's Soldiers: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Cornish, Dudley Taylor. The Sable Arm: Negro Troops in the Union Army, 1861-1865. New york: W.W. Norton, 1966.
  • Fleming, Ann Carter,and Ruth Ann Abels Hager. "Slaves, Soldiers, and Citizens: Special Civil War Recruitment Lists,: National Genealogical Society Quarterly vol. 91 (June 2003):139-143.
  • Gladstone, William A. United States Colored Troops, 1863-1867. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Thomas publications, 1990: [Appendix I lists which states furnished men to each U.S. Colored Troop Regiment.]
  • Hansen, Joyce. Between Two Fires: Black Soldiers in the Civil War. New York: F. Watts, 1993.
  • Hargrove, Hondon B. Black Union Soldiers in the Civil War. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland 1988.
  • Hewett, Jamet B., editor. Roster of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865; United States Colored Troops M589-1-M589-49. Wilimington, North Carolina: Broadfoot publishing CO., 1997. FHL Book: 973 M29h
  • McPherson, James M. The Negro's Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted During the War for the Union, New York: Vintage 2003.
  • Pendell, Lucille H. and Benthel, Elizaabeth. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Adjutant General's Office: Records Group 94, No. 17, Washington, DC: Westminster, Maryland: Heritaage Books, 2007.
  • Quarles, Benjamin. The Negro in the Civil War, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 1989
  • Ross, Joseph B., Comp. Tabular Analysis of the Records of the U.S. Colored Troops and Their Predecessor Units in the National Archives of the United States.Special List No. 33. National Archives and records Service General Services Adminsitration Washington: 1973. FHL Book 973 M2rt Film:1036062 Item 21
  • Secret, Jeanette Braxton. Guide to Tracing Your African American Civil War Ancestor. Bowie Maryland: Heritage Books, 1995. [This is a reference book that includes Special Lists 33. Tabular Analysis of the Records of the U.S. Colored Troops...a National Archives publication - no longer in print].
  • Shaffer, Donald R. After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans, Larwrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2004.
  • Schaffer, Donald R. 'I Do Not Suppose that Uncle Sam Looks at the Skin': African Americans and the Civil War Pension System, 1865-1934.Civil War History 46 (June 2000): 132-142
  • Smith, John David, editor. Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina Press, 2002.
  • Trudeau, Noah Andre. Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865, Boston, Massacchusetts: Little Brown & Co, 1998.