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Bible Records and Biography of March Haynes, USCT Veteran

Toni Carrier
by Toni Carrier

March Haynes: Union Operative in the Civil War

March Haynes Image NYPL Digital Collections

USCT Veteran March Haynes. Image Courtesy of NYPL Digital Collections.

March Haynes was born March 4, 1825 in Pocotaligo, Jasper, SC. While enslaved, he was appointed a deacon in Wilmington Baptist Church in 1849, by the Reverend Jack Watry. It is unclear as yet who March Haynes’ slaveholder in South Carolina was. Haynes was moved to Savannah in 1858 while enslaved, and became a member of the First African Baptist Church of Savannah1.

There is documentary evidence that March Haynes’ final slaveholder in Savannah was John C. Rowland2. Haynes was literate and a skilled carpenter3. While in Savannah, he was hired out as a pilot and stevedore on local ships. Here, he gained an intimate knowledge of the waterways in and around Savannah4.

Slaveholder John C. Rowland enlisted in the Confederate service in 1861, and March Haynes accompanied him to Fort Pulaski5. While there, Haynes was conscripted as a carpenter6. John C. Rowland was captured in the fall of Fort Pulaski, and March Haynes remained7.

Following the fall of Fort Pulaski, Union Major General David Hunter issued General Order No. 7 on April 13, 1862. It stated that “All persons of color lately held in involuntary service by enemies of the United States in Fort Pulaski and on Cockspur Island, Georgia are hereby confiscated and declared free, in conformity with the law, and shall hereafter receive the fruits of their own labor8.”

Although a free man while he remained at the fort, March Haynes chose to become active in the war effort.  Under the command of General Quincy Adams Gillmore of the Tenth Army Corps, Haynes became an operative for the Union forces, drawing upon his extensive knowledge of local waterways to carry out perilous reconnaissance operations, while also bringing hundreds of enslaved people to freedom within the Union lines9.

Army Chaplain Frederic Denison later recalled that

“Comprehending the spirit and scope of the war, he was ready, on the capture of Fort Pulaski, to aid the Union and assist his fellow slaves in securing their freedom.  By means of a suitable boat, that he kept secreted in a creek among the marshes, below Savannah, he brought into our lines, at different times, a large number of fugitives.  Finally fearing detection, he came in himself, and brought his wife.  Still he was intent on serving the Union cause.

 

He often made reconnaissances in the night, up the creeks along the Savannah, gathering information and bringing away boat-loads of negroes.  General Gillmore furnished him with whatever he needed in his perilous missions.  He ordered a stanch, swift boat, painted a drab color, like the hue of the Savannah River.  He might select such negroes to assist him as he thought proper.  Often, he landed in the marshes below Savannah, and, entering the city in the night, sheltered and supplied by the negroes, he spent days in examining the forts, batteries, and camps of the rebels, bringing away exact and valuable information.  On one of his expeditions, being delayed till after daylight, as he and his party were coming down a creek, they encountered six rebels on picket.  Both parties fired.  Three rebels were shot by March, and fell dead; but March himself received a bullet in his thigh.  He, however, escaped capture10.”

When his activities aroused white suspicions, Haynes fled Savannah with his wife and settled her in Hilton Head, South Carolina. From there, he continued his activities11. In 1864, Haynes officially joined the U.S. Army12. Four days after enlisting, he was wounded in the action described above, being shot through the thigh. He spent time in the hospital at Hilton Head, but was unable to return to active duty13.

Haynes March Pension File Record of Service

USCT Pension File for March Haynes, Certificate #95692, Company K, 21st USCT. National Archives and Records Administration.

 

After the war, he returned to a quiet life in Savannah, where he was once again a leader in the First African Baptist Church14. He filed for, and received a military pension15.

March Haynes died 16 Jul 1899. His obituary was printed in the Savannah Tribune 22 Jul 189916.

Bible Record of March Haynes

The images below were gleaned from March Haynes’ USCT pension file17. Please click on the images to view larger.

Bible Record of March Haynes, USCT Veteran P1

USCT Pension File for March Haynes, Certificate #95692, Company K, 21st USCT. National Archives and Records Administration.

 

Bible Record of March Haynes, USCT Veteran

USCT Pension File for March Haynes, Certificate #95692, Company K, 21st USCT. National Archives and Records Administration.

References Cited

[1] Love, E.K. 1888 History of the First African Baptist Church, from its organization, January 20, 1788 to July 1, 1888. The Morning News Print.

[2] The Savannah Daily Morning News, April 28, 1863, p. 2, reported that “A negro man named March, the property of Mr. John C. Rowland, has been arrested and committed to jail, charged with harboring and running off to the Yankees several negroes from this city…. He will probably have an examination in a few days.”

[3] Fort Pulaski National Monument, http://fortpulaskiga.com/, accessed 4 Apr 2017.

[4] Mohr, Clarence L. 1979 “Before Sherman: Georgia Blacks and the Union War Effort, 1861-1864,” The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Aug., 1979), pp. 331-352.

[5] Fort Pulaski National Monument, http://fortpulaskiga.com/, accessed 4 Apr 2017.

[6] Swain, Craig. 2014 “March Haynes: Freed Slave and Scout for the Federals,” The Sound of the Guns: Civil War Artillery, Battlefields and Historical Markers, https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/march-haynes/, accessed 5 Apr 2017.

[7] “United States Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J4SL-PWV : 4 December 2014), J C Rowland, 1862; from “Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations Raised Directly by the Confederate Government,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing military unit Ninth Confederate Infantry, Mo-Y, NARA microfilm publication M258 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1963), roll 70.

[8] For Pulaski National Monument, http://fortpulaskiga.com/, accessed 4 Apr 2017.

[9] Mohr, Clarence L. 1979 “Before Sherman: Georgia Blacks and the Union War Effort, 1861-1864,” The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Aug., 1979), pp. 331-352.

[10] Denison, Frederic. “A Chaplain’s Experience in the Union Army”, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Historical Society of Rhode Island, Personal Narratives, 4th Ser., No. 20: Providence, 1893; Denison, Frederic. “Shot and Shell: The Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery Regiment in the Rebellion, 1861-1865,” Providence, 1879.

[11] Denison, Frederic. “Shot and Shell: The Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery Regiment in the Rebellion, 1861-1865,” Providence, 1879.

[12] “United States Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JZDZ-QMJ : 12 December 2014), March Haines, 1864; from “Civil War Soldiers – Union – Colored Troops,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing military unit 21st US Colored Infantry, NARA microfilm publication M1823, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., roll 27.

[13] “South Carolina, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9ZG-D7YM?cc=2127881&wc=MFH2-C3D%3A1017927401%2C1017932701 : 21 May 2014), Hilton Head > image 198 of 208; citing NARA microfilm publication M1910 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

[14] Love, E.K. 1888 History of the First African Baptist Church, from its organization, January 20, 1788 to July 1, 1888. The Morning News Print.

[15] “United States Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939X-XY99-1B?cc=1834308&wc=M6YQ-RZ9%3A162366601 : 22 May 2014), > image 496 of 2296; citing NARA microfilm publication M686 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.);   “United States, Freedmen’s Branch Records, 1872-1878,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9LD-YWK3?cc=2333780&wc=3VCY-16N%3A1077250202%2C1077251208 : 9 June 2015), Savannah, GA (disbursing officer) > image 79 of 128; citing NARA microfilm publication M2029 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), claim file of March Haynes;   Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans, index and images, Fold3, https://www.fold3.com/image/28957720/, accessed 4 Apr 2017, application of March Haynes.

[16] “Mr. Haynes Death: an Old Respected and Reputable Citizen,” Savannah Tribune (Savannah, Georgia), Vol. XIV, Issue 41, p. 3.  

[17] United States, National Archives and Records Administration. USCT Pension File for March Haynes, Certificate #95692, Company K, 21st USCT. 

 

 

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