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Honoring those who served

The United States Colored Troops

As Bernice Bennett notes in her article USCT Pension Files: A Rich Resource for African American Genealogy, pension files can reveal many biographical details about ancestors who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT). Because events in USCT veterans’ lives before the Civil War were seldom recorded in the documentary record, veterans had to go to great lengths to prove their identity, their service in the Civil War, their dates of marriage, names and ages of children, and other biographical details that had to be documented in order for them to draw a military pension. 

This frequently meant gathering the testimony of others who witnessed their marriage, the death of a spouse, the births of their children or other life events. Veterans often relied upon the testimony of others who served in the same regiment and company to help them prove their identity and service.

The testimony of supporting witnesses revealed much about the military veteran applying for a pension. Along the way, witnesses also revealed a lot about their own lives and families. 

Here, we gather the pension files that tell the stories of those who served in the United States Colored Troops.

We are profoundly grateful to our advisory board members Bernice Bennett and Angela Y. Walton Raji for their guidance at every phase of this project. No words are sufficient to thank our incredible volunteer Alana Thevenet, who has carefully abstracted all of the pension files in this collection.


Documenting Ancestors Who Served

in the United States Colored Troops (USCT)


View USCT Pension Files

The table below is searchable.

There are 100 full pension files here. You may choose how many rows to display on each page. 

To view a file, please click on VIEW FILE in the far right column



NameCo. and Regt.ResidenceSpouseChildrenFormer EnslaverPlantation or LocationFile
Aiken, JackG 34thBeaufort, SCWilliam MiddletonNewport PlantationVIEW FILE
Ancrum, Aaron G 34thBeaufort, SCSallieKirkland, then Josua Nichols (Joshua Nichols married widow of Wm. Kirkland)Rose Hill PlantationVIEW FILE
Bailey, BenjaminK 103rdEnterprise, Charleston County, SCNannieMr. Ragsmith? (no such name in census, may be William Wragg Smith)VIEW FILE
Bailey, Pompey F 34thSt. Helena, Beaufort, SCJanePossibly Thomas B. ChaplinSt. Helena Island, SCVIEW FILE
Baynard, CarolinaG 2nd USCLAHilton Head, SCSarah KirkWilliam E. BaynardBluffton or Hilton Head, SCVIEW FILE
Binford, CharlesA 33rdBeaufort, SCMolseyClemon SamsDataw Island, then Ladies Island, SCVIEW FILE
Binyard, AdamD 34thBeaufort, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Binyard, HarryE 33rdSavannah, GANot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Blake, CorbnerF 34thSeabrook, Beaufort County, SCJuliaPhillisWalter BlakeCombahee River, Colleton, SCVIEW FILE
Bonaud, PeterG 34thFernandina, FLLaura E.Mr. Garrick, Thompson estate, then Nathaniel C. Mills married into the Thompson family and was slaveholder when he enlistedSavannah GAVIEW FILE
Bonneau or Gaiilard, IsraelE 104thMount Pleasant, SCJaneAnn, Kate, Eliza, Thomas, IsraelDr. P.P. BonneauVIEW FILE
Bowens, IsaiahC 103rdSavannah, GASister: Hannah HopkinsNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Brown, Adam H 34thSummerville, SCAnnDr. J.C. McKuenBerkeley County SCVIEW FILE
Brown, Mustifer or John A 104thCross Mills, Berkeley County, SCSarahPatsyJulius DuBosPineville, Berkeley County, SCVIEW FILE
Brown or Grimball, William 2nd USCLACharleston, SCThomas Grimball, Grimball's son in law Robert McPherson after Grimball's deathWaterloo Plantation, Johns IslandVIEW FILE
Bryan, Monday F 128Moncks Corner, Berkeley, SCMaryPearlborn enslaved by Thomas Porcher, enslaved by Major John White at enlistmentborn Goshen Plantation, Berkeley County, SC, lived on Gippy Plantation before he enlistedVIEW FILE
Camel, Sancho G 34thMount Pleasant, SCMatildaNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Campbell, Jacob H 34Charleston, SCElviraTom CurtisWalterboro SCVIEW FILE
Chism, Robert H 34thFrancis, Putnam County, FLCharles LowndesCombaheeVIEW FILE
Chisolm, MarchG 34thGreen Pond, Colleton County, SCMolceyWilliam C. HeywardCypress PlantationVIEW FILE
Cohen, BenjaminF 128thGeorgetown, SCCarolineNot revealed in pension fileSampit, Georgetown County, SCVIEW FILE
Cohen, CaesarA 128thSampit, Georgetown, SCTira DevoeRalph Stead IzardWeymouth PlantationVIEW FILE
Craft, SamuelF 34thJacksonville, FLJosephineGeorge R. RichardsCharlestonVIEW FILE
Cunningham, Solomon G 34thSalkehatchie, Colleton, SCLorenaHercules, SolomonThomas Cuthbert, sold to Joshua NickelsBeaufort SC, Grren Pond after sold to Joshua NickelsVIEW FILE
Deas, Fortune D 128thWalterboro, SCJudyMarch RileyNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
DeCouster, IsaacH 34thBeaufort, SCSilviaMary KirklandRose Hill PlantationVIEW FILE
Edwards, TonyB 33rdFernandina, FLPhebaCharles, LizzyNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Fell, AlbertF 103rdCharleston, SCHannahElizabeth Potts, JuliaJoseph MikellJames Island, SCVIEW FILE
Fields, Adam F 33rdBeaufort, SCLouisa McCoyTony, Louisa, Caroline, PaulRichard and/or John ReynoldsLadies Island, SCVIEW FILE
Fields, JanuaryC 34thBeaufort, SCAmyWilliam,Aleck, James, Janie, July, RosanaCharles C. Pinckneyborn on Pinckney Island PlantationVIEW FILE
Fields, JonasC 128thLadies Island, SCNellieDr. VerdierBeaufort, SCVIEW FILE
Fields, Poledo aka Paul LedoeC 21stBluffton, SCMarthaSquire William PopeHilton Head Island, SCVIEW FILE
Fields, ThomasH 33rdPort Royal, SCDaphne, Polly, ElizabethMargaretRichard FullerCat Island, Beaufort, SCVIEW FILE
Fields, WilliamD 34thBeaufort, SCEmilyDr. Thomas FullerParris Island, SCVIEW FILE
Finley, IsaiahB 103rdMother: Charleston, SCJames LawtonJames Island, SCVIEW FILE
Ford, Primus F 34thBeaufort, SCRosaNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Frasier, CatoC 33rdGreen Pond, Colleton County, SCDora CliffordMrs. Mary HutchinsonHutchinson Island, Colleton, SCVIEW FILE
Funney, CharlesD 128thGeorgetown, SCSallieFrank, SallieNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Gadson, JacobG 34thBeaufort, SCFortymorePaul, Betty, Robert, JacobJames GarrettOak Forest, Beaufort SCVIEW FILE
Gailliard or Legare, March C 128thCharleston, SCMintyAnnie, LizzieNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Gaillard, StephneyE 104thEutawville, SCSarahEugene Gaillardnear Eutawville, SCVIEW FILE
Giles, JoeUnassigned 104thWilliamsburg, SCFloraAntoinett, John, William, JoeNot revealed in pension filemarried at Gordon plantation, Williamsburg, SCVIEW FILE
Gilliard, Samuel E 34thBeaufort, SCMarthaTom FullerParris Island, SCVIEW FILE
Goodwin, FortuneF 34thPort Royal, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Goodwine, Mingo aka William MackeyK 33rdCharleston, SCJaneLouisaDick or Frank PopeBluffton, SCVIEW FILE
Grant, StepneyH 34thBeaufort, SCMother: FloraNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Green, JonasE 34thJacksonville, FLLucy ClarkNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Green, William E 334thBeaufort, SCIsabella, MollyLaura, Lotty, Jake, SonnyFuller FamilyBeaufort, SCVIEW FILE
Griffin, Caleb B 2ndElizabeth City, NCSarah FrancisBorn freeVIEW FILE
Hamilton, CarolinaF 33rdBeaufort, SCMileyNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Haywood, BenH 34thWhite Hall, Colleton, SCRoseNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Haywood, CuffyC 34thPort Royal, SCAbbieMiddleton StewartBeaufort County, SCVIEW FILE
Haywood, Sandy C 34thGrays Hill, Beaufort, SCEmmaHenry McKeeLadies Island, SCVIEW FILE
Johnson, Cato F 128thSampit, Georgetown, SCMarthaDr. Johnson and William DawseySampit, Georgetown SCVIEW FILE
Lawrence, MarchG 34thGreen Pond, Colleton County, SCRebeccaWilliam MiddletonNewport PlantationVIEW FILE
Lawton or Wine, William E 128thBrighton, Hampton County, SCGuardian: W.W. SmithHenry, Jane, MolseyLawton familyHampton County SCVIEW FILE
LeFluer or Hicks, WinstonH 3rd Colored CavalryCrews, Tunica County, MSCarolineJack LeFleurCarroll County, MSVIEW FILE
Legare or Ancrum, Murry G 103rdAdams Run, Colleton, SCMaryJames LegareColleton County SCVIEW FILE
Mack, JosiahG 34thSavannah, GAEllaNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Maddox, William aka Allen DeanG 34thJacksonville, FLImanuel? DeanVIEW FILE
McNeal, ScipioH 34thBeaufort, SCAnnie CassellNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Middleton, AdamG 34thnear Summerville, SCRose HarrisonIsaac, Daniel, Mathew, Doctor, George, RebeccaNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Middleton, JollyF 34thCoosawhatchie, Beaufort County, SCHannahAlex, Sara, William, James, Estelle, JosephOswell BarnwellMyrtle Bush PlantationVIEW LINK
Mikell or Walker, JamesK 135thEdisto Island, SCChristina Jones, Mary Ann GreenCornelius, JamesJenkins MikellPeters Point PlantationVIEW FILE
Miles or Myers, BristowF 34thSheldon, Beaufort County, SCMother: Tyrah MyersMrs. Belle FieldsFields Point PlantationVIEW FILE
Moultrie or Alston, MingoB 104thGeorgetown, SCMaryMartha, RoselleNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Murray or Barnwell, Andrew E 34thBeaufort, SCNancyBarnwell familyLaurel Bay Plantation, BeaufortVIEW FILE
Nicholas, NeptuneG 34thGreen Pond, Colleton County, SCBetsyWm. C. HeywardCypress PlantationVIEW FILE
Oswell, ToneyH 34thGrahamville, Beaufort County, SCPenderJohn, Lucy, Jeny, MillieJames BowlinVIEW FILE
Perkins, JamesK 35thJacksonboro, SCBetsey SingletonNot revealed in pension fileBorn Pactolus, NCVIEW FILE
Pinckney, EdwardH 34hHazelhurst, GAJoanna MitchelEmily Jane, Harry L., Mary Olga, Charles C., Hattie Mosie, Abram Grant, Vera RuthH.L. Pinckney; Isaac Dennis, Crawford County, GAVIEW FILE
Pinckney, Limus E 33rdBeaufort, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Poinsett, Cuffee K 128thBeaufort, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Polite or Chism, SmartH 34thKeans Neck, Sheldon, Beaufort, SCRebecca GreenAlexander ChisolmChisolm's IslandVIEW FILE
Polite, PrinceH 34thBeaufort, SCTyraNot revealed in pension fileHickory HillVIEW FILE
Pope, MosesF 34thFrogmore, Beaufort, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Richards or Geddis, Dick H 128thSummerville, SCRebeccaDaniel PostellSt. Pauls Parish, Colleton, SCVIEW FILE
Richardson, Frank G 34thJohns Island, SCElijahRichard Porcher, James LambSanteeVIEW FILE
Simmons, Columbus F 34thFrogmore, Beaufort, SCJane PoliteNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Simmons, ScipioH 34thBeaufort, SCAnnieNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Singleton, BenA 34thSheldon, Beaufort County, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Singleton, BenjaminD 33rdCharleston, SCElizaWilliam McLeodJames Island, SCVIEW FILE
Singleton, MingoB 33rdFrogmore, Beaufort, SCPatience MackVenus Brisbane, George, Molly, SarahLewis SamsPort Royal Island, SCVIEW FILE
Small, PrimusG 34thGreen Pond, Colleton County, SCBettieHenry, Joel, JaneyWilliam C. HeywardCypress PlantationVIEW FILE
Strobert, BramC 33rdBeaufort, SCCharlotte SeabrookCatoBen MartinBinden PlantationVIEW FILE
Tenant or Shines, John H 128thSeabrook, Beaufort County, SCSusanDr. Charles TennantJohns IslandVIEW FILE
Tolbert, GabrielH 34thSheldon, Beaufort County, SCBettyNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Trapier, Alex F 128thSampit, Georgetown, SCLouisaAlexWilliam DorseySampit, Georgetown SCVIEW FILE
Vandross, LondonC 103rdCombahee, Colleton County, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Ward, Toby F 34thAdams Run, Colleton, SCWilliam ElliottVIEW FILE
Washington, Middleton F 34thRantowles, Colleton County, SCNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Washington, SimonG 34thDale, SCRachelWilliam MiddletonNewport PlantationVIEW FILE
Washington, SmartH 34thFernandina, FLLucretiaNot revealed in pension fileVIEW FILE
Wescott, WallaceG 34thEdisto Island, SCEphraim BaynardRabbit Point PlantationVIEW FILE
White, Selem G 34thBluffton, SCSallyJohn MiddletonCombahee River, Colleton, SCVIEW FILE
Wing, TonyH 34thCombahee, Beaufort, SCLucinda SquireMarried at Walter Blake Plantation, Combahee in 1850Blakefield PlantationVIEW FILE
Wright, AaronG 34thBluffton, SCCharlotte Fireall Wright GadsonMary, JaneStephen ElliottParris Island, SCVIEW FILE
Wright, HarryC 34thBeaufort, SCChloeHenry MiddletonVIEW FILE
Wyatt, Andrew H 34thBeaufort, SCJohn Parker; James Spaul was final slaveholderVIEW FILE
Young, June C 34thBeaufort, SCBetseySarah, Rebecca, Jane, CharlotteTom RhodesLadies Island, possibly Fairfield plantationVIEW FILE

Featured Pension File: USCT Pension File of Caesar Cohen, Great Great Grandfather of Michelle Robinson Obama, Georgetown SC

Company A, 128th United States Colored Troops

Featured Pension File: James Walker aka James Mikell, Edisto Island, SC

Company K, 135th USCT

Browse Pension File Abstracts

Washington, Simon. USCT Pension File Abstract, Company G 34th USCT, Combahee, Colleton, SC

Simon Washington was born about 1845 on Newport Plantation on the Combahee River in Beaufort County, SC. His parents were Thomas Washington and Daphne. His brother Uriah Washington was raised on the same plantation. Simon was enslaved by William Middleton. He was married to Rachael/Rachel Grant at Combahee, Beaufort County, SC in March 1873. Rachel was also enslaved by William Middleton and was raised at Newport Plantation. Her parents were John Grant and Mollie. Together, Simon and Rachel had 11 children.

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Middleton, Adam. USCT Pension File Abstract, Company G, 34th USCT, Colleton, South Carolina

Adam Middleton was born about 1845 in Charleston, SC. He married Rose [or Rosa] Harrison on the Watson plantation about 4 December 1867. Neither had been married before. Reverend Anthony Allston performed the marriage ceremony. Adam and Rose had the following children: Isaac, born 17 September 1873; Daniel, born 14 March 1875; Mathew Tolbert, born 8 February 1877; Doctor William, born 5 November 1878; George Oliver, born 7 December 1880.

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Perkins, James. USCT Pension File Abstract, K 35th USCT, Round O and Jacksonboro, SC

James Perkins was born about 12 June 1840 at or near Pactolus, NC. His mother was Glora Perkins. James married Betsey Singleton about 1 March 1868. He died 20 May 1925 at Round, SC.

We previously wrote about James Perkins on the Lowcountry Africana website when we discovered a handwritten letter by him in Freedmen’s Bureau records. Please see the post “Letter Wriiten by Freedman James Perkins, Jacksonboro, SC, 1870.”

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Blake, Corbner. Pension File Abstract, Company F, 34th USCT, Seabrook, Beaufort, SC

Corbner Blake (aka Cubner Francis) was born about 1823 on the Combahee, Beaufort County, SC His father’s name was Hector Blake and his mother was Peggie. Both of his parents were enslaved by Walter Blake. He worked as a bricklayer and plasterer before the war. After the war, he also farmed. He had three children before the war. While on duty in Florida on or about the winter of 1862-1863, was disabled by rheumatism. He lived with his wife, Julia, and they were both enslaved by Walter Blake on the Combahee River in Colleton County, South Carolina. They were married about 1866 (another account states about 1855) by Daniel Blake in Beaufort, SC. They had four children and three had died by the time of his deposition on 26 June 1902. One daughter, Phillis, married William Gillison. Julia died in October of 1907. On 24 April, 1908, Corbner married Hannah Frances. Blake died on 24 August 1908. After his death, Hannah filed for a widow’s pension. 

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Chisolm, March. USCT Pension File Abstract, G 34th USCT, Born on Cypress Plantation of William C. Heyward, Combahee River, Colleton, SC

March Chisolm was born at Cypress Plantation on the Combahee River in Colleton County, SC. He was enslaved by William C. Heyward of Cypress Plantation. He married Clarander Osburne on or about 17 September 1856. The Reverend Peter White officiated at the wedding. Molcey Chisolm, daughter of March and Clarander Chisolm, was born about 1860. Dianna Simmons was the midwife at her birth. March Chisolm died at Cypress Plantation 15 September 1869 or 10 October 1868. Molcey was about 8 years old when her father died.

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Aiken, Jack. USCT Pension File Abstract, Company G, 34th USCT, Green Pond, Colleton County, SC

Jack Akins (aka Aiken, Akin) was born about 1848 at Combahee, Colleton County, SC. He resided at Clay Hall Plantation in Beaufort County, SC. He was a farmer. His first marriage was to Jennie Green (aka Jeanie, Janny) who died shortly after the war at the White Oak place in Beaufort County, SC about 24 January 1881. They had a child named Osbery Aiken who was born about July 1871.

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Your USCT Veteran Ancestor:

Share Their Story Here

Do you have an ancestor who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT)? Would you like to share their story in our archive? You can choose to archive your story on this website, only in the onsite Center for Family History collection, or both. 

Please use the form below to share your ancestor’s story. You may type their story into the text box provided, or upload a story you have already written by selecting the file you wish to upload. Thank you for sharing the story of your USCT veteran ancestor! 

Share Your USCT Veteran Ancestor Story

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