Primary Sources

For the 20th USCT:

     Union League Club. Report of the Committee on Volunteering, October 13, 1864.

     This report, initially presented at the clubhouse to its members, was later published, as were most of the club's reports. It details the activities of the committee members in applying, recruiting, and supplying the three black regiments of New York.

Correspondence with Governor Seymour, NY, Secretary of State Stanton, the Adjutant General's Office, General Dix, and several newspapers of the day-Harper's Weekly, the New York Tribune, the New York Herald, etc.

     Not unreasonably, this report is the main source of information on the 20th. Very little else exists in the realm of published sources. Of unpublished there seems to be even less. The report was received from Brown University, but many institutions include this publication in their special collections.

     The John Habberton Papers. Diary.

A copy of the diary has been installed in the Archives of the U.S. Army Military History Institute situated on the Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, PA.

     John Habberton details his life in the 13th NY Mounted Rifle and the 20th USCT. Although he is not connected with the New York State Normal School in any way, through his eyes we are able to see what the officers of concern might have seen. Also, Habberton provides us with a few words on each of the officers of the 20th USCT, including those four who came from the 44th NYVI.

     "Ovation to Black Troops." New York Times

     The article appears in the New York Times on March 6, 1864 on page 8, column 1. It basically details the parade of the 20th USCT the previous day. Also, it provides, in length, the speeches that were made that day and comment on the officers of the regiment. An author's name is not provided.

"The Ovation to the Black Regiment"- New York Times

Once again, an author is not given to this editorial that appears in the March 7, 1864 New York Times on page 4, column 3.

However, this article, as well as several others that appear in the Union League Club Report, is nothing but praise for the regiment and the change in the streets of New York since the race riots of 1863.

The Abstract of the Muster Rolls of the 20th USCT

     These books are held in the New York State Archives and are all that remains of the muster rolls of the regiment. Each man is given at least one page which documents his enlistment date, age, place of enlistment, muster in record, company, regiment, information about that man's leaving the regiment, birth place, occupation, eye color, hair color, complexion, height, congressional district, and extraneous remarks. This information is taken from the original Muster In Rolls (MI), Muster Out Rolls (MO), EP (which is probably Enlistment Papers, although the archivist could only guess), and the MDR (an unknown).

     The books are at times invaluable and other times useless. One man may have an entire page filled out about him, and the next may simply have name, date, and place of enlistment and mustering. Also, when the information is given, it doesn't always appear to be accurate, or even consistent. Many times two ages as far as 8 years apart are given. Other instances show two different enlistment dates and two muster-in dates that are simply impossible. This may be able to be attributed to the fact that the original Muster Rolls were in such disarray.

     The books, however, provide excellent information on the officers and from whence they came. It also details their service record. Therefore, there is often more than one page on the each officer.

The Abstract of the Muster Rolls of the 13th New York Mounted Rifles.

These abstracts are also held in the New York State Archives.

The books contain the same information as the aforementioned and were used only to gain background information about John Habberton.

Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the United States Army for the Years 1861, '62, 163, '64, 165: Part I

Published in 1865 by order of the Secretary of War, this book contains the lists of men who fought in New England State regiments.

It is, though, only a list of names and dates of officers, at least for the 20th USCT.

For the 39th USCT

     Powell, Major William. "The Battle of the Petersburg Crater". Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. New York: The Century Co., 1888. p. 545-560

     An in-depth look at the battle from one whom was there. From him we are able to see problems that may not be seen from reports given by higher officers not actually in the battle itself.

     History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War of 1861-5.

     Prepared by State Commissioners L. Allison Wilmer, J.H. Jarrett, and George W. F. Vernon, the book does little more than provide the muster rolls of all the Maryland units. We are able to see the exact company in which Thompson Barrick fought. Also from the information presented we find a discrepancy in the number of engagements.

     "The Petersburg Lines". New York Times

     This article appeared in the August 8, 1864 issue of the New York Times. It is a front-page article discussing the assault and covers columns 1-4. From it, we are able to ascertain how the black troops, as a fighting force, were perceived by the general public.

Also, it provides numbers in terms of losses in the black units-excepting the 19th USCT.

     "From Petersburgh." New York Times

     Another front page article in the New York Times, this time covering columns 3-6. It lists wounded and gives numbers of the three divisions of the Ninth Corps. It does not, however, list the names of men of Fourth Division.

     "Army of the Potomac" New York Times

     On August 3, 1864, this front-page editorial appeared in the New York Times. In his nearly three column piece, William Swinton states what he feels are the reasons for the failure at the Petersburg Crater. It is important to notice that this piece was written before a military inquiry was commenced and therefore does not have the benefit of key pieces of information concerning the officers in charge.

For the 19th USCT

     Rickard, James H. Service with the Colored Troops in Burnside's Corps. (Providence, RI: RI Soldiers and Sailors Hist Soc, 1894) pp. 745

Perhaps the only semblance of a published regimental history,

     Captain Rickard gives a description of the regiment from his mustering in. He also provides us with an excerpt from an article appearing in the Baltimore American.

     Thomas, General Henry Goddard. "The Colored Troops at Petersburg". Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. New York: The Century Co., 1888. p. 563-567

     Another account from then Colonel Goddard who fought in the Battle of the Crater. This article by the colonel of the 19th USCT and commander of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division gives numbers of losses and exact actions of the men in his command. Even though, because of the nature of the fight, Trudeau gives a little more information on the position of the 19th itself.

     "The Petersburg Lines" New York Times

See above

     "From Petersburg." New York Times

See above

     "Army of the Potomac"

See above

     Thomas, Henry. "Twenty-two Hours a Prisoner of War in Dixie." In War

     Papers (Mollus, ME, Vol. 1). Portland, ME: Thurston, 1898. PP. 29-48

     The action in this article takes place after the Battle of the Crater. However, the description of the aftermath is unparalleled.

Also, it contradicts the New York Times' remark that most of the colored troops were out of the range of fire after the initial charge.

History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War 1861-5.

     This is the same book mentioned above. It also contains the muster rolls for the 19th USCT as well as a brief history.

Secondary Sources

20th USCT

     Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Vol. 2. Dayton, OH: Morningside, 1979. p. 1727

     This source is an invaluable source for brief histories of each unit that fought in the Civil War. It lists, in detail, the engagements and skirmishes of almost every unit, as well as their date and place of organization. It is also one of the only sources for information on the 20th USCT.

39th USCT

     Noah Andre Trudeau, Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War 1862-18651862-1865. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.

     A comprehensive look at the black troops of the Civil War, Like Men of War gives an in depth and comprehensible description of the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, VA, in which the 39th USCT took part. Trudeau also looks at why the battle failed, as well as where blame was later placed by non-participants. The two raids on Ft -Fisher, NC are also discussed-the second with more Trudeau, Noah Andre. Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, detail than the first-in which the 39th also participated.

Although detail of the 39th is sketchy at best, we can certainly ascertain the experiences of some of the men through looking at the whole.

     Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Vol. 2. Dayton, OH: Morningside, 1979. P. 1730

See above note for 20th USCT

     Manakee, Harold R. Maryland in the Civil War. Baltimore: MD Hist Soc, 1961. p. 127

This book gives very brief descriptions of each Maryland regiment, but does provide the number of engagements actually credited to the 39th.

     Whyte, James H. "Maryland's Negro Regiments-How, Where They Served." Civil War Times Illustrated (Jul 1962): pp.41-43

     James Whyte is the author of "The Uncivil War" which describes Washington during Reconstruction. In this article he looks at the black troops of Maryland and their slave origins as well as where they fought.

     Proff, R.J. United States of America's Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients and Their Official Citations. Columbia Heights, MN: Highland House 11, 1980, 1994, 1997. p. 759

     A listing of every Medal of Honor Recipient, Decatur Dorsey's citation was found in this book. The information given for him is provided in a footnote.

19th USCT

     Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 2. Dayton, OH: Morningside, 1979. pp. 1726-1727

Dyer provides a detailed service record for the 19th USCT.

     Whyte, James H. "Maryland's Negro Regiments-How, Where They Served." Civil War Times Illustrated (Jul 1962): pp.41-43

See above