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Friday, June 14, 2024

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August 23 – in 1861 the First African-American Enlisted

From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Stone, James A., Sr.

(born: 1829  –  died: 1862)

James A. Stone, Sr. was a fugitive slave from Kentucky who had settled in Lorain, Ohio. He is listed in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census with no indication of race, Stone lived with African Americans Sarah Baker from Vermont and Godfrey Gaskins who was also from Kentucky. In the 1860 Census, Stone is married and has several children. There is no indication of race for the entire family. James Stone would pass for white and join the Union Army. He fought as a soldier in Kentucky and was injured and soon after died. After his death, it was revealed that Stone was African American. He is recognized as the first African American Union Soldier; Stone enlisted two years before African Americans were allowed to join the Union Army. According to his U.S. Civil War Record, Stone enlisted on August 23, 1861 in the Ohio 1st LA Battery E Light Artillery Battery. He was mustered out on his death date October 30, 1862; Stone died at the General Hospital in Nashville, TN. He is buried in the Nashville National Cemetery in South Madison, TN, Section B Site 6657 [source: National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Veterans Gravesites]. James Stone’s wife and children were listed as Mulattoes in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Sources: Black Studies Center – TimelineThe Civil War Month by Month: August 1861 by the Gaston-Lincoln Regional Library; andThe Black Book by M. A. Harris, p.159.


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