Thursday, June 24, 2010
Profile in Courage: Sergeant-Major Thomas R. Hawkins, 6th USCI
As is the case with many members of the United States Colored Troops, not much is known about Hawkins’ early life. We do know that he was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1840 and that by 1863 he had made his way to Philadelphia. On August 3, 1863 he enlisted for three years’ service in the Federal Army as a substitute for a man named Passmore Henry. He was assigned to Company C of the 6th USCI after enlisting.
On June 15, 1864 Hawkins and his regiment saw their first large engagement when they assaulted Petersburg. The USCT’s in Hinks’s Colored Division obtained one of the few Union successes that day and the casualties that they incurred provided all the proof that most white soldiers needed. Among the wounded was Hawkins who suffered a broken arm from a bullet that struck him near the elbow. He would be hospitalized for eight weeks and would rejoin his regiment at Dutch Gap on August 13th.