This Saturday a memorial service and grave rededication will be held at the Blairsville Cemetery in Blairsville, PA (just east of Pittsburgh) for eleven United States Colored Troops and one African American sailor.
The servicemen to be honored with new headstones include:
1. Samuel McClellan, 32nd USCT
2. Lewis Bronson, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry
3. Charles Battles
4. Noah Bronson, 43rd USCT
5. Dennis Johnson, 24th USCT
6. James Patterson, 43rd USCT
7. Paul Patterson, 43rd USCT
8. John Patterson, 127th USCT
9. William Robinson, 24th USCT
10. John Yanall, 127th USCT
11. Edward Yaw
12. Kane Ranson, USN
While I’m sure that none of these names are familiar to you, if you consider the units that these men served in you can gain a greater understanding of what their time in the army might have been like.
For instance, Samuel McClellan of the 32nd USCT could have seen action at Olustee, FL or Honey Hill, SC.
William Robinson of the 24th USCT may have been a prison guard at Point Lookout, MD.
James Patterson of the 43rd USCT most likely witnessed the horrors of the Crater while his brother in the 127th USCT might have stormed Battery 45 during the breakthrough at Petersburg and followed Lee’s army during the Appomattox campaign.
And Lewis Bronson of the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored) may have known Charles Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass, and might have ridden with the 5th into the streets of Richmond on April 3, 1865.
No matter what these men may or may not have experienced, it is pleasing to see local organizations taking the initiative to honor their local soldiers and learn the stories behind the faded grave markers