Borrowed Identity: 128th United States Colored Troops


More than 5,000 colored soldiers from South Carolina served in the Union Army during the Civil War era, and with the exception of sparse recognition for noteworthy deeds of the 33rd United States Colored Infantry regiment (formerly the 1st South Carolina Colored Volunteer Infantry), their services have gone practically unnoticed and their presence long forgotten.

After more than two years of compiling and editing pension records of the 128th USCT, the editor gives voice to seventy-six soldiers who rendered honorable services to the United States Army during the Civil War era. During the war approximately 175 regiments of colored troops served the Union Army from every state in the nation. The 128th USCT is one of the six infantry regiments of newly freed slaves from the Low Country area of South Carolina that enlisted and served with the Union. They enlisted as the Union Army passed through their communities. Most of those soldiers served under the surname of their former owners but changed their names after being discharged from service. These borrowed and multiple names are captured in this book from depositions, affidavits, declarations, medical records, and correspondence used to verify the colored veteran's service in the War.

Embedded in the seventy-six genealogical and biographical entries in this book, more than 500 surnames are identified, with an index of nearly 1,500 family members, relatives, friends, comrade soldiers, clergy, and other prominent figures in the communities where these soldiers resided when they applied for pension benefits. While it documents a period in our history, the pension records also tell us how people lived during slavery, both slaves and slave owners. This book offers the reader an opportunity to listen to Voices from the Past that tell us how we got to where we are today. A full name index augments the text.


J. Raymond Gourdin


2009, 5½x8½, paper, 288 pp.

ISBN: 9780788450075