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Union Major John Welch of the 16th U.S. Colored Troops
1864-Dated Civil War Period, Carte de Visite Photograph Image of Civil War Union Major John Welch, 16th U.S. Colored Troops, Very Fine.
An original Carte de Visite mounted on heavy stock measuring 4" x 2.5" of Major John Welch in 3/4 pose in his military uniform. Back stamp reads, "Photographed at GALLERY Point Lookout, Lookout Mountain, A. D. 1864. R.M. Linn. Prop'r." Minor edge wear. The 16TH U. S. COLORED INFANTRY REGIMENT was organized in Tennessee late 1863 to early 1864. Image was identified by previous owner. A great image and printed back with American Flag. This is a very rare real photograph from life.
Colonel R. D. Mussey, Commissioner for the Organization of Colored Troops, in a report dated October 10, 1864, stated that the organization of this regiment was begun at Clarksville, soon after the battle of Chickamauga, and continued at Nashville; that many runaway slaves from Kentucky, some from as far as Louisville, came down to enlist; and that about April 1, 1864 it was sent to Chattanooga to work on the fortifications. He added that it had been in one fight, to his knowledge, and behaved well.
The regiment continued to be reported at Chattanooga, unattached to any brigade, until November 30, 1864. On May 30, 1864 it reported 26 officers, 638 men present for duty; on August 22, 26 officers, 656 men present for duty. On September 14, Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Patterson, at London, Tennessee, reported: "Captain Gordon, of the 16th, with one company and three pieces of artillery, has just arrived here from Chattanooga. He is ordered to destroy all ferryboats, and patrol the river, and then return to Chattanooga." This was in connection with Major General Joseph Wheeler's raid from Georgia into Tennessee, and was evidently part of an attempt to keep Wheeler from crossing the Tennessee River. On September 19, a few days later, the regiment reported 30 officers, 515 men present for duty.
Somewhere about this time, the regiment moved into Middle Tennessee to join Major General Robert H. Milroy, in charge of the defenses of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, for, on October 12, General Thomas ordered General Milroy, at Tullahoma, to send the regiment back to Chattanooga. On November 28, at Chattanooga, the regiment reported 24 officers, 502 men present for duty.
On November 30, as part of a Detachment from the District of the Etowah, under Major General James B. Steedman, the regiment moved to Nashville, where General Thomas was concentrating his forces to defend the city against Confederate General John B. Hood. At this time it was placed in the First Colored Brigade, under Colonel Thomas J. Morgan, composed of the 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 44th U. S. Colored Infantry. During the two weeks before the battle of Nashville, Colonel Morgan reported his brigade was stationed on the extreme left of the Federal Lines, opposite the house of Robert Rains, and was engaged in almost daily skirmishing. During this period a citizen living near the Murfreesboro Pike was killed by a member of Company "B", 16th Regiment, but the report from Colonel Gaw covering the incident was not found. On December 10, the regiment reported 26 officers, 665 men present and equipped for duty, 869 present and absent.
Colonel Morgan's report continued: "On the night of the 14th, orders were received to move at daybreak and make a demonstration upon the left, and occupy a line of works near the Rains' House. On the evening of the 14th, Colonel Gaw, by unsoldierly process, succeeded in getting his regiment taken from the First Brigade and ordered to a safer place in the rear." Reports from the Brigade Organization show that the 16th was detached to service with the pontoon bridge, so it saw no action in the battle of Nashville December 15-16, 1864, being assigned for temporary duty to Lieutenant Colonel H. C. Warton, U. S. Engineers, Department of the Cumberland. On December 21, Captain Abdill's company was acting as guard for the pontoon bridge on Rutherford's Creek. On December 23, Colonel Gaw, with his regiment, was ordered to proceed to Chattanooga and report to Colonel Carlton, commanding the Post, for engineer duty on the fortifications at that point.
On February 28, 1865, the regiment, unassigned, was reported in the District of the Etowah. On March 8, 1865, Colonel William E. Merrill, at Chattanooga, was informed; "The 16th U. S. Colored Infantry has been ordered to discontinue details for duty on the barracks, and can furnish their available strength for details for work on the fortifications.~' On April 30, it was still in the District of the Etowah, unassigned to any brigade; but on July 20, 1865, it was assigned to the 2nd Brigade, Colonel L. Johnson, District of East Tennessee.
In the meantime, a detachment from the 16th, 44th, 102nd, and 109th U. S. Colored Troops, under Lieutenant Dexter S. Munger, was reported in Major General Silas Casey's Provisional Brigade, Middle Military Division, Department of Washington, commanded by Major General Philip H. Sheridan. How and why it got there is not known. On February 28, 1865, a similar detachment under Lieutenant Henry Whitney, at this time shown as composed of detachments from the 16th, 23rd, 34th and 102nd U S. Colored Troops, was still reported in Casey's Brigade.
According to Dyer's Compendium, the 16th regiment was mustered out of service April 30, 1866.