Rare Grave at NP Presbyterian Church

New Providence residents have served in the United States military in every war. But did you know that in the middle of the Presbyterian Church Cemetery stands a rare grave simply marked “John USC Troops”?

USC Troops stands for the “United States Colored Troops”. His last name is unknown. John’s grave, though surrounded by snow, is marked with an American flag. All Veterans in this cemetery are marked with an American flag at their grave. The Historical Society is doing more research into John and his story. The United States Army began to organize African Americans into regimental units known as the United States Colored Troops (USCT) in 1863. (War Department General Order 143)

The enlistment of free blacks and slaves was considered a key to winning the war. Many USCT regiments originated as state militia units before 1863. The regiments included cavalry, artillery and infantry. Approximately 186,000 African Americans served in the United States Colored Troops volunteer cavalry, artillery, and infantry units during the Civil War. As Black history month comes to an end we salute John and his fellow soldiers who fought for their freedom and our country.

More to come on other New Providence Veterans throughout the year. 2/25/2020

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