Sunday, May 30, 2021

Corp. James Gray, Co. E, 4th USCI

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, so I thought I'd share some information I was able to locate on another USCT soldier who is buried in a local cemetery. 

Although evidence is limited, James Gray may have been a free man of color before enlisting. The 1850 census shows an eight-year old James Gray living in Calvert County, Maryland, which is southeast of Washington D.C., Corp. Gray's place of birth according to his service records. In the census, that Gray is in the household of Levin Harrison, a white man and Caroline Gray, an African American woman. James Gray, listed as a "mulatto," was likely the son of the mixed-race couple. Also in the household is four-year old brother Ben, described as "mulatto," too.

Whether free or enslaved before enlisting, Gray worked as a waiter before joining Company E, 4th United States Colored Infantry. The young man stood almost five feet, nine inches tall and enlisted on July 28, 1863, in Baltimore. During the winter of 1864, Gray received a promotion to corporal. 

Gray's time in uniform proved short. Less than a year after enlisting, he received a wound on June 15, 1864. It is not know known whether Gray suffered his wound at Baylor's Farm early that morning or in the attacks on the Dimmock Line later that evening. Taken to the field hospital back at City Point, Gray succumbed to his wounds three days later. 

Today, Corp. Gary rests in peace in City Point National Cemetery. His rather nondescript headstone only indicates he served in the United States Colored Troops. It does not let us know his rank, when he died, or what was his cause of death. To find those details, one has to do a little research. But, it is certainly worth the time and effort to do so in order to show a small measure of gratitude and to acknowledge Corporal Gary's sacrifice. Rest in peace.


1 comment:

  1. Don't know why I'll still amazed to read that a soldier such as Gray was "was entitled to a discharge by reason of his death due to wounds...." Other records also indicate a soldier was mustered out of his regiment long after his death. I guess it's an Army administration thing.