[Original Muster Roll for Louisiana's 99th Regiment, Company I, United States Colored Troops, Serving in the Florida Keys During the Latter Months of the Civil War]
[Way Key, Fl. 1865]. Partially-printed muster roll completed in manuscript, approximately 21 x 31 inches. Old folds, some separations at crossfolds (as usual), minor wear and soiling. Very good. Item #3853
A rare muster roll recording details of the service of an African-American infantry company while stationed in Florida during the final year of the Civil War. The roll details pay from February to June 1865 for thirty-five privates, one bugler, and nine officers, including name, rank, location and date, the date each "joined for service," "mustered into service," and last date of payment, plus the name of one discharged soldier. Except for the commanding officer Capt. Oliver Ireland and First Lieutenant Solomon Whiting, all of the soldiers have "signed with an X" which was witnessed by Whiting. The privates generally received eighty-eight dollars for the four-month period, including twenty-four dollars in back pay; the officers, of course, received greater compensation.
Most of the enlisted soldiers here signed up August 20, 1863 at New Orleans, for a period of three years, and were recruited by "Lt. Hanks." Those who did not join up in New Orleans seemed to have caught on with the unit along the route of their service in Louisiana, at Morganza and Brashear City. The roll also includes a column for "Remarks," with notes on bounties, sickness, absences and other information for many of the soldiers. The verso is signed by both Ireland and Whiting, both of whom have listed the names of their "Servants" (likely former or freed slaves) named "Thomas Wilson" and "Robert White," for whom they are also receiving compensation. Ireland adds a note here: "Since last muster this company with its regiment has been transferred from Punta Rassa, Fla. to Way Key, Fla. where it has been doing picket and other duty." Captain Martin Tyler has signed beneath, as "Inspector and Mustering Officer," completing a list of "condition" regarding "Discipline, Instruction, Military Appearance, Arts, Clothing," and more. All of the troops were rated "good," "fair," or "good and clean."
The 99th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry was organized April 4, 1864, from 5th Corps de Afrique Engineers. The unit was attached to the Engineer Brigade, Department of the Gulf through October 1864 and then reassigned to the District of Key West in July 1865. Most notably, the regiment served in the Red River Campaign throughout the first half of 1864, then ordered to New Orleans through December. They were then stationed at Key West through their mustering out in April 1866. Interestingly, the names of all of the soldiers listed here are inscribed on "Plaque No. C-99" of the African-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C.