Before Muster

Mustered into the Union Army January 31, 1863.

33rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry



"The colored men fought with astonishing coolness and bravery. For alacrity in effecting landings, for determination, and for bush fighting I found them all I could desire--more than I had hoped. They behaved bravely, gloriously, and deserve all praise.

I started from Saint Simon's with 62 colored fighting men and returned to Beaufort with 156 fighting men (all colored). As soon as we took a slave from his claimant we placed a musket in his hand and he began to fight for the freedom of others.

Besides these men we brought off 61 women and children. We destroyed nine large salt-works, together with $20,000 worth of horses, salt, corn, rice,  which we could not carry away." Lieutenant Colonel  O. T. BEARD,  Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, Commanding Expedition, Beaufort, South Carolina, November 10, 1862.




"On the last expedition the fact was developed that colored men would fight behind barricades; this time they have proved, by their heroism, that they will fight in the open field. Captain Trowbridge aided me greatly. Captain Crandel of the Darlington, I found a trifling, childish pest. Captain Meriam, of the gunboat Madgie, rendered me valuable assistance." Lieutenant Colonel  O. T. BEARD,  Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, Commanding Expedition, Beaufort, South Carolina, November 22, 1862.





BEAUFORT, S.C., November 25, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose for your information the report of our expedition to Doboy River, Georgia:

The expedition was composed of three companies of the First South Carolina Volunteers (colored), under the command of Lieut. Col. Oliver T. Beard, Forty-eighth New York Volunteers, and was in every respect a success.

It gives me pleasure to bear witness to the good conduct of the negro troops. They fought with the most determined bravery. Although scarcely one month since the organization of this regiment was commenced, in that short period these untrained soldiers have captured from the enemy an amount of property equal in value to the cost of the regiment for a year. They have driven back equal numbers of rebel troops, and have destroyed the salt-works along the whole line of this coast.

Great credit is due to Lieutenant-Colonel Beard for his energy and skill in the management of this expedition.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,



 Hon. E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.


SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

 [33rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry]

[South Carolina's United States Colored Troops in the Civil War]

[Freedom Fighters]