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Discharged North Carolina Black Soldier to the Freedmen's Bureau Claim Agent at Baltimore, Maryland, December 1870


Discharged North Carolina Black Soldier to the Freedmen's Bureau Claim Agent at Baltimore, Maryland, December 1870


This is the text of a letter that was sent from Charles Jones, an African American Union soldier, to Lieutenant S.E. Knower, the Freedmen’s Bureau Claim Agent at Baltimore, Maryland, after the Civil War in the year 1870. The Freedman’s Bureau was an important agency in the early Reconstruction years with the aim of assisting the freedpeople in the South. Charles Jones was born a slave in New Bern, North Carolina, and became a Union soldier after Emancipation and served in the 35th United States Colored Troops. In this letter, Jones wrote to the Freedmen’s Bureau Claim Agent because he had not received his bounty money for his service in the Union Army. Jones related that he was a slave up until emancipation, but prior to the actual Emancipation Proclamation, he was under the protection of the occupying Union forces in New Bern, North Carolina. He wrote that he voluntarily joined the Union Army in New Bern, North Carolina. He also discussed that his discharge papers were stolen from him when he was in Charleston, South Carolina, but he would readily give the names of his commanding officers and every private soldier he fought with. He ended by explaining that he cannot write very well, so if he needs to come to Baltimore to explain matters further, he would.


Charles Jones


Letter of Charles Jones to Lieut. S.E. Knower, December, 1870, in Ira Berlin et al, eds., Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Series II, The Black Military Experience, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 798-799.




Danielle Brinton




New Bern, North Carolina

Original Format



East Newmarket Dorchester Co Md {December 1870}

Dear Sir

I Receved yore kind letter Concerning my Discharge in 1861 the manspation had not taken place but I was in the protection By the youion Troops an Sat free by Presadence Lincon at the manspation I think in 1863 if I mis Stake not Sir I was a volentery Sirlder in 1862 inlested under Capt Crass incruting officer in Newbren NC Craveing Co an I never has Receve Eny Bounty yeat Nether eny Back pay Sir all thos I had the promoust of bounty an all so back pay But my Lord and Savor Jesus Christ is Witness to day who knows All Things and Shall judge the world at the Last day knows I have not Receve a cent of Bounty Nether back pay I was Born in the year 1846 July the 4 A volen terry Sirlder A Slave up an Tell the manspation my Regament paper was to put in a frame and Set it up in a house an tell all the Batles that I had been in I Enlested for three years Sooner Discharge that was in case if the war Should End in Side of three years the 35 US Should be Discharge My Discharge was Stole in the city of Charleston S.C. if you wish to kno the commanding all I will send them to you Sir and every private Sirlder I come out the army in the year of 1865 the 22 of June

I was a slave all of my life Tell the year of 1863 if you Wish to Know my Commanding Oficers an the mames of the private I will sen The names all To you if you wish Sir my Discharg paper I Loss it at Charleston SC Some {onas} Stole it Soon after I was discharge in abote at the Walf S.C. Sir I cant mot write very weel an I lives so agreat wais of from eny one that can wrigh So I have to try an do it my self if you wish for me to come an State this to you at Baltimore I will Come sir will remain yore true obt

Charles Jones


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Charles Jones, Discharged North Carolina Black Soldier to the Freedmen's Bureau Claim Agent at Baltimore, Maryland, December 1870, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 23, 2024,