In November 1863, recruiting began for the 1st Missouri Infantry Volunteers of African Descent, which became the 62nd U.S. Colored Infantry and eventual founders of Lincoln University, Jefferson City. Slaves and free black men enlisted from St. Joseph to Potosi, including an enlistment post at Tipton.
Because Missouri remained loyal to the Union, the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply. However, voluntary enlistment came with immediate freedom for about 1,200 men who signed up for this first of six regiments organized in Missouri during the Civil War through Benton Barracks, where today's Forest Park is in St. Louis.
At Tipton, enlistment ran Dec. 3-11, 1863, with 81 men joining, 39 from Cooper County. But only three were from Moniteau County.
In total, 17 soldiers in the 62nd USCT were living in Moniteau County at enlistment; 14 of them enlisted in Jefferson City. Enoch Enloe, in the Russellville area, and Frank Hickox, in the High Point area, owned five and four, respectively.
Mat Anderson was born in Moniteau County, the slave of James McBain, and traded to Frank Hickox, High Point, the same day he enlisted at Jefferson City. He was a corporal and a post guard during the war. After the war, he was a laborer in Lebanon in 1880 and a stonemason in Westport by 1910. He died in Los Angeles, California, in 1920.
Green E. Redmond was the first from Moniteau County to enlist in the new Volunteers of African Descent. He was about age 18 when he enlisted at Tipton Nov. 27, 1863. He was born in Moniteau County the slave of Wade Howard and sold in 1853 for $410 to Dr. William Redmond. A farmer, Redmond was discharged from the 62nd USCT in February 1864 at Port Hudson, Louisiana, for "mental imbecility."
The 62nd USCT left Benton Barracks in January 1864, headed to New Orleans, Louisiana, until a shipwreck detoured them to Port Hudson, Louisiana. There, about a third of the regiment died from disease and dysentery, including Thomas Enloe, 19; Andrew Yarnell, 19; and Henry Enloe, 26.
Others never left Benton Barracks, many dying at the post hospital there, like Charles Enloe, 16; Peter Enloe, 20; and Charles Stinson, 40.
Those who survived helped build fortifications there, where the Union only months earlier had won the longest siege in American military history. In August 1864, they were sent to Brazos Santiago, Texas, where they worked on fortifications there.
In May 1865, the 62nd USCT was part of the last battles of the Civil War at Palmito Ranch and White's Ranch in Texas. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee already had surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. And a fleeing Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, had been captured.
After mustering out in March 1866 from Brownsville, Texas, three 62nd USCT soldiers returned to Moniteau County and were buried here John Kile, John Yarnell and James Walters.
Kile moved to California by 1880 with his wife, Mary. He died Dec. 20, 1884, on the farm of N.C. Rice, where he had worked for many years, as he had been owned by Mrs. Rice's family in Cooper County. His obituary said he was known as "Old Trusty" and "always had been a faithful, industrious worker."
Yarnell was born the slave of Henry J. Yarnell at High Point. He was a non-commissioned officer during his service. He and his wife, Cordelia, had at least six children and farmed in Harrison and Burris Fork. Yarnell died Jan. 21, 1889, and he was buried at Crown Hill City Cemetery.
Walters was born in Miller County and sold in 1856 for $900 to James of High Point. He farmed in Otterville and had at least three children with his wife, Mary, before 1870.
Samuel Gilbert was born in Cooper County and returned there to farm for a time before buying his own farm in Willowfork township. He was "a highly-respected citizen" and "an industrious farmer," according to his obituary. "He was honest and honorable in his dealings with his fellow man. His word was as good as his note with his neighbors." He is buried at the Prairie Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.
James Henry Carroll was born in Franklin County, but William Jones brought him to Moniteau County in 1859 for $825. After the war, he lived in Jefferson City, as a laborer, carpenter and janitor with his wife, Catherine. He died in 1916 and is buried at the Old City-Woodland Cemetery, Jefferson City, where until this year his grave was unmarked.