As part of our diverse and unique story, we are dedicated to honoring the men who fought in USCI regiments by reenacting the 22nd USCT. We are looking to recruit African Americans to tell the story of this important and unsung history.
Go to our Joining the Brigade page for more information, or contact Bob Bowell to join our regiment.
History of the 22nd USCI:
The 22nd United States Colored Infantry (USCI) was organized in January 1864. With 681 Jerseymen on its rolls, it was the most “Jersey” of all USCT regiments. The Regiment left Philadelphia for Virginia at the end of January and served at Yorktown through April of 1864, where it was assigned to garrison duty and served on several reconnaissance missions.
The 22nd spent the Spring and early Summer constructing fortifications at Wilson’s Wharf and providing security along the James River. During this time, they often skirmished and repulsed Confederate cavalry probes. On June 15, 1864, the 22nd attached to the White XVIII Army Corp and attacked Petersburg, Virginia. The 22nd overran a Confederate trench line under a hail of bullets, and at sunset, attacked a well- armed Confederate fort splashing through a swamp, winning the fort.
For the next several months, the 22nd endured the dreary danger of siege warfare, ducking sniper bullets while sloshing through muddy trenches. When General Grant ordered an attack on Richmond, the 22nd moved onto New Market Heights where they attacked Confederate defenses on September 29, 1864. Under the command of Major J.B. Cook, the 22nd wheeled into battle sweeping the Rebel lines before them. From here the men were moved onto the grounds of the old Fair Oaks battlefield. Through command confusion, the Regiment became separated but managed to overrun a Confederate artillery position before they were pushed back by a Rebel counterattack.
In December 1864, the Regiment was assigned to the newly formed XXV Corp, the only all Black army corps in United States history. December to April of 1865, the 22nd remained in the trenches before Richmond dodging bullets and shells, and battling lice and rats along with Confederate troops.
With the Spring came the final Union push on the Richmond - Petersburg line. As the Confederates fled Richmond, elements of the XXV Corps marched into the Confederate capital, with the 22nd regiment among the first foot soldiers to enter the city.
After General Lee’s surrender, the 22nd marched to Washington and participated in President Lincoln’s funeral procession followed by their deployment on the Maryland side of the Potomac as the army hunted John Wilkes Booth. With Booth’s capture and death, the 22nd still had one more job to complete. The French had installed Emperor Maximillian in Mexico in violation of the Monroe Doctrine. The XXV Corps, including the 22nd, was sent to Texas to intimidate the French while pacifying the former Confederate state. They patrolled the Rio Grande border until their recall to Philadelphia in October 1865 where they were mustered out of service.