Sumner Hall Salutes Veterans

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As the calendar marks another celebration of Veterans Day, we hope that each of us will take a moment to say “thank-you” to someone who has served our country as a member of the armed forces.

We also want to salute a unique group of veterans from Kent County:  the 471 African Americans who served as Union soldiers and sailors during the U. S. Civil War.

During the Civil War black soldiers were recruited from across the nation as members of the United States Colored Troops (USCT).  Of the 188,670 who served, 8,718 were from Maryland and 476 of the Maryland soldiers (426) and sailors (45) were from Kent County.   Of the Kent County solders, 175 died during the war, mostly from illness and non-combat injuries.   They served in the U.S. Navy and in 33 different USCT Army Regiments.  A large number served in one of the 7 USCT Regiments that fought at the Battle of the Crater and the Siege of Petersburg on July 30, 1864.

Sumner Hall

We invite and encourage everyone to come to Sumner Hall in Chestertown to learn more about the contributions of these brave citizens – at the Battle of the Crater and on other battlefields.  You can also look up the record of service and the homes of most of these veterans, thanks to the research of Professor George Shivers, whose book is on display at the museum.

In 1882, 28 African American Civil War veterans established the Charles A. Sumner Post of the Grand Army of the Republic  – one of 56 in Maryland.   One of the first racially integrated organizations in America, the G.A R. was known for its lobbying efforts to ensure the payment of government pensions to former soldiers and to advocate voting rights for black veterans.  For more than fifty years, it also provided financial aid, burial benefits and social support for its members and their families and honored all veterans on Decoration Day (now Memorial Day) each year.

Their legacy lives on at Sumner Hall!

Sincerely,

Robert Ingersoll, President

Larry Wilson, Vice-President

G.A. R. Post #25 (Sumner Hall)

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