Photo Archives Seeks Images of African American Soldiers for Exhibit

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Originally Posted March 9, 2012

 Chester County Historical Society is seeking images of African American Civil War soldiers either in uniform or civilian dress for display in the On the Edge of Battle exhibition this fall. We are creating a wall of images of soldiers and the people of Chester County for the exhibit; we would like to copy your originals for the display.


According to Douglas Harper’s Index to Chester County Soldiers and Sailors there were 126 Chester County men who enlisted in the United States Colored Troops and the Massachusetts 54th in 1863. Our researchers are finding more names to add to the list. Chester County Veterans Cemetery list in the CCHS Library reveals about 260 men who served in the Colored Troops who were buried here.

 A listing of these individuals is being compiled and is available in CCHS library. We hope to add more information and photographs of these individuals.  Many of the family names are familiar in Chester County such as Spriggs, Jay, Glasgow, Proctor and Purnell. Many had interesting lives after the war, such as Benjamin L. Whipper who became the first black policeman in the Borough of West Chester. Whipper was the cook for Col. Guss’s 97th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. In 1863, he enlisted in the USCT 127th Regiment Co.D.

 Please contact Photo Archivist Pamela Powell if you have any information or images to contribute at or call 610-692-4800.  Your participation is deeply appreciated!