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Thu, 12.24.1863

The 28th Indiana Colored Regiment is Formed

Regiment Flag

*On this date in 1863, the 28th Regiment, United States Colored Troops, was formed. Also called the 28th Regiment, Indiana Infantry (Colored) was a Black combat unit from the state of Indiana that fought in the American Civil War.  

The United States Department of War authorized Indiana to raise one regiment of infantry composed of Blacks on November 30, 1863. On December 3, the state’s adjutant general issued orders to begin accepting enlistments, which began on December 24. On January 12, 1864, the War Department notified the governor that the regiment would be called the "28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops."  Reverend Willis Revels and Garland H. White, ministers of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, were the chief recruiting officers.

Recruits trained until the end of March at a camp established on land owned by Calvin Fletcher. The camp was named "Camp Fremont" in honor of John C. Frémont, the 1856 Republican presidential nominee and Union army general.   Charles Sawyer Russell, a captain, was in charge of the unit and appointed Lieutenant Colonel and battalion commander of the six organized companies. On April 25, the six companies of the 28th left Indianapolis for Washington, D.C., where they were attached to the capital's defenses.  The 28th sustained heavy casualties in the Battle of the Crater at the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia, on July 30, 1864, when nearly half of its soldiers were killed or wounded. 

Lieutenant Colonel Russell was reappointed as the regimental commander with the rank of Colonel on August 23, 1864. Russell was also brevetted Brigadier General on July 30, 1864, in recognition of the 28th's performance at The Crater.  After the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, the 28th was moved to the Mexican border in Texas as part of the American response to the French intervention in Mexico. The 28th was formally mustered out in Corpus Christi, Texas, on November 8, 1865. It returned to Indianapolis on January 6, 1866, to a reception in its honor.  An Indiana historical marker commemorating the regiment was erected in Indianapolis in 2004.  

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