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Sat, 01.10.1835

Charles Trowbridge, officer and gentleman

Charles Trowbridge

*Charles Trowbridge was born on this date in 1835. He was a White American soldier, abolitionist, and politician.

Charles Tyler Trowbridge was from Morristown, New Jersey in an area known as Trowbridge Mountain. He was third of seven children born to Elijah Freeman Trowbridge and Temperance Ludlow Muchmore. His family moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1854. In 1857 he married Emeline Haviland Jackson at Freehold, New Jersey. They had one child, Ida Emeline Trowbridge who died in 1858.

Trowbridge enlisted in the Union Army in December 1861; later that month he married his second wife Jane Pooler Martin. As a Sergeant under General David Hunter, Trowbridge was reassigned to the 1st South Carolina Volunteers in May of 1862. At the time Hunter declared martial law and freedom for all blacks in Union-held territories. Lincoln rescinded Hunter's orders and the unit was disbanded in August of 1862. The Regiment was reorganized in November 1862 and Sergeant Trowbridge was commissioned as Captain. He assumed command of Company A, and was promoted to the rank of Major. He was known to have had daily devotion with the regiment, and gave his men speeches on the equality of the races in which he told them they should not allow themselves to be considered less than equal.

Black author Susie King Taylor in her book A Black Woman's Civil War Memoirs wrote, "He was greatly admired by his troops. No officer in the army was more beloved than our late Lieutenant-Colonel C.T. Trowbridge." Taylor also wrote of the General Orders to muster out, "They were delighted to go home, but oh how they hated to part from their commanding chief, Colonel C.T. Trowbridge. He was the very first officer to take charge of black soldiers. We thought there was no one like him." After the war, he returned to New York and was a four-term alderman from the 10th Ward of Brooklyn. In April of 1882 he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Trowbridge visited his former soldiers on at least two occasions, in 1884 and 1890. On the latter visit all of his former soldiers living in the area held a "campfire" for him. Trowbridge became the custodian of the old Minnesota capitol building until his death on Christmas Eve of 1907. The Governor of Minnesota ordered the flag flown at half-staff and the capitol building closed on the day of the funeral.

Cheryl Trowbridge-Miller,
A man is not dead until he's forgotten,
Trowbridge Family Research,
Nineteenth Century Freedom Fighters,
by Bernie J. McRae, Curtis Miller,
ISBN 978 0-3875 2496-2,
Arcadia Publishing

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