Private Scott Carnal of 1st Kansas Colored Infantry received a post-mortem procession from Nevada historians almost one century since his death, after he escaped slave plantation to enlist into the Union Army during the American Civil War.
The historical groups who organized the ceremony to honor Carnal were motivated by the fact that the former soldier probably never received one at his death in 1917, with no evidence of any obituaries being dedicated to him. Researchers recently discovered that Carnal had run away from a Confederate slave plantation and, as part of the US Colored Troops, fought and was severely injured during the important win at Battle of Honey Springs.
Recreating Carnal’s journey, historians discovered that he ran away from his Missouri slave master at the age of 19 in 1863, and then immediately enlisted himself in the Kansas regiment. He was hit by a musket ball in his leg at Honey Springs, and military records note that the wound led to the amputation of his leg some nine years later He retired in Dayton where he died quietly in 1863, with the cause of death being unknown. The last known possible descendant of Carnal died in 2007 in Harlem, and no others have claimed his heritage as of yet. His grave is tended by Linda Clements, president of the Historical Society of Dayton Valley.
The procession was attended by a crowd of over 200, many dressed in Civil War uniforms, and was dedicated towards Carnal and all of the other unknown veterans who took part in the conflict. They were saluted with rounds from a firing squad complete with a professional bugler.The ceremony was hosted and executed by the Sons of Union Veterans of The Civil War and a couple of other history groups at the Dayton Cemetery, Carnal’s final resting place.
Can you imagine being a slave out on some plantation and seeing the Civil War going on and you say, ‘Well, I need to be part of that!’? He had to be a hero” said John Riggs, a member of the Sons of the Union Veterans.
The United States Colored Troops are held in high regard by historians and Union sympathizers as they formed almost 10 percent of the Union’s armed forces, even if the American North had little over 1 percent black population. A lot of stories were similar to that of Carnal, of former slaves who escaped Southern plantations to enlist and fight for their freedom.
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