Civil War BLACK SOLDIERS Wartime Marriage Certificate & Pension Claim
CIVIL WAR BLACK SOLDIER’S WARTIME MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE AND PENSION CLAIM OF WIFE AND CHILD. An extremely scarce group of documents, being part of a petition by the widow of Samuel Henderson, a former slave who became a corporal in the all black 56th infantry. Initially formed in 1863 as the third Arkansas Infantry of African Descent, the unit was renamed the 56th infantry in 1864. While serving with the occupation troops at the end of the war, Corporal Henderson died from Disease. By this time he and his wife had a son, and this group of documents is part of a petition by the former Mrs. Henderson for a military pension for herself and her child. Perhaps the most scarce of these documents is a marriage certificate for the couple, stating that Henderson and his wife were married by the units preacher. An official marriage certificate is something that the couple could only dream about prior to the war. This certificate is also accompanied by the sworn statements of various parties of note certifying that the child was the legitimate offspring of Corporal Henderson. and his wife. Though the condition of all the documents is only fair, the rarity of the marriage certificate along with its accompanying documents , along with the change in the status of blacks that these documents represent, makes them worthy of further consideration.