Here is a rare document from the American Civil War. Dated April 14, 1864 in Alexandria, Louisiana, this piece of paper documents the enlistment of Wesley Pedro into the U.S. Colored Troops. Ironically, this is exactly 1 year to the day before the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. We have not been able to find much information about Wesley Pedro. At the time of this document he is 20 years old and described as having dark hair, dark eyes, dark complexion and is 5 feet 5 ½ inches tall. He must be illiterate since the paper is signed with his “x” mark. His occupation is described as a “laborer”, but it can be assumed that he was probably an ex-slave freed on January 1, 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in Confederate states that were under Union control, which at that time basically meant Louisiana. Although it is difficult to decipher, it appears that he became part of the 19th Infantry of U.S. Colored Troops. One photocopy of an internet document will be included which states that he was also a private in Company G, 98th U.S. Colored Infantry.
The document is in very nice condition. The paper is yellowed and somewhat fragile, as would be expected. It measures 7 ¾ inches by 10 ¾ inches. There is minor staining along remnants of an old fold and some more staining on a lower corner. Although folded at one time, it appears that this document has been kept flat over the years so that it does not have the extensive fold separations usually found with documents of this type. There is one small separation, about ½ inch, along the old fold on the upper left edge. This would be a wonderful piece of history to be preserved and framed so that both sides are visible. It is also the starting point of an excellent and exciting research project for anybody who wishes to learn more about Wesley Pedro. (It is also worth mentioning that the penmanship of the individual who filled this document out is really beautiful. So many documents of this type are illegible because of the scribble of the person who filled it out.)
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