Military Monday: Augustus Whitney--Member of the 35th United States Colored Infantry

Augustus Whitney (born about 1840--death before 1910) was my 2nd Great Grand Uncle. His younger brother Samuel Whitney(b.1856--d.1916) was my 2nd Great Grandfather. The Whitney line as I have discussed in earlier posts was of mixed ancestry, specifically, Portuguese and African. Samuel and Augustus's father, Thomas, I believe was of Portuguese Ancestry from the Azores while their mother, Margaret, was of African Ancestry. It turns out that Augustus was a Civil War Veteran who served with 35th United States Colored Infantry, Company D.

Source Information: U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1861-1865

What I find interesting about this is that I think one of the reasons Augustus's father and grandfather left the Azores was to avoid military service back in the Azores. The Azorian government in around 1800 put into law that any 14 year old male would have to enlist in the Portuguese Army for a period of time.  Life in the military there would have meant very little money for the enlisted man or his family and more than likely that they would be shipped off to mainland Portugal away from all that they held dear. Now here comes Augustus joining the military. I am sure there was mixed bag of emotions and thoughts going on within the family regarding this. Since Augustus was 1/2 Black and 1/2 Portuguese, he lived his life as a black man according to the norms of our country at that time and felt the need to help his people. Also, the possibility of  pay that could help him and his extended family during the extremely difficult times of the Civil War,  probably was a motivating factor for him to enlist.  Whatever his motivation, I salute the man for his service to our country.


  1. He had been promoted to Corporal...It also stated he had been a servant. I wonder who he was a servant to. It seems he was seen in a good light..Did you get any of his records from the National Archives yet?

  2. Check to see if he received a pension for his services in the Civil War Pension Index through Ancestry. If he did, there might be a treasure of information concerning his life.

  3. Okay, Yvette and Linda you got me working hard today. LOL. No seriously, thank you for your comments. I knew that he had a pension but never got around to ordering the file at the National Archives, until this morning. Yvette, I haven't been able to find out who he was a servant for yet, but I'm still digging. Thanks guys for the feedback.


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