United States Colored Troops during the Civil War
United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.) and Sumner Cemetery
Over 200,000 blacks served in the Union Army during the Civil War (1861-1865). Of these, 38,000 died and 22 were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Located within Cumberland's historic Sumner Cemetery, the oldest black cemetery in Allegany County, are the graves of six members of the 30th Regiment Infantry, U.S.C.T. United States Colored Troops. The 30th was formed in February 1864 and was comprised of volunteers from southern and eastern Maryland. Prior to being mustered out in December 1865, the soldiers saw action in numerous campaigns including the 1864 assault on Petersburg and Wilderness Campaign in Virginia, and the assault and capture of Fort Fisher in North Carolina in 1865. During this period of service, three officers and 48 enlisted men were killed in battle, while two officers and 177 enlisted men died from disease.
Established in 1884 by the "Laboring Sons of Cumberland", sometimes known as, "The Sons of Sumner", Sumner was the first all black cemetery in Allegany County. On June 21, 1977, Sumner Cemetery was approved to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eventually, a new black cemetery, known as Woodlawn, was opened due to Sumner Cemetery being almost filled.
Depicted in this photograph are the tombstones of the six U.S.C.T. soldiers who served during the Civil War and are buried in Cumberland's Sumner Cemetery. On Memorial Day, May 27, 1991 the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization unveiled a monument to the memory of these six soldiers. The names of these men, all of whom belonged to the 30th Regiment Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops, organized at Camp Stanton, are as follows:
Francis "Frank" Taylor
According to the book, Hidden Stories, Discovered Voices: A History of African Americans in Cumberland, Maryland, Francis (Frank) Taylor was born in Cumberland and grew up in the city. He had married a Caroline Lee in 1862 and they were the parents of three children, Florence, Lucy, and Chloe. On February 24, 1863, Frank Taylor joined the Union Army, Company D, 30th Regiment, United States Colored Troops. After being honorably discharged in December 1865, Taylor lived at 32 Mechanic Street. Due to various medical conditions, including rheumatism and asthma, Taylor applied for and received a medical pension from the United States government. Frank's wife, Caroline, passed away in 1872.
Photograph by Al Feldstein
Text in part from the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization (CHCO). More can be found at History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, Maryland Archives Online
Sumner Cemetery in Cumberland, as well as numerous other African American sites and schools across the country, was named after United States Senator Charles Sumner (1811-1874). Sumner was from Massachusetts, an abolitionist, and the Senate's most vocal opponent of slavery. He is remembered for being beaten unconscious in 1856 on the Senate floor for making a speech opposing pro-slavery groups in Kansas. Sumner was responsible for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, helped in the establishment of the Freedmen's Bureau, and worked to have equal pay among African American and white soldiers.
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008