In an oral account of his life, black Civil War veteran Frank Nunn (alias Charles Franklin Crosby), described the circumstances under which he enlisted in 86th United States Colored Infantry (USCI):
I enlisted in 1863.…
I was not free at the time of my enlistment. I ran away and enlisted. No
sir they did not examine me much. Just asked my age and I told them I was
eighteen but I was not that old. I told them that because I wanted to get
into the army. Q. How old were you at the time? A. Somewhere between
twelve and thirteen years of age but I was big for my age. I can't tell you
how tall I was but not near as tall as I am now.1
During his service in the USCI, the young runaway slave experienced combat. Crosby (who went by his alias after the war) continued:
They swore me in and gave me my blue uniform and gun and drilled me.
That was at Barrancas [Florida]. My gun was a Springfield. When I was
discharged, I turned it in. It used a cap and ball and we had to bite the end
off the cartridge. I cannot tell how long we stayed at Barrancas. I had been
in the service probably one week when we had a battle. It was at a place
called Pollard, Ala. That was not much of a fight, just a kind of brush but
after we started back to Barrancas, we had a fight that lasted two hours
and a half at Pine Bairn, a creek. I do not know, but I was told that there
were only 1200 of the enemy and that we killed 800 of them, including
their general, Clanton. We had only about five killed and wounded, I do
not know how many of each.2
Crosby's narrative also describes his role in the Union effort to take Montgomery, Alabama.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files. Contributors: Elizabeth A. Regosin - Editor, Donald R. Shaffer - Editor. Publisher: New York University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2008. Page number: 1.
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