U.S. Colored Infantry

One of the earliest regiments of the United States Colored Infantry is interred at Columbia Cemetery. This is one of the only locations of its kind the state.

Many of those interred were members of Missouri's 62nd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment who participated in the last major engagement of the Civil War at Palmetto Ranch, Texas, on May 15, 1865, more than a month after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Va.

Laws at the time made it illegal to teach blacks to read and write. Nonetheless, many members of the Colored Infantry gained a rudimentary education while serving in the Army.

After the war, members of the 62nd and 65th Colored Infantry Regiment, composed primarily of uneducated ex-slaves from Missouri, pooled a total of $6,400 to establish Lincoln Institute in Jefferson City, which later became Lincoln University. Classes for free black students began in 1866. In 1890, Lincoln Institute became Missouri's black land-grant institution.

In 2016, the Daughters of Union Veterans erected a monument in remembrance of the 42 black Union soldiers buried in Columbia Cemetery.

© 2005-2010 Columbia Cemetery Association
Columbia, Missouri
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