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Pension Files of US Colored Troops

Enough cannot be said about the value of Civil War pension files that document the lives of the men who served in the Union Army Colored regiments from Arkansas.

The File of Elijah Bryant who was a soldier in the 11th and later the 113th US Colored Infantry reveals some interesting data not only about the man, but his wife, family, and his life before and after the war.  Some of the documents are presented below.



In this document, Elijah Bryant to the soldier points out that his wife died in 1875.  He had two children and the dates of their birth are provided on this document.



On the same document it should be noted–-Elijah Bryant signed his own name.  He was a literate man, and it appears that he completed the document in his own hand.  This man, born a slave, had somehow learned to read and now 30 years after his freedom, he signs his own name, with no X, but with his own personal signature.  During the years of his enslavement, teaching a slave to read or write was illegal.  His own  yearning to learn is a testament, and a detail that cannot be overlooked when examining this document.