1st Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored)

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1st Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored)
Active August 4, 1862–December 13, 1864
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Size Regiment
Equipment Austrian and Prussian muskets[1]

American Civil War

Disbanded December 13, 1864

The 1st Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored) was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. They were arguably the first black regiment to be organized during the Civil War. At the Battle of Poison Spring, the regiment lost nearly half its number, and suffered the highest losses of any Kansas regiment during the war.


James M. Williams, Colonel of 1st Kansas Colored Infantry

The 1st Kansas Infantry (Colored) was organized at Fort Scott, Kansas and mustered in as a battalion (six companies) on January 13, 1863 for three years. Four additional companies were recruited and mustered in between January 13 and May 2, 1863. It mustered in under the command of Colonel James M. Williams.

This regiment was recruited without federal authorization and against the wishes of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. James H. Lane, recruiting commissioner for Kansas territory north of the Kansas River, on August 4, 1862 authorized raising the regiment. It was the first African-American regiment to fight in combat with white soldiers during the Civil War, in the skirmish at Island Mound, in Bates County, Missouri.

The regiment was attached to Department of Kansas to June 1863. District of the Frontier, Department of Missouri, to January 1864. Unattached, District of the Frontier, VII Corps, Department of Arkansas, to March 1864. 2nd Brigade, District of the Frontier, VII Corps, to December 1864.

The 1st Kansas Infantry (Colored) ceased to exist on December 13, 1864 when its designation was changed to the 79th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops. Also attached to the regiment at some points was Armstrong's Battery Light Artillery, a unit for which few details are known.

Detailed service[edit]

Duty in the Department of Kansas October 1862, to June 1863. Action at Island Mound, Mo., October 27, 1862. Island Mound, Kansas, October 29. Butler, Mo., November 28. Ordered to Baxter Springs May 1863. Scout from Creek Agency to Jasper County, Mo., May 16–19 (detachment). Sherwood, Mo., May 18. Bush Creek May 24. Near Fort Gibson May 28. Shawneetown, Kan., June 6 (detachment). March to Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, June 27-July 5, with supply train. Action at Cabin Creek July 1–2. Elk Creek near Honey Springs July 17. At Fort Gibson until September. Lawrence, Kan. July 27 (detachment). Near Sherwood August 14 Moved to Fort Smith, Ark., October, thence to Roseville December, and duty there until March 1864. Horse Head Creek February 12, 1864. Roseville Creek March 20. Steele's Camden Expedition March 23-May 3. Prairie D'Ann April 9–12. Poison Springs April 18. Jenkins' Ferry April 30. March to Fort Smith, Ark., May 3–16, and duty there until December. Fort Gibson, C. N. September 16. Cabin Creek September 19. Timber Hill November 19.


The regiment lost at least 344 men during service; 5 officers and 173 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 165 enlisted men died of disease. No other Kansas regiment lost more men than the 1st Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored).


  • Colonel James M. Williams

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moore, Frank. The Rebellion Record, v. 6, (G.P. Putnam, 1863), pp. 52-54


  • Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (Des Moines, IA: Dyer Pub. Co.), 1908.
  • Official Military History of Kansas Regiments During the War for the Suppression of the Great Rebellion (Leavenworth: W. S. Burke), 1870.
  • This article contains text from a text now in the public domain: Dyer, Frederick H. (1908). A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Co.

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