Formerly called 6th U.S. Heavy Artillery Regiment (Colored), then 7th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery
Organized at Memphis, Tennessee, January 23, 1865.
- Colonel – William D. Turner
The first five companies of this regiment, “A” through “E”, were originally organized as the 1st Alabama Legion, Heavy Artillery (African Descent). Organization was begun in April, 1863, and the companies were stationed at Corinth, Mississippi, until January 15, 1864, when they moved to Fort Pickering, Defenses of Memphis, where Colonel I. G. Kappner, with the 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent), was stationed. Here they were temporarily consolidated with this regiment as the 4th Battalion, 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent).
The other seven companies, “F” through were organized at Memphis during the months of January, February, and March, 1864. Comments on company reports for “F” and “G” state they were composed of freedmen who had been employed by the Engineer Department as breastwork hands since September 1, 1862, organized as colored troops in January, and mustered into service on February 4, 1864, and assigned to the 1st Battalion, 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent).
On March 11, 1864, the 6th U.S. Heavy Artillery (Colored) was formed, and all of these companies assigned to it. The name of the organization was changed to the 7th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery by orders dated April 26, 1864.
Meanwhile, on March 28, 1864, Companies “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D”, under the command of Major Lionel F. Booth, and known as the 1st Battalion, 6th U. S. Heavy Artillery (Colored) moved to Fort Pillow, Tennessee, where they were captured or killed when Confederate troops under Major General Nathan B. Forrest carried Fort Pillow by assault on April 12, 1864. The remnants of these companies rejoined their regiment at Fort Pickering, where the regiment remained on fatigue or garrison duty through July, 1864.
On August 2, 1864, the regiment was temporarily assigned to the 1st Brigade, U. S. Colored Troops, under the command of Colonel Ed Bouton, to take part in the expedition led by Major General Andrew Jackson Smith, which moved from Memphis through Holly Springs and Waterford, Mississippi, to the Tallahatchie River to Oxford, back through Coldwater, to Memphis. On the march between Holly Springs and Coldwater, the regiment was attacked by Confederate forces under Brigadier General Abram Buford on August 28. It reached Memphis on August 29, and was again assigned to Fort Pickering on August 31, 1864.
Orders were listed changing the regiment from artillery to infantry on January 29, 1865, but regimental reports show February 7, 1865, as the date on which the regiment became the 11th U. S. Colored Infantry (new organization). It remained on picket and outpost duty at Memphis through the balance of its service, until it was ordered mustered out on December 11, 1865.
On July 14, 1865, the 2nd Infantry Brigade of the District of West Tennessee was organized. Colonel I. C. Kapper was given command, and the brigade was composed of the 3rd U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, 11th U. S. Colored Infantry, 88th U.S. Colored Infantry, 59th U. S. Colored Infantry, and Companies “F” and “I” of the 2nd U. S. Colored Light Artillery, all of which units had been organized in Tennessee. The brigade was ordered to report to Brevet Major General Augustus L. Chetlain, commanding the Post and Defenses of Memphis. The regiment was finally mustered out of service on January 12, 1866.