42nd U. S. Colored Infantry Regiment

Organized at Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1864.


  • Colonel-William W. Wright
  • Lieutenant Colonel-Joseph R. Putnam

According to Colonel R. D. Mussey, Commissioner for Organization of Colored Troops, Adjutant General L. Thomas, in February 1864, authorized the formation of an invalid regiment at Chattanooga, composed of men unfit for field duty, but fit for ordinary garrison duty. Adjutant General Thomas, on June 15, 1864, reported there were at Chattanooga four companies of the 42nd (a laboring regiment) with the organization still going on. Colonel Mussey stated that on October 10, 1864, the regiment had about 400 men; did considerable fatigue duty during its organization; and had been chiefly engaged in the summer of 1864 in the hospital gardens.

On May 31, 1864, two companies, under Lieutenant Colonel Joseph R. Putnam, were reported, unassigned, at the Post of Chattanooga. On August 31, the regiment was reported commanded by Colonel William W. Wright. On October 31, seven companies under Lieutenant Colonel Putnam were reported at Chattanooga.

On December 10, 1864, in a return from the District of the Etowah, the regiment reported 20 officers, 399 men present for duty, 552 present and absent; but only 15 officers and 217 men equipped.

On March 1, 1865, the 1st Colored Brigade, Army of the Cumberland, was formed under Colonel T. J. Morgan. The brigade was composed of the 14th, 18th, 42nd and 44th U. S. Colored Infantry. On April 30, Colonel Lewis Johnson was reported in command of the same brigade.

On July 12, 1865, Colonel Johnson’s Brigade, still at Chattanooga, but enlarged by the addition of other regiments, was called the 2nd Brigade, District of East Tennessee.

The last record of the regiment found was in a report from the Adjutant General’s Office at Washington, D.C., listing the regiments which had either already been mustered out, or were under orders to be mustered out of service.

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