Black Civil War soldier’s marker to be erected

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2005

On Friday, August 26, the Naval Support Activity Northwest Annex located at 1320 Northwest Boulevard in Chesapeake; in collaboration with the United States Colored Troops Descendants (USCTD) are hosting the unveiling and dedications of the First Afro-Union Civil War Soldiers Virginia Civil War Trails Marker to be erected on the grounds of a United States Naval installation.

This marker will become the second such marker dedicated to Afro-Union Civil War soldiers in Chesapeake.

It honors seven Afro-Virginian Union Army veterans who are connected to the land that today is the Naval Support Activity Northwest Annex.

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Interred in the recently renamed Northwest Bethel Baptist Church Cemetary are:

Pvt. Lewis Deford, Co. E., 10th Regiment U. S. Colored Troops (USCT) Infantry

Cook, Wilson Nixon, Co. G, 155th Regiment New York Infantry

Under-cook, Patti Creekman, Co. K., 81st New York Infantry

The other four patriot heroes are:

– Sgt. March Corprew, Co. I, 2nd Regiment USCT Cavalry

-Pvt. Daniel, Co. D, 1st Regiment, USCT Cavalry

-Pvt. Adda Smith, Co. H, 10th Regiment, USCT Infantry

-Pvt. Samuel Hopper, Co. c, 38th USCT Infantry

Smith came from the &uot;quasi free community of Cuffeytown&uot; and is interred in a cemetery located near the intersection of St. Bride’s Road and Battlefield Boulevard.

Smith paid the supreme price in the war; he was killed at the battle of Plymouth, NC in April 1864.

Corprew and Hopper were enslaved on two separate plantations adjacent to, and on the present site of the Annex.

Hopper was killed in action during the battle of New Market Heights, Va. on September 29, 1864.

As Gen. Ulysses Grant attempted to find a way to end his siege of Gen. Lee’s forces around Petersburg, he sent a force of 20,000 men on a nighttime, 12-hour, 17-mile march in an attempt to get around Lee’s eastern flank.

About 3,000 Colored Troops were in this force.

In the early morning of the 29th, the Union troops dislodged entrenched Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. John Bell Hood, positioned to the southeast of Richmond near the banks of the James River.

The victory came with heavy losses.

Within an 80 minute span, 1,302 of the 3,000 Colored Troops were killed, wounded, or missing.

14 USCT soldiers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for fighting with bravery and valor beyond the call of duty.

The dedication will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Annex Chapel with the base’s Officer in Charge, LCDR Andrew McMenamin, officiating.

Chesapeake, Naval officers, and the USCTD will then unveil the marker recognizing the patriot heroes.

There will then be a panel presentation featuring descendants of Corprew, Nixon, and Hopper, along with Dr. E. Curtis Alexander, Officer in Charge of the USCTD.

For more information on the ceremony, contact Dr. Alexander at 547-5542.