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 Edward Day Cohota

Edward Day Cohota

Death 18 Nov 1935
Burial Valentine, Cherry County, Nebraska, USA
Memorial ID 10498313 · View Source
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Chinese immigrant who fought for freedom in America.

With the passing at Parmalee, South Dakota, on Nov. 18, 1935, of Edward Day Cohota, nearly 93, the United States lost one of its most colorful and revered citizens, as well as the only full-blood Chinese to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War.

On December 27, 1845, Captain Silas S. Day left Shanghai, China, on his ship Cohota. Two days later two small Chinese boys were discovered aboard the ship. They were half starved and did not know their names. This left Captain Day in a dilemma. He decided not to turn back, rather to raise the boys as his own. They were about six and four years old. The eldest boy died a few days later and was buried at sea.

When the captain retired he took Edward to his home at Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he grew up. And when Edward wanted another name, he was named after the ship on which he was found; Edward Day Cohota. December 27, the day he was found aboard ship, was taken as his birthday.

February of 1864, Edward joined the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry and served his adopted country through the rest of the Civil War. Part of his time was served under General Ulysses S. Grant. At the battle of Cold Harbor, a bullet grazed his head which left a permanent part in his hair.

At the end of the war in 1865 he was mustered out at New Bern, North Carolina. Returning to Gloucester he could find no work so he returned to the sea. While in Boston he met a recruiting sergeant whom he had known in the service. In the fall of 1866, he re-enlisted and was soon on his way to Texas.

He said his longest walk was when his outfit marched from Kit Carson, Kansas, to San Antonio, Texas. Blisters formed on his shoulder from carrying a heavy rifle and blisters covered his feet from shoes too large. Edward served in Texas; New Mexico; Fort Sheridan, Illinois; Fort Randall, South Dakota; and Fort Niobrara, near Valentine, Nebraska. While at Fort Randall he said he stood guard over Indian chief Sitting Bull and spoke of him as a friendly chief.

In 1883 Edward and Anna Halstensen were married in the Episcopal Church at Fort Randall, a large church built in 1875 of native chalk rock by the soldiers and pioneer settlers.

Family Members






  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bev
  • Added: 19 Feb 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10498313
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Edward Day Cohota (unknown–18 Nov 1935), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10498313, citing Mount Hope Cemetery, Valentine, Cherry County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .