Capt Corydon Heath

Tyringham, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Death Apr 1863 (aged 32)
Burial Body lost or destroyed
Memorial ID 10664062 · View Source
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In August of 1861, at the age of 28, Corydon Heath joined Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery as a sergeant.

At the time of muster, Heath is described as 5'8", with black eyes and hair, and a dark complexion.
Heath was with Battery G throughout their campaigns in Tennessee and the Mississippi Valley. In November of 1862 he was hospitalized near Trenton, Tennessee, and remained there as General Nathan Bedford Forrest's troopers rode into town.

Heath is reported as being taken prisoner, while in the hospital, on December 20, 1862, but was paroled only a few days afterwards. He returned to Illinois for a short period of time, and was back with his comrades in Battery G by March of 1863. On April 14, 1863,

Heath received an appointment to the rank of Captain in the 9th Louisiana Infantry, African Descent. At Milliken's Bend, the 9th Louisiana sustained the highest casualties in a single battle of any black unit during the entire war. Of approximately 300 men, a total of 206 were reported as killed, wounded or missing, a loss of 65%.

In Company B, Lt. Cornwell reported that only 14 of the 44 enlisted men were present for duty shortly after the battle. The rest had either been "killed, or too severely wounded to return to duty again, or having died of disease. A number of these fourteen had been wounded and recovered."

Captain Heath's whereabouts after the battle were uncertain. Cornwell last saw Heath standing in line, urging his troops to stand firm. Suddenly, from his left, the rebels swept in, cutting him off, along with a number of his men.

Heath was taken with the rebels in their retreat, and was apparently never heard from again. A month later, a captured Confederate prisoner reported being an eyewitness at the hanging of a white captain, a white sergeant, and several black enlisted men shortly after the battle at Milliken's Bend. All evidence indicates that this captain was Heath. One of the first to volunteer for the controversial and particularly dangerous task of serving with a black regiment, Heath was also one of the first white officers to be executed for his service with black troops.

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  • Maintained by: James Ahaesy
  • Originally Created by: Bev
  • Added: 24 Mar 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10664062
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Corydon Heath (11 Jan 1831–Apr 1863), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10664062, ; Maintained by James Ahaesy (contributor 49059682) Body lost or destroyed.