The man, who was a plasterer by trade, could not afford his own headstone. His family was needy and unable to defray the expenses of burial.
However, a proper burial was owed to Julius Caesar. Henry C. Beswick, county agent at the time of Caesar's death in 1907, determined that Mr. Caesar had indeed "served the full term of his enlistment in the Eighth Regiment of U.S. colored troops," according to a report of his death in The Niles Daily Star of the day.
According to the history of the Eighth United States Colored Infantry (USCI) Regiment, the company was formed at Camp William Penn near Philadelphia, Pa. from September to December 1863. During the Civil War, Camp William Penn produced 11 regiments of United States Colored Infantry – more than any other single camp.
The Eighth USCI was made up of free black men from Pennsylvania and other northern States and runaway slaves from several border states. In late 1864, the Eighth was assigned to the newly formed 25th Army Corps, Army of the James. The 25th Army Corps was the first and only all Black Army Corps.
Published August 22nd, 2007