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Virginia: Preserving African American Civil War History in Tidewater, Virginia

Due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Florence, we’re not sure how long we’ll have access to the internet (or power for that matter), and when those services will be restored. However, we’re happy to report that two of the thirteen remaining replacement headstones for local African American Civil War veterans have finally been installed. Most of the headstones were delivered between July and September of 2017, with the installations delayed due to extended periods of rain in the Mid-Atlantic region, and other factors.

Pvt. Richard Reddick (ca. 1847–1896*)
Company F, 1st Regiment, United States Colored Cavalry
Mount Calvary Cemetery (Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex, est. 1879) Portsmouth, Virginia
Original gravestone of Pvt. Richard Reddick, as it appeared in 2010. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, October 11, 2010.
Replacement gravestone, installed August, 2018. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, September 1, 2018

Pvt. Richard Reddick (sometimes spelled “Riddick”), was born enslaved in Perquimans County, North Carolina (some documents note Camden County). He escaped slavery and enlisted in the Union Army on February 22, 1864, at Norfolk, Virginia. He mustered out on February 4, 1866, at Brazos Santiago, Texas. According to military records, Pvt. Reddick passed away on July 10, 1896, though Portsmouth City death records note his date of death as July 10, 1895. His wife, Mary, passed away in 1940, and may be buried in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery along with several of their children.

Pvt. Austin Smallwood (ca. 1845–1894)
Company I, 14th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery
Mount Calvary Cemetery (Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex, est. 1879) Portsmouth, Virginia
Original gravestone of Pvt. Austin Smallwood, as it appeared in 2010. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, October 11, 2010
Replacement headstone, installed August, 2018. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, September 1, 2018

Pvt. Austin Smallwood was born enslaved about 1845 in Bertie County, North Carolina. In 1863, Austin’s owners vowed to shoot and kill any of their slaves that “ran away to the Yankees.” Cognizant of the deadly threat, Austin remained on the plantation to look after his mother, Nancy, and three younger brothers. However, in early 1865, he escaped, and made his way to New Bern, North Carolina, where he enlisted in the Union Army on February 23rd. After his discharge in December, 1865 at Fort Macon, North Carolina, Austin moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, where he soon became an influential member of his community, a devoted husband, and a loving father of four. Although he’d made Portsmouth his new home, Austin never forgot his roots, and kept in close contact with his family in North Carolina. Pvt. Austin Smallwood passed away in 1894 at his home on Columbia St., Portsmouth, from complications of “phthisis pulmonalis,” a term once used to describe the debilitating effects of tuberculosis. His wife, Martha Brown Smallwood, a Franklin, Virginia native, passed away in 1932, and is most likely buried in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, Portsmouth.♥

Filed under Bertie County, Brazos Santiago, City of Franklin, Civil War, Craven County, Emancipation, Grand Army of the Republic, Memorials to Civil War Veterans, New Bern, Norfolk, North Carolina, Perquimans County, Portsmouth, Slavery, Southampton County, Texas, U. S. Colored Troops, Virginia

Tagged as 14th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, 1st U. S. Colored Cavalry, Bertie County, Civil War, family history, genealogy, gravestone, Lincoln Memorial, Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex, Norfolk, North Carolina, Perquimans County, Portsmouth, Preservation, Reddick, Riddick, Slavery, Smallwood, Tidewater, U. S. Colored Troops, Virginia


Originally published at sacredgroundsacredhistory.com on September 11, 2018.

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