Patrick Henry Atkinson (68th USCT)

Patrick (Pat) Henry Atkinson (Atkisson) was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, on April 17, 1844. He was born a slave of fellow Virginian John Atkisson. Eventually, Atkinson moved from Albemarle County with his master to Benton County, Missouri.

Even before he joined the Union army, Atkinson was involved in a life-threatening situation in Missouri while aiding local Union forces there. After the war, he claimed to have suffered gunshots to his "right shoulder and back of neck" during an attack by rebel bushwhackers on a train he was driving for Union troops. Atkinson also claimed to have been shot by federal troops who were attacking Warsaw, Missouri, in 1863.

At the age of 20, while still enslaved, Atkinson enlisted in the Union army on February 24, 1864, in Warsaw, Missouri. He mustered into the 68th USCT Infantry Regiment as a private in Company D at the Benton Barracks in St. Louis, Missouri. Atkinson's service record describes him as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with black hair, black eyes, and black complexion. His regiment served on multiple campaigns during the war. After leaving St. Louis, the unit helped defend Memphis, Tennessee. The 68th USCT then traveled the southern coastline, occupying port cities like New Orleans, Louisiana, and Pensacola, Florida. Atkinson and his regiment participated in the siege of Fort Blakeley in Alabama, where he developed lumbago and rheumatism. After this victory, Atkinson and his unit relocated to Texas for the last few months of their service. They mustered out on February 5, 1866, from Camp Parapet, Louisiana. Atkinson himself attained the rank of sergeant on May 1, 1864, and mustered out at this rank.

Atkinson worked as as preacher after the war and eventually settled in Moberly, Missouri. He married his wife Caroline in a civil ceremony on July 29, 1866. Their son, Patrick Henry, was at least two years old in 1866, and Caroline gave birth to a daughter, Rose Lee, on November 23, 1866. In 1891, Atkinson began receiving a pension of $8 a month for "lumbargo and diesase of rectum and right foot." His pension increased several times over the next twenty years. Atkinson died of heart disease and chronic nephritis on November 11, 1913, in Moberly. Caroline secured a widow's pension, and by 1926 she was receiving $50 a month. She lived to be 105 years old, dying of chronic interstitial nephritis on January 16, 1946, in Kansas City. Patrick Henry and Caroline Atkinson's granddaughter Dorothy Hurt sought compensation for Caroline's care and funeral expenses, but it is unclear whether they received any aid from the government.


Patrick H. Atkinson Testimony

Name:Atkinson, Patrick Henry
Alternative names:
  • Atkinson, Pat (alternative name)
  • Atkisson, Patrick (alternative name)
  • Soldier
68th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops D
Branch of service:Army
Enlistment1864-02-24Warsaw, MOaccepted20Slave
Muster In1864-03-10Benton Barracks St. Louis, MO
Muster Out1866-02-05Camp Parapet, LAMustered Out
Residence at enlistment:Benton County, MO
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Sergeant
Highest rank achieved:Sergeant
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Atkinson, Patrick Henry616287.0application-invalid
Atkinson, Patrick Henrynoneapplication-minor
Atkinson, Patrick Henrynoneapplication-parent
Atkinson, Patrick HenryAtkinson, Caroline1017924.0application-widow
Atkinson, Patrick Henry656741.0certificate-invalid
Atkinson, Patrick HenryAtkinson, Caroline770843.0certificate-widow
Birth date:1844-04-27
Birth date certainty:Certain
Birth place:Albemarle County, VA
Death date:1913-11-11
Death place:Moberly, MO
Causes of death:disease: heart disease, disease: nephritis
Occupations:Farmer, Brickmaker, Preacher
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Atkisson, Johnowner ofAtkinson, Patrick Henry
Atkinson, Carolinewife ofAtkinson, Patrick Henry
Atkinson, Patrick Henryparent ofAtkinson, Patrick Henry
Atkinson, Patrick Henryparent ofAtkinson, Rose Lee

Compiled Service Record for Patrick Atkinson, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Pension Record for Patrick Atkinson, NARA, Washington, D.C.; 1870 Federal Census, accessed on; "Patrick Henry Atkisson," Certificate of Death, Missouri State Board of Health, Bureau of Visual Statistics; "Patrick Henry Atkinson,",