John Henry Barber (1st USCT HA)

John Henry Barber was born around 1846 in Albemarle County, Virginia, to Tillman and Elmira Barber. Barber, like his parents, was owned by Benjamin Wheeler of Albemarle. Wheeler eventually relocated the family to Tennessee, and by 1861, Barber was owned by Sarah Ann Wheeler in Union Depot, Tennessee.

Barber enlisted as a private in the Union army on July 14, 1864, in Knoxville, Tennessee. His service record describes him as 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with black hair, black eyes, and yellow complexion. He served in Company I of the 1st USCT Heavy Artillery Regiment. He served only briefly, dying of fever on October 21, 1864, at the regimental hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee.

After the war, in the late 1880s, Barber's mother Elmira began receiving a pension due to her son's service. According to witnesses, Tillman and Elmira were unable to work, living on the charity of wealthy white people. She received a pension of $12 a month until her death in Johnson City, Tennessee, in early 1904.


Testimony of John Henry Barber's Mother, Elmira

Name:Barber, John Henry
Alternative names:
  • Soldier
1st Regiment Heavy Artillery U.S. Colored TroopsI
Branch of service:Army
Muster In1864-07-14Knoxville, TN
Enlistment1864-07-14Knoxville, TNaccepted18Slave
Muster Out1864-10-21Regimental Hospital Knoxville, TNDeath
Residence at enlistment:Sullivan County, TN
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Highest rank achieved:Private
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Barber, John HenryBarber, Elmira284849application-minor
Barber, John HenryBarber, Elmira250978certificate-minor
Birth date:1846
Birth date certainty:About
Birth place:Albemarle County, VA
Death date:1864-10-21
Death place:Regimental Hospital Knoxville, TN
Causes of death:disease: fever
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Barber, Elmiraparent ofBarber, John Henry
Wheeler, Sarah Annowner ofBarber, John Henry
Barber, Tillmanparent ofBarber, John Henry

Compiled Service Records for John Henry Barber, RG 94, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Pension Records for John Henry Barber, RG 15, NARA, Washington, D.C.