Nathaniel Thomas (68th USCT)

Nathaniel Thomas was born into slavery around 1820 in Albemarle County, Virginia. He spent most of his early life in Missouri, where he was owned by a farmer named William Darrett. He married Winnie Fields in Marshall, Missouri, around 1842, and they had at least two children together: Ann, born February 1853; and Jerry, born around 1855. Thomas enlisted in the Union army in Marshall on March 19, 1864, and mustered in as a private in Company G of the 68th USCT Infantry Regiment later that month. His enlistment records describe him as 5 feet, 2 1/2 inches tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a black complexion. Thomas contracted smallpox and rheumatism in Memphis, Tennessee, in April 1864 and spent the next 4 months recovering in a St. Louis hospital. Thomas eventually rejoined his regiment, but he suffered from recurring bouts of rheumatism. He experienced such difficulty marching that the army detached him to assist the cook. He received a discharge for disability on June 24, 1865, in Greenville, Louisiana.

After his discharge, Thomas spent the rest of his life in Saline County, Missouri. He performed farm work until 1872, when back pain left him debilitated. He then remained primarily confined to his house, and his eyesight failed in September 1887. Thomas began receiving a $4 monthly pension in May 1889, and the government eventually increased the amount to $12 per month. Winnie Thomas died on January 12, 1889, and Nathaniel Thomas followed a year later, around February 1900.

Name:Thomas, Nathaniel
Alternative names:
  • Thomas, Nathan (alternative name)
  • Soldier
68th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops G
Branch of service:Army
Muster In1864-03Missouri
Enlistment1864-03-19Marshall, MOaccepted44Slave
Muster Out1865-06-24Greenville, LADischarged for Disability
Residence at enlistment:Saline County, MO
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Highest rank achieved:Private
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Thomas, Nathaniel702851.0application-invalid
Thomas, Nathanielnoneapplication-minor
Thomas, Nathanielnoneapplication-parent
Thomas, Nathanielnoneapplication-widow
Thomas, Nathaniel671461.0certificate-invalid
Birth date:1820
Birth date certainty:About
Birth place:Albemarle County, VA
Death date:before 1900-02-19
Death place:
Causes of death:
Occupations:Farmer, Gardener
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Darretta, Williamowner ofThomas, Nathaniel
Thomas, Nathanielparent ofBurns, Ann
Thomas, Nathanielparent ofThomas, Jerry
Thomas, Winniewife ofThomas, Nathaniel

Compiled Service Records for Nathaniel Thomas, RG94, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Pension Records for Nathaniel Thomas, RG15, NARA, Washington, D.C.; United States Federal Census, 1870, 1880; United States Federal Slave Schedule, 1860, accessed through; Frederick A. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, vol. 3 (Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Company, 1908).