Almost totally unknown to Londoners, there were only 14 Black Chaplains in the US Civil War, and Garfield H White, who was one of them, started as a refugee slave who escaped to Canada, and while Pastor of the BME Church in then London, Canada West, wrote to US Secretary of War offering on behalf of the black congregation here in London to raise a company of men to fight for the Union Army. Although this never happened, Pastor White later moved back to the USA, and helped raise a black regiment in the state of Illinois. Another famous story of him was one day with other soldiers of his company he encounter an old woman who asked if by chance anyone knew a Garfield White, her son who had been sold away from her many, many years beforehand. He was brought forth and rejoined his mother, a totally chance encounter.
Civil War Veterans Buried in London, Ontario, Canada - Stories
GARFIELD H. WHITE
This is one of the great legends of the Civil War.
A newspaper article on January 9th, 1864 from the Louisville Democrat (state of Kentucky) told the story of a 16 year old girl who had been discharged from the 11th Kentucky Calvary to which she belonged for several months. Her total service in Union forces, according to her own words was eighteen months, during which time her sex was discovered seven times, and each time she was mustered out of service, she re-enlisted under an assumed name. Wounded twice in battle, once at Fredericksburg, and once at the Green River Bridge fight on the 4th of July. She told the commanding officer her home town was London, Canada West, and that here parents still lived there. The commanding officer had her locked up at this time, awaiting orders, but no further information is made of her, she disappears into history. She may have lied about her hometown, but very few people at this time ever heard of London, Canada West, so its hard to imagine why she would lie about it. For example, if lying, why not say you were from Toronto, Montreal, or even New York?
GEORGE W. DUNCAN
Sergeant, Co. I, 107th USCT, served 26 months, discharged honourably.
This is the only man to list his race as Black on the original GAR forms, and is, to the best of my knowledge, one of the earliest written uses of the word Black to refer to race, for at this time, the politically correct word in use was Coloured.
Note also that all Coloured Troops were usually either former slaves or the children of slaves, if they were born in Canada, Profession: Labourer
BURIED: WOODLAND CEMETERY
GEORGE WASHINGTON PITT
2nd. Lt., Co. E, 85th NY Volunteers - NOTE: a Plymouth Pilgrim
Born: Granger, NY, USA, one of ten children - family were original settlers of the area.
NOTE: His younger brother was a Col. Who later built the town hall in Granger, NY.
Death Notice from the London Advertiser & London Free Press, April 29th, 1921
PITT- Suddenly at Victoria Hospital on Thursday, April 28th, 1921, George W. Pitt in his 86th year. Funeral Private form his late residence, 190 Wharncliffe Road, South London, Saturday, April 30th. Service at 2 oclock.
Buried in the DARCH family plot. Grave unmarked
CHARLES J. ASHTON
Private, Co. A. 78th Indiana Infantry, officially discharged after expiration of terms of service after only 2 months, but in his own words, became ill with Malaria during service. Died: London, Ontario - March 7th, 1915
SGT JAMES BAILEY
Sergeant, Co. H, 21st NY Infantry, served 24 months
NOTE: - This man was extensively wounded at the battle of Antietham. Deaf in his left ear after the battle, he was shot through he throat and ear on his left side during the battle, and then clubbed in the head. Crippled all his life, in his own words, his head was always drawn forward, he was never able to pull his head and neck up straight ever again.Died: London, Ontario October 9th, 1911.