Decatur Dorsey

Decatur Dorsey (HM3BP)

Location: Ellicott City, MD 21043 Howard County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 16.128', W 76° 48.612'

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Civil War Hero

Howard County native Decatur Dorsey was one of only sixteen African American soldiers to received the Medal of Honor for courage under fire during the Civil War. Sgt. Dorsey, of Company B, 39th United States Colored Troops, earned his medal at the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia, on July 30, 1864. He bore the regiments flag during the charge through the Crater to the Confederate line. According to his Medal of Honor citation, Dorsey "planted his colors on the Confederate works in advance of his regiment, and when the regiment was driven back to the Union works he carried the colors there and bravely rallied the men." Regimental color-bearers were especially courageous, because they could not defend themselves and were conspicuous targets for enemy sharpshooters.

African Americans were not allowed to serve as soldiers in the United States Army until authorized by the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863. Even then, they had to fight for the right to fight, being first relegated to the garrison, guard, and labor details. Once in combat, however, black troops proved their valor time and again.

Seven African American regiments (called U.S. Colored Troops or USCTs) were raised in Maryland: the 4th, 7th, 9th, 19th, 30th, 39th and 118th. The Maryland General Assembly offered bounty money to each man who enlisted as well as to the owners who freed their slaves for service. Many slaves, however, freed themselves from their masters and ran away to join the Union forces. After the war, surviving veterans were among those who built this school in the 1880s.
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HM NumberHM3BP
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series, and the Medal of Honor Recipients series.
Placed ByMaryland Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 4:38pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 343841 N 4348167
Decimal Degrees39.26880000, -76.81020000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 16.128', W 76° 48.612'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 16' 7.68" N, 76° 48' 36.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 410, 443, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8683 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City MD 21043, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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