Dan Deleppo – Samuel Congdon (1838 – 1903)
Samuel Congdon was born in 1838 as a freeman, and most likely from Rhode Island. While designated as colored, he is among the honored veterans whose names are inscribed on the Civil War Monument of 1868.
As a freeman he served as part of the 29th Connecticut Colored Volunteer Regiment. Raised and mustered in 1864 from Fair Haven, the 29th Regiment, consisted of some 900 colored soldiers and white officers. This was the first all-black regiment from Connecticut.
It fought in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia and is credited as being the first infantry regiment to enter the city of Richmond after it fell to the Union in April of 1865. The regiment served in an five additional battles.
The regiment lost a total of 198 men during the war: one officer; 44 enlisted men killed in battle, and 152 enlisted men dying from disease. The twenty-ninth Regiment was discharged in November of 1865. There is a monument erected in its honor in Criscuolo Park on New Haven’s waterfront marking the site where the recruits were trained in 1864.
Little is known of Samuel following the Civil War other than that a town directory of 1892 listed him as a farmer living on Roberts Lane in East Hartford. And in the census of 1900 he was listed as a town resident employed as a grain-bagger and living at 613 Main Street, East Hartford.
His funeral announcement in the East Hartford Gazette in 1903 gave no family background, only naming the funeral home and that his funeral was to be conducted by Reverend William Tuthill of the First Congregational Church.
The 29th Connecticut Infantry and three colored regiments of Massachusetts were able to maintain their state designations until disbanded after the war. The rest of the colored regiments of Connecticut and Massachusetts became part of the Federal regiment system.
Between 178,000 to 200,000 black enlisted men and white officers served under the US Bureau of Colored Troops, established in 1863. State colored regiments were made up of free blacks and Native Americans. Federal or US troops were comprised of emancipated slaves. They made up approximately 164 regiments, 10 batteries of heavy artillery, and 13 batteries of light artillery.