"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Christian Fleetwood

This 1890s photo of Christian Fleetwood (1840-1914) by Merrill & VanWagner can be found in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
"Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood was one of the first African Americans to be awarded the Medal of Honor. In September 1864, as the Union army struggled to advance on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, Fleetwood and 1,100 soldiers of the Fourth United States ColoredTroops received orders to attack southern forces entrenched at New Market Heights. Under withering enemy fire that decimated his brigade and cut down its color guard, he risked his life to keep the U.S. flag from falling into Confederate hands. In recognition of this conspicuous act of bravery, Fleetwood received the nation's highest military award." -- National Portrait Gallery

This detail of a Library of Congress photo by William Morris Smith shows Sergeant Major Fleetwood wearing his Medal of Honor posing with the Officers of the  4th U.S. Colored Infantry at Fort Slocum on Dec. 24, 1864.

Christian Fleetwood lived at 319 U Street in Northwest Washington. His house was razed in the 1990s and replaced with this house.

Christian Fleetwood and
Sara Fleetwood Residence Site
Christian Fleetwood (1840-1914) was one of 21 African Americans to be awarded  the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery during the 1864 Battle of Chaffin's Farm  near Richmond. After the  Civil War he worked for the federal government and organized DC's  first black National Guard unit. Sara Fleetwood (1849-1908), a member of the first (1896) graduating class fo Freedmen's Hospital nursing  school, became superintendent in 1901. The Fleetwoods moved to this address about 1900 and hosted weekly literary gatherings here. Their home was razed and replaced in the 1990s.

Christian and Sara Fleetwood with their daughter Edith at 319 U St. NW.
When Christian Fleetwood died in 1914 he was buried, like many prominent African Americans of the time,  in the Columbian Harmony Cemetery which was located where the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station is today. A bronze plaque commemorates the Columbian Harmony Cemetery.

Former Site
Colombian Harmony
Many distinguished black citizens including  civil war veterans were buried in this cemetery.
These bodies now  rest in the new National Harmony Cemetery in Maryland.
In 1960 the bodies were moved to the National Harmony Cemetery in Largo Maryland. The headstones were not moved so the location of Fleetwood's grave is unknown. But  this  monument has been erected to Christian Fleetwood in the Maryland Cemetery

 Christian A Fleetwood
Medal of Honor
Sgt Maj 4 US Cld Trps
1840 - 1914

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