John Edwards

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John Edwards (born c. 1844) fought for the United States during the Civil War with the US Navy aboard the USS Louisville.[1] Edwards was profiled by the University of Virginia's John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History in 2017, as part of their "Black Virginians in Blue" digital project.[2]

Edwards was born around 1844 in Charlottesville, and worked as a laborer and fieldhand before the war. It is unclear if he was enslaved.[1] He enlisted in the Union navy on December 1, 1863, at Skipwith's Landing in Issaquena County, Mississippi, for a period of two years. Officials listed his race as "negro" and gave him the rating of landsman. Edwards served on board the USS Louisville at the same time as two other Albemarle-born sailors, Henry Murray and David Linton.[1] The War Department transferred the Louisville, an ironclad centerwheel gunboat, to the navy on October 1, 1862. By the time Edwards joined her crew, she had returned to patrol and army support duty, and she remained there until her decommission on July 21, 1865. As part of the spring 1864 expedition up the Red River, the Louisville engaged in limited combat near Columbia, Arkansas, and Skipwith's Landing, Mississippi. Edwards last muster roll is dated July 18, 1865, which is likely around the time he left the navy. [1]

He never filed a pension, and nothing is known by historians about his life after leaving the Navy.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Web. John Edwards (USS Louisville), Website, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History: Black Virginians in Blue, April 12, 2021, retrieved August 4, 2021.
  2. Web. “Brave Boys of the Fifth”: The Service of Two Black, Albemarle-Born Soldiers of the Famous 5th Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment, Jane Diamond, Website, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History: Black Virginians in Blue, July 4, 2017, retrieved July 28, 2021.

External Links

Black Virginians In Blue Homepage