Growing up, I always thought these headstones of black Civil War soldiers were in the backyard of a rental property my grandparents owned. More likely, they are in the backyard of the adjoining property, an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cookstown, New Jersey. The words “colored infantry” used to be inscribed on the headstones, but they seem to have faded over time. Back in the early 90s, I called the local VFW and they confirmed that the headstones did in fact belong to black Civil War soldiers. Interestingly, Greenwood and Chambers, the names on two of the stones are also street names in the nearby state capitol, Trenton, New Jersey.
I know I’m a little late for Memorial Day, but I thank these troops and all others for their service. Fittingly, my brother, a chief warrant officer with the army took these pictures.