SHARING THE STORIES OF NORTHWEST CONNECTICUT'S AFRICAN AMERICAN CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS
GEORGE H. FOOT
George H. Foot was born in Sharon, Connecticut in 1829. Not much is known about his life prior to the Civil War, but at some point he married his wife, Henrietta, and moved to neighboring Salisbury. Foot enlisted in Company E of the 29th Connecticut Infantry on December 23, 1863, and was officially mustered into service on March 8, 1864. He remained a private throughout the war. When he entered the army, he was 5 foot 10 ½ inches tall, and weighed 150 pounds. Further medical examinations revealed that his sitting, standing, and resting pulses were 76, 80 and 80 respectively, and that his body temperature was 97 degrees. A lot of this information was crucial in order to determine how well prospective soldiers would fight in the war. He served with the 29th Connecticut for nearly two years, traveling with the regiment from New Haven, to Washington and to action outside of Richmond. When the Confederacy fell, he traveled to the Texas/Mexico border, enduring brutal heat and exposure to disease. At some point in his military service, Foot suffered a back injury. He was mustered out of the army on October 24, 1865. Foot may have wanted to stay in the army after the war, as his pension record indicates that the back injury prevented him from continuing service.
The Pension Office in Washington, DC
More than thirty years later - in 1896 - Foot applied for a pension. When it was granted, he received $6 a month, because of the back problems which contributed to a “partial inability to earn a support by manual labor”. This monthly payment was increased to $10 a month in 1900 as the injury continued to prevent Foot from obtaining many other jobs he tried to get thereafter.
Pension records state Foot’s age as being ten years older than he actually was. Though his could mean multiple things, it may have been due to false recordings misinforming others of his age. Though there is also the potential that being an African American, his information wasn’t valued enough to be recorded properly. On the other hand, due to severe injuries, the recording error regarding his age may have been a result of Foot, because of injury, appearing to be significantly older than he actually was. Regardless, Foot lived much of his life in significant pain. At thirty-six years old, Foot was mustered out of the army because of injury, George Foot died at the age of 80, November 5th, 1909. His pension record indicates that his death was due, at least in part, to his war-time injuries, suggesting that he suffered from significant back pain from his military service for over four decades. He was buried in Sharon’s Hillside Cemetery, in a grave without a stone.