Lewis H. Starr
Lewis H. Starr - brother of Josiah Starr - was a Black soldier from Sharon, Connecticut, born around 1827. He became a fairly old Union soldier when on December 12, 1863 - at the age of 36 - he enlisted into Company C of the 29th Connecticut Volunteer (Colored) Infantry. He must have been a good soldier for in July 1864 he was promoted to corporal.
Fighting around Kell House, October 27, 1864
Census records indicate that Starr was a farm laborer who did not own any real estate or personal property, common circumstances for African American men in northwestern Connecticut . On December 31st, 1857, he married his wife Mary E., and they had one child, named William Starr. It is revealing to note that when Starr joined the army, the benefits his wife and child received - $12 a month - were more than the $8 dollars a month he was paid as a Black soldier. Still, the bounty money available to Starr made enlisting in the army a profitable opportunity.
Fitch's Home for Soldiers, Norton Heights (Darien), Connecticut
While serving in the war, he was wounded at Kell House, Virginia on October 27, 1864. While any wound in battle is a significant event, it was a more mundane injury - a hernia suffered while doing labor such as building a corduroy road - that ended Lewis's military career. His March 1865 medical records reported that the hernia had not healed, and he was discharged from the army. Throughout his later years, Starr’s health continued to deteriorate, to the point that he had to move to the Connecticut veterans’ home, called Fitch’s Home for Soldiers, in the Noroton Heights section of Darien. Fitch’s Home for Soldiers was dedicated to assisting veterans who could not take care of themselves. At some point in the 1890s, Starr began receiving a pension, which continued until he died in 1906. His wife received a widow’s pension until 1916. Lewis Starr’s story was not one of glory or fame; he gained no wealth or prestige. In this way, he was very much like the millions of Civil War soldiers who made great sacrifices to save the Union and end slavery.