Private Edward B. Chapman

We honor you Private 36 Edward B. Chapman of Co G 22nd Regiment of the United States Colored Infantry, who at age 30 enlisted in December 1863 in Northampton, NJ and then was mustered into Co. G at Camp “William Penn” in Chelten Hills, Pennsylvania on December 31, 1863. He was honorably discharged in October 1865 in Texas. Free born in Burlington County, New Jersey around 1833-1834, he worked in the hotel business as a laborer and waiter before and after the war.


From New Jersey State Archives: Department of Defense, Adjutant General’s Office (Civil War), United States Colored Troops – Service Files, ca. 1862-1870s, Box 1.

In late September 1864, after the Battle at Chaffins Farm in New Market Heights in Virginia, Private Edward Chapman succumbed to sickness, a sickness that would be with him for the rest of his life. In pension depositions, his comrades called the disease pleurisy. It would eventually kill him. It was around October 2 or 3 that he fell ill and was sent to the field hospital with chills and a high fever due to exposure in the service. His diagnosis was not given, but he developed lung disease and rheumatism. In and out of the hospitals for 6 months, he repeatedly relapsed into illness.

When Edward returned home, he was sick all the time. Not fit for manual labor, let alone much of any labor, Edward Chapman died in Mount Holly from Tuberculosis on May 2, 1882 at age 48, 16 years after leaving the service. Edward Chapman left no property at his death. Martha, his widow, was left dependent upon her own labor for support. When she was unable to work because of rheumatism, in 1887 she applied for a pension to support herself and at least one child under the age of sixteen. In 1890, she received 8 dollars a month for herself and an additional 2 dollars a month for her dependent child, Anna.

Graveyard Mystery

It is puzzling to note that two headstones exist for Civil War veteran Edward Chapman in neighboring African American cemeteries. One headstone is in the Timbuctoo Cemetery and the other is in the old section of the Mount Moriah Cemetery remnant. It is not known if both were Government-supplied grave markers, as was the case for most veterans.

Mount Moriah

EDWARD B. CHAPMAN, CO. G. 22ND REGT. U.S. COL\TROOPS. Died Aug. 2, 1882, Age 48 years. This headstone is in Mount Moriah Cemetery (Division B, Section 2, Lot No 1. Grave No 4) .

According to the Burlington County W.P.A. Veterans Grave Registration Index Card, Edward B. Chapman at his time of death had a home address for Hainesport, New Jersey. Edward B. Chapman was born in 1834, died August 2, 1882, and was buried August 6, 1882 in the old section of Mt Moriah Cemetery. [Division B, Section 2, Lot No. 1, Grave No. 4] This gravestone: Edward B. Chapman August 2, 1882 48 years old was also indicated in a 1972 Burlington County Herald article where old grave sites were found near the recently constructed Mount Holly By-Pass. The headstone of Col. Edward B. Chapman was interesting to the historians because they believed that the notation referred to black Colonel Chapman and there were not many black colonels. 37 However, military records assign Chapman initially as a Sergeant who was reduced to Private on February 6, 1864.

The headstone of Edward B. Chapman was interesting to some historians because they believed that the notation “Col” referred to black Colonel Chapman and there were not many black colonels. In fact “Col” is almost certainly an abbreviation for “Colored”.

The Mount Maria (Moriah) African Church with presumed cemetery was situated in the Mount Holly outskirts known as Clarksborough or Clarksboro. Today this vicinity is called Hainesport. This hamlet was named after Ezra Clark, a reputed great man in many respects, who was a Chief Burgess by common consent and a skillful Clock Tinker by profession. This vicinity “commences at the residence of Ezra Clark, familiarly known as Free Trade, on the Mount Holly and Moorestown Turnpike, and ends anywhere you please this side of Hainesport. In its most thickly settled parts, there are a number of very respectable colored inhabitants, and we are pleased to say that their residences bear evidence of thrift and industry-There is in Clarksborough, the never-to-be-forgotten meeting house of the colored population, known as ‘Mount Moriah’… 38

The second headstone, with not as much information, is located in Tmbuctoo Cemetery: Edward Chapman SGT. 22 U.S. Cld (Colored) Infantry.

In the New Jersey Archives, there is a Black Civil War folder for Edward Chapman of Co G, 22nd USCT. There is a list of men with a note that the cases were adjusted upon personal representation of a Budd Deacon, December 2, 1865.

According to all records there was only one African American Civil War Soldier named Edward Chapman from the Burlington County area. There was only one Edward Chapman who fought in the 22nd USCT.

According to the 1890 Veterans Schedules Record, in Northampton Township, Martha A. Chapman was the widow of Edward B. Chapman, Private, Company G, 22nd U.S.C.I. He enlisted December 31, 1863, was discharged October 16, 1865, after serving 1 year, 9 months, 15 days. He was listed with an injured hip.

According to the Civil War Soldier Compiled Military Record, Washington, D.C.: Edward B. Chapman, Co G, 22 Reg’t U. S. Col’d Inf. Physical Description: 30 yrs age, 5 feet 5 inches height, brown eyes, curly hair, dark complexion, born in Burlington County, New Jersey, laborer by occupation, free April 19/ 1861, enlisted December 31, 1863 in Northampton, New Jersey for 3 years, Private, Absent, sick since October 21, 1864 at Point of Rocks Hospital, mustered out on October 16, 1865. There was only one Civil War veteran by this name and regiment.

Edward Chapman did not know the birth place of his parents. When the pension officers granted a pension to his widow, Martha Chapman, who had been married to Edward for about 22 years (married January 12, 1860), the Vital Statistics Records claimed that Edward Chapman had died in Mount Holly, May 2, 1882 (not August 2, 1882) from consumption. Local residents Joseph A. Buck (aged 33 yrs) and Morris Games (aged 45 yrs) confirmed this death and were present at his funeral. Unfortunately, the name of the cemetery was not given. Deposition witnesses for Martha Chapman were Civil War veterans, Lewis Armstrong and William Davis. These two men were vigilant watchdogs seeking justice for Civil War veterans and their dependents. Judging by how frequently their names appeared in the local pension claims, they took this business very seriously.

Martha passed away in June of 1901. Lewis Armstrong and William Davis would have still been alive. If there was a Civil War veteran imposter by the name of Edward B. Chapman, this vigilance committee would have acted. The headstone in the old Mount Moriah section looks newer and is more detailed than the one in Timbuctoo. Is it possible that his body could have been disinterred and transferred to Mount Moriah Graveyard several months later and a new stone erected by Martha while she was still alive? According to long time resident and local historian Mr. Alexander Franklin, the removal of a body from Timbuctoo Cemetery to another location occured at least once in his lifetime. If Martha was buried in the Mount Moriah Cemetery, could she or other people have wanted her husband buried next to her?

Martha’s maiden name was Lopeman. Araminta Hopkins, later to become Mrs. Lewis B. Armstrong, witnessed the marriage of Martha and Edward that was performed by Rev. Joshua B. Woodland on January 12, 1860 in Mount Holly at the home of Henry H. Williams. Martha only married once, to Edward, and lived with him from his army discharge until his death. They had several children: Mary Ellen, Joseph D. (born August 31, 1860), Sarah (Sallie) V. (born January 17, 1867), Charles H., Walter W. (born July 21, 1874), Anna May (born November 24, 1877) and maybe more. This record was collected from the family (1881) Bible that belonged to Joseph D. Chapman.

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