On July 17, 1862, Congress passed two acts that allowed for the enlistment of African-American men in the Civil War. However, official enrollment occurred after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 with General Order 143 issued by Edwin Stanton's War Department on May 22, 1863. Both free African-Americans and runaway slaves joined the fight. My great-great grandfather, Edward Danner, was one of the over 200,000 brave African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. With many escaping from the plantations and farms where they had been enslaved, they fought diligently for what they believed in - THEIR FREEDOM. This web page is dedicated to my ancestor.
Edward "Ed" Danner was born into slavery in 1832 in Union County, South Carolina, on a plantation on the banks of the Enoree River owned by Thomas Getzen Danner, Jr. His mother and father were also enslaved on this plantation. Ed was only with his parents and siblings for 27 years of his life. In 1859, he was sold to Dr. William Bobo and was taken to Como, Mississippi in Panola County, never to see his family again. Dr. Bobo had recently moved his family and the enslaved people of his farm to Mississippi from Union County, South Carolina in 1858. On a visit back to South Carolina the following year, he had "purchased" Ed from the Danner estate.
Once on the Bobo Place in Mississippi, a young, mulatto house servant caught Ed's eye. Her name was Louisa "Lue" Bobo, the oldest daughter of Clarissa Bobo. Ed and Lue were allowed to marry on Christmas Day in 1860, with a "jump-the-broom ceremony" performed by Rev. Squire Bobo, an enslaved preacher on the plantation. Ed then became the father of Lue's two young sons she had from a previous marriage to Mack Ray. Ed was the only father that they knew, and they took his surname. Together, Ed & Lue had 8 children. Their ten children were: Jim Danner (b. May 18, 1858); Mack Danner (b. March 1859); Alfred Danner (b. August 24, 1863); Alex Danner (b. June 15, 1865); my great-grandmother, Mary Danner Davis (b. November 12, 1867); Frances Danner Howard (b. May 14, 1869); Laura Danner Reid (b. June 10, 1871); Martha "Mattie" Danner Hockenhull (b. May 13, 1873); Rev. Phillip I. Mosely Danner (b. July 16, 1875), and Edward Danner, Jr. (b. November 15, 1876).
Several weeks before the birth of his first child Alfred, Ed Danner and his wife's brother, Eli Bobo, escaped the Bobo Place and headed to Memphis, Tennessee to join the Union Army. Ed died at the age of 44 of dyspepsia on September 15, 1876 near Como, Mississippi. His wife was 7-months pregnant with their last child, Edward Jr.
Edward Danner enlisted on August 15, 1863 at LaGrange, Tennessee and became a private in Company I of the 59th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment of the United States Colored Troops. He enlisted under the name, Edward Bobo. During his service, he contracted a stomach disease called dyspepsia. He suffered from severe pains in his stomach and frequent vomiting. Despite his illness, Ed continued on in the Union Army, fighting for his freedom. However, his fight was short lived. On June 10, 1864, during the Battle of Brice's Crossroads at Guntown, Mississippi, Ed was captured by Confederate soldiers. They were threatening to kill him until Alexander Bobo, his "master's" son and also a Confederate soldier, rescued him from the soldiers.
A passage from Peter Lewers, in the case of Lue Danner alias Bobo, for her widow's pension: " I am 50 years old of age; my post office address is Senatobia, Mississippi. I am a farmer. I was a private in Co. E of 59th US Colored Infantry and knew Edward Bobo as a private in my regiment but I forgot his company. I knew him well. He enlisted at Lagrange, Tennessee same time I did but we were put in different companies. I did not know him prior to our enlistment. He was with us til the Guntown fight, June 10, 1864, and there is where he disappeared."
A passage from Giles Partee, in the case of Lue Danner alias Bobo: "I am 50 years old; my post office is Como, Mississippi. I belonged to Squire S.B. Partee before the War who was an intimate friend and neighbor to Dr. William Bobo and our servants passed backwards and forwards and were intimate. I knew Ed and Lue Bobo, this claimant, and remember that they were married and lived together as husband and wife til he went off to the Army. He went off a Bobo and came back a Bobo, but after freedom he changed his last name to Danner after his former owners, and he and his family always went by that name after that......."
A document from his pension file. His description
was given as:
The 59th Colored Infantry
organized on March 11, 1864 from the 1st Tennessee Colored Infantry. This unit was
attached to the 1st Colored Brigade at Memphis, Tennessee in the Department of Tennessee
to June 1864. They also were attached to the 3rd Brigade that participated in Sturgis
Expedition to June 1864. The regiment participated in the Defenses of Memphis, District of
West Tennessee to July 1865. The 59th regiments service included post and garrison
duty at Memphis, Tennessee until June 1864. They also participated in Sturgis Expedition
from Memphis into Mississippi from June 1-13, 1864, the Battle of Brices Cross Roads
at Guntown, Mississippi on June 10, 1864, the Battle at Ripley on June 11, 1864, the
Battle at Davis Mill on June 12, 1864, Smiths Expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi from
July 5-21, 1864. The regiment also saw action again at Ripley, Mississippi on July 4,
1864, the Battle at Pontotoc on July 11-12, 1864, the Battle of Camargos Cross Roads
at Harrisburg, Mississippi on July 13, 1864, the Battle of Tupelo on July 14-15, 1864 and
at Old Town Creek on July 15, 1864. The regiment also did post and garrison duty at
Memphis, Tennessee until January 1866. The unit also participated in the repulse of Nathan
Bedford Forrests attack on Memphis on August 21, 1864. The entire unit was mustered
out on January 31, 1866.
Special Thanks to Angela Walton-Raji for her help and research
expertise and to my family,
Melvin J. Collier with questions or comments
about this website.