b. 1840 or 1845 St Mary's County, Maryland. d. 24/12/1866 Indianola, Texas.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/09/1864 Chaffins Farm, Virginia.
Barnes was born and raised in St. Mary's County Maryland and worked as a free tenant farmer there before enlisting in the Army from Norfolk, Virginia, on February 11, 1864. He joined as a private into Company C of the 38th United States Colored Infantry Regiment. His enlistment papers record his age as 23, implying a birth year of 1840 or 1841, but other sources give his birth as 1845.
At the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, on September 29, 1864, Barnes' regiment was among a division of black troops assigned to attack the center of the Confederate defenses at New Market Heights. The defenses consisted of two lines of abatis and one line of palisades manned by Brigadier General John Gregg's Texas Brigade. The attack was met with intense Confederate fire; over fifty percent of the black troops were killed, captured, or wounded. Barnes was awarded the Medal of Honor. His medal was issued six months after the battle, on April 6, 1865, and he was promoted to Sergeant another three months later, on July 1, 1865.
Barnes remained in the Army after the war, traveling to Texas with his regiment. He died of tuberculosis at an Army hospital in Indianola on December 24, 1866.
Among the first to enter the enemy's works; although wounded.
BURIAL LOCATION: SAN ANTONIO NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS.
Section MA, Grave 86
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