Alfred Wilbank Ridgeway       

Company C

8th Pennsylvania Infantry, also known as
8th U.S. Colored Infantry

Pension #: MC (minor children) 367-671

Wife Sarah's death certificate
Find-A-Grave entry - Alfred
Find-A-Grave entry - wife Sarah
Find-A-Grave entry Daniel Coker (Sarah's 2nd husband)

Alfred W. Ridgeway is the brother of Cornelius Ridgeway, whose posting was sent immediately prior to this one. Some of the query items and notes in the lower portion of this posting are repeats of those included in either Cornelius Ridgeway's posting and/or Daniel Coker's posting. This is due to the inter-connectedness of the three men and their families.

Alf'd Ridgeway, Co. C, 8 U.S.C.T --
Immanuel Union "Manship" Cemetery, Cheswold, Kent, Delaware

Above, left photo taken Summer 1990 by Katherine Newlin Thomas; right photo taken Aug 2002

Wife Sarah 's photo taken Aug 1991



Enlisted 24 Sep 1863.

Mustered out/honorably discharged 10 Nov 1865, Brownsville, Cameron Co, TX.

Alfred Ridgway/Ridgeway:
Date of birth: [not given] at [not given]
Date of death: 25 Aug 1883 at [not given] (implied as Kent Co, DE)

Married to:
Sarah Ridgway (noted as having been Alfred's "second cousin") on 18 Jan 1860 at Kenton, Kent Co, DE
Her date of birth: ca. 1847 (according to these records) at [not given]
Her date of death: [not given] at [not given]

Their children:

Walter P., b. ca. 1869.
Wilhelmina, b. 25 May 1871
Rose Ella, b. 02 Apr 1875
Anna Elizabeth, b. 08 Jul 1877
Susan, b. 11 Apr 1880
Estella (twin), b. 25 Jun 1882
Sadie Bell (twin), b. 25 Jun 1882

(After the death of Alfred, Sarah married: Daniel Coker on 17 Mar 1885 at Fork Branch, Kent, DE)
(See separate posting for info from the pension records of Daniel Coker).

Among the affiants / witnesses for Alfred and/or Sarah:

Elizabeth Harmon, age 49 as of 16 Oct 1890 (stated she was bridesmaid to Sarah at her wedding to Alfred)

John M. Mosely, age 54 as of 07 Oct 1891

Thomas C. Lewis, age 35 as of 13 Oct 1891 (stated Alfred was working for him on his farm when Alfred was "taken sick with the illness that proved to be his death sickness.")

Rev. J.E.A.D. Grigsby, aged 37 as of 13 Nov 1891 (Minister of the Gospel, who married widow Sarah to 2nd husband Daniel Coker on 17 Mar 1885).

Sylvester Ridgway
Greensbeary Ridgway
Cornelius Ridgway (brother of Alfred).
Mary M. Goldsborough, age 26 as of 11 Jul 1891.**
Alfred Johnson
Rebecca Johnson

Residence of Sarah & children during pension record period: Kent County, DE.


Alfred was in the same unit as his younger brother, Cornelius Ridgeway (John C. Carter's great-great-grandfather) (who was shot in the left chest at the Battle of Chapin's/Chaffin's Farm, VA, and survived).

Following the death of Alfred, Thomas H. Howell became the court-appointed guardian on behalf of the five minor children of Alfred and Sarah, "in the matter of the pension claim." Thomas stated in an affidavit that he had known both Alfred and Sarah prior to their marriage, and had lived in the same neighborhood. He also stated that he drove the hearse for Alfred's funeral.

One of the affidavits was given by William E. Smith, age 56, dated 28 Aug 1891, who stated that he was an undertaker in Dover, Kent County, DE, (having been one for 21 years) and that had buried Alfred on 27 Aug 1883.

Alfred & Sarah's daughter Rose Ella was described in the pension records as "permanently afflicted with spine disease."

Perhaps the most interesting side-note in these records is the specific reference (in an affidavit given by Thomas H. Howell, the court-appointed guardian of the minor children after Alfred's death), that Sarah Ridgway & Alfred Ridgeway were second cousins prior to their marriage. (See further discussion on this in Query item #4, below).



Of the 7 children named above, the youngest 5 were the ones most mentioned in the pension records of Alfred, although it was noted on a few of the affidavits that a "6th child," (Wilhelmina) had also been under the age of 16 at the time of their father's death. (16 was the cut-off age for pension-assistance to minor children). Only one document (dated 15 Dec 1883), mentioned the son Walter P. Ridgway, and gave his age as 14 at the time (although, according to other sources, he would have been 16 about a month after his father's death in Aug 1883). At any rate, he was left off of any subsequent documents in the pension records, likely because most of them were dated ca. 1890-91 or later, and he would have long since been an adult by then. Also, since the 5 younger children were all female and still living with their mother ca. 1890-91, they were likely viewed as being in more need of pension funds. Although the "6th child" Wilhelmina was later noted as having also been under the age of 16 at the time of their father's death, no such notation was given for Walter, likely because of his being male and/or the fact that he turned 16 less than a month after their father's death. Based on information from other sources along with the pension records, following is a complete list of Alfred & Sarah's family, (as well as her second husband):

Alfred Wilbank Ridgway/Ridgeway, (son of William Ridgway/Ridgeway, Sr. and Deborah Handsor)
b. ca. 1838, Sussex Co, DE.
d. 25 Aug 1883.

m. Sarah J. Ridgway (daughter of Tilghman Ridgway, Sr. and Sina Mosley)
b. 15 Apr 1847.
d. 22 Apr 1919, Dover, Kent Co, DE.

Their children:

1. Elizabeth Ridgway, b. ca. 1860
2. George Ridgway, b. ca. 1861
3. Charles H. Ridgway, b. ca. 1864 (married Emily Miller)
4. Melinda "Linda" Ridgway, b. ca. 1867, d. 27 Dec 1921 (headstone gives birth date as 02 Mar 1864) (death certificate gives birth date as 15 Mar 1865). (married Mr. Goldsborough/Goldsboro)
5. Walter Proctor Ridgway, Sr., b. 23 Sep 1867, d. 02 Jul (year not given) (married Rhoda E. Palmer)
6. Wilhelmina/Wilhemina Ridgway, b. 25 May 1871, d. 13 Jun 1948 (death certificate gives birth date as 25 May 1883, married Mr. Moore)
7. Rose Ella/Roseannah Ridgway, b. 02 Apr 1875
8. Anna Elizabeth Ridgway, b. 08 Jul 1877
9. Susan Ridgway, b. 11 Apr 1880 (married Fred Harmon)
10. Estella Ridgway (twin), b. 25 Jun 1882
11. Sadie Bell Ridgway (twin), b. 25 Jun 1882

After Alfred's death, Sarah married Daniel Coker (son of James Coker and Eliza Jackson), b. ca. 1841, d. 05 Mar 1898

Their children:

1. Alfred Wilbank Ridgeway Coker, b. 07 Mar 1887, d. 1935 (married Margaret A. Carney)
2. Alonzo Coker, b. 28 May 1890, d. 06 May 1957 (married Rebecca Carney)

It is interesting to note that the first child born of Sarah and her 2nd husband, Daniel Coker, was named after her first husband, Alfred Wilbank Ridgeway.

Alfred is buried at Immanuel Union/Manship Cemetery, Cheswold, Kent Co, DE. Sarah is buried at Fork Branch Cemetery, Cheswold, Kent Co, DE

On the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington DC, Alfred's name is displayed on Plaque A-20

Some additional sites with info on the 8th U.S.C.T.:


8th U.S. Colored Troops Infantry Regiment (Union) -- statistics:

  • Organized on Nov 1 1863 at Camp William Penn, Philadelphia, PA
  • Enlistment term: 3 years
  • Mustered out on Nov 10 1865 at Philadelphia, PA

  • Available statistics for total numbers of men listed as:

  • Enlisted or commissioned: 382
  • Drafted: 925
  • Killed or died of wounds (Officers): 4
  • Killed or died of wounds (Enlisted men): 115
  • Died of disease (Enlisted men): 132
  • Prisoner of war: 37
  • Died while prisoner of war: 18
  • Disabled: 62
  • Missing: 5
  • Deserted: 42
  • Discharged: 111
  • Mustered out: 787
  • Transferred out: 1

  • Historical notes and Reports of the 8th U.S. Colored Troops Infantry Regiment -- some history while Alfred Ridgeway was in service:

    Eighth U. S. Colored Infantry

    Reports of Capt. Romanzo C. Bailey, Eighth U. S. Colored Infantry, of engagement at Olustee.

    HDQRS. EIGHTH REGT. U. S. COLORED TROOPS, February 24, 1864.

    SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken in the late battle of Olustee, Fla., on the 20th instant, by the Eighth Regt. U. S. Colored Troops, Col. Charles W. Fribley commanding:

    About the battle at Olustee, Florida, Feb 20 1864 --

    Casualties and losses:

  • Union killed: 203
  • Union wounded: 1152
  • Union captured/missing: 506
  • Total Union losses: 1861
  • Confederate killed: 93
  • Confederate wounded: 847
  • Confederate captured/missing: 6
  • Total Confederate losses: 946

    Accounts and reports: OLUSTEE, FL (Ocean Pond), FEB. 20th, 1864

    Olustee, Fla., Feb. 20 1864. Florida Expedition.

    About 3 p m. the advance of the expedition, Col. Guy V. Henry's brigade of cavalry, came upon the Confederate pickets somewhat to the east of Olustee.

    They were soon driven back to their supports, which opened fire, when a portion of the 7th Conn. cavalry was deployed as skirmishers and a battery placed in position to develop the Confederate force and position.

    It was the intention of Brig.-Gen. Truman Seymour, commanding, to engage the enemy in front with artillery, meanwhile throwing out a brigade to fall upon the Confederate left. The disposition was accordingly made, the cavalry skirmishers called in and the 7th N. H. deployed in their places, but the troops were hardly in position before the New Hampshire regiment broke and fled in confusion.

    The 8th U. S. colored infantry moving into the same position, also broke and fled after its colonel had been killed.

    The 54th Mass. colored infantry, then occupied the position and the fighting continued sharp until dark, the whole Federal force except the cavalry being actively engaged.

    After dark Seymour withdrew, abandoning 6 pieces of artillery.

    His losses were 1,800 in killed, wounded and missing, and 39 horses. The Confederate casualties were about 250 killed and wounded.

    Source: The Union Army, Vol. 6, p. 657


    After leaving the railroad along which we had been advancing until within about 1,000 yards of the enemy, Col. Fribley received, orders to ''put his regiment in,'' when we were ordered to change direction to the left, moving now in double-quick time by the right flank on a line nearly parallel with the railroad and about 300 yards to its right. We were soon under fire of the enemy, when our line of battle was formed under a terrific fire of musketry at short range, we apparently being opposed by the entire left wing of the enemy, who very soon poured in a deadly fire on our left flank, which was unprotected wholly. Col. Fribley now ordered the regiment to fall back slowly, which we did, firing as we retired, being unable to withstand so disastrous a fire. The order has just reached me on the extreme right when the colonel fell mortally wounded. The command now devolved on Maj. Burritt, who soon received two wounds and retired from the field, the regiment at this time engaging the enemy with steadiness, and holding the ground for some time near Hamilton's battery, which we were trying to save. We here lost 3 color-sergeants and 5 of the color guard while attempting to save one gun, but we were driven back, leaving the gun and, as I afterward learned, the color beside it during the excitement.

    I now learned that I was in command of the regiment, and seeing that a regiment at least of the enemy was moving down the railroad to again attack our left, and knowing that our ammunition was exhausted, I took the responsibility to withdraw the regiment from the field, moving by the right flank, slowly and in good order, passing in the rear of the Fifty-fourth Regt. Colored Troops, (Massachusetts), where we remained until the retreat commenced, when we with the Seventh New Hampshire Regt. guarded the wagon train into Barber's.

    The regiment went into the engagement with 21 officers and 544 men. Our losses were as follows: Officers killed, 1; wounded and missing, 1; wounded, 8; total, 10. Enlisted men killed, 65; wounded and missing, 49; missing, 15; wounded, 204; total, 333. Total killed, wounded, and missing, 343.

    Having taken command of the regiment at a late period of the engagement I cannot give as accurate a report as I might under other circumstances, but the above is, I believe, a true report of everything that came to my notice during the battle, and in conclusion permit me to say that both officers and men did their duty to the extent of their ability.

    I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    R. C. BAILEY, Capt., Cmdg. Eighth Regt. U. S. Colored Troops.

    Lieut. E. L. MOORE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.


    HDQRS. EIGHT U. S. COLORED TROOPS, Jacksonville, Fla., March 10, 1864. SIR: I have the honor to make the following statement in relation to the loss of the national color of the Eighth Regt. U. S. Colored Troops, at the battle of Olustee, Fla., on the 20th ultimo:

    I will call your attention to the fact that I was, at the time the color was lost, in command of my company on the right of the regiment, which post I kept until, noticing that the color company was nearly annihilated, both officers being disabled also, I went with the few men that I had left (about 20) to its assistance observing only the regimental color, which I ordered to fall back with my men, and did not at the time notice that the national color was gone. Having learned at this time that I was in command of the regiment, I made every effort to bring the men off the field (our ammunition being exhausted) in order, they having been driven back from the battery where the color in question was lost, as I learned from Lieut. E. Lewis, Company F, of this regiment, whose statement I inclose, with the signatures of those officers who were present at the time.

    I will here state that of 43 men of the color company who went into the action 30 were killed, wounded, and missing, losing 5 of the color guard and 3 sergeants, who at different times seized the colors while attempting to save the battery, beside which they were planted by Lieut. Lewis, who left them to stop the horses belonging to the battery, which he did, and delivered them to one of the drivers, when he was compelled to fall back, leaving the color with the gun.

    I believe the above to be a correct statement of the facts as far as II am acquainted with them, and hope that no stigma will be attached to our regiment for what was, I believe, the unavoidable loss of our colors.

    I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    R. C. BAILEY, Capt., Comdg. Eighth Regt. U. S. Colored Troops.

    Lieut. R. M. HALL, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.


    Report of Lieut. Elijah Lewis, Eighth U. S. Colored Infantry, of engagement at Olustee.


    SIR: In pursuance to verbal orders from regimental headquarters, I have the honor to make the following report in reference to the loss of the colors of our regiment at the battle of Ocean Pond, Fla., February 20, 1864:

    After the colonel was killed an order to fall back was given by Maj. Burritt, who was immediately after wounded and carried off the field. The enemy's fire at this time was very severe, and my company, having had a large number killed and wounded, fell back in considerable confusion. In the retrograde movement we did not move directly to the rear, but obliquely to our right, thus passing near where the colors were. My attention was directed to a flag lying on the ground. I picked it up; it was our national color. An officer of the battery now rode up and said, in words as nearly as I can recollect, ''Don't leave that battery; bring your flag and rally the men around it.'' I carried the colors up to the gun, when Lieut. Norton, of Company K, said, ''Don't carry that flag; give it to one of the men, and help form some kind of a line.'' Lieut. A. F. Ely also came to assist in collecting the men together. At this time the horses attached to a limber of one of the guns, having no one to control them, started to the rear, breaking through the small number I was endeavoring to rally. I caught the near leader by the bridle and succeeded, with the help of some of our men, in stopping them. They were then taken in charge by one of the drivers of the battery. The fire from the enemy now became so destructive we could not keep our men in line. We were in disorder and falling back when Capt. Bailey (on whom the command of the regiment now devolved) came and gave the order for us to retire.

    In conclusion I would beg leave to state that both officers of the color company were severely wounded, that two color-sergeants were killed and another wounded, and half the color guard wounded or killed. I do not know on whom the responsibility of losing the colors should properly rest. We had two stand of colors belonging to the regiment; I was misled by seeing one of them being carried out, thinking both were there. I do not know whether these facts are stated in the consecutive order in which they happened, but they are as nearly correct as it was possible for me to remember amid the excitement and confusion of that sanguinary day.

    Respectfully, your obedient servant,

    E. LEWIS, First Lieut., Eighth Regt. U. S. Colored Troops.

    Lieut. J. E. RICHARDSON, Adjutant Eighth U. S. Colored Troops.


    Report of Lieut. Andrew F. Ely, Eighth U. S. Colored Infantry, of engagement at Olustee.

    JACKSONVILLE, FLA., March 10, 1864. SIR: In obedience to orders from regimental headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following statement in regard to the loss of our national colors at Olustee, Fla., February 20, 1864:

    I was near Lieut. Lewis when he picked up the colors and saw him carry them toward the battery on our left. I called to the men to rally around the colors and save the battery. Lieut. Norton also attempted to rally those on my left. We succeeded in bringing up a fragment of the regiment within a few years of the battery, when the horses of one of the guns came rushing onto our little line, throwing us into some confusion, I think at this time Lieut. Lewis gave the colors to one of the men. I saw him strike one of the horses with his sword, and in conjunction with some others seize the horses by the bits to stop them. He did not get the colors again, and we commenced falling back obliquely to the right in obedience to an order from Capt. R. C. Bailey, then commanding the regiment. I saw a corporal carrying our battle-flag, and supposing they had the other, paid no further attention to the matter.

    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    A. F. ELY, Second Lieut., Eighth U. S. Colored Troops.

    Lieut. RICHARDSON, Adjutant Eighth U. S. Colored Troops.

    Source: Official Records PAGE 311-65 S. C., FLA., AND ON THE GA. COAST. [CHAP. LIII. [Series I. Vol. 35. Part I, Reports and Correspondence. Serial No. 65.]


    Reports of Maj. George E. Wagner, Eighth U. S. Colored Troops, of operations August 14-21, September 28-30, and October 13.

    HDQRS. EIGHTH REGT. U. S. COLORED TROOPS, Near Point of Rocks, Va., August 22, 1864. MAJ.: I have the honor to submit the following of the part taken by the regiment under my command during the recent movement on the north side of the James River:

    On the morning of the 14th instant, pursuant to orders from the general commanding, I reported to Col. Wooster, Twenty-ninth Connecticut, commanding defenses at Deep Bottom, and was ordered to remain within the entrenchments. About 4 p.m. received an order from Gen. Birney to rejoin our brigade. Did so immediately, and was directed by Lieut.-Col. Haskell, commanding, to form my regiment on the extreme left of the brigade. A little before sundown the right of the brigade changed, and moved my regiment by the left flank in support of them, having a company deployed as skirmishers. The position I was directed to occupy I held until 11 p.m., when I withdrew, leaving two companies as pickets, who were to return to the entrenchments. On the 16th instant, in accordance with orders from Col. Wooster, I moved my regiment at 4 p.m. to near the picket-line, and deployed them as skirmishers, just in rear of the pickets. About 6 p.m. the order was given to move forward and take possession of the Kingsland road, which I did, though not without meeting with some opposition in the woods on the right. At 8 p.m. received orders to withdraw, which I did without molestation from the enemy, and returned to my camp. On the afternoon of the 17th moved with the Twenty-ninth Connecticut, Col. Wooster commanding, and recrossed the river, crossing it at the Tenth Army Corps. Early on the morning of the 18th, in compliance with orders from the general commanding division, I moved my regiment to the extreme front, and was ordered by Col. Shaw, commanding brigade, to take position on the left of the brigade behind the breast-works. There was some picket-firing in my front during the fore part of the day, which settled into an attack upon the pickets by the enemy about 5 p.m. At this time our pickets were pressed back by the enemy's skirmish line and came running within the entrenchments. On going to the right of my line, where the firing at this time was heaviest, I discovered that the regiment that had been supporting me on that flank had been withdrawn, leaving my right wing entirely unprotected. I immediately deployed a company to cover me in that direction as far as possible. The enemy pressed forward to the works on my right and to the edge of the woods in my front, but were soon compelled by the severity of my fire to retire. They kept up continual skirmishing until late at night, but did not again press back the pickets. During the remainder of the time my regiment was on the north side of the river they were not engaged with the enemy.

    The conduct of my officers and men was all I could wish.

    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    GEO. E. WAGNER, Maj., Cmdg.

    Maj. R. S. DAVIS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.


    HDQRS. EIGHTH REGT. U. S. COLORED TROOPS, Chaffin's Farm, Va., October 6, 1864. SIR: I have the honor to make the following report to the commanding general of the part taken by my regiment in the late movements against Richmond:

    I received orders on the 28th of September to hold my command in readiness to move at 3 p.m. About 5 o'clock it, with the balance of the brigade, started, crossing the James River at Aiken's Landing, and halted at 3.30 a.m. on the 29th at Deep Bottom. At daybreak we were again on the move, and, with the remainder of the brigade, formed in the woods to the right, experiencing a slight shelling. Shortly after we again started and moved along the New Market road to its junction with the Mill road. Here we were formed in line of battle in front of the enemy's strong position at Laurel Hill. I was ordered to advance four companies, under Capt. Cooper, to charge in a deployed line on the fort in my immediate front. They advanced to within less than 200 yards on the works under a terrific fire of grape and canister.

    Capt. Cooper seeing it would be useless to attempt a charge with his small force halted and opened on the enemy's gunners. I was then directed to take four more companies and charge the fort. On arriving on the line of the first four companies I halted to reconnoiter the position of the enemy and the probable success of an attack. I soon became convinced that I could arrive at no other result with my eight small companies (in all not numbering 250 men) than to have them slaughtered and still make no impression general, but told him I would go ahead if he ordered it. He sent me word to remain where I was and hold the line. I kept up a skirmish all the afternoon with the enemy, when at sundown he moved with a heavy force against my left flank, turning it and getting to my left and rear. I immediately ordered a company from the right of my line and double-quicked them to the left, driving the enemy back to their forts. Soon after I was relieved by the Seventh U. S. Colored Troops and my regiment returned to the during this day's fighting were 4 officers wounded, 7 enlisted men killed, and 42 enlisted men wounded.

    On the morning of the 30th my regiment, with the balance of the brigade, moved to the left, and I was ordered to throw up a line of entrenchments in front of it. While busily engaged at this orders came to be ready to move, and I was soon afterward ordered to move into the trenches on the right of the Forty-fifth U. S. Colored Troops. It was at this time the enemy charged on Gen. Paine's command. My regiment moved into on the double-quick, but took no active part in the engagement. During this movement I lost 14 enlisted men wounded. Since then my regiment has been doing duty in the trenches.

    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    GEO. E. WAGNER, Maj., Cmdg. Regt.

    Capt. M. BAILEY, Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brig., Third Div., Tenth Army Corps.


    HDQRS. EIGHTH U. S. COLORED TROOPS, In the Field, October 14, 1864. SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by my regiment in the movement of yesterday: When the division formed for an advance on the enemy's position I was ordered by Brig.-Gen. Birney to deploy my command as skirmishers so as to cover the front of the division and extend 200 paces beyond its left flank, to connect with and conform to the movements of the skirmish line of Gen. Ames' division on my right. An advance being ordered we moved forward through a wood with a dense undergrowth, encountering the enemy's skirmishers and driving them from one line of rail breast-works and two lines of pits till my center came in contact with a line of battle. This stopped an advance there. I continued swinging forward my right till I was close to the enemy's works. An examination proved a strong line of entrenchments in my front, a battery to my left, and one immediately in front of my right, all strongly manned. I reported these facts to Gen. Birney, and was by him ordered to find out as much as possible of the enemy's position and strength, and in case of the line of Gen. Ames' division advanced to form in echelon to the left of it. I could obtain no further information of the enemy's position, but engaged his skirmish line with varied success till 2 p.m., when I was relieved by the Seventh U. S. Colored Troops.

    During the engagement I lost 4 officers wounded, 4 enlisted men killed, 27 wounded, and 5 missing.

    Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    GEO. E. WAGNER, Maj., Cmdg.

    Lieut. IRA H. EVANS, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 3d Div., 10th Army Corps.

    Source: Official Records CHAP. LIV.] THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN. PAGE 779-87 [Series I. Vol. 42. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 87.]


    Report of Col. Samuel C. Armstrong, Eighth U. S. Colored Troops.

    HDQRS. EIGHTH U. S. COLORED TROOPS, Near Petersburg, Va., April 20, 1865. SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Eighth U. S. Colored Troops in the late campaign:

    The regiment crossed the James River at Varina Landing March 29 [28], 1865; the following day marched to Hatcher's Run, and there encamped before the defenses of Petersburg. On the 31st was ordered as a support to Gen. Turner's provisional division, Twenty-fourth Army Corps. The day after massed for an attack on the defenses of Petersburg. On the morning of the 2d entered the outer line of works, which had been abandoned by the enemy, and marched at once to the interior and principal line protecting the city; massed for an attack on one of the main forts; sent forth Capt.'s Newland and Camp with their companies as skirmishers, who advanced handsomely and close up to the enemy's works, driving their skirmishers, this under a brisk fire of musketry and shells. The order for attack was countermanded. Early on the morning of the 3d the regiment was deployed as skirmishers, with orders to press the enemy's works and ascertain if they were still present and develop their strength. The line advanced just before daylight and found the enemy's works abandoned; took possession of three pieces of artillery and several caissons and wagons left in the works. Capt. Camp, Company I, was first to enter the line, immediately followed by Maj. Pell. The regiment was at once advanced on and into Petersburg, receiving a number of deserters and a most cheering and hearty welcome from the colored inhabitants of the city, whom their presence had made free. Same day (3d) marched to Sutherland's Station, on the Cox road. The day after was train guard. On the 5th, 6th, and 7th made severe marches. Reported to Gen. Foster on the 8th, and made a long and most exhausting march of thirty-five miles. April 9, moved out of camp at 3 a.m., and shortly afterward were ordered to the support of Sheridan's cavalry, which was retreating in disorder and attempting to break through our line. Formed line of battle; arrested the progress of the enemy. Capt. Newland at once deployed his company as skirmishers, and assisted in driving back the enemy's skirmishers and line of battle. Soon after marched to another position on the left, where it remained to April 11. On that day marched for Petersburg, arriving at the defenses of the city April 17, 1865.

    It is impossible to name any officers as having specially distinguished themselves, all were so zealous and efficient in the discharge of their duties.

    I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,

    S. C. ARMSTRONG, Col. Eighth U. S. Colored Troops.

    Lieut. LYON, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

    Source: Official Records PAGE 1237-95 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. [CHAP. LVIII. [Series I. Vol. 46. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 95.]


    1. Does anyone have any further info on Alfred & Sarah's children's spouses? (In particular, what was the first name of Melinda/Malinda "Linda" Ridgway's husband, Mr. Goldsborough / Goldsboro?) (The informant on her death certificate was a Benjamin Goldsboro. Was this her husband or a son?) (An 80-year-old widowed Benjamin Goldsboro died on 29 Apr 1939--born 11 Feb 1858--who was buried at Fork Branch, according to his death certificate--same place as Melinda's burial. Is this her husband? Is he buried next to her at Fork Branch?)

    (By the way, Melinda's death certificate lists her parents' names as Alfred Ridgway and Sarah TILLMAN. Why would Sarah's father's FIRST name be listed as her maiden name?) (And, just to make matters as confusing as possible, Linda's sister Wilhelmina Ridgway Moore's death certificate lists the parents' names as Alfred Ridgway and Sarah MOSLEY. Mosley was Sarah's MOTHER'S maiden name, not Sarah's).

    ** 2. Is the "Mary M. Goldsborough" (listed above as an affiant/witness for Alfred & Sarah) (and who was age 26 as of 11 Jul 1891) one and the same as Melinda "Linda" Goldsborough / Goldsboro? In other words, was her full name Mary Melinda "Linda" Goldsborough / Goldsboro? The age fits.

    3. Does anyone have any further info on Alfred & Sarah's children's death dates/locations? (Other than Melinda / Linda and Wilhelmina). The Susie Harmon who was listed as a beneficiary on Sarah's life insurance policy (per the claim submitted by Linda Goldsborough on 06 Jun 1919) was undoubtedly Sarah & Alfred's daughter Susan Ridgway Harmon. Although it seems odd that the life insurance was paid out to Linda instead of the designated beneficiary, Susan, this was probably to reimburse Linda for various funeral expenses. At any rate, it would seem safe to assume that Susan was still alive as of 06 Jun 1919, and that she therefore lived well into the period when death certificates were the norm. Does anyone know when/where Susan died?

    4. As noted above, a notation in the pension records (in an affidavit given by Thomas H. Howell, the court-appointed guardian of the minor children after Alfred's death), states that Sarah Ridgway & Alfred Ridgeway were actually second cousins prior to their marriage. This is valuable info, as it points toward a connection between Tilghman Ridgway (Sarah's father) (aka Tilghman JACK) (born ca. 1815-19) and William Ridgeway (Alfred's father) (born ca. 1804). I have long been eager to discover this connection, but it has remained elusive. Does anyone have any information which would explain how Alfred and Sarah were "second cousins" prior to their marriage?

    As I noted in a post on this subject to the group a few years ago:

    The exact connection depends on Sarah's, Thomas', and/or the writer's interpretation of "second cousin." Growing up, I was taught to refer to my parents' first cousins as my second cousins, whereas later in life I learned that by genealogical definition they were my "first cousins once removed." A true second cousin would be of the same generational level as oneself (i.e., two second cousins would be the respective children of two first cousins). But who knows if people of Sarah and Alfred's era abided by the precise definition of "second cousin."

    (Of course, there also remains the possibility that their second-cousin relationship was not through the Ridg(e)way line at all, but rather through one or both maternal lines. Although there would presumably be no necessity of listing the "second cousin" status down for any reason other than to explain why Sarah's maiden name was the same surname as her husband's). Another unsolved mystery is why Tilghman & some of his family members have occasionally been noted in various records with the last name of "Jack" instead of Ridgway.

    5. Alfred's parents were William Ridgway / Ridgeway, Sr. and Deborah "Deby" Handsor / Hanzer. Does anyone know who Deborah's parents were? She migrated from Sussex County to Kent County with her husband and children ca. 1854.

    6. Does anyone know of a photograph of Alfred? Or of Sarah?

    To view some of the other
    Civil War pension extractions, as well as an explanatory note, please see the following page of the Mitsawokett site:

    (Once on the page, scroll down below the Index to see the Overview).

    Please let me know if anyone has any questions: 
    John C. Carter

    Ancestry of Alfred Wilbank Ridgeway and Sarah Ridgeway Ridgeway Coker


    About the name 'Walter Proctor Ridgeway" --

    From G.D.wolfwalkswithher R.P.Wright-Morris, Feb 03, 2001: "...Walter Proctor? Ridgeway,Sr. My Mom has always said from the time I can remember that her father's middle name is Alan. When I told her everyone else is saying that it is Proctor, she gets real stern about it. She said she should know her own father's name.

    Reply by John Carter 3/29/01 --

    Received a couple of items about the middle name of Walter Proctor Ridgeway, and thought I would pass them along to you.

    One place that lists him as "Walter P. Ridgeway," is in the pension records of his father, Alfred W. Ridgeway. Specifically, in a Widow's Claim for Pension, dated 15 Dec 1883, it lists the children of Alfred W. Ridgeway and Sarah Ridgeway Ridgeway who were under age 16 at the time of their father's death (which was on 25 Aug 1883). The children listed are:

    Walter P. Ridgeway, age 14
    Wilhemina Ridgeway, age 12
    Roseanna/Rose Ella Ridgeway, age 8
    Ann E. Ridgeway, age 6
    Susan Ridgeway, age 3
    Estella Ridgeway, age 1 yr. 6/12 months
    Sadie Bell Ridgeway, (twin), age 1 yr. 6/12 months

    Also, the 1880 census for East Dover shows the following household:

    Ridgaway, Alfred age 44
    Sarah age 33,
    Elizabeth age 20,
    George age 19,
    Charles H Age 16,
    Walter Proctor age 11,
    Willimnor (sic) age 9 ,
    Roseannah age 5,
    Ann Elizabeth age 3,
    Susie age 9/12,

    So, here are two separate sources, both of which support that his middle name was Proctor.







    "The History and Genealogy of the
    Native American Isolate Communities
    of Kent County, Delaware, and
    Surrounding Areas on the Delmarva Peninsula
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