James Songo (aka James Sanger, James Sango)
(He is identified multiple times under each spelling throughout the records)

Company F,
3rd Pennsylvania Infantry, also known as 3rd U.S. Colored Infantry

Pension #816403



Enlisted/Mustered-in: 11 Jul 1863, at Camp William Penn, Chilton Hills, Philadelphia, PA

Honorably discharged/Mustered-out: 31 Oct 1865, Jacksonville, FL, and then later at Camp Cadwalader, Philadelphia, PA

(He allegedly served approximately four additional years in the Navy following the end of the Civil War, but no records were found during the pension consideration process to substantiate this).

James Songo/Sanger/Sango:

Two dates of birth given --

1. 10 Aug 1848 (per an affidavit signed as "James Sanger" on 31 Jul 1912, which states: "his statement of age at enlistment was wrong so as to be accepted"). (He apparently? claimed to be age 21 when he enlisted).

2. 10 Aug 1846 (per an affidavit signed as "James Songo" [or "Sango"] on 13 Dec 1912)

Born at: Smyrna, Kent Co, DE (per both the Jul 1912 and Dec 1912 affidavits) (one record from time of enlistment, not signed by him, states he was born in Philadelphia).
Son of: [not given in the pension records]

Date of death: [not given in the pension records]
at: [not given in the pension records]

Married to:
Never married (as of 13 Dec 1912)

No children.

James' residences at various times as noted in the pension records:

Philadelphia, PA (11 Little Oak Street) (prior to his enlistment) (He said he'd lived in Philadelphia "from time I was [one?] year old").
Mount Holly, Burlington Co, NJ (as of 12 Dec 1894)
Riverside, Burlington Co, NJ (as of 27 Jul 1899)
Riverside, Burlington Co, NJ (as of 13 Dec 1912) (on that date he stated: "At discharge I came to Riverside, NJ and have lived in vicinity of Riverside, NJ ever since - except that I served about 4 years in the Navy").

Among the affiants / witnesses for James:

(None with any names of apparent Delaware or southern New Jersey connection)


From an affidavit by James dated 27 Jul 1899: "That while employed as a sailor on board the Mayflower, U.S. Gunboat, in the year 1866, in the latter part of the summer of that year, while engaged in hoisting the anchor, one of the pauls broke and his right arm was struck and broken below the elbow. That it was in no wise [sic] the result of any vicious habits. Claimant is unable to furnish testimony of witnesses of the injury to right arm, for the reason it happened so long ago, and he does not know where to find any of the persons who were present, and does not now recall even their names."

However, the auditor for the Navy responded on 03 Jan 1900: "There are no rolls of the Mayflower on file in this office prior to Sept. 13/70, and the name of James Sango is not found in the rolls of that vessel from that date to March 31/74." It is unclear whether they were implying that the Mayflower did not exist prior to Sep 1870, or whether simply no records had survived from prior to that.

There were a number of pieces of returned correspondence in James' file, one occasion of which was explained by his lawyer in a letter (no date) with: "He has been out of the country at sea for some time and the Postmaster at Riverside, N.J. tells him a letter addressed to him had been returned because not called for. He desires to learn the status of his claim." The files contain at least two notices citing James' failure to appear or failure to comply with required steps in the pension application process. Another letter from his same lawyer (stamped received 12 Sep 1898) states: "Claimant now says he will obey order No. 7 if it shall be again issued to him. When before issued he had gotten into House of Correction in Phila, PA and was not able to obey it."

James was rejected for a pension on 07 Nov 1891 and again on 04 Dec 1900, in both cases due to not being disabled for manual labor. (It seems to have been standard practice for veterans to often have to apply multiple times before being approved, in part because the pension requirements changed over time as to what deemed a person eligible for a pension). Also, based on the contents of James' file, he apparently was never approved for a pension. One of the last items in the pension file is a letter from James dated 27 Nov 1913 which states "Sir, if there is anything for me in regards to my pension please let me know, 3rd Reg. U.S. Colored Troops, Your respectfully, James Sanger."

James is listed at various times as:

("Age 21") (date not apparent) (time of entry into service) 5' 5" tall, gray eyes, light yellow complexion, "inclined to sandy" hair, occupation: oysterman.
("Age 48") (Aug 1891) 5' 5" tall, 150 lbs, "is a seaman by occupation and was compelled to stop work on account of failing eyesight, worse at night. .he is at present following berry picking."
("Age 55") (Mar 1900) 5' 4&1/2" tall, 157 lbs.
("Age 64") (Jul 1912) 5' 5&1/2" tall, hazel eyes, light complexion, brown hair, occupation: laborer.
(Age not given) (Dec 1912) 5' 6" tall, 150 lbs., with hazel eyes, "gray, brown" hair, and light complexion. (Also: "ship tattooed on back of right hand, seald scar on left foot").



James has been stated by other researchers to be the son of an elder James Songo (no dates) and Mary Counsellor (b. ca. 1800 in DE). I have no other data to support this. Info I've received indicates that they (the elder James and Mary) also had children named Benjamin (b. 02 May 1828 in DE, d. 06 Feb 1914 in MI) and Mary (b. 03 Mar 1844 in DE, d. 21 Apr 1891 in NJ). Between the three purported offspring, this is quite a range of dates for having children but still possible, depending on when exactly the younger James was born (the ages he gives in the pension records put his birth anywhere between 1843 and 1848) and when exactly his purported mother Mary was born (ca. 1800).

Just came across this notation from (former? current?) listmember Ed Bush, dated 15 Feb 2000. (Ed is a descendant of the younger Mary Songo, who married Benjamin Durham):
"The James Songo who served in the Civil War could have been Mary's younger brother. However, he was not listed with the family in the 1850 Census when he was a young child."

On the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington DC, James' name is displayed (as "James Songo") on Plaque A-9.

Regimental history: To go to the official National Park Service's "Soldiers and Sailors" website, use this link.

In the boxes do the following:

under Last Name enter SONGO
under First Name enter JAMES
under Union or Confederate select "Union,"
under State (or Origin) select "US Colored Troops" from the alphabetical list of States
under Unit Number enter "3"
under Function select "Infantry"
Click "Submit Query"

Under the brief Regimental History there will be links to go to the specific soldiers, either via a search or via the full listing.

Brief history: 3rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry --

Organized at Camp William Penn, near Philadelphia, Pa., August 3-10, 1863. Ordered to Dept. of the South. Attached to 4th Brigade, Morris Island, S. C., 10th Corps, Dept. of the South, to November, 1863. 3rd Brigade, Morris Island, S. C., 10th Corps, to January, 1864. Montgomery's Brigade, District of Hilton Head, S. C., 10th Corps. to February, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Vodges' Division, District of Florida, Dept. of the South, to April, 1864. District of Florida, Dept. of the South, to October, 1864. 4th Separate Brigade, District of Florida, Dept. of the South, to July, 1865. Dept. of Florida to October, 1865.

SERVICE.-Siege of Forts Wagner and Gregg, Morris Island, S. C., August 20-September 7, 1863. Action at Forts Wagner and Gregg August 26. Capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg September 7. Operations against Charleston from Morris Island till January, 1864. Moved to Hilton Head, S. C., thence to Jacksonville, Fla., February 5-7, and duty there as Heavy Artillery till May, 1865. (1 Co. at Fernandina, Fla.) Expedition from Jacksonville to Camp Milton May 31-June 3, 1864. Front Creek July 15. Bryan's Plantation October 21. Duty at Tallahassee, Lake City and other points in Florida May to October, 1865. Mustered out October 31, 1865.


1. Does anyone know James' death date, where he died, or where he's buried? Presumably somewhere in the vicinity of Riverside, Burlington Co, NJ.?

2. Can anyone confirm whether the James was indeed the son of an elder James Songo and Mary Counsellor? What is the source for this claim?

3. Does anyone know how James' mother, Mary Counsellor Songo, is connected to the other Counsellors/Councilors of the DE area? (Proof of her being a Counsellor is stated to come from her son Benjamin's death certificate).

4. Does anyone have the birth or death dates for James' father, the elder James Songo?

5. Does anyone have the death date (or an accurate birth date) for James' mother, Mary Counsellor Songo?

6. Does anyone know of any other children of the elder James and Mary Counsellor Songo besides Benjamin, Mary, and (supposedly) James? Have death certificates been sought for the other children (if any) to confirm parentage?

7. Is there any connection between these two James Songos and the James Songo/Sango who was a Revolutionary War veteran from Kent Co, DE? Might he have been the father of the elder James, and thus the Civil War James' grandfather?

8. Is there a source for determining whether there existed a U.S. Gunboat Mayflower during the time James claims to have served on it?

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For those who may be new to the list, I have posted a few of these Civil War pension extractions previously, as has Paul Johnson and Joseph Romeo. To view some of the others, 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).

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







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



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