August 2010 •
The Charleston Museum
The collection consists of sixteen oversize sheets listing the free men of color who comprised various fire companies in the city of Charleston in the years 1863 and 1864. Nine different companies are included – Engine companies numbers 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 as well as a Hook and Ladder Company. There are two sheets, nearly exact duplicates, for all companies except 2 and 8; there are many minor variations from sheet to sheet. The headings on the printed forms include date of enrollment, name, age, height, eyes, hair, complexion, occupation, residence and remarks, the last column always being empty. Information for all other categories is given, with the date of enrollment in most forms being the same for all enrollees, except for those men who were members of the Hook and Ladder Company, suggesting that the date might actually be the day that the rolls were taken. These sheets supply a type of visual identification for Charleston free men of color not available in any other known sources.