|1st Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry (African Descent)|
|Active||August 4, 1862 to December 13, 1864|
|Equipment||Austrian and Prussian muskets|
|Engagements||Skirmish at Island Mound|
Battle of Cabin Creek
Battle of Honey Springs
Battle of Poison Spring
The 1st Kansas Infantry (African Descent) was organized at Fort Scott, Kansas and mustered in as a battalion (six companies) on January 13, 1863 for three years. Four additional companies were recruited and mustered in between January 13 and May 2, 1863. It mustered in under the command of Colonel James M. Williams. As was custom at the time, the regiment was designated the 1st Kansas (Colored) Volunteer Infantry.
This regiment was recruited without federal authorization and against the wishes of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. James H. Lane, recruiting commissioner for Kansas territory north of the Kansas River, on August 4, 1862 authorized raising the regiment. It was the first African-American regiment to fight in combat with white soldiers during the Civil War, in the skirmish at Island Mound, in Bates County, Missouri.
The regiment was attached to Department of Kansas to June 1863. District of the Frontier, Department of Missouri, to January 1864. Unattached, District of the Frontier, VII Corps, Department of Arkansas, to March 1864. 2nd Brigade, District of the Frontier, VII Corps, to December 1864.
The 1st Kansas Infantry (African Descent) ceased to exist on December 13, 1864 when its designation was changed to the 79th U.S. Colored Troops.
Duty in the Department of Kansas October 1862, to June 1863. Action at Island Mound, Mo., October 27, 1862. Island Mound, Kansas, October 29. Butler, Mo., November 28. Ordered to Baxter Springs May, 1863. Scout from Creek Agency to Jasper County, Mo., May 16–19 (detachment). Sherwood, Mo., May 18. Bush Creek May 24. Near Fort Gibson May 28. Shawneetown, Kan., June 6 (detachment). March to Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, June 27-July 5, with supply train. Action at Cabin Creek July 1–2. Elk Creek near Honey Springs July 17. At Fort Gibson until September. Lawrence, Kan. July 27 (detachment). Near Sherwood August 14 Moved to Fort Smith, Ark., October, thence to Roseville December, and duty there until March, 1864. Horse Head Creek February 12, 1864. Roseville Creek March 20. Steele's Camden Expedition March 23-May 3. Prairie D'Ann April 9–12. Poison Springs April 18. Jenkins' Ferry April 30. March to Fort Smith, Ark., May 3–16, and duty there until December. Fort Gibson, C. N. September 16. Cabin Creek September 19. Timber Hill November 19.
The regiment lost at least 344 men during service; 5 officers and 173 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 165 enlisted men died of disease. No other Kansas regiment lost more men than the 1st Kansas Infantry (African Descent).
- Colonel James M. Williams
- Moore, Frank. The Rebellion Record, v. 6, (G.P. Putnam, 1863), pp. 52-54
- List of Kansas Civil War Units
- Skirmish at Island Mound
- Kansas in the Civil War
- Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (Des Moines, IA: Dyer Pub. Co.), 1908.
- Official Military History of Kansas Regiments During the War for the Suppression of the Great Rebellion (Leavenworth: W. S. Burke), 1870.