NP: np, nd . Partly printed document, completed in manuscript. 26cm. 2pp. Small vignette of an eagle and an American flag appears below "Volunteer Enlistment." Faint old fold lines, a very good example. The volunteer, John Parks, born in Franklin County, Arkansas, was aged 27, and by occupation a "laborer" when he affixed his mark to this document at Ft. Smith, Arkansas, on October 1, 1863. Parks was described as having black eyes, black hair, a yellow complexion, and being 5 ft. 8 in. tall. John Hayes Jr., 2nd Lieut., signed as recruiting officer for the 2nd Regiment of Kansas Colored Volunteers. Parks also signed, with his mark, on the verso of the document, volunteering to serve three years in the Army of the United States. Item #64504
Following President Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the U.S. military began actively recruiting black military units. The state of Kansas created two volunteer regiments of black recruits in 1863. The Second Kansas (Colored) Volunteer Infantry was authorized to organize in June 1863. According to the "Military History of Kansas Regiments," [Leavenworth: 1870], p. 256: "Recruiting officers were appointed in different parts of the State and enlistments carried on with all possible energy and promptness. Gen. Blunt was appointed by the Secretary of War Recruiting Commissioner, but the work devolved, from necessity, almost wholly upon Col. T.J. Anderson, then Major and Assistant Adjutant General, Army of the Frontier. Fort Scott was the designated rendezvous." Hayes, a lawyer from Corydon, Iowa when he joined the Union Army, was appointed as the recruiting officer for the Second Kansas (Colored) Volunteers, formed at Fort Scott, Kansas. The regiments were detailed to escort a supply train to Fort Smith, and more recruits were enlisted in Arkansas, as evidenced by this document.
Dudley Cornish's article in the Kansas Historical Quarterly in May 1953, "Kansas Negro Regiments in the Civil War," p.426-7, notes that: “[r]ecruiting for the Second Kansas Colored Volunteers began under good auspices in June, 1863, and by the middle of October ten companies were full, officered by battle-hardened enlisted men from various white regiments. Samuel J. Crawford, afterward governor of Kansas, was appointed colonel of this new regiment, and he played a vital role in making it what the Kansas historian William E. Connelley has called “a famous regiment.”
In November 1863, the 2nd Kansas regiment became part of the regular army, and was renamed the 11th US Infantry, Col. Steele commanding. Hayes received his appointment as a Lieutenant, and continued to raise recruits for the new 11th US Col'd Regiment on December 1. [Service records for John Hayes indicate he was appointed a Captain with the newly formed 11th U.S. Col'd Regiment in February or March 1864, and was mustered out of the service at the end of the war at the same rank]. The fate of John Parks is not known.