Private in the all-black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiment, Company B. Enlisted on 14 March 1863 from Oxford, Pennsylvania. He was 26 years old (he was probably closer to 20 years old), single and working as a farmer when he enlisted. He was wounded on 18 April 1865 at Boykins Mills, shot through his right hand. Mustered out 20 August 1865.
His brothers George and William Jay also served in Company B.