During the Civil War, he served as a Private in Company B of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first regiment in the United States made up entirely of enlisted men of color. He was 21 years old, single and working as a farmer when he enlisted on 25 February 1863 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mustered out 20 August 1865 with his regiment.
Fold3.com. "Records of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (Colored), 1863-1865." National Archives Catalog#577134. "Regimental and Company Books of Civil War Volunteer Union Organizations, compiled 1861 - 1865." Free Access Civil War Records 1-15 April 2018.