Colonel Charles W. Fribley
8th U.S. Colored Troops

Photograph of Charles Fribley
as a Captain in the 84th Pennsylvania
Photograph courtesy of David Richards

Colonel Charles W. Fribley entered service as the 1st sergeant of Co. F, 84th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, in October 1861. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in May 1862, to 1st lieutenant sometime after, and to captain in October 1862. Fribley was appointed as colonel, 8th USCT in November 1863. Fribley served as assistant Adjutant-General on S.M. Bowman's staff for the Chancellorsville campaign. He was killed at Olustee.

Colonel Fribley's body was not recovered from the battlefield. Captain John Hamilton, commanding the Light Battery E, 3rd U.S. Artillery in his report of February 24th stated, "Col. Fribley had fallen mortally wounded, some time before, and had been placed on the foot board of one of my limbers. I saw him dead and directed one of his officers to take him off, as I had to use the limber to get off one on my guns. He was placed about Twenty-five feet to the right rear of my right piece, when I think he was left."

Confederate soldiers hated commanders of black regiments such as Fribley. If such Union leaders were captured during battle, they were often killed along with their black troops instead of being taken prisoner. When Confederate Brigader General William Gardner decided to send some of Fribley's personal belongings to his widow, he noted, "That I may not be misunderstood, it is due to myself to state that no sympathy with the fate of any officer commanding negro troops, but compassion for a widow in grief, had induced these efforts to recover for her relics which she must naturally value."

Attempts by Colonel Fribley's wife to recover the body on February 25 and 26 were unsuccessful.

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