The Story of Powhatan Beaty : American Hero
- September, 18 2018
We take a moment to remember an American hero Powhatan Beaty. Powhatan was born into slavery on October 8, 1837, in Richmond, Virginia. He moved to Cincinnati, in 1849.
He was forced into military service along with many others serving in Cincinnati's Black Brigade. In 1863 he volunteered and joined the 5th U.S. Colored Troops, company G. He was promoted to First Sergeant on his second day with the 5th.
At the battle of Battle of Chaffin's Farm (Fort Harrison, VA). on September 29, 1864 Powhatan returned through 600 yards of enemy fire to retrieve the company flag. The regiment had suffered severe casualties in a failed charge. Of Company G's eight officers and eighty-three enlisted men who entered the battle, only sixteen enlisted men, including Powhatan, survived the attack. With no officers remaining, Powhatan took command of the company and led it through a second charge at the Confederate lines. The second attack successfully drove the Confederates from their fortified positions. For his actions he was awarded the Medal of honor on April 6th 1865.
After the war, Powhatan Beaty returned to Cincinnati and raised his family. His son, A. Lee Beaty, became an Ohio state legislator and an assistant U.S. District Attorney for southern Ohio. Powhatan became and accomplished actor both locally and nationally. He helped form Cincinnati's Literary and Dramatic Club. In 1888, became the organization's drama director. He lived out the rest of his life in Cincinnati and died at age seventy-nine on December 6, 1916; he is buried at Union Baptist Cemetery 4933 Cleves Warsaw Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45238.