In November 1863, the United States Department of War gave Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton authority to raise an African-American infantry regiment to reach federal troop quotas. Reverend Willis Revels of Indianapolis’ Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church acted as recruiting officer, enlisting men statewide to form the 28th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops (USCT). New recruits were brought to Indianapolis and trained at Camp Fremont, located on land owned by prominent Indianapolis resident, Calvin Fletcher.
At the end of April 1864, six companies from the 28th USCT left for Washington, D.C. and soon after were involved in the Battle of the Crater at the Siege of Petersburg in Virginia where they experienced a large number of casualties. Following the surrender of the Confederate military, the 28th USCT was moved to what is now Texas as part of the United States’ role in French intervention within Mexico. The regiment finally returned to Indianapolis in early January 1866. The former site of Camp Fremont is located in Fletcher Place on the eastside of downtown Indianapolis. An Indiana Historical Bureau Marker commemorates the training camp’s location.