Gravesite of Powhatan Beaty

Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor

There are more than 120 Black Civil War Soldiers buried in Union Baptist Cemetery. The best-known of them is Powhatan Beaty, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1865 for heroism at the Battle of Chaffin’s farm in Virginia.

During that battle, Union forces, under heavy fire, charged on the fortified positions of the Confederates. While Beaty was running toward the confederates, bullets hit his knapsack and knocked off his hat. Confederate resistance was so fierce that the Union Forces retreated. After the retreat, Beaty tried to give a drink of water to a dying comrade, and he discovered that there was a bullet hole in the canteen he was carrying, and all the water had drained out.

During the retreat, Company G’s color bearer, who was carrying the regimental flag, was killed; Beaty saw his unit’s flag lying in the mud, and he returned through about 600 feet of heavy enemy fire to retrieve it.

The regiment had suffered severe casualties in the failed charge. All of the officers except Sergeant Beaty had been killed, and most of the enlisted men had been killed or seriously wounded.

Beaty led a second attack with what was left of the unit. He successfully drove the Confederates from their positions.

After the war, Beaty became an actor. He did Shakespeare. He performed in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and in Washington, DC. He wrote a play called “Delmar, or Scenes in Southland,” which was performed privately.

Powhatan Beaty is buried here along with his son, A. Lee Beaty, who was born in 1869, four years after the war ended. A. Lee Beaty was a two-term member of the Ohio State Legislature. Then he became an assistant U.S. district attorney for southern Ohio, the first African American to hold this post. During the 1920’s, A. Lee Beaty successfully prosecuted a group of corrupt police officers and had them sent to prison.



Chris Hanlin, “Gravesite of Powhatan Beaty,” Cincinnati Sites and Stories, accessed April 20, 2024,