On the Library of Congress website the description for a letter sent to Charles Sumner by Abraham Lincoln pertaining to the dependents of black and white soldiers 19 May 1864 has an apparent error. It states that Major Lionel F. Booth was an African-American soldier. This must be incorrect my research does not indicate Booth was an African-American but was a white officer commanding a regiment of the United States Colored Troops. There has been some confusion with this I have been aiding a person with research on Booth this person and a few others have taken the library's description as fact in regards to Major Lionel F. Booth. Booth served early in the war as a private in the US Regular Army’s - Second United States Infantry he has been noted as being a clerk for General Nathanial Lyon who was killed at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Mo. August 10, 1861. There is a possibility that Lionel F. Booth also served as the Quarter-Master Sergeant of the 1st Missouri Light Artillery before joining the USCT. There is more on Lionel F. Booth and his wife starting on page 108 in the book:
Confederate Heroines: 120 Southern Women Convicted by Union Military Justice
By Thomas Power Lowry
Published by LSU Press, 2006
ISBN 0807129909, 9780807129906
As an added source of information on African-American commissioned officers in the Civil War the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Missouri Commandery has posted an official MOLLUS list on line Lionel F. Booth is NOT listed:
LINK TO MOLLUS INFO.: http://home.usmo.com/~momollus/USCT.HTM
The supposed erroneous description from the Library of Congress:
Letter, Abraham Lincoln to Charles Sumner outlining the president's belief that the dependents of black and white soldiers should be treated equally, 19 May 1864.
(Abraham Lincoln Papers)
To anyone familiar with the life and career of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), it should come as no surprise that the widow of Maj. Lionel F. Booth, an African-American soldier, would be admitted to the White House and given a personal audience with the president. However, not only did Lincoln speak privately with Mary Elizabeth Wayt Booth, he penned this letter to Charles Sumner (1811-1874), who was both friend and critic, knowing that the senator from Massachusetts would pursue the issue of equal compensation for the wives and children of black soldiers who had given their lives in the cause of freedom. Major Booth had been the commanding officer at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and was killed by a sniper's bullet just hours before the fort fell and the victorious Confederates engaged in one of the most brutal massacres of the Civil War. The president's letter to Sumner appears to have initiated the legislative action that resulted in H.R. 406, Section 13,
which provided equal treatment for the widows and orphans of black soldiers. Interestingly, whatever her efforts in behalf of widows and orphans, there is no evidence that Mrs. Booth ever applied for or received a government pension.
John R. Sellers, Manuscript Division