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March Corprew

overview

Afro-Union Army patriot, hero and community builder.

March Corprew (1837-1924) (aka Sgt. Morts Corpin) was enslaved on a plantation in Norfolk County, VA. He volunteered to fight in the United States Army, and mustered on December 22, 1863. Sgt. Corprew bravely fought in the battles of Suffolk, Chaffin's Farm/New Market Heights, and Petersburg. After serving as a member of the "Occupational Forces" in Texas from May 1865 to March 1866, he returned to rejoin his wife Martha Jane Miller Corprew and their children. After his military service, Corprew settled in Norfolk County and became a land owner of more than 200 acres. Here, he co-founded a community which became known as Bells Mill. A strong believer in education, he donated land for the first school in the Bells Mill community built to educate "colored children."

The only memorial of its kind in Virginia.

In 1872, Sgt. Corprew established the location that would become the final resting place for his family. Today, this cemetery is also the site of the Unknown & Known Afro-Union Civil War Soldiers Memorial. This is the only memorial of its kind in Virginia dedicated to saluting Afro-Union Soldier and Sailor Patriot Heroes.

Today, Dr. E. Curtis Alexander, the Great-Grandson of Sgt. March Corprew, is an educator and historian who has lectured internationally on the histories of African peoples and Afro-Union Civil War History.