Julesde Schenofsky


Octave Louis François Etienne FARIOLA


U.S. Army

2nd Engineers Corps d'Afrique
77th U.S. Colored Infantry
96th U.S. Colored Infantry


























Biography :

Octave L.F.E. Fariola, an officer in the 77th and 96th United States Colored Infantry regiments was noted in the Melbourne Consul files as having requested engineering recognition for a firm located in Swanston Street, Melbourne, the letter dated 3 July 1889. He had been an officer in the 2nd Engineers (Corps d'Afrique) then Captain in the 77th United States Colored Troops Infantry Regiment and later was promoted to be Lieutenant-Colonel of the 96th United States Colored Infantry. He also appeared as an aide-de-camp of General Nathaniel Banks, chief engineer of the 13th Army Corps, and commanded his regiment at the capture of Forts Morgan and Gaines in 1864 and the city of Mobile, Ala., in 1865. As he is not mentioned in the "Historical Register Of U.S. Army Officers" he was not a graduate of West Point nor a regular Army Officer prior to the war. Further references in books of negro troops in the Civil War do not include a reference to his official duties nor did he compile any reports reprinted in the Army Official Records. He is also listed in the Official Army Register as having been promoted on 1 March 1864 to the 96th U.S.C.T. as Lieutenant-Colonel, he commanded that regiment when mustered out on 29 January 1866 as both Colonels had been either discharged or resigned.
Information from his pension file stated that Rozzoli had been born on 30 May 1839 at Liege, Belgium, and enrolled 10 July 1863 as a staff officer for Federal general Nathaniel Banks at New Orleans. At the time of enlistment his occupation was that of military engineer so was presumed to be a soldier of fortune. He stated that he did not remember his date of enlistment however he was engaged by Brigadier General William Dwight (Banks' chief of staff) at New York to proceed to New Orleans to enter the Corps of Afrique as a Captain and left New York by army transport, On arrival Major General Banks gave him a commission as Captain in the 5th Regiment of Infantry, Corps de Afrique, and later as additional or acting aide de camp to Banks. His service record also stated that although nominally a Captain in Company D, 77th United States Colored Troops in January 1864, on 29 February 1864 he was on detached service at the headquarters, Army of the Gulf, since 2 January 1864. He was transferred on 1 March 1864 to Field & Staff, 96th United States Colored Troops as Lieutenant-Colonel of that regiment, being promoted from Major on the 11 March 1864. On 30 April 1864 he was detached as engineer on Major-General John A. McClernand's staff and served in that capacity for some time.
He was transferred as Lieutenant-Colonel to the 96th United States Colored Troops and was honourably discharged on 29 January 1866 at Carrollton, Louisiana.
After the war he resided one year in Louisiana as a planter; six years a planter in Queensland, twenty years as a Civil Engineer in Australia, fifteen years in Borneo also as an engineer. He had been married in Brussels in 1863 prior to his departure to the United States; his wife died in Marseilles, France, about 1890 (they had been separated since 1874) and in October 1894 he was married under Siamese law to Arudeng Aun. Two children were born in Siam, Louis at Bangkok on 5 June 1897 and Margarette also at Bangkok on 3 November 1901.
Due to being bedridden he claimed an invalid pension in Virginia on 10 February 1905. His personal appearance was then listed as 5'6 1/2", brown to black eyes, nearly white hair and complexion as "bilious sanguine". Due to his position and rank a private bill was passed through the United States Senate (59th Congress, 2nd Session, Report #5141) to increase his pension from $12 to $30 per month as he was incapable of performing manual labor. When last examined in 1905 he was noted as being feeble and completely broken down; the bill was approved on 1 March 1907. He was discharged from the National Soldier's Home in Elizabeth City County, Virginia, in January 1912 and died at Jersey City, New Jersey, on 17 September 1914. Again because of his rank he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, the final resting home for many of America's military dead. At that stage he appeared to have no friends or relatives. The Maryland Commandary of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) agreed to pay the bills for his burial. Another address for him showed his address as 3 Via Giovanni Meli, Palermo, Italy, just prior to his death.
More information about him was found in a footnote of "A Union Soldier In The Land Of The Vanquished" edited by F.N. Boney, being the diary of Sergeant Matthew Woodruff of the 21st Missouri Infantry, USV. Actually, one veteran from that regiment, Andrew Kinross, is buried in Australia although no mention of Kinross is made by Woodruff. Woodruff does give several references though to Colonel Farriola and a note on page 18 gives more information:
"The 96th United States Colored Infantry was originally the Second Regiment Engineers, Corps de Afrique, which was organized in New Orleans in August 1863. This unit built fortifications and other structures in Texas until the spring of 1864 when it was designated the 96th U.S.C.I. and transferred back to Louisiana. Despite the new name, the unit remained basically an engineer regiment. It participated in the sieges of Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay, and in the campaign against Mobile itself during the final months of the war. The 96th was stationed at various points along the Gulf until January, 1866, when it was demobilized. Like many other engineer units, its combat losses were light. Lieutenant Colonel Octave L.F.E. Fariola de Rozzoli, a Belgian born in 1838, joined the Union army in 1863 as a Captain of Engineers. He was sent to New Orleans and assigned to the 5th Regiment Infantry, Corps de Afrique, which later became the 77th United States Colored Infantry. Stationed in the New Orleans area, this unit, too, was primarily engaged in engineering projects. Though frequently ill, Fariola served capably, and by the end of the war he was a lieutenant colonel in the 96th U.S.C.I. He was mustered out with this unit. He failed as a planter in Louisiana in 1866 and moved to Australia. He farmed for a decade and then spent two more decades as a civil engineer in that vast land. Then he undertook other engineering projects in Borneo and Siam where he married and fathered two children. Finally he returned to America and retired to a veterans' home in Virginia. but he became restless again and moved to Europe. He died in Palermo, Italy, in 1914. While in the Union army, this adventurous European had shortened his name to Octave L.F.E. Fariola. Woodruff and other white troopers privately bestowed upon him an even shorter nickname "Frog-eater."

Sources :
Many thanks to Barry Crompton of the American Civil War Round Table of Australia