Size 4" x 2.5". John Gray Foster (May 27, 1823 - September 2, 1874) was an American soldier. A career military officer in the United States Army and a Union general during the American Civil War, he served in North and South Carolina during the war. A postbellum expert in underwater demolition, he wrote a treatise on the subject in 1869.
He continued with the Army after the war, using his expertise as assistant to the Chief Engineer in Washington, DC and at a post on Lake Erie. From 1862 to December 1863 Foster commanded the Department of North Carolina.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, he appointed Horace James, a Congregational minister, to help freedmen prepare for independent life, and directed a former contraband camp to be developed as the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island. By 1864, 2,200 freedmen were settled on household plots.
Many worked for pay for the Army, which held the forts. Under President Andrew Johnson, after the war, the Army abandoned the colony. Most of the freedmen chose to return to the mainland for work.