When was the first time African-Americans were in command of Whites in the American Armed Forces?

When was the first time an African-American was in a chain of command above Whites in the American Armed Forces? Any branch, any rank, and however briefly.

Earliest I can find is Col. Charles Young, who became commander of the 10th Cavalry in 1916. The 10th Cavalry was a black regiment, but it had some white officers, and as regimental commander, he’d be their superior.

Thank you. I never imagined it would be that early.

Outstanding post/ question.

As an aside, the first black British officer was Walter Tull who was made Second Lieutenant in 1917, even though British army regs specifically excluded “Negroes”/“Mulattoes” from command.

Not counting the two black British officers mentioned in that article before him, Post Captain John Perkins and Lieutenant Nathaniel Wells.

There’s a scene in Glory where the 54th Mass. sergeant played by Morgan Freeman tells some racist white soldiers to behave themselves. They give him some lip and he just points to his chevrons; they slink off.

Do privateers count as American armed forces? I’ve read there was at least one Revolutionary War privateer ship which had a black captain.

Thank you.

Little Nemo: That is an interesting point as well. I honestly don’t know if it’s reasonable to consider privateers as part of the Armed Forces.

I suppose my next question is, how common was it when the Armed Forces were still segregated?

No, privateers weren’t part of the U.S. military. They weren’t subject to naval discipline, their officers weren’t commissioned by the Continental Congress, they weren’t funded by Congress, etc. Congress just gave them approval to go and capture and sink British shipping.

Robert Smalls qualified as a privateer I think. Not clear from the Wiki if he actually was in the military and commanded others though. He is listed as a pilot for a Union vessel. This would go back to the Civil War.

During the US Civil War some blacks rose to Petty officer over a mixed crew:

Very interesting as well.