Petersburg, VA

Civil War drummer boy John B. Jaques, Jr.: Mustered out 148 years ago today

Wounded Drummer Boy, oil on board, 1865-1869, by Eastman Johnson (In collections of San Diego Museum of Art*)

Wounded Drummer Boy, oil on board, 1865-1869, by Eastman Johnson (In collections of San Diego Museum of Art*)

In the midst of all that was going on in tailor John B. Jaques’ family, his namesake had the chutzpah to volunteer for service as a drummer boy in the closing months of the Civil War. The boys were supposed to be 18 to enlist, but as you can see from some of these images, boys much younger than that went into service.

John B. Jaques Jr. (b. 15 October 1848, Elizabeth, NJ) was 16 when he enlisted on 24 Feb 1865. You may recall from the last post that his dad was arrested twice (that we know of) that year, once in March for forgery and once in November for larceny. We don’t know John Jr.’s motivations–was he doing this for love of country and belief in the cause? Trying to escape a troubled home life? Looking for adventure? How proud (and worried) the family must have been. Sadly this brave decision did not seem to impact father John’s behavior.

Gen. Richard Busteed and drummer boy, US National Archives**

Gen. Richard Busteed and drummer boy, US National Archives**

Until discovering this detail about John Jr., and doing a bit of research on the role of drummer boys in the Civil War, I had no idea what an integral role these boys played. They actually required a great deal of training to learn all the various drum rolls and beats that could substitute for orders given vocally which were often much too difficult for troops to hear over the din of battle. And at battle’s end, they helped carry the wounded off the field to wherever care was being rendered.  Drummer boys accompanied commanding officers at all hours of the day and night and had to be ready at a moment’s notice to sound whatever drum roll was appropriate for the operation being initiated. These children were truly heroes, and apparently many of them went on to serve in the capacity of soldiers once their stints as drummer boys came to an end.

John B. Jaques, Jr. was mustered in on 2 March 1865, and mustered out on 13 July 1865 at Newark, NJ. He served in Company I, 40th Regiment New Jersey, which left New Jersey on 4 March 1865. According to the National Park Service website’s Civil War information about the 40th Regiment, John Jr. would have been part of the following: Siege operations against Petersburg December, 1864, to April, 1865. …Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Assault on and capture of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. March to Danville April 23-27, and duty there till May 18. March to Richmond, Va., thence to Washington, DC, May 18-June 3. Corps Review June 8. I found evidence that John spent some time in the hospital before being mustered out. The Newark Daily Advertiser listed him in the ‘Affairs at the Hospital’ section of the issue dated 19 June 1865: Patients have lately been admitted as follows: … Jno. B. Jaques, drummer, Co. I, 40th N.J…. It could not have been anything too serious as the 1890 Census of Union Veterans did not list him as having any disability.

Surrender at the Appomattox

Surrender at the Appomattox, 9 April 1865

I’m very impressed by John Jr. even though his stint in the Union Army was so brief at just 5 months and 7 days. It still took a lot of courage for a lad of 16. And to have been present at Appomattox must have been quite special as well as a huge relief for all concerned.

After the war, John Jr. went on to have a career in the jewelry industry. He first worked in a jewelry shop (1870) and then a jewelry factory (1880). On 19 January 1893, he applied in New Jersey for a Civil War pension (Application no. 1,144,113; Certificate no. 1025165). In 1910, the census record listed his profession as ‘jeweler.’ John Jr. appeared again on the Civil War Pension Index on 5 Dec 1910.

John Jr. married Katherine (Katie) Griffith on 14 Jun 1871, in Newark, Essex, NJ. They had four children born between roughly 1872 and 1877 — two girls and two boys: Mary F., Isaac, William S., and Ida. Imagine the stories he was able to tell his children and grandchildren! Hopefully his home life with Katherine was far less stressful than the one he endured in his childhood.

John died at age 62 on 13 June 1911 (exactly 102 years and 1 month ago). I found his date of death in US Army Veterans Administration pension payment records (Certificate No. 1025165). He was categorized as an “Army Invalid,” and he appears to have originally filed for that status on 29 November 1898.

That’s all I know for the moment about John Jr., so I will finish here. Be sure to click on some of the resource links below. There are some great images there.

Here’s to John B. Jaques Jr. for his bravery, dedication to country, and contributions to preserving our nation and putting an end to slavery. May he be resting in peace.

drummers

Resources:

*Wounded Drummer Boy, oil on board painting by Eastman Johnson, 1865-69, San Diego Museum of Art. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

**This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the National Archives and Records Administration as part of a cooperation project. The National Archives and Records Administration provides images depicting American and global history which are public domain or licensed under a free license.

Categories: Appomattox, Civil War, Grant, Gen. Ulysses S., Jaques, Lee General Robert E, Petersburg, VA, US Federal 1870, US Federal 1880, US Federal 1910 | 2 Comments

Henry A. Trowbridge & Company C, 14th Infantry New Jersey Volunteers

As per the previous post, Henry Trowbridge entered the war in August 1862, serving in Company C of the Fourteenth Infantry New Jersey Volunteers. Of interest is the regimental history found in Vol. 3 of The Union Army published in 1908 by Federal Publishing Company:

Fourteenth Infantry.–Col., William S. Truex; Lieut.-Cols., Caldwell K. Hall, Jacob J. Janeway; Majs., Peter  Vredenburgh, Jr., John C. Patterson. This regiment was mustered into the service of the United States on Aug. 26, 1862, and left Freehold for the field, 950 strong, on Sept. 2. At Monocacy Junction, Md., the regiment remained inactive for 9 months, but on July 9, 1863, it joined the main army, whose fortunes it shared from that time forward to the close of the war. On Oct. 30, it moved forward with its corps, encamping near Bealeton Station, Va., until Nov. 7, when it advanced to the Rappahannock, along which the enemy was constructing formidable works, and with the other troops engaged effected a crossing, driving the enemy from the river with considerable loss. But the first actual engagement of the regiment was at Locust Grove, where it fought with great steadiness throughout, and suffered a loss of 16 killed and 58 wounded–its first losses in battle. At the Wilderness the 14th was engaged for several hours, fighting gallantly and losing heavily. Upon emerging from the Wilderness, Warren’s corps became actively engaged on May 8 with Longstreet’s veterans, who sought to delay its progress, and the 6th corps going to its relief late in the afternoon, the 14th again went into action, the enemy being driven back with a loss of 1,500 men. During the engagement at Hanover Court House the regiment was on the skirmish line, and lost several in killed and wounded–Orderly Black, of Co. I, being shot through the heart and instantly killed, while Col. Truex was slightly wounded in the hand, but did not leave the field. At Cold Harbor the regiment suffered severely, losing in 2 hours 240 in killed and wounded–Lieuts. Stults of Co. H, and Tingley of Co. E, being among the former. In the operations before Petersburg, on June 23, a large force of the enemy suddenly appeared on the scene and struck the corps a heavy blow on the flank, inflicting considerable loss, the 14th, which became actively engaged, losing some 40 men in killed and prisoners. Being sent with other troops into Maryland to resist Early, it took part in the battle of Monocacy the whole number of casualties in the 14th as returned to the adjutant-general, being 10 killed, 69 wounded and 5 missing. At the battle of the Opequan the 3d division of the 6th corps lost heavily, the 14th alone losing 7 killed, 62 wounded and 1 missing. At Fisher’s hill the casualties in the 14th numbered 10 killed and 30 wounded. In the fight at Cedar creek the regiment, which was commanded by Capt. Janeway, again lost heavily–Adjt. Ross being among the killed. In the final engagement at Petersburg, April 2, 1865, the regiment from first to last fought with the greatest bravery and to it, equally with the most efficient regiment of the corps, belongs the credit of the magnificent success of that glorious day. Sailors’ creek was the last engagement in which the 14th, now reduced to about 100 men, participated. On June 8 the corps was reviewed at Washington and on the 19th the 14th was formally mustered out, proceeding on the following day to Trenton, where, on the 29th, the men who had shared so many perils together, and for nearly three years had “endured hardness like good soldiers” for the Nation’s sake, received their final pay, exchanged farewells and separated into the old familiar paths of peace, wherefrom their feet had been lured only at the call of solemn and imperious duty. The total strength of the regiment was 1,384, and it lost during its term of service, by resignation 20, by promotion 46, by discharge 159, by transfer 303, by death 248, by desertion 97, by dismissal 1, mustered out, 510.

Battles Fought by the Fourteenth Regiment
27 November 1863, Locust Grove, VA
27 November 1863, Jacob’s Ford, VA
6 May 1864, Wilderness, VA
9 May 1864, Spotsylvania Court House, VA
12 May 1864, Spotsylvania Court House, VA
13 May 1864, Spotsylvania Court House, VA

30 May 1864, Hanover Court House, VA
31 May 1864, Hanover Court House, VA

1 June 1864, Cold Harbor, VA
3 June 1864, Cold Harbor, VA
6 June 1864, Cold Harbor, VA

23 June 1864, Rock Point, VA
9 July 1864, Monocacy, MD
19 September 1864, Winchester, VA
22 September 1864, Fisher’s Hill, VA
19 October 1864, Cedar Creek, VA
2 April 1865, Petersburg, VA

Categories: Cedar Creek, VA, Civil War, Cold Harbor, VA, Fisher's Hill, VA, Hanover Court House, VA, Jacob's Ford, VA, Locust Grove, VA, Monacacy, MD, Petersburg, VA, Rock Point, VA, Spotsylvania Court House, VA, Trowbridge, Wilderness, VA, Winchester, VA, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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