|Death: ||May 5, 1916, England|
Joseph John was a Welshman and was born at Swansea, Wales around 1840. He was a merchantman and sometimes shipped out on whaling ships. He left home for the sea as a youngster as he was unable to get along with his step-father, whose name was Pugh. Arriving in America, Joseph always said he like the Union because he abhorred the idea of slavery and felt the slaves should be free men; little did he know that many in the South were already freeing their slaves.
At some point Joseph "enlisted" for service at Salem in Roanoke County,Virginia as a 1st Sergeant; with the Confederacy. It is felt by his son Arthur W. John, 102 years old in 2010 of Cheltenham, Victoria, that he may have been "press-ganged" into service or that he did so in order to survive under war conditions; which leads one to believe he may have been living in one of the southern states at the time.
Joseph enlisted in Company "K". 54 Virginia Infantry. The 54th Infantry Regiment was organized in October 1861 and was soon ordered to Kentucky, where it took an active part in the engagement at "Middle Creek" on January 10, 1862; an Offensive in Eastern Kentucky against the 18th U.S. Brigade. More than a month after Confederate Col. John S. Williams left Kentucky, following an engagement at Ivy Mountain, Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall led another Union force into southeast Kentucky to continue recruiting activities. From his headquarters in Paintsville, on the Big Sandy River northwest of Prestonsburg, Marshall recruited volunteers and by early January had a force of more than 2,000 men, but could only partially equip
them, and Union Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell directed Col. James Garfield to force
Marshall to retreat back into Virginia. Leaving Louisana, Garfield took command of the 18th Brigade and began his march south on Paintsville. He compelled the Confederates to abandon Paintsville and retreat to the vicinity of Prestonsburg.
Later the unit was reassigned to Trigg's, Reynolds', Brown's and Reynolds'
Consolidated, and Palmer's Brigade, Army of Tennessee. It participated in many battles fought by the Confederate army from the Battle of Chickamauga to Atlanta; enduring Hood's winter operations and then fought in North Carolina.
At the battle of Chickamauga, in Catoosa and Walker Counties in Georgia, on
September 18-20, 1863, after the Tullahoma Campaign, Federalist Rosecrans renewed his offensive, aiming to force the Confederates out of Chattanooga. The three army corps comprising Rosecrans' s army, split and set out for Chattanooga by separate routes. In early September, Rosecrans consolidated his forces scattered in Tennessee and Georgia and forced Bragg's army out of Chattanooga, heading south. The Union troops followed it and brushed with it at Davis' Cross Roads. Bragg was determined to reoccupy Chattanooga and decided to meet a part of Rosecrans's army, defeat them, and then move back into the city. On the 17th he headed north, intending to meet and beat the XXI Army Corps. As Confederate General Bragg marched north on the 18th, his cavalry and infantry fought with Union cavalry and mounted infantry which were armed with Spencer repeating rifles. Fighting began in earnest on the morning of the 19th, and Bragg's men hammered but did not break the Union line.
The next day, Bragg continued his assault on the Union line on the left, and in late morning, Rosecrans was informed that he had a gap in his line. In moving units to shore up the supposed gap, Rosecrans created one, and James Longstreet's men promptly exploited it, driving one-third of the Union army, including Rosecrans himself, from the field. George H. Thomas then took over command and began consolidating forces on Horseshoe Ridge and Snodgrass Hill. Although the Rebels launched determined assaults on these forces, they held until after dark. Thomas then led his men from the field leaving it to the Confederates. The Union retired to Chattanooga while the Confederates occupied the surrounding heights. The results was a Confederate victory with 16,170 Union and 18,454 Confederate casualties.
On May 13, 1864, Confederate General Joseph Johnston positioned his forces along a ridge between the Oostanaula River and the Conasauga River just north of the small town of Resaca, Georgia; to protect his supply line to Atlanta, the Western & Atlantic Railroad. On the afternoon of the 13th, Union Major General John Logan's XV Corps arrived west of Resaca to discover that General Johnston had reinforced his army with General Leonidas Polk's Army of Mississippi; which became the third Corps of the Army of Tennessee.
On the morning of the 14th, General Sherman ordered an attack at Johnston's Confederate center with a division of General John Palmer's XIV Corps and met devastating infantry and artillery fire from the Confederates.
The fight at Resaca involved 110,123 men and 254 guns of the Federals, and 54,500 men and 144 guns of the Confederates. The Battle of Resaca was one of the largest engagements and is estimated to have cost the Federals some 4,000 causalities and the Confederates nearly 3,000 men.
Just five days later, while still at Resaca, Georgia, 1st Sergeant Joseph John was captured by Union forces and immediately shipped north to the infamous Alton, Illinois Union Prison. Conditions in the prison were harsh and the mortality rate was above average for Union prisons. The prison was overcrowded much of the time and sanitary facilities were inadequate. Pneumonia and dysentery were common killers but contagious diseases such as smallpox and rubella were the most feared; disease and starvation killing up to 300 prisoners and soldiers. 1st Sergeant Joseph John survived some eight months in Alton Prison before being released in a prisoner exchange on February 15, 1865; returning to duty.
On April 9, 1865, the 54th Infantry Regiment merged into the 54th Battalion Virginia Infantry. John's regiment sustained 47 casualties at Chickamauga and had 390 men and 329 arms in December 1863. In December 1864 it only had 128 men present for active duty, which increased to 212 in January 1865. Field officers included Colonel Robert C. Trigg; Lieutenant Colonels Henry A. Edmundson, William B. Shelor, and John J. Wade; and Majors John S. Deyerle, Austin Harman, and James C. Taylor.
During one battle, Joseph was severely wounded in his knee, and thereafter always walked with a limp.
After the war Joseph left the United States for England, living in the London area. It was there that Joseph at seventy-five years of age died, in 1916; his son Arthur being only nine years of age. Joseph John was buried on May 6, 1916 in the General Cemetery at Fulham, a suburb of London, England. James Gray of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. acquired a bronze memorial plaque for his grave; in honour of his son, Arthur John, the oldest "Real Son" living in Australia.
Arthur John, Joseph's son, migrated to Australia in 1923 at 16 years of age.
Fulham Palace Road Cemetery
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
Greater London, England
Created by: James Gray
Record added: Aug 14, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 57038598