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 Alexander Howard “The Major” Johnson

Alexander Howard “The Major” Johnson

New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 19 Mar 1930 (aged 83)
Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 113781124 · View Source
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Son of William "Henry" and Hannah Niles (Smith) Johnson.
In 1900, he states that his father was born in Virginia and his mother in Rhode Island. The family appears in the 1850 census of New Bedford, and in 1860 he appears in the census with his father.

Musician, Co. C, 54th Massachusetts Infantry.

He enlisted at New Bedford, Massachusetts, in Company C, Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment on 30 Mar 1863 and mustered out on 20 Aug 1865 at Mount Pleasant, SC.

Alexander was a longtime member of the George H. Ward Post 10 in Worcester of the GAR.

In February 1870 in Worcester, he married Mary. They had 17 children, according to the 1900 Worcester census enumeration. Five were still living in 1900.

From the "Springfield Republican," 27 March 1930:
Paralytic Shock Fatal to Civil War Officer
Maj. Alexander Johnson of Worcester, Enlisted at 14 as Drummer Boy

Worcester, March 19 -- Maj. Alexander Johnson, 83, a member of George H. Ward post, G. A. R., who enlisted as a drummer boy in the Union army during the Civil war when he was 14, died today at his home here, as the result of a paralytic shock suffered last November.
Maj. Johnson was born at New Bedford, son of Henry and hannah (Niles) Johnson.
Enlisting at New Bedford in 1861, Maj. Johnson saw active service during the Civil war.
Six times his drum suffered from enemy fire, and once he received a leg wound.
He participated in the battles of Olustee, Honey Hill, Boykins Mills, James Island, and the siege of Charleston, S. C.
He was a member of Sherman's army which made the famous "march to the sea."

Maj. Johnson was the son of a Narragansett Indian, and his mother was Irish-Indian whose father was a Montauk Indian.
He organized the first drum corps at Worcester in 1869, and lived in this city since that year.
His familiar figure appears in bas relief in bronze in Civil war uniform holding his drum and drum sticks marching in martial army, together with his comrades, in the monument erected in front of the State House at Boston, in memory of Col. Robert G. Shaw, organizer of the 54th Colored regiment of Massachusetts, one of the first colored regiments ever organized in the North, and which fought with great gallantry throughout the Civil War.

Familly Researcher (F-A-G #47970572)recounts the following:
"His nickname was Major, he never held that rank in the military. But after the war always wore a military cap around town and people started calling him "The Major" and it stuck. My grandfather remembered him well from the GAR Post because my granddad was an officer of our Sons (SUV) Camp in the 1920s. As a kid my granddad took me to his grave at Hope & to the GAR Lot where many 54th MA vets are buried."

Family Members




  • Created by: DaurRegt
  • Added: 14 Jul 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 113781124
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Alexander Howard “The Major” Johnson (23 Apr 1846–19 Mar 1930), Find A Grave Memorial no. 113781124, citing Hope Cemetery, Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by DaurRegt (contributor 47891223) .