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Maj Joseph Boyd Campbell

Maj Joseph Boyd Campbell

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 28 Aug 1891 (aged 54)
Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Burial West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
Plot Section XXIV, Row J, Site 218.
Memorial ID 121931175 · View Source
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USMA Class of 1861. His class rank was 22/34.

Twenty-Third Annual Reunion Of The Association of the Graduates Of The United States Military Academy, At West Point, New York, June 9th, 1892
Joseph B. Campbell
No. 1954, Class of June 1861.
Died August 28, 1891, at Montreal, Canada, aged 55.
Major Joseph Boyd Campbell, the son of Henry Roe and Sidney Boyd Campbell, was born in Philadelphia, November 26, 1836.

His father was a native of New Jersey, a civil engineer of much prominence and extensively engaged in bridge building and the early construction of railroads in the Middle and New England States and in Canada. In 1836 he invented and patented the eight wheeled engine, now so widely known and other useful devices which have made our railway engines so renowned throughout the world may be attributed to his experience and genius.

A prediction made by him more than forty years ago, that the speed of railway trains would reach one hundred miles an hour, seems near fulfillment, though once considered the dream of an enthusiast. It was, in fact, the prophecy of a sage who foresaw the wonderful development of the railway engine and was thus far in advance of his contemporaries.

Major Campbell’s early life, to the age of fourteen years, was passed in Philadelphia and New Hampshire. At fourteen he entered the High School, Chelsea, Massachusetts, which he attended until appointed to the Military Academy, July 1, 1857.

He graduated June 24, 1861 and was almost immediately assigned to duty with other classmates, drilling the volunteers then assembling in Washington, D.C. He remained on this duty during July and August, when he joined Battery D, Second Artillery, in the defenses of Washington. He remained there to May 1862, when he was ordered to Gibbon’s Battery B, Fourth Artillery and on May 16th was appointed Captain and Additional Aide-de-Camp.

On the appointment of Captain Gibbon to be Brigadier General, he took command of the battery which was attached to Gibbon’s “Iron” Brigade and took part in General McDowell’s operations in the Department of the Rappahannock. In August 1862, he joined the Army of Northern Virginia, being engaged at Warrenton Sulphur Springs, August 26, Groveton, August 28 and Bull Run, August 29 and 30. For his gallant and meritorious conduct in this battle he received the Brevet of Captain. In September the Battery joined the Army of the Potomac, with which the Army of Northern Virginia was merged and with two volunteer batteries was attached to King’s Division of the First Army Corps commanded by General Hooker. As the senior and only regular battery Captain present, he commanded both his battery and the artillery brigade to which it belonged, during the greater part of the Maryland Campaign of 1862, being engaged in the battles of South Mountain, September 16 and the battle of Antietam the following day, when he was severely wounded.

There have not been many instances of more desperate fighting than took place in the now historic cornfield, near the Miller house, during the progress of this battle. The corn was high and ready for the harvest and afforded almost perfect concealment to the enemy, which approached within a few yards of the battery, placing it in great peril of capture, if not of destruction and inflicting upon it a loss not often paralleled, of 1 officer, 3 sergeants, 4 corporals, 32 privates and 26 horses killed and wounded. The enemy were repulsed when almost at the muzzles of the guns, which continued in action throughout the battle. For his gallant conduct in this engagement, Campbell was brevetted Major.

From the effect of his severe wounds he was disabled until December, when he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to General Barry, Chief of Artillery and Acting Assistant Inspector of Artillery, Washington, D.C. He held these positions until February 1864, when, being still unfit for field service, he was ordered to West Point as Assistant Professor of Mathematics. He remained there to June 30, 1865, when, being much improved in health, he joined his regiment at Brownsville, Texas, where he remained to February 1866. From February to July he was in garrison at Washington, D.C. and at Fort Washington on the Potomac, when he was appointed Acting Assistant Inspector General, Department of Washington and held the position to May 1, 1867, when he joined his regiment at Battery Rodgers, Virginia.

He served as a member of the Knapsack Board to November 1, 1867 and of an Examining Board, Washington, D.C., to January 1868; as Instructor of Mathematics, Ordnance and Gunnery at the Artillery School, Fort Monroe, to January 1871, being detached with his battery during that interval for duty at Raleigh, North Carolina, from July to October 1870; as Commanding Officer, Fort Foote, Maryland, from January 1871 to June 1872, when he was granted leave of absence and joined his father, then engaged in building the bridge over Raritan River at Perth Amboy.

In the Spring of 1873, just after the Modoc War, so disastrous to the Fourth Artillery, he was ordered to join his regiment at Alcatraz Island, in the harbor of San Francisco, California, where he remained to August 1874, when he was ordered to Sitka, Alaska, as Commanding Officer and Indian Agent. At this time the Territory of Alaska was without organized government and was consequently a place of refuge or resort, of many desperate characters, who, free from ordinary police surveillance, could ply their vocations with comparative impunity. Against these law breakers Campbell waged ceaseless war, arresting those within reach and driving others out of the Territory. He did no more possibly than the situation and his orders required, but he might have done much less and still have won credit for discharging his full duty as others had before him. He need not certainly have subjected himself to persecution and prosecution at the hands of reckless criminals or risked the likelihood of being deserted in such an event, by those under whose orders he acted. Yet he did both and reaped his reward. On the occasion of an official visit to Portland, Oregon, he was arrested and tried before a State Court on a charge of false imprisonment and fined $2,000 and costs, for confining a man engaged in illicit liquor traffic with the natives. It is a pleasure to record that some time thereafter a bill for his relief was favorably reported to Congress, an acknowledgement, if not a full requital of his fearless and valuable services.

In June 1876, he was ordered to command Fort Point, San Jose, the official residence of the Commanding General, Division of the Pacific, but was relieved in August to take command of a battalion of the Fourth Artillery ordered into the field against the Sioux Indians. The battalion formed part of the command of General R.S. McKenzie, then Colonel of the Fourth Cavalry and accompanied that intrepid and successful officer during a most arduous campaign to December 1876, taking part in the Powder River expedition of that winter.

Shortly after the campaign General McKenzie was heard to say in reply to a remark intended to reflect somewhat upon red legged infantry, that he had never seen a better battalion of foot troops than Campbell’s or one better commanded. In January 1877, this battalion was returned to the Pacific Coast and Campbell resumed his post at Fort San Jose, where he remained until July 1881, when he was again assigned to duty as Instructor at the Artillery School. He remained there until the spring of 1888, when he was ordered to Fort Warren, Boston Harbor.

On the transfer of the Fourth Artillery from the New England to the Southern Coast a year later, he went to Fort McPherson, Atlanta and thence, in August, to Jackson Barracks, which he commanded to May 1891, when he was granted sick leave of absence. For about two years prior to this he had suffered from complications which had impaired his health and were greatly aggravated by the climate of New Orleans.

No argument, however, could induce him to accept a change which did not include his battery and it was not until he had learned officially that he would be transferred to Atlanta and had almost completely broken down, that he yielded to the advice of his physicians and the solicitude of his family and removed to New London, New Hampshire. Here it was hoped that his health would be restored, but it was to be otherwise.

He died suddenly, August 28, of apoplexy, in the city of Montreal during a brief visit, attended by his devoted wife. Shortly before his death he was promoted Major of the Second Artillery, after a service as cadet and officer of over 34 years. He was buried at West Point.

Major Campbell married in 1871 Mrs. Caroline Sanger Jones, a daughter of Henry Kirkland Sanger, of Detroit, Michigan. He leaves two daughters, Sidney Caroline and Caro Campbell. Two stepchildren, Henry K. Jones, of Detroit and Matilda C. Jones, for whom he ever had the greatest solicitude, also mourn his death, as do many friends who appreciated his sterling qualities.

Although of subordinate rank for years after he had passed the meridian of life and should have been a field officer, he nevertheless avoided none of the drudgery of his position or sought for duty in soft places. Whatever fell to him in the line of duty he did conscientiously and well, begrudging neither time nor trouble nor health. He was studious, energetic and versatile and lost no opportunity of adding to his store of useful information. Having the faculty of imparting this information to others, he was always a good instructor and at the Artillery School, Fort Monroe, initiated and carried on several years and with much credit, the course in Artillery Sconce.

His character was of the rugged sort, strong and self-reliant and marked by a high sense of duty. He was proud of his profession and tried to excel in it and was a valuable and faithful officer. He was, in fact, a soldier to the core and possessed many of the priceless qualities which adorn that character.

J.P. Sanger

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  • Created by: SLGMSD
  • Added: 19 Dec 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 121931175
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Maj Joseph Boyd Campbell (26 Nov 1836–28 Aug 1891), Find A Grave Memorial no. 121931175, citing United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by SLGMSD (contributor 46825959) .