Corp James Downs

Corp James Downs

Perry County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 16 Sep 1921 (aged 84)
Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Veteran's Circle, Row 2,
Memorial ID 134786167 · View Source
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Born in Pennsylvania in 1837, James Downs was the son of Maryland natives. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a 23-year-old tanner living in Perry County, Pennsylvania.


He enrolled for military duty on 20 August 1861 at Bloomfield, Perry County, and mustered in as a Private with Company D of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers on 31 August 1861.

After receiving training in light infantry tactics, he was sent by train with his fellow 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers to Washington, D.C. Stationed initially at "Camp Kalorama," on Kalorama Heights near Georgetown, about two miles from the White House, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers helped to defend the nation's capital during the Fall of 1861. (Note: His Pennsylvania Veteran's Burial Index Card indicates that he served both companies D and K of the 47th Pennsylvania, but this appears to have been a typographical error; his entry in the Civil War Veterans' Card File at the Pennsylvania State Archives indicates that he was only a member of Company D.)

Shipped south aboard the steamer Oriental, he and his fellow members of the 47th Pennsylvania were assigned to garrison duties at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida in 1862 before being sent north to Hilton Head, South Carolina. From 21-23 October, James Downs fought with the 47th during the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina.

While performing garrison duty with the 47th in Florida again in 1863, he opted to re-enlist when his term of service expired, thereby gaining the designation of "Veteran Volunteer."

On 9 April, James was captured by Confederate troops during the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana (one of the major engagements of Union General Nathaniel Banks' Red River Campaign). Marched roughly 125 miles to a Camp Ford, a Confederate Army prison camp near Tyler, Texas, he was held as a prisoner of war (POW) until he was released during a prisoner exchange between Union and Confederate forces on 22 July 1864.

He went on to serve with the 47th Pennsylvania during legendary Union General Philip Sheridan's 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, including at the battles of Opequan and Fisher's Hill (September 1864) and the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19 October 1864.

He was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 5 July 1865, and mustered out with his regiment on 25 December 1865 at Charleston, South Carolina.


In 1891, James filed for his U.S. Civil War Pension.

By 1920, he was widowed and living at the Pennsylvania Memorial Home in Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.

Sources: Bates' "History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5"; Camp Ford Prison Records, Smith County Historical Society, Smith County, Texas; Civil War Veterans' Card File, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Veteran's Burial Index Card (J. Downs); U.S. Census (1920); U.S. Civil War Pension Index (Application No.: 1058759, Certificate No.: 830263, filed from Pennsylvania by the veteran and his attorney, M.B. Stevens & Co., on 24 September 1891).

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  • Created by: lesnyder1
  • Added: 23 Aug 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 134786167
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Corp James Downs (14 Jul 1837–16 Sep 1921), Find a Grave Memorial no. 134786167, citing Brookville Cemetery, Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by lesnyder1 (contributor 47451559) .