was born 13 July 1838 in County Sligo Ireland. His mother’s
name was probably Jane because he named his first child, Jennie,
a diminutive for Jane. He enlisted in the 21st Foot during the
Crimean War. He lied about his age because he was only 16 and
enlisted as a private not as a boy. After brief service in the
Crimea and a stay at Florence Nightingale’s hospital he
returned to Dublin. He deserted in July 1855. He arrived in
New York on 13 October 1855 and went to Lansingburgh, New York
where he was a brush maker, a trade his sister and her husband
followed in Dublin, Ireland.
On 14 July 1857 he enlisted in US Navy and was assigned to USS
Wabash. Wabash was sent to Panama and participated in the capture
of the infamous freebooter, William Walker. After the ship returned
to New York the crew was discharged. John quickly reenlisted
and was assigned to the USS Relief. Relief was a supply ship
and returned to Aspinwall, Panama. Following Relief’s
return to New York John was again discharged on 29 January 1859.
He returned to Lansingburgh and married Margaret McCabe 3 July
1859. On 24 April 1861, shortly after Fort Sumter was attacked,
John enlisted in 30th NY Volunteer Infantry. After arriving
in the Washington area he volunteered for service on the Western
Waters and served in USS Carondolet and later in USS Lafayette.
He was awarded a Medal of Honor for his service in Carondolet.
Following his discharge he returned to Lansingburg. He reenlisted
in Company C, 21st New York Cavalry in September 1864 and served
until May 1865 following the end of the Civil War.
His diary covers the most of the time that he served during
the Civil War. There are some gaps. One was apparently because
he could not find a journal.
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