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J.B. Rife
J.B. Rife

Federal (USA)


Joseph B. Rife

(1839 - 1889)
Home State: Pennsylvania
Command Billet: Commanding Company
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 1st and 6th United States Infantry


Before the Antietam Campaign:
He enlisted at age 21 as Private in Company G, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves on 27 July 1863. He was promoted First Sergeant, date not given. He was discharged to accept a commission as 2nd Lieutenant, Company B, 6th United States Infantry on 5 August 1861. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 9 September. He transferred to Company F on 20 December 1861, and commanded his Company in action from 26 December.

In the Antietam Campaign:
Commanded Company F of the 6th Infantry on the Maryland Campaign. He was honored by brevet to Captain for "gallant and meritorious service" at Antietam.

The remainder of the War:
He was detached on recruiting service 26 November 1862. By January 1865 he was commanding the "Permanent Party" at Fort Wood in New York Harbor.

After the War:
He was promoted to Captain, 6th US Infantry on 7 November 1865. By 1868 he was commanding Company E in the West. He resigned from the Army on 1 March 1872 - possibly in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with an enlisted man. He was "accidentally killed" on 29 January 1889.

References, Sources, and other notes:
Basic information from Heitman1 with details from Swanson2. The 'misconduct' is documented in Thomas P. Lowry's Sexual Misbehavior in the Civil War: A Compendium (2006). His gravesite is on Findagrave, source also of his (fuzzy) photograph, from descendent Susan Kemper Rife.

Birth State: PA    
Death Date: 01/29/1889    Burial Place: Middletown Cemetery, Middletown, PA


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 831  [AotW citation 14891]

2   Swanson, Clifford L., The Sixth United States Infantry Regiment, 1855 to Reconstruction, Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company, Publishers, 2001, Appendices A and B  [AotW citation 14892]

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