(1839 - 1867)
Home State: North Carolina
Education: University of North Carolina, Class of 1859
Branch of Service: Infantry
An 1859 graduate of the University of North Carolina, he enlisted in November 1861 as Private in the Wilmington Rifle Guards, which became Company I, 18th North Carolina Infantry. He was elected Captain in April 1862 and was wounded in action at Frazier's Farm, VA on 29 June 1862.
On the Campaign
He was cited by Brigade commander Lane in his Report on the Maryland Campaign:
Lieutenant-Colonel Purdie, who bravely, commanded the Eighteenth in most of these engagements, desires that special mention should be made of Captain John D. Barry, of Company I, for his coolness and gallantry and devotion to duty.
The rest of the War
He was commissioned Major of the Regiment on 11 November 1862.
At Chancellorsville, the Eighteenth North Carolina had the misfortune of firing the shots that mortally wounded Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. This incident occurred on the night of 2 May 1863, during the battle. Unknown to the men of the Eighteenth, Jackson and a party of staff officers had ridden in front of the Confederate lines to reconnoiter the Union position. Upon returning to their lines, this party of horsemen was mistaken by the Eighteenth in the darkness and confusion of battle for Union cavalry. Shots rang out, and some of Jackson's party shouted that they were friends and called for the firing to stop. Barry suspected this to be a ruse and, the regiment having orders to shoot anything at its front, called on his men to open fire. The shooting started again, and by the time the error had been discovered, Jackson had been mortally wounded. Jackson's loss was irreplaceable, but the army never blamed the Eighteenth North Carolina for following its orders.In spite of that terrible mistake, he was appointed Colonel of the 18th Infantry to date from 3 May 1863. He was wounded in the right hand and lost two fingers near Petersburg, VA on 27 July 1864. He was appointed (temporary) Brigadier General on 3 August 1864 to relieve the wounded General Lane, but was not confirmed in that rank. He was on recruiting duty in North Carolina from February or March 1865 to the end of the War.
After the War
He co-founded and was editor of the Wilmington Dispatch, but died less than two years after the War, having been "frail" and reportedly deeply depressed about his role at Chancellorsville.
References & notes
Basic service information from Moore's Roster1. The quote about Chancellorsville and other details from his bio sketch from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (1979-96) online from NCpedia. His gravesite is on Findagrave, source also (along with Wikipedia and others online) of the photo here. Its provenance is unknown.
06/21/1839; Wilmington, NC
03/24/1867 Wilmington, NC; burial in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, NC