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Federal (USV)


John Westbrook

(1844 - 1920)

Home State: New York

Command Billet: Soldier

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 104th New York Infantry

Before Antietam

He enlisted in Company A, 104th New York Infantry in October 1861 from Nunda, NY, a town in about 65 miles east of Buffalo. His father was a lawyer there. Also in his Company was his older brother George, who enlisted in November.

On the Campaign

At the north end of the Miller Cornfield on the morning of 17 September ...

... he was lying behind a rail fence, in back of a field of standing corn. When the So. [Southern] Army approached after the 1st volley of [ ] there was not a stalk of corn standing. His partner turned and told him his foot was shot off - two men with charcoal pots backed him up against a tree, and seared the arteries. One was shot working over him...
George Westbrook (1841 - 1917) was also wounded at Antietam - a gunshot to the head.

The rest of the War

John turned 20 ten days after the battle, and was discharged in 1863. He was granted a pension for his disability in May 1863, and after recovering from his wound he trained as a glovemaker at Gloversville, NY (at Government expense?).

After the War

In April 1867 he traveled to Oceana County, Michigan to claim a 160 acre homestead on forest land about 12 miles inland from the Lake Michigan town of Pentwater. He built his own cabin and married there the next year. He made gloves and farmed, and returned to Buffalo every 3 or 4 years for a new cork leg, at Government expense. He moved into town at Hart, Michigan about 1877. By 1890 he was also making broom handles and had served the local community as Justice of the Peace, Township Treasurer, Highway Commissioner, Deputy Sheriff and Councilman. He was also a member of the Joe Hooker (Hart, MI) Post, GAR.1

References & notes

The quote above and some other bio details are from a 1964 letter [pg. 1, pg. 2] by John Neal Van Allsburg (1889 - ?), John's grandson, a copy of which was kindly provided by his grandchildren (John's g-g-grandchildren) Marianne Tierney and Art Van Allsburg. Service dates from Hand2.

More on the Web

There is more about Westbrook and his regiment at Antietam in a post on behind AotW.


09/27/1842; Castile, NY


03/21/1920; Hart, MI; burial in Hart Cemetery, Hart, MI


1   Hartwick, Louis M., and William H. Tuller, Oceana County Pioneers and Business Men of Today, Pentwater (MI): Pentwater News Steam Print, 1890, pp. 313-314  [AotW citation 912]

2   Hand, Henry Wells, editor, 1808-1908 Centennial history of the town of Nunda, Rochester (NY): Rochester Herald Press, 1908, pg. 521  [AotW citation 915]